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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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Harry potter HBP Scholastic edition

United States cover of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

"I really like how the sixth book is going. A lot happens in the sixth book and a lot of questions are answered. I really have a sense that we are nearly there and it is time for answers, not more questions and clues, although obviously there are a few clues as I am not quite finished yet."
J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the sixth novel in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. Set during Harry Potter's 6th year at Hogwarts, Voldemort is definitely back and with a vengeance. Harry finds his world is yet again changing. Wizards and witches and Muggles are dying despite the efforts of the Ministry of Magic and the Order of the Phoenix to stop them. The war is back on. Despite the danger, Harry and his best friends, Ron and Hermione, reunite and return to the familiar life of Hogwarts for their 6th year. They find yet another Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher; Professor Snape. They begin their N.E.W.T. classes in preparation for life after Hogwarts, and Harry gets some much needed Potions help from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince. Quidditch is as popular as ever, Harry is nominated Gryffindor Quidditch Captain, and he finds himself reforming his team.

As well, this book sees the introduction ever-popular Slug Club, along with the appointment of a new Potions teacher, Horace Slughorn. Romance again comes to Hogwarts, and is a welcome balance to the grim happenings elsewhere. Harry deeply questions his own feelings for Ginny Weasley, Ron's younger sister, while trying to understand the effect it is having on his friends. Yet while life at Hogwarts continues, the deaths also continue, with someone trying to bring it into Hogwarts. Danger seems to lurk around every corner, and Harry is as determined as ever to unmask it. Albus Dumbledore takes Harry under his guidance and together they explore Lord Voldemort's past, to find a way to stop him before it is too late. Ultimately, Harry finds he must accept what he must do as The Chosen One against Voldemort and choose between what is right, and what is easy.

When it was released on 16 July, 2005, it was the first book in the United Kingdom to have a simultaneous standard print, large print, and Braille edition release. Within the first 24 hours, the book sold 6.9 million copies in the U.S. alone, roughly moving 250,000 an hour, making it the fastest selling book in history. It generated more than $100 million in sales out of the gate, outpacing even the combined take of the top films at the box office. Bookseller Barnes and Noble reported sales averaging 105 copies per second in the first hour of sales. It is also the first book in the series to be shorter than the book preceding it.


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 was dedicated to her:

To Mackenzie,
My beautiful daughter,
I dedicate
Her ink-and-paper twin

Book description

It is Harry Potter 's sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As Voldemort's sinister forces amass and a spirit of gloom and fear sweeps the land, it becomes more and more clear to Harry that he will soon have to confront his destiny . But is he up to the challenges ahead of him?

Raincoast Bloomsbury edition

It is the middle of the summer, but there is an unseasonal mist pressing against the window panes. Harry Potter is waiting nervously in his bedroom at the Dursleys' house in Privet Drive for a visit from Professor Dumbledore himself. One of the last times he saw the Headmaster was in a fierce one-to-one duel with Lord Voldemort, and Harry can't quite believe that Professor Dumbledore will actually appear at the Dursleys' of all places. Why is the Professor coming to visit him now? What is it that cannot wait until Harry returns to Hogwarts in a few weeks' time? Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts has already got off to an unusual start, as the worlds of Muggle and magic start to intertwine ...


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"The Other Minister" Chapter Picture.

Chapter 1: The Other Minister

"The trouble is, the other side can do magic too, Prime Minister."
—Cornelius Fudge, to the Muggle Prime Minister.

The first chapter of the book is about several visits that the Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge, had made to the Muggle Prime Minister over the years since he had been elected, basicly relating to events in the wizarding world: Sirius Black's escape from Azkaban, the Quidditch World Cup, the Triwizard Tournament and the 1996 Azkaban mass breakout. Fudge then reveals that a number of incidents in the Muggle world; a bridge collapsing and a supposed hurricane in the West Country, have been caused by Lord Voldemort's Death Eaters and their Giant allies. In short, the Second Wizarding War has begun. Fudge also reveals that he has been replaced by Rufus Scrimgeour as Minister for Magic.

Chapter 2: Spinner's End

"Do you really think that the Dark Lord has not asked me each and every one of those questions? And do you really think that, had I not been able to give satisfactory answers, I would be sitting here talking to you?"
—Snape, to Bellatrix Lestrange.
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Bellatrix and Narcissa Malfoy at Snape's House.

Meanwhile, Narcissa Malfoy and her sister Bellatrix Lestrange visit Spinner's End, a poverty-stricken neighbourhood in a northern mill town and the location of Severus Snape's home away from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Narcissa wants Snape to help her protect her son, Draco, who is on a mission from Lord Voldemort. Bellatrix advises against this, distrusting Snape for not taking part in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries at the Ministry of Magic, and for his many suspicious actions through the years. Snape explains his behaviour as necessary to serve the Dark Lord in his role as a spy on Dumbledore, but does not gain Bellatrix's trust. Narcissa explains that Voldemort has given her son, Draco Malfoy, a mission as a Death Eater, at which he is almost certain to fail; she and Snape believe this is to punish the Malfoys for Lucius Malfoy's failure at the Department of Mysteries. Snape makes an Unbreakable Vow to Narcissa, magically binding him to aid Draco in his first mission as a Death Eater. Failure to fulfill the Unbreakable Vow will result in Snape's death.

