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Complete, detailed, and amazing Reader's Guides
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Chapter Seventeen:
A Sluggish Memory

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

U.S. hardcover edition: pages 349 - 372
U.K. hardcover edition: pages 327 - 349
Timeframe: Sunday-Monday, 5-6 January, 1997 [Y17]

In which, back at Hogwarts, Harry chats with Hermione about Ron and Malfoy, learns that apparition lessons are coming, and finds that both Ron and Ginny seem disenchanted with their relationships.  He then has a lesson with Dumbledore, where they discuss Scrimgeour and see two memories: in the first, Morfin tells Voldemort about his family just before Voldemort kills the Riddles; in the second (which Slughorn has modified), Voldemort asks Slughorn about horcruxes.  Finally, Dumbledore sets Harry homework - to obtain the rest of Slughorn's memory.

A Sluggish Memory

Interesting facts and notes about the text of this chapter:


My unofficial reaction: Good God Almighty.

"I thought they could detect underage magic?"
"You are quite right - they can detect magic, but not the perpetrator"

Useful remarks on the subject of underage magic.

"So if you're underage and you do magic inside an adult witch or wizard's house, the Ministry won't know?"
"They will certainly be unable to tell who performed the magic...They rely on witch and wizard parents to enforce their offspring's obedience while within their walls."

Useful remarks on the subject of underage magic.

Characters introduced in this chapter:

  • Lestrange (in Pensieve - likely the father of Rabastan and Rodolphus, though it could be one of them)

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....

Spells and Potions:

Links and Resources:

Memorable lines:

  • "I like a quiet life, you know me."

  • But at that moment there was a loud squeal of "Won-Won!" and Lavender Brown came hurtling out of nowhere and flung herself into Ron's arms.

  • As he closed the study door behind him, he distinctly heard Phineas Nigellus say, "I can't see why the boy should be able to do it better than you, Dumbledore."
    "I wouldn't expect you to, Phineas," replied Dumbledore, and Fawkes gave another low, musical cry.

Strictly British:


The chapter begins "late in the afternoon, a few days after New Year," and the evening before classes begin.  By our calendar, New Year's was on a Wednesday, and thus this must be the evening of Sunday, 5 January.  The chapter then continues through the evening following the first day of classes, Monday, 6 January.


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