As usual, life is never boring for our favorite magical Chosen One, and things are really heating up for Harry in this installment of the series. Voldemort and his Death Eaters are definitely gaining momentum, and Harry now knows (from the previous film) that he's going to have to play a pretty key role in taking them down.
Like, the role.
Harry is generally a pretty modest guy, but the revelation of the prophecy at the end of the last film has made it kinda hard for him to pretend that he's not special. At least in terms of this whole effort to defeat Voldemort.
Just to refresh our memories: The prophecy basically says that Harry has to be the one to kill Lord Voldemort. So, yeah, now he's got even more of a spotlight on him than usual—and that's really saying something.
He tries to stay pretty humble, all of that aside. When Hermione mentions that Romilda Vane is pursuing him because she thinks he's "the Chosen One," he jokes with her in response:
HERMIONE: Hey, she's only interested in you because she thinks you're the Chosen One.
HARRY: But I am the Chosen One. [Hermione smacks him with a paper.] Okay, sorry, um, kidding.
He's still our down-to-earth Harry, clearly. With a little help from his friends, of course.
He's not above using the whole special status thing to his advantage for a good cause, though. When Dumbledore wants Harry to use his "Chosen One" prestige to gain access to Professor Slughorn and earn his trust, Harry does it.
You see, Dumbledore knows that someone like Harry would be like catnip to Professor Slughorn, who is definitely very interested in gifted and/or famous folks. Like, he's pretty much a full-fledged groupie of famous wizards. In fact, as Dumbledore puts it, he "collects" them.
That's why Dumbledore brings Harry with him to ask Slughorn (apparently for the umpteenth time) to come back to Hogwarts: he knows Slughorn would have trouble resisting a chance to be near The Chosen One:
HARRY: Sir, exactly what was all that about?
DUMBLEDORE: You are talented, famous, and powerful. Everything Horace values. Professor Slughorn's going to try to collect you, Harry. You would be his crowning jewel. That's why he's returning to Hogwarts. And it's crucial he should return.
Dumbledore waits until Slughorn is actually at Hogwarts to let Harry in on why it's crucial: Slughorn has an important memory of young Voldemort that he hasn't wanted to hand over to Dumbledore up to now. How's Dumbledore going to get it? You guessed it: Harry's basically going to have to use his sway as "The Chosen One" to convince Slughorn to give up the goods:
DUMBLEDORE: Over time, while here at Hogwarts, Tom Riddle grew close to one particular teacher. Can you guess who that teacher might be?
HARRY: You didn't bring Professor Slughorn back simply to teach Potions, did you, sir?
DUMBLEDORE: No, I did not. You see, Professor Slughorn possesses something that I desire very dearly. But he will not give it up easily.
HARRY: You said Professor Slughorn would try to collect to me.
DUMBLEDORE: I did.
HARRY: Do you want me to let him?
Harry rises to the challenge (obvi). Slughorn isn't super eager to talk to Harry about his memories of Voldemort, but with some help from a lucky potion, and well-timed references to being The Chosen One, Harry gets what he needs in the end:
HARRY: I'm going to tell you something. Something others have only guessed at. It's true. I am the Chosen One. Only I can destroy him, but in order to do so, I need to know what Tom Riddle asked you all those years ago in your office, and I need to know what you told him.
Whoa, dropping the Chosen One bomb. Guess it pays to have a big head (or pretend you do) from time to time, eh, Harry? That's exactly what Slughorn needs to hear in order to spill the beans about his history with Voldy, and it's a huge step in the whole anti-Dark Lord effort.
You may remember that Harry has been frustrated in the past (and particularly in the last film) when Dumbledore and/or the other members of the Order shut him out of discussions or didn't share information with him. Come on, guys.
Well, as you may have gathered from Dumbledore using Harry as bait, things have changed. Dumbledore is treating Harry more like a kind of partner and co-conspirator in the quest to get rid of Voldemort.
Sure, he still doesn't always reveal all of his intentions or motives right away Like, at the beginning of the film, he doesn't clue Harry in on why he's brought him to see Professor Slughorn until after he's achieved his ends. But he's definitely confiding a lot more in Harry…and giving him more responsibility.
In fact, he leaves Harry with quite a hefty mission: in order to defeat Voldemort, Harry must track down and destroy a bunch of different objects (called "Horcruxes") that the Dark Lord is using to hide little bits of his soul. Not an easy task, especially when Dumbledore dies at the end…with plenty of information left unshared, no doubt.
Um, yeah, about that...Dumbledore's death is a big blow for Harry (and, you know, the entire non-evil Wizarding world. And, uh...us. Sniff.). We'll have to wait until the next film to see just how affected Harry is by the absence of his mentor/fellow Horcrux-hunter (since Dumbledore's death comes basically at the end of this movie), but already, we can tell that it's brought Harry to a place of uber-unhappiness.