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The Dursleys being served by Dumbledore.

Chapter 3: Will and Won't

""It is a long time since my last visit... I must say, your agapanthus are flourishing."
—Dumbledore, to the Dursleys.

Albus Dumbledore comes to visit Harry Potter at 4 Privet Drive to give him Sirius's will: Harry inherits his deceased godfather's wealth, the house at 12 Grimmauld Place (which he lets the Order of the Phoenix continue to use as headquarters), and the House-elf Kreacher, whom Harry sends to work at Hogwarts. Dumbledore then chastises the Dursleys for their treatment of Harry but asks that he be allowed to return to Privet Drive one final time, and he and Harry depart.

Chapter 4: Horace Slughorn

"He seemed remarkably unabashed for a man who had just been discovered pretending to be an armchair."
—Description of Horace Slughorn.
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The Slughorn Armchair.

Harry notices Dumbledore has received a serious injury to his right hand, but the Headmaster dismisses it as unimportant. Dumbledore then asks Harry's help in convincing an old Hogwarts teacher, Horace Slughorn, to come out of retirement. They pay him a visit, but Slughorn is reluctant to return to the school, fearing it may put his life in danger from Death Eaters. Harry tells him that no teachers have died since Dumbledore became Headmaster, except Professor Quirrell, who was working for Voldemort. This dubious comfort, and the opportunity to get Harry to join his Slug Club, persuades Slughorn to return to Hogwarts.

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Fleur's Phlegm

Chapter 5: An Excess of Phlegm

"Seven OWLs, that's more than Fred and George got together!"
—Molly Weasley, to Ron.

Dumbledore then takes Harry to the Burrow (where his best friends Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, and Ron's sister Ginny are staying) and tells Harry he will be giving him private lessons during the coming school year. When the trio receive their O.W.L. results, Harry is dismayed to learn that he falls one grade short of the requirement for N.E.W.T. potions, which he needs to become an Auror.Harry gets to know that Fleur Delacour is marrying Bill Weasley and is not too happy about it like the others.

Chapter 6: Draco's Detour

—Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes poster.
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Draco proving a robe at Madam Malkin's.

After spending the next few weeks at the Burrow, Harry and Hermione go with the Weasleys and Hagrid to Diagon Alley to get school supplies. After meeting Draco Malfoy and his mother at Madam Malkin's, they all go to Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. Harry insists on paying for the merchandise, but George and Fred refuse his money, and Ginny buys a Pygmy Puff as a pet. While in the store, Harry, Ron, and Hermione spot Draco outside the store without his mother and, ever suspicious, follow him under the Invisibility Cloak to Borgin and Burkes, a dark artefact shop. The trio wait outside, listening to Draco by Extendable Ears. Harry, Ron, and Hermione see Draco talking with the owner Borgin, about repairing an object and keeping another object safe. Draco also shows Borgin something which Harry suspects is a Dark Mark, the mark of the Death Eaters.
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Harry, Neville and Luna on the Hogwart's Express.

Chapter 7: The Slug Club

"I enjoyed the meetings too... It was like having friends."
—Luna Lovegood, about the D.A meetings.

On the Hogwarts Express, Harry meets Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood, two others who fought at the Department of Mysteries. Harry and Neville are invited to Slughorn's compartment on the train along with Ginny and a number of students who have been invited there due to connections with well known or influential people. While on the train, Harry finds himself attracted to Ginny, although she appears to have long given up on her crush on him and is currently dating Dean Thomas. Still suspicious of Malfoy, Harry sneaks into the Slytherin sixth-years' compartment with his Invisibility Cloak, and hears Malfoy telling his friends he may not come back to Hogwarts after the next year, having been asked to do a job for Voldemort. After all his friends have left the compartment, Malfoy catches Harry spying on them; he puts a Freezing Charm on Harry, stamps on his nose, and leaves him covered in his own Invisibility Cloak and unable to move.

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Tonk's Patronus.

Chapter 8: Snape Victorious

"I think you were better off with the old one. The new one looks weak."
—Snape, about Tonks' Patronus.

Tonks, who is on guard in Hogsmeade and is in charge of guiding Harry to Hogwarts, comes to Harry's rescue. At the opening feast, Dumbledore announces that Professor Snape is taking over the Defence Against the Dark Arts post, while Slughorn will be taking Snape's vacated job as Potions Master. This allows Harry and Ron to take N.E.W.T. Potions, as Slughorn's entry requirements are lower than Snape's.

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"Felix Felicis.

Chapter 9: The Half-Blood Prince

"Slughorn could've handed me that book, but no, I get the one no one's ever written on. Puked on, by the look of page fifty-two..."
—Ron, about Harry taking the Half-Blood Prince book.

Neither of them had anticipated this and don't have the necessary equipment, so Slughorn lends them old textbooks. Harry's battered text, last owned by someone nicknamed "The Half-Blood Prince," turns out to be covered with handwritten annotations and alternate instructions which greatly improve the quality of Harry's brewing results, although without the Prince's cribs Harry's understanding of the subject is no better than before. At the end of his first lesson, Harry wins a bottle of Felix Felicis, a potion which temporarily gives the drinker miraculously good luck. In the hallway after, Ginny confronts Harry about following the directions of this mysterious textbook in fear that it may be cursed like Tom Riddle's Diary.

