Harry Potter’s war meets the Muggle world. Battles, carnage, deaths, abductions, betrayals, oaths and politics are all fodder for this volume. None of this is surprising since Voldemort is moving openly and clearly with his attacks on the magical and non-magical populace. Soon, very soon, our heroes will be front and centre in this conflict. For Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling presents the necessary backstory for understanding for what will happen next.
J.K. starts here with various chapters, all beautifully done, to give us perspectives on the situation. The British Prime Minister informs us of the story from a Muggle view, with a bit of a wink and a nod to the readers. Switching gears to Snape becoming embroiled in a conspiracy of some nefarious kind, and capping it all off with Dumbledore being gentlemanly, this is a very auspicious beginning.
In fact, my cheers for Dumbledore were loud and exhilarating when he makes his first appearance. Cordial, nice, and unflappable, he strides to be as inclusive with the Dursley’s as possible while settling certain matters with Harry. These attempts are in vain. His frustrations finally win out, and in a grand display of concise pinpointed logic with emotions partially letting out, he does what everyone has been waiting for. He tells off the Dursley’s. Book after book of unrelenting abuse and hardship is finally repugnated by a wise beneficial authority figure. Don’t we all wish for this kind of salvation? That the horrid people in our lives will be ultimately facing the repercussions for their actions? J.K. had built to this long wished for moment, and it does not disappoint.
All this momentum eventually leads Harry back to Hogwarts, where twin missions consume his time and thoughts. The pursuit of the evil Draco and whatever plan he is enacting is a plot that dwells in the background until the massive ending. This storyline takes a necessary backseat to one of the primary focuses of this book and his other mission, the telling of the tale of Tom Riddle. J.K. does a wise and brave move here, an attempt to humanize the vile creature once known as Tom. Saddled with a twisted family tree and the pain of being estranged from everyone, Tom wishes to repair his past and remake himself into something different. But instead of choosing a path of love and hope, he plunges into control and domination. The warning signs are present and ignored by all but one. And that one, the esteemed Dumbledore, still carries the guilt over his inaction all that time ago.
These sessions of learning lead to the double pronged ending. In one instance, the beloved Dumbledore dies in a climatic showdown which contains extremely valuable plot points for the future. In the other instance, the DA shows its mettle with Ginny leading the charge to defend Hogwarts from an invasion of Death Eaters. Not surprised by this turn of events, because Ginny has propelled himself to the forefront in so many ways. Once she stopped being starry eyed at the boy who lived she found her true self, a determined warrior of great skill. This progression is so natural and complete it shows us yet again how J.K. really did have it all planned out.
With Prince we see so many ideas and thoughts come to fruition. More is still to happen, with emotions to resolve, secrets to reveal, and lies to retort. The end is near…
P.S. Harry Potter is copyright 2012 to J.K. Rowling. Her newest book, The Casual Vacancy, is due out on Thursday, September 27th, 2012.