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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) [Hardcover]

J. K. Rowling
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 16 2005

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J.K. Rowling, is the sixth in the bestselling Harry Potter series.

In the previous book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the last chapter, titled "The Second War Begins," started:

"In a brief statement on Friday night, Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge confirmed that He Who Must Not Be Named has returned to this country and is once more active ... It is with great regret that I must confirm that the wizard styling himself Lord — well, you know who I mean — is alive and among us again," said Fudge.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince takes up the story of Harry Potter's sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry at this point as Voldemort’s power and followers are increasing day by day, in the midst of this battle of good and evil.

The author has already said that the Half-Blood Prince is neither Harry nor Voldemort. Intriguingly, the opening chapter of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has been brewing in J.K. Rowling's mind for 13 years. 

All five Harry Potter books are available in various editions: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, as well as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.


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The long-awaited, eagerly anticipated, arguably over-hyped Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has arrived, and the question on the minds of kids, adults, fans, and skeptics alike is, "Is it worth the hype?" The answer, luckily, is simple: yep. A magnificent spectacle more than worth the price of admission, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will blow you away. However, given that so much has gone into protecting the secrets of the book (including armored trucks and injunctions), don't expect any spoilers in this review. It's much more fun not knowing what's coming--and in the case of Rowling's delicious sixth book, you don't want to know. Just sit tight, despite the earth-shattering revelations that will have your head in your hands as you hope the words will rearrange themselves into a different story. But take one warning to heart: do not open Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince until you have first found a secluded spot, safe from curious eyes, where you can tuck in for a good long read. Because once you start, you won't stop until you reach the very last page. A darker book than any in the series thus far with a level of sophistication belying its genre, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince moves the series into murkier waters and marks the arrival of Rowling onto the adult literary scene. While she has long been praised for her cleverness and wit, the strength of Book 6 lies in her subtle development of key characters, as well as her carefully nuanced depiction of a community at war. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, no one and nothing is safe, including preconceived notions of good and evil and of right and wrong. With each book in her increasingly remarkable series, fans have nervously watched J.K. Rowling raise the stakes; gone are the simple delights of butterbeer and enchanted candy, and days when the worst ailment could be cured by a bite of chocolate. A series that began as a colorful lark full of magic and discovery has become a dark and deadly war zone. But this should not come as a shock to loyal readers. Rowling readied fans with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by killing off popular characters and engaging the young students in battle. Still, there is an unexpected bleakness from the start of Book 6 that casts a mean shadow over quidditch games, silly flirtations, and mountains of homework. Ready or not, the tremendous ending of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will leave stunned fans wondering what great and terrible events await in Book 7 if this sinister darkness is meant to light the way. --Daphne Durham

A Few Words from J.K. Rowling
"I am an extraordinarily lucky person, doing what I love best in the world. I’m sure that I will always be a writer. It was wonderful enough just to be published. The greatest reward is the enthusiasm of the readers." --J.K. Rowling.

Find out more about Harry's creator in our exclusive interview with J.K. Rowling.

