Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Death

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.