Chapter 10: The House of Gaunt

"From here on in, Harry, I may be as woefully wrong as Humphrey Belcher, who believed the time was ripe for a cheese cauldron."
—Dumbledore, about his assumptions about Riddle plans.
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The house of the Gaunt family.

Albus Dumbledore begins a private series of lessons with Harry concerning Lord Voldemort. In the first lesson, Dumbledore shows Harry the first of a number of memories he has collected concerning Lord Voldemort's past. It shows a ministry official, Bob Ogden, interrogating a man named Marvolo Gaunt with the attempt to arrest a man called Morfin Gaunt for attacking a Muggle, Tom Riddle Sr., but fails. Dumbledore reveals and speculates later that following Ogden's visit, Marvolo's daughter and Morfin's sister, Merope Gaunt had given Riddle Sr. a love potion because she was in love with him, and they had later ran away together and conceived a child: Tom Marvolo Riddle, the young Voldemort.

Chapter 11: Hermione's Helping Hand

"Oh, come on, Harry, It's not Quidditch that's popular, it's you! You've never been more interesting, and frankly, you've never been more fanciable."
—Hermione about Harry.
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Confunded McLaggen during the Quidditch tryout.

Harry wants to investigate Draco Malfoy, but has other concerns on his hands; keeping up with his immense workload, training the house Quidditch team having been made Gryffindor Quidditch Captain, putting up with the attractions of numerous girls and studying the Half-Blood Prince's book further; in it, he discovers numerous spells that the Prince invented himself (e.g Levicorpus, Muffliato, Sectumsempra etc.). Hermione Granger disapproves of the book, partly because some of its spells have a dark nature, but mainly because it allows Harry to outperform her in Potions. Three times, Slughorn attempts to invite Harry to one of his "Slug Club" parties, but Harry avoids them, in order to avoid leaving Ron out (Harry was invited due to his history, and Hermione due to her vast magical knowledge).

Chapter 12: Silver and Opals

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Imperiused Katie Bell touching a cursed necklace.

"He did not usually lie in bed reading his textbooks; that sort of behaviour, as Ron rightly said, was indecent in anybody except Hermione, who was simply weird that way."
—Description of Harry's obsession about the Half-Blood Prince book.

During a trip to Hogsmeade, a student and member of Harry's Quidditch team, Katie Bell is imperiused and cursed by a mysterious necklace. Remembering seeing the necklace in Borgin's shop, Harry voices his suspicions of Malfoy to Professor McGonagall, but she states that Malfoy wasn't in Hogsmeade, and that there is no proof that he bought the necklace.

Chapter 13: The Secret Riddle

"I can make bad things happen to people who annoy me. I can make them hurt if I want to."
—Tom Riddle (child), to Dumbledore.

Tom Riddle reading on his bed at Wool's Orphanage in Dumbledore's memory.

In his second lesson with Dumbledore, Harry first sees Caractacus Burke talking about a locket of Salazar Slytherin's that a pregnant and desperate Merope Gaunt had sold him, Riddle having abandoned her when she stopped giving him Love Potion, then goes into a memory of Dumbledore's to the orphanage that Riddle had grown up in. Harry learns that Merope had later died in childbirth, and that even at an early age, Riddle had developed his powers, which he used to punish people who annoyed him and had a sadistical, cruel and independent nature, just like the adult Voldemort.

Chapter 14: Felix Felicis

"Ron... you're my best mate, but carry on treating the rest of them like this and I'm going to kick you off the team."
—Harry to Ron.
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Ron "drinking" the Felix Felicis Potion.

During a Herbology lesson, Ron expresses his jealousy of not being invited to Slughorn's upcoming Christmas party, to the point of teasing Hermione about it. When she tells him that she was planning to invite him, however, his attitude changes, and they begin to show signs of attraction to each other. Harry is unsure how he feels about this, remembering his unsuccessful relationship with Cho Chang during his fifth year. With Katie unable to play, Harry recruits Dean Thomas onto the Quidditch team, which continues to improve. On their way back from practice however, Harry and Ron come across Dean and Ginny kissing behind a tapestry. Harry feels a huge surge of jealousy toward Dean, while Ron and Ginny have a heated argument. Ron states that he doesn't want to see his sister "snogging" (kissing) people in public, while Ginny tells him that her love life is none of his business, and that he's only upset because he's never kissed anyone, referencing Harry and Cho's relationship and revealing that Hermione had once kissed Viktor Krum. This piece of information wrecks Ron's relationship with Hermione, as well as his Quidditch skills, and badly alters his personality. Harry meanwhile tries to convince himself that his feelings for Ginny are brotherly, but eventually realises that he has fallen in love with her.

To improve Ron's Quidditch and mend his relationship with Hermione, Harry pretends to slip Ron some Felix Felicis on the day of the match between Gryffindor and Slytherin. Feeling lucky, Ron goes on to save everything the Slytherin chasers throw at him, and Gryffindor hammers Slytherin. However, the plan backfires. After the match, Ron accuses Hermione of not having faith in his Quidditch abilities, because she thought he really had taken lucky potion, and starts going out with Lavender Brown to spite her.

