Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Quotes

  • Lies and Deceit

    BELLATRIX: Cissy, you can't do this! He can't be trusted.

    NARCISSA: The Dark Lord trusts him.

    BELLATRIX: The Dark Lord is mistaken.

    Here, Bellatrix and her sister are talking about Snape. Dumbledore thinks Snape is working for him, and the Dark Lord does, too. Only Snape knows who's getting zoomed.

    SNAPE: As it so happens, I'm aware of your situation, Narcissa.

    BELLATRIX: You? The Dark Lord told you?

    SNAPE: Your sister doubts me. Understandable. Over the years, I've played my part well. So well, I've deceived one of the greatest wizards of all time. [Bellatrix makes scoffing noises.] Dumbledore is a great wizard. Only a fool would question it.

    NARCISSA: I don't doubt you, Severus.

    Bellatrix and Narcissa are at opposite of ends of the "Is Snape loyal?" debate. Bella doesn't trust him for a second, but Cissy seems to believe Snape.

    Snape himself doesn't seem to mind that the sisters are airing the elephant in the room, and assures them he's been pretending with Dumbledore, not the Dark Lord.

    HERMIONE: You really shouldn't have done it.

    HARRY: I know. I suppose I could have just used a Confundus charm.

    HERMIONE: That was different. That was tryouts. This was an actual game. [Harry takes the full vial of Felix Felicis out of his pocket and shows it to her.] You didn't put it in. [Harry shakes his head.] Ron only thought you did. [Harry nods.]

    And now, for a completely different form of deception: Harry let Ron think that he'd slipped him a lucky potion to make him awesome at Quidditch. He hadn't really given the potion to Ron, but the trick made Ron confident enough to actually be awesome at Quidditch. We'd say this is pretty much the best kind of lie, no?

    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.

    Well, looks like Voldemort was dishonest from the start—like, even when he was a young, innocent-looking kid. When Dumbledore went to visit him at the orphanage, he detected a stolen item in Tom's closet. Dumbledore seemed to want to give Tom a fresh start at Hogwarts, but as we all know, that…didn't exactly work out.

    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!

    This moment occurs in a memory of Slughorn's—a memory that's been altered. In this version of Slughorn's history, he is totally refusing to talk to Voldemort about some dark magicky stuff that the young Dark Lord came across in the restricted section of the library. We're guessing the true version of the memory is a lot different, because otherwise, why would Slughorn have doctored it?

    DUMBLEDORE: Confused? I'd be surprised if you weren't.

    HARRY: Well, I don't understand. What happened?

    DUMBLEDORE: This is perhaps the most important memory I've collected. It is also a lie. This memory has been tampered with by the same person whose memory it is. Our old friend, Professor Slughorn.

    HARRY: But why would he tamper with his own memory?

    DUMBLEDORE: I suspect he's ashamed of it.

    HARRY: Why?

    DUMBLEDORE: Why, indeed? I asked you to get to know Professor Slughorn and you have done so. Now I want you to persuade him to divulge his true memory. Any way you can.

    HARRY: I don't know him that well, sir.

    DUMBLEDORE: This memory is everything. Without it, we are blind. Without it, we leave the fate of our world to chance. You have no choice. You must not fail.

    Gulp. Harry and Dumbledore have just viewed Slughorn's tampered-with memory, and now Harry has been tasked with getting the real story from Slughorn. "Any way you can." Sounds like maybe Harry could end up getting involved in some deception himself.

    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.

    Okay. Here, Harry is actually being honest with Slughorn (to get what he wants, of course). Normally Harry doesn't make it a habit to go around advertising that he's the Chosen One, but since he knows it'll get Sluggy chatting, he lets the cat out of the bag.

    SLUGHORN: Please, don't think badly of me when you see it. You've no idea what he was like, even then.

