SPOILER WARNING: This article has mild spoilers from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
According to Slughorn, Lily was one of his most favourite students and it is easy to see why – what with her charming personality, magical talent and skill at potion-making. Her death clearly had an impact on Slughorn and the fondness he felt for her was evident. Who wouldn’t be won over by someone who gave them a magical pet fish called Francis? In fact, if it wasn’t for Slughorn’s admiration of Lily (and Harry’s knowledge of how he felt mixed with a little Felix Felicis), we doubt he would have ever given Harry the memory of his and Tom Riddle’s conversation about Horcruxes.
There was never any doubt that Slughorn would try to collect Harry as one of his little club members. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with the famous Chosen One? Especially when they just so happened to be the son of his favourite former student. Once he was in, Harry certainly lived up to Slughorn’s expectations. Whether he was excelling at potions (with a little help from the Half-blood Prince) or defeating Lord Voldemort when he was still a teenager – Slughorn certainly got his money’s worth.
Now this is one connection that we think is rather genius. Who wouldn’t want to be friendly with the founder of Honeydukes? Although Ambrosius obviously didn’t own the shop while he was a student, it was still a shrewd move of Slughorn to approach him. Slughorn’s investment certainly paid off and he reaped the rewards – including a free hamper of sweets every year for his birthday! All it took for him to be in this enviable position was to introduce Ambrosius to Ciceron Harkiss, who then gave him his first job. Imagine how wonderful it would be to have free access to all those Chocolate Frogs, Fizzing Whizzbees and Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans!
We can only envisage how thrilled Slughorn would have been to have had a future Minister for Magic in his club (though we doubt Hermione would be one for bending rules or laws for her old Professors). As the cleverest witch of her age, it only made sense that he found her so fascinating. From the very first time Hermione impressed Slughorn with her knowledge of different potions, we knew that it would only be a matter of time before she started to receive exclusive invites to Slug Club suppers – and sure enough she did.
Ginny first came to the attention of Slughorn when he witnessed her talent for casting a marvellous Bat-Bogey Hex – and is yet another example of Slughorn spotting a person’s inner potential. Ginny graduated from being the Hogwarts student with a talent for hexes, to a professional Quidditch player for the all-witch Holyhead Harpies, and eventually edited the sports pages for the Daily Prophet. We can imagine that Slughorn was rather pleased with himself when he witnessed her career take off (and probably took some credit too).
Ginny certainly wasn’t the first sporting star to catch the eye of Slughorn – or even the first player for the Holyhead Harpies. As he loved to tell anyone who would listen, Gwenog Jones had been a prize jewel in his Slug Club collection (even if she was a bit full of herself according to Hermione). Not only did this mean Slughorn was on first-name terms with the Harpies, but he could also get as many free tickets as he liked for their matches.
Being buddies with the Editor of the Daily Prophet can only be beneficial – especially when he is always interested in your take on the news of the day. Just picture how useful it would be to know all the gossip of the wizarding world before anyone else. We can also believe that it would be reassuring to have a former student is such a position of influence. We doubt that any embarrassing or untoward story about Slughorn ever found its way into the paper while Cuffe was the Editor.