Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Choices Quotes in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
How we cite our quotes:
"This time, as you will have seen, he killed not for revenge, but for gain." (20.136)
Voldemort now has become capable of killing for all different kinds of reasons. Killing out of revenge means killing out of hurt or out of emotional trauma. Killing for gain means something entirely different. What does this most recent murder tell us about Voldemort and how he has changed?
"I am the Chosen One. I have to kill him. I need that memory." (22.201)
Harry plies Slughorn with short, direct sentences. The simplicity of his words in this moment coupled with the weight of what he is saying make for a cocktail of complexity and significance. It's no wonder that Slughorn is persuaded to give the memory to Harry. This is one of the few times that Harry actually utters the words, "I am the Chosen One." As we learn from Dumbledore, the prophecy doesn't mean anything, doesn't have any significance unless Harry chooses to listen to it and to accept it. He is not the Chosen One unless he wants to be. Here, we see him accepting that role in very clear terms.
"But Harry, never forget that what the prophecy says is only significant because Voldemort made it so. I told you this at the end of last year. Voldemort singled you out as the person who would be most dangerous to him – and, in doing so, he made you the person who would be most dangerous to him." (23.144)
Here's where things get interesting and complex. The prophecy, the one that we've been paying attention to since 1998 when Harry Potter first arrived in the world, is powerful only because Voldemort chose to make it powerful, only because he chose to believe it. If this is so, then perhaps there is no such thing as absolute truth – there is only the ways in which people interpret the truth. This unsettles us, because we've watched Harry struggle and fight so hard, and all because he was special, because he was, by a stroke of fate, bound to Voldemort forever. Voldemort has created his own worst enemy. Is your head reeling? Because ours are.