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This part of the website takes a look at J.K. Rowling's masterpiece Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

.: Book Six - Half-Blood Prince :: Chapter Summary - Part One :.

Chapter One - The Other Minister

The Prime Minister of Muggles (non-wizards) sits in his office contemplating the terrible events of his week. He hears a cough and turns around to see one of the portraits on his wall speaking, requesting an immediate meeting with the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge. Despite the Prime Minister’s protests, Fudge appears in the fireplace moments later. After awkwardly commiserating over the week’s disasters, the Prime Minister silently recalls the other times Fudge has come to visit, glumly remembering how Fudge always bears bad news. The two Ministers first met immediately after the Prime Minister had taken office, again when Sirius Black escaped from the wizard’s prison at Azkaban, once more when there was trouble at the Quidditch World Cup, and then to share news of a mass breakout at Azkaban.

This time, Fudge breathlessly explains that the evil wizard Lord Voldemort has returned and is singularly responsible for all the atrocities Muggles have endured this week. The Prime Minister is devastated and accuses Fudge of being an irresponsible Minister. Fudge admits he was fired three days ago. Suddenly, the portrait announces the arrival of the new Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour, who climbs out from the fireplace. Scrimgeour uses his wand to lock the office doors and draw the curtains before revealing that the Prime Minister’s excellent new secretary, Kingsley Shacklebolt, is actually a highly trained Auror, sent by the Ministry of Magic to protect the Prime Minister. Scrimgeour then explains that Herbert Chorley is acting strangely because he has been struck with a poorly performed Imperius Curse. Chorley is currently being treated by a team of Healers from St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.

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Chapter Two - Spinner's End

Two shadowy, hooded figures pop out of thin air on the banks of a dark, dirty river. The first figure, Narcissa, runs off and is pursued by the second, Bellatrix (or Bella). Bella desperately implores Narcissa to stop. When Bella finally catches hold of Narcissa’s cloak, she begs her not to betray Voldemort. Narcissa draws her wand, and Bella expresses shock that Narcissa would threaten her own sister. They continue, finally arriving at Severus Snape’s house. Snape is a professor of Potions at the Hogwarts School, Head of the House of Slytherin, and a supposedly reformed Death Eater. Snape is also a member of the Order of the Phoenix, a group dedicated to the destruction of Voldemort. Bellatrix bitterly explains to Snape that she doesn’t trust him, because he continues to swear allegiance to Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts, and has not yet managed to kill Harry Potter.

Snape explains that he is working undercover at Hogwarts and cannot compromise his cover. Irritated, Snape alludes to Bellatrix’s inability to kill Potter last year when they fought face to face at the Ministry of Magic, when Harry and Voldemort were both attempting to gain access to an ancient prophecy concerning their relationship. In response, Bella blames Lucius Malfoy for Harry’s survival at the Ministry. Lucius is Narcissa’s husband and the father of Draco Malfoy, a schoolmate of Harry’s. Narcissa is livid that Bellatrix would suggest that her husband failed in his duties. Snape reminds the sisters that Harry is not an exceptional wizard and only continues to survive through a combination of sheer luck and a group of talented friends. Narcissa, sobbing, tells Snape that she believes her only son, the sixteen-year-old Draco, will have to perform the unnamed task. Narcissa believes this is payment for Lucius’s failure to retrieve the prophecy from the Ministry. Narcissa falls to the floor, sobbing and moaning. Finally, Snape agrees to help Draco. Narcissa requests that he make the Unbreakable Vow, promising to watch over Draco as he performs this task, protect him from harm, and, if necessary, carry out the deed himself. Snape agrees.

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Chapter Three - Will and Won't

Harry Potter is asleep, face pressed up against his bedroom window at Number Twelve Privet Drive, the home of his Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon, and despicable cousin Dudley Dursley. Clutched in Harry’s hand is a letter from Dumbledore, who has asked to escort Harry to the Burrow. Harry wakes up to see Dumbledore approaching the door. Dumbledore steps inside and greets Petunia, Vernon, and Dudley. Harry notices that Dumbledore’s hand is shriveled and blackened, but Dumbledore will not yet tell him why. When Harry leaves the living room to pack his trunk, Dumbledore reminds the Dursleys that when Dumbledore left Harry on their front porch, sixteen years ago, he put a spell on the house causing Harry to have powerful protection as long as he called this house home.

