From page to script: Giving Horace Slughorn character


Horace Slughorn is a most peculiar character in the Potterverse. Jim Broadbent is a multi talented wonder. So how did the two come together so seamlessly?

First and foremost, Horace Slughorn is a friend of Albus Dumbledore’s. That’s enough to tell us he must be a rather peculiar fellow. What may come as a surprise is that he was sorted into Slytherin. But he wasn’t your typical Slytherin student at all. That’s where his oddities begin. As for Jim Broadbent, he began his career in the film industry in 1971 and is still going strong. There are very few spans of time where Broadbent is not working on some project or another.

The Man

You name it, and Jim Broadbent was probably in it. Born to parents who were amateur actors themselves, Broadbent was destined for the industry. He took his studies seriously as he graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He then began his work on the stage. Jim Broadbent is easily able to say he started from the bottom and worked his way to the top.

He has lent his talent to over forty different television shows. From Teletubbies to Game of Thrones. Talk about both ends of the scope! As for movies, he’s been in over eighty of those! And, yes, that’s including the two Harry Potter movies. We can’t forget the awards! Jim Broadbent has been nominated for over forty awards. Out of those he has won more than fifteen! That’s pretty impressive!

One of the most amazing facts about this man? Jim was offered an OBE in 2002, but turned it down because he felt there were more deserving recipients than actors. Talk about selfless. This man is the epitome of the English gentleman. He has definitely set the bar of standards pretty high, that’s for sure.

The Professor

Horace Slughorn has accomplished many things in his time, to say the least. Among being the Potions Master, Horace was also the head of Slytherin House for a time. At one point he even had his own club for talented and ambitious students, called the Slug Club. The professor was described as genuinely kind to all, but did at times show favoritism. Generally the ones he thought were going to do incredible things after Hogwarts. That way, he could garner a bit of notoriety himself for teaching them.

The man left Hogwarts for a time to retire. A time that Horace enjoyed immensely, as he was able to relax. The peaceful time was short lived when he discovered Voldemort was not dead. On top of that, Corban Yaxley paid a visit to his home, intending to recruit him into the Death Eaters. Slughorn was able to transfigure himself into an arm chair in order to go undetected. Out of fear, the strange man went into hiding, living a bare boned life. He went through his contacts, moving from home to home, to remain undetected.

Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter were the ones to find Slughorn. Even though he went to extreme measures to escape, they did eventually catch him. By extreme measures, I mean wrecking his home and splashing dragon blood on the walls and then disguising himself as an arm chair. Dumbledore was able to see through this and forced the man to reveal himself. But it was ultimately Harry who was able to talk him into coming back to Hogwarts. He taught Potions Master for two years before once again retiring. After he fought gallantly in the Second Wizarding War.

The Magic

There couldn’t have been a better man for the role of Horace Slughorn than Jim Broadbent. He not only had the look down, but he became the epitome of the image we had all conjured up in our minds. Now, every time I go back and read a Harry Potter book for the umpteenth time, Jim Broadbent is always the one my mind conjures for the part of Slughorn.

The man and the character have a lot in common, which is most likely why they seemed to blend so seamlessly. As a man, Broadbent has accomplished a lot in his lifetime, yet always remaining humble about that success. As a character, Horace Slughorn had plenty of accomplishments under his belt, both as a student and as a professor. The two men became one before our eyes as a sometimes odd, but always loved character, came to life.

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What are your thoughts? Did you think Jim Broadbent was the perfect actor to play the part of Horace Slughorn? Or did you have someone else in mind? Let us know in the comments below! For all things Harry Potter, check out our page here!