Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Summary
Things are getting really real at Hogwarts this year, folks. In the last installment, Harry and the gang finally got people to realize that Voldemort is back. Which is what Harry has been trying to do since Goblet of Fire, as you may recall.
Unfortunately, Sirius (that's Harry's godfather) died in the process, so Harry's starting off the school year dealing with that. Major bummer. Also, Harry's just heard a super important prophecy linking his birth to Voldemort's eventual downfall. It seems that Harry is going to have to be the one to defeat Voldemort—no one else will do.
Oof. No pressure or anything.
But even "The Chosen One" can't escape from some normal high school stuff, it seems. Harry and his friends are back at Hogwarts and starting to take advanced coursework. In fact, since Snape isn't teaching Potions anymore, Harry is allowed to continue studying the subject with a dude named Professor Slughorn.
Dumbledore wants Harry to get close to this Slughorn guy because the Potions prof has information that's crucial to the whole "defeating Voldemort" enterprise. It seems that Slughorn taught young Voldemort (then known as Tom Riddle) years ago, and he was somehow mixed up in the beginnings of Voldemort's sinister plans to take over the world.
The teacher and his evil student had an important conversation that Dumbledore desperately wants to know more about, and Harry's been entrusted with squeezing Slughorn for the deets.
Meanwhile, we should also mention that something super weird is going on with Draco Malfoy. Like, even weirder than the usual Draco antics. We know he's never been the nicest guy, but things seem to be going to a whole new level this year.
Voldemort has given him a task that involves working directly with the Death Eaters, sneaking around Hogwarts to repair/test a "vanishing cabinet" that's connected to one somewhere outside of Hogwarts' grounds, and (we think) planting poisoned and other dangerous objects around school grounds that are intended for Dumbledore. Pretty vile stuff, even for Draco.
But Snape made an "Unbreakable Vow" to Draco's mother that he'd help the boy succeed on whatever this mission is…so, it's pretty clear early on that nothing good is going to come of this.
Anyway, while all this nefarious behavior is going on, Harry has suddenly become a Potions superstar by following the handwritten margin notes in a used textbook he found in Slughorn's cabinet. Finally, something is coming up Milhouse for Harry.
The previous owner of the book called himself the "Half-Blood Prince" (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Harry even wins a vial of a super useful potion called Felix Felicis, aka "liquid luck," for brewing the best potion during one of his lessons. (You can guess how much Hermione likes having Harry steal her thunder as the best student in the class.)
Harry ends up using the luck potion to get the facts out of Slughorn that he's been too ashamed to tell Dumbledore (or anyone else) up to this point: turns out he gave Voldemort information that helped him become a lot harder to kill.
See, Tom Riddle came to Slughorn as a student, in what might be described as the creepiest office hours ever, and asked him about Horcruxes.
What's a Horcrux, you ask? Good question: it's an object that can take on part of a person's soul. How does that magic take place? Another good question: through murder (eep). The idea is that if you divide up your soul a whole bunch, it's a lot harder for people to kill you.
Creeped out yet?
Once Slughorn has spilled the beans about his Horcrux chat with Tom Riddle, Harry and Dumbledore realize that Voldemort has likely divided up his soul into a bunch of different Horcruxes and hidden them all around. Like a super disturbing Easter-egg hunt.
Dumbledore had suspected this already, and it turns out a couple are already destroyed. In fact, Dumbledore has a seriously funky injury on his hand from destroying a Horcrux pretty recently. But there are definitely more around. And Dumbledore is only one (slightly mangled) man.
So, Dumbledore invites Harry to travel to a location where he believes another Horcrux is hidden. Things get pretty dicey—as you might expect, the Horcrux has some seriously spooky protections around it—but they manage to nab and escape with the Horcrux.
Success? Eh, not so fast. When they get back to Hogwarts, Dumbledore immediately senses that trouble is on the way. He orders Harry to hide nearby, and sure enough Draco shows up. He's bent on killing Dumbledore. Poor Draco tries to talk tough, but Dumbledore (and we) can tell that his heart really isn't in it.
Poor Draco? What are we even saying right now?
Then the Death Eaters show up. And then Snape.
And then the unthinkable happens: Snape kills Dumbledore.
Harry, who's never liked or fully trusted shady ole Snape, is obviously furious, and he chases Snape from the scene of the crime. To try to catch Snape, Harry decides to use a spell from his precious used Potions book, but Snape easily deflects it. Because—drumroll please— he was the one who wrote the spell in that textbook in the first place.
That's right: Snape was the Half-Blood Prince. See that one coming? Well, Harry sure didn't.
Anyway, Snape flees, and Harry goes back to grieve Dumbledore with the others. As you might imagine,
we're everyone's pretty broken up about the headmaster's death.
Then, just when you thought you could put that Kleenex box away, Harry gets one final bit of bad news: The Horcrux he and Dumbledore rescued was a fake. A thief with the initials "R.A.B." stole the real one. Harry tells the others he won't be returning to Hogwarts next year. Instead, he's going to go hunting Horcruxes.
Alone? Yeah, right: Hermione and Ron are totally going with him. Because friendship.
- Well, it looks like we're just picking right up where we left off. Harry's face is bloodied, and Dumbledore is leading him past the flashbulbs of reporters. We're guessing this is after Harry's encounter in the Ministry of Magic last year.
