Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

by

J. K. Rowling

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Horace Slughorn Character Analysis

Hogwarts’s new Potions professor, whom Dumbledore recruits at the beginning of the novel. While he seems to be a kindly and gregarious old man, Slughorn is also cowardly, more concerned with his own safety and comfort than anything else, and dominated by his obsession with influence and fame. Ignoring those whom he considers less worthy, he chooses favorite students based on their likelihood to achieve success later in life; this tendency causes him to become close to the young Voldemort and even give him fatal information about Horcruxes. However, he also stops short of joining the Death Eaters and helps Harry’s quest by revealing a critical memory about Voldemort’s time at Hogwarts. Ultimately, Slughorn’s ambiguous character shows Harry how hard it is to categorize people simply as good or evil.

Horace Slughorn Quotes in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince quotes below are all either spoken by Horace Slughorn or refer to Horace Slughorn. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scholastic edition of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince published in 2006.
Chapter Four: Horace Slughorn Quotes

[Harry] could not quite keep a note of derision out of his voice; it was hard to sympathize with Slughorn’s cosseted existence when he remembered Sirius, crouching in a cave and living on rats. “Most of the teachers aren’t in it, and none of them has ever been killed – well, unless you count Quirrell, and he got what he deserved seeing as he was working with Voldemort.”

Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:

He used to handpick favorites at Hogwarts, sometimes for their ambition or their brains, sometimes for their charm or their talent, and he had an uncanny knack for choosing those who would go on to become outstanding in their various fields. Horace formed a kind of club of his favorites with himself at the center, making introductions, forging useful contacts between members, and always reaping some kind of benefit in return…

Related Characters: Albus Dumbledore (speaker), Horace Slughorn
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Twenty-Two: After the Burial Quotes

“I am not proud…” he whispered through his fingers. “I am ashamed of what – of what that memory shows…I think I may have done great damage that day…”

“You’d cancel out anything you did by giving me the memory,” said Harry. “It would be a very brave and noble thing to do.”

