Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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 fe...

Title:Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0439785960
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:652 pages

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Reviews

  • Aloysius
    Jul 09, 2007

    I was first introduced to Harry Potter in a Children’s Lit class in college. I had resisted this popular phenomenon until I was forced to pick it up for a grade, and Book 1 was short enough that I could read it in the course of 2 hours. I have to admit I wasn’t impressed to any extent, nor did I dislike the experience, but I was critical on grounds of its being derivative, even if reading the first led to reading the second. After all, if I was bored and looking for something light, I could do w

    I was first introduced to Harry Potter in a Children’s Lit class in college. I had resisted this popular phenomenon until I was forced to pick it up for a grade, and Book 1 was short enough that I could read it in the course of 2 hours. I have to admit I wasn’t impressed to any extent, nor did I dislike the experience, but I was critical on grounds of its being derivative, even if reading the first led to reading the second. After all, if I was bored and looking for something light, I could do worse than a fantasy about a child wizard who fights evil with his friends. But it was really the third book, with its increasing darkness, that took me in and made me a fan.

    With a movie coming out for Order of Phoenix and Deathly Hallows on the horizon, I decided I would reread Half-Blood Prince. I figured it would take four sittings, of course, with its 600 pages, but time does fly when reading this one, and I’ve come to the conclusion that this is my favorite so far. What I wouldn’t have been willing to admit in college that I’m perfectly comfortable saying now is that J.K. Rowling is a fantastic storyteller; she writes with great clarity, wit, and humor; and she’s created a cast of loveable characters with whom most people, due to the common experience of growing up, can relate closely.

    That said, the reason for my preference for the 6th book is that it’s the most emotionally rich in the series. Here we get the backstory of Voldemort (*spoiler alert*) through a series of flashbacks (coming in HP by way of magically extracted memories), and in this way, we come to understand the villain’s similarities and differences with our hero. After all, the villain has to have reasons for committing heinous acts, and until now, we don’t know what these are.

    Voldemort is from a once-powerful wizard family reduced to poverty that lives in a dilapidated hovel on the edge of a small town, wary of outsiders, and their main point of pride is their pure blood, the lineage having cross-bred for generations so as not to pollute the line. Voldemort’s mother lives with her father and brother and yearns for the love of a nonmagical man (“muggle” in this world) and when her father and brother are arrested, she uses the opportunity to bewitch her beloved and run off. She ends up pregnant, the man deserts her, and she dies while giving birth to her half-wizard, half-muggle son, thus making him an orphan (like Harry).

    (Faulkner anyone?)

    But whereas Harry comes to Hogwarts and befriends Ron and Hermione creating unity and strength through positive emotions, Voldemort, when growing in the orphanage shuns other children, torturing them at times (without the awareness of adults) and stealing their possessions. What fuels him is his hatred of his beginnings, his mother’s weakness at having died like a common person despite being a witch, and the “muggle” blood inherited from his father. Over the course of his time at Hogwarts, Voldemort, charming as only evil can be, learns to win over people as a means to an end and disguise his insidious purposes, but he never befriends anyone. He moves, through his hatred, further away from many of the emotions that drive Harry, namely the desire to protect the people he loves and avenge his parents’ death.

    With Dumbledore’s help in exploring Voldemort’s past, Harry begins to understand that he’s come to be where he is through the choices he’s made, that his greatest strengths are an alliance with his friends, and that this might hold the key to destroying his enemy, a fact that’s made all the more poignant when Dumbledore, in an all-out assault on Hogwarts by Voldemort’s Death Eaters, is killed at the end. The stakes are higher than before, the action and pace increase as the conclusion draws near, and things are looking darker than ever, which is the setup that any fan wants when the end is looming and it leaves us with the question: How will our hero prevail?

