Every once in a while, on a Thursday, I post an old school assignment that I have written as a “throwback thursday” type thing when I have an assignment I’ve found that seems interesting enough to post. This time, I have a book report on Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince from the sixth grade.
Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince (Year 6)
By: J.K Rowling
Illustrator: Mary Grandpre
The book starts with minister Fudge visiting the muggle prime minister and explaining way several of the odd going ones were the fault of the wizarding world due to the continuation of the long since thought over war and also, to inform him that there is a new minister in the wizarding world: Scrimgeour. It then switches to spinner’s end where Narcrissa and Bellatrix visit Severus Snape’s home so, that Narcrissa can beg him to help protect her son: Draco, as he is his godfather as Voldemort set him up for a suicide mission with promise of pain and death to him and his family should he fail. She forces Snape to make an unbreakable vow to protect Draco with Bellatrix as the witness. The book then switches again to the Dursley’s home where Harry is but rather than continue in third person it starts being written in first person from Harry’s point of view. Dumbledore comes to pick up Harry and they read the will of his recently deceased godfather who left him everything. Dumbledore than summons Kreacher, Sirius’ house elf to see if he now belongs to Harry as Kreacher must listen to Harry no matter how much he wishes to refuse it is determined that the house and elf know belong to Harry. They then precede to apparate to Slughorn’s temporary home to persuade him to come out of retirement for a year to teach at Hogwarts though which post is said. Harry manages to convince him to come much to the delight of Dumbledore. Dumbledore takes Harry to the Weasley’s home where he will remain the rest of the summer but before he goes tells Harry he will be taking private lessons with him this year and when Harry questions he says it is to learn about Voldemort (such as weaknesses) with that Dumbledore leaves, leaving a confused Harry in the hands of the Weasley’s.
The next morning at the Burrow Harry finds out that Ron’s eldest brother: Bill, is getting married to Fleur Delacour whom Harry went against in the tri-wizard tournament in fourth year. He, much like everyone else is displeased in some for at this mainly because Fleur treats him like a five year old and thinks it was rushed due to the war. O.W.L (Ordinary Wizarding Levels) results then come and they all due remarkably well though Harry is disappointed to find that he did not reach the required grade to continue taking potions which he needs to become an auror. Several weeks later, Harry, Hermione and the Weasleys go to Diagon Alley to get school supplies and while there they visit the twins joke shop. They then see Draco Malfoy give his mother the slip and follow him to Borgin and Burkes from under the invisibility cloak. They over hear him asking Borgin to repair something and to not sell the duplicate, which was in the store though they did not see what it was. Then when Borgin questions this Draco shows him something they can’t see which frightens him into agreeing, this begins Harry’s suspicions of Draco being a death eater and suspects that he showed Borgin his dark mark, though Ron and Hermione are disbelieving. Several weeks later on the Hogwarts express Harry, Neville (a fellow classmate and good friend) and Ginny were invited to the ‘slug club’ a group of highly intelligent or other wise influential/well connected students but together by Slughorn. Harry then starts to become aware of his feelings for Ginny when he finds out she is dating his dorm-mate Dean Thomas, but he denies it even to himself telling himself that his feelings were purely brotherly as he did not what her heart getting broken.
He then later sees Malfoy ignoring his prefect duties and follows him to the Slytherin compartment from under his invisibility cloak. He then overhears Malfoy telling his friends that he got assigned a special job but ‘him’ whom Harry suspects to be Voldemort thus increasing his suspicions of Malfoy being a death eater. Malfoy how ever finds Harry and casts a freezing charm on him, then throws the cloak over him so, that by the time someone finds him he’ll be back in London and would be in a lot of trouble. Though, Tonks whom was on guard duty for Harry finds and rescues him though on the way back to Hogwarts they find that the gate has been locked so, Tonks sends a message with a patronus to get a professor to open the gates to let them into Hogwarts, this causes Harry to notice that Tonks’ patronus has changed form. However, luck does not seem to be on Harry’s side as Snape comes to fetch him and belittles him all the way to the castle. At the opening feast, we discover that Harry can indeed take potions because Slughorn will be taking over as potions master and Snape has finally gotten his dream job of being the defense against the dark arts (or DADA) professor. The next day in potions as neither Ron nor Harry anticipated taking potions they are unprepared so, Slughorn lends them ingredients and books. The book Harry gets is an old copy that has many scribbles and incantations written in the margins that the previous owner ‘the Half-Blood Prince’ made and wrote himself. Harry at first finds these a hindrance but finds them rather useful later as they improve his potions work to top of the class from rather average. They even win him a bottle of luck potion, good for 12 hours of luck. Hermione is distrustful of the Prince and rather dislikes him though Harry suspects it is because Harry outshines Hermione in potions with his help.
