Book Summary
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

In the sixth installment of the Harry Potter series, Lord Voldemort has returned, and the wizard world is threatened once again. Members of the wizard community, along with the muggle world, must decide whose side they are on, because no one can ignore that the Dark Lord is back. Nearly everyday the Daily Prophet, the wizard newspaper, relays the story of Lord Voldemort’s latest victim. The Ministry of Magic tries to offer tips on how to defend oneself against the Dark Lord. Despite many wizard families' fears, their children return to Hogwarts, the boarding school for young witches and wizards. With added protection, the headmaster Dumbledore insists that it is the safest place to be in these dangerous times. Dumbledore himself travels to #4 Privet Drive, Surrey, England to escort Harry Potter back to Hogwarts.

When Harry is reunited at Hogwarts with his two best friends, Ron and Hermione, he finds some interesting surprises there. At the announcement of the results of their young wizard tests, the N.E.W.T.S and O.W.L.S., they discover they will be learning from some new professors, including Horace Slughorn for Potions and Severus Snape, a former Death Eater, for Defense Against the Dark Arts. Much to Harry's thrill, he becomes Captain of the Quidditch team. Along with these new changes the sixth years learn to apparate, and each of the three friends start to feel the first fluttering of their hearts.

Much to his delight, Harry receives some extra help in his Potions class. Never the star student, Harry learns that his book formerly belonged to someone named “The Half-Blood Prince.” While Hermione seems jealous and accuses Harry of cheating, Harry learns many new spells that are written in the margin of his book as he excels in Potions. Harry has one more new class this semester, private lessons with Dumbledore. Harry is now being tutored in Lord Voldemort’s past in order to discover his one weakness and bring about his defeat. Each week they use the pensieve to look at memories of those who have had direct contact with Voldemort. Harry learns a great deal about Voldemort’s family, including his grandfather Marvolo, his uncle Morfin, and his mother Merope, who cast a love spell on a Muggle and was abandoned by him when it wore off. Voldemort was left at an orphanage and grew up to be an unpleasant and aggressive boy. With these clues, Harry learns that Voldemort has split his soul into seven pieces known as Horcruxes. To finally defeat Voldemort, he must destroy all of these pieces.

Harry also busies himself by spying on Draco Malfoy. Harry has never gotten along with Draco, the son of a Death Eater. Overhearing him in Diagon Alley while buying his school books, Harry learns that Draco is trying to fix a broken object. Suspicious of his activities, Harry spends much of his time trying to stop Draco. Unable to catch Draco in any illegal acts, Harry leaves with Dumbledore to destroy one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes. After they battle a number of traps and challenges, they find the locket hidden under a poisonous potion.

When they return to Hogwarts, the Dark Mark is directly over the astronomy tower. As they rush to see what has happened, Dumbledore freezes Harry under his invisibility cloak so he cannot fight or be detected. Draco Malfoy runs into the tower threatening Dumbledore’s life. When Dumbledore tries to stall him, Snape runs into the room, killing Dumbledore and sending him over the edge of the tower. At the death of Dumbledore, the spell over Harry is broken and he tries to fight Snape in honor of Dumbledore. Snape escapes and Harry is left with the heartache of his beloved friend's death. Sadly, Harry learns that the locket is not a Horcrux but merely a necklace with a note from someone named “R.A.B.”

When Harry announces that he will not return to Hogwarts but instead search out all of the Horcruxes and kill Voldemort, Ron and Hermione declare that they will join him. At the end of the sixth book, the lines between good and evil are drawn more distinctly as the war grows more dangerous.

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