The movie Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince opens this week so if you haven’t read the book yet, now is the time. Most fans of the series read the book a few years ago, so read on for a quick refresher. If you recall, the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, ended with the wizarding world finally becoming aware that Lord Voldemort had returned. The sixth book begins with the magical world at war and a new minister of magic taking office, now that the bumbling Cornelius Fudge has been relieved of duty. As the story of his battle with Voldemort spreads, Harry is once again everyone’s hero, the chosen one who will defeat Voldemort forever.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince opens with Harry spending his summer at the Dursley’s, until Dumbledore arrives and asks him to help him persuade Horace Slughorn to become the newest professor at Hogwarts. Professor Slughorn isn’t a bad person, but he is one of those people who value others for their social connections or what they can do for him. To me he’s pretty repulsive, but a vast improvement on the hideous Dolores Umbridge. While at Hogwarts, Harry acquires an old potions textbook with writing-covered margins that once belonged to someone who called himself “The Half-Blood Prince.” Despite Hermione’s objections, Harry uses the spells in class to his benefit.
Dumbledore, whose hand is mysteriously withered, begins meeting with Harry to show him everything he has learned about Voldemort’s, aka Tom Riddle’s, life before and after Hogwarts so that Harry may better understand his enemy. Through the Pensieve, Harry sees that Riddle collected objects of importance that he later turned into horcruxes – objects that hold onto a piece of one’s soul, which ensures immortality but at the cost of fracturing the soul. Harry realizes that in order to kill Voldemort, he must first destroy the horcruxes. One thing this book really drives home is how different Harry and Riddle are, even though they were both orphans who found a home at Hogwarts. Despite being given many opportunities, Riddle chose to use his talent and charisma for evil.
Those who have read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will certainly remember the unforgettable ending, so I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t. But, seriously, if you haven’t read the book, what are you waiting for? I love all the Harry Potter books, but this is one of the best in the series. Dumbledore preparing Harry for defeating Voldemort is bittersweet because it needs to be done, but it’s heartbreaking to see Harry have to face such adult problems. The Half-Blood Prince is more grown-up than previous books and has adult themes, but there is also a lot of teenage romance and angst that is a reminder of how young the characters really are.
The Harry Potter movies are fantastic and I will definitely be the first in line this weekend, but I highly recommend reading the books too because they contain so much more detailed information. There’s just no way to fit all the various storylines into a 2 hour movie, so by not reading the book you really do miss some of the background that makes Rowling’s characters so enjoyable.
Buy Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling on Amazon by clicking here .
(You can also read a review for the movie Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince here .)