According to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (the book), Horace Slughorn at one point battles Lord Voldemort alongside two other Hogwarts faculty members.

Being a dissembling, slippery, and rather self-protecting character, where did he find the courage for this valiant action?

  • 6
    He came back with reinforcements, and didn’t duel Voldemort until it was three again one. ;) It’s a very Slytherin way of doing things - and effective.
    – Adamant
    Nov 11, 2017 at 6:46
  • 3
    He left it in the Room of Requirement. Nov 11, 2017 at 13:46

2 Answers 2


It may be partly because he wanted to make up for telling Tom about Horcruxes.

Slughorn carried the guilt of having told the future Dark Lord about Horcruxes for years. When told by Harry that he needed to make a choice and decide whether to be brave or not, he hesitates but ultimately decides to do the brave thing. He’s afraid the Dark Lord will find him and punish him for giving Harry this vital information, so while letting Harry see the memory seems simple, it did in fact take courage.

“Slughorn raised a pudgy hand and pressed his shaking fingers to his mouth; he looked for a moment like an enormously overgrown baby.

‘I am not proud …’ he whispered through his fingers. ‘I am ashamed of what – of what that memory shows … I think I may have done great damage that day …”
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 22 (After the Burial)

Though he does share the memory with Harry, who says that would cancel out any damage he did, he might still have held some residual guilt for doing something that might have aided the Dark Lord’s rise. He’s faced with a similar choice when McGonagall tells him to round up the Slytherins and choose which side he’s on and if he wants to run away, and he reacts in a similar way. He’s hesitant, but ultimately decided to do the brave thing.

  • 1
    This is superbly argued. +1 and my tick of approval! Nov 16, 2017 at 20:51
  • @EleventhDoctor Thanks so much, I’m glad you like it!! :D
    – Obsidia
    Nov 16, 2017 at 21:12

This is highly speculative, but I think it is a possibility nonetheless:

When Harry uses Felix Felicis in chapter of Half-Blood Prince its effect is described as follows:

Harry did not answer for a moment. Then, slowly but surely, an exhilarating sense of infinite opportunity stole through him; he felt as though he could have done anything, anything at all... and getting the memory from Slughorn seemed suddenly not only possible, but positively easy....

He got to his feet, smiling, brimming with confidence.

Note the phrases that I emphasized. Felix Felicis doesn't only make you lucky. It also makes you feel confident, and able to do things you hitherto would have never thought yourself capable of.

We know that Slughorn has a stash of Felix Felicis because there was an entire cauldron (albeit a small one) of it in the class when he gave Harry some as a prize, in chapter 10 of Half-Blood Prince, and the prize was in a separate bottle:

"Sir, you haven't told us what's in this one," said Ernie Macmillan, pointing at a small black cauldron standing on Slughorn's desk. The potion within was splashing about merrily; it was the color of molten gold, and large drops were leaping like goldfish above the surface, though not a particle had spilled.

"And that," said Slughorn, apparently coming back to earth, "is what I shall be offering as a prize in this lesson."

There was silence in which every bubble and gurgle of the surrounding potions seemed magnified tenfold.

"One tiny bottle of Felix Felicis," said Slughorn, taking a minuscule glass bottle with a cork in it out of his pocket and showing it to them all. "Enough for twelve hours' luck. From dawn till dusk, you will be lucky in everything you attempt."

Assuming that Slughorn was telling the truth, he has actually used Felix Felicis in the past, and so he would be experientially familiar with its effects:

"Have you ever taken it, sir?" asked Michael Corner with great interest.

"Twice in my life," said Slughorn. "Once when I was twenty-four, once when I was fifty-seven. Two tablespoonfuls taken with breakfast. Two perfect days."

So getting back to the duel against Voldemort, we have Slughorn who knows that he would be too afraid to challenge Voldemort, and he also knows that a bit of Felix Felicis can help him overcome that fear, and he also happens to have a stash of Felix Felicis lying around for him to use on a special occasion.

Putting this all together, the answer may simply be that Slughorn used Felix Felicis to give himself the courage to fight Voldemort.

  • +1 very nice speculation. Good thinking, and very believable that Slughorn would enhance himself in this way before battle. Dec 25, 2018 at 21:06
  • @EleventhDoctor Thanks.
    – Alex
    Dec 25, 2018 at 21:22

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