Related: How did Snape figure out the stuff he had written in his Advanced Potion-Making book?

If Slughorn knew modifications to the potions textbook that would make the potions better, why didn't he tell students about them? If he didn't, why did he seem to expect that it was possible to get better results than the potions they were making? Wouldn't his potions look just like Hermoine's, given that she was following the directions very literally?

  • 3
    Like a chef that knows how to cook, Slughorn may have not realized following the instructions so exactly would give Hermione such poor results. He doesn't seem like a bookish fellow, and he may be assuming the textbook teaches exactly what he meant to without reading it.
    – Radhil
    Oct 28, 2017 at 16:55
  • @Radhil That could probably be an answer, too. Oct 28, 2017 at 19:21

1 Answer 1


Slughorn probably didn't know about the modifications.

When Harry uses the modified textbook, Slughorn presumes it's Harry's natural skills, not something to do with making the potion a different way.

“But I don’t think I’ve ever known such a natural at Potions!’ said Slughorn, regarding Harry with a fond, if bloodshot, eye. ‘Instinctive, you know – like his mother! I’ve only ever taught a few with this kind of ability, I can tell you that, Sybill – why, even Severus –”
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 15 (The Unbreakable Vow)

  • 4
    Great quote! I actually interpret that as Slughorn realizing that Harry had made the potion in a different way, but by following his instincts rather than following directions — like a cook who just knows exactly when to add a pinch of paprika to make a dish really sing.
    – Gaurav
    Oct 28, 2017 at 16:42

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