Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The Supernatural Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Harry had already attempted a few of the Prince's self-invented spells. There had been a hex that caused toenails to grow alarmingly fast (he had tried this on Crabbe in the corridor, with very entertaining results); a jinx that glued the tongue to the roof of the mouth (which he had twice used, to general applause, on an unsuspecting Argus Filch); and, perhaps most useful of all, Muffliato, a spell that filled the ears of anyone nearby with an unidentifiable buzzing, so that lengthy conversations could be held in class without being overheard. (12.4)
What kind of magic is Harry learning from the Half-Blood Prince? Is it good magic, bad magic, helpful magic, pointless magic, outdated magic, dangerous magic? Are you glad that Harry has found this book and is learning these tricks? Is he changing as a result?
"I can make things move without touching them. I can make animals do what I want them to do, without training them. I can make bad things happen to people who annoy me. I can make them hurt if I want to." (13.125)
There is something eerie about the way in which Tom Riddle can, at such a young age, perform powerful magic without really knowing what it is or what he is doing. He is talented but in a dark way. He has been abandoned, doesn't have any family, and hasn't had the happiest childhood. To mix this kind of unhappiness with such power seems dangerous.
"His powers, as you heard, were surprisingly well-developed for such a young wizard and – most interestingly and ominously of all – he had already discovered that he had some measure of control over them, and begun to use them consciously. And as you saw, they were not the random experiments typical of young wizards: He was already using magic against other people, to frighten, to punish, to control. The little stories of the strangled rabbit and the young boy and girl he lured into a cave were most suggestive….'I can make them hurt if I want to….'" (13.181)
Just as many little kids play with dolls, LEGOs, or blocks, little Tom Riddle played with his magic. Imagine having that much power as a small child. Imagine having the power to get exactly what you want. Here, we begin to see that there is no one kind of magic; it seems to always change based on who is wielding it and how they are wielding it. It is a creative thing.