How do we know? Well, he's generally a peaceful and honorable kid, but when Dumbledore is murdered, Harry is furious. He immediately chases Snape and tries to disable him with a nasty curse that causes the victim to bleed from, uh, basically everywhere. That's definitely not typical Harry behavior, and it shows you just how devastated he is.
And it makes sense that Dumbledore's loss hits him hard. They definitely had a special bond—that started on day one when Harry came to Hogwarts. Sigh. Also, we have to remember that Harry hasn't even gotten over his godfather Sirius' death yet. And now Dumbledore, too? How much loss can a kid take? Apparently, life is really testing Harry on that particular question.
But now for some good news: Harry is crushing it at Potions this year. Like, crushing it so hard that he even beats Hermione in a contest that earns him a vial of something called "liquid luck." What a change a new teacher (that would be Slughorn) can make, right?
Well, it's more than that. Since Harry joined Slughorn's class late, he had to grab the last remaining textbook, which was super worn-out and banged up, but also filled with super-helpful notes. The notes are what have allowed Harry to really excel at Potions, you see.
Unfortunately, the downside of Harry's textbook (which previously belonged to someone who called himself "The Half-Blood Prince") is that it also contains some pretty nasty magic. Which Harry finds out the hard way.
Harry didn't really question the source of these potions notes too closely, since they were helping him out in his lessons (and as they say, don't look a gift horse in the mouth), but when he uses one of the handwritten curses in the book against Malfoy, it's almost a fatal sitch. Yikes. Harry clearly doesn't like Malfoy, but he definitely wouldn't try to murder him. That's just not the Chosen One way.
So, yeah, for all the crazy responsibilities he manages to take on, Harry is still very much a kid trying to figure stuff out. And his embrace of the Half-Blood Prince's textbook notes shows us he may be the Chosen One, but he's still got a lot to learn.
If he were older or maybe a scooch more mature, he'd probably question the source of the textbook a bit more (or at least, not use curses from it without knowing exactly what the do). But we have to remember, he's still only sixteen at this point.
Maybe we can cut him some slack, especially in light of the whole "having to save the world" thing he deals with on a regular basis.
Shmoopers, let's soak up all the Dumbledore goodness we can in this film, because, well...just trust us, okay?
Dumbledore and Harry clock some serious bonding time in this film. Harry has now heard the prophecy (which Dumbledore already knew about, as is his wont), so the cat's out of the bag: Harry knows he has to be the one to kill Voldemort.
As a result, it appears that Dumbledore is more into the idea of letting Harry in on some of the steps he's taking to fight the Dark Lord. Seems only fair, since Harry has to be the one to finish him off, right? Any hope of protecting Harry from too much knowledge or responsibility was probably out the window when Harry heard that prophecy, wethinks.
Dumby asks Harry to help him with one particular mission this school year: getting a guy named Horace Slughorn to admit the truth about a conversation he had with Voldemort back in Voldy's school days.
First, the headmaster takes Harry to meet Slughorn and convince him to come back to teach at Hogwarts (which Slughorn eventually does), and then he asks Harry to get close to Slughorn to get the intel he needs. Harry eventually succeeds at that as well.
It seems like Dumbledore and Harry are quite the dream team, eh?
That all said, Dumbledore does keep some secrets from Harry. For example, at around the time of the Hogwarts winter break, he goes traveling without telling Harry where he's going. In fact, he doesn't even tell Harry he's leaving; he has Snape do it (maybe to avoid questions he doesn't want to answer?).
Harry eventually learns that Dumbledore went in search of an object that was likely to be of great importance to Voldemort...and then destroyed it. Unfortunately, that whole process left Dumbledore with some kind of ganky scarring on his hand.
Dumbledore has Harry accompany him on his next expedition. Once Harry has gotten Slughorn to spill his secrets, they realize that these dark objects Voldemort has been creating are actually little bits of his soul. Yup: he's basically been dividing himself up to make sure he's harder to kill. Pretty hardcore stuff (especially since you create these objects by murdering people. Shudder.).
Dumbledore has an idea of where the Dark Lord may have hidden another of these objects (called "Horcruxes"), and this time, he takes Harry with him to find it. He's aware of what a big ask this is:
DUMBLEDORE: Once again, I must ask too much of you, Harry.
Harry is totes up for it though, and this rather grueling outing shows us just how much the bond and trust between these two has grown. They both ask a lot of the other to get their hands on that Horcrux. Dumbledore has to drink a bunch of potion that makes him suffer terribly—and Harry has to make him do it:
DUMBLEDORE: It's your job, Harry, to make sure I keep drinking this potion. Even if you have to force it down my throat. Understood?
We have—oh, we mean, Harry has—a really hard time watching Dumbledore suffer—and then forcing him to keep going—but he keeps up his end of the bargain. In the end, they are both rewarded for hanging in there: They get the Horcrux. High five, people.
