Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Chapter 16

By J.K. Rowling

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Chapter 16

A Very Frosty Christmas

  • Ron and Harry go to the Burrow for the holidays.
  • Harry's mind is racing about Malfoy and Snape, and he can't help but tell everyone about what he has learned and about his suspicions.
  • Mr. Weasley tells Harry that Snape was probably just pretending to be on Voldemort's side so that he could discover more about what Draco is up to.
  • Remus Lupin tells Harry to drop it: if Dumbledore trusts Snape, then so should they.
  • Harry wonders how Lupin could not hold a grudge against Snape, considering Snape exposed Lupin's werewolf side which got Lupin fired from Hogwarts.
  • Lupin responds that, in spite of this, Snape also made him a Wolfsbane potion every month so that Lupin would not have to suffer under the full moon.
  • Lupin tells Harry about Fenrir Greyback, the leader of the werewolves and a vicious being. Fenrir likes to bite children so that they grow up to be werewolves. Fenrir is responsible for Lupin's becoming a werewolf, having bitten him when Lupin was just a child. Fenrir is allies with Voldemort.
  • Lately, Lupin has been living with werewolves in order to better spy on their actions, and hopefully convince some of them to side with Dumbledore.
  • Soon after, Percy Weasley and Scrimgeour, the Minister of Magic, make a special visit to the Burrow while the family is in the middle of dinner.
  • Mrs. Weasley, who hasn't seen Percy in a long time, is beside herself with joy that he has finally come home.
  • But Percy doesn't seem too happy to see his family.
  • We come to find out that the real purpose of Percy and Scrimgeour's visit is to give the Minister a chance to speak with Harry Potter alone.
  • Outside in the garden, Scrimgeour plies Harry with lots of questions about the prophecy, whether or not he is the Chosen One, and about the things Dumbledore has told Harry.
  • Harry doesn't like this and avoids answering Scrimgeour's prying questions in detail.
  • Scrimgeour gets to the point of his interrogation – he is hoping that Harry will become a kind of ally of the Ministry of Magic. He believes that if the public knows that Harry Potter supports the Ministry, they will too.
  • Harry doesn't like what the Minister is getting at. He feels like he's being manipulated and used.
  • The Minister then tries to win Harry over by promising to help him become an Auror – another proposal Harry finds manipulative.
  • Harry tells the Minister he doesn't want anything to do with a government that arrests people just for the sake of giving the appearance that they are making progress in the war.
  • The Minister accuses Harry of being "Dumbledore's man through and through" (17.83), to which Harry replies, "Yeah, I am" (17.84).
  • Scrimgeour leaves in a huff.
  • Harry is furious.

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