Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

(Harry Potter, #6)

It is the middle of the summer, but there is an unseasonal mist pressing against the windowpanes. Harry Potter is waiting nervously in his bedroom at the Dursleys' house in Privet Drive for a visit from Professor Dumbledore himself. One of the last times he saw the Headmaster was in a fierce one-to-one duel with Lord Voldemort, and Harry can't quite believe that Professor Dumbledore will actually appear at the Dursleys' of all places. Why is the Professor coming to visit him now? What is it that cannot wait until Harry returns to Hogwarts in a few weeks' time? Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts has already got off to an unusual start, as the worlds of Muggle and magic start to intertwine...

J.K. Rowling charts Harry Potter's latest adventures in his sixth year at Hogwarts with consummate skill and in breathtaking fashion.

“When you have seen as much of life as I have, you will not underestimate the power of obsessive love.”

Here J.K. Rowling was getting me used to longer books, but for this one she trimmed off a few hundred pages. Honestly the story didn't contain as much in some ways as the previous two that were longer, so the page length fit it. It's that semi-awkward stage book where it's going to lead to the last big-bang fight and wrap-up, has to introduce new stuff for the story but play on the old without wrapping that up just yet.

Harry has lost his mope from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, feeling accepted again amongst his peers and not left out in the dark any longer, but he retains the natural anger and fear that he should have in his circumstance. There's some mini developments between him and a female character romantically wise, which to me fits the series well. Hermione and Ron also are leaning toward each other more, even if they haven't made it officially official just yet.

If you're a fan of Dumbledore, this book will both please and infuriate you. He's in more scenes than ever while he gives Harry private lessons, showing both his and other people's memories, all leading to a fascinating backstory focusing on Voldemort. You don't actually get to see the monstrous villain in this book - you only hear about him, which is typical of the earlier installments. There's a few death eaters popping up though, including Fenrir, a new big-bad I hadn't noticed before, a demented werewolf of all things. Can I just say this guy is actually creepy? Especially his focus on hurting and turning children.

As always these books are impossible to put down, since Rowling's writing technique not only rocks, but she gives us unique characters who are individuals standing out from each other while working toward standing together unified. Rowling always introduces a new stand-out character in books; here it's a new potions master who enjoys fame and getting to know students who he has determined are 'going places.' Dumbledore has something else up his sleeve about this teacher, too...

Pacing wise it's okay, as this book is more of a filler than anything, but it does give us one big revelation concerning Voldemort. All the other books pointed toward this, but it's now more obvious coming together when Harry sees the larger picture. While a stepping stone to the next book, 'The Half-Blood Prince' is in no way boring. You get to see Harry with his friends and relationships, a little in the classes and especially wondering who on earth the Half-Blood prince is. That mystery intrigued me since I couldn't figure it out for awhile, and I'd forgotten since watching the movie years back.

While the new potions teacher is introduced, Snape finally gets his turn at 'Defense against the Dark Arts.' I was slightly bummed we didn't get to see more time spent in his class, however. I've always enjoyed the classroom teaching and experiences in the other books, and here was a chance to see freaking SNAPE of all people talking about the dark arts! Unfortunately there's just the one classroom moment. Although we don't see too much on the teaching side, Snape is still brilliantly constructed and a page-stealer when he comes on scene.

As with the previous book, there's a heartbreaking ending to this one, so have the tissues handy.

I'll keep them handy when I go on to the next and last book, where I know more depressing stuff will happen. And of course I'll need tissues just knowing it's the last book and that it's time to get off this ride. :(

   Book Quotes:

“It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.”


 Check out the full list of Harry Potter Featured Posts for Harry Potter Week

  • Book Reviews: The Sorcerer's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, Deathly Hallows
  • Book-To-Film Comparison: The Sorcerer's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, Deathly Hallows
  • Site Features: Mailbox Monday, Cover Crush, Tune-in Tuesday, Universal Studios Trip
  • Themed Posts: RIP Alan Rickman,  Philosophers Versus Sorcerers, Magical Quotes