Horace Slughorn

chapter four of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Dumbledore takes Harry to meet Horace Slughorn, where together they persuade Slughorn to come out of retirement and teach; the duo then Apparates to the Burrow, where Dumbledore informs Harry that he will be giving him private lessons this year and gives Harry instructions for staying safe.

Ooof, by haystax45

And without warning, Dumbledore swooped, plunging the tip of his wand into the seat of the overstuffed armchair, which yelled, “Ouch!”


Sluggy, by Abigail Larson

The wandlight sparkled on his shiny pate, his prominent eyes, his enormous, silver, walruslike mustache, and the highly polished buttons on the maroon velvet jacket he was wearing over a pair of lilac silk pajamas.


Horace Slughorn, by Loleia

Slughorn… shot a furtive look at Harry, then crossed to the fire and turned his back on it, warming his wide behind. “Don’t think I don’t know why he’s brought you,” he said abruptly.

(by Loleia)


Harry as the Manipulator, by Cambryn

“You don’t have to join the Order to teach at Hogwarts,” said Harry, who 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.

(by Cambryn)


Dumbledore and Harry Have a Final Word in the Weasleys' Broom Shed Before Parting at the Burrow, by Drew Graham

Dumbledore… continued, “On a different, though related, subject, it is my wish that you take private lessons with me this year.”


about the chapter


Every time I pick up Half-Blood Prince, I can’t quite shake a nagging feeling that it may have been rushed a bit to publication. The story Rowling tells lives up to every expectation I ever had. But something about the dialogue and the dramatic moments in this book just don’t seem to me to quite fit with Rowling’s style in her other publications. Awkward lines (like Harry’s “you can’t Apparate anywhere inside the buildings or grounds. Hermione Granger told me.”) and storylines brushed aside with hardly a second thought (like Dumbledore’s “Lord Voldemort has finally realized the dangerous access to his thoughts and feelings you have been enjoying. It appears that he is now employing Occlumency against you”) tend to pull me out of the world of the story and make me think about the quality of the writing in a way that none of Rowling’s other books do. I’d be curious to know if others have felt the same way.

Something You May Not Have Noticed

Horace Slughorn may come across as a shade ignorant at times, but he’s no dummy. And I think the best illustration of his sharpness comes in this chapter, when Harry first meets him and Slughorn admits that he’s “been on the move for a year.” In other words, as the rest of the wizarding world has blissfully gone on with its lives, not knowing (or at least not acknowledging) that Voldemort has returned, Slughorn instead was in war mode, staying in Muggle neighborhoods and moving once a week to avoid detection. Fudge may not have believed Dumbledore when he stated bluntly that Voldemort had returned, but Slughorn heard those same words and knew what to do. He may not be a member of the Order, but he places his trust in the organization’s leader all the same.

The Wizarding World

One thing I have to confess I’m madly curious about: How does Slughorn know which houses he’ll be able to move in to? How does he know which Muggles are gone, or when they’re coming back? There must be some kind of charm or spell he’s using, but I would be fascinated to know how it works.

The Power of Magic

Side-Along-Apparition (the way Dumbledore takes Harry to Slughorn’s village) doesn’t seem to be a particularly common means of travel. It seems funny to me, because Apparating is so much more convenient than any other mode of transportation. Why wouldn’t more wizarding parents just have their children Apparate alongside them when it’s time to go shopping instead of fussing with Floo Powder or brooms, both of which are more expensive, take more time, and force you to go out of your way? I think the answer is hinted at in the Ministry of Magic leaflet we saw in Harry’s bedroom in the previous chapter, which described Side-Along-Apparition as an “emergency measure” that families should make sure their children are aware of.

We know that Apparating is a difficult skill, and one that has drastic consequences should it go awry. So I suspect that the reason we don’t see this used more is that Side-Along-Apparition is even trickier – and since the people who are most at risk in the process are children, it’s not something an average wizard would be comfortable with except in extreme circumstances. The exception, of course, is Dumbledore – because he’s powerful enough to be confident in using it correctly. Of course, it’s also possible that he’s slyly showing Harry how it works, as he suspects Harry may have need of that skill one day down the road.