    This is it: Slughorn is finally going to tell the truth about what happened with Voldemort all those years ago. We're not sure if he's really telling the truth about not knowing Voldemort's true nature, but we'll let that go, since he's at least giving Harry the real memory. And with all the deceit and lying going on, we really needed a moment of truth. Phew.

  • Fate

    DUMBLEDORE: This memory is everything. Without it, we are blind. Without it, we leave the fate of our world to chance. You have no choice. You must not fail.

    Hmm, well, the fact is, Harry does have a choice—he could totally run screaming from all this responsibility. He won't, though, since the entire Wizarding world hangs in the balance. He's just brave like that.

    So, we suppose Dumbledore is kind of right: He doesn't have a choice, since the idea of not stepping up just wouldn't compute for Harry.

    SNAPE: Once again, you astonish with your gifts, Potter. Gifts mere mortals can only dream of possessing. How grand it must be to be the Chosen One.

    Ha. Not everyone is as enthusiastic about Harry's special place in life. Here, Snape is making fun of all the rumors that Harry has somehow been chosen or singled out to defeat Voldemort. Well, really, he's making fun of Harry for saying he "just knows" that Malfoy cursed Katie without offering any evidence…but the other stuff is embedded in the dig as well. Shade.

    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.

    Harry doesn't take his whole "special status" as the Chosen One very seriously at all, as you can probably tell from this exchange. Romilda Vane thinks it's a big deal, though, and according to Hermione, it's why she's interested in him .

    SNAPE: I swore to protect you. I made the Unbreakable Vow.

    MALFOY: I don't need protection. I was chosen for this. Out of all others, me! And I won't fail him.

    SNAPE: You're afraid, Draco. You attempt to conceal it, but it's obvious. Let me assist you.

    MALFOY: No! I was chosen. This is my moment.

    Harry might be the "Chosen One" who's headed for a date with destiny (i.e., killing Voldemort), but Draco is feeling just as locked in to his own fate. Sure, it sounds like he's getting a little bit of an ego boost from the fact that Voldemort singled him out for this mission, but he's also kind of trapped, right? Once Voldemort asks you to do something, you'd better do it, or something pretty nasty is going to happen.

    HARRY: So, what happens to you? What happens if you break an Unbreakable Vow?

    RON: You die.

    [The scene changes.]

    LUPIN: Voldemort has chosen Draco Malfoy for a mission?

    HARRY: I know it sounds mad.

    LUPIN: Has it occurred to you, Harry, that Snape was simply pretending to offer Draco help so he could find out what he was up to?

    Speaking of choices and things you can't get out of: Snape has made an Unbreakable Vow to help Malfoy out with whatever mission Voldemort has assigned to him. If he fails? He dies. So, yeah, it sounds like he really doesn't have much of a choice if he wants to survive to help…well, whichever side he's actually helping.

    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.

    Ah, so finally, Harry admits it out loud: He is the Chosen One. However, until he gets the full 411 on Voldemort's relationship with Slughorn, that knowledge isn't doing anyone any good. He may have been "chosen" to defeat the Dark Lord, but he needs to figure out, well, how.

    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.

    DRACO: He trusts me. I was chosen.

    […]

    DUMBLEDORE: Draco, years ago, I knew a boy who made all the wrong choices. Please let me help you.

    DRACO: I don't want your help. Don't you understand? I have to do this. I have to kill you. Or he's going to kill me.

    Okay, so the truth comes out: more than feeling special because Voldemort singled him out for a mission, Draco is terrified that if he fails, the Dark Lord will kill him. So, yeah, he's not really feeling like he has a lot of choice in the matter.

    But as far as the choices he is making go: his attempts to kill Dumbledore have been pretty ineffectual to date, to the point where even Dumbledore wonders if Draco is failing on purpose (or, at least, choosing not to try very hard).

  • Good vs. Evil

    RON: The Sorting Hat urged us all to be brave and strong in these troubled times. Easy for it to say, though. It's a hat, isn't it?

