For the Harry Potter fans whose favorite of the movies is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, you'll know just how important and influential Professor Horace Slughorn becomes as a teacher at Hogwarts in Harry's sixth year and to the wizarding community itself.
However, just like every person has their flaws, so does every wizard, and though Slughorn is known for exemplifying many of the positive traits a Slytherin is known for, he did make a few mistakes along the way. From using his endearing personality to take advantage of others for his own benefit to not exactly following teacher protocol while at Hogwarts, here are 10 times Horace Slughorn should have been fired (or sent to Azkaban).
10 When He Offered Felix Felicis (Liquid Luck) As A Prize In Class
In the movie Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince, wizarding world movie audiences were first introduced to Horace Slughorn, played by Jim Broadbent, for the first time. As a half-blood wizard, a Hogwarts student, Hogwarts professor, and later Head of Slytherin, Professor Slughorn has made his presence known among the Hogwarts students and staff.
However, in his first Potions class of Harry's sixth year, he gives the students an incentive for getting the potion for the Draught of Living Death. The prize for the perfect potion was a vile filled with "Felix Felicis," or liquid luck - a potion that is meant to bring anyone who has it good luck. Though Harry Potter was the one who was granted the Felix Felicis, had it fallen into the wrong hands, the consequences could have been disastrous. Giving students incentive is not a crime, but making the incentive what could potentially be a dangerous potion isn't exactly great leadership.
9 When He Tampered With His Own Memories
While Dumbledore brings Harry to his office and reveals to him one of Slughorn's memories from his younger Hogwarts days when he taught Tom Riddle, Dumbledore tells Harry that this memory has been tampered with. Though, we later find out that Slughorn has tampered with this memory because it brings him great grief and shame to remember the truth, the fact that Dumbledore reveals the tampering to a student like Harry could have been dangerous.
Let's pretend Harry Potter wasn't Harry Potter and was instead a student concerned with manipulating situations for his own good. The knowledge gained from knowing that tampering with one's own memories could lead to evil outcomes in the future.
8 When He Gave Ron Weasley Poison
Towards the middle of the film when Ron Weasley is experiencing major effects from having a love potion used on him, Professor Slughorn offers Ron a tonic that's supposed to cure him. Instead, it is a poison that causes Ron to collapse, foam at the mouth, and end up at the hospital.
Slughorn states that he didn't realize the drink he gave to Ron was a poison and received it as a gift. He also stated that he meant to give it as a gift to Dumbledore, but "forgot." Though no one can really blame Slughorn for his jitteriness and nerves after being on the run from death eaters for so long, this still wasn't a great move for him, especially as a teacher. We're sure poisoning students isn't on a Hogwarts professor's list of duties.
7 When He Gave Tom Riddle Information On Horcruxes
In the biggest reveal of the movie, we learn that what Professor Slughorn's true memory was from his days teaching Tom Riddle was that he gave Riddle critical information about what Horcruxes do. When Riddle asked Slughorn what a "Horcrux" was he explained that they are objects that hold pieces of a person's soul, and if for some reason your body was physically attacked or destroyed, your soul would still live on as it could find the object that holds the separated piece of the soul and attach itself to it. In other words, your soul would live on, and you would be immortal.
Though he didn't know what Tom Riddle would do with this information, Slughorn spends the rest of his life wondering if Riddle was actually Voldemort and if he actually used Horcruxes to keep himself alive. Slughorn couldn't truly be at fault for this as granting knowledge to students is the duty of a teacher, but if the Hogwarts system wasn't so forgiving to good wizards, he may just have been punished for lending the younger version of the darkest wizard to exist a helping hand.
6 When He Created The "Slug Club"
In his first few years as a professor at Hogwarts, Slughorn created what became known as the "Slug Club." The Slug Club consisted of some of Slughorn's favorite and most promising students. He would invite them over to his office for dinners and would later invite Hogwarts graduates to his own home for drinks and dinners to catch up on life.
While this may seem like a friendly gesture, for a professor to show favoritism to this degree can be a little troubling. Dumbledore even warns Harry to be careful as Slughorn may try to "collect" him for his club. The favoritism Slughorn shows to Tom Riddle in his early days also gives way for him to succeed as a dark wizard. On the other hand, the favoritism also singles out students who may not perform as well as those in the Slug Club, allowing for them to feel worthless for invaluable as wizards.
5 When He Began Living Life On The Run
After the rise of Voldemort, Slughorn went into hiding for fear that Tom Riddle might seek him out again. He left his teaching job at Hogwarts and went from house to house disguising himself as inanimate objects so that nobody - especially Death Eaters - could find him. Voldemort did make himself known as the most dangerous wizard the wizarding world had seen, and it's not easy to blame Slughorn for choosing to live his life on the run.
However, Slughorn is a wizard who had worked himself up to a position of respect. By accepting the role of Hogwarts professor, Slughorn willingly places himself in the public eye, specifically the eyes of many students. Slughorn, as a professor, has led and taught many students - students who might look up to him, and though Voldemort is intimidating, even the bravest of wizards have the courage to face him - (at least, we know Slughorn does by the last film in the series).
4 When He Took Aragog's Prized Venom
When Aragog, the giant tarantula owned by Hagrid, dies in the middle of the film, Harry leads Professor Slughorn to where they can pay their respects to Hagrid's beloved friend. While there, Slughorn takes advantage of the situation by taking the spider's powerful venom that is incredibly rare and very valuable.
Slughorn had good intentions when praising his students and commending his colleagues, but many times, they were in the interest of his own benefit. After becoming close with many of his former students, he would benefit from free Quidditch tickets and even from close connections of those who grew up to work in the ministry. Though this may not be probable cause to throw him in prison, it's always best to act kindly without expecting anything in return.
3 When He Got Drunk In Front Of A Student
Shortly after Harry, Slughorn, and Hagrid pay their respects to the now-deceased Aragog, they walk back to Hagrid's hut where Hagrid and Slughorn enjoy a few too many glasses of wine. While this plan may have been put in place by Harry to manipulate Slughorn into revealing the truth about his tampered memory, it's still not very professional of Slughorn to get drunk in front of a student.
After his first few years of teaching Slughorn went through a great deal of emotional turmoil wondering if Tom Riddle was Voldemort like everyone was speculating and wondering if it was his fault that Voldemort now remains immortal. It's not easy to blame him for wanting a few drinks.
2 When He Constantly Hid From Voldemort's Army
In line with the period of time where Slughorn spent his life on the run, Death Eaters came to try to recruit Slughorn to see if he would work for Voldemort. Though Slughorn didn't know why Voldemort would need his help, he speculated that he might just want to kill him. Consequently, Slughorn lived his life in constant hiding of the dark wizard's army.
While nobody can blame Slughorn for being afraid, running when you're fearful does not teach students to fight their battles. However, Slughorn does redeem himself a few movies later.
1 But When He Fights At The Battle of Hogwarts
By the end of Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince, Dumbledore is killed, and this death hits Slughorn very hard. He is visibly saddened and great distraught at the headmaster's sudden death. After years of working alongside him, Slughorn came to trust Dumbledore. After all, he was the one who convinced him to come out of his retirement and hiding.
In the final movie of the Harry Potter series, Professor Slughorn makes his return to the screen in a noble battle against Voldemort. Standing alongside his fellow professors, this is the moment when all Hogwarts teachers exemplify bravery and courage in its true form, and it's no doubt that he did it to finally face his Voldemort and to do what he knew Dumbledore felt was right. Though Slughorn may have made a few mistakes in life, many Harry Potter fans admire him for being a living example of important qualities that aren't always easily seen in a Slytherin - ambition, resilience, and respect.