Aloysius's Reviews > Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
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Jul 15, 07

Recommended for: Popular Fantasy Geeks
Read in July, 2007

** spoiler alert ** I was first introduced to Harry Potter in a Children’s Lit class in college. I had resisted this popular phenomenon until I was forced to pick it up for a grade, and Book 1 was short enough that I could read it in the course of 2 hours. I have to admit I wasn’t impressed to any extent, nor did I dislike the experience, but I was critical on grounds of its being derivative, even if reading the first led to reading the second. After all, if I was bored and looking for something light, I could do worse than a fantasy about a child wizard who fights evil with his friends. But it was really the third book, with its increasing darkness, that took me in and made me a fan.

With a movie coming out for Order of Phoenix and Deathly Hallows on the horizon, I decided I would reread Half-Blood Prince. I figured it would take four sittings, of course, with its 600 pages, but time does fly when reading this one, and I’ve come to the conclusion that this is my favorite so far. What I wouldn’t have been willing to admit in college that I’m perfectly comfortable saying now is that J.K. Rowling is a fantastic storyteller; she writes with great clarity, wit, and humor; and she’s created a cast of loveable characters with whom most people, due to the common experience of growing up, can relate closely.

That said, the reason for my preference for the 6th book is that it’s the most emotionally rich in the series. Here we get the backstory of Voldemort (*spoiler alert*) through a series of flashbacks (coming in HP by way of magically extracted memories), and in this way, we come to understand the villain’s similarities and differences with our hero. After all, the villain has to have reasons for committing heinous acts, and until now, we don’t know what these are.

Voldemort is from a once-powerful wizard family reduced to poverty that lives in a dilapidated hovel on the edge of a small town, wary of outsiders, and their main point of pride is their pure blood, the lineage having cross-bred for generations so as not to pollute the line. Voldemort’s mother lives with her father and brother and yearns for the love of a nonmagical man (“muggle” in this world) and when her father and brother are arrested, she uses the opportunity to bewitch her beloved and run off. She ends up pregnant, the man deserts her, and she dies while giving birth to her half-wizard, half-muggle son, thus making him an orphan (like Harry).

(Faulkner anyone?)

But whereas Harry comes to Hogwarts and befriends Ron and Hermione creating unity and strength through positive emotions, Voldemort, when growing in the orphanage shuns other children, torturing them at times (without the awareness of adults) and stealing their possessions. What fuels him is his hatred of his beginnings, his mother’s weakness at having died like a common person despite being a witch, and the “muggle” blood inherited from his father. Over the course of his time at Hogwarts, Voldemort, charming as only evil can be, learns to win over people as a means to an end and disguise his insidious purposes, but he never befriends anyone. He moves, through his hatred, further away from many of the emotions that drive Harry, namely the desire to protect the people he loves and avenge his parents’ death.

With Dumbledore’s help in exploring Voldemort’s past, Harry begins to understand that he’s come to be where he is through the choices he’s made, that his greatest strengths are an alliance with his friends, and that this might hold the key to destroying his enemy, a fact that’s made all the more poignant when Dumbledore, in an all-out assault on Hogwarts by Voldemort’s Death Eaters, is killed at the end. The stakes are higher than before, the action and pace increase as the conclusion draws near, and things are looking darker than ever, which is the setup that any fan wants when the end is looming and it leaves us with the question: How will our hero prevail?
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Comments (showing 1-28 of 28) (28 new)

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message 1: by Yaz (new)

Yaz Aww, .. ok

Claudine *yawn*

Micheline (Lunar Rainbows Reviews) Great review! I too really became a fan of the series upon reading PoA. And HBP is an absolutely brilliantly written book and a definite highlight in the series.

Rylee I love these books as well! I may be little but I understand every thing you wrote there!!! I only started reading these 2 months ago and finished them about 5 weeks ago

message 6: by Brian (new)

Brian if u love hp watch this

Angeline Joseph What?! How can you finish it in a 2 hours?!

message 8: by Melanie (new) - added it

Melanie Lee I can relate, except that it was the third MOVIE that made me a Harry Potter fan! (Yes, I've read all the books at least twice, and have seen all the movies umpteen times.)

message 9: by Katie (new) - added it

Katie This book was good x

message 10: by Kelly (new)

Kelly I cried when Dumbledore died. it was so sad in the movie theaters. sniff people were looking at me with an "r u okay?" expression but I was too busy bawling my eyes out.

Jazmine Rodriguez I thought this was an awesome review. HBP definitely is more emotionally in depth and it is beautifully written. The way in which JK Rowling tells the story is very intriguing.

Swaggerkoala I agree

message 13: by Kaya (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kaya Purdie I agree with almost all points but would have to say that for me, it is the last three in the series, not just the last two, that make up the best part of the series.

J-train Great review. It's my favourite book in the series, for the same reasons.

message 15: by Ashten (new) - added it

Ashten Phillips Absolute favorite book in the series but I haven't read deathly gallows yet so can't say it's my my #1 fav but it's my fav so far

Vanity It's a really good book. It shows the tight relationship between Hermione and Ron very well

message 17: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary K Great book love it

message 18: by Motorpasion (new)

Motorpasion dumbledore dies, snape kills him.

molli Reed The Harry potter series is the best

Kitty Winters This book was NOT my favorite. Not even close.

message 21: by Mohinish (new) - added it

Mohinish This is the best book in the harry potter series!

message 22: by Mohinish (new) - added it

Mohinish Btw can you and how do you download books from goodreads as ebook?

Divergent 0233 This book (that I have read many times)is a great way to spend summer

Natalia This is the best book ever

Ella Gisclair #Favorite Book_ of_a.l.l._ T.I.M.e

message 26: by Raheel (new)

Raheel The novel did give an insight on the similarities and differences between Voldemort and Harry. This made the book interesting to read because it made the reader think on how Voldemort and Harry are similar but, still the difference between good and evil.

Ethan Park. Spoiler.

Ethan Park. I feel soooooooooo bad for Dumbledore. D:

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