Unfortunately, right when they get back to Hogwarts, Malfoy and some Death Eaters show up to attack Dumbledore. Dumbledore then orders Harry to hide while he deals with the issue. Harry isn't super keen on that idea, but again, he trusts Dumbledore, so he says okay.
We're pretty sure he doesn't feel like his trust is rewarded this time around, though. While he's hiding, Snape comes upon him, wand drawn. He gestures at Harry to be quiet. Harry agrees...and then Snape pops up and reveals himself to everyone. And kills Dumbledore, even though the headmaster begs him not to:
DUMBLEDORE: Severus. Please.
That sounds like a plea for mercy, right? What else could it be?
We know that Dumbledore always thought Snape was on his side, no matter how shady the prof acted, but we're finding that hard to believe right now. Uh...friends don't kill other friends, right? Harry has tried to trust Snape up to this point, but that seems to go out the window as soon as Snape sends the killing curse at Dumbledore.
Of course, Dumbledore was big on secrets and only revealing things to Harry in due time, so maybe there's more to the story here...but because of Dumbledore's untimely death, Harry will have to piece it together on his own from this point on.
Draco is a man with a mission this year—and a nasty one at that. We don't know exactly what he's been asked to do at first, but we do know:
(a) it comes from Voldemort
(b) his mother is worried about his safety (and maybe also about burdening the kid with a gnarly task like this)
(c) Snape has promised to carry out the mission if Draco fails—and sealed the promise with an Unbreakable Vow.
We get some more clues about what the mission might be throughout the film, but we don't get 100% proof until the very end.
It's kind of lucky that Harry, Hermione, and Ron are on the scene when Malfoy's plan starts to take shape. We love it when things work out like that. See, they're in Diagon Alley when Draco arrives at Borgin & Burke's looking like he's up to something sneaky.
They climb up on a neighboring roof and spy on Malfoy through a window as he meets up with some Death Eaters in the store. It's kind of hard to tell, but it looks like they're playing with a vanishing cabinet. Hermione, Harry, and Ron aren't really sure what to make of that, but they're pretty sure nothing good can come of it. And boy, are they right.
Later, we see Malfoy visiting a similar cabinet in a room at Hogwarts. He seems to be practicing finding, vanishing, and retrieving objects from it.
That all seems innocent enough for now, but why is he practicing bringing things into Hogwarts and taking them out? Why would he want to learn how to get things into Hogwarts from the outside, in secret? Again, doesn't seem like a good thing.
The upside of all this? We get to see a slightly less evil side of Malfoy. We know, we know, he's helping the Dark Lord, but it's increasingly clear that he's not happy about it. In fact, when he vanishes a living bird in the cabinet and it reappears dead, he weeps.
See? There's some kind of heart underneath that tortured blond exterior. Clearly, he's not all that into the sadism and murder that's required to be a Death Eater.
Also, he seems shaken when Katie Bell returns to school after nearly dying from handling a cursed necklace (which was intended for Dumbledore). Harry's pretty well convinced that Malfoy was behind bewitching Katie to deliver that poisoned necklace to Dumbledore (and turns out, he's right).
But that reaction at seeing Katie return to school? Looks an awful lot like shame to us. Draco really seems to be losing his stomach and nerve for the Dark magic stuff.
Dumbledore knows that Draco isn't a completely evil person at heart—which is why, when Draco shows up to kill him towards the end of the film, Dumbledore tries to reason with him:
DUMBLEDORE: Draco, you are no assassin.
DRACO: How do you know what I am? I've done things that would shock you.
DUMBLEDORE: Oh, like cursing Katie Bell and hoping that in return she'd bear a cursed necklace to me? Like replacing a bottle of mead with one laced with poison? Forgive me, Draco, I cannot help feeling these actions are so weak that your heart can't really have been in them.
In this convo, Draco is clearly riding the struggle bus. He's super nervous and upset—and turns out, he's only doing this because he doesn't want the Dark Lord to kill him/his family. No wonder he's a shivering wreck while trying to face off with his headmaster.
At the end of the day, as per usual, Dumbledore ends up being right: Malfoy doesn't kill him. That's the good news. The bad news, of course, is that Snape does it for him. So, yeah, the end result is the same: Dumbledore is dead. Boo.
Anyway, we're not saying Draco's a great kid just because he failed to kill Dumbledore himself. After all, he's been into the Dark Arts and palling around with Dark wizards for basically the entire time we've known him, which is kinda how he got into this mess. But his reluctance to murder his headmaster gave us just the tiniest glimpse of humanity and mercy in his character.
Maybe, just maybe, there's hope for him after all.