About a week or so, later Harry attends his first lesson with Dumbledore, which consists of watching various memories concerning Voldemort’s past. Such as, that his mother was a near squib, his uncle and grandfather were notorious muggle haters and that he descended from Salazar Slytherin himself. We also, learn the Voldemort’s mother fell in love with a muggle named Tom Riddle and gave him a love potion to make the feeling mutual but after she became pregnant so, stopped giving him love potion thinking that he would have fallen in love with her for real or would at least stay for the sake of the baby. She then gave birth in an orphanage and died during labor though tells the people of the orphanage to name her son Tom (after his father) Marvalo (after his grandfather) Riddle, which when the letters rearranged spells ‘I am Lord Voldemort’. Later on we find out Harry has been named Quidditch captain and holds try-outs. He keeps most of the old team but adds new beaters and chasers as the old teammates graduated. Ginny joins the team as a chaser and he keeps Ron as keeper because he is a good keeper he just lacks confidence and the fact that McLaggen the next best keeper is ill tempered, bossy and annoying. We also, learn that Hermione confounded him to let Ron win the job but Harry agrees to not tell Ron as to not hurt his feelings. Harry also, questions why so, many people came to try-outs even when they can fly to which Hermione answers “Oh, come on, Harry, It’s not Quidditch that’s popular, it’s you! You’ve never been more interesting, and frankly, you’ve never been more fanciable.” In the time-span Harry also, avoids three of Slughorn’s slug club parties as to not leave Ron out. Later on, during a visit to Hogsmeade Katie Bell a chaser on the Quidditch team is imperiused into bringing a cursed necklace into Hogwarts to delivery but on the way the package rips and she touches it becoming cursed. She is sent to St.Mungos (the magical hospital). Harry (after recognizing the necklace from Borgin and Burkes) tells McGonagall his suspicions about Malfoy but she tells him Malfoy was not at Hogsmeade and that there is no proof he bought the necklace.
…and that only one of them will live though the confrontation. Private lessons with Dumbledore, unlocking the secrets of Voldemort’s past, where there may lie his only weakness: love, but also, having to deal with N.E.W.T level classes, being Quidditch captain, love-struck teenage girls, crushing on his best mates sister and Ron and Hermione fighting worse then ever as well as crushing on each other…well they don’t exactly come out unscathed with deaths on both sides…some hitting closer to home than others.
In The Half-Blood Prince there are many different settings, the first of which is the mid-end of the summer in the muggle prime minister’s office. The office is described to have a handsome marble fireplace, and tightly closed, long sash windows. There was also, an oil painting of a squat, froglike little man that would most likely hold your attention for all of five seconds but unbeknownst to anyone other than the prime minister it was a magical painting so, the little man scratched his nose and fidgeted often. There is a fine, antique rug that gets covered in ashes when Fudge and Scrimgeour visit. Lastly, there is a wooden desk piled with papers and several chairs but beyond that it is not described.
The next setting is also, towards the end of the summer, sometime during July. The setting is a street called Spinner’s End which is located in Cokeworth. Spinner’s End is where Severus Snape grew up and where he currently resides. Spinner’s End is described to be an old poverty stricken place filled with old run down houses, an old vacated mill, and is filled with trash, weeds and broken street lamps. Snape’s home is described to seem like a ‘dark, padded cell’. Bookcases line the walls on all sides, it is quite dark and a bit dirty, and there is also, a large threadbare couch. There is no other description beyond this.
A few weeks before the end of the summer the setting is the Dursley’s home (Privet Drive) where Harry resides during the summer when he is not with the Weasley’s. The Dursley’s have an ordinary two-story home nearly identical to every other. They have neatly trimmed grass and flourishing flowerbeds of many colors. They have a modest living room with a large T.V and a fireplace with the Mantle filled with pictures of their son though the years. In the same chapter the place changes as Dumbledore takes Harry to Horace Slughorn’s (temporary) home which when they first get there is ransacked and destroyed. Everything was torn and smashed with blood dripping over everything including the walls and ceiling. Though when Slughorn comes out of hiding, he and Dumbledore put everything back to normal and it becomes evident that it is a neat, orderly house not unlike Privet drive albeit with different personal touches. On the mantle in this home are pictures of famous old students of Horace Slughorn, including Harry’s mother and Professor Snape.
