One more step, and all will come to an end. Closer to the finishing line, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince picks up a safe speed to get us to the peak point through several more metres of revelation. Rowling holds back a few secrets and fights and saves some tension for the last part, the very last book of the series, but that doesn’t mean that we won’t get completely nothing. In fact, through the pages of this number, we get to know the real Lord Voldemort.
This time, the story begins with Dumbledore collecting Harry at the Dursleys’, asking Harry to accompany him visiting Horace Slughorn, an already-retired old Hogwarts teacher. Dumbledore wants him to go back and teach at Hogwarts, considering the lack of teaching staff after what happens last year, though, knowing Dumbledore, that can’t possibly be the exact, or only, reason. At the end of the little trip, Dumbledore tells Harry that this term Harry will have a certain private lesson with him. But what Dumbledore means by “private lesson” is actually getting to know who Lord Voldemort is. They get into so many memories extracted from several people to see through the past life of Voldemort so that they can get a grip on what they’re really up against. However, apart from that, Draco Malfoy’s mysterious behavior draws Harry’s attention, so distractingly suspicious and intriguing that Harry sometimes forgets the importance of his meeting with Dumbledore. And sure enough, his suspicion towards Malfoy, and Snape in particular, is proven true when the Headmaster dies at the hand of the Half-Blood Prince.
Here, in the sixth book of the Harry Potter series, I can see that Dumbledore puts more trust in Harry. It tells us that, the way Dumbledore sees it, Harry has stepped on to a higher level of maturity, entering a period where he is ready to shoulder more burden and responsibilities, to bear more secrets and dangerous experiences. Dumbledore, as a teacher and an old man taking care of Harry since he is a kid, realizes that Harry has been growing up and is not a little kid to protect anymore. This is very mind-opening, as if J.K. Rowling wants us to see how we should treat a coming-of-age teenager who surely doesn’t want to be thought of as a little kid anymore, and how we should put more trust in them.
I would say that Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is more simple than the previous installments of the series. It is more revealing, yes, but there are not many startling details nor turns of characters we usually get while reading Harry Potter. Well, the revelation of who the Half-Blood Prince is has undoubtedly been more than shocking, but I cannot say the same about what Dumbledore and Harry find around Voldemort’s background. What gets my attention more is, instead, Harry and Ginny’s mutual attraction, even Ron and Hermione’s revealed feeling to each other is no match. I’m not sure, but perhaps it’s because, after all this time, Harry returns Ginny’s feeling for him. I always waited for the part when Harry and Ginny send some sparks to each other more than anything in the book.
Finally, I have to say that Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is more like a bridge stretching to the other side of chasm to usher us to the final destination. Not many mouth-gaping facts nor unbelievable secrets, or even bewildering twists and turns. It is still entertaining, though, and funny as usual. I’m not sure I have to recommend this book to non Harry Potter fans, but I can say that it was an enjoyable read and I liked it.