Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a fantasy novel written by British author J. K. Rowling and the sixth and penultimate novel in the Harry Potter series. Set during protagonist Harry Potter’s sixth year at Hogwarts, the novel explores the past of Harry’s nemesis, Lord Voldemort, and Harry’s preparations for the final battle against Voldemort alongside his headmaster and mentor Albus Dumbledore.
The book was published in the United Kingdom by Bloomsbury, and in the United States by Scholastic on 16 July 2005, as well as in several other countries. It sold nine million copies in the first 24 hours after its release, a record at the time which was eventually broken by its sequel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. There were many controversies before and after it was published, including the right to read the copies delivered prior to the release date in Canada. Reception to the novel was generally positive and it won several awards and honours, including the 2006 British Book of the Year award.
Reviewers noted that the book took on a darker tone than its previous predecessors, though it did contain some humour. Some considered the main themes to be love, death, trust, and redemption. The considerable character development of Harry and many other teenage characters also drew attention.
Dumbledore picks Harry up from his aunt and uncle’s house, intending to escort him to the Burrow, home of Harry’s best friend Ron, and his large family. On the way, they make a detour to the temporary home of Horace Slughorn, former Potions teacher at Hogwarts, and Harry unwittingly helps persuade Slughorn to return to teach. Harry and Dumbledore then proceed to the Burrow, where Hermione has already arrived.
Severus Snape, a member of the Order of the Phoenix, meets with Narcissa Malfoy, Draco’s mother, and her sister Bellatrix Lestrange, Lord Voldemort’s faithful supporter. Narcissa expresses her extreme concern that her son might not survive a dangerous mission, given to him by Lord Voldemort. Bellatrix feels Snape will be of no help until he surprises her by making an Unbreakable Vow with Narcissa, swearing on his life that he will protect and assist Draco in his mission.
The next morning, Harry, Ron, and Hermione get their Ordinary Wizarding Level (O.W.L.) results, along with lists of school supplies. Later, Harry, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger follow Draco to Dark Arts supplier Borgin and Burkes. Harry is instantly suspicious of Draco, whom he believes to be a Death Eater.
On the Hogwarts Express, Harry discusses his suspicions of Draco’s allegiance with Lord Voldemort, however Ron and Hermione are doubtful with the lack of evidence. Harry wears his invisibility cloak and hides in the same carriage that Malfoy is seated in. He overhears Draco bragging to his friends about the mission Lord Voldemort has tasked him. However, Malfoy is suspicious that someone else is in the carriage and discovers Harry Potter was listening to his conversation. He petrifies him and breaks his nose out of rage. Harry cannot get off the carriage, and is worried the Hogwarts Express will depart before he can move again. To his relief however, Nymphadora Tonks finds Harry and escorts him back to the castle during the opening feast.
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Author: Jk Rowling