- Horace Slughorn forms the Slug Club to collect well-connected and talented students who will bring him fame, wealth, and social status.
- The Slug Club is an elitist group that hosts exclusive parties and suppers for its high-flying members in the wizarding world.
- Notable members of the Slug Club include Harry Potter, Tom Riddle, Lily Evans, Severus Snape, and several individuals who went on to become Death Eaters or achieve success in their respective fields.
Beneath his jovial behavior and infectious enthusiasm, Horace Slughorn is quite sharp and intellectual; he has “an uncanny knack” for identifying potential in his students, who go on to achieve fame or success in some capacity. He tends to “collect” these well-connected or brilliant young minds for his famed Slug Club (including Harry Potter himself), in order to achieve reflected glory.
Many of these “rising stars” build a reputation in the wizarding world of Harry Potter — but not always for the right reasons. At its core, the concept of the Slug Club is quite elitist: members are regarded as “high-fliers” who get together at exclusive and lavish parties or suppers, where celebrities may make an appearance too — which is exactly how Slughorn envisioned it to be.
Why Did Horace Slughorn Form the Slug Club?
Slughorn founded the Slug Club when he first joined the faculty of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in 1931 as the Potions professor. He would “handpick favorites”, sometimes based on “their ambition or their brains”, or occasionally “for their charm and their talent”, believing that they would go on to be successful in their respective fields. His preferential treatment also extended to those students who belonged to influential, privileged families. This enabled him to benefit from their eventual fame, wealth or social status later on — by reaping rewards such as free tickets to Quidditch matches, boxes of crystallized pineapple, or opportunities to advise high-ranking officials of the Ministry of Magic — and, hence, have a strong footing in the wizarding world. He was under the impression that forming a club, with him at the center, would give him the right to bask in his students’ limelight without any additional efforts on his part. As Dumbledore explains to Harry, Slughorn prefers the company of “the famous, the successful, and the powerful” and “enjoys the feeling that he influences these people”. Rather than “occupy the throne himself”, he chooses to be in the backseat as there is “more room to spread out”.
His position as a teacher allowed him to nurture relationships with such students — which is the primary reason why he returns to Hogwarts in 1996. Dumbledore strategically brings Harry with him to convince Slughorn to become the Potions Master again and, unsurprisingly, his plan works. Tempted by the prospect of recruiting the Chosen One into the Slug Club, Slughorn realizes that he can nurture young students with promising future careers once again, and regain his old, comfortable life rather than constantly being on the run from Death Eaters.
However, it is not as if only he benefits from the Slug Club; the sought-out members also have the chance to get mentored by the professor as well as forge useful connections with important contacts.
Notable Members of the Slug Club
During Slughorn’s first tenure at Hogwarts, the Slug Club included several notable characters over the years, including Lily Evans, who was exceptionally talented in Potions; Severus Snape (known as the Half-Blood Prince at that time), who was also highly skilled in the subject; Regulus Black, Sirius Black’s brother; and, of course, Tom Riddle, who was a “model student” during his time at Hogwarts. Slughorn, who was taken in by Riddle’s charisma and charm, even gave him information about Horcruxes, which Voldemort used later on to create seven Horcruxes. A few students from Riddle’s gang were also part of the Slug Club, such as Avery and Lestrange, both of whom went on to become Death Eaters. Other noteworthy members included Ambrosius Flume, the owner of the popular sweet shop Honeydukes; Barnabas Cuffe, the editor of the Daily Prophet; Dirk Cresswell, the former head of the Goblin Liaison Office; Eldred Worple, the author of Blood Brothers: My Life Amongst the Vampires; and Gwenog Jones, the captain of the all-female Quidditch team, Holyhead Harpies.
When Slughorn returns to Hogwarts during Harry’s sixth year, he reinstates the Slug Club with the following members: Harry, the “jewel of his collection”; Hermione Granger, an exceptionally clever witch; Ginny Weasley, who unintentionally catches Slughorn’s attention when she casts the Bat-Bogey Hex; Blaise Zabini, whose mother has married at least seven times and has inherited great wealth from her former husbands; Cormac McLaggen, whose uncle Tiberius is well-connected within the Ministry; and Melinda Bobbin, whose family owns a large chain of apothecaries.
According to Draco Malfoy, his father “used to be a bit of a favorite” of Slughorn’s, which suggests that he may have been a member of the Slug Club too. However, Slughorn never extends an invitation to Draco as Lucius has been sent to Azkaban for being a Death Eater at that time, and he does not want any negative affiliations. A few other students are also asked to attend the first meeting of the Slug Club, but eventually do not make the cut. These include Marcus Belby, whose uncle invented the Wolfsbane Potion but is not on good terms with him, and Neville Longbottom, who does not seem to be as talented as his parents, who were well-known Aurors.
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