Slughorn seems so sweet and, well, ordinary when we first meet him disguised as an armchair (yes, our definition of ordinary is a little warped—we're dealing with wizards, after all). He just seems like a pleasant middle-aged
armchair man who wants to avoid having to deal with Death Eaters, hence the disguise. He doesn't really make a strong impression either way.
Yet, Dumbledore has gone through a decent amount of trouble to visit Harry in London and bring him to meet Slughorn. That kinda implies that this guy is pretty important to something near and dear to Dumbledore's (and Harry's) heart, no?
We soon learn Dumbledore's game: it seems that Dumbledore really wants Slughorn to come back to Hogwarts as a Potions teacher, and Slughorn really doesn't want to come. However, when Dumbledore shows up with Harry, things change and suddenly he's all agreeable. Oh sure, Slughorn balks at first, but Dumbledore plays him like a magically-tuned violin to get what he wants:
SLUGHORN: ...but you're not leaving, are you?
DUMBLEDORE: Oh, I think I know a lost cause when I see one. Regrettable. I would have considered it a great personal triumph had you consented to return to Hogwarts. Ah well, you're like my friend Mr. Potter here. One of a kind. Well, bye-bye, Horace. Bye.
[Harry and Slughorn leave. Slughorn then chases them outside in his pajamas.]
SLUGHORN: Alright. I'll do it.
See what he did there? He knows Horace can't resist the lure of being near a celebrity as A-list as Harry, so he totally plays up how "one of a kind" the boy is.
But why is Dumbledore so keen to have Slughorn at Hogwarts? Well, to parse this out, we have to know a few things about Slughorn.
When Harry first meets Slughorn at his home, he finds that the professor has a whole slew of photos of his gifted and/or otherwise famous former students. Kind of like a shrine to assist in his favorite hobby of name-dropping.
Apparently, having the best and the brightest around him was always super important to Slughorn, and that's why Dumbledore brought Harry around: he knew that Slughorn would just love the change to get close to "the Chosen One." As Dumbledore tells Harry, Slughorn basically likes to "collect" students, and Harry is a seriously amazing prize:
DUMBLEDORE: You are talented, famous, and powerful. Everything Horace values. Professor Slughorn's going to try to collect you, Harry. You would be his crowning jewel. That's why he's returning to Hogwarts. And it's crucial he should return.
Oh, and it totally works: after meeting Harry, Slughorn is totally ready to come back to Hogwarts. Step one, check.
Dumbledore lets Harry in on the fact that he wants Slughorn back at Hogwarts, but he's not super forthcoming about the reason—well, at least not right away.
Eventually, though, Harry gets the truth: Slughorn taught Voldemort back when he was still Tom Riddle, and Dumbledore wants to know the deets about an important conversation that took place between them.
Why not ask Slughorn directly, you ask? Well, Dumbledore had tried that. In fact, he even had Slughorn give him a copy of the memory so that Dumbledore could view it in his Pensieve.
However, when Harry and Dumby view the memory, they can tell it's been altered. There's something about it that Slughorn doesn't want anyone to know...something he and Voldemort talked about. According to the version Slughorn gave Dumbledore, he shut young Voldemort down right away:
SLUGHORN: I beg your pardon? I don't know anything about such things and if I did, I wouldn't tell you. Now, get out of here at once, and don't let me ever catch you mentioning it again!
Such things? What are these mysterious "things"? We want to know more. Also we're pretty sure that's not the full story.
Dumbledore gives Harry the mission of getting the real memory from Slughorn, and with the help of a magic potion and his celebrity status, Harry succeeds. Before he spills the details, Slughorn begs Harry not to think poorly of him:
SLUGHORN: Please, don't think badly of me when you see it. You've no idea what he was like, even then.
We have to be clear here: Slughorn isn't an evil guy. He didn't mean to help Voldemort. He just...didn't really do anything to thwart Voldemort's interest in Dark magic. And then covered up the fact that he and Voldemort had ever talked about said Dark magic.
So, yeah, Slughorn is just a wee bit spineless, and his love of the gifted and famous kind of blinded him to how bad Voldemort really was...very Kato Kaelin-esque. But in the end, Sluggy does the right thing and gives Harry what he needs, so he gets some definite bonus points for that.
This Harry Potter film gives us tons of background info on Voldemort's early life, when he was known as Tom Riddle. He was never a particularly nice boy, but this movie does give us a rounder picture of the Dark Lord's beginnings—and maybe even a tiny little smidge of sympathy for him, given how his life started.
Yup, young Tom and our boy Harry have something big in common: they both started out life as orphans living in the Muggle world. They both knew they were "different" long before finding out they were wizards, and Hogwarts was probably the first place that made them feel like they belonged.
Turns out, Dumbledore first met Tom at a Muggle orphanage, where he broke the whole "you're a wizard" thing to lil' Tom. That seems to clear up some questions the boy himself had had about why he was so good at making things happen with his mind.