The last setting of the summer is the last few weeks Harry spends at the Burrow, which is his best mate Ron’s house. If privet drive was boring neat and organized, then the burrow was the complete and total opposite. It was seven mismatched stories held up by magic with a wildly growing garden filled with gnomes, woods with a clearing for Quidditch, chickens running around and cluttered rooms just barley navigable and just passing as clean or orderly even for this household. The setting on September first is King’s Cross-station and later the Hogwarts express, which is a large scarlet train that takes them to Hogwarts. Later a few months into the year (around Halloween) when Harry goes into a memory with Dumbledore they are at the outskirts of Little Hangleton at the Gaunts house (the Gaunts were Voldemort’s mother’s family). The house is seen several times throughout the year but looks the same if not worse each time. The walls are crumbling and covered in weed as if it were hiding, at a distance it is not recognizable as a house. There is a layer of dust over everything and there is a bloody snake nailed to the door. Later during December, the Golden trio (Harry, Ron, and Hermoine) and their classmates go to the village near Hogwarts: Hogsmeade. Hogsmeade is the only all wizard settlement in Britain and is a quaint, snow covered town that resembles a Christmas greeting card. There are many shops such as Madame Puddyfoot’s, the Three Broomsticks, and the Hog’s Head, Zonko’s joke shop, the post office, Honeydukes sweet shop and many others. Later during the year Harry ends up in the Hospital wing due to getting hit in the head with a Bludger (fast going solid wood and metal ball), which is an all white room that is fairly large and quiet. Towards the middle of the school year there is the room of requirement, which turns into the room of old things that people needed to hide. Towards the middle of the year Slughorn and harry visit Hagrid after the death of his gigantic spider: Aragog and his house is a wooden cabin that is moderately sized though seems small with the vast size of the size of everything due to the fact Hagrid is half giant.
Towards the end of the year when Harry and Dumbledore go looking for a Horcrux (dark magic; an object that contains a piece of a soul), they go to a cave concealed by rocky terrain and choppy waves, the inside is a dark lake filled with inferi (dead bodies reanimated to do a persons biding) surrounded by a thin path of land and a small eerily glowing bit of land in the middle of the lake with a basin filled with a potion that causes the drinker emotional agony with the Horcrux at the bottom, which happens to be Voldemort’s mother’s locket. At the end of the book the place is the astronomy tower of Hogwarts and then later after (the death of Dumbledore) the grounds by the lake for his funeral, but the weather was mocking them because it was sunny, slightly breezy and the lake was glittering but the sun reflected of the white tomb that held Dumbledore’s body.
The rest of the year is spent at Hogwarts in the great hall, the grounds, common room, owlary, library, and of course classes. Hogwarts is a large castle built in the late 9th/early 10th century with many hidden secrets and vast grounds.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the sixth book of seven of the Harry Potter series and as the title suggests, the main protagonist of the book as well as the entire series is Harry James Potter, otherwise known as The Boy Who Lived as he survived the killing curse at age one though it was thought to be impossible as it killed some of the greatest wizards (as well as Albus Dumbledore in this book) though as we earn in the fifth book he only survived because his mother sacrificed herself for him. In this book he is also, becoming known as the ‘chosen one’ due to the common knowledge that there is a prophecy that says he has the power to kill Voldemort. His parents are Lily Evans Potter and James Charleus Potter both of whom died on Halloween 1981 when Harry was only a year old, they were murdered by Voldemort himself. After the death of his parents her was sent to live with is mother’s sister’s family, which consisted of Aunt Petunia, uncle Vernon, and cousin Dudley who’s last name was Dursley. Though his family hated all abnormality and despised magic albeit for different reasons. For the next ten years of his life he was punished for accidental magic, told his parents died drunk in a car wreck, lived in a cupboard under the stairs, was a practical slave and knew absolutely nothing what so ever about the magical world…until his Hogwarts letter came on his 11th birthday.
