We know that the Potions master at Hogwarts is also the Head of Slytherin house. This Wiki entry tells us that Prof Slughorn indeed was the Head of Slytherin during his first term at Hogwarts.

But what about his second term at Hogwarts when he is persuaded by Dumbledore to return ( in Half-Blood Prince ) ? Do we get any indication that he replaced Snape as the Head of Slytherin in either Harry's Year 6 or Year 7 ?

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    The Potions master is not the default head of Slytherin house. Slughorn was Potions master in Harry's year 6, but Snape was DADA professor and still head of the house.
    – krillgar
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 14:10
  • Are you asking about Year 6 or Year 7? Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 15:06
  • @DVK - Actually I didn't realize there was a difference in this matter between Year 6 and Year 7, so I stated my question generally. Too generally it seems, sorry about confusion. Anyway I would like to know about both years, 6 and 7.
    – James C
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 15:09
  • @JamesC - edit that into the question please. And I answered both now :) Good question BTW! Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 15:11
  • @DVK - thank you ! Will do, and good answer as well ;)
    – James C
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 15:11

4 Answers 4


He presumably (but not incontrovertibly - Wikia as usual is wrong and has non-referenced information presented as "fact") was the head of house because when heads of houses met during Snape's flight, Slughorn was there.

“Minerva!” said a squeaky voice, and looking behind him, still shielding Luna from flying spells, Harry saw Professor Flitwick and Sprout sprinting up the corridor toward them in the nightclothes, with the enormous Professor Slughorn panting along at the rear. (DH, Ch 30 - this is even BEFORE Snape escapes and stops being Headmaster, while he's fighting McGonagall)

... and, later on, Minerva seems to act towards Slughorn as a head of house as well:

“I shall expect you and the Slytherins in the Great hall in twenty minutes, also,” said Professor McGonagall. “If you wish to leave with your students, we shall not stop you. But if any of you attempt to sabotage our resistance or take up arms against us within this castle, then, Horace, we duel to kill.”
“Minerva!” he said, aghast.
“The time has come for Slytherin House to decide upon its loyalties,” interrupted Professor McGonagall. “Go and wake your students, Horace.”

Later he returns back after escorting his students out and duels Voldemort (with McGonagall and Kingsley).

In addition, earlier, after Dumbledore is killed at the end of HBP, he's called to represent his house with other heads of houses by Acting Headmistress McGonagall:

'Thank you, Hagrid,' said Professor McGonagall, standing up at once and turning to look at the group around Bill's bed. 'I shall have to see the Ministry when they get here. Hagrid, please tell the Heads of Houses – Slughorn can represent Slytherin – that I want to see them in my office forthwith. I would like you to join us too.' (Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 29 "The Phoenix Lament")

All in all, while it's never explicitly stated, we see him act and be put into positions as if he is the head of house.


Since the question wasn't clear, I covered Year 7 (Deathly Hallows).

However, in Year 6 (HBP) Snape is unquestionedly the head of Slytherin house:

"I am his Head of House, and I shall decide how hard, or otherwise, to be," said Snape curtly. "Follow me, Draco." (Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 15: The Unbreakable Vow)

  • I didn't check Pottermore but don't think it has anything relevant to add. Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 14:25
  • I think the op is asking about Slughorn's position during HBP.
    – TGnat
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 14:39
  • @TGnat - I asked the OP, but for now added HBP info as well Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 15:10
  • @DVK - Don't mind if I ask, what is OP ? =)
    – James C
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 15:10
  • @JamesC - Original Poster. Whoever asked the question Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 15:11

During Harry's 6th year (Half Born Prince) Snape remained as Head of Slytherin. When Snape was promoted to Headmaster in what would have been Harry's 7th year, Slughorn was made head of Slytherin.

  • Thank you for your answer. But can you support it with some quotes or an article ? Because DVK's answer speaks pretty much the opposite story and it is supported by quotes.
    – James C
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 14:57
  • @JamesC, I think you're mistaken. DVK agrees with this answer -- he states Slughorn is head of Slytherin in DH, not HBP
    – Mac Cooper
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 15:00
  • @MacCooper You are right, he quoted DH, which I didn't spot at first, thank you.
    – James C
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 15:04
  • @JamesC - added the quote for Year 6 to my answer. Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 15:09

In HBP, Snape remains head of Slytherin house. However, when he runs away after killing Dumbledore, Mcgonagall calls all the heads of houses to her office, and says something along the lines of "Professor Slughorn can represent Slytherin house" (I don't have the books with me right now for an exact quote, but I gave the position in the book, go find it!). This indicates that Snape remains head of Slytherin house until he runs away at this point in the book. He then remains head of Slytherin until an unknown date.


I believe he did not replace Snape as he felt it was only going to be a temporary position.

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