Chapter 15: The Unbreakable Vow

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Malfoy caught by Filch prowling the corridors.

As Slughorn's Christmas party approaches, Hermione warns Harry that a number of girls, particularly Romilda Vane, plan to slip him a love potion, to get him to invite them. Harry gets round this by going to the party with Luna, while Hermione goes with Cormac McLaggen to get back at Ron (which she regrets very much later). During the party, Malfoy is dragged in, in trouble for lurking in a certain deserted corridor and claiming to be gatecrashing; Slughorn lets him off the hook. Snape however takes Malfoy out of the party and into a deserted classroom. Harry follows them both and overhears Snape offering to help Malfoy with his mission, which Malfoy flatly refuses, accusing Snape of trying to interfere.

Chapter 16: A Very Frosty Christmas

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Burrow's Christmas Tree.

"Dumbledore's man through and through, aren't you, Potter?"
—Rufus Scrimgeour, after Harry negation to work for the Ministry.

During the Christmas holidays at the Burrow, Harry tells Ron, his father Arthur Weasley and Remus Lupin what he overheard, but they believe that Snape was trying to find out Malfoy's plan so he could tell Dumbledore. Later, Rufus Scrimgeour visits the Burrow, and requests that Harry appear to work alongside the Ministry, to boost the morale of the public. Harry turns it down, knowing that the Ministry is arresting and imprisoning innocent people and remembering how they persecuted him last year.

Chapter 17: A Sluggish Memory

Phineas Nigellus: "I can't see why the boy should be able to do it better than you, Dumbledore."
Albus Dumbledore: "I wouldn't expect you to, Phineas."
— Phineas Nigellus about Dumbledore's mission to Harry.

Voldemort speaking with his uncle, Morfin Gaunt

On their return to Hogwarts, Harry notices Ginny is not enthusiastic about meeting Dean, and tells Hermione about what he heard between Malfoy and Snape, but she also believes Snape was working on Dumbledore's orders. When Harry mentions Fenrir Greyback, a werewolf Lupin had told him about during the holidays and the werewolf that bit him, she recalls Malfoy threatening Borgin with him, and Harry states that this proves Malfoy's a Death Eater. Hermione, however, got past this one, saying that it might have been "an empty threat."

In his third lesson with Dumbledore, Harry learns that during his time at Hogwarts, Voldemort had gathered a mixture of friends who became the forerunners of the Death Eaters, and researched his family. He first investigated his father, and later assumed the name Lord Voldemort upon discovering his father was a Muggle and never attended Hogwarts. Dumbledore and Harry then go into Morfin Gaunt's memory, where he reveals to his nephew, Voldemort how he was conceived. After hearing this, Voldemort went on to murder his Muggle ancestors, taking revenge on them for abandoning him, eliminating the last of the "unworthy" Riddle line, stealing Morfin's father's ring and implanted false memories into Morfin, framing him for the murders.

In the next memory, Voldemort asks Slughorn about Horcruxes, which results in Slughorn yelling that he knows nothing about them. Dumbledore is confident that the memory has been tampered with, however, noting patches of grey fog that came up when Slughorn was shouting, and asks Harry to retrieve the true memory. Realising Harry is on to him, after a botched attempt to get the memory, Slughorn starts avoiding him, and Harry instead chooses to focus on investigating Malfoy, using the Marauder's Map, noticing that Malfoy disappears off it at certain times.

Chapter 18: Birthday Surprises

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Harry at the apparition lesson.

"Meanwhile, the Hogwarts library had failed Hermione for the first time in living memory. She was so shocked, she even forgot that she was annoyed at Harry for his trick with the bezoar."
—Hermione not finding about Horcruxes on the Library.

March has arrived and on Ron's seventeenth birthday he consumes a number of Chocolate Cauldrons containing a Love Potion (courtesy of Romilda and intended for Harry). Harry takes him down to Slughorn for an antidote, and the three of them decide to have some of Rosmerta's Mulled Mead, originally meant for Dumbledore. Ron discovers, after drinking it, that it is poisoned, but Harry manages to save him with a Bezoar.

Chapter 19: Elf Tails

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Kreacher and Dobby.

"Surely nobody in their right mind would have let Luna Lovegood commentate?"
—Harry, about Luna.

Ron reconciles with Hermione and Ginny. Some time afterwards, Hagrid tells Harry that he overheard Dumbledore and Snape arguing, McLaggen talks to Harry to ensure he can play in Ron's place in the upcoming Quidditch match. Harry also finds out that Ron has been avoiding Lavender. Late, at the Quidditch match, with Luna commentating, McLaggen grabs a beater's bat and cracks Harry's skull. Finally, in the hospital wing, Harry summons Kreacher and Dobby and orders them to tail Malfoy .

Chapter 20: Lord Voldemort's Request

"You see, we have never been able to keep a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher for longer than a year since I refused the post to Voldemort."
—Dumbledore, about Tom Riddle's request.
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Hepzibah Smith with Slytherin's locket.