- Now we're in an office building with some random folks peering out their windows, staring at a stormy sky outside. Eeek, don't look now, but there's a skull in the clouds, and some black figures racing through the streets of London. Looks like all the dark stuff happening in the magical community is seeping out into the Muggle world. As we mentioned, things are getting real.
- The black streaky-smoky figures crash into some windows in an alleyway (is that Diagon Alley?), setting a store ablaze and terrifying the people around them.
- A masked Death Eater and some other guy (another Death Eater?) emerge from the store, with a hooded prisoner in tow. Hmm, wonder who that is?
- The Death Eaters take off from the alley and continue zooming around the city, wrecking a bridge with a bunch of pedestrians on it.
- The message is clear: Voldemort and his peeps are out of hiding. And ready to cause major trouble.
- Now we're in a little café in the London underground and someone's sitting at a table reading a newspaper. Oh, hey, it's Harry, and the paper is The Daily Prophet. (Eeep, according to the headline, it looks like Lucius Malfoy is in prison.)
- The waitress asks Harry about this "Harry Potter" bloke mentioned in the paper (she can see the front page as she faces him).
- Harry deflects the question, saying Harry Potter is a "tosser." Sick self-deprecating burn. The waitress seems unconvinced…kinda seems like she knows Harry Potter is the guy sitting in front of her. And she's very interested in knowing more about him.
- To that end, she tells him she gets off work at 11. Looks like Harry might have a date tonight. Another Milhouse moment?
- Well, not so fast. Harry looks out the window of the café and seems transfixed by something flickering across the way. A train passes, and Dumbledore suddenly appears at the opposite track.
- Harry joins him, and notices Dumby's sporting a pretty gnarly hand injury. Dumbledore then Apparates (kind of like teleporting) with Harry to a dark street.
- Dumbledore has brought Harry to the village of Budleigh Babberton, where he leads him to a house. They enter. Dumbledore calls out for someone named Horace.
- The house appears to have been completely ransacked, so we're not feeling too good about their chances of finding Horace…or, at least, not in one piece.
- Harry looks up and realizes that blood is dripping through the ceiling above. Gross. Really not feeling good about poor Horace's prospects now.
- Dumbledore spies an armchair and starts moving carefully toward it. He aims his wand at the chair and suddenly, a head comes out of it.
- Well, that was unexpected.
- It turns out that the armchair is Horace—Horace Slughorn, to be exact. Apparently he's an old friend of Dumbledore's. He's been hiding from Death Eaters, which is why the house is in such bad shape.
- Dumbledore puts the whole house to rights again, Mary Poppins-style, and we learn that he's there to ask Horace for something. Horace immediately shuts him down, saying the answer is still no. But wait, what's the question?
- Horace used to teach Harry's mother. He shows Harry pictures of his former students, many of whom Harry has heard about before.
- Dumbledore then pretends to be ready to leave without badgering Horace anymore, but suddenly Horace agrees.
- Dumbledore then ships Harry straight to the Burrow, the residence of Harry's superfriends, the Weasleys.
- Harry lands in a puddle. He's pretty annoyed until he sees Ginny in an upstairs window. Uh-oh, he's looking all googly-eyed…romance is definitely in the air.
- Inside, Ginny finds Harry's things in the house—Dumbledore had sent them ahead because he's not only magical but also super thoughtful.
- The word spreads throughout the house that Harry might be there somewhere, and adorable confusion ensues, since no one knew he was coming (Dumbledore didn't call ahead?).
- Harry heads inside, and the Weasleys and Hermione (who's also chilling in the Burrow, natch) are very excited to see him.
- Now Harry, Hermione, and Ron are chatting about how things have been going during these scary times. Apparently, people are nervous about the kids going back to Hogwarts.
- Now we're with two suspicious-looking figures wandering through dark, rainy streets. They're speaking in whispers about someone who supposedly can't be trusted. Super mysterious stuff.
- They arrive at a house, and Peter Pettigrew (a.k.a. Wormtail—remember him from previous films?) answers the door and brings the visitors in to see Snape. The visitors are Narcissa and Bellatrix and they're there against the Dark Lord's orders.
- Narcissa wants Snape to help her son. He's been tasked with something, and Narcissa doesn't seem to want Draco to do it…whatever it is. Again, mysterious stuff.
- Snape says he might be able to help. Bella seems suspicious of Snape's loyalty, but Snape tries to shrug off her doubts, saying that they're just proof that his performance as Dumbledore's ally was that good.
- Nonetheless, Bellatrix tries to call his bluff and ask him to make an Unbreakable Vow. Much to her surprise, he says yes (crushing that bluff-call), vowing to Narcissa that he'll help Draco in whatever he's trying to do and protect him from harm.
- Bella also asks Snape to finish the job if Draco is unable to do it.
- Snape looks less than thrilled with all this (has Snape ever looked thrilled?), but he agrees. With some weird fiery rope things twisting around their handshake, Snape and Narcissa seal Snape's magical vow. Dun dun dun.
- We switch over to a happier, less scary scene…phew. We're in the joke shop that Ron's brothers, Fred and George, started when they left Hogwarts. As per usual, the twins have all sorts of magical swag for sale, including Peruvian darkness powder and love potions, which Hermione and Ginny seem to be attempting to check out on the down-low.
- On their way out of the shop, a girl makes a point of saying hi to Ron in a kind of moony way. Looks like someone has a crush on our favorite redhead. Ah, refreshing normal teenager stuff.
