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

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harry potter,book 6,half blood prince

Once again, I’d like to remind you that because the Harry Potter books and movies are so super-popular, I’m not going to avoid spoilers here…

I’m really torn on how much I like book #6. One the one hand, we get a BUNCH of new information and finally figure out Voldemort’s big secret. On the other hand – and this kind of hurts to say – I think J.K. Rowling was a bit lazy with this book.

A bit of a recap – in the beginning of this book, everyone finally believes that Lord Voldemort is back, people are dying and disappearing, and there are rumors that Harry is “The Chosen One”. Harry starts taking private “lessons” with Dumbledore. Malfoy is up to something bad, and Harry starts using an old Potions book once owned by someone called “The Half-Blood Prince” who was a Potions genius and has a dark side.

Well, let’s start off with the good things about the book. Now that the wizarding world knows that Voldemort really is back, people aren’t such jerks to Harry, which means that Harry is not so whiny. The Ron & Hermione thing becomes much more obvious, and is finally acknowledged by Harry. Also, Harry’s feelings for Ginny start to show and you can’t help but love it. Ginny is a great character, and I’m glad that she’s around more in this book. Professor Slughorn is introduced, who’s amusing and essential to the story.

Of course, the best thing about the book is how much we learn about Voldemort’s past. I found it all fascinating, and I got excited each time Dumbledore called Harry to his office to learn more. Voldy’s an infinitely interesting bad guy – it kind of makes me wish that Rowling would write a spoof “Voldemort: The Autobiography” or something, I think it’d be hilarious. Anyways, we figure out exactly why Voldemort didn’t just die when he gave Harry that scar – and Harry realizes exactly what he has to do if he wants to end Voldemort for good.

Now, the sucky things: Again, I think Rowling was being lazy when she wrote this. There wasn’t a whole lot of action, and the biggest plot was Harry’s lessons with Dumbledore. There were also the side-plots of a) what the heck Malfoy was up to and b) who exactly the Half-Blood Prince that wrote all over Harry’s substitute Potions book was. Now in every previous book, Ron and Hermione have been all about investigating their suspicions – they used to go to drastic lengths to follow up on a hunch, or to solve a mystery. But despite this not even being one of their exam years, they both spend most of the book brushing off Harry’s intuitive feeling that Malfoy was working for Voldemort. And none of the three of them tried very hard to figure out who the Half-Blood Prince was (though the hints were kind of obvious). There doesn’t seem to be any real good reason for their sudden casualness about Malfoy and the HBP – they aren’t even busy. In fact, they spend more time wallowing in teenage love drama. If Ron and Hermione had been the usual great friends they are to Harry, I bet a lot of very bad things would not have happened. But since Rowling obviously needed very bad things to happen, she could at least have put more effort into making it seem like a believable chain of events.

The only reason I can think for Rowling to this is to prove once again that Harry can’t accomplish everything alone. He needs his friends to be by his side, or disastrous things happen.

Overall, book 6 is disappointing. For the reason I just described, and also because of the lack of other characters – Neville and Luna are rarely around, and most of the Order of the Phoenix members are missing from the story too. We hardly even see much of Hagrid. And there’s the ending, which is just depressing, and which of course spawned the big “Is Snape Good or Evil?” debate.

I said before that I think book 5 may have been my least favorite, because Sirius being gone makes me crazy sad. But the overall plot and writing in this one makes me think that this is in fact my least favorite. I have way too many frustrations with this one. I still can’t wait to go on to book 7 though!

So, Sarah Says: 3.5 stars

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