46 Responses to “Horace Slughorn”

  1. Josie, I always thought there were quite a few adult wizards who couldn’t Apparate. Some might also lose their licences. It’s obvious from the way JKR describes the licensing process that it’s exactly parallel to the Muggle process of learning to drive. But while most adult Muggles can drive, I think a significant number of wizards have to rely on the Floo network and vehicles like the Knight Bus. (Broomsticks are discouraged in contexts other than sport, and only a very few people would have access to flying animals. Portkeys require a Ministry permit and their use is heavily restricted.)

    The other problem with Apparition is that you have to be very certain of landing in a location where no Muggles will see you appear out of nowhere, e.g. Diagon Alley or open rural spaces. It also seems that, for security reasons, you can only Apparate to a building that you are specifically licensed to enter, such as your own home or workplace. So not only are there limited opportunities for practising Apparition – but most wizards would be, quite simply, out of practice.

    As you say, Side-Along is probably more difficult still, since you also have to consider the other person’s Splinches.

  2. Hmmm…very interesting thought about the dialogue. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that this was the first time that Harry and Dumbledore weren’t in the usual office setting but actually alone somewhere else in the wizarding world?

    Another note about apparition: It’s always stressed that for Apparation to work properly, the other person has to hold onto their hands very tightly, which might be hard for younger kids. And what would happen to them if they let go? ;)

  3. I didn’t really notice the awkward dialogue in this book, for me what I think bothers me the most is how under developed Harry’s and Ginny’s relationship is. I think she made a mistake by not including at least one scene for the summer that Harry spent with Ginny. Because of that I, unlike harry, wasn’t able to make a connection with Ginny. I felt like I’d been left out of the loop, and therefore didn’t entirely buy their relationship. I was being told that Harry missed Ginny’s company, but because I as a reader, had spent so little time with her, I didn’t miss her company. For me that is the biggest flaw of the book (and the series), and something that the movie handles better, if not perfectly either.

  4. When it comes to Slughorn knowing what houses are safe/empty, etc., there is a charm that reveals human occupants of a place. Unfortunately, I don’t have my books with me, but I know it’s used several times in book seven, when the Death Eaters check to see if Xeno Lovegood really is telling the truth about people being upstairs, etc. Once Slughorn knows which house is empty right now, he can Apparate in (sure, it’s rude, but muggles wouldn’t have protections against it) and sniff around for hints/indications that the family is away on holiday and approximate how long. We’ve seen how fast he can make it look like he was attacked, so it’s not too hard to believe he can grab his things and flee in a hurry too, just in case the muggles surprise him.

  5. I don;t know, apart from the Harry-Ginny thing, which hazel already pointed out, I didn’t feel that rushed when reading this book. I felt that a LOT more in book 7, where things weren’t explained and so many things happened right at the same time. In the last few chapters I even felt lost, because Harry clearly understood something that I as reader didn’t and in the potter-series that had never happened to me before (usually it was the other way around) Maybe 6 also feels rushed to some people because it’s that transitional, grey area of the slow, cosy life in Hogwarts, where everything has an explanation, to the rollercoaster-adventure in 7…

  6. Hazel, i totally agree with you. while i realize that the books are of an adventure genre and not teen romance, i do feel that JKR should have included us, at least a little bit, in harry’s ‘falling in love’ phase. because think about it, though neither we nor harry has a clue yet,this is the summer when harry actually ‘finds’ ginny. a month or so from now,he will be smelling her smell in the Amorantia(did i get that right?) and resenting her spending time with other friends on the train.
    this change did not happen overnight, it took five years of friendship, protectiveness, fun, secret societies, and battles over prophesies for this to come about. its unfair that JKR just hands it to us on a platter. we should have been there.

    hi josie… i have been lurking around the last few months , this is my first comment. amazing site, man! and i really miss anniversary week. wish we could have one every month…

  7. I actually like HBP better than any of the other books, simply because it felt so real – it’s still high school, even amongst this fantastical war. However, I do feel that it wasn’t quite what I’d been expecting at the start, because Jo seemed to throw out so many things she’d built up in OotP. I thought there would be some consequences for the brain attacking Ron – he only mentions he has scars. Neville and Luna seemed to be part of hteir circle now, instead they’re minor characters again. Things like that. Perhaps I just read one too many fanfics where these things WERE adressed and expected too much, but it was s light let-down.