- The kids wander out into Diagon Alley, which is basically deserted, other than the joke shop (guess people really need their jokes right now?), and find the old wand shop (Ollivander's) destroyed. Hmmm. This looks like the shop we saw getting pummeled by Death Eaters in the first scene. Guess we can understand why other shop owners have cleared out.
- Harry, Hermione and Ron head inside to check out the damage.
- Through the "window" (or what's left of it), they see Draco Malfoy and his mother out on the street looking sneaky. A dark, deserted alleyway with some Voldemort cronies acting shady? Obviously, our magical friend trio decides to snoop around and see what's going on.
- (Oh, and on the wall of the alley, there's a "Wanted" poster for a guy named Fenrir Greyback. He's one of the Death Eaters we saw in the first scene—you know, the charming guy who was dragging a hooded prisoner out of Ollivander's.)
- Eeep, the alleyways are super dark, there are strange people and even some wild-seeming dogs wandering about. We're feeling pretty uneasy about this whole following Malfoy plan.
- Draco and his mom enter a shop called Borgin & Burke's and meet up with some other evil-looking folks.
- The kids go to a building above to spy on them through the windows.
- Weird—it looks like Draco is messing around with…some kind of cabinet?
- Oh, and yikes, there's that Greyback dude—and he almost catches a glimpse of Harry and the gang.
- They duck down in time, but sheesh, that was close.
- Greyback seems to sense something fishy's going on and closes all the shades. Guess we aren't going to find out what Malfoy and friends are doing with that cabinet. For now.
- Whew, things are getting stressful, and the school year hasn't even begun yet.
- Well, brace yourself for more stress, Shmoopers—because now we're on our way back to Hogwarts on the train.
- Luna is walking down the train, handing out copies of the Quibbler (that's her father's newsletter, you may recall).
- In one of the compartments, Harry, Hermione, and Ron discuss what they saw Draco and company doing in the shop. Harry thinks it was a ceremony officially making Draco a Death Eater.
- Harry says he's getting up to get some air, but then we see he's looking sneaky and has some weird coal-like lump in his hand…looks a lot like the instant darkness powder from the Weasley twins' shop… what's he up to now?
- Suddenly the train is full of black smoke. Once that all clears, we hear Draco chatting with his friends. He seems to see something in the luggage rack above them, but says nothing to the others. Gulp.
- When it's time to get off the train, Draco tells his friends to go on ahead. Then, he reveals Harry hiding in the luggage rack under his maybe-not-so-trusty invisibility cloak.
- Draco petrifies Harry with a spell and re-covers him with the cloak so that no one will notice him lying there on the train floor. The idea? Harry will end up going back to London on the train, with no one the wiser. Maybe this will actually be a super short movie?
- Nah. As you might've suspected, we've got miles to go. Luckily, good ole wacky-but-lovable Luna is still walking through the train, and this time she's wearing some magical kaleidescopey glasses that allow her to realize Harry is there. So, once again, Luna to the rescue.
- They walk back to Hogwarts and give their names at the gate. Looks like security has tightened a lot at old Hogwarts.
- Luna fixes Harry's nose, which got broken during Malfoy's attack.
- Hermione, Ron, and Ginny are at dinner in the Great Hall, and they've clearly been worried about Harry (until he walks in and sits down to dinner, phew).
- Dumbledore gets up to give his usual speech opening the school year.
- He introduces Professor Slughorn, who's going to be teaching Potions.
- Whoa, and Professor Snape is finally going to be teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts. Isn't there, uh, a reason he hasn't been allowed to do that in the past?
- Dumbledore's speech isn't overly cheery, either, referencing all the sinister stuff that's been afoot in the Wizarding world. Kinda makes us pine for those bygone Sorcerer's Stone days.
- McGonagall sees Harry and Ron loafing around in the hall and suggests that instead of having a free period they might enroll in Potions (classic McGonagall), now that Snape isn't teaching it—you know, since Harry wants to be an Auror (that's a Dark wizard catcher, for those of you just joining us).
- So, the boys head over to Slughorn's classroom.
- When they get there, class is already underway, and they have to grab the only two remaining textbooks from the cabinet so they can follow along (ah, the hazards of adding a class late). They fight over who gets the only nice, newish-looking one left.
- Harry loses (is it just us, or has Ron been working out over the summer?), and ends up with a pretty old and ganky-looking book.
- Slughorn demonstrates a few different potions, including one called Felix Felicis, which is basically "liquid luck." If you drink it, you succeed at whatever you're doing. Sounds like something that would be pretty useful around test time, are we right?
- Slughorn makes things interesting by offering a vial of it to whoever brews the best potion of the day.
- The students start brewing their potions for the prize. Harry opens his tattered textbook and sees that on the first page its previous owner has written "Property of the Half-Blood Prince." and there are tons of handwritten notes on all the pages. Harry uses the "Prince's" helpful margin notes as he works on his recipe.
- Remember how pathetic Harry was in Potions up to this point? Well, not anymore—the Prince's notes make him literally the best in the class. He wins the vial.
- Dumbledore is in his office looking over some weird objects. Wait, isn't that Tom Riddle's diary, which was destroyed in Chamber of Secrets?
- There's a knock, and Dumbledore drops a ring inside the big hole in the diary and shuts both objects up in a drawer. Nothing to see here, just doing some quick desk cleaning.
- Turns out it's Harry, responding to a message from Dumbledore.
- After some "chit-chat," they get down to business: Dumbledore wants to use the Pensieve (that bowl that looks kind of like a magical birdbath, where he can drop and then view memories) to take Harry into a moment in his past.
