Sometimes I imagine little baby Slytherins being led down to their dorms on their first night at Hogwarts after the sorting ceremony. Eleven year olds clinging to each other as they traverse the damp, cold stone steps into the dungeons and their minds are racing with things like mum wanted me to be in Ravenclaw, she’s going to disown me, and I’m afraid of snakes and Billy Cavendish told me Slytherin first years get fed to the giant squid if they misbehave, and what happens when my head of house finds out I’m muggleborn?and I don’t want to turn into a dark wizard! They’re all terrified and thinking that there must have been some mistake made with the sorting, but then the student who’s been guiding them starts talking about what it means to be a Slytherin. About how darkness isn’t inherently evil, and how being able to survive against all odds is strength, not cowardice, and how those with the most power have the greatest ability to do the most good. They assure the first years that from now on, they have a family that will do everything to defend and support them them and that they are now beloved children will full rights to the inheritance of Slytherin, and then gradually, the lights go up in the common room and this soothing green glow is cast on everything and it’s so, so beautiful. The little baby Slytherins start exploring all the treasures and artifacts and fine things Slytherin house has hoarded over the years, and there’s no torture devices or human bones or poison chalices at all. There’s books and leather divans and silver tea sets and a handful of upperclassmen who don’t look like they want to feed them to anything. They can see shadowy outlines of merpeople in the lake outside the windows and suddenly they feel inexplicably at home, inexplicably safe, and they realize that no mistake has been made after all.