‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince‘ by J. K. Rowling does a wonderful job as the penultimate book of the renowned Harry Potter series. Not only is it a book that ties up the plot together between the first five books and the final one, but it also creates significant conflicts for the final book by changing the nature of relationships between several major characters. This subtle yet strong transition between the characters defines the nature of the plot of the final book, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.’
Furthermore, ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince‘ works really well on its own accord, creating several emotional and significant scenes that resonate feelings that have remained unacknowledged in the whole series.
Complexity of Relationships
‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince‘ is the most important book when it comes to the exploration of relationships in this book series. It deals with a lot of significant relationships and is considered the pinnacle of change in terms of relationships between characters in this book series.
Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore
Harry Potter has been under the constant protection of Albus Dumbledore since the beginning of this book series. However, in this book, for the first time, in the cave where Voldemort’s Horcrux is hidden, Dumbledore is at his most vulnerable and looks to Harry for protection. The frame of the relationship is shifted swiftly, and Harry is forced to become the protector of Dumbledore.
As Harry forces the dangerously painful liquid into Dumbledore’s mouth, he grapples between his need to not cause pain to Dumbledore physically by letting him drink it and the need to stick to his word, the need to render his promise. It is never easy to be faced with such situations, but it is necessary to make firm choices instead of half-hearted attempts at neither, thereby reducing either possibility from realizing – something that Harry learns through this endeavor.
Harry Potter and Severus Snape
Another example of a very similar yet mysterious relationship that changes frame is that between Severus Snape and Albus Dumbledore. While the events of the final book will clear up the confusions that persist in the minds of the reader about this relationship, there is a significant shift in their approach towards each other in this book.
Throughout the book series, Dumbledore has always been the higher authority on anything concerning Snape, and despite constantly defending his past, Dumbledore has always held Severus Snape under his control by not entertaining his constant pursuit of wanting to teach the Defence Against the Dark Arts, and by not indulging him in his constant disapproval of Harry. However, in the story of ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,’ from the very beginning, the frame is shifted, as Snape has finally got what he wants. He has become the Defence Against the Dark Arts professor, and he eventually ends up shooting the killing curse at Dumbledore, a man he always obeyed without question.
Harry Potter and Voldemort
The primary relationship that causes the plot of this entire book series to unravel, that between Harry Potter and Voldemort himself, is also subject to the changing frame in ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.’
Till this point, Harry had only seen Voldemort as the murderer of his parents and an untrustworthy, completely evil being who had to be vanquished for good. However, in this book, after his constant visits to the Pensieve and his exposure to Voldemort’s origins, Harry is humbled by how complex even ‘evil’ is within the ethics of its existence. Harry cannot help but feel sorry for and relate to young Tom Riddle, who had a very difficult childhood as an orphan, just like Harry.
This book humanizes Tom Riddle and portrays him in a light that understands the complexity of the human condition instead of one that villainizes him by default – something every book prior to ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince‘ has done.
Other Significant Transitions in Relationships
Some other transitions in relationships that define ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince‘ include the relationship between Harry and Draco, which, after Harry attacks Draco with the spell ‘Sectumsempra,’ sees Draco hesitating to kill Dumbledore, changes from pure hatred to a slight sense of empathy. Furthermore, both Harry and Ginny and also Ron and Hermione eventually end up getting together, respectively, after their romance has long been teased throughout the book series. All these new relationships, too, end up being really important and are a cause of severe tensions in ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.‘
Is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince a good book?
Yes, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood is a very good book in that it has a very interesting plot and is also a crucial book in the series. It anchors the plot and events of the first five books to the finale of the series, which ties all loose ends and cliffhangers that leave the readers hanging. Furthermore, ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince‘ does a great job showing several of its ‘negative’ characters in a positive light, humanizing them further in the eyes of the reader.
Why did Voldemort make seven Horcruxes?
While it is not clear as to why Voldemort made an exact number of Horcruxes, it is clear that he chose seven because he thought that to be a significantly big amount of partitions for his soul to hide in. He was confident that it was impossible for anyone to find all seven of his Horcruxes and destroy them, let alone figure out what Horcruxes are in the first place.
How does Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince end?
‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince‘ ends with the death of Albus Dumbledore in the hands of Severus Snape, someone whom Albus Dumbledore trusted all this while. Furthermore, Dumbledore’s funeral is held at Hogwarts, which is attended by several people from all across the globe. At the end of the book, the trio is left with the choice of attending Hogwarts for their seventh year or looking for the remaining Horcruxes to destroy. They end up choosing the latter.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Review
Lasting effect on the reader
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: A Pioneer in Character Development
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a pioneer in character development as it digs very deep into the source of the characters’ purposes in the entire series. Furthermore, it humanizes several of its negative characters, surprises readers with sudden twists in the plot and engages the reader emotionally through significant events that change the course of the series.
- Has a very rich array of characters, especially the antagonists.
- It has very good character development, and it shows the other side of the antagonist’s purpose, thereby humanizing him.
- The relationships in this book define the evolution of the series from that of children’s books to young adult or even adult books.
- It is a very long book and therefore feels overdrawn at times.
- It deals with romances a lot more than focusing on the major plot, sometimes making it unnecessarily dramatic.
- Some parts of the plot are very predictable, thereby reducing the interest of the reader.