Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
(Scholastic, 2006, 652 pages)
It makes me sad that I’m coming to the end of the series again, already! Obviously the books get darker as they progress and it was pretty depressing to listen to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on my way to and from work because my mood is easily influenced… Anyway, Book 6 starts with Voldemort’s presence being felt beyond the wizarding community – the Ministry of Magic has had to reach out to the Prime Minister to clue him in to what’s going on. Harry, Ron and Hermione have returned for their 6th year at Hogwarts and security on campus has been amped up considerably. Dumbledore is gone for long periods of time on missions he won’t reveal to others, though he has started having “lessons” with Harry where he clues him in to information he has gathered about Voldemort.
Harry is convinced that Draco Malfoy is up to no good, despite Ron and Hermione trying to say otherwise. Harry spends a considerable amount of time trying to track Malfoy and uncover his secrets, but it’s to no avail. Meanwhile, he is surprised to find that he has feelings for Ron’s sister, Ginny. He’s not sure how to handle this since he doesn’t know how Ron would react.
Each year there has been a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and this year is no different, except for the fact that Snape has been given the position. Everyone is surprised at this. The new Potions teacher is Professor Slughorn and he is quite taken with Harry (he loves to feel connected to “celebrity” and power). It is in this class that Harry is exposed to the Half-Blood Prince through a used Potions textbook. The “Prince” has written notes in the margins that assist Harry in rising to the top of his Potions class. Scribbled throughout are also spells that Harry is keen to try out.
There’s a lot going on in this book, and like I mentioned previously, the tone is considerably darker than the previous books. I have Book 7 in my car right now and things are off to an ominous start…