Unfortunately, Tom's magical skillz had already gone to nasty uses. A woman from the orphanage (they don't use her name in the film, but she's Mrs. Cole) who introduces Dumbledore to Tom mentions some strange incidents with the other children:
MRS. COLE: There have been incidents with the other children. Nasty things.
Tom himself cops to some of the not-so-nice things he can do with his powers:
TOM: I can make things move without touching them. I can make animals do what I want without training them. I can make bad things happen to people who are mean to me. Can make them hurt, if I want.
Er, well, we'd admire his honesty, but he doesn't even seem to understand he's done anything wrong as far as hurting other people goes. Yikes, this seems like some pretty textbook sociopathic Dark Lord stuff.
Dumbledore is kind to Tom, but he also makes clear that he knows Tom has been up to no good. He uses a pretty impressive magical fire to reveal a stolen object in Tom's closet. Dumbledore is firm: Tom will have to stop those shenanigans if he comes to Hogwarts:
DUMBLEDORE: Thievery is not tolerated at Hogwarts, Tom. At Hogwarts, you'll be taught not only how to use magic, but how to control it.
(Sorry, Dumbledore, but we're thinking the lesson didn't really stick.)
We learn all this stuff through flashbacks. Well, technically through memories that Dumbledore has collected and thrown into the Pensieve for Harry (and us) to view.
However, there's one memory (from Professor Slughorn) that Dumbledore's had trouble collecting himself, so he enlists Harry to get it. And once he does procure this elusive memory, we finally get a huge detail about Tom Riddle's early life that's key to destroying Voldemort. As it turns out, Tom/Voldy made these things called Horcruxes that have allowed him to divide up his soul.
The upside (well, for Voldemort)? It means the Dark Lord can't be killed as easily—someone would have to find and destroy alllllll the Horcruxes and kill Voldemort for that to happen.
The downside (again, for the Dark Lord)? You have to commit murder to attach the little bits of your soul to objects, and that weakens the soul a fair bit.
It seems that Riddle was totally into the idea, though, and so Harry and Dumbledore have their work cut out for them as far as defeating him goes. We can't even find our keys in the morning, so we're not sure how anyone would possibly find and destroy a bunch of soul-infused objects scattered around the world.
We're not sure from the flashbacks if any other future was possible for Tom Riddle, since he seemed like kind of a bad egg from the beginning. However, maybe he could have been stopped when he was "just" a slightly sociopathic schoolboy.
Unfortunately, we'll never know.
Hermione's role in this particular Harry Potter film isn't huge, as far as the plot goes. She's still an ace student, and she's still super supportive (and sometimes a bit lecture-y) with her BFFs Ron and Harry.
Don't ever change, Hermione. Don't ever change.
Like Harry, she ends up in Slughorn's exclusive supper club for gifted students. Duh. However, she has to deal with the fact that Harry is actually beating her in class thanks to help from the Half-Blood Prince (the dude whose used textbook Harry is using).
We get into more detail on that topic in Harry's analysis, but what you need to know here is that Hermione is not impressed when Harry uses the Prince's notes in his textbook to become a Potions whiz. She (correctly) suggests that perhaps following the directions of someone you don't know is a bad idea. She's super appalled that Harry has no interest in figuring out who's giving him these directions:
HERMIONE: For weeks, you carry around this book—practically sleep with it—and yet, you have no desire to find out who the Half-Blood Prince is.
And sure enough, when Harry uses one of the Prince's spells to disable Malfoy, it turns out to be a really nasty one. Hermione, as usual, is right—always know who's giving you your spells, Shmoopers.
You may remember that Ron and Hermione have kind of been flirting with, well, flirting. But they still haven't taken the plunge. Unfortunately, Ronmione (or Hermon?) suffers a real setback when Ron ends up going hot and heavy with a girl named Lavender Brown for a while. Eye roll.
Hermione is beyond devastated when Ron chooses to date someone else, and it creates a lot of frostiness between them. She even invites Cormac McLaggen, a guy who was a jerk to Ron at Quidditch tryouts (and whom she doesn't really seem to like), to Slughorn's party just to bother Ron. Pretty stone-cold move, if you ask us. (It backfires, though: She ends up hiding from her date at the party.)
However, when Ron accidentally swallows poison and almost dies, Hermione rushes to his side like the loyal friend/more-than-friend she's always been. And his true feelings become clear when he calls for her at his bedside. Lavender is out, and Hermione and Ron are finally...well, finally back to whatever they were before.
And you know what? That's the best we're going to do on the Ronmione front (at least for this movie). But given how important Hermione and Ron's friendship has been to Harry's journey, we're glad they end the film on the same page. Awww.
Like Hermione, Ron kind of takes a backburner in this film, because the major drama is about Dumbledore and Harry's attempts to take down Voldemort. However, Ron is definitely dealing with some ch-ch-changes in this film.