  • John Brooks
    Oct 30, 2007

    The crown jewel of the Harry Potter series, "Half-Blood Prince" is one of the finest novels I've read in my lifetime. Having allowed us to watch Harry evolve and mature for so many years, Rowling finally lifts the veil, so to speak, humanizing the larger than life characters of not just Dumbledore and Snape, but significantly and achingly, Tom Riddle. This is love letter to one of the hardest things we all experience: the moment that your idols become your peers, your parents become your friends

    The crown jewel of the Harry Potter series, "Half-Blood Prince" is one of the finest novels I've read in my lifetime. Having allowed us to watch Harry evolve and mature for so many years, Rowling finally lifts the veil, so to speak, humanizing the larger than life characters of not just Dumbledore and Snape, but significantly and achingly, Tom Riddle. This is love letter to one of the hardest things we all experience: the moment that your idols become your peers, your parents become your friends, and your superiors your equals, when you realize we're all in this together and that it is nobody's job to shelter you, and when, finally, you realize that people are absolutely human.

    Rowling's affection for her characters and her sympathy for even the most vile of her creations (the Malfoys and Voldemort himself) are at the heart of Harry Potter's lasting beauty and insight. Here, she explores her three most fascinating creations, and one wishes the story would never end. But it does, and when it does, Harry is faced with the same challenge that Rowling subjects her readers to: how much faith do you really have in what you've been told, and do you believe, at the end of the day, that good really does win out?

    A timeles classic. One of my favorites, ever.

  • Chris
    Jan 31, 2008

    (Intro: Piano and strings)

    You were always by my side

    You will always be my guide

    But the road I'm on

    Goes on and on

    And I've left you beHIIIIIND!

    (Big crunch

    (Intro: Piano and strings)

    You were always by my side

    You will always be my guide

    But the road I'm on

    Goes on and on

    And I've left you beHIIIIIND!

    (Big crunchy electric guitar)

    (DUMBLEDORE!)

    I will never forget the strength you showed!

    (DUMBLEDORE!)

    I will never forget the debt you're owed!

    (DUMBLEDORE!)

    And when I face the final hour

    (DUMBLEDORE!)

    I will call on all your power!

    (Guitar solo)

    There's no way back again

    But if I can find a friend

    To see me though

    And remember you

    I'll make it to the EEEENNNND!

    (DUMBLEDORE!)

    When I finally catch that snake in the grass

    (DUMBLEDORE!)

    You will be able to rest at last!

    (DUMBLEDORE!)

    You know he never will escape

    (DUMBLEDORE!)

    I'm comin' for you SNAAAAAAAAPE!!!!

    (Guitar solo)

    (Guitar solo with children's choir singing "Run, Snape, Run!")

    (Guitar solo with fireworks)

    (Drums explode)

  • Raeleen Lemay
    Jun 26, 2010

    This is DEFINITELY one of my top favorite books in the series. Shit just gets so real.

    My thoughts:

    -Dumbledore is so FREAKING sketchy in this book! He's so secretive, and he's always sneaking around, not explaining anything to Harry.

    -I'm always so proud of Fred and George for getting their own joke shop... I don't know what it is, I just feel like a proud mom.

    -ALL OF THE TOM RIDDLE BACKSTORY. THE GAUNT HOUSE. OMG. I literally need a whole book ab

    This is DEFINITELY one of my top favorite books in the series. Shit just gets so real.

    My thoughts:

    -Dumbledore is so FREAKING sketchy in this book! He's so secretive, and he's always sneaking around, not explaining anything to Harry.

    -I'm always so proud of Fred and George for getting their own joke shop... I don't know what it is, I just feel like a proud mom.

    -ALL OF THE TOM RIDDLE BACKSTORY. THE GAUNT HOUSE. OMG. I literally need a whole book about Tom Riddle's life. That would make me happy.

    -While reading this book, there were about a hundred times when I was just amazed by irony at the whole Snape/Half-Blood Prince situation. (Harry is always going on about how great the Prince is and how terrible Snape is, etc.) I loved it!

    -

    WHY COULDN'T HE HAVE JUST EXPLAINED HORCRUXES TO HARRY THEN? COME ON MANNNNN.

    -the fact that Voldemort went back to Hogwarts to ask for a job just.... is hilarious to me. I'm picturing a sort of weird looking Tom Riddle like "plz. im evil but i luv hogwartz"

    -when you find out that the Defence Against the Dark Arts job is actually cursed *thumbs up*

    -

    RON ACTUALLY SAID THOSE WORDS. HE SAID THEM AND MY HEART SANG. He meant it in a friendly way but Hermione definitely loved hearing it.

    -Harry and Ginny are both so sassy and I love it when they become sassy together <3

    -at the end when Hagrid said something along the lines of "Dumbledore will be able to fix it" right after Harry saw him die.... Saddest thing ever.

    This book and its movie are definitely up there on my favorites list.

  • Whitney Atkinson
    Oct 09, 2013

    i dont want to talk to anyone

    dont even look at me

    i was expecting it and i still cried for like 30 minutes

  • Cait (Paper Fury)
    Jan 20, 2014

    "Read Harry Potter!" they said. "It'll be fun!" they said. "Our childhood was built on Harry Potter!" they said.

    WELL YOUR CHILDHOODS WERE ALL HORRIBLE. OMG WHAT IS THIS BOOK? WHAT IS THIS MESS I'M IN?? Excuse me, but that large salty lake where my life used to be is my

    .

    But SERIOUSLY. Nooooot okay. At the end there, especially, I couldn't put the audio down so I was wandering about my house in a blind daze listening instead.

    And because every human and their

    "Read Harry Potter!" they said. "It'll be fun!" they said. "Our childhood was built on Harry Potter!" they said.

    WELL YOUR CHILDHOODS WERE ALL HORRIBLE. OMG WHAT IS THIS BOOK? WHAT IS THIS MESS I'M IN?? Excuse me, but that large salty lake where my life used to be is my

    .

    But SERIOUSLY. Nooooot okay. At the end there, especially, I couldn't put the audio down so I was wandering about my house in a blind daze listening instead.

    And because every human and their fluffy poodle has probably sensibly reviewed this book, BAH. I'm just going to make a list of things I loved and things I didn't.

    • Harry + Ginny = yes. I was dubious at first. Like I think romance is NOT JKR's strong point...plus when she gets to a romantic scene she ends the chapter. HHAHAH. ADORABLE. (Not that I minded, I just...I think she's not good at romance.) But omg, there was that moment after the Quidditch match??? YUP. You know what I'm talking about. Excuse me, my heart just ran around in circles screaming and shipping.

    • Hermione: I adore her, but...I gotta admit, she was a little bit too stuffy. BUT I STILL LOVE HER. I love her love for learning.

    • I also adore how sensible Ginny is.

    • Fred and George's joke shop gives life. Also death, probs, but liiiiife.

    • I am utterly in LOVE with the whole concept of Hogwarts. I mean, I think it's stupid that they have to write with a quill and ink (can't they just enchant the quill to write for them?) and they seem to get an excessive amount of homework, BUT. It's all so vivid and detailed and it literally feels like Hogwarts is A REAL PLACE. I totally get why people wail about their letters going missing.

    • Speaking of detail...me likey. I always felt

    the story.

    • Plus the audio book (narrated by Jim Dale) is GREAT. I totally recommend it. I think Hermione's voice had a tendency to sound like an insufferable goat, but I got used to it. Harry's voice was perfection.

    • I also particularly liked Harry in this book. I JUST LOVE HARRY. <3 He's snarky, but he's lost some of the angriness from bk 5. He's got snarky quips at the ready, but he's also intensely...good. Like he's just a really GOOD chap, who makes bad decisions but really means well. ZOMG. *flails about* He was definitely my favourite character in this book.

    • ALSO DUMBLEDORE WAS GREAT. I love Dumbledore and how he's always polite and kind and smiley.

    • Okay so, question: WHY do they sometimes go places and buy food...and sometimes they just magic it? Like Mrs. Weasely magics onion soup out of nothing for Harry. But in the next chapter, Harry and Ron are peeling sprouts. LIKE WUT. This makes no sense to me.

    • Why didn't Dumbledore pour the evil potion on the ground instead of drinking it? Just wannna know...

    • How the FLYING FRIKKIN BROOMSTICKS can anyone possibly convince me Snape is still on the good side? Because I don't even care. He can go abra kadabra himself to Timbuktu and DIE THERE THANKS. There is no repentance after this. I don't even care what the "reason" is in book 7, but Harry: you are an idiot to name your kid after Snape.

    • I HOPE SNAPE DIES.

    • DID I MENTION MY HATE FOR SNAPE YET???????

    • Oh and another thing...

    • Okay. Good now. I'm calm. Thank you.

    • HAHHAHHAHAHTE SNAPE.

    • Yes, I truly am calm this time. I'm good.

    . I also am fairly annoyed about Voldermort's (Tom Riddle) backstory. Because he read like he was straight out of a psychopath text book...which I found monstrously unimaginative. Attractive, calm, subtle bully, kleptomaniac, limited emotional reach, charmer, smooth...blah blah. Yes. I can just read a book about psychopaths and that's Voldey's description. I wish there'd been a little more ingenuity in there.

    • I really also dislike Ron. I KNOW. Travesty. But he's a bully! He was bullying first year's

    ...turfing tem off chairs, scaring them, bossing them around, taking stuff off them in the name of "prefect". Like how is that good?? How is that okay??? I will not forgive Ron for all this. And also the fact that he's a downright BRUTE to Hermione. How can I ship them when he's so rude and demeaning to her?? I DON'T. Hermione deserves better. And I don't buy the "She completes him by sorting him out" because I think all humans should take responsibility for their actions. Hermione shouldn't HAVE to force Ron into a better person and be his conscious. AGH.

    • Not shipping that. ^^

    • Okay, I'm done. But just *whispers* I hate hate hate Snape.

    I loved the audio. I loved the story. I

    Harry and the world just feels so big and rich and visual. I get the intense fandom for this I DO GET IT. After being so angry and 1000% done in with book 3, I can successfully say I can't WAIT to read the last book now. And then watch all the movies. And then I'll finally be caught up, omg. Only took me like 10 years.

  • Kassidy
    Jun 21, 2014

    It seems like by now, everyone would realize they should listen to Harry..

    Such a sad end :( I knew that was going to happen before starting the series, but didn't know when. It still got me in the feels, though.

    The book as a whole was really fun and entertaining. I love the mystery and learning more about Voldemort. The romance drama was funny as well.

    I can't wait to see what adventures the next book brings and how it all concludes..

  • emma
    Feb 21, 2017

    Reminder that all of my Harry Potter reviews contain unmarked spoilers, and lots of ’em. If you’re one of the two people on Goodreads who hasn’t read this series, this review is not for you. So, my dear underside-of-a-rock-residing friends:

    This review will be interesting, because this book was far (far, far) from perfect, and yet I am utterly determined to give it 5 stars. (Which I have only given to the first book in this series.)

    God, how do you talk abou

    Reminder that all of my Harry Potter reviews contain unmarked spoilers, and lots of ’em. If you’re one of the two people on Goodreads who hasn’t read this series, this review is not for you. So, my dear underside-of-a-rock-residing friends:

    This review will be interesting, because this book was far (far, far) from perfect, and yet I am utterly determined to give it 5 stars. (Which I have only given to the first book in this series.)

    God, how do you talk about this book? It’s really amazing. It is really hard for me to feel anything while reading a book

    . For example, I felt nothing when Sirius died. Nothing throughout most of this series, actually. And nothing in this book, because nothing happened and everyone survived and everything is sunshiney and joyful!

    Ugh. I tried. The last hundred-ish pages of this book really tore me apart. Okay, even that’s not true. I’ll just come out and say it: I’m really f*cking sad that Dumbledore died. I love him so much. He’s high up in my top 5 characters. (Do I even have a top 5?) I’m devastated, which makes me even more upset, because I have a life to live today and can’t just lay around and wallow in fictional pain.

    I’m going to move on in the hopes that I just. Forget. Because I don’t like this at ALL.

    Here, we see Harry Potter - who, I think few will argue, has been a fairly mediocre character up to this point - become AMAZING. He’s motivated solely by his need to work against injustice and evil. He realizes his parents’ legacy within himself. He denounces the sucking up of others. He works hard in school! He is a good friend even when his two BFFS are being childish to one another plus refusing to believe him. In short, he’s really, really, five-star-level great here. Gorgeous character development in 650 pages.

    I didn’t think I liked Ginny much, because I didn’t remember this book well...like, at all. But she is so great! So funny. I wish there was more of her in this book.

    Also, I’ll fight anyone who says Dumbledore is ~the real villain~ of this series. He’s really not. (Cough, Snape is, cough.) AND YOU'RE NOT EDGY, PEOPLE WHO HATE DUMBLEDORE BUT LOVE SNAPE. YOU'RE JUST DUMB. I fell deeply in love with the guy. (Dumbledore, not Snape. BLEH.) AND I F*CKING MISS HIM. Goddamn it. Trying to forget didn’t last very long. Anyway.

    I missed Hermione and Neville. Hermione was absolutely not well-represented here at all. Maybe it’s a good thing she’s not a Ravenclaw (#RavenclawPride) because she works fully against logic throughout this book. And when she’s not she just, like, refuses to believe Harry.

    Ron is soooooooooo annoying! Is he anyone’s favorite character? He’s like, Fred or George if one of them was totally childish and attention-starved and mean. In fact, Ronald is a pretty impressive character for the number of gross character traits he embodies despite being supposed to be a good character. Mean, immature, rude, jealous, definition of an inferiority complex. Bleh.

    Harry and Ginny I’m totally for, BUT THE OTHER RELATIONSHIPS IN THIS BOOK ARE SO BORING. Can we do Hermione and Fred instead? Ron and Luna would be cute. Or, God forbid, some LGBT representation? WE KNOW YOU’RE A SUPPORTER, JOANNE. Don’t even get me started on Lupin and Tonks.

    Speaking of supposedly-good characters’ downfalls: I’m no longer a Hagrid fan. It started with the last book and came fully around here. Like, at a certain point, the man needs a character trait. Liking weird animals, making bad food, and being humongous don’t count. Harry and Hermione’s constant stubbornness is annoying. Plus makes the plot repetitive once in a while. Also, Tonks. You know what, I guess I AM going to get started on Lupin and Tonks! She was a hilarious badass in the last book, totally depressed and weak in this one. I know I sound like a total emotionless asshole here, but that’s who I am, and she’s annoying in this book. AND IT’S TOTALLY FINE BECAUSE SHE’S JUST BEING A SPINELESS IDIOT OVER SOME DUMB SHABBY MAN. Kill me, please.

    Too much Snape. (Cannot WAIT to write the rant on him.) Too much Draco. (Why do people romanticize that little weirdo so much? I guess I get the temptation, but he’s a bully at best and a spineless traitor at worst.) I hate Kreacher and I hate Dobby...I hated Winky, too...I might hate house elves. If that makes me racist against a species of fictional character, SO BE IT, I GUESS.

    I miss Fred and George, and the fun people from the Order (if they existed), and Hermione and Neville aren’t here nearly enough. The price of Harry’s amazing and concise character development is WAY too many bad characters, not nearly enough of the good ones. EXCEPT DUMBLEDORE. UGHHHH. I’M SO SAD. (I think my inability to cry is making this worse. Maybe if I just creepily sobbed in front of my roommate for a few minutes I’d feel better. Damn you, my lack of emotions! Just kidding love you.)

    But I want to give this book five stars more than anything. It was so compulsively readable, more than any other book since the first for me. And it’s the last book where our pals are attending Hogwarts. That makes me so sad. It’s such a gorgeous setting and I’m going to miss it so much. WHY IS THIS BOOK SO SAD?! If Deathly Hallows is any sadder I’ll be seriously impressed. And also seriously screwed.

    And, okay, even though I was a harsh critic of these books...I’m really going to miss this series. I’ve been rereading it on and off (obviously) for three months, and it’s been a fun ride. This is one of the greatest settings of all time. And since I’m rereading it after 10 years, it’s like saying goodbye twice. AND I HATE ENDINGS.

    Bottom line: Okay, THIS is my favorite Harry Potter book. (Anyone else’s?) Unreal character development + tragic and lovely adieu to a gorgeous setting + ability to make me feel real, deep emotion + compulsively readable? An absolute dream.

    ----------ORIGINAL REVIEW---------------

    Ron and Hermione's will-they-won't-they is a total snoozefest. I propose Fred & Hermione and Ron & Luna instead. Also seven more books!


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