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Webcomic / My Life as a Background Slytherin

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My Life as a Background Slytherin is a Harry Potter parody webcomic created by Emily McGovern. It follows the misadventures of Emily, a classmate of Harry and his friends, from Slytherin House, interacting with all major and minor characters from the books. As most Harry Potter parodies, the comic thrives on Alternative Character Interpretation.

The comic can be read here.


  • Adaptational Dumbass: Dumbledore was an Eccentric Mentor in the book. Here, his wisdom is gone, and his cloudcuckoolander traits are turned up to eleven.
  • Affectionate Parody: The author clearly is a big fan of Harry Potter.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Wanda invents a magical robot servant as a more ethical alternative for house elves. She then mentions that it might achieve consciousness and have revenge on wizardkind.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Kevin has a crush on Emily, who has a crush on Draco, who has a crush on Harry, who has a crush on Cho Chang.
  • Anachronism Stew: If Emily is in the same year as Harry and Draco, then the comic takes place between 1991 and 1998. Yet, the Bloody Baron makes a reference to Facebook, which was launched in 2004.
  • Animal Eyes: Dolores Umbridge's similarity to a toad is taken to the logical extreme by giving her bulging eyes with horizontal pupils.
  • Author Avatar: Emily McGovern based the main character on herself.
  • Bad Ol' Badger: Inverted, badgers are associated with the meek and kind Hufflepuff house. The Giant Badger of Hufflepuff, in particular, is a gigantic creature that spreads support and encouragement to anyone that encounters it.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Apparently during the Triwizard Tournament, Emily came up with the idea of the "Potter Stinks" badges.
  • Big "YES!": Emily often declares her approval with a big "YASSS!"
  • The Blank: As a stylistic choice, Snape does not have any facial features aside from his comically pointed nose, though his flouncing and Large Ham gestures make up for it.
  • Blatant Lies: When Sirius Black appears in the fireplace of the Gryffindor Common Room and is spotted by Violet, it leads to the following conversation.
    Violet: Are you notorious mass-murderer and fugitive Sirius Black?
    Sirius: Um, no. I am an oddly-shaped log.
  • Brutal Honesty:
    • In one strip, Dobby tells Emily that this is Kreacher's gimmick. However, it becomes an Informed Attribute, as instead it's Dobby who insults Emily to the ground to demonstrate what Kreacher would tell her, while Kreacher just stands there quietly.
    • Violet the Background Gryffindor combines this with Sassy Black Woman to shock Draco Malfoy to total silence. Draco starts it by attempting to use Violet to relay threats to Harry Potter, but Violet responds with a series of caustic truths about Draco's "emotionally and physically distant" father and winding up with brutal observations about Draco's hairline.
      Violet: And btw, speaking of criminals — maybe focus your time on finding the thief who took your hairline. 'Cos that shit is gone, bro.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Emily is a "background Slytherin" whose name gets constantly forgotten, and Draco Malfoy constantly takes advantage of her naivety.
    • As usual, the Hufflepuff house, and particularly Kevin the Background Hufflepuff, are portrayed as sympathetic losers. Notably, it is often implied that Emily would fit in much better with them than with Slytherin.
  • Canon Foreigner: Beside the protagonist Emily, there is also Kevin the Background Hufflepuff, Wanda the Background Ravenclaw (and her father), as well as Violet the Background Gryffindor.
  • Character Exaggeration: As a vehicle of parody, all canon characters have certain personality traits exaggerated to a ridiculous extent. Snape is an extreme Large Ham, Dumbledore is a total Cloudcuckoolander and Draco's obsession with Harry verges on Foe Romance Subtext.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • Dumbledore is bibbling whimsical.
    • Luna Lovegood, of course, hangs out with an Imaginary Friend.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Nobody ever considers the possibility that Slytherin's Mysterious Monster might be a giant snake, even though the Slytherin snake symbol is everywhere.
  • Cute Kitten: McGonagall can turn into the cutest little pud-pud.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Emily loses her mind around an adorable cat - until the cat turns back into Professor McGonagall.
  • Deconstructive Parody: The comic sometimes goes into this direction, deconstructing the illogical parts of the Wizarding World - especially if Wanda the Background Ravenclaw is involved.
  • Dramatic Pause: Snape, as inspired by Alan Rickman's performance, does this pretty much constantly.
  • Evil Counterpart: The comic introduces a Good Counterpart to Slytherin's Basilisk: the Giant Badger of Hufflepuff, a Gentle Giant that spreads support and encouragement to the students of Hogwarts.
  • Fangirl: Emily is a fangirl of both Draco and Snape.
  • Freaky Fashion, Mild Mind: The Bloody Baron wears torn robes and chains, but is a quite sophisticated and amicable person (except when he's putting on a Monster Façade).
  • Friendly Ghost: Despite looking like a Ghastly Ghost, the Bloody Baron is actually very polite and gentle, at least towards Slytherins.
  • Funetik Aksent: Snape talks with an exaggerated British accent, ending words with "-ah" rather than "-er", particularly "Mistah Pottah".
  • Gentle Giant: The Giant Badger of Hufflepuff wanders the corridors of Hogwarts, dispensing emotional support and gentle encouragement wherever it goes.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • To most Hogwarts students, the Bloody Baron appears to be a horrifying, chain-rattling and wailing ghost. When he opens up, not only he's really friendly but also quite intelligent.
    • When Emily looks into Snape's Pensieve, she realizes that behind his Large Ham act, Snape is a truly complex and tragic character - but then gets distracted by Snape's flouncing.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Draco has a one-sided crush on Harry Potter. Emily, being a Yaoi Fangirl, is very excited about it.
