Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
Harry Potter books
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Author J. K. Rowling
Illustrators Jason Cockcroft (UK)
Mary GrandPré (US)
Genre Fantasy
Publishers Bloomsbury (UK)
Scholastic (US)
Raincoast (Canada)
Released 16 July 2005
Book no. Six
Sales ~65 million (worldwide)
Story timeline 1996-1997
Chapters 30
Pages 607 (UK)
652 (US)
Preceded by Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Followed by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, released on 16 July 2005, is the sixth of seven novels in J. K. Rowling's popular Harry Potter series. Set during Harry Potter's sixth year at Hogwarts, the novel explores Lord Voldemort's past, and Harry's preparations for the final battle amidst emerging romantic relationships and the emotional confusions and conflict resolutions characteristic of mid-adolescence.

The book sold nine million copies in the first 24 hours after its release, a record at the time which was eventually broken by its successor, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.[1]


[edit] Plot

In the second chapter, Professor Snape, appearing to have rejoined the Death eaters and Lord Voldemort, is visited by Narcissa Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange. A terrified Nacrissa tells Snape that her son Draco has had orders from Lord Voldemort, and Narcissa is clearly terrified that the orders will spell her son's doom. She asks Snape to make an unbreakable vow with her to protect her son and do the job for him, should Draco fail. Snape agrees, and the vow is sealed.

Meanwhile, as Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters create crises in both the magical and Muggle worlds, Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge is replaced by Rufus Scrimgeour. Harry Potter accompanies Albus Dumbledore on a trip to persuade retired Hogwarts professor, Horace Slughorn, to return to teach. Harry notices that one of Dumbledore's hands is withered and burnt black, and that he is wearing a ring with a distinctively-marked stone.

Harry spends the remaining holiday at The Burrow with the Weasleys and Hermione, where they receive their O.W.L. results. To become Aurors, Harry and Ron must take N.E.W.T. Level Potions, but their O.W.L.s in the subject are too low to enroll in Snape's class.

At Hogwarts, Snape is unexpectedly announced as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor, with Slughorn becoming the Potions teacher. Harry and Ron’s O.W.L.s are good enough to enroll in Slughorn’s class, which has lower standards, but neither had purchased the textbook, so Slughorn lends them old Potions textbooks. Harry's book has notes and corrections scribbled all over the pages. Harry discovers that these corrections yield better results than the textbook's instructions and that the book is inscribed as having previously belonged to the "Half-Blood Prince". As the year continues, Ron dates Lavender Brown but then returns to Hermione. Harry realizes that he has feelings (that are conflicting with his friendship with Ron) for Ginny, who has stopped pursuing him and is dating Dean Thomas.

During the school year at Hogwarts, Dumbledore privately tutors Harry, using his Pensieve to show Harry collected memories about Voldemort's past. Dumbledore asks Harry to retrieve a key memory from Slughorn that Slughorn has resisted providing, regarding Slughorn's conversation with a sixth-year Tom Riddle. After disappointing Dumbledore once by not getting the memory from Slughorn, Harry uses Felix Felicis potion (which bestows a day of luck on its drinker) that he had been rewarded with for his newfound "skill" (derived almost entirely from written hints from the Half-Blood Prince) in potion making, to gain the memory.

The series of memories reveals that to attain immortality, Voldemort splintered his soul (through committing murders) into six fragments attached to objects called Horcruxes, while leaving a seventh piece in his body. As long as any of the Horcruxes exist, Voldemort cannot be killed. Two Horcruxes have been destroyed: Tom Riddle's diary by Harry in the Chamber of Secrets[HP2] and Marvolo Gaunt's ring by Dumbledore (the ring Harry noticed on his hand earlier). The memories indicate that three other Horcruxes are most likely a locket formerly owned by Salazar Slytherin, a cup formerly owned by Helga Hufflepuff, and the snake Nagini; but the last of the six Horcruxes remains unidentified. Dumbledore speculates that it may be a possession of Gryffindor or Ravenclaw, as Tom Riddle would have wanted a possession of each of the founders of Hogwarts, his first and only real home.

After seeing Harry cast an unusual curse, "Sectumsempra" (which slashes its victim repeatedly all over his/her body) against Draco Malfoy, Snape attempts to repossess Harry's Potions book, but Harry gives him Ron's copy instead and hides his copy in the Room of Requirement, noting several other items hidden there over the years. He then distinguishes the cabinet that the book is in with an old bust wearing a wig and a strange looking tiara. Harry gets detention from Snape and misses the Quidditch finals, but Gryffindor wins the Cup with Ron and Ginny starring in the match. During the victory celebration, Harry spontaneously kisses Ginny and they begin dating, with Ron's reluctant approval.

Dumbledore locates another Horcrux and asks Harry to accompany him to destroy it. They apparate to a secret cave to retrieve Slytherin's locket. Harry and Dumbledore find the cave, present a blood offering to a secret door, and row in a small boat across an Inferi-infested lake.To acquire the locket, Dumbledore must drink a mysterious liquid. Apparently gravely injured by the potion, he deliriously pleads to die.

