As I’ve been rereading the Harry series, I’ve been reviewing it and it’s been so much fun! Today I’ve got a spoiler review for book Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince so we’re super close to the end. All the spoiler thoughts are at the end of the review so just in case you haven’t read this book yet, there is a WARNING before spoilers begin. If you want to know my thoughts on the series, I have a review for every book:
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (#1)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (#2)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (#3)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (#4)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (#5)
And now, let’s discuss this amazing novel!
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
Series: Harry Potter (#6)
Publication: July 16th 2005 by Bloomsbury Publishing
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…
This is such an emotionally rich novel. The suspense was high and had me second guessing the intentions and goodness of characters. Who do I trust??
As always, the story was gripping, balanced with great humour and disheartening events. The irony of the Half-Blood Prince situation was very amusing in this reread and just knowing. (The liquid luck scene was pretty hilarious).
Once again, no one believes anything Harry says even though he’s been pretty much right about suspicious school activity in the last five years. And unfortunately, there’s no “I told you so” because he’s trying not to die and stuff.
We learn much more about Voldemort’s backstory as Tom Riddle and his motives. I love learning about villain histories. Although we’ve gotten bits and pieces in the past novels, we a get a more holistic view of how a charming Tom Riddle was shaped into the iconic, no-nose Voldemort. I thought it was super clever drawing the parallels between Riddle and Harry – the similarities of their upbringing, but the differences in the choices they had, and how that affected the people they grew up to become. Such genius.
The action and pacing accelerated so much during the conclusion and had me so tense. The battle and ending tore me up. (I may have let out a couple of breaths I didn’t realise I was holding). This book is so crucial to setup the finale and the series continues to get darker – I love it! Please read this novel.
Not surprisingly, we (stressfully) chill at Hogwarts where the majority of magic and mayhem happen. The newest thing we get to learn about in the world is apparition. And it’s fabulous. Another power I wish I had. I loved learning about the Horcruxes and their complexity. Who would have guessed that the diary in book #2 would play such a huge part this far down the series. Despite all the changes that occur in the novel (and series in general), we’ll always have the comfortable constant of mountainous piles of homework at Hogwarts.
New year, new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. But surprise, surprise – it’s a new POTIONS MASTER: Horace Slughorn. Unfortunately, Snape did not disappear into a black hole and instead became the new DADA teacher. How tragic (it breaks me so much that Snape sucked out the joy and pride Harry felt in his favourite subject – how can you NOT loathe Snape with absolute fury by the end of this novel?!?). Nonetheless, Harry’s sass does not falter. Harry & Snape – an interaction:
“Do you remember me telling you we are practicing non-verbal spells, Potter?”
“Yes,” said Harry stiffly.
“There’s no need to call me “sir” Professor.”
Harry Potter invented sass and it’s always a joy to read.
“An Unbreakable Vow?” said Ron, looking stunned. “Nah, he can’t have…. Are you sure?”
“Yes I’m sure,” said Harry. “Why, what does it mean?”
“Well, you can’t break an Unbreakable Vow…”
“I’d worked that much out for myself, funnily enough.”
But going back to Slughorn, we finally get a Slytherin who isn’t completely evil and that’s pretty great (despite how long it took).
I was SO proud of Fred and George’s achievements and well-deserved success of their joke shop. Their somewhat presence did lift up the mood, especially when things seemed super bleak.
“Why are you worrying about YOU-KNOW-WHO, when you should be worrying about YOU-NO-POO? The constipation sensation that’s gripping the nation!”
Rather than talk about the all characters, I think I’m going to talk about the relationships…
The romance (in general) starts to get some more page time. Although it’s cute, I still don’t think the romance is Rowling’s strongest point. The angst is turned down ever so slightly. A bit annoying sometimes (especially the drama) but there were some sweet moments and it was pretty entertaining. I’ve never been really invested in the romantic relationships in this series but I don’t mind them. Something I didn’t really pick up on is how brutish Ron treats Hermione. It’s not romantic???
The foreshadowing about obsessive love was done so well and I didn’t pick it up until this reread.
We get to see Harry and Dumbledore’s relationship grow. I love Harry’s admiration of him despite how problematic he is. (I feel as though I need to mention this every time I talk about my admiration for him). The loyalty Harry showed for Dumbledore, how safe he felt, and how humbled Dumbledore was about this gave me warm fuzzies.
“Dumbledore’s man through and through, aren’t you Potter?”
“Yeah I am,” said Harry. “Glad we straightened that out.”
I love that Rowling chose to prioritise strong friendships, relationships and genuine love in this world and expressed its power as the strongest magic to exist.
REDEEM, REPAIR, DESPAIR
A certain character redemption scene at the end made me tear up. I loved it so much. Talking about a specific irritating, female character.
Not really a relationship, but let’s talk about Malfoy, Draco Malfoy. He’s like that kid at school who pretends he doesn’t care, but works super hard when no one’s watching. I’ve never been a huge fan of him (even though I know how horrible his family environment is). However, I really felt for him in this novel because you get that impression of how much he has been manipulated and he’s just a scared kid.
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3… 2… 1…
And thus it was revealed: the DADA post in fact… CURSED!! Since when are rumours ever true?!?
Seeing Dumbledore out of control and suffering whilst drinking that potion pained me so much. This moment:
“Snape raised his wand and pointed it directly at Dumbledore.
I had to stop for a moment when Dumbledore. WHYYY?!? I actually cried. This doesn’t happen.
I know Draco seems super proud being chosen by The Dark Lord for this important task of killing Dumbledore, but it’s awful to see how much he’s struggling to accept this responsibility. It hurts seeing how he’s being exploited despite his horridness.
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Pretty much everything that happens in this novel is tragic. Definitely worth your time to read.
What did you think of the book? How many times have you reread Harry Potter? Favourite relationship (of any type) in this book/series? Comment below!
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