This is part of my series of the reviews of all 7 books in “Harry Potter” series.
Fleur and Bill, Ron and Lavender, Ginny and Dean, Harry and Ginny… there is more than enough snogging going on in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”, but there is more than that to the book…
(SPOILERS WARNING for people who haven’t read the book)
Saddened by Sirius’ death in the battle in Ministry, Harry is happy that Prof. Dumbledore is going to take him out of Dursley’s house quite early in the holidays. Dumbledore arrives, telling Harry that Sirius has left everything to Harry in his will, including no. 12, Grimauld Place and Kreacher. After taking care of these, Harry and Dumbledore visit Dumbledore’s old friend and collegue, Prof. Horace Slughorn to be back in Hogwarts.
On the train to Hogwarts, Harry learns that he is almost a hero in wizarding world now, and that Malfoy has joined Voldemort in place of his father and is given an important mission. Reaching school, Snape has got his heart’s desire and is now a DADA teacher.
Harry learns that this development leaves him able to take all the classes he needs for becoming an Auror. Starting Potions class at the last moment, he is handed a much-written on, old potions book from the classroom by Prof. Slughorn. He finds out that the owner of the book (somebody called “Half-Blood Prince”) was a natural in Potions, and thus, the book makes him best in the class, and thus Slughorn’s favourite.
Dumbledore starts training him for his destiny, and starts taking him on trips in Pensieve to make him understand Lord Voldemort/Tom Riddle’s history. On one such trip, Harry finds out that Riddle, the student was very interested in something known as “Horcrux”, and upon picking Prof. Slughorn’s brain for the memory, he finds out that horcrux is a piece of soul bound in an object by dark magic, making the owner of the soul almost immortal (unless all his horcruxes are destroyed first). He also learns that Riddle’s diary he destroyed in Chamber of Secrets was a horcrux, and another is destroyed by Dumbeldore. But there may be about 5 horcruxes still lying around.
After a Quiddich match, Harry and Ginny finally get together. But before he can enjoy the life as a normal student, he starts with Dumbledore to retrieve one of the horcruxes Dumbledore has found, and in that quest, Prof. Trelawney’s prophesy of “lightning struck tower is fulfilled.
The book marks the highest point in the mentor-mentee relationship between Prof. Dumbledore and Harry. Dumbledore has researched Riddle’s life for many years, and he starts showing it to Harry, along with preparing him for the final battle. Harry also learns who heard the original prophesy by Prof. Trelawney, thereby betraying his parents. He also leanrs what Dumbledore wanted to tell him all along, the difference between willingly doing something and doing something because of prophesy.
After spending about half of the book jealous of Dean because he is dating Ginny, Harry is finally united with her after she wins them the Quiddich Cup in his absence. I am hoping Ginny (at least because of her determination and power) plays an important role in 7th book. Also, the potions book by Half-Blood Prince gives him tips and spells, and plays an important role in the book by allowing Harry to impress Slughorn, thus paving the way for Harry getting the most important memory in his learning process.
Harry also spends most of the time obsessing about Draco, and his mission for Lord Voldemort. Though not believed by anybody, he is horrifyingly proven correct at the end.
Stung by the realisation that Hermione kissed “Vicky” once, Ron hooks up with Lavender. But their relationship is mostly “non-verbal” and finally he breaks up with Lavender (a gaudy golden locket may not be the only thing influencing his decision), and the way is clear for him to get together with Hermione. Bill and Fleur Delacour are slated to be married, a decision first opposed by Mrs. Weasley, but the aftermath of the climax changes her.
With the winds of love blowing through the air, and the history of Tom Riddle, the book is worthy penultimate installment. And as we know that Lord Voldemort cursed the DADA position when he was refused it, the book also underlines the main theme of the book: the importance of free will and choice.