Rating: 5 stars
“Dumbledore’s man through and through, aren’t you Potter?”
“Yeah I am,” said Harry. “Glad we straightened that out.”
Dumbledore does not reveal why his wand hand is blackened and shrivelled when he arrives at Privet Drive one summer night to collect Harry. The war against Voldemort has already begun and Hogwarts is not safe anymore. The Wizarding world has split down the middle and the effects even spill over onto the Muggles. Harry is convinced that Malfoy bears the Dark Mark and is up to something. Meanwhile, Dumbledore and Harry work together to uncover the full and complex story of a boy once named Tom Riddle. Harry will need powerful magic and true friends as he explores Voldemort’s darkest secrets and prepares to face his destiny. But before, Harry must convince Horace Slughorn to part with his memory which according to Dumbledore might prove crucial to find out the extent of Voldemort’s inclination towards Dark Arts and to a particularly Dark object, Horcrux.
Despite the fact that I no longer admire J.K. Rowling like before, Harry Potter will always be my favourite series of all time. There were certain problematic aspects of the book which might’ve skipped my attention when I first read it a few years back. I haven’t reduced the rating because Half-Blood Prince is my favourite book in the series, I’m only savvier about the problematic aspects.
Why are Love potions on sale? Shouldn’t The Ministry of Magic ban the manufacture and sale of such dangerous products? Merope drugged Voldemort’s father with a love-potion. I know that’s how Voldemort would be born without love and is devoid of any emotion but it still is non-consensual sex. Even Fred and George sell love potions at Weasley Wizard Wheezes which eventually makes its way into Hogwarts. Romilda Vane wants to give Harry a Love potion so she could take him to a Christmas party. Why using and selling love potions is such a light affair? How is that even acceptable? There are other products sold which are dangerous (to the Wizarding World) but no, The Ministry wouldn’t take any actions.
“Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder,” said Ron bitterly. “Fred and George’s. I’m going to be having a word with them about who they let buy their products.”
I love Harry but seldom his actions are annoying. He’s in grief after Sirius’s death but blaming Snape for it is wrong. More so, because he feels good about it. Hermione is dominating but she knows what is right. She warns Harry against going to The Ministry in The Order of The Pheonix and Harry must be seeing what Voldemort wants him to see. If I remember it right, even Snape warns Sirius against going to The Ministry. Sirius died because of his own egotistical and reckless behaviour.
Harry clung to this notion, because it enabled him to blame Snape, which felt satisfying, and also because he knew that if anyone was not sorry that Sirius was dead, it was the man now striding next to him in the darkness.
Hermione even warned Harry to not trust the Half-Blood Prince’s Potions book but he does not even consider before casting spells that he’s not even heard of. What if any spell killed someone? In a duel with Draco Malfoy who almost casts Crucio, Harry casts Sectumsempra without being aware of its consequence and he only gets detention for it. Also, a student who is casting Crucio, an unforgivable curse which is a one-way ticket to Azkaban, be punished for it as well? Besides, if Harry enjoyed the popularity he had because of the Half-Blood Prince’s Potions book, he should’ve worked hard for it from the beginning of the first year and should’ve had the audacity to return the book back.
I hate Ginny more than ever. She is a stereotypical YA female character, written as bold and brave but is rather rude and cruel. Ginny insults Fleur, call her phlegm. Mrs Weasley and Hermione didn’t like Fleur either but they didn’t call her names. Ginny hexes Zacarius Smith because he annoyed her. Really? And she gets invited to the Slug Club for it!
“He saw me hex Zacharias Smith,” said Ginny. “You remember that idiot from Hufflepuff who was in the D.A.? He kept on and on asking about what happened at the Ministry and in the end he annoyed me so much I hexed him.”
She insults Hermione because she can’t play Quidditch. Just because you can play Quidditch does not mean everyone can or everyone should for that matter. I’ve never liked Ginny and I couldn’t care less about her and Harry’s romance. It felt forced and overwhelming.
“Oh, don’t start acting as though you understand Quidditch,” snapped Ginny, “you’ll only embarrass yourself.”
Likewise, I hate James Potter. I don’t understand Hogwart’s notion of bravery. James Potter other than refusing to join the Dark Side and sacrificing his life to save his family, what other actions of his manifests bravery? Unless bullying counts as bravery because you’re a bloody Gryffindor!
“Coward, did you call me, Potter?” shouted Snape. “Your father would never attack me unless it was four on one, what would you call him, I wonder?”
Even Hermione’s action irked me. She attacked Ron because she feels entitled to his feelings and affection and seeing him going out with Lavender upset her.
“Oppugno!” came a shriek from the doorway.
Harry spun around to see Hermione pointing her wand at Ron, her expression wild: The little flock of birds was speeding like a hail of fat golden bullets toward Ron, who yelped and covered his face with his hands, but the birds attacked, pecking and clawing at every bit of flesh they could reach.
Horace Slughorn is quite vain, collecting popular students as trophies even those who possess no talent whatsoever but belongs to well-known and reputable families. No matter how many times I read the Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore’s death will always be a blow considering how much he meant to Harry and to (almost) everyone else at school and how invaluable his help could’ve been in times of war.
Apart from the above-mentioned points, I love The Half-Blood Prince. I might review the other books in the series in the future or I might just do a blog post about the problematic aspects in each book. It’s easier to point out what you didn’t like than stating what and why you love it, sometimes because it’s too personal.
“I am not worried, Harry,” said Dumbledore, his voice a little stronger despite the freezing water. “I am with you.”
Have you read The Harry Potter series? How did you like The Half-Blood Prince? Which is your favourite book in the series?
View my other reviews on Goodreads.