Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – thoughts upon a reread

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6)Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
Published by Scholastic

I am way far behind on the Harry Potter Readalong, but as of this writing I’ve already finished the last two books, just haven’t made the time to write about them. Well, here are some brief thoughts on the sixth book!

Love love love. I so overwhelmingly love this book and everything about it. I know I said the fifth book was my favorite, and maybe it still is, but this is a very close second. More than anything else about this book, what I truly love about it is just how much Harry learns about the truth of his life and what he has to do, and how much trust Dumbledore FINALLY places in Harry. After years of keeping him in the dark to “protect” him, Dumbledore finally gets that he needs to just be honest, Harry is not a kid anymore (well, I’d argue that a sixteen-year-old boy is most definitely a kid, but for wizarding purposes not so much), and he deserves to hear the whole story, nothing left out. So Dumbledore does a pretty decent job of that, and we readers are treated to the same information. Which is to say, lots and lots of information is thrown at Harry and the reader in this book. I’ve read this one a few times now, and I feel like each time I read it, I catch something that I must have glossed over the first few times. Every time there is something new to me – either I had forgotten a certain detail, or never paid enough attention in past readings to pick up on it.

This is also the book where I fully came to appreciate Rowling’s genius in writing this story. There are things that happen in this book that were foreshadowed several books back, only we as readers had no idea what was to come – but Rowling certainly did! Nothing proves to me more that she is immensely talented than every single word written in this book.

And Harry and Ginny! Cue trumpets and a parade because YAY! There are a lot of fans who thought Rowling got this wrong, who felt that Harry and Hermione should have ended up together, but I am not one of them. I love Harry and Ginny together and seeing it happen was oh so satisfying.

The end of this book is soul-crushingly devastating and I cry every single time I read it. It is terrible, awful, so unbelievably painful and every time I read it, I secretly hope that maybe they’ve changed it and IT doesn’t happen. Yet it always does. But it must be done to further the story and get Harry to the point of such anger and resolve that he knows with absolute certainty what he must do, what is his destiny, and that is exactly where the book ends. And I love it.

Obviously this is in no way a “review” of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. And it’s also not a comprehensive list of all of my thoughts (of which I have many more). But you get the general idea of my feelings for it, which is my goal.


8 thoughts on “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – thoughts upon a reread”

  1. This one slays me too. I agree that it is the final confirmation readers get that everything about the first five books is important. It really makes you appreciate the complexity of the overarching story. It’s also the first time we see Harry put on his big boy pants and realize that he’s never going to be like everyone else and that there is a reason for it. (I really, really, really dislike Harry in Book 5.) You are making me want to read the series again!

    1. I agree with you about Harry in this book. I didn’t HATE him in Book 5 (because the poor guy did have to deal with Umbridge, after all), but I totally get what you mean about him not being his best self in that book.

  2. Would you believe I haven’t read this one? So embarrassing! I finished the 4th book and for some reason never kept going in the series. My daughter has read them all multiple times and fusses at me pretty regularly about it! After reading your thoughts I can’t remember why I stopped! This sounds wonderful!

    1. You HAVE to read them all! The last 3 books are heads and tails above the first four, in my opinion. Of course I do love them all. 🙂

  3. My thoughts exactly! Except Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite with this one a close second. Joy at the Harry/Ginny hookup, the truth about Snape, the death of you know who (don’t want to ruin anything for the three people who haven’t read it). You make me want to read them again. Have you ever listened to the audio? They are positively amazing. Some of the best audio listening I’ve ever experienced.

    1. I listened to the audios of the first three (the ones narrated by Jim Dale) but never finished the series on audio. Next time I do a reread – it will probably be at least a year from now, if not longer – I will probably do audio.

  4. My eyes got all teary when I saw this post pop up in my Google Reader. It’s not my favorite book in the series (that would be Prisoner of Azkaban, which is so beautifully constructed), but it’s my favorite iteration of Harry. He grows up so much between the fifth book and this one, and this book is really where you can see the adult he’s going to be. The scenes where he’s telling off Scrimgeour are my favorite scenes in this whole series.

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