- It's a biggie: the day Dumbledore first met Tom Riddle (a.k.a. Baby Voldemort).
- Harry and Dumbledore dive into the Pensieve, and we see Dumbledore (complete with throwback hairstyle and scarf) visiting Tom Riddle at the orphanage.
- The woman in charge tells Dumbledore that Riddle has been having trouble with other kids…lots of "nasty" stuff seems to happen when he's around. Color us shocked.
- Dumbledore explains he wants to take Tom to Hogwarts. Tom has been living in the Muggle world up to this point in his life, so this is probably the first time that someone has acknowledged that he's, er, different (and boy, is that an understatement).
- Dumbledore tells Tom that he's a wizard.
- Tom asks him to prove it, and Dumbledore does—by lighting Tom's closet on fire and then drawing Tom's attention to something he (magically) knows Tom stole.
- Aaaand, flashback over. Harry and Dumbledore leave the Pensieve, and Harry asks if Dumbledore knew then about what a bad dude Voldemort was going to become.
- Now, Dumbledore's recent adventures with Harry might seem a little random. Why did he take Harry to visit Slughorn? And why show Harry this memory of Baby Voldemort?
- Well, Dumbledore sheds a little bit of light (never too much) on those matters at this point: Dumbledore definitely seems to want Harry and Slughorn get to know each other. Dumbledore wants something from him (we don't know what yet, though), and it looks like Harry is going to be in charge of finding it.
- No rest for the Chosen One.
- Hmm, it looks like Death Eaters are trying to fly toward the castle in that weird smoky form they like to take. However, a kind of magical force field repels them.
- Well, that seals it: Hogwarts definitely is in danger from Death Eater types trying to break in.
- Now we're following Draco (hmm, wonder what that transition means?), who's wandered to some random room in the castle where there's basically hoarder levels of junk. It looks like the Room of Requirement, which we've seen before in other HP installments.
- In the room, Draco comes across a cabinet. Hey, it looks like the cabinet from that furniture shop…very suspicious.
- Harry and Ginny are running Quidditch tryouts for Gryffindor.
- Some arrogant dude named Cormac (wait, didn't Hermione make awkward eye contact with this guy back in the joke shop?) chats up Ron while they're waiting to try out. Apparently, he wants to go for Keeper (uh…that's Ron's position) and get Hermione's phone number. Ron seems put out by both ideas.
- The tryouts commence.
- Oh, snap. This Cormac guy is pretty good. But just when it looks like he's about to completely nail his tryout, Hermione, watching from the stands, seems to utter a charm to knock him away from his goal. Looks like she's helping Ron out.
- Also, that moony-looking girl from the joke shop has come to cheer on Ron. Drama.
- Back in the Gryffindor common room, the three amigos plus Ginny are talking about Harry's new secret Potions helper, the Half-Blood Prince.
- We flash forward a little in time (it's snowy now) and Harry, Ron and Hermione are walking into Hogsmeade. Hermione is still hung up on Harry using the Half-Blood Prince's book and thinks Harry should be a little more curious about who this dude is—after all, he's taking all kinds of advice on potion-making from him.
- Oh, look who's also heading into town: Professor Slughorn. And he mentions The Three Broomsticks pub.
- So, you guessed it. Harry, Ron and Hermione are in the mood for a Butterbeer all of a sudden. They go into The Three Broomsticks. Oh, hey, Ginny's here too…and she's getting pretty cozy with that Dean Thomas kid, which Ron is not happy about at all, in typical big brother fashion.
- Harry waves Slughorn over and starts to chat him up. The professor invites Hermione and Harry to his exclusive dinner party. Right in front of Ron (who he then calls by the wrong name)—ouch.
- That little slight aside, it's a pleasant enough afternoon—uh, for everyone except Ron… until the walk home.
- The drama starts with a bloodcurdling scream, and then suddenly Harry and Co. see their fellow student, Katie, lying in the snow up ahead. As they approach her, she jerks around on the ground and then flies high into the air, where she seems to be creepily suspended and screaming. It's, er, quite unsettling. A friend who had been walking with her screams that she told Katie "not to touch it." Touch what?
- Katie suddenly drops hard back to the ground, and they see a package lying next to her.
- Hagrid, who has rushed up to help (as is his wont), tells them not to touch it. But we can see that it seems to contain some sort of necklace.
- Back at Hogwarts, McGonagall is examining the necklace.
- She interviews the students about what happened.
- Katie's friend tells McGonagall that Katie got the package when she went to the bathroom at the pub, and said it was important that she deliver it.
- To whom, you ask? She was on her way to Dumbledore. Yikes.
- Snape arrives, examines the necklace, and says Katie is lucky to be alive. It would seem that she was cursed (bewitched without her knowing what she was doing) into delivering this evil-gram to Dumby. Double yikes.
- Harry accuses Malfoy (who he had also seen lurking around The Three Broomsticks) of being the curse culprit—but, since he has no evidence, McGonagall and Snape are not impressed.
- McGonagall orders the kids back to the dorms.
- Luckily, now we get a little bit of a break from all this bewitching of kids and attempted killing of Dumbledore business: Harry and Ron are chillin' in their dorm room, talking about (gasp) girls.
- (Well, and Harry is keeping an eye on Malfoy via the Marauder's map, but mostly this scene is about girl talk. Or boy talk about girls. You know what we mean. Moving on.)
- Harry lists some possible reasons "Dean" might be fond of Ginny, and Ron thinks Hermione has nice skin. Mmmkay.
- Hermione, Harry, and several other students are at Slughorn's dinner party.
- Slughorn is chatting up Cormac McLaggen and another kid about their families, and then he asks Hermione what her parents do. Apparently, the concept of dentistry is as foreign to wizards as Wizarding would be to your average dentist.
- Ginny enters. She's been crying—apparently, she fights a lot with her boyfriend. Harry, always the consummate gentleman, rises from his chair until Ginny takes a seat at the table. (Nudge, nudge: Harry, here's your window, man.)
- Meanwhile, McLaggen is definitely giving Hermione some meaningful looks over dessert, while rather revoltingly licking his fingers (who eats a giant profiterole sundae with their hands, dude?). Hermione clearly isn't impressed, either.
- When the dinner is over, Slughorn sees the kids out, but Harry stays behind. He's looking at Slughorn's hourglass. The professor explains that he has a kind of shelf of fame in his office where he memorializes his most impressive students.
- Harry seizes the opportunity to ask Slughorn if Voldemort made the shelf. Subtle segue. Slughorn is…less than keen to talk about it.
- Harry apologizes, explaining that, ya know, he killed Harry's parents. Slughorn doesn't mind, but he says he can't really help him. He says Riddle was a quiet, intelligent boy, and he saw no sign of him becoming a monster at that time. Why does it seem like Harry doesn't quite believe him?
- Ron enters the Great Hall the next day for breakfast wearing his Quidditch uniform, complete with helmet. Bold breakfast outfit choice. Apparently there's a match today and Ron seems muy nervous. He starts asking Harry and Hermione about the dinner party. Hermione says it was pretty boring, and mentions that Slughorn is hosting a Christmas party and she has to bring a plus-one. Ron seems pretty shocked to find out that plus-one would be him and not Cormac.
- Just then, that same girl who's been making eyes at Ron since they returned to Hogwarts (Lavender Brown) comes to wish him luck in typical googly-eyes fashion.
- Luna then announces that she's seen Harry sneak something into Ron's cup. Wait, what?
- Hermione—along with everyone else—believes that Harry's put some of his liquid luck in there to help Ron out today. Harry denies it, but Ron is excited and drinks up, despite Hermione's protests that they could be expelled.
- And the results seem undeniable: Ron has a great match. Call us a bunch of Hermiones, but really, Harry, cheating? Say it ain't so!
- Celebrating the big win in the Gryffindor common room, the truth comes out: Harry still has a whole vial of liquid luck. He only made Ron think that he put the potion in Ron's drink. Classic Harry and Ron antics. Guess that vial will come in handy at some point later on.
- Anyway, back to the celebrations: Ron starts making out with that Lavender girl, and Hermione is…not pleased. Remember? It looked like something was brewing between the two of them in the last movie, right? Well, apparently Ron didn't get that memo, and a heartbroken Hermione runs out of the room. Feelings!
- Harry goes to comfort Hermione.
- Hermione asks how Harry can deal with watching Ginny and Dean—she's noticed how Harry looks at her.
- Before he can answer, Ron and Lavender rush in, looking for, er, a more private place to continue their make-out session. Come on, guys.
- Now Hermione is even more upset and enraged.
- When the annoyingly happy couple disappears, Harry answers Hermione's question: He feels exactly like Hermione does right now.
- In the days that follow, Hermione and Ron are definitely not getting along.
- Hermione has to figure out someone new to take to Slughorn's Christmas party, as she had been planning to bring Ron until, well, you know.
- Harry had thought he and Hermione would go together as friends, but by the time he runs this idea by Hermione, she's already asked someone else. Who? It's a surprise.
- That leaves Harry dateless, and Hermione tells him he can't just take any old girl. Case in point: there's Romilda Vane, who apparently has been trying to trick Harry into taking a love potion.
- Yes, that kind of sneakiness sounds right up Harry's alley. Not. He says he'll take someone cool.
- Sure enough, Harry skips asking Romilda and decides to go with his friend Luna.
- As we watch them head to the party together, we also see Draco lurking nearby, apparently waiting for the hallway to be clear.
- When it is, he sneaks back to the Room of Requirement and starts playing with that cabinet he found in there last time. Hey, it matches the cabinet in that shop the kids saw him sneaking into in Diagon Alley.
- Draco places an apple in the cabinet, closes it, says some magic words, reopens the cabinet, and voila, the apple has disappeared.
- Then he closes it again, says the same magic words, and opens the cabinet once more. The apple has returned… with a bite out of it. So, like, the cabinet definitely leads somewhere else.
- We don't know quite what Draco's up to with all this, but we're officially spooked.
- Now we're at the party, and Hermione is hiding from her date—who turns out to be that dreadful McLaggen kid. She admits to Harry that she thought that would bother Ron the most. Well played.
- Snape comes to give Harry a message from Dumbledore: the headmaster wants Harry to have a good holiday. Dumbledore is going to be traveling for a while, but Snape won't tell Harry where.
- Suddenly, Filch interrupts the party by dragging in Malfoy. He tells Slughorn he found Draco hiding in the hallway.
- Malfoy "admits" to trying to crash the party (liar!), and Snape offers to escort Malfoy back where he belongs.
- Then, out in the hallway, we hear/see Snape talking to Malfoy. Snape asks Draco to let him help with whatever this mission is, but Malfoy claims he's
a big boy been chosen for the job, and he doesn't want Snape's help—it's his moment, and he won't fail.
- Snape mentions the Unbreakable Vow he's made to help Draco…and since Harry's eavesdropping on their sinister little convo, now he knows about the promise.
- On the train home to the Weasleys' house for the holidays, Harry tells Ron about this Unbreakable Vow business he overheard.
- Meanwhile, looks like there's trouble in paradise as Ron complains about Lavender's cloying ways. That didn't take long.
- Ron explains to Harry the terms of an Unbreakable Vow: if you don't make good on it, the consequences are fatal. In that you die. Oof.
- At The Burrow, Harry is sitting around telling Lupin, Mr. Weasley, and Tonks about what he heard between Snape and Draco.
- Harry is super suspicious of Snape, but Lupin reaffirms the party line: Snape is loyal to Dumbledore and only pretending to help Draco, in order to find out what he's up to.
- Then there's some minor cookie-related flirting between Ginny and Harry. Until Ron sits down between them, just as clueless as ever.
- Now Harry and Mr. Weasley are talking alone. Things aren't going great in the grown-up magical world outside Hogwarts either.
- Mr. Weasley doesn't know where Dumbledore is traveling, but he does let Harry in on one tidbit: he thinks that Draco Malfoy was in Borgin & Burke's because he was interested in the vanishing cabinet they have in there. Huh? Mr. Weasley explains that a vanishing cabinet can transport someone pretty much anywhere. But the one in Borgin & Burke's is still there. Hmm.
- Later, but still at the Burrow, Tonks, Lupin, and the Weasleys are saying goodbye outside when Lupin seems to sense…something. That can't mean anything good.
- At the same time, Harry and Ginny are chatting, and things are looking awfully cozy. Are they finally going to get together?
- Well, guess not. Suddenly, Bellatrix Lestrange appears in a ring of fire surrounding the Burrow. Yup.
- Harry races out of the Burrow to chase her, and Ginny follows. (Just–why?)
- They end up in a cornfield running around separately, with Bellatrix taunting them out of sight.
- Ginny is alone in a clearing when Greyback suddenly appears. Harry comes running and tries to defend her, and then Greyback disappears. Then reappears. Then disappears. Oh, and now Bella's back, too. And Lupin, Tonks and Mr. Weasley have run into the cornfield to try to help. It's pretty chaotic, actually. Is there a barf bag on this plane? Because we're getting a wee bit dizzy.
- The good news: the Bella and Greyback decide to leave. The bad news? On their way out, they crash into the Burrow and set fire to it.
- The holidays are over and we're back at Hogwarts. It would appear Lavender is still in the picture and she's taken to calling Ron "Won-Won." Yeesh.
- Cut to: Harry is in Dumbledore's office and back in the Pensieve. It seems that he's in one of Slughorn's memories.
- In fact, he's at one of Slughorn's dinner parties, only this time it's back when Voldemort was a student (as Tom Riddle).
- After the other students had left the party, Tom asked Slughorn about something he came across in the restricted section of the library. Then the memory kind of…blips out in the middle. Hmm, what's that about? Memories can have static? Slughorn suddenly turns super angry and tells Tom he doesn't know anything about that and even if he did, he wouldn't tell Tom, before aggressively dismissing him.
- When Harry comes out of the Pensieve, Dumbledore says this memory is crucial to everything they've been doing to fight Voldemort—and someone's tampered with it.
- Well, not someone—Slughorn. It seems like he's ashamed of something in it.
- The mission is clear: It's up to Harry to find out what really happened in that conversation between Slughorn and Tom Riddle. Otherwise the fate of the world is at stake. Again, no pressure.
- Harry stops by Professor Slughorn's classroom as his class is letting out.
- Harry's strategy for getting the intel? He basically tries to stage that whole memory all over again, with Harry playing the Tom Riddle part: he says he was in the restricted section, blah blah—you get the gist.
- He asks Slughorn if there are types of magic that they're prohibited from teaching the children. Slughorn tries to blow him off, but Harry persists, using a little good old-fashioned flattery. But Slughorn still gives him a canned answer about trying to live within the light and staying away from Dark magic. Still not what Harry's looking for.
- So he pulls out the big guns and plays a little dirty: he asks Slughorn if he answered the same way when Tom Riddle asked the same questions.
- Record scratch. Oops, Slughorn gets mad, since he realizes that Dumbledore was putting Harry up to all this all along.
- Later on, when Harry knocks on Slughorn's door, he gets brusquely turned away. Not looking great for that whole memory mission.
- Back in the dorms, Ron is acting really strange and moony (like, he's literally staring at the moon), saying he thinks he's in love with someone.
- Harry assumes he's talking about Lavender. After all, isn't that who he's been "snogging," as the Brits say, for the past three months?
- Guess again: Ron says he's gaga for Romilda Vane. Remember that name? She's the girl Hermione had said was trying to sneak Harry a love potion. Hey, wait a second…
- Yup: Harry sees that Ron had opened a box of chocolates he found on Harry's bed from Romilda, and realizes that his buddy was under the power of a love potion intended for him. Oh, dear.
- But…wouldn't this be the perfect opportunity to hit up the Potions professor for help? So, Harry takes Ron to Professor Slughorn, and this time he doesn't get the door slammed in his face. Things are looking up.
- While Slughorn is preparing the antidote, Harry takes the opportunity to apologize. Slughorn says don't worry about it, it's all water under the bridge. (But he still does not like Harry saying the name Voldemort out loud.)
- Aww, peace comes to Hogwarts. Ron drinks the antidote and, a second later, snaps right out of his potion-induced mooniness.
- To celebrate, Slughorn pours them all a drink, which Ron barely gets down before collapsing on the floor while foaming at the mouth. What the what? Did Slughorn just poison Ron after saving his life?
- Slughorn has no idea what happened and just stands there in shock, while Harry struggles to figure out how to help. He rifles through the professor's drawers and luckily, he finds something called a bezoar, which saves Ron. Phew.
- But it was touch and go for a minute there—who would have thought Hogwarts' worst Potions student would be thinking faster than the Potions teacher?
- Now Harry, Hermione and Ginny are all in the hospital wing with Ron, where McGonagall, Dumbledore, Slughorn, and Snape are trying to figure out what happened.
- It seems that the bottle Slughorn used to pour the celebration drink was poisoned. And, like the package that Katie had been carrying, it was intended for Dumbledore. Yikes—someone really has it in for the headmaster.
- Lavender then comes rushing in to see her "Won-Won" (vom) and is infuriated to find Hermione there. To make matters worse for the future of "Rovender" (Or "Lon"?), Ron starts calling for Hermione in his sleep. Looks like it's Lavender's turn to run out of the room crying.
- On his way out of the infirmary, Harry spots someone sneakily lurking. Oh, hey: it's everyone's favorite sneaky lurker, Draco Malfoy. Harry follows him and sees that Draco has gone into the Room of Requirement. Looks like he's playing with the vanishing cabinet again.
- This time, he's put in a little white bird, and he makes it disappear. Then we see the other vanishing cabinet at Borgin & Burke's and we hear the bird chirping inside. But when we cut back to Draco at Hogwarts, he opens his cabinet to find the bird dead. Ew/yikes.
- Whoa, and here's another surprise: when Draco finds the dead bird, he cries. So maybe there's some semblance of a heart in there somewhere? Clearly, he's not really all-in on this evil stuff.
- Sitting in the Great Hall at breakfast, Ron is trying to figure out exactly what happened with Lavender when he was in the hospital. And he's getting some serious evil-eye vibes from Lavender.
- He's not quite clear on how he broke up with Lavender, but he's pretty psyched to be out of that…situation. However, he also doesn't remember calling for Hermione, so…guess we'll have to stay tuned on that one.
- Meanwhile, Katie Bell has returned after her illness.
- Harry goes to talk to her, trying to find out more information, but Katie says she really can't remember who cursed her. While chatting, they both look across the Great Hall and see Malfoy. He sees them talking and looks stricken. What's that about?
- Malfoy runs away to the bathroom, where he tries to pull himself together, but is clearly upset. Like, crying into the mirror upset.
- Harry follows and basically accuses Draco of hexing Katie. They duel, and Harry decides to try that curse "for enemies" that he saw in his Potions textbook: "Sectumsempra."
- Malfoy is suddenly bleeding from everywhere. Uh-oh, seems like Harry definitely wasn't expecting Sectumsempra to be this severe.
- Just them, Snape rushes in. Harry runs away, and Snape fixes Malfoy.
- Back with his friends, Harry is clearly traumatized and feeling pretty guilty about what just happened.
- Ginny tells Harry what he already knows: He needs to get rid of that Potions book.
- She takes him to the Room of Requirement so he can hide the book there where no one—including him—can find it.
- They hear something rustling nearby and notice it's coming from… the vanishing cabinet that Malfoy's been playing with. Harry opens it, and a live bird flies out. Hey, is that the bird that Malfoy supposedly sent off for slaughter? But this time the bird is black.
- Then, Ginny commands that Harry close his eyes while she hides the book so he won't know where it's gone. Once she's completed her task, but while Harry's eyes are still closed, she goes and kisses him.
- Ah, teen romance is definitely in the air around here, no?
- Harry meets Ron in the hallway and when they see Slughorn approaching, the professor awkwardly turns around to avoid them. Ron supposes this means Harry still hasn't had any luck getting that memory from him.
- Aha! That seems to give Harry an idea: why not use his liquid luck to get Slughorn to talk to him about Tom Riddle?
- With Hermione and Ron watching, he drinks the potion and decides to go immediately to Hagrid's. We're not sure why, and neither is Harry, but he's got a good feeling it's the right choice.
- On his way, Harry comes upon Professor Slughorn swiping some specimens from the greenhouse. Wait a minute, the professor can't let Harry go roaming Hogwarts grounds at night by himself. So Harry suggests that Slughorn accompany him to Hagrid's.
- Slughorn agrees, even though he really just wants to get Harry back to the castle. They come upon Hagrid, who is mourning the death of Aragog (remember the gigantic spider from earlier in the HP series?).
- Slughorn tries to be sensitive, but he's also keen to extract some venom from the late Aragog's body. Apparently, it's very valuable in potion making. Hagrid agrees to let him take some.
- Then, Slughorn says a few words over Aragog's body, and Hagrid, Harry, and Slughorn go back to Hagrid's.
- Once there, the adults seem to get drunk. Speaking of deceased animal friends, Slughorn recollects he once had a pet fish. Kinda makes you think about life…so fleeting…woop, Hagrid passes out in his chair, and Slughorn reveals that his pet fish was actually a gift from a student: Harry's mom.
- Slughorn reminisces about Lily. Clearly, he was very fond of her… maybe this will work to Harry's advantage?
- Well, not immediately: Slughorn claims that he still can't give Harry exactly what he wants to know, because it will ruin him.