Ron makes the Gryffindor Quidditch team as a Keeper this year, but he's—how should we put it?—less than confident in his abilities.
And hey, we get it. After all, Hermione was so worried about Ron's ability to make it through tryouts that she jinxed his competition. If Miss Morality herself would go to such ethically-questionable lengths, you know the situation's not great.
The thing is, though, Ron's confidence is the whole problem: he plays just fine when he's not nervous.
Harry figures out a perfect way around the issue: He makes Ron think that he's given him a potion that makes failure impossible (aka liquid luck). Harry hasn't actually done that, but when Ron thinks he has Felix Felicis on his side, he relaxes and shows just what a great Keeper he can be. All by himself.
So, at the end of all that, Ron ends up feeling pretty good about himself. Which ends up leading him into a new drama/complication...
In this film, Ron's got more romance going on than he can handle. He's had this ongoing "Will they? Won't they?" thing with Hermione that you probably remember that from the other films, right?
Well, at the celebrations after his first big turn as Gryffindor Keeper, he gets a big ole smooch from someone else: a girl named Lavender Brown. Weird, right? We thought he and Hermione were totally headed for "happily ever after" (or at least "bickering ever after"). Hermione is, of course, devastated.
As if Ron didn't have enough to deal with between Quidditch and girl drama, he accidentally ingests a love potion (which was intended for Harry) that makes him cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs for Romilda Vane. And then he gets poisoned. #yikes
You see, Harry takes Ron to Professor Slughorn to treat the love potion part—and then, when that little problem is cleared up, Slughorn gives them a drink to celebrate. Sure. Which turns out to be poisoned. Oops.
Harry's quick thinking saves Ron's life, but our favorite ginger still has to spend a bunch of time in the hospital wing. These kids really know how to get into trouble, don't they?
Oh, but something good does come out if it: guess whose name Ron calls out in his dozey, sick state? Hint: it's not Lavender's.
Yup, the near-death incident finally reunites Ron and Hermione as friends...and maybe more than friends in the near future...who knows?
Later, he doesn't remember calling for Hermione from his sickbed, or the fact that she held his hand a whole bunch that day...so, we're going to have to wait a bit longer (grrrr) for them to get together for real. Back to the whole Moonlighting vibe between them, we guess.
But at least everyone's alive and friends again, right?
This is the film where things start to get really interesting for Snape's character. Particularly at the end.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves...let's back up.
Snape is now officially playing for two teams: Team Death Eater and Team Dumbledore.
Both teams know that he's playing both sides—but it's all good, because each team thinks Snape is only pretending to be loyal to the other. Only Snape knows for sure where his true loyalties are. And we have to admit: we sure can't figure it out.
We should note that Snape hasn't necessarily convinced everyone on each side. As you know, Harry has disliked Snape since they met and definitely doesn't trust him, and he has skeptics on the Dark side as well.
For example, Bellatrix Lestrange (a lifelong member of Team Death Eater) doesn't bother to hide her doubts when she accompanies her sister, Narcissa, to ask Snape for a favor early on in the movie. Narcissa is Draco Malfoy's mother, and apparently the Dark Lord has given him some kind of special mission that makes Mama extremely nervous. Narcissa begs Snape to help her son, and he agrees.
Bellatrix decides that's not enough, though, and makes Snape seal the promise with something called the "Unbreakable Vow," which means there will be seriously nasty consequences if he breaks his promise. Also, she makes him promise that he will complete Draco's mission if the kid fails. Yeah, this doesn't bode well.
So, even if Snape is loyal to Dumbledore's crowd, we know from the start of the film that he's made an unbreakable promise to do something pretty nasty for Team Death Eater. So, he's probably not going to be endearing himself to Harry and/or his friends (and/or us) any time soon.
Oh, and to add to our suspicions that Snape may not be fully on Dumbledore's side, we hear a kind of nasty confrontation between the two of them towards the end of the film. In it, Snape seems to be balking at Dumbledore's orders:
SNAPE: Have you ever considered that you ask too much, that you take too much for granted? Has it ever crossed your brilliant mind that I don't want to do this anymore?
DUMBLEDORE: Whether it has or hasn't is irrelevant. I will not negotiate with you, Severus. You agreed. Nothing more to discuss.
Hmm, not sure what that's about. You'd think that if Snape was really trying to be disloyal, he'd be hiding that fact and not arguing…hard to say. We're so confused.
So, we should also mention that Harry finds this textbook from someone calling himself the "Half-Blood Prince," and following this guy's margin notes turns Harry from a crummy Potions student into a total star. Even though it seems like a bad idea to be taking advice on spells and potions from some unknown dude, Harry is all about the Prince and his marginalia.
Well, until he uses a spell from the Prince's book to disable Malfoy in a fight, and it turns out to be really nasty.