    However, to make up for that, Harry’s growth as a character is phenomenal. In this book he truly becomes a leader, and it becomes veyr apparent even in a few chapters. On the train ride, he brushes off Romilda Vane to sit with Neville and Luna, whereas in OotP he was mortified when Cho caught him with them. He defends Hermione when Ron is angry at her for no reason, whereas in PoA he made a half-hearted attempt to talk to her and that was it. He’s that much more comfortable in his own skin, and I really liked that, because he couldn’t be th eskinny boy blundering wildly about forever. I think the DA really brought this out in him, and I found myself really thinking at times, “Harry is SO cool!”

  8. I always felt Order of the Phoenix was the oddity in the series with its story and word pacing. There are TONS of run-on sentences in that book. I felt like Half-Blood Prince went back to the pacing as the first four books. Incidentally, I just realized that this book and Deathly Hallows don’t have any breaks in the chapters. You know, with those little wand sparks that show up in the US editions of the books during long breaks in the story’s timeline. Just something I noticed.

  9. I have been looking forward to this chapter because I was so curious how the artists portray Slughorn. The one by Loleia comes closest to how I imagine him.

    I never noticed anything odd about the writing in this book. “But on the other hand…” is another fine example of the word plays I like so much.

    Note how Dumbledore reassures Harry by saying: “You are with me.” He will use a similar yet quite different sentence much later in this book.

    Yay, I noticed the Something You Might Not Have Noticed. But I was wondering how Dumbledore knows where to reach Slughorn. He didn’t seem to want to be found by him, so why would he tell him where to look?

    In “Hagrid’s Tale” of OotP Hagrid uses a piece of dragon meat for his wounds. The blood from it is described as “greenish”. This makes me wonder why Slughorn would use it for his purpose here as it should be possible to identify it as non-human easily.

    If Slughorn knows that Sirius was killed in the MoM, shouldn’t he also know that Harry was there which follows that he knew Sirius?

    By the way, you might want to keep in mind what Slughorns favorite sweets are. Dumbledore isn’t the only one who knows.

  10. I’m interested in folks’ thoughts on the quality of the writing. It’s a really hard thing for me to give examples for, because there isn’t really any one line that encapsulates how I feel about it. But I remember hearing others describing it as reading like fanfic at times – like somehow the style didn’t quite match consistently. I’m not talking about the storylines or the pacing so much as just some awkward writing.

    I should add my agreement with hpboy13, though – whatever Rowling lacks in writing at times (which isn’t much!) she makes up for by being perhaps one of the best storytellers of all time. Harry’s growth is a great example of what I’m talking about, and so is the “you are with me” line that Kim points out. She’s brilliant.

  11. Slughorn is so interesting to me. He does seem intelligent, more so now that I’ve thought about “something you may not have noticed,” but he must be a really poor judge of character. I can forgive him young Tom Riddle (who snows almost everyone), but he doesn’t seem to look deeply at ANY of his students. For being so quick to see talent and his own best interest, he strikes me as kind of oblivious when it comes to people.

    If I were to pick a book of the series whose writing style bothered me, HPB wouldn’t be it. Awkward writing is difficult to put a finger on, of course, since English sentence structure can be so flexible. Except for errors like run-on sentences or coma splices (which can *still* be subjective)- I think it’s a quest to find two English professors who’d agree on what an example “awkward writing” is. So, while my grammar certainly isn’t the greatest, the example in “about the chapter” looks completely fine to me. It’s dialog, so Harry’s stating the fact about apparating, and then adds (as a linguistic afterthought?) that he got the information from Hermione. I think if Rowling had written that differently, it would have indicated a different pacing in Harry’s speech.

  12. What I like the most about this chapter is the fact that although Harry doesn’t particularly warm to Slughorn, he makes every effort to persuade him to go back to Hogwarts and does it very well. Maturation, in front of our eyes!

