Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Good vs. Evil

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 .