Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
In the Half-Blood Prince, Voldemort is on the rise and though the world may be aware that he’s back in power, that doesn’t mean they’re ready for him. People are disappearing, being magically controlled, or dying. Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore must learn the history behind Voldemort’s immortality to figure out how to destroy him once and for all . . .
Publisher’s Description: The war against Voldemort is not going well: even Muggle governments are noticing. Ron scans the obituary pages of The Daily Prophet looking for familiar names. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses. And yet . . .
As in all wars, life goes on. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate, and lose a few eyebrows in the process. The Weasley twins expand their business. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Classes are never straightforward, though Harry receives some extraordinary help from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.
So it’s the home front that takes center stage in the multilayered sixth installment of the story of Harry Potter. Harry struggles to uncover the identity of the Half-Blood Prince, the past owner of a potions textbook he now possesses that is filled with ingenious, potentially deadly, spells. But Harry’s life is suddenly changed forever when someone close to him is heinously murdered right before his eyes.
With Dumbledore’s guidance, he seeks out the full, complex story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort, and thereby attempts to find what may be his only vulnerability.
Possible spoilers beyond this point. If you haven’t yet read this series, STOP READING THIS REVIEW RIGHT NOW!
Kat Mandu says…
This is my second favorite book in the series. I’m pretty sure that J.K. Rowling was trying to sample out some humor before everything gets super dark and she starts killing everyone off; which is why you have the whole situation between Hermione and Ron and Lavender, plus the silliness of Ron’s determination on the Quidditch pitch, and the luck-inducing potion that Harry takes. All of those scenes were both my favorites in the book and in the movie.
Despite all these comical references, that doesn’t mean this book doesn’t have its dark twists. Harry himself figures out that he can’t trust the people he looks up to and Dumbledore, the greatest wizard the magical world has ever known, is . . .
*spoiler alert (I’m saying this just in case, but if you haven’t read this series, what on earth have you been doing your whole life???)*
. . . murdered at the end.
As usual, here are some of my favorites:
Favorite character – Harry wins this one for me; he’s figured himself out at this point (well, almost) and although he can certainly have a temper, he’s a lot easier to bear in this book. I like that he seems smarter and more intuitive, more aware of people’s feelings more than Ron (small favors), and that even when he makes a really bad mistake, he’s willing to make up for it. He’s a lot braver than I could ever be.
Favorite scene – Well, the funny ones make it for me here. I really love the scene where Ron is under the love spell (especially when you see it in the movie). I loved learning about Voldemort’s history as well. I find it incredibly strange that Voldemort tries so hard to deny that he isn’t pure-blood.
Favorite creatures – House elves! Even though Kreature isn’t very…well, pleasant, he and Dobby get to team up and sneak on Draco. They get to do a lot more in the next one but I won’t let on too much now since we haven’t gotten there yet.
Luna Lovebooks says…
Possible spoilers ahead – although, if you aren’t familiar with this series yet, I must ask if you have been living under a rock! 😉
This particular Harry Potter novel is incredibly dark! I love that the series keeps getting darker, but there is always the underlying tone of friendship, love and heroism. I also think it is really clever of Rowling to paint Professor Snape the way she did. Readers feel utterly betrayed, just like Harry, but also hold out hope that Snape is still playing the game. I, personally, believe Dumbledore was ten steps ahead of everyone and knew how this was going to play out. Of course that didn’t stop me from once again crying my eyes out at his death.
Invested Ivana says…
Half-Blood Prince has always felt, to me, like the bleakest of all seven Harry Potter books, meaning that this is the point in the whole story where I feel the most hopeless, as the reader. Harry is made Captain of the Quiddich team, but Snape gives him detention often enough to keep him from the game. Ron and Hermione are fighting and the romantic tension is stressful. Slughorn is smarmy. The book Harry is obsessed with is a product of his most hated teacher. The conflict between Harry and Dumbledore over Snape continues the series-wide theme of not sharing enough information (which is much more frustrating to me as an adult now than when I first read the books). Even Harry’s adventures with Dumbledore to explore Voldemort’s origins are informative, but their usefulness is somewhat ambiguous to Harry.
The feelings I associate with this book are sad, depressed, and a mourning for the childhood that Rowling still managed to capture in the previous books. This kind of uncomfortable tension is appropriate for the penultimate book in a series, actually. It’s expertly done. The book ends at what seems like the lowest part of the series, leaving the reader ready for the resolution of the final book.
Agent Annie says…
I really enjoyed Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. My favorite part was Harry using Snape’s old text book and then discovering it belonged to his least favorite teacher. Knowing what I do about the ending and Snape’s role in Harry’s life, I am particularly pleased with JK Rowling’s ability to heighten the hatred between the two characters.
When the books first came out and #6 ended with such a cliff hanger and the death of Dumbledore, a former English professor and I discussed this story choice. The comment he made that stuck with me, was that the nature of Harry as a protagonist was that he was an orphan thus necessitating the death of all adults, particularly males, who he became close to. I think about that a lot since I read many young adult/middle reader books. Many times the kids either have disinterested, distracted or simply no parents at all. It’s obvious to me that Rowling has done her research in the nature of families and storytelling, which is why this book series is timeless and rates high scores.
Our reviews in this series…
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Book 01
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Book 02
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Book 03
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Book 04
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Book 05
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Book 06
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Book 07
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Book 08
- All the Harry Potter companion books by J. K. Rowling