    Like most people, when Slughorn thinks about Harry’s parents he instinctively focuses on Lily, not James. Harry uses this to put more pressure on Slughorn, but doesn’t really pick up on it. He seems still to be more concerned with James as a role model: this will change with the revelations at the end of DH, but for the moment it’s just one more piece of evidence about what a remarkable woman Lily must have been.

  13. Deborah, I don’t quite get what you mean with
    “this will change with the revelations at the end of DH..”

    don’t you mean the revelations at the end of OotP? (the pensieve with Snape’s thoughts?) I think Harry actually looks more to his dad because, even though not everything he knows about him is good, at least he DOES know something about him…

    Josie, maybe DH dissapointed a bit because there was so much speculation on the internet between the two books… a lot of great theories that were created got destroyed and the book looked a lot more simple than you guys had imagined..
    I actually only discovered the hp fandom after HBP (because I wanted to know WHO RAB was) and because of reading so much fantastic essays, idea’s forums and fanfictions, I was sort of dissapointed that DH wasn’t as I had imagined it…
    just an idea… :)

  14. One thing I always found interesting with this chapter is that the Deathly Hallows are all in close proximty with each other. Obviously Dumbledore with the wand and stone and Harry with the cloak.
    Nice site by the way :)

  15. kim, don’t you agree there will be more substantial memories of Snape revealed at the end of HBP? These are the memories that really make Harry realize the kind of bullying James Potter did to Severus Snape.

  16. Side-along-apparation is most likely not more difficult than normal apparation.

    As Dumbledore and Harry returned from the cave, what is most likely in the south of England, to Hogsmade, Dumbledore was seriously injured and to weak to apparate. So Harry was the apparator and Dumbledore apparated side-along with Harry. Harry was very inexperienced in terms of apparation at that point and had even not a licence. But, however, it went well.

    So, if a 16yo can take someone by side-along-apparation, a adult can do it also.

  17. Kim, I noticed that HP5 said dragon blood was green too! My theory is that blood color differentiates between dragon species. Like maybe Common Welsh Green has greenish blood and Chinese Fireball has red.

  18. Interesting point about the dragon blood being two different colors, I hadn’t remembered that until it was mentioned here. I felt that some of the dialogue was a bit odd in 6, but I think it was smoothed out by the middle of the book and by the end I forgot about it entirely. I loved HBP. It was such a different book from OotP (which took me several reads before I really appreciated it).

    As a character I felt that Slughorn could easily an “everyman”. He shows so many different traits, both good and bad, that I didn’t have it in me to dislike him, but I definitely wouldn’t defend his views either. Despite his initial reactions to things, he seems to make the right choices in the end, if grudgingly. And unlike another man we know, Slughorn certainly shows remorse. I didn’t particularly care for the way he was portrayed in the movie though, this is the guy —SPOILER– who was one of the three dueling Voldemort in DH. I think they made him too airheaded.

    I really enjoyed DH, but after HBP it was like I was reading another series. I think the transition could have been smoother.

  19. Hi, Kim. It seems to me that what changes Harry’s perception of his mother (remember he once thought that James might have Charmed her into marriage: powerful, sexy male robber baron kidnaps fair but feeble damsel) is Snape’s dying revelations in the Pensieve. For the first time he directly experiences Lily’s wonderful qualities: her beauty, warm and loving personality, remarkably high moral standards without a hint of self-righteousness etc etc; and all through the loving eyes of a man he is only then able to understand and admire. Remember his walk through the Forest? In the company of James, his hero-father, Sirius, his godfather and beloved friend, and Remus, his best teacher ever (whom he feels serene enough about to give him serious lip about messing Tonks around), he only has eyes for Lily, and his plea that they stay with him is made while looking straight at her. I still get the shivers! Lily is his link to understanding Snape: without the final Pensieve memories he would still have named his daughter Lily but would he have remembered Snape and Dumbledore together in the names of his second son?

    That said, I’m some miles away from my books right now, so I can’t be too categorical.

  20. Wow, Deborah, I never made the connection of naming his second son for both Snape and Dumbledore together. That’s why I love this website. It helps me remember and connect events with memories, etc. I understand the books so much better.

