Warning: Spoilers for the Harry Potter series.
I’m almost finished with my Harry Potter reread now, and I’ve been really enjoying it! I’m definitely getting into the more emotional books now (as you could probably tell from my Order of the Phoenix post), and this penultimate book was no better…
You can catch up on my previous Rereading Harry Potter posts here if you’ve missed any:
Now let’s talk about Half-Blood Prince!
My Thoughts Whilst Rereading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Poor Muggle Prime Minister!
I’d totally forgotten about the two separate scenes at the start of this book: the first being the Muggle Prime Minister reluctantly meeting with Fudge and the new Minister for Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour.
Whilst in a way I’ve always found this scene frustrating (I just want to get to the main characters, J.K. Rowling!) it is pretty interesting to see how the Wizarding World and Muggle world work together, with only the Prime Minister himself knowing of the existence of the other world.
You can see why he always hates Fudge coming though, what with all the bad news he brings! And I can’t say I’ve ever been sorry for Fudge losing his job, what with everything he and the Ministry put Harry through in the last book!
- Snape’s house.
I had also forgotten the scene at Snape’s house between him, Bellatrix Lestrange, and Narcissa Malfoy. I’ve been desperately trying to remember how I initially reacted to this scene, because it definitely implies that Snape is genuinely on Voldemort’s side, seen as he’s willing to make an Unbreakable Vow to help Draco Malfoy with the task he’s been set.
Was I convinced by this? Did I still think he was working for Dumbledore? I really can’t remember! It’s so hard reading these books when you know exactly what happens!
- Dumbledore meeting the Dursleys is amazing!
Dumbledore has always been a favourite character of mine, due to his mixture of being incredibly wise and powerful, yet delightfully odd at the same time. He’s pretty much everything the Dursleys hate and fear, so I love that you get a scene between them at the beginning of this book:
‘I would assume that you were going to offer me refreshment…but the evidence so far suggests that that would be optimistic to the point of foolishness.’
- Dumbledore continues to have the best lines…
’If I was a Death Eater I would have been sure to research my own jam preferences before impersonating myself.’
- The introduction of Slughorn.
I’ve always really disliked the character of Slughorn, but he’s definitely an interesting character…clearly Dumbledore knows how he ticks though, bringing Harry to meet him and persuade him to teach again at Hogwarts.
Slughorn even knows exactly what Dumbledore is doing, but falls for it anyway!
- The chat in the broom shed between Harry and Dumbledore already has me tearful…
This is just a small moment in the book that I had completely forgotten about… When Harry and Dumbledore arrive at the Burrow they duck into the broom shed for a moment first, and discuss Sirius’ loss, and the lessons Harry will take with Dumbledore that year.
“Sirius represented much to you that you had never known before…Naturally the loss is devastating…”
You see Harry and Dumbledore become much closer in this book, and I think this is one of the first moments where this is evident.
- Mr and Mrs Weasley’s passwords are hilarious and super awkward to bear witness to!
I love how Mr Weasley’s dearest ambition in life is to find out how aeroplanes stay up, and the name that Mr Weasley calls Mrs Weasley when they’re alone is ‘Mollywobbles’…although I’m not sure that’s a super flattering pet name!
- The reunion with Ron and Hermione!
I always love how excited they all are to see each other in the reunion scenes. And in this one, Harry finally has time to tell them about the prophecy, and how he’s essentially doomed to face Voldemort, and they’re so supportive! You know they’re going to be along for the ride, whatever!
- I love getting to see Fred and George’s shop!
Whilst the twins become less prominent characters in the last couple of books, they still manage to shine in the scenes they are in. And I love the scene where they visit Weasleys Wizard Wheezes, and we get to see what a success they’ve made of it!
- I always hate the Malfoy train incident!
Even though I do always start to feel sorry for Draco in this book, I really hate the scene where Harry hides in the Slytherin carriage, and then Draco stamps on is nose and leaves him frozen and invisible on the train. Not cool!
- Harry’s first lesson with Dumbledore.
One of the things I really like in Half-Blood Prince is the lessons Harry has with Dumbledore. Not only because you get to see Harry and Dumbledore bond more, but also because I think all the stuff about Voldemort’s past is really interesting. And obviously, it’s vital to the story!
- Katie Bell getting cursed is a genuinely creepy scene!
The scene where Katie Bell touches the cursed necklace is pretty horrible! It’s eerie how she’s described as rising gracefully into the air, and then she suddenly starts screaming! There’s a sense as well that things are getting serious, what with Hogwarts students getting hurt.