    Yeesh. When even the Sorting Hat is offering social commentary, you know there's some crazy stuff happening. What does "troubled times" mean? Well, that's basically code for Death Eaters flying around London and terrorizing people. Evil isn't in hiding anymore, folks.

    DUMBLEDORE: Meanwhile, the post of Defense Against the Dark Arts will be taken by Professor Snape. As you know, each and every one of you were searched upon your arrival here tonight. And you have the right to know why. Once, there was a young man who, like you, sat in this very hall. Walked this castle's corridors. Slept under its roof. He seemed, to all the world, a student like any other. His name: Tom Riddle. Today, of course, he is known all over the world by another name. Which is why as I stand, looking out upon you all tonight, I'm reminded of a sobering fact: Every day, every hour—this very minute, perhaps—dark forces attempt to penetrate this castle's walls. But in the end, their greatest weapon is you.

    Eeep, what's all this about people wanting to break into the castle? Hogwarts has always been a sanctuary for Harry and the other kids, so it's disturbing to hear and see that the teachers are pretty worried about the castle being penetrated by "dark forces." And that the kids could be used as weapons by these bad guys? Double yikes.

    MRS. COLE: There have been incidents with the other children. Nasty things.

    When Dumbledore went to visit young Tom Riddle (who eventually became Lord Voldemort), Mrs. Cole told him that young Tom had already had some "nasty" run-ins with the other children. As in, Baby Voldemort probably committed some seriously sinister magical acts against his counterparts. This kid was bad news directly from the start, it seems.

    HARRY: Did you know, sir? Then? 

    DUMBLEDORE: Did I know I'd just met the most dangerous Dark wizard of all time? No.

    Dumbledore clearly could tell that Voldemort was trouble—after all, he immediately called the kid out on stealing from a classmate. However, he'd obviously been hoping that Hogwarts would help shape the kid into someone…slightly less, you know, sociopathic. No such luck, though, we're afraid.

    HERMIONE: Do you think he would have done it? Draco.

    HARRY: No. No, he was lowering his wand.

    The big revelation of this particular film: Draco Malfoy isn't pure evil. Mind. Blown. We would have bet on the opposite in a heartbeat up to this point, but nope, he's ultimately unable to kill Dumbledore, which suggests that he's not all bad.

    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.

    DRACO: He trusts me. I was chosen.

    […]

    DUMBLEDORE: Draco, years ago, I knew a boy who made all the wrong choices. Please let me help you.

    DRACO: I don't want your help. Don't you understand? I have to do this. I have to kill you. Or he's going to kill me.

    Dumbledore is calmly but desperately trying to keep Draco from heading over to the dark side, and Draco is desperately trying to convince himself that he wants to go there. As you can see, Dumbledore doesn't think Draco is all that into evildoing, and if he commits murder…yeah, it's going to be hard to come back from that.

    GREYBACK: He doesn't have the stomach, just like his father. Let me finish him in my own way.

    BELLATRIX: No! The Dark Lord was clear: The boy is to do it. This is your moment. Do it! Go on, Draco. Now!

    SNAPE: No.

    DUMBLEDORE: Severus. Please.

    SNAPE: Avada Kedavra.

    Wait, what? They're talking about Draco and his father here…Papa Malfoy doesn't have the stomach for murder, either? Color us shocked. What if he's not totally evil, either? Everything we knew to be true is apparently wrong.

    Unfortunately, Snape is there to finish what Draco can't, and he murders Dumbledore. Is there any doubt now that Snape is evil? If he were really working with Dumbledore, why would he murder Dumbledore? It just doesn't compute .

  • Death

    MALFOY: Didn't Mummy ever tell you it was rude to eavesdrop, Potter? Petrificus Totalus! Oh yeah, she was dead before you could wipe the drool off your chin.

    Whoa, that is a low blow, Draco. Harry is super haunted by the loss of his parents at such a young age, and Draco is just poking at that raw nerve. Not cool.