  21. So many times, too, Harry is compared to his father in just about every way, but only ever hears he has his mother’s eyes. He doesn’t have much to go on, but JKR gives us little glimpses into Harry’s feelings about her. He must miss having both his parents so much, but I think due to his relationship with Mrs. Weasley, he really sees a mothering figure in her and misses Lily just that much more. SPOILER: the line in DH to Lily just before he enters the forest-that’s the one that breaks my heart and starts the tears!

    I think Slughorn allows Harry to get some much needed insight to his mother. Of course, Snape could’ve helped Harry with this much earlier, but being Snape (and Harry being Harry) this didn’t happen. It’s odd, isn’t it, how little anyone says about Lily yet she is a powerful witch? Perhaps overshadowed the way Hermione seems to be sometimes? Strong, smart, and powerful, but in the background sometimes.

  22. I’d be curious to know if others have felt the same way.

    ^This is actually my least favorite book in the series, just because I really have trouble reading it. I have no problem with the plot in and of itself, but the book’s tone and pacing and wording strikes me as so awkward, I really have trouble muddling through it. My first thought upon reading it was that it needed to be edited just a bit more. But, like you, I really couldn’t point out any specific instances that come to mind.

    But I do know that it was pretty much by this chapter that I had resigned myself to the fact that this book wasn’t going to please me much.

  23. I am now rereading the series and I must say I notice a drastic change in style with this book. To be honest, if I didn’t know better, I would have thought it was a different author. It isn’t all negative. For example she uses much more flowerly words when describing thing.

    I have always thought both Book 6 and 7 were under developed. 6 is far to short. It should have been the length if OOTP or GOF. It is a disappointment because the story that is there is fantastic! It is a really interesting read but I wish they would have fleshed out things. Like Draco’s mission and Harry and Ginny’s relationship. And some of the side characters as well. It’s a shame the Cho got WAY more “screen time” in the books than Ginny did (I mean in a realsonship way). I remember when I 1st read the books, I was SHOCKED when Harry ended up with Ginny. I was around 12 and I didn’t see it coming.

    On a related note. Book 7 seems a bit sloppy. 6 does not. 6 is just underdeveloped

    I adore Dumbldore in this chapter and the previous one. Such a great insight to him.

    Horace is so fascinating to me. I would like to know more about his background.

    BTW. 2 is and always will be my least favorite book. 3 and 5 are my favorites. And 6 and 4 are tied for 3rd.

  24. My explanation about the differences in the color of the green dragon-meat steak in OOTP and the dragon blood in HBP is based in the Muggle world. Have you ever noticed the difference between fresh blood and a steak that has been left open to air for a while? Blood oxidizes if left open to air for too long and takes on a greenish tinge. Of course this process usually takes several days. Slughorn even wonders if the blood will still be good after he and Dumbledore clean up. I don’t really see Hagrid as a character who would worry about the freshness of a dragon steak, especially if he is using it to treat wounds. Somehow I don’t think Fang cares about this either. However, Slughorn definitely regards something as valuable as dragon blood as a precious commodity.

  25. Has anyone else wondered how the ministry could track non-licensed users of apparition if he/she were over 17? I have always thought about it as the sort of thing you might be able to get away with, but your in trouble if you get caught or splinch yourself. For example, you may be able to drive without a license, but if you get caught, there’s big penalties and fines.

    *Spoiler* Obviously Harry does a lot of apparition after he is 17, but is never able to get a license because the ministry falls. Maybe he takes his test after Voldemort is defeated?

  26. @Pam: I believe it is like driving without a license. You can do it but if you get caught you will be on trouble. And Apparition is very diffecult so I imagine there are quite a few accidents so it would be easy to detect.

  27. @Pam, I was thinking the same thing too! I don’t remember Harry ever taking the Apparition test but I supposed he must be pretty adept at it considering how accurately he has to apparate to the doorstep of Grimmauld Place in DH. I wonder if Hermione had to give him additional lessons for practice? :P

  28. I haven’t noticed anything lacking in the writing in this book. I have in the forth book before now, though that might be either because I have copied her style of writing in my own and therefore analysed it so much it’s impossible for it to sound right (everything sounds weird or awkward if you look too closely at it) or because, as we know, that book was rushed. Though in this read through I didn’t have a problem with it.