- Dumbledore’s second lesson.
You genuinely feel really sorry for Voldemort’s mother: she gets left by the husband she loves, after she stops giving him the love potion, and has so little money she has to sell off her only family heirloom for a pittance. Plus, you know, she dies after giving birth to the most evil wizard in history!
Dumbledore’s memory of meeting Tom Riddle in the orphanage is also pretty creepy, as child-Tom Riddle is just so immediately sinister, and there’s something so horrible about an evil child! I do love though how when Harry catches sight of the younger Dumbledore in a bright purple suit he says ‘Nice suit, sir!’ before he can stop himself!
- The first time it’s implicitly said that Ron and Hermione like each other!
Despite the little hints throughout earlier books (like Ron’s jealousy towards Viktor Krum!), I remember being genuinely surprised when it was outright said that Ron and Hermione liked each other. Like many people, I never really saw Hermione and Ron as couple material, but thankfully I got used to the idea in the end, and now rereading the series I think it’s quite sweet.
The first time it’s outright said is in Herbology when Ron scoffs at the idea of the Slug Club Christmas party, and Hermione said she was planning to be invited. Cue an awkward moment, where Harry thinks about how he knew this was coming, and hoped if they got together it didn’t somehow ruin their friendship…
- Love really is in the air…
This book really does go all out on the love front! It’s after Quiddich practice when Ron and Harry stumble upon Ginny kissing Dean behind a tapestry that you first realise how much Harry likes Ginny…he’s horrendously jealous!
Ron is also super angry his sister is smooching people all over the place, and it breaks out into a huge argument, where, to be fair, I think Ginny has a point:
’Harry snogged Cho Chang! And Hermione snogged Viktor Krum, it’s only you who acts like it’s something disgusting, Ron, because you’ve got about as much experience as a twelve-year-old!’
Shame he decides to make up for this lack of experience with Lavender Brown though…
- And so the Ron/Hermione jealousy war begins!
You feel really sorry for Harry in this book when he’s stuck in the middle of Ron and Hermione, who aren’t talking, and are trying to make each other jealous!
I love Hermione though in this section, as you get to see her more vulnerable side, whereas she usually seems to have everything under control.
- It’s pretty sweet though that Harry takes Luna to the party!
You don’t get to see as much of Luna throughout this book, and the odd time you see her, you feel kind of sorry for her. She really misses DA, because it was ‘like having friends’, so I think it’s really nice that Harry takes her to Slughorn’s party.
- I like Harry giving Rufus Scrimgeour sass at Christmas!
It is pretty cheeky for the Minster of Magic to ask for Harry’s help after everything that happened the previous year, and I love Harry giving him back talk.
I especially love when Scrimgeour accuses him of being ‘Dumbledore’s man, through and through’, and he says that he is. Aww!
- Poisoned Ron.
Ron accidentally taking the love potion is pretty funny, it’s just a shame it then gets scary when he drinks the poisoned wine in Slughorn’s office. It’s nice that it brings him back together with Hermione though!
- Harry’s most disastrous Quiddich match yet?
Harry has a history of getting injured in Quiddich matches, but getting hit in the face with a Bludger hit by his own Keeper (McLaggen, standing in for Ron) has to be one of the most unfortunate!
- The Felix Felicis section.
I love the section where Harry takes the lucky potion and goes down to Hagrid’s. Hagrid and Slughorn getting drunk after Aragog’s funeral is pretty hilarious:
’Parry Otter, The Chosen Boy Who – well – something of that sort.’
But also yay for Harry finally getting the Horcrux memory!
The revelation about how Voldemort has made himself immortal – the Horcruxes – is one of the biggest in the series. The idea of tearing your soul into seven is such a horrifying idea, that I think it’s one of Rowling’s best inventions.
You also start to get an idea though of how big of a job killing Voldemort is, and how difficult it will be for Harry to defeat him.
- Harry finally understanding that it isn’t the prophecy making him go after Voldemort.
There’s a bit during this lesson with Dumbledore, that I think is incredibly powerful: the part where Dumbledore tells him that it isn’t the prophecy that means Harry has to go after Voldemort, but his own courage, and desire to stop the person who has taken his whole family from him. This revelation is huge for Harry:
’It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high.’
- Poor Draco Malfoy!
You actually feel really sorry for Malfoy when Harry walks in on him crying in the bathroom…until he tries to hex him, obviously. You really feel Harry’s horror too though, when he uses Sectumsempra, and really hurts Malfoy!