Related Characters: Harry Potter (speaker), Horace Slughorn (speaker)
Page Number: 490
Explanation and Analysis:
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Horace Slughorn Character Timeline in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The timeline below shows where the character Horace Slughorn appears in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter Four: Horace Slughorn
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...Dumbledore introduces them formally, telling Harry that this man is an old colleague named Horace Slughorn. (full context)
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Turning on Dumbledore, Slughorn says he can’t be “persuaded;” but he agrees to pour everyone a drink. Dumbledore kindly... (full context)
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Slughorn admits that he’s been moving from house to house and hiding from visitors in order... (full context)
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Dumbledore excuses himself to go to the bathroom and Slughorn turns to Harry, saying that he has his father’s looks and his mother’s eyes –... (full context)
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Slughorn continues that, given Lily’s academic abilities, he couldn’t believe she was Muggle-born. Coldly, Harry says... (full context)
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Slughorn seems a little surprised to hear himself speak about the loneliness of life in hiding.... (full context)
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...bathroom and pleasantly announces that it’s time to leave. Just as they’re leaving the house, Slughorn runs after them and shouts that he wants the job, after all. Dumbledore laughs and... (full context)
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When Dumbledore asks Harry’s opinion on Slughorn, the boy doesn’t know how to respond. Dumbledore fills the silence by explaining Horace’s background:... (full context)
Chapter Five: An Excess of Phlegm
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Knowing about Harry’s earlier errand, Mrs. Weasley reminisces about her own days at Hogwarts with Slughorn; she says that he’s “good at giving leg ups,” especially in the Ministry, but has... (full context)
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...an old teacher to return to Hogwarts – he doesn’t know how he feels about Slughorn, but Slughorn can’t be worse than Professor Umbridge, who taught Defense Against the Dark Arts... (full context)
Chapter Seven: The Slug Club
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...before he has time to think about it, a third-year arrives with a note from Slughorn, inviting Harry and Neville to come to his compartment for lunch. (full context)
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Arriving in Slughorn’s compartment, Harry and Neville find it populated by a couple of Slytherins, a popular boy... (full context)
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To Harry’s intense embarrassment, Slughorn turns eagerly to him and comments on his unwanted new moniker, “The Chosen One.” When... (full context)
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Neville, Harry, and Ginny are relieved when they can finally slip away. Ginny explains that Slughorn invited her because he saw her expertly hexing Zacharias Smith, who had been pestering her... (full context)
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Seemingly angry not to be invited, Draco quizzes Blaise Zabini about Slughorn’s lunch. He’s disgusted that Neville and Ginny, a “blood traitor,” were there. To cover up... (full context)
Chapter Eight: Snape Victorious
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...the entire course of Harry’s life. As Ron and Hermione begin to question Harry about Slughorn’s lunch, Dumbledore gets up to give his annual speech. Hermione gasps with shock to see... (full context)
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After some logistical announcements, Dumbledore reveals that Professor Slughorn has been hired to teach Potions, while Professor Snape will take over Defense Against the... (full context)
Chapter Nine: The Half-Blood Prince
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...students with Outstanding O.W.L. results, his grade will qualify him to continue studying under Professor Slughorn – thus keeping open the option of becoming an Auror. Although Harry hasn’t purchased any... (full context)
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In the afternoon, the friends scurry to the dungeon Potions classroom, where Slughorn greets Harry warmly. Nearby, a cauldron is emitting some of the best scents Harry has... (full context)
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Turning to the class, Slughorn asks who can identify the various potions brewing at the front of the room. Hermione... (full context)
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Slughorn pretends to forget about the last potion brewing until a Huffllepuff asks him about it.... (full context)
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...the instructions; Harry follows them and his potion immediately turns the correct color. Meanwhile, as Slughorn nears his table, Draco tries to get his attention by name-dropping his well-connected grandfather. Harry... (full context)
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When Slughorn calls time and surveys the potions, he instantly declares Harry’s the winner, saying it’s clear... (full context)
Chapter Ten: The House of Gaunt
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...Harry continues to follow the Half-Blood Prince’s instructions and becomes even more beloved by Professor Slughorn. He’s becoming more curious about the book’s previous owner, who seems to be a remarkably... (full context)
Chapter Eleven: Hermione’s Helping Hand
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As soon as he walks into the Great Hall, Harry is waylaid by Professor Slughorn, who genially invites him and Hermione to a special supper in his rooms with a... (full context)
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...drop his obsession with Draco; when Hermione snaps at him that it’s not their fault Slughorn doesn’t like him, he storms off to bed. Just then Demelza Robbins, one of the... (full context)
Chapter Twelve: Silver and Opals
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...to the village and staggers into the sweet shop – only to run into Professor Slughorn, who ribs Harry for having missed so many of his “little suppers.” In fact, Harry... (full context)
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...as they discuss whom the necklace was meant for. Harry suggests that someone was targeting Slughorn, who has refused to join the Death Eaters, but Hermione worries that it was meant... (full context)
Chapter Fourteen: Felix Felicis
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...only Hermione is convinced that the information will be truly useful. Harry asks Hermione how Slughorn’s supper was, and she responds that he introduced them to a famous Quidditch player, who... (full context)
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...with difficulty they begin to wrangle their Snargaluff stumps. As they work, Hermione announces that Slughorn is hosting a Christmas party and has explicitly charged her with checking Harry’s free evenings.... (full context)
Chapter Fifteen: The Unbreakable Vow
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...best way to slip him a love potion and dupe him into taking them to Slughorn’s Christmas party. Hermione advises choosing a date and putting an end to speculation. (full context)
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...search of Hermione, Harry finds her being comforted by Luna. Impulsively, he invites Luna to Slughorn’s party. She’s delighted by the suggestion but Ron is appalled, pointing out that Harry could... (full context)
