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Horace Slughorn

- Chapter 4

"I do love knitting patterns."
-- Albus Dumbledore

HBP4: Horace Slughorn

Harry and Albus Dumbledore apparate to Budleigh Babberton – discussing Lord Voldemort, Inferi, and Dumbledore’s injured hand along the way – and meet Horace Slughorn, shortly after Slughorn has faked his own demise. Dumbledore asks Slughorn to teach at Hogwarts, and Harry convinces him to take the post while Dumbledore is out of the room. Dumbledore then takes Harry to the Burrow where, before entering, he talks to Harry about Slughorn, as well as Sirius Black and the prophecy – and tells Harry that he will be giving him private lessons during the school year.

Calendar and Dates

We know the chapter begins on a Friday, because that's what Albus Dumbledore told Harry in his letter in HBP3. The clock strikes midnight mid-chapter, after which Dumbledore tells Harry that O.W.L. results are due that day. Since Professor McGonagall said in OP31 that O.W.L.s would be arriving in July and Ron Weasley 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), HBP6 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!

Interesting facts and notes

The chapter introduces Horace Slughorn - and allows Harry to see some of the good and bad points of Slughorn's personality.

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 PS2 was a flying or 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, and humans can't "fly" unaided at all (QA1), although limited levitation is possible. However, in DH4, it turns out that there is at least one wizard who has developed the ability to actually fly.

Well, here we go.

The first first-hand description of what Apparition is like.

It appears that he is now employing Occlumency against you.

So Lord 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.

A bit like guessing people's passwords.


As Dumbledore says about them,

"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.

"And at the back – you’ll see her if you just crane your neck – that's Gwenog Jones, who of course captains the Holyhead Harpies … people are always astonished to hear I'm on first-name terms with the Harpies, and free tickets whenever I want them!"

Ambrosius Flume and Gwenog Jones are two of "famous" names dropped by Slughorn during his conversation with Harry. Jones had not appeared in the book-verse before this, only in the four Daily Prophet Newsletters sent in 1998-99 to Harry Potter Fan Club members.

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.

Exceptional character moments

Horace Slughorn saying he is fine to be moving between Muggle houses, but agreeing to come back to Hogwarts in the end for his own comfort.

Harry not realising that Albus Dumbledore is using him as bait to lure Slughorn back to teaching.

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."

"But while I was at the Dursleys'," interrupted Harry, his voice growing stronger, "I realised I can't shut myself away or – or crack up. Sirius wouldn't have wanted that, would he? And anyway, life's too short … look at Madam Bones, look at Emmeline Vance … it could be me next, couldn't it? But if it is," he said fiercely, now looking straight into Dumbledore’s blue eyes, gleaming in the wand-light, "I'll make sure I take as many Death Eaters with me as I can, and Voldemort too if I can manage it."

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

Words and phrases

Characters Introduced

HBP 4 — Horace Slughorn
Abbreviation HBP4: Horace Slughorn
Canonicity Primary Canon


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