  • Implausible Deniability: Emily asks Snape if he's sobbing over all the House and Quidditch Cups that Slytherin used to win before Harry came to Hogwarts. Snape denies it, while crying and clutching the trophies.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Emily dresses up as Voldemort for Halloween, and doesn't get why it offends the other wizards.
  • Insufferable Genius: Wanda the Background Ravenclaw keeps pointing out the logical inconsistencies of the wizarding world, to everyone else's (particularly her father's) annoyance.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Violet deconstructs the "House Traits" as being mostly a matter of broad descriptions and confirmation bias, which is why it would be silly to base your whole personality and life plans on your house. As soon as she walks away Emily just starts screaming.
  • Large Ham: Snape, with his over-the-top gestures, dramatic pauses, and general flouncing. He is only topped in hamminess by Lucius Malfoy and, at times, Dumbledore.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: The comic focuses on background characters from the Harry Potter series.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: Peeves, when wreaking havoc, shakes his "tiny jingle dingle bell" at Emily (he literally has a bell in the place of his penis).
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Snape is most often seen with either or both of his arms above his head.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Emily is this to the other Slytherins, particularly Draco Malfoy - she participates in bullying Harry Potter and other mean-spirited Slytherin activities due to peer pressure, but her naive, innocent personality would make her a much better fit for Hufflepuff.
  • Monster Façade: The Bloody Baron screams and shakes his chains when non-Slytherin students pass by, but he's rather amicable with Slytherins like Emily.
  • My Instincts Are Showing: When spotting a bottle of potion at the edge of a table, Minerva McGonagall's cat instincts kick in and she can't resist pushing it off the table.
  • Nerd Glasses: Wanda wears a pair, fitting for an Insufferable Genius.
  • Nightmare Face: The Bloody Baron puts on one when he's haunting.
  • No OSHA Compliance: A health inspector's assessment of Hogwarts' health and safety standards turns out to be...not great. Dumbledore "accidentally" makes him fall through a trick staircase and then says to Emily, "You keep your bibbling mouth shut!!"
  • No-Sell: Emily attempts to kill Dumbledore by throwing a dagger in his back, but the old wizard is only mildly annoyed by the "stabbity-sword in [his] back-particles".
  • No Such Thing as Wizard Jesus: Draco berates Emily for using "Sweet Jesus" as an exclamation, since wizards apparently don't worship Jesus.
    Draco: Stop talking about random muggle deities! Nobody here knows what a "Sweet Jesus" is!
  • The Pig-Pen: One single-panel comic features Snape (infamous for his greasy hair) fleeing in terror from a giant bottle of shampoo.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Emily participates in Slytherin plots because it's the house she ended up in, she clearly doesn't take it particularly seriously. A running gag is that her personality is a better match for Hufflepuff, and pretty much everyone knows it.
  • Rule of Cool: Discussed by the Bloody Baron, regarding pumpkin juice.
    The Bloody Baron: Truly, wizardkind's slavish devotion to aesthetic cohesion over practicality never ceases to amaze.
  • Sailor Earth: Since canonically there are more Hogwarts students in Harry's year than just those named in the books, adding characters like Emily, Wanda, Kevin and Violet makes perfect sense.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Emily. When she is in an identity crisis whether she belongs to Slytherin or Hufflepuff, Wanda tells her that she's definitely not in the risk of being a Ravenclaw. Emily gratefully thanks her, not realizing that Wanda was insulting her intelligence.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Violet the Background Gryffindor has dark skin and curly hair, indicating she's black - and she responds to Draco's bullying by a series of insults that leaves Draco speechless.
    Violet: Get ready to see some thestrals, Emily, 'cause you just witnessed a murder.
  • Scary Stinging Swarm: In an episode where Emily attempts to murder Dumbledore, the headmaster summons a swarm of bees in self-defense.
Dumbledore: But with a wave of my wand, it's a whimsical swarm of vengeful BEES!
  • Self-Insert Fic: The author based Emily on herself. Rather than a Mary Sue, she is portrayed as a Butt-Monkey.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: The Bloody Baron is a rather intellectual ghost who often uses expressions of this type.
  • Squee: Emily enthusiastically cheers for Snape's dramatic posing.
  • Trumplica: In this strip, the troll that gets released in Hogwarts is a caricature of Donald Trump, indicated by the wig and necktie he's wearing. The troll got released to "stick it to the establishment", which was also a common reason Trump's voters gave to justify their choice. The strip came out shortly after Trump was elected, as a response to the election results.
  • Twin Threesome Fantasy: Emily mentions she would gladly date either or both of the Weasley twins.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Emily occasionally falls into this role. Her babbling to Marietta instigates her to betray the Dumbledore's Army to Umbridge, and then her babbling to Dobby instigates him to warn the DA about Umbridge's upcoming attack.
  • Violent Glaswegian: Wanda the Background Ravenclaw is from Scotland, and she is prone to going on angry rants about the illogical nature of the Wizarding World.
  • Word of Gay: Parodied. The Sorting Hat, out of the blue, declares that Emily is gay. It is a parody of J. K. Rowling declaring that Dumbledore is gay.
  • Writer's Block: Peeves gets one when he's writing a poem to mock Harry Potter.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: Emily, oh so very much. She’s shown salivating over off-screen, extremely-out-of-context dialogue between Harry and Draco. When she meets J. K. Rowling, Emily suggests she should write "the same story, but everyone's gay". In yet another strip, when Draco and Harry are facing off in Lockhart’s dueling club, Emily yells, “Now KISSSSSSS!!”...twice.