It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that people are interested in the mystery surrounding Hogwarts’ Chamber of Secrets. You wouldn’t exactly put something like a secret underground chamber that can only be accessed by the heirs of Salazar Slytherin – a wizard who had a preference for pure-bloods and a rumoured fondness for the Dark Arts – on the school prospectus.
This chamber is only accessible to the Slytherins, who are descended from Salazar Slytherin. However, this is a fantastic way to separate the facts from the fiction regarding the wizarding world.
Who is the Heir of Slytherin?
When the Chamber of Secrets is unlocked for the first time, a note is placed on the wall that reads, Enemies of the Heir, beware! It eventually makes its way into the public consciousness that the Heir is intended to be the Heir of Slytherin.
Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Helga Hufflepuff are the four founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and Professor Binns mentions them as he is telling Harry’s class about the tale of the Chamber of Secrets.
He explains that when the disagreement between the Founders about whether to accept persons who could not show magical forbears broke out, Salazar Slytherin was the only one who stood against the other three, and he was the one who ultimately won the debate.
As a consequence of the disagreement, Slytherin departed the school, allegedly taking with him a Chamber of Secrets that was inhabited by a beast. Binns makes the observation that nobody at Hogwarts has discovered even a broom closet’s worth of secrets in the decades that have passed since the school was founded.
Within the confines of the Dueling Club, Harry witnesses a snake about to strike at Justin Finch-Fletchley. The snake is told to retreat by Harry. This causes widespread alarm, at which point Ron and Hermione steal Harry away to question him privately about his newfound talent.
Parselmouths, or those who can communicate with snakes, appear to have a connection to Salazar Slytherin and his descendants. In light of his limited knowledge, Harry considers the possibility that he may be Slytherin’s successor.
Upon entering the Chamber, one is greeted by a gigantic statue of a wizard, whom Harry identifies as Salazar Slytherin. Tom Riddle, it turns out, is the rightful successor to the Slytherin throne. Although he is just physically absent, he has been exercising complete control over Ginny and using her as a proxy for his Slytherin legacy. The Basilisk Monster of the Chamber is also present.
Why Was Tom Riddle Chosen as Heir of Slytherin?
There was no selection process that led to him becoming the next Slytherin house heir. The Gaunts, his mother’s family, are distantly linked to the Slytherins. Tom Riddle Sr., a muggle, had fallen for his mother. Like his uncle and grandpa, Tom Jr. feels disgusted by what his mother did to taint his blood.
In addition, few people had blood ties to Salazar Slytherin or even suspected they had. When Tom Gaunt found out that he was the heir of Slytherin, he proudly donned the title and ushered guests into the chamber named after the house of Slytherin.
Technically, if you can speak parseltongue, you can command the basilisk and enter the chamber. However, this ability was passed down through the Slytherin family line, and while we aren’t aware of any other families who share this ability, we do know that it is extremely unusual.
What Was the Biggest Myth?
The idea that there is no such thing as the Chamber of Secrets is perhaps the most persistent urban legend pertaining to that particular location. Professor Binns is adamant that the theory that Slytherin initially created a room unknown to the other founders of Hogwarts, and then magically sealed it with some kind of horrible creature inside, is absurd.
He believes this to be the case for the following reasons: He makes reference to the fact that many knowledgeable witches and wizards have looked for it over the course of many years, but none of them have been successful.
However, as Parvati Patil points out, that could be because Slytherin employed some form of dark magic in order to shut it. Which, of course, he did, which means that only wizards who have Slytherin’s ability to speak to snakes are able to open the Chamber of Secrets.
Can Only Dark Witches Talk to Snakes?
It appears that Salazar Slytherin and many other people hold the belief that the only people who can speak Parseltongue, the language of snakes, are witches and wizards who share a common affinity for dark magic. Which, as Harry demonstrates, is another another urban legend.
When Harry discovers that he and Voldemort both have the Parselmouth trait, he can’t help but think back to the Sorting Hat’s recommendation that he would thrive in Slytherin.
This is something that causes Harry a great deal of anxiety. However, he made the decision not to join that house for the sole reason that he did not want anything to do with the Dark Arts. This option, as Dumbledore points out, is what characterises Harry, and even the most accomplished practitioners of Parseltongue are faced with choices.