Harry gets rid of the textbook right after that, but he ends up using the spell on Snape in anger at the end of the movie (we'll get to that in a minute) and discovers…yes…you guessed it: the Prince of Potions was Snape himself:
SNAPE: You dare use my own spells against me, Potter? Yes, I'm the Half-Blood Prince.
We should have known: a former student with a knack for potions and a dash of sadism? That sounds like the Snape we've come to know for sure.
So, yes, back to why Harry really wanted to hurt Snape...well, there's no easy way to say it: Snape Avada Kedavras Dumbledore at the end of the film.
Hits him with the Killing Curse and knocks him out the window of a high tower.
It was not an accident, and Dumbledore even begs him not to:
DUMBLEDORE: Severus. Please.
At least, that's what we think has happened, no?
In any case, Snape has finished Draco's mission (which we now know was to kill Dumbledore) and kept his promise.
We're not sure if this is all part of some master plan to prove his loyalty to the Death Eaters and continue to play double agent, or something else entirely. But if it is, Snape appears to be the only person who knows for sure. The only living person, that is.
Lavender becomes Ron's girlfriend for a little while, and that drives a big-time wedge between him and Hermione. We don't know too much about her, other than the fact that she's full-on crazypants for Ron. She even uses baby talk to refer to her "Won-Won."
We're sure she's a nice enough girl, but we're pretty relieved when she and Ron finally break up.
In this film, Hagrid is still the same friendly giant we've always known, and he still has a slightly unsettling affection for terrifying animals.
In fact, that love ends up playing a kind of big role in Harry's efforts to get Slughorn to reveal his secret about Voldemort. Slughorn, Harry, and Hagrid end up hanging out/drinking after holding a funeral for Hagrid's "friend" Aragog (a terrifyingly huge spider that you might remember from Chamber of Secrets).
Sure, Hagrid is pretty much asleep when Harry gets the secret out of Slughorn, but if it hadn't been for Hagrid and Aragog, Harry wouldn't have gotten the opportunity to get Slughorn drunk and wear down his defenses, right?
So, thanks, Hagrid.
We've seen Bellatrix Lestrange before: She's the witch who killed Sirius. She's also Narcissa Malfoy's sister/Draco Malfoy's aunt.
Bella is very loyal to Voldemort and eager to defend "her" Dark Lord against all enemies. That's why she's so suspicious of Snape at the beginning of the film: even though the Dark Lord has decided to trust Snape, Bella wants to make sure he isn't going to double-cross them with Dumbledore (who believes Snape is loyal to Team Good Guys).
So, when Snape agrees to help Draco Malfoy with his mission, Bellatrix makes Snape take the Unbreakable Vow (which is basically just a magical way of enforcing the promise).
Now, is it her business to butt into Narcissa's chat with Snape? Probably not—but Bella is generally pretty aggressive about taking on the Dark Lord's wants/needs as though they're hers. Also, tbh, she seems like a straight-up weirdo.
We should also mention: Bellatrix and Harry have a run-in when she and other Death Eaters show up at the Weasley house. Despite the fact that he's generally a peace-loving kid, Harry is eager to hurt Bellatrix after what she did to Sirius, and he and Ginny end up hunting her.
To no avail, though. While they're out in the fields searching, she and the other Death Eaters go back and destroy the Weasley home. Did we mention she's a nasty piece of work?
Well, she is.
Poor Katie Bell: she ends up in the hospital after being bewitched into trying to deliver a cursed necklace to Dumbledore. It could have been worse, though: according to Snape, the necklace could have killed her.
After some time with the magical docs, though, she returns to school. She doesn't remember who gave her the necklace (though Harry suspects it was Malfoy, natch).
Narcissa (or "Cissy" as her sister calls her) is part of Voldemort's Death Eater crew and Draco Malfoy's mother.
We know she's on the wrong side and all, but we do see just the tiniest shred of humanity in her concern for her son. She goes to Snape to beg him to help Draco with some secret mission from Voldemort, which is likely to be dangerous:
BELLATRIX: You should be honored, Cissy. As should Draco.
NARCISSA: He's just a boy.
SNAPE: I can't change the Dark Lord's mind. But it might be possible for me to help Draco.
Sure, she's still just looking out for her own, but it's better than just looking out entirely for yourself. Or because of an evil, all-encompassing desire for world domination. We're glass-half-full people here at Shmoop, obvi.
These dudes are Ron's brothers. They've left school to start their own joke shop, and it's doing really well. We're glad these pranksters have put their skills in trickery to good use.
Ah, Professor McGonagall. She's still dependably strict/upright and yet caring all at once. We see both qualities at play when she nabs Harry and Ron in the hall and gives them a hard time for not enrolling in Potions:
MCGONAGALL: Enjoying ourselves, are we?
HARRY: Well, I had a free period this morning, Professor.