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Chapter Four - Horace Slughorn

Even though Harry’s time at Four Privet Drive has been miserable, it has kept him safe. Now Dumbledore requests that the Dursleys allow Harry to return home once more before he comes of age at seventeen and the spell is broken. They reluctantly comply, and Harry and Dumbledore leave together. Harry has not yet learned how to Apparate (transport himself instantaneously through magic) and must clutch Dumbledore’s arm as they travel. For Harry, it feels like being smushed through a rubber tube. Dumbledore and Harry arrive at the home of one of Dumbledore’s old friends, Horace Slughorn. Harry assumes that Slughorn will be replacing Dolores Umbridge as Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. Slughorn is preoccupied with making the acquaintance of potentially influential young wizards, and Harry unknowingly entices him to accept Dumbledore’s offer to return to the school.

Harry and Dumbledore Apparate again, arriving, moments later at the Burrow where Harry’s schoolmate, Ron Weasley, lives with his family. Dumbledore reminds Harry that no matter what the Daily Prophet prints about Harry being the "Chosen One," only Harry and Dumbledore know the true contents of the prophecy. Dumbledore suggests that Harry share the prophecy with his two best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Dumbledore also tells Harry that he will be giving Harry private lessons this year, and that O.W.L. scores will be arriving soon, and requests that Harry keep his Invisibility Cloak with him at all times.

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Chapter Five - An Excess of Phlegm

Inside the Burrow, Harry sees Tonks, an Auror with the Order of the Phoenix. Although she is usually chipper and bright, Tonks seems dejected, even ill. Harry stays in the room of Fred and George Weasley, twin brothers who have opened a joke shop called Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. Harry is awoken by the shouts of his two best friends, Ron and Hermione. They are eager to hear about Harry’s night with Dumbledore, and he fills them in on his visit to Horace Slughorn. Ron’s younger sister, Ginny, wanders in, complaining about her brother Bill’s beautiful fiancé, Fleur, whom she calls "Phlegm." Ginny, Hermione, and Mrs. Weasley all dislike the gorgeous Fleur. Once Ginny leaves, Harry tells his friends that he will be receiving private lessons from Dumbledore this term and shares the contents of the prophecy. He also reminds his friends that they should be receiving their scores from the O.W.L. examinations they took last year at Hogwarts. Hermione, an extremely conscientious student, panics and runs downstairs. Hermione receives all Oustandings, save an Exceeds Expectations in Defense Against the Dark Arts. Harry and Ron both do well, passing seven O.W.L.s each. Harry receives an Outstanding in Defense Against the Dark Arts. Harry is pleased with his scores but a bit sad that his Potions mark, Outstanding, is not strong enough for him to be an Auror.

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Chapter Six - Draco's Detour

Harry finds out he will be Quidditch Captain this year. Mrs. Weasley arranges a trip to Diagon Alley to buy school supplies, and the usually bustling area is desolate. The group splits, with Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Hagrid, who has come along for added security, headed to Madam Malkin’s for robes. Hagrid waits outside as the students enter Madam Malkin’s, where they find Draco Malfoy being fitted. Malfoy accuses Hermione of being a Mudblood, or a wizard born to Muggle parents. Eventually Malfoy storms out, and Ron, Hermione, and Harry finish their fittings and meet back up with the rest of the Weasleys. When they arrive at Fred and George’s joke shop, the store is packed with customers. Harry spots Draco scurrying up the street alone. He pulls Ron and Hermione under his Invisibility Cloak, and they follow Draco into Borgin and Burkes, a store stocked with Dark objects.

Harry and his friends eavesdrop on Draco’s conversation with Borgin. Draco asks Borgin if he can fix something, threatening the shop owner with something Harry cannot see, and reminding him that his family is friends with Fenir Greyback. Draco suggests that there are two objects, and one needs to be kept safe in the shop. Borgin swears secrecy, and Draco leaves. Hermione ducks out from under the coat, attempting to see what Draco was talking about, but Borgin is suspicious. Hermione asks about a necklace, but Borgin orders Hermione out. Before they board the Hogwarts Express, Harry tells Mr. Weasley his suspicions about Draco being a Death Eater. On board, students stare at Harry. Harry spots Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom and sits down.