Why We Love Harry

Favorite Moments from the Series
There are plenty of reasons to love Rowling's wildly popular series--no doubt you have several dozen of your own. Our list features favorite moments, characters, and artifacts from all five books. Keep in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive (what we love about Harry could fill five books!) and does not include any of the spectacular revelatory moments that would spoil the books for those (few) who have not read them. Enjoy.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
  • Harry's first trip to the zoo with the Dursleys, when a boa constrictor winks at him.
  • When the Dursleys' house is suddenly besieged by letters for Harry from Hogwarts. Readers learn how much the Dursleys have been keeping from Harry. Rowling does a wonderful job in displaying the lengths to which Uncle Vernon will go to deny that magic exists.
  • Harry's first visit to Diagon Alley with Hagrid. Full of curiosities and rich with magic and marvel, Harry's first trip includes a trip to Gringotts and Ollivanders, where Harry gets his wand (holly and phoenix feather) and discovers yet another connection to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. This moment is the reader's first full introduction to Rowling's world of witchcraft and wizards.
  • Harry's experience with the Sorting Hat.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • The de-gnoming of the Weasleys' garden. Harry discovers that even wizards have chores--gnomes must be grabbed (ignoring angry protests "Gerroff me! Gerroff me!"), swung about (to make them too dizzy to come back), and tossed out of the garden--this delightful scene highlights Rowling's clever and witty genius.
  • Harry's first experience with a Howler, sent to Ron by his mother.
  • The Dueling Club battle between Harry and Malfoy. Gilderoy Lockhart starts the Dueling Club to help students practice spells on each other, but he is not prepared for the intensity of the animosity between Harry and Draco. Since they are still young, their minibattle is innocent enough, including tickling and dancing charms.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Ron's attempt to use a telephone to call Harry at the Dursleys'.
  • Harry's first encounter with a Dementor on the train (and just about any other encounter with Dementors). Harry's brush with the Dementors is terrifying and prepares Potter fans for a darker, scarier book.
  • Harry, Ron, and Hermione's behavior in Professor Trelawney's Divination class. Some of the best moments in Rowling's books occur when she reminds us that the wizards-in-training at Hogwarts are, after all, just children. Clearly, even at a school of witchcraft and wizardry, classes can be boring and seem pointless to children.
  • The Boggart lesson in Professor Lupin's classroom.
  • Harry, Ron, and Hermione's knock-down confrontation with Snape.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Hermione's disgust at the reception for the veela (Bulgarian National Team Mascots) at the Quidditch World Cup. Rowling's fourth book addresses issues about growing up--the dynamic between the boys and girls at Hogwarts starts to change. Nowhere is this more plain than the hilarious scene in which magical cheerleaders nearly convince Harry and Ron to jump from the stands to impress them.
  • Viktor Krum's crush on Hermione--and Ron's objection to it.
  • Malfoy's "Potter Stinks" badge.
  • Hermione's creation of S.P.E.W., the intolerant bigotry of the Death Eaters, and the danger of the Triwizard Tournament. Add in the changing dynamics between girls and boys at Hogwarts, and suddenly Rowling's fourth book has a weight and seriousness not as present in early books in the series. Candy and tickle spells are left behind as the students tackle darker, more serious issues and take on larger responsibilities, including the knowledge of illegal curses.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

  • Harry's outburst to his friends at No. 12 Grimmauld Place. A combination of frustration over being kept in the dark and fear that he will be expelled fuels much of Harry's anger, and it all comes out at once, directly aimed at Ron and Hermione. Rowling perfectly portrays Harry's frustration at being too old to shirk responsibility, but too young to be accepted as part of the fight that he knows is coming.
  • Harry's detention with Professor Umbridge. Rowling shows her darker side, leading readers to believe that Hogwarts is no longer a safe haven for young wizards. Dolores represents a bureaucratic tyrant capable of real evil, and Harry is forced to endure their private battle of wills alone.
  • Harry and Cho's painfully awkward interactions. Rowling clearly remembers what it was like to be a teenager.
  • Harry's Occlumency lessons with Snape.
  • Dumbledore's confession to Harry.
Begin at the Beginning
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Hardcover
Paperback
Adult
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Hardcover
Paperback
Adult
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Hardcover
Paperback
Adult
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Hardcover
Paperback
Adult
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Hardcover
Paperback
Adult