Harry James Potter was born July 31, 1980. He is the only known survivor of the killing curse and though famous since birth hates his fame with a passion why as his father would have basked in it. His two best friends are Ron Weasley and Hermoine Granger, closely followed by Neville LongBottom, Ron’s siblings and later Luna Lovegood. He was sorted into Gryffindor his first year, a house known for its bravery and recklessness. He also, made the Quidditch team as seeker in his first year (accidently), while on the team he won Gryffindor two Quidditch cups and every year he wins Gryffindor the house cup due to endangering his life at the end of each year, as he seems to be a magnet for trouble and life-threatening situations. While his mortal enemy is Voldemort for obvious reasons his rival in school is Draco Malfoy who is his rival much in the same way between his father and Snape according to Dumbledore. In his third year he found out he has a Godfather-Sirius Black-a convicted criminal though his godfather was framed. In his fifth year Sirius dies during the Battle of the Department of mysteries, which causes him to be depressed towards the beginning of The Half-Blood Prince.
Harry has many morals such as everybody has some worth much like Dumbledore but he is biased due to decade and century old prejudices passed down to him, many of which are unjustified. He is also, difficult to gain trust from. He is brave though more often than not just reckless, as he seems to have no self-preservation instinct. To him loyalty, trust and friendship are some of the most important things as well as family. He saved the philosopher’s stone in first year, slayed a basilisk and rescued Ron’s sister Ginny from the chamber of secrets in second year. It also, became common knowledge that he could speak Parseltounge (snake speak). In third year he mastered the patronus charm, his patronus is a stag, which represents his father, as James’ animagus form was a stag: prongs. In forth year he won the tri-wizard tournament which was sour due to the death of Cedric Diggory and the rise of Voldemort. In fifth year he was subjected to using a blood quill for trying to ready people and warn them of the return of Lord Voldemort. He was also, banned from Quidditch and started Dumbledore’s army, a group of students lead by Harry to learn how to defend themselves as their defense teacher was practically evil and refused to do practical work. He is known to stand up for himself no matter what, he is determined, persistent, patient, and has a lot of self-control. As well as a sense of humor and a horrible temper, that while it takes a lot to get him to yell, when he does it is frightening. His fatal flaw seems to be loyalty as he literally throws himself headfirst into danger for his friends. During his fifth year Voldemort used their connection to trick him into coming to the department of mysteries by making him think Voldemort had captured his Godfather. During fourth year for the second task the person taken (the one he would miss most) was Ron-his best mate.
Harry has a light skin color, messy jet black hair that sticks up every which way and his mother’s emerald green eyes as well as the famous lighting bolt scar on his forehead from the killing curse. He is also, unlike most wizards as he treats all creatures the same as humans regardless if they are house-elves (he is friends with Dobby whom he freed in 2nd year), centaurs, muggles, or goblins. To him blood purity does not matter as is evident because he is a half-blood, and his best mates are a muggle-born and a pureblood.
His wand is 11” made of holly and has a phoenix feather core that came from Dumbledore’s phoenix Fawkes. His wand is the brother wand of Lord Voldemort’s which has saved his life multiple times and is quite ironic as the are complete opposite though there is a ‘strange likeness’ as stated by Tom Marvalo Riddle’s memory (Lord Voldemort real name) in the chamber of secrets. In 5th year harry had a crush on and briefly dated Cho Chang though it ended badly. In this book he develops a crush on and later dates Ron’s younger sister Ginny, whom he breaks up with at the end to protect her from Voldemort with the promise of getting back together if they both live through the war but tells her that if he dies to move on as there will be (regrettably) many more to mourn.
A part of the book that made me happy was not a necessarily happy part of the book but it made me happy because of the answers it gave. The part that made me happy was when Harry was on his way to a lesson with Dumbledore and he runs into Trelawney the Divination (future/fortune telling) professor and he finds out that the person who over-heard the prophecy and ratted his parents out to Voldemort (though he didn’t know who the prophecy was referring to) was his hated potion professor Snape. He then storms into Dumbledore’s office in a fit of temper demanding to know Snape continues to work at Hogwarts if he was and most likely still is Voldemort’s right hand man.
Harry freaks out at the news and berates Dumbledore for giving Snape the job, to which Dumbledore retaliates with the statement that Snape felt great remorse for this (the full impact of the statement isn’t reveled until the seventh book). Dumbledore then asks Harry if he would like to come look for a Horcrux with him to which he replies yes. Harry then goes to collect his cloak and on the way tells Ron and Hermione what he found out and where he is going, he also, gives them the remainder of his luck potion with instructions to use it should the need arise. Earlier in the chapter they discussed and confirmed that Harry and Ginny were now dating and that Hermoine was Jealous of Lavender when she was dating Ron though she denies it.
