© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


by J.K. Rowling

Analysis: What's Up With the Ending?

Well, all we're saying is that you better have a big box of Kleenex on hand when you reach the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Why? Dumbledore dies. We will admit it loud and clear: we were totally shocked by this. We thought, surely, Dumbledore would be around for years and years. He is the most powerful wizard around! He's like Merlin. He's a fountain of knowledge. If he dies, a lot of valuable information does too. But, as much as we hoped that he was only pretending to be dead, by the end of Book 6 we know for certain that Dumbledore is no longer. What's worse, he is killed by Professor Snape and Harry watches the whole thing, unable to do anything to save him.

Many people have criticized this particular ending, believing that it was unnecessary for Dumbledore to die. How do you feel about his death? Would you have ended this book differently? We always knew Dumbledore was a much-loved, powerful wizard, but at his funeral, we see just how loved he is and just how many different kinds of people and creatures he affected. Practically the whole Wizarding world seems to grieve at this loss.

What does Dumbledore's death mean? Fortunately, Harry's private lessons have enabled Harry to know exactly what Dumbledore has been working on, exactly what he has been working towards. Dumbledore has shared every ounce of information about Voldemort that he knows with Harry. Even though Dumbledore would have been an essential resource as Harry fought to destroy Voldemort, we realize that Harry is perfectly outfitted to carry on where Dumbledore left off. He has everything that he needs. Hundreds of questions fill our minds, but two in particular stand out: did Dumbledore know he was going to die, and why, oh why, did he trust Snape to be a good and honest man?

Yes, indeedy, by the end of Book 6 we are left with lots of questions, lots of sadness, and lots of uncertainty. Fortunately, we do know that there remains one more book in the series to help us put the pieces of the puzzle together, to help us understand more about Dumbledore and his quest. As Harry considers the road ahead, one thing is clear: his greatest power is his ability to love, and his greatest tool is the friendship he has with Ron and Hermione, both of whom swear to support him no matter what. We wait with baited breath for whatever comes next.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...