In their fourth lesson, Dumbledore is disappointed Harry failed to obtain Slughorn's true memory. Dumbledore shows him two memories: one of Tom Riddle being shown Salazar Slytherin's Locket and Helga Hufflepuff's Cup by a wealthy woman named Hepzibah Smith (both of which he later stole), the other of Riddle applying for the Defence Against the Dark Arts teaching post at Hogwarts, which Dumbledore rejects as he felt that it was an attempt by Riddle to further search the school for secrets and recruit followers. This post was thenceforth jinxed by Riddle; teachers never held the post for more than a year, suffering some terrible fate or humiliation which caused them to leave the position.

Chapter 21: The Unknowable Room

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Chapter Twenty-One: The Unknowable Room Picture.

"And I bet that's why he's been disappearing off the map - come to think of it, I've never seen the Room of Requirement on there!"
—Harry, about the Marauder's Map.

While still unconscious in the hospital wing, Ron unknowingly expresses his love to Hermione (which causes the latter to blush faintly and Lavender to break up with Ron). Harry learns from Kreacher and Dobby that Malfoy is regularly visiting the Room of Requirement (which doesn't appear on the Marauder's Map), and spends the next few days trying to get inside. Not knowing what Malfoy is using it for, he has no success.

Chapter 22: After the Burial

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Aragog's Burial.

"You didn't meet him, Hermione. Believe me, being dead will have improved him a lot."
—Ron, about Aragog.

Harry again fails to convince Slughorn to share his true memory, and Ron suggests he use the Felix Felicis. As a result, Harry is able to get the memory with ease, and shows it to Dumbledore.

Chapter 23: Horcruxes

"It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high. Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew - and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents - that there was all the difference in the world."
—Harry thinking about Riddle's search for immortality.
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Harry and Dumbledore watching Slughorn's memory.

It turns out that in reality, Slughorn told Riddle everything he wanted to know about Horcruxes, how they were objects that a person can conceal a part of his or her soul in. This explains how Voldemort was able to survive his rebounding killing curse. Dumbledore believed that Voldemort made six Horcruxes: his diary (which Harry destroyed four years earlier), the Gaunt's Ring (which Dumbledore destroyed the previous year, greatly injuring his hand in the process), the locket, the cup, an object of Rowena Ravenclaw's and the snake Nagini.

Chapter 24: Sectumsempra

"Who would have thought you knew such Dark Magic?"
—Snape, to Harry.
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The Vanishing Cabinet at the Room of Requirement.

Harry learns the next day that Ginny and Dean have split up. He is unwilling to ask her out though, fearing Ron's reaction. Meanwhile, a recovered Katie Bell has returned to the school, and Harry asks who gave her the necklace. She states that someone Imperiused her in the girl's bathroom at Rosmerta's Pub in Hogsmeade. Shortly before the final Quidditch match of the year, Harry finds Malfoy crying over how his mission is failing. When he sees Harry, he attacks him. During the ensuing duel, Harry uses a spell written in The Half Blood Prince's book, which badly injures Malfoy. Snape witnesses the event, heals Malfoy, and gives Harry a large number of detentions that cause him to miss the match. Upon returning to the Gryffindor common room after his first detention, he discovers that the team had won the Quidditch Cup in his absence, and Ginny runs up and hugs him. At this point, Harry finally reveals his feelings for Ginny and kisses her. Both of them are ecstatic and start dating.

Chapter 25: The Seer Overheard

"You'd think people had better things to gossip about... Three Dementor attacks in a week, and all Romilda Vane does is ask me if it's true you've got a hippogriff tattooed across your chest."
—Ginny, to Harry.
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Harry and Ginny in Chapter 25 Picture.

Some time later, Dumbledore asks Harry to come to his office. On the way, he runs into his old Divination teacher Professor Trelawney, who was trying to hide sherry bottles in the Room of Requirement before being thrown out. She tells Harry that she heard a male voice (which Harry suspects to be Malfoy's) whooping before she was ejected, and also reveals that Snape had told Voldemort about the prophecy concerning him and Harry, which caused him to murder Harry's parents. Harry expresses outrage that Dumbledore later gave Snape a job at Hogwarts, but Dumbledore states that Snape felt great remorse for what he had done. He then asks Harry to join him in finding a Horcrux, Slytherin's locket, which Harry agrees to. Before leaving, Harry tells Ron and Hermione that Malfoy's almost certainly going to try something tonight, and gives them the remainder of the Felix Felicis.

Chapter 26: The Cave

"I am not worried, Harry, I am with you."
—Dumbledore, to Harry.
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Harry and Dumbledore entering Voldemort's cave.

Dumbledore and Harry travel to a cave in which Voldemort had tortured two children in his youth. They proceed through the cave, coming to an island in the middle of a lake. On the island, they find a basin of emerald green potion, with the locket at the bottom. On Dumbledore's orders, Harry reluctantly force-feeds him the potion, which badly weakens him and causes extreme thirst. In an attempt to save him, Harry gives him water from the lake, awakening dozens of Inferi Voldemort had placed to guard his Horcrux. Harry attempts to fight, but there are too many of them. Just as he is about to be overwhelmed, Dumbledore creates a ring of fire around them, which fends off the Inferi, and allows them to escape with the locket to Hogsmeade, where they discover the Dark Mark above the astronomy tower at Hogwarts.

