Lord Voldemort is back and everyone in the wizarding world knows it. There’s no denying it anymore, and now the Muggle Prime Minister knows. Due to his dismal handling of the situation, Cornelius Fudge has resigned and Rufus Scrimgeour has become Minister of Magic. The Ministry has its hands full trying to keep both the wizarding world and the Muggle world safe from increasing attacks by Death Eaters.
Dumbledore has promised to reveal more to Harry after the events of Order of the Phoenix. He makes good on his world when he comes to collect Harry in the summer to visit an old friend, Horace Slughorn, in an effort to convince him to return to Hogwarts and teach. After their attempt is successful, Dumbledore sends Harry to spend the rest of the summer with the Weasleys before returning to Hogwarts and to private lessons with the headmaster.
Everything at Hogwarts isn’t quite what it used to be. While many of his friends now see that Harry wasn’t lying about the Dark Lord’s return, the days are bleaker with the uncertainty of whose family will next be attacked. Draco Malfoy, particularly, seems to be acting odd but only Harry seems to notice and no one believes him (as per usual).
Still, things are not always bad. Though Harry’s “lessons” with Dumbledore reveal more of Tom Riddle’s past, they give Harry a sense of purpose. Combined with his improvement in Advance Potions thanks to an old, battered textbook annotated by someone known as the Half-Blood Prince, Harry is rather enjoying the year.
But there are so many unanswered questions. Who is the Half-Blood Prince? What is Draco doing at Hogwarts? What was Tom Riddle planning before he became the infamous Lord Voldemort? And can Harry and Dumbledore gather enough information in time to stop him?
I remember the first time I read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince that it was not one of my favorites. I’m not sure why, but it was. At the time, nothing could top Prisoner of Azkaban and I wasn’t an overly fond fan of Snape. (Still am not but I see why many are.) But, having reread the book some 10+ years later, I actually really enjoyed it. It answers a lot of questions from the previous installments. We also see Harry begin to really understand Voldemort and his motivates, not necessarily in sympathy but to understand why and how to counter his moves.
Some of Harry’s frustrations remain, especially when it comes to Draco. He’s so convinced that Draco is behind a number of incidents at Hogwarts, but because he has not evidence no one takes him seriously. While the story gets darker, and Harry’s certainty grows, this book is also another major turning point for Harry towards the end.
I found myself becoming frustrated with the movie adaptation of Half-Blood Prince after revisiting the book. So many good bits left out! Can I please have a television mini-series?