Harry retrieves the Horcrux and guides Dumbledore to safety in Hogsmeade. But as they arrive, they see the Dark Mark hovering over the Astronomy Tower at Hogwarts and huriedly return to the school.

Dumbledore and an invisibility-cloaked Harry are confronted atop the tower by Draco Malfoy, and before Harry can reveal himself, Dumbledore immobilizes Harry with a silent spell. Malfoy disarms the wounded Dumbledore and admits that he, Draco, was behind a series of attacks on Hogwarts students, and that Voldemort has ordered him to kill Dumbledore. Dumbledore offers Draco the chance to change sides, and promises to hide Draco and his mother where Voldemort will never find them. Draco cannot bring himself to kill the headmaster, when suddenly Snape--who has also seen the Dark Mark--arrives and casts “Avada Kedavra”, killing Dumbledore. Harry, enraged and freed from immobility by Dumbledore's death, pursues Snape, who reveals that he is the "Half-Blood Prince" (as his mother was born Eileen Prince to a wizard family and his father was a muggle) and duels Harry until he gets outside Hogwarts and disapparates.

Harry recovers the locket from Dumbledore's body, only to discover it is a fake left by someone with the initials R. A. B., who had apparently stolen the real Horcrux and left a note about his opposition to Voldemort.

The school year ends abruptly with Dumbledore's funeral. He is buried, along with his wand, at Hogwarts, beside the lake. Hogwarts's fate is uncertain, but Harry vows not to return to school and to hunt for the remaining Horcruxes. Harry breaks up with Ginny to keep her safe from danger during his quest and Ron and Hermione pledge to accompany him.

[edit] Pre-release history

The record-breaking publication of Half-Blood Prince was accompanied by controversy. In May 2005 bookmakers in the UK suspended bets on which main character would die in the book amid fears of insider knowledge. A number of high value bets were made on the death of Albus Dumbledore, many coming from the town of Bungay where, it was believed, the books were being printed at the time. Betting was later reopened.[2] Other controversies included the "right to read" Potter books inadvertently sold before the release date, environmental concerns over the source of the paper used in the printing of millions of books, and fan reactions to the plot developments and revelations of the novel.

[edit] Right to read controversy

In early July 2005, a Real Canadian Superstore in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, accidentally sold fourteen copies of The Half-Blood Prince before the authorised release date. The Canadian publisher, Raincoast Books, obtained an injunction from the Supreme Court of British Columbia prohibiting the purchasers from reading the books before the official release date or from discussing the contents. Purchasers were offered a Harry Potter T-shirt and an autographed copy of the book if they returned their copies before 16 July.

On 15 July, less than twelve hours before the book went on sale in the Eastern time zone, Raincoast warned The Globe and Mail newspaper that publishing a review from a Canada-based writer at midnight, as the paper had promised, would be seen as a violation of the trade secret injunction. The injunction sparked a number of news articles alleging that the injunction had restricted fundamental rights. Canadian law professor Michael Geist posted commentary on his blog;[3] Richard Stallman called for a boycott, requesting that the publisher issue an apology.[4] The Globe and Mail published a review from two UK-based writers in its 16 July edition and posted the Canadian writer's review on its website at 9 a.m. that morning.[5] Commentary was also provided on the Raincoast website.[6]

[edit] Spoilers

The plot detail "Snape kills Dumbledore," along with a list of chapter titles, were leaked on the Usenet group alt.fan.harrypotter as early as July 14, 2005 — two days before the official release date.[citation needed] Weeks earlier, betting patterns on the website "Blue Square" recorded an unusual surge in bets originating in a town where the book was being printed (as pointed out in the Guardian newspaper May 24, 2005).[7]

[edit] Dedication

Rowling became pregnant with her third child during the writing of this book, and often joked about them racing each other into the world. For this reason, the book has this dedication:

To Mackenzie,
my beautiful daughter,
I dedicate
her ink and paper twin

[edit] Movie

The movie based on the sixth book was originally scheduled to be released on 21 November 2008, but was pushed back to 17 July 2009.[8] The screenplay was written by Steve Kloves, and David Yates directed the film.[8]

[edit] Text changes

As with Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the United States version of the novel has slightly changed text from the British version. One particular section has been remarked upon, where the alteration makes the nature of Dumbledore's offer to Draco Malfoy before Snape kills Dumbledore in the Half-Blood Prince explicit. The reason for the editing of the following text has not been explained on the author's webpage, but the British edition is more ambiguous. The text can be found in chapter 27, "The Lightning-Struck Tower". The U.S. text was changed to match the UK version with the publication of the paperback edition.[9] The parts added in the United States version have been highlighted in bold, below:

"[…] He told me to do it or he'll kill me. I've got no choice." "He cannot kill you if you are already dead. Come over to the right side Draco, and we can hide you more completely than you can possibly imagine. What is more, I can send members of the Order to your mother tonight to hide her likewise. Nobody would be surprised that you had died in your attempt to kill me — forgive me, but Lord Voldemort probably expects it. Nor would the Death Eaters be surprised that we had captured and killed your mother — it is what they would do themselves, after all. Your father is safe at the moment in Azkaban […]"
(U.S. Edition p. 591)(CND Edition p. 552) [HP6]

[edit] References

[edit] External links

Personal tools