At 33 years old, I had never read Harry Potter. In a world full of Muggles and Witches and Wizards, and tens of thousands of memes dedicated to all things Potter, I was unknowing. Oh, I followed Voldemort on Twitter and giggled at some of the things he said….but I didn’t get it. You don’t truly get it until you’ve read the books, even in a world saturated with Potterisms. I didn’t know about dragons, or three-headed dogs that could be sung to sleep, or potions and spells, or Quidditch and the Snitch, or Gryffindor, or invisible cloaks, or Platform 9 ¾. I didn’t know the Hogwarts school song, and I hadn’t met the Weasley Twins yet…or Professor Snape and Dumbledore. I may just have been one of the last people on Earth to begin waiting on my own letter (which, I suspect my postman may have stolen…). Yes, at 33, I was a Harry Potter Virgin. These are my confessions of a Harry Potter virgin.Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling
Series: Harry Potter #6
Published by Scholastic Press on 7/16/2005
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Middle Grade
The war against Voldemort is not going well; even the 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 with all wars, life goes on. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate—and lose a few eyebrows in the process. 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. Here at Hogwarts, Harry will search for the full and complex story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort—and thereby find what may be his only vulnerability.
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS! Do not read these reviews if you have not read the books!
I suppose you want to know how I felt about the ending first. So let me go ahead and say it…
Wait for it.
WAIT FOR IT.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN SNAPE KILLED DUMBELDORE, WTF AM I EVEN READING, WHY DID YOU MAKE ME READ THIS, IHATEYOUJOROWLINGJUSTKIDDINGILOVEYOU.
I’ve made it to Year Six with Harry & Co. and the story is progressively darker now. Not only do Six Years have to complete their N.E.W.T.s, but they are also learning to Apparate, sometimes with HI-larious results. Snape manages to finally, FINALLY snag the Defense Against the Dark Arts position he has so long coveted, leaving Dumbledore to bring aboard a new potions professor, Horace Slughorn (who just seemed fairly slimey, btw). Since Harry didn’t think he had passed his O.W.L.S., he didn’t bother getting the latest Potions book, and needs to borrow one from the school, only to find out that this book previously belonged to someone called “the Half-Blood Prince.”
Scrawled inside Harry’s Potions book are genius spells by the Prince, and it felt like Harry developed this kind of friendship with the person who invented them, even if he didn’t know who it was. I know he hoped it was his father, but I don’t think Harry got his brains from James; I think there is something to be said about Muggle-born wizards, because all of Harry’s trips in the Pensieve have hinted that Lily Evans was a keen one. I did always think that the book belonged to Voldemort, and obviously Rowling leads you by the nose with those teases, so who it really was, was a shock.
This is also the year that Dumbledore begins initiating private lessons with Harry, although for awhile, the lessons felt ambiguous to me. I didn’t understand the purpose behind them, except that the ultimate goal was to take down Voldemort. They of course spent a lot of time in memories, which was more than kind of awesome, because now I finally got to learn about Tom Riddle’s past, before he was even a twinkle in his mother’s eye (if he ever was). He and Harry shared such similar lives, but I do think this book shows there is Good and then there is Evil. Sometimes you can’t nurture the evil out of someone.
Rowling introduced me to Voldemort’s horcruxes, which just further confirms that he is an evil genius. Who else would split their soul in so many pieces, just to achieve mortality? Again, I do think that Harry and Voldemort are two sides to the same coin.
Harry is really angry in this book. And he takes it out on everyone around him, but I get it. He got the short end of the stick in life and it’s really unfair that he’s the Chosen One and the wizarding world (well, some of them) is depending on him to kill Voldemort, because according to the prophecy, only one can live.
I continued to waffle between Snape being bad and Snape being good. Rowling played both sides of him SO WELL, it was incredibly hard to decipher, but I knew which team I wanted him to be on! So tell me now, please! Except then he goes and does THAT THING and I had to set the Half-Blood Prince down and give myself a good cry. Because how is Harry supposed to defeat Voldemort without Dumbledore?