Chapter 27: The Lightning-Struck Tower

"No, Draco. It is my mercy, and not yours, that matters now.""
—Dumbledore, at the Astronomy Tower.
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The Dark Mark over Hogwarts.

Borrowing broomsticks, the pair fly to the tower. Upon hearing someone approaching them, Dumbledore uses a charm to paralyse Harry and hides him under his invisibility cloak, before being disarmed by Malfoy. He reveals that he had let Death Eaters into the school through a pair of vanishing cabinets, which were the objects Harry had overheard him questioning Borgin about. Malfoy also explains that he was behind the cursed necklace and poisoned mead incidents, which were really assassination attempts on Dumbledore. Dumbledore reveals that he had known Malfoy was attempting to kill him, but allowed him to remain at Hogwarts because he knew that Voldemort would have murdered Malfoy once his cover had been blown. Dumbledore tries to persuade him to change sides, but the other Death Eaters join the scene and urge Malfoy to finish his mission. Then Snape appears, and with Malfoy still reluctant to finish off the unarmed Dumbledore, Snape kills Dumbledore.

Chapter 28: Flight of the Prince

—Snape, yelling at Harry.
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Snape fights Harry.

Released from the spell after Dumbledore's death, Harry pursues Snape through battle in the halls of the school and out onto the grounds. Near the entrance to Hogwarts, Harry attempts to curse Snape, who repels his attacks with ease and reminds the other Death Eaters they are not to harm the boy. When Harry tries one of the Half-Blood Prince's spells, an enraged Snape reveals that the spell is his own. He is the Half-Blood Prince, having taken the title when he was a student as a pun on his mother's maiden name. (Hermione's research later reveals that Snape's father was a Muggle named Tobias Snape and his mother a pureblood witch named Eileen Prince.) Buckbeak the Hippogriff attacks Snape, who leaves Harry behind and escapes with Draco Malfoy. When he returns to Dumbledore's body, Harry finds that the locket was a fake: the real horcrux was already stolen by someone with the initials R.A.B.

Chapter 29: The Phoenix Lament

"And he knew, without knowing how he knew it, that the phoenix had gone, had left Hogwarts for good, just as Dumbledore had left the school, had left the world ... had left Harry."
—Harry thinking about Fawkes.
Books chapterart hbp 29

The empty Dumbledore's office.

After the battle, Ginny accompanies Harry to the hospital wing, where he learns that the only person who died was a Death Eater. None of Harry's friends are badly hurt, apart from Bill Weasley, the Weasleys' oldest child who was attacked by an untransformed Greyback, although the only side effects are permanent scars across his face and a liking for rare steaks. Professor McGonagall questions Harry about what he and Dumbledore were doing, but Harry, under orders from Dumbledore not to tell anyone except Ron and Hermione, refuses. The teachers then discuss the future of Hogwarts, and plans for Dumbledore's funeral. Harry turns his back on the Half-Blood Prince's book, and regrets ever possessing it, although Hermione and Ron comfort him, stating that while the Prince may have had a mean sense of humour, nothing in the book ever indicated that he was evil, or capable of murder.

Chapter 30: The White Tomb

Rufus Scrimgeour: "I see you are—"
Harry Potter: "Dumbledore's man through and through. That's right."
— Harry to Scrimgeour.
Books chapterart hbp 30

Dumbledore's White Tomb.

The funeral is attended by many witches and wizards, including a number of minor characters in the series. During the funeral, Harry ends his relationship with Ginny to protect her from Voldemort. She reveals that she had never given up on him; Hermione had advised her to go out with other people so she could relax around Harry, as previously she had trouble talking to him. As a result, he fell in love with her upon seeing who she really was, and regrets not asking her out sooner. Harry then meets Scrimgeour, who again makes the offer he'd made to Harry at Christmas, which Harry again turns down. He then tells Ron and Hermione of his intention to leave Hogwarts to destroy the Horcruxes and then Voldemort himself. His two lifelong friends agree to travel with him on his quest, and Harry happily acknowledges that there is "still one last golden day of peace left to enjoy with Ron and Hermione".

List of Deaths

Albus Dumbledore promo

Albus Dumbledore




Igor Karkaroff

Character Killed By Cause Of Death Circumstances
Amelia Bones Possibly Voldemort

Possibly Avada Kedavra

(the killing curse)

Murdered in a room locked from the inside, baffled Muggle Police
Emmeline Vance Death Eaters Murdered a short distance from the Muggle Prime Minister's office
Igor Karkaroff Body found in a shack "up north," Dark Mark cast overhead
Marvolo Gaunt None Natural causes or starvation Never learned to cook
Morfin Gaunt Went out of his mind Imprisoned in Azkaban
Merope Gaunt Childbirth or Depression Voldemort's birth
Aragog Illness Old Age
Tom Riddle Sr. Voldemort

Avada Kedavra

(killing curse)

Revenge for abandonment of his son, baffled Muggle Police
Thomas Riddle Murdered along with Tom Riddle Sr., baffled Muggle Police
Mary Riddle
Hepzibah Smith Poisoned cocoa "sugar" or Avada Kedavra with memory changing. Voldemort's search for Hufflepuff's cup and Slytherin's locket
Albus Dumbledore Severus Snape

Avada Kedavra

(killing curse)

On his own orders, both to make his death painless and to spare Draco from the influence of Voldemort and the Death Eaters. (Although this is unknown to everyone except Snape until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows).