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Chapter Seven - The Slug Club

Ron and Hermione enter the compartment, finished with their prefect duties. A young woman hands scrolls to Harry and Neville, inviting them to join Professor Slughorn for lunch. Harry sees that Ginny has also been invited. Slughorn has gathered together what he hopes is a group of influential students he would like to cultivate relationships with, and repeatedly asks the students about their family connections. When they finally escape, Harry asks Ginny how she got tangled up with Slughorn, given that the Weasleys are not an especially influential family. Ginny tells Harry that Slughorn saw her hex Zacharias Smith and was impressed with her skills. Harry has an idea and excuses himself, pulling out his invisibility cloak and following Zabini, a Slytherin who had also been at lunch with Slughorn.

Harry sneaks into the Slytherin compartment as Zabini enters, then he dives into the luggage rack. Harry fears that one of his sneakers slid out from under the cloak as he dove out of the way and sees Draco’s eyes scanning the racks. Draco boasts that he might not even bother returning to Hogwarts next year, having moved on to bigger things. Draco’s goons, Crabbe and Doyle, look dumbfounded. Draco continues to talk about how things will be different when Voldemort finally takes over. The train approaches Hogwarts, and the Slytherins begin pulling their trunks down. Goyle’s trunk smacks Harry on the head, and he lets out a gasp of pain. Malfoy stares up at the luggage racks. After his classmates file out, Draco turns around and, without warning, casts a paralyzing spell at the luggage rack. Harry tumbles down, frozen. Draco kicks Harry’s face and throws the invisibility cloak over his frozen body.

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Chapter Eight - Snape Victorious

Paralyzed under the Invisibility Cloak, Harry is powerless. Suddenly, his cloak flies off and Tonks appears, helping him up. Together, they hurry toward Hogwarts. As Harry enters the Great Hall, students turn and stare. Dumbledore introduces Professor Slughorn as the new Professor of Potions and explains that Snape will now be teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are shocked. Dumbledore has never before trusted Snape with such an important position. Ron points out that the job is jinxed, as no one has ever lasted more than a year as a Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor. As they leave the Great Hall and return to their dormitories, Harry tells Ron what he overheard in the Slytherin compartment. Ron remains skeptical about Draco’s relationship to Voldemort. They run into Hagrid, who tells the boys he’ll see them at Care of Magical Creatures the next morning. Neither Ron nor Harry nor Hermione has signed up for the class. In the past, the three classmates only endured Care of Magical Creatures out of devotion to Hagrid, and they wonder what he will think when he finds out his three best students are no longer interested.

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Chapter Nine - The Half-Blood Prince

The next morning, Harry fills Hermione on what he overheard in the Slytherin compartment. Like Ron, Hermione is doubtful about Draco’s relationship to Voldemort. Hermione is more concerned about what Hagrid will think when he realizes that none of them have signed up for his class. Before classes begin, Heads of House must sort out the students’ schedules, confirming that each student has received the necessary O.W.L. grade to continue on with their chosen N.E.W.T.s. When it is Harry’s turn, Professor McGonagall asks why he is not continuing with Potions if it is still his desire to one day be an Auror. Harry explains that he did not think his O.W.L. score was acceptable, but McGonagall tells him Slughorn has lower requirements than Snape, and Harry can continue. Harry tells her that he did not buy any of the proper books or ingredients, but McGonagall insists that he can easily borrow them. Moments later, Ron is cleared for the same set of subjects: Charms, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Herbology, Transfiguration, and Potions.

In Defense Against the Dark Arts, students begin work on nonverbal spells. When Harry mouths off to Snape, he receives a detention for Saturday night. Later, Harry receives a scroll from Dumbledore, announcing that their first private lesson will be Saturday night. Delighted that he has a valid excuse to skip Snape’s detention, Harry heads off to Slughorn’s Potions class. Harry and Ron ask Slughorn to borrow two Potions textbooks. Slughorn complies, digging two used books out of a cupboard. Slughorn tells the class that the creator of the best potion will win a small vial of Felix Felicis, an extraordinarily lucky potion. Harry opens his used textbook to the appropriate page, but he finds it difficult to read because the previous owner has scribbled notes all over the pages. Finally, Harry opts to follow the alternate instructions written in the margins, and his potion turns out perfectly. Slughorn is delighted and awards Harry the vial of Felix Felicis, but Hermione is outraged and accuses Harry of cheating. Harry notices some writing along the bottom of the back cover. It reads: "This Book is the Property of the Half-Blood Prince."