MCGONAGALL: So I noticed. I would think you would want to fill it with Potions. Or is it no longer your ambition to become an Auror?
HARRY: Well, it was, but I was told to have to get an Outstanding in my O.W.L.
MCGONAGALL: So you did, when Professor Snape was teaching Potions. However, Professor Slughorn is perfectly happy to accept N.E.W.T. students with "Exceeds Expectations."
HARRY: Brilliant, um...Well, I'll head there straight away.
MCGONAGALL: Oh, good, good. Potter, take Weasley with you. He looks far too happy over there.
Sure, she's kind of ragging on them for being lazy and hanging around the halls (would we expect anything else?), but she also genuinely wants them (and particularly Harry) to be prepping for their futures. She can come off as pretty strict sometimes, but she's always looking out for the students, and we love her for that. Tough love, areweright?
Luna has definitely become part of Harry, Hermione, and Ron's extended circle of loyal buddies. Sure, she's a little…eccentric, but she's super reliable in a pinch.
Case in point: if she hadn't been wandering around the Hogwarts Express wearing strange glasses and looking for who-knows-what, Harry would have remained invisible and incapacitated on the floor of the train (courtesy of a run-in with Malfoy) for a long time:
LUNA: Hello, Harry!
HARRY: Luna. How'd you know where I was?
LUNA: Wrackspurts. Your head's full of them.
Um...sure? Because that sounds like something that could happen.
We also love that she shows up to Gryffindor Quidditch matches wearing a roaring lion hat to show her support (when Ravenclaw isn't playing, that is). Again, it's eccentric, but also totally awesome.
Ginny and Harry have some serious flirtation going on in this film, and they are thisclose to a kiss when the Death Eaters show up and eventually burn down the Weasley homestead.
Not the greatest timing.
So, we have to wait until later for the smooching, which happens when Ginny takes Harry to hide the Half-Blood Prince's textbook in the Room of Requirement. Yay, finally one of our couples is inching toward happiness together, right?
We're sad to say we don't see too much of Ginny in this particular film except as Harry's love interest, but hey, we'll take what we can get, we suppose.
Better luck next film?
Molly and Arthur are Ron, Ginny, George, and Fred's parents. And we think they're pretty great.
In this flick, we see them when they host Harry and Hermione at their home during vacations. Unfortunately, said home gets destroyed when Death Eaters show up and lure Molly, Arthur, the kids, and other members of the Order of the Phoenix out and into a fight.
Even so, they're their usual loyal and supportive selves when it comes to both welcoming Harry into their family and fighting to protect him from all that dark stuff out there.
Romilda is the student who, according to Hermione, has been trying to sneak Harry a love potion for some time...and then later ends up slipping it to Ron by accident. Sometimes Cupid's arrows can get lost in the mail, guys.
So, yeah, Ron briefly thinks he's in love with Romilda, has to get an antidote from Slughorn, and then ends up poisoned while he, Harry, and Slughorn are celebrating Ron's recovery from the love potion. Oops.
So, er, she actually manages to cause a lot of trouble, even though we really don't see that much of her.
Cormac McLaggen is a conceited dude who tries out for Keeper against Ron. You know the type. We know he's pretty full of himself just from the brief snippet of convo he and Ron have before the tryouts:
CORMAC: No hard feelings, Weasley, alright?
RON: Hard feelings?
CORMAC: Yeah, I'll be going out for Keeper as well. It's nothing personal.
RON: Really? Strapping guy like you? You've got more of a Beater's build, don't you think? Keepers need to be quick, agile.
[Cormac catches a fly that's been buzzing around with his hand.]
CORMAC: Ah, I like my chances.
Cormac's "quick/agile" is no match for Hermione's magical skillz, though—she ends up jinxing him to ensure that Ron gets the job. Ah, Ronmione.
However, after Ron cozies up to Lavender, Hermione goes to Slughorn's Christmas party with Cormac. She definitely doesn't seem to enjoy herself, though. Harry catches her hiding from her date early in the evening:
HARRY: Hermione, what are you doing? And what happened to you?
HERMIONE: No, I've just escaped. I mean, I left Cormac under the mistletoe.
HARRY: Cormac? That's who you invited?
HERMIONE: I thought it would annoy Ron the most.
Oh, the teen love drama. But anyway, Cormac's turn in the Harry Potter movie universe is pretty brief.
Tonks is a member of the Order of the Phoenix, and she's with the Weasleys when Bellatrix Lestrange and some other Death Eaters come to attack the Burrow.
Lupin is a member of the Order of the Phoenix (and a werewolf—a nice one). He's also there when the Weasleys' house gets attacked by Bellatrix Lestrange and company.
Greyback is a werewolf but, unlike Lupin, he isn't nice—he's a Death Eater. He joins Bellatrix in the attack on the Burrow. Also, he's super creepy.