Gibbon Thorfinn Rowle Hit by a stray Killing Curse


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. bbc

In early July, The Real Canadian Superstore, a big-box grocery chain in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, accidentally sold fifteen copies of The Half-Blood Prince before the authorised release date. The Canadian publisher, Raincoast Books, obtained an injunction (PDF copy) from the Supreme Court of British Columbia prohibiting the purchasers from reading the books before the official release date or of 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 anti-reading injunction. The injunction sparked a number of news articles questioning the injunction's restriction on fundamental rights. Canadian law professor Michael Geist has posted commentary on his weblog. michaelgeistRichard Stallman has posted on his weblog calling for a boycott until the publisher issues an apology. stallman 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 am that morning. globeandmail

In the same week, a Chicago Walgreens mistakenly sold a copy of the book. When the purchaser read about the Canadian incident on the Internet she said she would not turn herself in, but that she would not read the novel until the U.S. release date.


Bloomsbury (United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada etc)
Raincoast (Canada etc)
Scholastic (United States etc)

Before and after the release of the book, the environmental organisations Greenpeace and the National Wildlife Federation urged consumers in the United States who planned to buy Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to do so from the book's Canadian publisher, Raincoast Books cbc, which published on 100% recycled, chlorine-free, ancient forest-free paper. The American edition of the book, published by Scholastic Press, was printed with a percentage of recycled paper that Scholastic declined to make public.


Various publishers have announced release dates for local translations of the book worldrelease:

  • Albania: 10 November, 2005
  • Belgium: 19 November, 2005
  • Braille (English): 19 July, 2005
  • Brazil: December, 2005
  • Bulgaria: 13 December 2005
  • China: November, 2005
  • Croatia: 15 October 2005
  • Denmark: October, 2005
  • Estonia: November, 2005
  • Finland: 16 March, 2006
  • France: 1 October, 2005
  • Germany, Switzerland, Turkey and Austria: 1 October, 2005
  • Greece: 2 December 2005
  • Hungary: February, 2006
  • Iceland: November, 2005
  • Israel: November, 2005
  • Italy: January, 2006
  • Japan: 17 May, 2006
  • Lithuania: 1 October, 2005
  • Montenegro: 24 December, 2005
  • Netherlands: 19 November, 2005
  • Norway: November, 2005
  • Poland: 28 January, 2006
  • Portugal: September/October, 2005
  • Romania: 24 December, 2005
  • Serbia: September, 2005
  • South Africa: 15 November, 2005 (Afrikaans translation)
  • Slovenia: December, 2005
  • Spain: 16 March, 2006
  • Sweden: 30 November, 2005
  • Taiwan: 1 October, 2005
  • Russian: 1 October, 2005

Behind the scenes

  • Along with Prisoner of Azkaban, this is one of the books in the series where the cover art for the UK and US editions depicts the same subjects and the same scene.
  • This, along with Chamber of Secrets, was the only book that did not end in King's Cross. (Chamber of Secrets ends in Platform nine and three quarters and the final sentence is going to King's Cross which does not count because no dialogue was shown in King's Cross).
  • Before its release, a rumour circulated a chapter was to be entitled, "Lupin's Papers." Rowling responded that this was not the case, "nor will there be chapters entitled 'Pettigrew's Pamphlets,' 'Sirius' Circulars' or 'The Pocket Crosswords of Severus Snape'."[1]
  • Between the release of Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows, fans wondered who "R.A.B." could be; many people believed it to be Regulus Black. J. K. Rowling would not explicitly say it was Regulus, but commented that he was a "good guess." Between the releases of the two books, she would drop hints about R.A.B.'s identity; one such hint was that the final book would introduce no new characters: this led many fans to believe it had to be a character introduced in a previous book.
  • When Harry is hiding the Half-Blood Prince's book in the Room of Requirement, he opens a cupboard and inside is something in a cage that had long-since died; its skeleton had five legs; this could possibly be the skeleton of a Quintaped.
  • Many readers believed that Dumbledore was not actually dead, and postulated many theories to explain how his death had been faked. A website was even created entitled "". J.K. Rowling later stated in an interview that "Dumbledore is definitely dead." This was definitively confirmed in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
  • In the Simpsons episode "The Bob Next Door", Sideshow Bob spoils the book's ending by revealing that Snape killed Dumbledore, to which Bart complains he hadn't gotten to that part yet and Sideshow Bob responds "It's a four year old book!".
  • Also, in the Big Bang Theory episode "The Spoiler Alert Segmentation", Sheldon reveals Dumbledore's death to Leonard while he reads it, much to his anger (though the book would have been seven years old at the time).
  • This is the first book in the series where Harry was right about who the enemy was. In Philosopher's Stone they thought Snape was after the stone when it was Quirrell; in Chamber of Secrets they thought Malfoy opened the Chamber of Secrets, and that Hagrid opened it the first time, when it was really Riddle on both occasions; in Prisoner of Azkaban, everyone thought Sirius was a mass murderer and follower of Voldemort, when it was really Pettigrew; and in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, they thought Karkaroff put Harry's name in the Goblet of Fire when it was really Barty Crouch Jr.
  • The film version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the fifth and last appearance of Quidditch, apart from the burning of the Quidditch Pitch in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
  • Snape is revealed to be the Half-Blood Prince. This marks the second time someone at Hogwarts is revealed to be a wizard under a different name. The first was Tom Riddle when he was revealed to be Voldemort in Chamber of Secrets.
  • This also marks the second time Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy duel.
  • The film version marks the sixth appearance of the Hogwarts Express; the other times were Philosopher's Stone (Harry's first year), second time was Chamber of Secrets (Harry and Ron miss the train), third time was Prisoner of Azkaban (the train was stopped due to Dementors searching for Sirius Black), fourth time was Goblet of Fire, and fifth time was Order of the Phoenix.
  • The film version marks the only time Draco Malfoy rides the Hogwarts Express.
  • This marks Draco Malfoy's first trip to Diagon Alley, and Knockturn Alley, since Chamber of Secrets (although it is very likely that he visited each year in between, but did not meet Harry there.)
  • The Spanish version, the name is Harry Potter y el Misterio del Príncipe, which means Harry Potter and the Mystery of the Prince. Something similar happens in the second book.
  • Slughorn called Ron Rupert during Aragog's funeral, ironically, the actor that plays Ron in the movies is called Rupert Grint. J.K Rowling may have intentionally done this, as she would obviously be aware that Rupert Grint played Ron Weasley in the movie adaptations of the books.
  • Cheryl Klein served as the title's continuity editor.