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Chapter Ten - The House of Gaunt

Harry reports to Dumbledore’s office. Dumbledore explains that he is going to teach Harry more about Lord Voldemort and hopes this information will ultimately help Harry survive. They gather around the Pensieve, a shallow stone basin that allows its users to experience the memories of others. Dumbledore takes a small vial of memory from his robe and tells Harry that they are going to view one of Bob Ogden’s memories. Ogden worked for the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Suddenly, Harry and Dumbledore are standing in a country lane, watching a plump man in glasses read a wooden signpost. Ogden cautiously approaches a house. As Ogden nears the house, Harry hears a voice speaking Parseltongue, the ancient language of snakes, telling Ogden he is not welcome. The voice, coming from Morfin, a man in rags, moves closer and jinxes Ogden. Suddenly, another man rushes out of the cabin—it is Morfin’s father, Gaunt. Ogden tells the men that he is here to investigate Morfin’s use of magic on a Muggle.

Ogden meets Gaunt’s daughter, Merope. Ogden presents a summons to the Ministry for a hearing, and Gaunt reacts with rage, first showing Ogden his ugly gold ring with a black stone, then dragging Merope toward Ogden by the locket hanging around her neck. Gaunt shows Ogden the symbol on the locket, explaining that they are the last living descendents of Salazar Slytherin. Gaunt admits that his son performed a jinx on a Muggle, and Morfin accuses Merope of being in love with the Muggle boy, Tom, whom he jinxed. Gaunt erupts into anger, screaming at Merope with disgust and attempting to strangle her, which Ogden prevents using magic. Morfin hops up, wielding a knife and his wand, and Ogden flees the house.

Dumbledore and Harry return to Hogwarts. Dumbledore tells Harry that Ogden Apparated back to the Ministry and returned with reinforcements. Morfin and Gaunt were arrested and sentenced to time in Azkaban—six months for Gaunt and three years for Morfin. Gaunt’s first name, Dumbledore explains, was Marvolo, which Harry recognizes as the name of Voldemort’s grandfather. Harry concludes that Merope must be Voldemort’s mother. Voldemort’s father, Dumbledore continues, was Tom, the Muggle boy Morfin jinxed. Merope used a love option on Tom, and when Marvolo returned from Azkaban he would not speak to or acknowledge his Muggle-loving daughter. Within a few months of their marriage, Tom returned to his Muggle village, presumably after Merope’s love potion wore off. Meanwhile, Merope was pregnant with Voldemort. Harry asks Dumbledore if it is acceptable for him to share this information with Ron and Hermione, and Dumbledore gives his permission.

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Chapter Eleven - Hermione's Helping Hand

On his way out, Harry notices the black and gold ring, the same ring Marvolo showed Ogden and that Dumbledore was wearing when he collected Harry from the Dursleys. Dumbledore tells Harry he acquired it recently, around the same time he injured his hand. Hermione notices that Dumbledore’s seat in the Great Hall has been empty frequently. At Quidditch tryouts, Harry picks Ron as Keeper, despite his inconsistent performance history. After tryouts, Harry, Ron, and Hermione head down to Hagrid’s cabin. Hagrid is angry with the students for not taking his class, but he finally forgives them when Hermione offers to go with Hagrid to visit his giant spider friend, Aragog, in the forest. Hagrid declines, claiming that the rest of the tribe would eat any visitor other than Hagrid, but he is cheered by the offer. Professor Slughorn invites Harry and Hermione to a small party for his favorite students in his room. Harry declines because he has to make up a detention with Snape, but Hermione agrees to attend.

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Chapter Twelve - Silver and Opals

The students prepare for their first trip to Hogsmeade. Ginny brings Harry a parchment from Dumbledore arranging their next lesson. The students set out into the terrible weather, bundled up in cloaks and scarves. On their way to the Three Broomsticks, a local pub, Harry runs into Mundungus. Mundungus is struggling with a pile of items, and Harry notices that some of Mundungus’s things belong to Sirius. Harry is outraged and poised to attack, but Tonks appears and stops Harry from doing so, thereby preventing him from committing a grave breach of Magical Law. Harry, Ron, and Hermione enter the pub and order a round of drinks. They agree that the day has been a waste and decide to head back to Hogwarts, following Katie Bell and a friend out of the bar and into the cold sleet.