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...Hermione strikes up a bright conversation with Parvati and happens to mention that she’s attending Slughorn’s party with Cormac McLaggen, whom she’s now dating. Ron looks after her as she leaves... (full context)
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That night, Luna looks odd but nice in her sparkling robes. On the way to Slughorn’s office she shares her theory that the Minister of Magic is actually a vampire. When... (full context)
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Slughorn reappears and begins telling the crowd what a gifted potioneer Harry is. To Harry’s horror,... (full context)
Chapter Sixteen: A Very Frosty Christmas
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...out. Harry cheers him up by telling him that Hermione and Cormac fell out at Slughorn’s Christmas party. (full context)
Chapter Seventeen: A Sluggish Memory
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...– into the Pensieve, and the two dive in. Harry immediately recognizes a young Professor Slughorn relaxing in his office, surrounded by several teenage boys – including Tom Riddle. Slughorn is... (full context)
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Just as suddenly, the fog clears and Slughorn begins to send the boys to bed. Riddle lingers in his office and asks Slughorn... (full context)
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Harry doesn’t understand what’s so important about this memory – until Dumbledore explains that Slughorn has “tampered” with it, probably because he’s ashamed of his original actions. To Harry’s surprise,... (full context)
Chapter Eighteen: Birthday Surprises
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...both about his new assignment. Ron is sure that Harry can get anything out of Slughorn, who loves him; but Hermione is perplexed, as even she has no idea what a... (full context)
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...from most poison, so he retrieves one from the supply closet and shows it to Slughorn in place of a brewed antidote. Slughorn thinks it’s a fantastic joke, but Hermione is... (full context)
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When the bell rings, Harry lingers behind and without preamble asks Slughorn what he knows about Horcruxes. Slughorn grows pale and immediately deduces that Harry is acting... (full context)
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...to be friends.” Letting Ron down, he blithely says that they should go to Professor Slughorn’s office, where Romilda is receiving extra Potions tutoring. On their way, they run into an... (full context)
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When a bleary-eyed Slughorn answers his office door, Harry quietly asks if he can brew an antidote for the... (full context)
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...other two, Ron falls to the floor immediately, foaming at the mouth. Harry yells for Slughorn to do something, but the professor just looks on in horror. Frantically, Harry rifles through... (full context)
Chapter Nineteen: Elf Tails
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...on hand, he goes cold. Ginny wonders if the Death Eaters are trying to intimidate Slughorn, but it’s also intriguing that the mead was originally intended for Dumbledore. Everyone has been... (full context)
Chapter Twenty: Lord Voldemort’s Request
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...finishing a meeting with Professor Trelawney. When Dumbledore asks Harry what progress he’s made with Slughorn, he’s abashed, having largely forgotten about it since Ron’s poisoning. Although he makes some feeble... (full context)
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...his own recollections, the last thing he has to share with Harry until they obtain Slughorn’s memory. Harry dives into the Pensieve and finds himself back in the same office, looking... (full context)
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...know exactly why Voldemort wanted the job, but will share his hypotheses after Harry acquires Slughorn’s memory. He believes the school’s subsequent inability to retain a Defense Against the Dark Arts... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-One: The Unknowable Room
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For the next week, Harry wonders how he can achieve success with Slughorn. He takes to leafing through his Potions book for advice, even though Hermione thinks it... (full context)
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Before going to bed, Hermione reminds Harry that his job is to get Slughorn’s memory, not track Draco. Still, he lies awake all night wondering why Draco is using... (full context)
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...enter the Room of Requirement again – even though Hermione insists he should talk to Slughorn instead. Under the Invisibility Cloak, Harry frightens Goyle away from the wall where he’s standing... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Two: After the Burial
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The subject turns to Slughorn, whom Harry still hasn’t approached successfully. Struck by an idea, Ron suggests that Harry use... (full context)
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...Hermione says “bleakly” that this sort of thing is the reason why Harry must acquire Slughorn’s memory at all costs. (full context)
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Harry heads to Potions, which is mostly empty due to the Apparition test; Slughorn tells them to brew him something “amusing.” While looking across at Draco, who seems pale... (full context)
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...walk to Hagrid’s through the vegetable patch, although it’s not on the way, he sees Slughorn gathering some herbs with Professor Sprout.  (full context)
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Harry decides to reveal himself and confides smoothly to Slughorn that he’s on his way to comfort Hagrid over Aragog’s recent death. Slughorn perks up... (full context)
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As Hagrid leads Harry out to the pumpkin patch where he plans to bury Aragog, Slughorn arrives bursting with condolences and carrying several bottles of wine. They all proceed to the... (full context)
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Especially once he sees valuable supplies of unicorn hair hanging from the ceiling, Slughorn devotes himself to flattering Hagrid and exchanging tales of illegal dragon egg trading. Harry refills... (full context)
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Leaning close to Slughorn, Harry whispers that he is, in fact, the Chosen One, and that he needs the... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Three: Horcruxes
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...memory into the Penseive and he and Harry find again find themselves in the young Slughorn’s office, with Riddle and the other Slytherins sitting around him. Instead of blotting out his... (full context)
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After the other students leave, Riddle stays behind and asks Slughorn about Horcruxes. The professor is taken aback, but Riddle perseveres, telling Slughorn that he’s turning... (full context)
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When Riddle presses for more information on the mechanics of this magic, Slughorn becomes irritated, asking if he looks like a person who has tried this. Riddle apologizes,... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Nine: Phoenix Lament
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Hagrid comes into the ward, announcing that he’s moved Dumbledore’s body and Slughorn has informed the Ministry of the disaster. Professor McGonagall beckons to Harry and brings him... (full context)
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...Professor Sprout says staunchly that Dumbledore would want things to go on as before, while Slughorn argues that after this no parents will want their children to return. Remarking kindly that... (full context)