    “I loved HBP. It was such a different book from OotP (which took me several reads before I really appreciated it).” – Toby

    That’s interesting, because for me it was the other way around. I loved OotP from the start, but HBP took me several re-reads to really appreciate it. Actually I’m liking it a lot better this time.

    I would have liked to have had another scene between Harry and Ginny at The Burrow too. But the main thing I think I was disappointed with in this book was that I expected to see more grief from Harry about Sirius. Looking at it now, I can see that Harry does actually take time to get over it and I can appreciate his strength, but at the time I was angst-hungry and wanted more wild despair like at the end of OotP. Plus, as others have said, fanfiction gives you expectations.

  29. It had never occurred to me that this book is rushed. I think Harry’s comment was supposed to sound awkward and Dumbledore went into a great deal of depth at the end of OP about the scar connection. I don’t think there is anything else that needs to be explained – Harry knows the whole background of Voldemort intruding in his mind.

  30. I definitely agree about the randomness of the book. I remember being completely frustrated with it. Especially about all the random relationships which happen. Its made clear for five books that harry has no romantic interest in Ginny and then “poof” he’s in love. And then Ron and Lavender? Same deal. Also when Harry and Hermione are in the library, the make jokes about madame pince and filch who we have NEVER seen together in the series. Ever. And just lots of random things like this happen. I wish book six had never happened.

  31. katelyn, the Harry/Ginny romance was not random. it was foreshadowed in CoS, when Harry slew a dragon to rescue her. I agree that the whole relationship is not JKR’s finest storytelling, but she definitely set it up with at least one clue in every previous book.

    Ron/Lavender, of course, is very random. It’s just a bunch of silly teenage hormones – which is precisely the point. It comes from nowhere, and then it evaporates.

    The huge amount of romance, both deep and shallow, is doubtless a deliberate point about something. I’m guessing that it’s a contrast with the story of Lord Voldemort and the complete absence of love (romantic or otherwise) in his life.

  32. @grace has victory
    harry slew the basilisk to save ginny & i thought that ginny found the diary becoz she was the only 1 to fit in the plot

  33. ud: Grace’s point, I think, is that “slew a dragon to save her” is an established metaphor in fiction for “won her heart”, dating back to ancient legends, and thus Harry having saved Ginny can be viewed as a metaphor and, as such, as a foreshadowing/setup for their future relationship. I’m not entirely sure that JKR meant it that way, and if she did I find it a bit clumsy and – because it’s too crude an idea to serve as adequate reason for romance – with unfortunate overtones (though I’m sure JKR didn’t mean them) of antifeminism. Let’s just say that if I’d written CoS I would have imbued the plot with literal rather than such metaphorical foreshadowing. The CoS rescuing sequence may of course serve as evidence of where JKR was thinking to direct the Harry/Ginny relationship, but I hesitate to interpret it as a hint to the reader, for the above reasons.

  34. Something that has always made think in this chapter. We learn later on that Dumbledore isn’t always truthful with Harry. So when they enter the charming village of bubbleigh-Babberton, the scene is strinkingly familiar to another charming town we see in DH. The war memorial, the cozy cottages. Perhaps Slughorn is staying in Godric’s Hollow, but DD lies to Harry about where they are to assuage any questions or yearnings Harry may have in order to complete the task at hand. After all, Harry would not remember Godric’s Hollow. Anyone else catch this?

  35. prongs, this idea is interesting but it doesn’t really fit in my mind, for several reasons. Harry and Dumbledore walked right by the war memorial, and if they were in Godric’s Hollow, it would have transformed into the statue; Harry didn’t recognize Godric’s Hollow when he went back to it with Hermione, and you’d think he would have realized it was the same place; Godric’s Hollow was smaller than Budleigh Babberton, if you read the details about the streets they walked; and from J.K. Rowling’s perspective, it doesn’t really fit either (Budleigh Babberton is a play on Budleigh Salterton, a village she once lived in).