Katie is holding a package, which her friend, Leanne, tries to grab from her hands. Katie grabs it back and suddenly shoots up six feet into the air, screaming in pain. Harry, Ron, and Hermione run forward to help, pulling Katie from the air. Harry runs toward Hogwarts for help, encountering Hagrid along the way. Hagrid scoops up Katie and dashes toward the school. Leanne explains that Katie came back from the bathroom at the Three Broomsticks holding the package and told Leanne it was a surprise for somebody at Hogwarts and she had to deliver it. Katie had refused to say who had given her the package. When Katie and Leanne fought over the package, it accidentally opened and the silver and opal necklace inside was exposed. Harry recognizes the necklace from Borgin and Burkes. He brings it to Professor McGonagall, who orders the Hogwarts groundskeeper, Filch, to deliver it to Snape. Harry tells McGonagall that he believes Draco Malfoy gave Katie the necklace. McGonagall is extremely doubtful of Harry’s theory and informs him that Draco was in detention with her all day.

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Chapter Thirteen - The Secret Riddle

Katie is moved to St. Mungo’s for further treatment. Harry reports to Dumbledore’s office for their next lesson. They enter the Pensieve, this time rooting through the memory of Caractacus Burke, the co-owner of Borgin and Burkes. Harry and Dumbledore see Caractacus talking about Merope’s gold locket, claiming that he bought it from her for ten Galleons, an amount far below the locket’s actual value. Clearly, Caractacus took advantage of Merope’s desperation. When Harry asks Dumbledore why Merope didn’t use her magic to get food and shelter, Dumbledore explains that he thinks Merope was so devastated by Tom’s desertion that she either chose to stop using magic altogether or found her powers drained by her sadness.

Next, Harry and Dumbledore enter one of Dumbledore’s memories. A much younger Dumbledore approaches the door of an orphanage and asks to speak with the house matron, Mrs. Cole. When she arrives, Dumbledore explains that he is here to offer Tom Marvolo Riddle a place at his school. Mrs. Cole warns Dumbledore that Tom Riddle is a funny boy, and Dumbledore is not surprised. Tom regularly bullies the other children, killing one child’s pet rabbit and leading two other children into a cave at the seaside. After emerging from the cave, the two are never the same again. Mrs. Cole leads Dumbledore to Tom, who is handsome. Dumbledore introduces himself, but Tom is suspicious until Dumbledore tells him that Hogwarts is a school for magic. Tom is excited, but rude and belligerent, demanding that Dumbledore prove himself. In response, Dumbledore sets Tom’s wardrobe on fire with a flick of his wand.

Dumbledore puts out the flames and asks Tom to retrieve a box from inside his wardrobe full of things Tom has stolen from his fellow orphans. Dumbledore demands that he return them before enrolling at Hogwarts. Dumbledore offers to accompany Tom to Diagon Alley to purchase his school supplies, but Tom insists on going by himself. Tom also tells Dumbledore that he dislikes his name because it is too common. Harry and Dumbledore return to Hogwarts. On his way out of Dumbledore’s office, Harry notices that Marvolo’s ring is gone.

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Chapter Fourteen - Felix Felicis

On their way back from Quidditch practice, Harry and Ron run into Ginny and Dean Thomas kissing in the entranceway to the common room. Something about the scene makes Harry feel sick. Ron starts screaming at Ginny, and she erupts, accusing Ron of never having kissed a girl. Ginny reminds Ron how Harry kissed Cho Chang last year, and how Hermione kissed Victor Krum the year before that. Ron is embarrassed and outraged. Later, Ron asks Harry if he really thinks Hermione kissed Victor Krum, but Harry changes the subject. Harry is worried about the way he is starting to feel about Ginny and tries to assure himself that he’s only being protective of his best friend’s sister. Ron is still angry the next day and ignores Hermione.

Meanwhile Harry keeps trying to boost Ron’s Quidditch confidence before the match against Slytherin, but nothing seems to work. The night before the game, Harry has an idea about how to make Ron lucky. The next morning at breakfast, Harry hands Ron a cup of pumpkin juice, but Hermione notices that Harry is holding a small glass vial in his other hand. Ron drinks the juice, and Hermione, assuming it was Felix Felicis that Harry slipped into Ron’s drink, admonishes Harry. Later, Ron asks Harry if he spiked his pumpkin juice with Felix Felicis. Harry raises his eyebrows and says nothing. The game begins with Gryffindor in an early lead, playing perfectly. Ron saves goals with ease, and Harry catches the Snitch and ends the game. Hermione once again angrily accuses Harry of lacing Ron’s juice with Felix Felicis. Harry explains that he only pretended to spike Ron’s juice, because he knew just the suggestion of luck would be enough to give Ron the confidence he needed. Later, at the Gryffindor celebration, Harry spots Ron kissing Lavender Brown. Harry sees Hermione darting out the door. Harry follows her into an empty classroom, where she is frantically practicing spells and hissing about Ron. Moments later, Ron and Lavender burst into the same room, and Hermione walks out. Harry thinks he hears a sob as she leaves.

