Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling


Rate: 5/5


Medium: Audiobook


Overview (No Spoilers):

When I started out on my Harry Potter reread my goal was pry a part the time molded mass that the series had become for me, thereby identifying favorites or slumps that make up each individual installment.  Thus far I have to say The Goblet of Fire is my favorite with The Sorcerer’s Stone coming in a close second and The Order of the Phoenix holding steady as my least favorite.  Prior to beginning my reread, I would have guessed that the Half Blood Prince was my favorite based on the events that unfold. That being said, it likely does not dethrone The Goblet of Fire, however it comes very close.  Rowling does an excellent job balancing school drama with the looming sense of dread regarding Voldemort’s return.  Our favorite trio tries to hold onto their fleeting youth before the final tragic happenings force their hand into adulthood. Throughout this read, we have quidditch drama and love interests, intermingled with mortal peril. It occurred to me in this read how undeveloped Hermoine has been throughout the Harry Potter series, as we know very little about her home life despite her being such a key character.  In many ways, The Half Blood Prince serves as a placeholder in which the characters, both good and evil, are assuming their roles for the grand finale that is The Deathly Hallows. Overall, despite a gloom of foreboding hanging over the Half Blood Prince we see the stage being set for the series climax as Voldemort’s secrets are slowly unveiled.


Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):

  • Why did Snape make the Unbreakable Vow? Hindsight is 20/20, however I can’t for the life of me remember how he explains away his actions.
  • How did Snape get so good at potions and know all the tricks to making the perfect one as a student? Why were the book instructions so off?
  • Would have Draco actually killed Dumbledore? Dumbledore’s death was just as difficult to listen to the second time around.
  • How rare are invisibility cloaks? I was under the impression there was only one based on the events in the next book. Wouldn’t Draco have stolen his cloak when petrifies Harry?
  • Why wouldn’t people use Felix Felicis more when going on missions or going into battle? Sure it takes six months to brew but the effects would totally be worth it.
  • What other memories does Dumbledore have of Tom Riddle in school?
  • What does Slughorn do with Aragog’s venom? Does he sell it?
  • Who stole the locket before Harry and Dumbledore get there?
  • Ugh, Ron is unbearably annoying. I don’t remember finding him this unbearable the first time around.
  • Could Harry and Dumbledore just poured out the liquid after scooping it out with a cup? Would have Dumbledore died from drinking the potion?
  • What memories are forever lost by Dumbledore dying. I love the  concept of the pensive and ponder at what concepts did Rowling discard before settling on the memories we were privy to viewing.
  • I missed the wide ranging cast that was in The Order of the Phoenix, especially regarding students in the DA.  Neville and Luna were hardly in this read.  I was reminded of an interesting fan theory where Neville suddenly turned around in school because he got his own wand in this read. He was one of Ollivander’s last customers. Prior to this he was using his Dad’s wand.

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9 comments

  1. As always, a great review with terrific insights. I hated (well, strongly disliked) Order of the Phoenix the first time I read it, and I called it “Catcher in the Rye at Hogwarts” (full disclosure: I’ve never actually read Catcher in the Rye, but my impression is that it’s an ode to maudlin male entitlement). But I actually appreciated Phoenix more the second time around, and put it above the first two books, which are still too juvenile for my tastes (although as a writer I appreciate what Rowling was doing, writing the early books as middle grade novels to fit the age of her characters, and gradually increasing the sophistication of the storytelling as the MCs grew old enough to understand the nuances of their world). Anyhow, I think we’re mostly aligned in our opinions. Goblet of Fire and Half-blood Prince are my favorites of the series, with Deathly Hallows a very close third. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review, as usual. It’s been a few years since I last read them. I do remember HBP being my favourite. A few things come to mind (spoilers abound here as well)
    I’m gonna guess it was Rowling’s way of telling that Snape was a genius in his own way. We never truly see his magical skills in action other than in short bursts. He was good enough to be a professor in Potions, despite it not being his first choice.
    And no, I don’t think Draco would have gone through with it. But that’s just me. Dumbledore always said Malfoy’s not completely lost yet (I think)
    I remember someone (Slughorn?) mentioning Felix Felicis needs to be made extremely precisely and can be disastrous if done wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My favs are the same 😀 Goblet of Fire and the Sorcerer’s Stone with Order of the Phoenix being my least favorite mostly because of Harry’s angst in that book. I quite liked Umbridge as a villain.
    Also, I agree that we don’t learn much about Hermione throughout the series, which I’ve always thought was unfair. We get both Ron’s and Harry’s home life, I would have liked one of them (since they ARE her besties) to inquire more about her home life and relationship with her family. The closest we get something is in the last book.
    I’ve always thought Draco wouldn’t have killed Dumbledore. I don’t think Draco really wanted to be one of Voldy’s followers once he realized what that really entails.

    Liked by 1 person

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