Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

by Alan Rapp on August 4, 2005

in Books & Magazines

  • Title: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Wikipedia: link

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the sixth entry and, if we believe the author, the next to last book in the Harry Potter series.  So how does it rank?  Well I have enjoyed the series for the most part, but was disappointed with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix which seemed hastily written to appease the publishers and fans rather than craft a good story.  After reading this installment however I was once again happily transported back into the world of witches and wizards, goblins and house-elves, and a wonderful school for magic.  The book recaptures the magic and mystery as we are thrust once more into the world of Harry Potter.

All of our old friends are back, but the world that we return to isn’t quite as cheery as the one we left.  Lord Voldemort has organized his Death Eaters and begun to attack and kill off any obstacles to his return to power.  The newspapers are full of new casualties every day, and a cloud of fear seems to surround everything.

Harry and his friends return to Hogwarts to begin their next to last year of training as wizards.  Although life outside of Hogwarts has changed, inside things remain much the same under the watchful eyes of Dumbledore.  We get a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, more Quidditch matches, and a handful of new mysteries to solve.  Where is Malfoy disappearing to, and what type of mischief is he planning?  What secret is Professor Slughorn hiding?  Just who is the Half-Blood Prince?  Whose side is Professor Snape really on?

The book focuses more on the relationships of our characters than the more recent entries of the series.  Harry starts to take private lessons from Dumbledore.  Hermione and Ron’s relationship goes through some tumultuous moments.  Harry and Ron both find themselves new love interests.  This is one of the best parts of the book.  Rowling understands the lives of her characters can not remain static; they must change and grow.  We get a few new faces, but the book mainly focuses on better examining the characters we already know from the earlier books and discovering more about them.

This is the sixth book of the series.  By now you’ve already read a book or two and know whether the series works for you or you have ignored them completely.  I don’t think the book will create a huge surge in new Potter fans,  but I think those that exist will be quite happy with this edition of Harry’s adventures.  While I don’t think the book is as good as Goblet of Fire (my favorite of the bunch) it is quite an improvement over Order of the Phoenix.  The book focuses on how relationships change as adolescents start to mature, whether they are ready for them or not.  Even as the world as become darkened with Voldemort’s touch, Rowling recaptures the spirit of adventure and excitement that has become the standard for the series.

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