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Chapter Fifteen - The Unbreakable Vow

Christmas is approaching, and Ron and Hermione continue to fight. Ron insists that Hermione has no right to be angry with him, because she kissed Victor Krum. Meanwhile, Hermione warns Harry that lots of girls are planning on slipping him love potions. Romilda Vane gives Harry a box of Chocolate Cauldrons, which he shoves into his trunk. Harry decides to ask Luna to accompany him to Slughorn’s Christmas party, as friends. Later, Harry, Ron, and Lavender run into Hermione, who announces that she’s attending Slughorn’s party with Cormac McLaggen. Ron is livid. At the party, Harry sees Draco Malfoy being tugged into the room by his ear by Filch, who caught Draco prowling the halls and trying to sneak into Slughorn’s party. Slughorn decides it is OK for Draco to stay, but Snape insists on having a word with Draco in private. Harry slips on the Invisibility Cloak and follows them to an empty classroom, where Snape tells Draco that he must be more careful. Draco is angry and defensive, shouting back at Snape and insisting that he doesn’t need any help. Malfoy storms out, and Snape follows moments later.

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Chapter Sixteen - A Very Frosty Christmas

Back at the Burrow for Christmas break, Harry tells Ron what he overheard. Ron reminds Harry that Snape may have only been pretending to help Draco so he could learn more about Voldemort’s plans. At dinner, Harry learns that Remus Lupin has been living underground with the werewolves, spying on their interactions with Voldemort. Lupin tells Harry about Fenir Greyback, who positions himself near the homes of children on the full moon. Harry discovers that Greyback is the werewolf who bit Lupin. Harry asks Lupin if James Potter ever called himself the Half-Blood Prince. Lupin tells Harry that James never mentioned anything about princes. Harry is crushed. On Christmas morning, Mrs. Weasley spots her estranged Ministry-worker son, Percy, walking up the path and bursts into tears. Percy approaches the Burrow along with Rufus Scrimgeour, the Minister of Magic. Percy coldly apologizes for the intrusion, and Scrimgeour asks Harry to give him a tour of the grounds. Outside, Harry refuses to tell Scrimgeour about the prophecy. Scrimgeour asks Harry to stand alongside the Ministry and give the Wizarding community the illusion that they’re working together, but Harry refuses, explaining that he disagrees with the Ministry’s methods. Scrimgeour accuses Harry of being Dumbledore’s man, and Harry readily agrees with this characterization.

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Chapter Seventeen - A Sluggish Memory

After New Year’s, the students return to Hogwarts. Hermione is waiting with a scroll from Dumbledore arranging their next lesson. Harry tells Hermione what he overheard between Draco and Snape. The next morning, a large sign is posted in the common room, announcing Apparition lessons for all students seventeen years of age. That night, Harry reports to Dumbledore’s office as scheduled. Dumbledore asks Harry about his meeting with the Minister. Harry tells Dumbledore that Scrimgeour accused Harry of being Dumbledore’s man and that Harry agreed. To Harry’s embarrassment, Dumbledore’s eyes fill with tears. Harry tells Dumbledore about everything he overheard between Snape and Draco, but Dumbledore seems unconcerned. First, Dumbledore tells Harry about Tom Riddle’s experience at Hogwarts. He was sorted into Slytherin almost immediately and showed no more signs of arrogance or aggression. He was talented and attractive and drew attention and praise from the faculty.

Tom was obsessed with his parentage, and after finding no traces of his father having ever been at Hogwarts, he realized he was a half-blood and adopted the name Lord Voldemort. After researching his middle name, Marvolo, Tom realized that he was a direct descendent of Slytherin. In the summer of his sixteenth year he returned to his mother’s home. Dumbledore and Harry enter the Pensieve. Harry realizes that they are in Gaunt’s house, but it is incredibly filthy. A man with an overgrown beard is slumped in a chair and lunges at Tom when he enters the house. Speaking Parseltongue, Tom commands him to stop, and he does. Tom asks for Marvolo, but Morfin explains that he is dead. Morfin accuses Tom of looking like the Muggle his sister loved. Suddenly, the room goes dark, and Harry feels Dumbledore’s hand on his arm. Dumbledore explains that Tom stupefied Morfin, stole his wand, and went to the town to murder the man who left his mother and his grandparents, destroying the last of the Riddle line. When he returned to Morfin, he implanted a false memory of the murders into Morfin’s mind.

