Saturday, July 25, 2009

HARRY POTTER [Half Blood Prince]

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, released on 16 July 2005, is the sixth of seven novels from British author J. K. Rowling's popular Harry Potter series. Set during Harry Potter's sixth year at Hogwarts, the novel explores Lord Voldemort's past, and Harry's preparations for the final battle amidst emerging romantic relationships and the emotional confusions and conflict resolutions characteristic of mid-adolescence.
The book sold three million copies in the first 16 hours after its release, a record at the time which was eventually broken by its sequel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
As Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters commit crimes in both the magical and Muggle worlds, Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge is replaced by Rufus Scrimgeour. Professor Snape, appearing to have rejoined the Death Eaters and Lord Voldemort, is visited by Narcissa Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange. A terrified Narcissa tells Snape that her son Draco has received orders from Lord Voldemort, and asks Snape to make an Unbreakable Vow to protect her son, and complete the task for him should he fail.
Harry Potter accompanies Albus Dumbledore on a trip to persuade retired Hogwarts professor Horace Slughorn to return to teaching. Harry notices one of Dumbledore's hands is withered and burnt black, and he is wearing a ring with a distinctively-marked stone. Harry spends the remaining holiday at The Burrow with the Weasleys and Hermione, where they receive their O.W.L. results. Harry and Ron must take N.E.W.T. level Potions to become Aurors, but their O.W.L.s in the subject are too low to enrol in Snape's Potions class.
At Hogwarts, Snape is named the new Defence Against the Dark Arts instructor, with Slughorn becoming the Potions teacher. Slughorn's requirements are lower than Snape's, so Harry and Ron are able to enrol in his class, but do not have textbooks. Slughorn loans them copies; Harry's book has notes and corrections that yield better results than the textbook's instructions, winning him a vial of Felix Felicis, a potion that infuses luck, on his first day in class. His book is inscribed as having previously belonged to the "Half-Blood Prince".
Ron's brother Bill Weasley is engaged to Fleur Delacour, of whom his mother disapproves. Auror Nymphadora Tonks makes comments suggesting she may harbour feelings for her now-slain cousin Sirius Black. However, it is eventually revealed that she has fallen for Remus Lupin despite his protests that he is unworthy of her. They marry over the summer.
Ron and Ginny join the Gryffindor Quidditch team, which Harry now captains, as Keeper and Chaser respectively. This puts Harry in frequent contact with Ginny, who for a long time harbored an attraction to him. Now, however, she is dating Dean Thomas—unexpectedly making Harry jealous. This is exacerbated when Dean also gains membership on the team, replacing original member Katie Bell who is almost killed while attempting to deliver a cursed necklace under the influence of the Imperius Curse. Ron is displeased with his younger sister dating anybody, forcing Harry to ignore his attraction. After an argument with Ginny in which Ron's dating inexperience is made clear, Ron takes up with Lavender Brown, creating a divide between him and Hermione. This rift is only mended when he accidentally consumes a love potion attracting him to Romilda Vane, and then poisoned mead which almost kills him.
Dumbledore privately tutors Harry, using his Pensieve to show Harry memories of Voldemort's past. Dumbledore asks Harry to retrieve a key memory from Slughorn regarding Slughorn's conversation with a sixth-year Tom Riddle. Harry uses his vial of Felix Felicis to acquire the memory.
The memories reveal that Voldemort splintered his soul into six fragments attached to objects called Horcruxes, while leaving a seventh piece in his body, in order to achieve immortality. As long as any of the Horcruxes exist Voldemort cannot be killed. Two Horcruxes have been destroyed--Tom Riddle's diary by Harry in the Chamber of Secrets[HP2], and Marvolo Gaunt's ring by Dumbledore. Three of the remaining Horcruxes are a locket formerly owned by Salazar Slytherin, a cup formerly owned by Helga Hufflepuff, and the snake Nagini. Dumbledore speculates that the sixth unidentified Horcrux may be something associated with Gryffindor or Ravenclaw, as Riddle would have wanted something from each of the houses of Hogwarts, which he regarded as his home.
After seeing Harry cast an unusual curse, "Sectumsempra" (a dark curse which leaves deep gashes) against Draco Malfoy, Snape attempts to repossess the Half-Blood Prince's Potions book, but Harry gives him Ron's copy instead and hides his copy in the Room of Requirement. Harry gets detention from Snape and misses the Quidditch finals, but Gryffindor wins the Cup. During the victory celebration Harry spontaneously kisses Ginny, and with Ron's grudging approval they begin dating.
Dumbledore locates another Horcrux and asks Harry to accompany him to destroy it. They travel to a cave to retrieve a locket. Dumbledore is weakened after drinking a potion to obtain the Horcrux. Harry retrieves the Horcrux and guides Dumbledore to safety in Hogsmeade, but as they arrive they see the Dark Mark over the Astronomy Tower at Hogwarts and hurry back to the school.
Dumbledore and an invisible Harry are confronted atop the tower by Draco Malfoy, and before Harry can reveal himself, Dumbledore immobilises Harry before Malfoy disarms him. Draco admits that he was behind two attacks on Hogwarts students (Katie Bell's cursing and Ron's poisoning), with both objects intended for Dumbledore, whom Voldemort had ordered Draco to kill. Dumbledore offers Draco protection from the Death Eaters, and Draco cannot bring himself to kill Dumbledore, even with the urging of fellow Death Eaters once they arrive. Instead, fulfilling his Unbreakable Vow, Snape kills Dumbledore. Harry, enraged and freed from immobility by Dumbledore's death, pursues Snape, who reveals that he is the Half-Blood Prince, and fends off Harry's attacks until he gets outside Hogwarts grounds and Disapparates.
Harry recovers the locket from Dumbledore's body, only to discover it is a fake left by someone with the initials R. A. B. who stole the real Horcrux and left a note about his opposition to Voldemort. The school year ends with Dumbledore's funeral. He and his wand are buried in a tomb beside the lake on Hogwarts's grounds. Harry vows not to return to school and to hunt for the remaining Horcruxes. Harry breaks up with Ginny to keep her safe from danger during his quest, and Ron and Hermione pledge to accompany him.

[sources: WIKIPEDIA]

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