Welcome to the 12th day of the Harry Potter blogsplosion! Today I’m reviewing the sixth installment of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This time, we follow Harry in his sixth year at Hogwarts as his nemesis Voldemort grows ever stronger. Harry decides that if he is supposed to battle the Dark Lord, he needs to know more about his past in order to survive. In order to do so, he works with Dumbledore on their most dangerous and far-reaching journey together yet in the series.
The Half-Blood Prince begins slightly differently than the other Potter books, as Harry is picked up from number four, Privet Drive, by Dumbledore himself. On the way back to Hogwarts, they stop to persuade Horace Slughorn, former teacher of potions at Hogwarts, to return to his post as potions professor. (Severus Snape is appointed to the role of Defense Against the Dark Arts professor) Harry attends classes as usual, and receives a used and marked-up version of the potions textbook, previously owned by a student named the “Half-Blood Prince”. The annotations written in the book allow Harry to excel in potions, causing him to wonder about who this mysterious student was. Meanwhile, Dumbledore begins asking Harry to join him for special lessons that will supposedly give Harry an edge over his foe when they inevitably battle. These lessons turn out to be trips into the pensieve to look back on memories that might hold clues to what Voldemort’s weakness is. It is through these memories that we learn about horcruxes, objects that hold a piece of one’s soul. Voldemort it seems has made seven horcruxes, and it’s up to Voldemort and Harry to find them. Can they do it? Do they have enough information to start their search?
Half-Blood Prince in my opinion is the second darkest book in the entire series. (I think there is definitely more darkness in Deathly Hallows, but that’s another review). This book was the only one I’ve read where I didn’t feel some bit of hope at its end. For those who have not read the book yet, all I will say is that one of the main characters is murdered towards the end. It’s shocking, heartbreaking, depressing, and terrifying. Terrifying because for a fleeting second you can finally recognize the strength that Voldemort and his followers have. In that fleeting second you see no way of beating him and no way of living in a world filled with goodness and love.
Everyone always thinks of magic as this amazing talent/gift that they wish they possessed themselves. It’s really interesting to see the darker side of it, however. This book is filled with people being cursed at with death spells, spells that inflict mortal harm, destruction, and finally, death. The fight between light and dark and good and evil is very pronounced in this novel, and Rowling really brings the world of magic to a whole new level. She definitely makes the story more realistic by doing this, as she reminds us that there are these forces of evil at work in the world, and we must work tirelessly to make sure that they don’t overcome the light of the world.
Half-Blood Prince is definitely worth the depression you feel upon completion of the novel. Yes, a main character dies, but it brings the reality of the war that the magical world is facing to the front lines of the plot. I do hope that you read up to this book in the series, and continue on along to the last book. Half Blood Prince does an excellent job prepping you for the greatest battle the wizarding world has ever seen. It’s definitely one you don’t want to miss.
4 out of 5 Stars