Did You Know?
The Little White Horse was J.K. Rowling's favorite book as a child. Jane Austen is Rowling's favorite author. Roddy Doyle is Rowling's favorite living writer.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5 Up–It's no surprise that everyone's favorite teen wizard is still battling Voldemort. What does perplex the young hero is a forgotten textbook with secret writing that brings together Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Scholastic, 2005). J. K. Rowling returns Harry, Hermione, and Ron to Hogworts amidst troubling signs that the Dark Lord and the Deatheaters are gaining strength. Fortunately, Headmaster Dumbledore is helping his apt pupil prepare for an expected showdown by taking Harry to remembered incidents in the life of his old enemy. Less dangerous, but still disturbing, Ron and Hermione have put Harry in the middle of their incessant bickering. Then there's Slytherin Prefect Draco Malfoy who's under orders to commit murder–but who is his intended victim? Finally, Professor Snape is now teaching the Defense of the Dark Arts class, but he appears to be doing some dark deeds of his own. A blossoming relationship with Ginny Weasley is a bright spot for Harry, but another personal loss forces him to make some grave decisions by the novel's end. Narrator Jim Dale is completely at home with all his familiar characters and just as adept at creating new vocal personas for returned faculty such as Potions Master Slughorn. Experienced Harry Potter listeners will recognize Snape's haughty hiss and Dumbledore's smooth heartiness before the text identifies them. Even house elves Dobby and Kreacher are unmistakable during their brief appearances. Every library will need this audiobook, but it would be wise to buy two copies since they'll be zooming off the shelves faster than a broomstick.–Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Da Do Won-Won-Won, Da Do Won-Won Jan. 25 2007
Format:Paperback
Orphaned as a baby and subsequently raised (in the loosest possible terms) by his Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia, Harry's early years were thoroughly miserable. Although he had been told his parents had been killed in a car crash, in reality they were murdered by an evil wizard called Voldemort. Harry, however, somehow survived this attack and Voldemort subsequently disappeared for many years. Tracked down by an apparent giant called Hagrid on his eleventh birthday, Harry discovered he was a wizard and has since been attending Hogwarts - a very prestigious school for training young witches and wizards. The school's headmaster Albus Dumbledore, considered by many to be the greatest wizard of modern times, has become something of a role model to Harry. His time has Hogwarts has provided also him with some of the happiest moments of his life : he has made friends for the first time (Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and Hagrid being the most notable) and has become the Seeker on Gryffindor's Quidditch team. (Gryffindor is Harry's house, while Quidditch is the most popular wizard sport). Unfortunately, it has also become apparent that Voldemort's disappearance was only temporary, and his desire to kill Harry has not lessened. Furthermore, some of his key followers are also at Hogwarts. Professor Snape, the Potions teacher who has picked on Harry from the day he arrived, was a noted Death Eater. Draco Malfoy, Harry's arch-nemesis among the student body, is the son of another noted Death Eater...who, thanks to Harry, is now in prison.

The Order of the Phoenix is a secret society formed by Dumbledore to lead the fight against Voldemort and his Death Eaters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rowling weavers another wonder!!! Dec 20 2005
Format:Hardcover
Lord Voldemort is alive and the wizard community is in an uproar. The Death Eaters evil deeds are spreading beyond the wizard world and threatening the muggle world. Dementors are everywhere draining all light, hope, and happiness. All the while plots abound (Is Harry really "The Chosen One'?), danger is around every corner (has Draco become a Death Eater?), and Harry, Ron, and Hermione still have to decide on what course to take for their N.E.W.T's (Nasty Exhausting Wizarding Tests). Ah, to be a 16 year old wizard. Author JK Rowling has once again weaved a riveting adventure that's suspenseful, gripping, and imaginative. A darker book in an increasngly dark series (there's another death that effects Harry deeply), but Potter fans will undoubtedly read it from cover to cover, over and over again, while waiting for the grand finale. I know I will. :) Other suggested reading: "The Chronicles of Narnia" by CS Lewis and "GAAK" by Darryl Hughes. Both wonderful all age adventures.
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Format:Kindle Edition
The sixth book begins with the Minister of Magic visiting the English Prime Minister – that is the Minister of Muggles. Of course, it is not very surprising that the normal minister does not enjoy his magical counterpart’s visit. But it’s amazing the way the author has written the scene – the detailing too great for words.