- You get a glimpse of the Lost Diadem of Ravenclaw!
When Harry is hiding his book from Snape, there’s a ‘tarnished tiara’ mentioned, which in hindsight, we now know is Ravenclaw’s Diadem…and one of those Horcruxes Harry has just been discussing with Dumbledore! If only he knew then! Maybe the Battle of Hogwarts would never have happened.
- Harry and Ginny get it together!
Yay for a bit of happiness in Harry’s life, for once! I like how they finally kiss after they win the Quiddich Cup, and how Ron begrudgingly accepts it.
- More revelations!
There’s further revelations when Harry bumps into Trelawney on the way to Dumbledore’s office, and discovers that it was actually Snape who overheard the Prophecy. It’s so weird reading this bit knowing the full story of Snape and Lily Potter, although you can understand why Harry is furious.
- The cave.
I like the whole ‘Harry and Dumbledore going on an adventure thing’, but wow, the cave is creepy! Particularly the Inferi in the water!
And not to mention the horrible part where Dumbledore drinks the potion! You’re so used to him being calm and in control, that it’s so horrible to see him suffering and crying, and begging to stop.
It’s quite sweet though on the way out when Harry is trying to comfort Dumbledore, and Dumbledore quietly says:
’I am not worried, Harry. I am with you.’
It just goes to show he believes and trusts in Harry as much as Harry believes in, and trusts in him.
- The scene on top of the Astronomy tower breaks my heart!
And, onto the most emotional part of this book! Damnit, J.K. Rowling, always making me ugly cry when reading her books!
Poor Malfoy dithering, Dumbledore being kind to him, and trying to reason with him, Harry being frozen and having to watch as it all happens… Not to mention Dumbledore saying “Severus…please…’ right before it happens!
I can still remember the horrible sense of shock I felt when I first read this book… It just didn’t seem possible that Dumbledore, the greatest wizard of the age, could possibly have died as easily as that. And that Snape did it! Obviously, having read the final book, I can now see what Snape did in a different light, but it only makes it more heart-breaking that he had to do that!
- Poor Bill Weasley!
Bill Weasley getting savaged by Greyback is horrible, but it brings about a couple of really nice moments. The first being the bonding of Mrs Weasley and Fleur, after Mrs Weasley realises that what Bill and Fleur has is real, and that she will stick by him. Them crying and hugging is such a touching moment!
And Tonks shouting at Lupin that Fleur doesn’t care that Bill might be a werewolf, and why should she? You finally realise what has been wrong with Tonks throughout the book, and are really hoping that Lupin will stop being an idiot and accept that he loves her too!
- The funeral.
As with Order of the Phoenix I pretty much cried throughout the last chapter of this book… It being Dumbledore’s funeral is sad enough, without being privy to Harry’s thoughts on how people have stood in front of him one by one – his parents, Sirius, and now Dumbledore – and how they have all died. It really brings it home again how much he’s been through, and how much he still has to go through yet before it’s all over.
There is some hope though, at the end of this book: when he tells Ron and Hermione that he won’t be returning to Hogwarts the following year, but will be setting out alone to find the Horcruxes, they don’t hesitate. They take it for granted that they will be going with him, and that’s true friendship!
- Some serious relationships development goes on in this book!
This book is definitely a big turning point in the series, in terms of a lot of character relationships.
For one, the student/teacher relationship between Harry and Dumbledore becomes much closer, and becomes more of a mentor/friend type deal, which only makes it more heart-breaking when Dumbledore dies. As with Harry and Sirius, there’s a sense that they didn’t get enough time together to really see their relationship flourish, and they definitely didn’t have enough time together to figure out everything to do with the Horcruxes.
And of course, this is the book where the romance really steps up! From Ron’s disastrous first steps into the romantic arena with Lavender, to the tension with him and Hermione, and Harry’s fledgling relationship with Ginny. It’s all going on in this book, and there’s a sense of the characters really passing that threshold into adulthood!
- The future without Dumbledore looks bleak.
Despite the little ray of hope Rowling gives us at the end, with Hermione and Ron telling Harry they’re coming with him, this ending of this book is still pretty dark.
Without Dumbledore, the task of finding and destroying the rest of the Horcruxes seems even more impossible, and there’s a sense now that Harry and co., are truly alone. As Harry dwells on, numerous adults have stood between him and Voldemort, and one by one they’ve died… There’s no one left to stand between them, and it’s finally come down to the two of them: one will win, and the other will die.
So what are your favourite Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince moments?