Horace Slughorn

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Character
Name: Horace Slughorn
Occupation: Potions Master at Hogwarts
Title/Rank: Professor, Head of Slytherin
Location: Hogwarts, Great Britain
Status: alive
Relationships: Albus Dumbledore (old friend and colleague)
Fandom: Harry Potter
Other: portrayed by Jim Broadbent in the films
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Horace Slughorn is a Harry Potter character who first appeared in Half-Blood Prince. He was the Potions teacher for Harry's sixth year, taking over from Severus Snape, who filled the position of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher.

Canon Background

At the beginning of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Slughorn is convinced to come out of retirement by Albus Dumbledore after being in hiding from the Death Eaters following Voldemort's return. Slughorn had been the Hogwarts Potions Master decades previously, and had taught Voldemort himself when he was a student. Indeed, one of the reasons that Dumbledore wanted Slughorn to return to Hogwarts was because Slughorn had information about Voldemort's secret means of immortality, his Horcruxes.

Harry was tasked with getting this information from Slughorn, who was unwilling to share it due to fear and shame about his part in things. Slughorn was known for "collecting" students with existing connections or good potential in his "Slug Club", and would use the relationships he built after they leave school to get favours and gifts.

Although reluctant and afraid to get involved in the fight against Voldemort, and with a certain amount of blood prejudice of his own, Slughorn opposed Voldemort and, reluctantly, joined the fight against him—first providing Harry with information to help defeat him, then joining the final battle against Voldemort and the Death Eaters. He is indeed the only Slytherin mentioned in the books as fighting against Voldemort in the final battle, and as such is frequently cited as an example of a "good" Slytherin despite his faults.

J.K. Rowling on Slughorn

Although many characters have new bios and additional information written about them by J.K. Rowling on Pottermore, Slughorn's was never posted to the site. Instead, his writings appeared as brand new content in the 2016 e-book Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists.

In the section on Slughorn, Rowling provides additional information on Slughorn's background and motivations, and confirms fandom's interpretation of him as a "good Slytherin". She writes in part:

Slughorn's genuine remorse for the damage he had done in telling Riddle what he wanted to know is conclusive proof that he is not, and never was, Death Eater material. A little weak, a little lazy and certainly snobbish, Slughorn is nevertheless kind-hearted, with a fully functional conscience. In his final test, Slughorn revealed himself to be implacably opposed to the Dark Arts. When his bravery at the Battle of Hogwarts was publicised, his actions (along with those of Regulus Black, which gained attention in the aftermath of Voldemort's demise) removed much of the stigma that had been attached to Slytherin house for hundreds of years past.[1]

Fan Response & Fanon

Fan response to Slughorn is generally positive, as many appreciate the complexities of the character (and especially of a Slytherin character).

However, Slughorn is sometimes interpreted as a predator, paedophile, or pederast due to his habit of "collecting" students. marauderthesn wrote a July 2006 essay, "Horace Slughorn and Humbert Humbert", examining potentially deliberate parallels between Slughorn and the main character of Lolita. Other fans have picked up on predatory subtext. In fanfiction, Slughorn is sometimes depicted as sexually grooming, coercing, or abusing his students. On the other hand, Harry and Tom Riddle are commonly depicted as deliberately seducing Slughorn for their own means. For example, fans have rewritten canon scenes with that subtext made explicit: for example, a reimagining of the scene where Harry meets Slughorn (Naive Harry and Horace Slughorn by LivingInTheLight, Jul 2016) or attempts to persuade Slughorn to give him the memory (Attempt No. 32 by biichan, Jul 2005), or an alternate version of Slughorn's shameful memory itself (Horcruxex by Walter the Wizard, Apr 2006).

The most popular Slughorn pairings are with Albus Dumbledore, Severus Snape, Harry Potter, and Tom Riddle. The latter two pairings, in particular, often feature dubcon and power imbalance. Slughorn also appears in various other rarepairs, often in kinky fanworks. Although the majority of Slughorn fanworks appear to be slash, the SCUSA forum at FictionAlley Park has shipping threads for Slughorn with Minerva McGonagall, Eileen Prince, and Gwenog Jones, although none of the pairings have gained a significant following.[2]

Example Fanworks

Fanfiction

Fanart

Meta

Slughorn-centric Fansites & Communities

Other Links & Resources

References

  1. Horace Slughorn, posted by BasilFronsac in /r/PottermoreWritings on Reddit, 06 September 2016. Quoting Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists by J.K. Rowling (2016).
  2. See HMS Horny Harpy Horace (Slughorn/Gwenog Jones), HMS Prince & Slug (Eileen Prince/Horace Slughorn), and HMS Needs-a-Name (Horace Slughorn/Minerva McGonagall) at FictionAlley Park's SCUSA forum. (Accessed 04 October 2017.)
  3. Espresso Recommendations: Harry Potter (accessed 02 October 2017).
  4. Also posted as "Ha! I don't remember!" at hump_day_smut in Apr 2010.
  5. snarkyscorp on LiveJournal, lmfao. and comments on the post, 30-31 July 2009. Also listed on the Harry Potter Newbie's Guide, last updated 17 September 2009.