    SLUGHORN: Merlin's beard! It is perfect! So perfect, I daresay one drop would kill us all!

    Slughorn makes the kids concoct a "living death" potion in class, and Harry makes a good one. Sure. What could go wrong? Slughorn's statement is, er, a compliment. These Slytherin types are all kinda strange, no?

    HARRY: So, what happens to you? What happens if you break an Unbreakable Vow?

    RON: You die.

    Dun dun dun. Err, yeah, so Snape made an Unbreakable Vow to help Malfoy along with some mysterious mission, which means that if he fails or refuses to do so, he'll die. That's a pretty hardcore promise, and it helps convince…well, basically everyone that Snape is no longer working for the good guys.

    SLUGHORN: Merlin's beard! Is that an actual Acromantula? 

    HARRY: A dead one, I think, sir. 

    SLUGHORN: Good God. Dear fellow, however did you manage to kill it?

    HAGRID: Kill it? My oldest friend, he was.

    This film's body count includes dear old Aragog, who terrorized the kids in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Hagrid might be the only person who would be sad to see the spider go (including us)…but boy, is he devastated enough for everyone.

    HARRY: Be brave, Professor. Be brave like my mother. Otherwise, you disgrace her. Otherwise, she died for nothing.

    Whoa. Harry is really pulling out all the stops here in trying to get Slughorn to reveal some crucial information about his history with Voldemort. Slughorn was very fond of Harry's mother, so Harry uses her memory to his advantage here. Invoking her death and suggesting that Slughorn can give it meaning by spilling his guts? Dirty play, maybe, but it works.

    SLUGHORN: A Horcrux is an object in which a person has concealed part of their soul.

    TOM RIDDLE: But I don't understand how that works, sir.

    SLUGHORN: One splits one's soul and hides part of it in an object. By doing so, you are protected, should you be attacked and your body destroyed.

    TOM RIDDLE: Protected? 

    SLUGHORN: That part of your soul which is hidden lives on. In other words, you cannot die.

    TOM RIDDLE: And how does one split his soul, sir? 

    SLUGHORN: I think you already know the answer to that, Tom.

    TOM RIDDLE: Murder.

    SLUGHORN: Yes. Killing rips the soul apart. It is a violation against nature.

    TOM RIDDLE: Can you only split the soul once? For instance, isn't seven—

    SLUGHORN: Seven? Merlin's beard, Tom! Isn't it bad enough to consider killing one person? To rip the soul into seven pieces! This is all hypothetical, isn't it, Tom? All academic?

    TOM RIDDLE: Of course, sir.

    Riiiiight, all academic. Btw, Slughorn really likes that whole "Merlin's beard" expression, doesn't he?

    Anyway, this is the big convo that Slughorn had with Voldemort and then tried to cover up. Basically, Sluggy played a pretty big role in teaching Voldemort how to become immortal. Oops. No wonder he didn't want anyone to know what really happened between them.

    HERMIONE: "To the Dark Lord: I know I will be dead long before you read this but I want you to know that it was I who discovered your secret. I have stolen the real Horcrux and intend to destroy it as soon as I can. I face death in the hope that when you meet your match, you will be mortal once more.—R.A.B."

    Hmm, it seems that someone else has been helping out in the hunt for Horcruxes so that Voldemort can eventually be killed. But who? And was the Horcrux destroyed? So many questions.

    DUMBLEDORE: Draco, years ago, I knew a boy who made all the wrong choices. Please let me help you.

    DRACO: I don't want your help. Don't you understand? I have to do this. I have to kill you. Or he's going to kill me.

    Draco starts out going along with Voldemort's plan because he's afraid that Voldemort will kill him, but when he's unable to go through with murdering Dumbledore, maybe he's decided that becoming a murderer is a fate worse than death. Or, in any case, it's something he's just not willing to do.