Monday, 19 February 2018
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling is the sixth book in the series.
When Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince opens, the war against Voldemort has begun. The Wizarding world has split down the middle, and as the casualties mount, the effects even spill over onto the Muggles. Dumbledore is away from Hogwarts for long periods, and the Order of the Phoenix has suffered grievous losses. And yet, as in all wars, life goes on.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione, having passed their O.W.L. level exams, start on their specialist N.E.W.T. courses. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate, losing a few eyebrows in the process. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Harry becomes captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, while Draco Malfoy pursues his own dark ends. And classes are as fascinating and confounding as ever, as Harry receives some extraordinary help in Potions from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.
Most importantly, Dumbledore and Harry work together to uncover the full and complex story of a boy once named Tom Riddle—the boy who became Lord Voldemort. Like Harry, he was the son of one Muggle-born and one Wizarding parent, raised unloved, and a speaker of Parseltongue. But the similarities end there, as the teenaged Riddle became deeply interested in the Dark objects known as Horcruxes: objects in which a wizard can hide part of his soul, if he dares splinter that soul through murder.
Harry must use all the tools at his disposal to draw a final secret out of one of Riddle’s teachers, the sly Potions professor Horace Slughorn. Finally Harry and Dumbledore hold the key to the Dark Lord’s weaknesses... until a shocking reversal exposes Dumbledore’s own vulnerabilities, and casts Harry’s—and Hogwarts’s—future in shadow.
This may be my second favorite of the Harry Potter books, and as always serious spoliers ahead. I really enjoy learning more about Voldemort's past. Plus, I kind of love the peak into Snape's life at home when Bellatrix and Narcissa visit.
I find Slugghorn a fascinating character. He is definitely someone who enjoys his creature comforts, and loves being connected to those with power. Like that even though he is Slytherin, he does not care about linage, but rather talent.
I want to take a minute to talk about how bad-ass Ginny has become in this book. She was definitely getting there in the last book, but this one she kills it. Her talent as at spells and Quidditch is awesome. Plus, she does not take any mouth off of Ron for her dating choices. So glad that Harry finally wakes up to her awesomeness.
More importantly, how about Harry's potions book that steps up his potions game. It is interesting incites in to the world of potions and a few extra spells. Interesting to see how is causes rifts between our favorite trio. Hermione not trusting the Half-blood prince's notations, and Ron becoming jealous of Harry's performance in potions because of it. Then the shock of learning that the Half-Blood Prince is Snape, Harry's most despised professor, nice giant twist Rowling.
Before, I get into the super heavy revelations of the book. I just want to talk about my favorite moment when McGonagall is helping Harry, Ron, and Neville plan their class. When Neville states that his grandmother thinks Charms is a useless subject. Love McGonagall's come back and ratting her out for hating it because she failed her O.W.L. in Charms. Pure Gold.
Okay, get your tissues out, because I am jumping into the feels here. First, I want to talk about Malfoy. He is so obviously up to something during the book, but only Harry seems to really suspect him. Others are blowing off Harry's concerns. Then there is the glimpse of Malfoy's struggle. We know he as been tasked with something by Voldemort given the Unbreakable vow Narcissa and Snape make. The poor boy is confiding in Moaning Myrtle, so you know he is at a low point.
Then there is Slugghorn's story about Harry's mother, Lily and the flower she left him. When he talks about how it dies when she died, it just broke my heart. This book breaks my heart by getting to know Lily a little better, and seeing she was a kind and talented witch whose life was cut short too soon.
I am still not over the ending of this book. Dumbledore dying still kills me every time I read it. Poor Harry who is frozen there and unable to do anything to prevent it from happening. And the worst is when Harry breaks the news to Hargrid, oh the tears.
To Read or Not to Read: