- Release Date:2005-07-16
- In-universe Date:1996
- Series:Harry Potter
When Dumbledore arrives at Privet Drive one summer night to collect Harry Potter, his wand hand is blackened and shrivelled, but he does not reveal why. Secrets and suspicion are spreading through the wizarding world, and Hogwarts itself is not safe. Harry is convinced that Malfoy bears the Dark Mark: there is a Death Eater amongst them. Harry will need powerful magic and true friends as he explores Voldemort’s darkest secrets, and Dumbledore prepares him to face his destiny…
Out of all the Harry Potter books, The Half-Blood Prince is probably the most personal of all. We begin to really understand the character of Voldemort as well as Dumbledore. The book is filled with new information that we’ve been waiting for since the beginning.
After the fiasco at the Ministry of Magic, Harry now knows of the prophecy regarding him and Voldemort. He knows that “neither can live while the other survives.” So, it is during his sixth year at Hogwarts that Dumbledore begins personally instructing Harry about the Dark Lord, his secrets, and the steps that will be necessary to defeat him.
However, the Dark Lord is not idly spending his time. Now that the wizarding world knows of his return he can begin his slow takeover of the ministry. Included in his plans his the young Draco Malfoy, Harry’s arch-enemy, whom he has selected to perform a seemingly impossible task.
As I said, this book is contrastingly different in its personal and darker approach. Not only do we get inside the mind of Lord Voldemort, but we also learn of a new side to many other characters including, Draco Malfoy, and Severus Snape. J. K. Rowling has taken her already brilliant characters to a deeper level.
It is in this book that we are finally fully confronted with a question that has been brewing since the start of the series: Is Snape for Dumbledore or Voldemort? The answer has never been very clear before, though Dumbledore always said he trusted Snape, and we are now faced with what seems to be the answer. But is it?
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is perhaps one of the darkest novels in the series. It carries a sense of foreboding and is an excellent lead-up to the series finale.