  36. Well, thank you Josie for clearing that up.

  37. Hi Josie! :) I’ve been slowly making my way through this website and must just say that it’s my favourite Harry Potter commentary site out there. I love your commitment to the canon and attention to detail!

    HBP is my absolute favourite of the Harry books and I can’t say that I did find the writing style awkward. Maybe I just don’t pick up on things like that.

    What I wanted to say about this chapter in particular is something that I just recently noticed when listening to the audiobook for perhaps the 50th time. Harry and Slughorn notice the ring that Dumbledore’s wearing at the same time in this chapter, and it says that Slughorn’s eyes narrowed, or he frowned, or something like that. I wonder whether that was because he recognised it as being Tom Riddle’s, as Tom is wearing it in the meddled-with memory – a memory that is obviously still clear in Slughorn’s mind even if it is 50 years old.

  38. This chapter contains two of my favorite moments from “Half-Blood Prince”, both involving Slughorn:

    1. Dumbledore explains how he knew that Slughorn hadn’t been killed or abducted by Death Eaters because the Dark Mark wasn’t hovering over the house. Slughorn’s response: “I knew I’d forgotten something.”

    2. Slughorn talking about the precautions he uses when hiding in other people’s houses, including making certain that the neighbors don’t see you bringing in the piano.

  39. I also think Slughorn is an interesting character, worth thinking more about. He’s smart and would probably fall into the category of good guys, although he operates with his own best in mind in a way that is very Slytherin-ish.

    About Apparition, most has been said… I agree that I think it is something risky for a wizard to do and very hard to learn, and most grown wizards and witches would probably not want to Apparate with kids because it could go terribly wrong if you’re not careful. I also have the impression that there is a lot of wizards who haven’t passed their test, or passed it and just doesn’t use the skill because it is quite dangerous. Dumbledore is a great exception to many things becayse he is so powerful.

  40. Amanda, I like your comment about apparition a lot, and it feels right to me. I especially like it because it gives us a hint that Mr. and Mrs. Weasley aren’t your run-of-the-mill wizards, despite Arthur’s unglamorous job and their rather low place in wizarding society. Apparating is commonplace to them and to their family (Bill, Charlie, Percy, and the twins all do it too) – and that’s a good sign that they are valuable allies to the anti-Voldemort cause.

  41. It was mentioned above, but I think it warrants more discussion, that Deathly Hallows were indeed united for a couple chapters in this book, starting with this one.

  42. true, Timbus, they were together but not united by one wizard.

  43. I definitely felt something was “off” about this book as well, though I’m not very good at pointing out problems in the writing either. Plot-wise, I think part of it is there isn’t really a great upheaval or crisis at Hogwarts this time (until the end, of course) – which is fine, but it does give the book a different feel. There’s nothing like the Triwizard Tournament or Umbridge taking over or the Chamber of Secrets being opened or Dementors and a killer on the loose. There’s just the mysteries of Katie’s and Ron’s attacks, and Malfoy sneaking around, which somehow never felt compelling to me.

    I do enjoy the book once I get into it though. I love Dumbledore’s lessons, and all the down-to-earth school life stuff like the relationships. It’s just grating at first, coming right after Order of the Phoenix, probably the “densest” and most eventful book in the series.

    Anyway, this is my first time commenting, but I love this site! :)

  44. Year six is second only to year sevevn. That’s when we have our first real glimpse into Snape’s life and interests.

  45. Regarding the presence of war memorials in Bubbleigh-Babberton and in Goderic’s Hollow, just about every town in Britain has one. World War I (The Great War until 1939) killed many young men all over the nation. Hardly any town, village, or hamlet, let alone city, was untouched by losses of young men in their late teens and twenties. Those memorials are frequently at the main crossroad in the center of the town. It leads to problems when costume dramas set before WWI are filmed on location in otherwise quaint towns!

  46. I didn’t think that there was anything particularly different about the style of this book compared to the others. I did find the “Hermione Granger told me” a bit odd, and not the sort of thing that Harry would say. After all, Dumbledore probably already knows about “Hermione Granger”

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