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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Chapter Four:
Horace Slughorn

Notes by Steve Vander Ark and Michele L. Worley
Synopsis and links by John Kearns

U.S. hardcover edition: pages 57 - 80
U.K. hardcover edition: pages 59 - 80
Timeframe: late Friday night and early Saturday morning, 12-13 July, 1996 [Y16]

In which Harry and Dumbledore Apparate to Budleigh Babberton - discussing Voldemort, Inferi, and Dumbledore's injured hand along the way - and meet Slughorn, shortly after he has faked his own demise. Dumbledore asks Slughorn, to teach at Hogwarts, and Harry convinces him to while Dumbledore is out of the room. Dumbledore then takes Harry to the Burrow, where before entering he tells Harry about Slughorn, talks to him about Sirius and the prophecy, and tells Harry he will be taking private lessons from Dumbledore during the school year.

Horace Slughorn

Interesting facts and notes about the text of this chapter:

Harry realized that he had just Apparated for the first time in his life.

This appears to settle the question of whether the school roof incident mentioned in PS was a flying/levitation spell or Apparition. Levitation spells and such are only supposed to work on humans up to a height of about 5 feet or so (QA1), and humans can't "fly" unaided at all (QA1), but limited levitation is possible.

Well, here we go.

The first firsthand description of what Apparition is like.

It appears that he is now employing Occlumency against you.

So Voldemort knows that Occlumency exists and is himself an Occlumens.

...but we are, once again, one member of staff short.

I must say I (MLW) was completely suckered by this on first reading. Dumbledore tells no lies here.

The odd chill that had lain over Privet Drive for two weeks persisted here too.

Since we've seen similar remarks about a chill being put down to the presence of dementors, and since Harry can see them if they're present, this is an interesting remark.

You have not asked me, for instance, what is my favourite flavour of jam

Raspberry, as we learn shortly.

...although of course, if I were a Death Eater, I would have been sure to research my own jam preferences before impersonating myself.

Like guessing people's passwords.


As Dumbledore says, "They are corpses. Dead bodies that have been bewitched to do a Dark wizard's bidding. Inferi have not been seen for a long time, however, not since Voldemort was powerful."

He killed enough people to make an army of them, of course.

This suggests that to make an Inferius, the Dark wizard must have killed the person contributing the dead body.

Ambrosius Flume, of Honeydukes

Ambrosia is a kind of dessert, which in turn is named for the food of the Greek gods.

I think I know a lost cause when I see one.

I *love* watching Dumbledore yank Slughorn's chain like this.

I gather that you have been taking the Daily Prophet over the last two weeks?

This remark suggests that two weeks have elapsed since Harry's return to Privet Drive at the end of last term.

Characters introduced in this chapter:

Characters returning in this chapter:

Characters mentioned in this chapter:

Settings and locations introduced or returning in this chapter:

Settings and locations mentioned in this chapter:

Exceptional character moments:

  • Still to come....


Links and Resources:

  • Daily Prophet, the

  • Death Eaters

  • Holyhead Harpies

  • items and devices, magical

  • Ministry of Magic: goblin liaison office

  • Order of the Phoenix

  • Memorable lines:

    • "You have not asked me, for instance, what is my favorite flavor of jam, to check that I am indeed Professor Dumbledore and not an imposter. For future reference, Harry, it is raspberry... although of course, if I were a Death Eater, I would have been sure to research my own jam preferences before impersonating myself."

    • He seemed remarkably unabashed for a man who had just been discovered pretending to be an armchair.

    • "It's quite easy once you know how, one simple Freezing Charm on these absurd burglar alarms they use instead of Sneakoscopes and make sure the neighbors don't spot you bringing in the piano."

    • "I take my hat off to you - or I would, if I were not afraid of showering you in spiders."

    Strictly British:


    We know the chapter begins on a Friday, because that's what Dumbledore told Harry in his letter in HBP03. The clock strikes midnight mid-chapter, after which Dumbledore tells Harry that O.W.L. results are due that day. Since McGonagall said in OP31 that O.W.L.s would be arriving in July, Ron says in the next chapter that it's "been a month" since O.W.L.s (which probably ended on 18 June, also in OP31), HBP06 says that Harry was at the Burrow for 'a few weeks' prior to his birthday, and we have a date reference because we know 1 March the next spring is a Saturday (HBP18), it makes the most sense for this chapter to take place on 12-13 July. Whew!


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