Book Reads: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (by JK Rowling)

February 05, 2019

And so the story of Harry's adventures continues in this sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and the road to the end grows darker than ever from here.

As Harry enters his sixth year at Hogwarts, he can feel that the darkest times lie ahead. Suffering from the loss of his godfather and gaining the knowledge that he's got to finish off You-Know-Who once and for all, he becomes more determined with stopping anyone he suspects to be moving under the Dark Lord's orders. He's alone in this obsession though, as his best friends Ron and Hermione disagree with most of his theories (exhibit A: Draco Malfoy).

I remember during the time in between the publishing of the 5th and 6th books, the whole of the HP fans around the globe were at the edge hungrily seeking for any clue that might tell them how the story would unfold for the remaining two books in the series. There were only a few HP fan-based sites back in the day, and most of them were listing their fan theories to resolve several of the novel's unresolved subplots.

Of course I was one of them. The internet was not very accessible to me back then so I mostly spend my time talking about my theories with my classmates (I knew I was doing this before, but honestly I cannot remember the theories I have come up with 😅). However whenever I get the chance to go online, I would always go to JK Rowling's website.

Remember when JK Rowling's site looked like this?
In anticipation of the reveal of the sixth book, JK placed a lot of easter eggs in her website that would show clues about the book. I could still remember when she teased us with these lines from the first chapter of book six:
[He] looked rather like an old lion. There were streaks of grey in his mane of tawny hair and his bushy eyebrows; he had keen yellowish eyes behind a pair of wire-rimmed spectacles and a certain rangy, loping grace even though he walked with a slight limp.

I remember trying to absorb each word of this excerpt, trying to figure out which character was being described. All I got was a headache of course. I super enjoyed these little games that JK placed on that site for the fans to explore. Those memories would always be part of the magic of Harry Potter for me.

Buying the book from the shelf of the bookstore was a monumental event. It was the first book I bought using my own money (books 4 and 5 I shared with my sister). I was swept by a feeling beyond me when I finally held the book and opened the leaves for the first time. I always liked the smell of new HP books (yeah something I have in common with Hermione). My sister and I were always careful handling the paper back copies. Book 6 is a thick book so it's quite unavoidable actually to have the spine creased as we read through the pages.

Reading first few paragraphs of the book, I remember feeling alienated with the story. It felt like I was reading an entirely different novel. But as I moved further along, things went back to place as I read familiar names and I realized who these two ministers were. Half-Blood Prince is the HP book I read the quickest because I was earnest to know what happened in the end. I had selfish classmates who spoiled the plot of me (hey Dumbledore's going to die! 😡) and so I wanted to know how it happened and also I didn't want to get spoiled further. Because of my reading pace, I wasn't really able to absorb all the details that this book laid out... until this reread. I'm so happy I revisited the series and more thanks to Binge Mode: Harry Potter for all the deep dive discussions that I listened to alongside reading the books. One of my favorite parts of this book is all the new things revealed to the readers about the origins of Tom Riddle because it is key to destroying him.

I never liked reading Dumbledore die. I dreaded reading it as much as that of Sirius'. The book ended with such heavy emotions again, but this time Harry knew what to do. Dumbledore left him with a mission, and I must say all the readers were sure he'll tackle that on the next final book.

And this begins the two long and torturing years of waiting for Hallows. ⚡

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