A part of the book that I thought was sweet was when after Ron had been poisoned and was in the hospital wing, he mumbled Hermione’s name in his sleep even though at the time he was dating Lavender whom he was avoiding at the time. She then breaks up with him claiming that she knew he had feelings for Hermione the whole time, since fourth year to which Ron and Hermione turn very red and deny and agree to not speak of it. To me it was sweet because it shows they have feelings for each other even if they refuse to admit it or act upon them.
Another sweet part was when after the final Quidditch match during the victory party, Harry kisses Ginny in the middle of the common room in front of everyone (as he had been crushing on her the whole book and she had been crushing on him since his second year though he thought she had moved on) he looks to Ron as if to get permission, expecting him to be angry but he says “better you than some other bloke…” and Harry leads her out of the common room grinning. This is sweet to me because it’s love even though he had his heart crushed the year before and Ginny had been crushing on him since forever, which made it sweeter.
One of the saddest moments in the book is the time between chapter 27 and chapter 30 because during that time numerous things happen. The dark mark is seen over the castle as death eaters invade (courtesy of Draco Malfoy) and Snape’s true colors are shown as he kills Dumbledore from the astronomy tower (though the phrase ‘things are not as they seem’ is hinted at though as Dumbledore is surely dead is leaves confusion). The aftermath of the battle is seen with parts of Hogwarts destroyed, many wounded and several dead as well as Bill (the eldest brother of Ron) being mauled by a werewolf (Greyback). Finally, there is the pure shock of the death of Dumbledore who was though by many to be nearly invincible. The grieving of the betrayal of Snape a well as the deaths only heightened by Fawkes’ (Dumbledore’s phoniex) lament or song for the death of his owner. There is then the burial and memorial service of Dumbledore, which is even sadder now that the shock as worn off and arrangements had been made.
The sense of utter hopelessness only increase in resolve as you can tell there is no possible way for Dumbledore to still be living as he is encased in a white marble tomb. Harry’s resolve for finishing Dumbledore’s work of destroying the Horcruxes in strengthen as he feels he can not let Dumbledore’s death be in vain, he then breaks up with Ginny saying if they both survive the war he’ll be waiting for her if she’ll take him back but that he knows Voldemort would use her against him she understands but unmistakably sheds tears but retaliates by calling him a ‘noble prat’ then smiling. The book ends with Ron and Hermoine claiming to came with him on his hunt for the horcruxes whether he likes it or not, then the four friends talking and sitting by the lake gazing out at the tomb (more or less).
Author’s style likes/dislikes:
Some of my favorite aspects of the authors writing style is the way she really pulls you into the magic by explaining everything in depth as if she really thought of every little detail down to the last trivial thing not just writing what’s necessary to understand the story line she puts the potion recipes, statistics for Quidditch teams and names for even the characters mentioned once or twice. I also, like how she doesn’t make the main characters seemingly invincible she shows their insecurities and fears among others things. She shows that even though Harry is a child with the weight of the world on his shoulders, he is still just that, a child who makes mistakes and is in no way perfect who half the time is unsure what is happening yet has a nasty temper. Who his quick to jump to conclusions and be biased, he will do what he want rather than listen. She also, puts so, much background and depth into all her characters you can’t help but think that there are living, breathing people she based them off of.
What I dislike about her writing style is the occasional pointless repetition. Also, that she leaves many loose ends to the end or carrying over to the next book. The fact that she drags things out to let you figure things out with off-hand foreshadowing while entertaining when reading for the second time as you know what to look for it is slightly confusing especially the jumping between events while no actual cause for confusion really it sometimes makes you feel as if you missed something vitally important until you realized it hadn’t happened yet. Other than those small things (which you really don’t notice unless you read to much into the book as I usually do) it is an enjoyable writing style.
The person I would recommend this book to would be my best friend Antonella (Nella). I would recommend this book to her because she has read the first few books of the series and she loves the movies. This book specifically of the series though I would recommend to her to read because you can not get a good idea of it from the film adaptation as the film was confusing, even more so if you have not read the book. I think she would like and understand the series and the film much more if she read the book, as it would clear any questions or confusions especially since she fell asleep and missed half the movie when we saw it thus confusing her even more. She likes the series and enjoys reading many of the same books as I do so, as it is one of my favorite books I really do think she will enjoy it as well as help her understanding and increase her interest. She likes fiction and fantasy books which is another reason she would like the, as well as the romance as most of the book is centered on the war going on out side the walls of the school and the love lives of the characters. In fact the preface of the book reads “…as in all wars, life goes on…. teenagers flirt, fight and fall in love…” which describes several of her favorite genres in a nutshell.