This is followed by the Unbreakable Vow that Snape takes with Draco Malfoy’s mother. Could Dumbledore still trust him or was the school principle getting senile with age? Read the book to find out more about this one.

Dumbledore takes Harry’s help in bringing Professor Slughorn out of retirement – another cute scene so well written – to teach at Hogwarts and Slughorn goes on to become the Potions Professor much to the students’ surprise and delight. They are happy that Professor Snape is not teaching potions any more. But much to Harry, Ron and Hermione’s horror, Snape is the new teacher for Defence Against the Dark Arts.

While Harry improves tremendously in Potions – especially with the help of the book that he ‘borrows’ from the Half-Blood Prince, he begins to hate DADA, no thanks to Snape. Their hate-hate relationship continues while Harry does his best to convince Dumbledore that Snape is an enemy. Would the principal listen to Harry? No, it seems.

Harry is also not very happy with Draco Malfoy’s strange activities and is convinced that Malfoy is a Death Eater now. But no one seems to take him seriously – not even Hermione and Ron.

Things turn murkier when murder attempts on students bring terror into the youngsters’ lives. While Harry has special classes with Professor Dumbledore, they are usually trips down memory lane through the pensieve.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Colourful Imaginative March 8 2014
By Murray
Format:Paperback
The story started out with a couple of scenes that seemed to finish up previous stories. The new story began with the students going back to school and Harry Potter finding a potion text book that had belonged to the Half Blood Prince. Meanwhile, the Dark Prince was causing trouble that climaxed in a battle at the school. A favourite character dies in the battle. In the epilogue the Half Blood Prince is found out and the stage is set for the next story. The story intrigued me because of the mystery element. I wanted to know who the Half Blood Prince was and what would happen in the end.

I found Rowling’s writing to be very long winded. This story might have been said with a lot less writing. I also think her writing to be classist and a parody of English society; at least her version of that society. Given that, her strength is in her imagination and the colourful world that she has created. Her spin on words and names of the various creatures that inhabit Harry Potter’s world is brilliant. Her appeal to youth would be in her understanding of kids growing up and her empathy with them.

I think that youth readers would connect because the social scene of a school is presented in a way that relates to the contemporary scene. Something like snogging is a reality and just saying it happens is a validation to youth. Her portrayals of teenage angst and other nerve racking events like villains who symbolise bullies picking on kids is a excellent way to get the youthful reader’s attention. Kids acting like adults would appeal to the young reader. I found the adult characters to be tad cartoonish and the youth characters to be realistic.

What I really liked is that she kept to a traditional perspective good and evil.
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How can you go wrong with Harry Potter? Just introduced our Grandaughter to the series and she loved it. We also bought a few more books and then the CD series for her.
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great book gonna be rereading it, I wish it didn't end after the next book I want more maybe even a bigger backstory on the first wizarding war
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Published 16 months ago by dbrou101
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Loved this book. The whole series was great. Much better then the movies. I will keep this series for my kids to read when they're old enough.
Published 18 months ago by K. Sheppard
5.0 out of 5 stars Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: The Past Is The Future
Harry Potter's war meets the Muggle world. Battles, carnage, deaths, abductions, betrayals, oaths and politics are all fodder for this volume. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Scoopriches
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor Quality Product
I am VERY DISAPPOINTED with my purchase! The description of the product was MISLEADING. I was aware that the book was used but what I received in the mail is RIDICULOUS. Read more
Published on Aug. 29 2011 by Unhappy First-Time Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Better and better!
Like children and adults everywhere, I caught the Harry Potter bug early and read the first three books in the series early on (though in paperback format, so not that early), but... Read more
Published on Sept. 12 2009 by Saro
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I love this series. Started with book three in 2000 and then went back and read it from the beginning and was reading each one the day it was released - heck, I was even Dumbledore... Read more
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