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The Slytherin Dungeons

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And he was a Parselmouth,” interjected Harry.

Yes, indeed; a rare ability, and one supposedly connected with the Dark Arts, although as we know, there are Parselmouths among the great and the good too.”

 

Who do you believe Dumbledore was possibly referring to by  "great and good" Parselmouths? Can you think of some positive uses for Parseltongue? 

10 scales if posted by Sunday 1st  December, 23:59 HOL time.

5 scales if posted by Tuesday 31st December, 23:59 HOL time.

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Parselmouth just means the ability to speak with snakes, right? Snakes are awesome - who wouldn't want to talk with them?

The focus on snake/Slytherin is sort of pushed a lot because of Hogwarts/Slytherin/snake mascot but really, in the wider world, snakes are a viable part of the population and, in some parts of the world, revered  for their beauty and wisdom. For example there is the Ouroboros, which is a symbol of eternity and continual life -- and in many places, serpents represent a creative life force. They are also symbols of transformation, healing, immortality and rebirth.

I think that any wizards or witches who learn different languages, Mermish or Gobbledegook or any of the several languages of different kinds of people and animals, would be able to learn Parseltongue. I don't think that it is a thing which is limited only to those who have a proclivity for what is called dark magics.

 

 

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One of the examples that show a positive side to the Parselmouths/Parseltongue can already be seen in the series. Namely, talking with snakes to make sure they do not attack innocent humans. While it is true that most snakes leave you alone if you leave them alone, there are still bites occurring and if we could communicate with these snakes, before or after the attack, we could prevent it from happening or give faster help to the bite victim.

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I always understood it just to be a nod to Harry as he was actually sitting there, though I'd be interested to know of other people who used it for what one might call good. As for its positive applications, I agree with what's been said. Languages are neutral tools that can be used for good or evil or neither, depending on the person speaking them. Maxim's right in that we've already seen Harry trying to use it to prevent snakes doing harm to people; I can imagine that magizoologists could easily use it to prevent harm coming to snakes. Any tool that can be used to increase understanding between two sets of creatures and facilitate compromise can definitely be used for 'good'.

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Dumbledore's comment about other "great and good" parselmouths" actually made me giggle. I immediately assumed he was referring to himself and Harry :) From what I've read, the ability to speak Parseltongue seems to be hereditary, passed down from Salazar Slytherin. There were exceptions, but they were either possessed by parts of Tom Riddle/Voldemort, such as Ginny and the diary, or possessed by Nagini, such as Batilda Bagshot's corpse 

Dumbledore does seem to be an exception. I also remembered one more example of the positive use of Parseltongue, spoken by a non-descendent of Slytherin: Ron Weasley, which he repeated the sounds he heard Harry use, so he could open the Chamber of Secrets.

For positive uses, I know some who keep snakes as pets and would probably enjoy being better able to communicate with them. And, who knows? Maybe someone could help the three headed Runespoor work out their differences?

Edited by February Fortescue

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It's possible to argue that Merope was a "good" Parselmouth? As many have mentioned, Parseltongue is a language. It may have unique and magical implications though. We know from the story of Gormlaith Gaunt that Parseltongue can affect wands with snake parts as the core. While Gormlaith successfully inactivated her niece's wand, she somehow triggered the wands of Isolt's adopted sons.

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I remember reading somewhere that Merlin was a Slytherin and had been born able to speak perfect English. It isn’t a stretch for me to believe he could have communicated with animals, especially snakes. One positive use for Parseltongue: Harry spoke to the snake in the zoo before setting him free.

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