  • In the sixth year's first Potions lesson with Slughorn, where he offers Felix Felicis as a prize, he states that the vial contains "enough for twelve hours' luck." However, when Harry is considering taking it to get the memory from Slughorn, he tells Ron and Hermione that he would only need to take a bit of the potion, "not twenty-four hours' worth." This error, found only in the American version of the book, is corrected in later editions.
  • On page one-hundred and one of the British version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Ron mentions that Hermione got ten Outstandings and one Exceeds Expectations for Defence Against the Dark Arts giving her a total of eleven O.W.L.s. However, as she dropped both Divination and Muggle Studies in her third year, she could not possibly have got eleven O.W.L.s as she was only doing ten subjects — Transfiguration, Charms, Herbology, Potions, Defence Against the Dark Arts, History of Magic, Astronomy, Care of Magical Creatures, Arithmancy and Ancient Runes. This error was corrected in later editions.
  • On page 415 of the American edition, it says "...McLaggen took a ferocious swipe at the Bludger and missed it." In the original edition "missed" was mistakenly printed as "mishit." This was corrected in later editions.
  • In the ninth chapter, it says, "Draco had a look on his face similar to the time Hermione had punched him." This is a mistake, because in the novel Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Hermione slaps him. This is true in the film adaptation, though, so J.K. Rowling may had mixed up the events of the films and the books.
  • In the chapter "The Secret Riddle," ". . . Dumbledore entered the room . . . It was a small bare room with nothing in it except an old wardrobe and an iron bedstead." A couple paragraphs later, "Dumbledore drew up the hard wooden chair beside Riddle, so that the pair of them looked rather like a hospital patient and visitor." This error is corrected in later editions.
  • On page three-hundred and forty-two of the American version, there is a punctuation error when Molly Weasley says "Have a little purkey, or some tooding...Oh dear, I mean-" to Rufus Scrimgeour. There are no quotation marks in front of the have in the statement. This is corrected in later editions.
  • In Chapter 2, "Spinner's End," Snape tells Bellatrix he had sixteen years worth of information on Dumbledore to give to Voldemort when Voldemort returned in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. However, the time between Voldemort's original downfall and his return was less than fourteen years.
  • On page 446 of the UK version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, it states that "after checking carefully that Neville, Dean, and Seamus were all in the common room..."
    However, on page 447, after Harry has taken the Felix Felicis, it states that "Getting through the portrait hole was simple; as he approached it, Ginny and Dean came through it and Harry was able to slip between them."
  • In Chapter 3 (Will and Won't), page 48 of the American version, Dumbledore places his wand in his pocket shortly after moving the couch under the Dursleys. A few lines later, it states that with a "third twitch of the wand" Dumbledore summons a bottle and five glasses. There is no indication that Dumbledore had taken out his wand again, and the timing of this action would seem to indicate that this is something of a mistake in the writing, albeit a small one.
  • In the British audio books, when the Weasleys, Harry and Hermione are in "Weasley's Wizard Wheezes", the narrator says "Patented daydream charms" in a voice that might indicate calling. This is a mistake, as it is a sign on the product box and there are no quotation marks indicated in the print version of the book.

Film Adaptation

The book was also adapted into a film, the sixth Harry Potter film of the series. The movie Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released on 15 July, 2009. It was directed by David Yates and the trio was starred by Daniel Radcliffe , Rupert Grint and Emma Watson.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^,0,4363703.story?coll=la-home-headlines
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. [HP2]Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (1998), UK ISBN 0747538492/US ISBN 0439064864
  10. [HP6]Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (2005), UK ISBN 0747581088/US ISBN 0439784549

External links

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