Later, Morfin was convicted of the murders by the Ministry, who traced the magic back to Morfin’s wand. Dumbledore explains that in the last few weeks of Morfin’s life, he was able to use Legilimency to coax out his real memory. Morfin died before he could be released from Azkaban. Dumbledore pulls out another vial of memories, but it is unusually cloudy. They re-enter the Pensieve, and Harry sees a younger Horace Slughorn sitting with half a dozen boys, including Tom Riddle, who is wearing Marvolo’s ring. The students start to leave, but Tom lags behind and asks Slughorn about Horcruxes. As Slughorn answers, the room becomes extremely cloudy, and Slughorn’s voice sounds strangely loud, telling Tom he doesn’t know anything about Horcruxes. They return to Dumbledore’s office, and he explains that the memory has been tampered with by Slughorn, who did not want Dumbledore to know what really happened when Tom asked about Horcruxes. Dumbledore asks Harry to attempt to retrieve the real memory from Slughorn.

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Chapter Eighteen - Birthday Suprises

The next day in Potions, the students are assigned antidotes, and the Half-Blood Prince’s textbook is of no help to Harry. He finally finds the words "Just shove a bezoar down their throats" scribbled in a margin. Rummaging through the supply cupboard, Harry finds a bezoar, a stone from the stomach of a goat, and runs back to his seat. When Slughorn approaches his cauldron, Harry hands over the bezoar, and Slughorn laughs. After class, Harry asks Slughorn about Horcruxes, and Slughorn freezes. He knows immediately that Dumbledore has sent Harry and refuses to answer. The students begin their Apparition lessons. It is normally impossible to Apparate or Disapparate within Hogwarts, but the restrictions are lifted within the Great Hall for one hour so the students can practice. After Apparition practice, Ron and Harry return to the dorms, and Harry pulls out the Marauder’s Map to try and locate where in Hogwarts Draco Malfoy is. Ron spots him in the Slytherin common room. Harry continues to regularly consult the Marauder’s Map to check on Draco’s whereabouts. Sometimes he is unable to locate him on the map at all.

On the morning of his birthday, Ron tears through the presents at the foot of his bed as Harry rummages through his trunk for the Marauder’s Map. Ron starts eating Chocolate Cauldrons and leans on his bedpost, looking unfocused. Ron tells Harry he’s in love with Romilda Vane. Harry suddenly realizes that Ron has eaten the love potion–spiked Chocolate Cauldrons Romilda slipped him before Christmas—they fell out of Harry’s trunk and Ron assumed they were one of his presents. Harry brings Ron to Slughorn, who makes an antidote, which Ron quickly drinks. Slughorn pulls out a bottle of oak-matured mead he intended to give Dumbledore for Christmas and pours Ron a glass. Ron drinks his before the toast is over and suddenly shoots up in the air, his eyes bulging and foam coming from his mouth. Slughorn appears mystified, and Harry sprints to the cabinet and finds a bezoar, which he shoves down Ron’s throat. Ron gasps and goes still.

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Chapter Nineteen - Elf Tails

In the hospital wing, Fred, George, Ginny, Hermione, Hagrid, and Harry gather to look after Ron. Ginny points out that if Slughorn had intended to give the mead to Dumbledore, the poison might have been intended for Dumbledore as well. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley arrive, and Harry, Hagrid, and Hermione leave. Harry is approached by Cormac McLaggen, who wants to know if he can replace Ron as Quidditch Keeper. Harry agrees. On the way to the Quidditch pitch for a match against Hufflepuff, Harry spots Draco walking away from the field with two young girls. Harry is desperate to know where Draco is going but is already late for the match. During the game, Harry is hit with a Bludger. Harry wakes up in the hospital wing next to Ron. Madam Pomfrey tells Harry that he cracked his skull. Ron tells Harry that Gryffindor lost the match by a landslide. Harry remembers seeing Malfoy before the match and summons Kreacher, who instantly appears with Dobby, the Hogwarts House Elf. Harry requests that the two elves follow Malfoy, making sure to tell Kreacher he cannot warn Malfoy or fill him in.

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