- Harry pushes and reveals to Slughorn that he is the "Chosen One"—that is, the only person who can destroy Voldemort.
- He uses Slughorn's affection for his mother to his advantage, saying if the professor doesn't share his memory, Lily's death was in vain. Wow, he's going there.
- Slughorn finally relents. He begs Harry not to think badly of him when he sees the full memory, and gives it to Harry by pulling it from his head with his wand and placing it in a corked bottle.
- Harry has brought the memory to Dumbledore, and they drop it in the Pensieve. Here we go…the moment we've all been waiting for.
- We dive into the memory, and Tom asks Professor Slughorn about a bit of rare magic called a Horcrux. A what?
- Slughorn explains the concept to him (and us): it's basically a way of ensuring you cannot die by giving an object a little bit of your soul. You do that through murder, which rips the soul apart. Charming.
- Tom is most interested in knowing how you make a Horcrux, and wonders if you can split the soul more than once. Like, say, into seven parts.
- This makes Slughorn very uneasy and the professor tries to confirm that this is a theoretical conversation/question. Baby Voldemort (unconvincingly) says yes, of course, just asking for academic reasons. Sure.
- Coming out of the memory, Harry and Dumbledore discuss the implications of what they just saw. Whoa, it's even worse than D-dore thought.
- Luckily, Dumbledore reveals that that they already have two of these objects in their possession. One was Tom Riddle's diary, which Harry brought Dumbledore back in the Chamber of Secrets, and another is a ring, which Dumbledore says has been very difficult to destroy. Oh, so that's how Dumbledore hurt his hand.
- So if they could find and destroy all of Voldemort's Horcruxes (Horcruxi?), they could kill Voldemort. And this is what Dumbledore's been up to on his mysterious travels. Dumbledore thinks he's found another, but he can't destroy it alone. Looks like Harry's in for another dangerous adventure.
- Dumbledore and Snape are having a heated discussion in the bell tower. Snape is annoyed, wondering if Dumbledore has ever considered that Snape isn't really down with what's happening.
- Wait, what is happening? What exactly is Dumbledore asking him to do?
- Harry overhears the last part of their conversation as he comes to join Dumbledore. Snape runs into Harry on the stairs and gives him his signature Snape stare-down before leaving.
- Dumbledore gets a little sentimental about how Harry has grown up, and lets Harry know this is going to be a super dangerous mission. He makes Harry promise that no matter what, he must obey the headmaster's commands, without question. Harry gives his word and they depart.
- Dumbledore and Harry Apparate to a cave the middle of a vast sea. Guess this is where they're going to find Horcruxes. What, you expected something less spooky?
- Dumbledore sacrifices some blood to get access to the cave (eek), and then he and Harry set to work trying to figure out where this Horcrux thing is likely to be.
- They spot it, but it's on a tiny island across the water that fills the cave. Because of course.
- But look: Dumbledore conjures a boat out of the water and pulls it toward them. Man, he is good.
- They take the boat to the island with the Horcrux and approach the, er, treasure (if that's what you want to call it).
- The Horcrux is in the bottom of a bowl filled with some kind of potion, and Dumbledore realizes that he has to drink all of the liquid to get to it. He warns Harry that his job is to make sure Dumbledore sticks it out, even if the potion makes him beg for relief. This is stressful already.
- Sure enough, after starting to drink, Dumbledore has trouble continuing, so Harry forces him to go on. It looks really rough. We're a little unsure if Dumbledore (and Harry, for that matter) will be able to take this.
- Whew, that was painful, but they do it—all the liquid is gone, and Harry has retrieved the Horcrux, which is a locket.
- Dumbledore is totally spent and begging for water. Harry tries to oblige, but he can't conjure any from thin air. So, he goes to the water they just crossed and considers getting it from there. Why does that seem like a really bad idea? Oh, jeez, now we're really stressed.
- Harry seems a little worried about touching the water, too—and sure enough, when he tries to get a cup of water, a super creepy hand bursts out of the water and grabs his wrist. Using his wand like a flashlight, he sees that some skeletal creatures that have been living in this cave water are waking up and–oh, wow, there are a lot of them coming straight for Horcrux Island.
- Despite his attempts to fight the creatures off, Harry gets pulled under water and held under by one of the evil skeleton monsters. It does not look good. But all of a sudden the creature lets go and Harry sees some fiery orbs shooting through the water. When he comes to the surface he sees that Dumbledore has recovered (phew) and is working his magic to repel the dangerous sea people.
- Back at Hogwarts, Draco is in bed.
- Not for long though, we suspect: some baddies are headed for that vanishing cabinet in Borgin & Burke's. Looks like Hogwarts is about to get some visitors.
- Yup: Draco heads to the Room of Requirement and we see the cabinet opening, with a bunch of that familiar black smoke pouring out. Looks like Draco has let in a bunch of Death Eaters through the cabinet. Including Bellatrix Lestrange and Fenrir Greyback. This is not going to end well.
- Meanwhile, Harry and Dumbledore Apparate back to the bell tower at the top of the castle. Harry wants to get Dumbledore, who's very weak from the Horcrux ordeal, to the hospital wing, but he refuses—he wants Harry to go get Snape.
- Then, Dumbledore hears someone coming, and he orders Harry to hide.
- Draco arrives, and Dumbledore seems to know why. Wait, will someone clue us in?
- Dumbledore tells Draco he's not an assassin. Dumbledore then calls Draco out on his recent sinister antics: cursing Katie and poisoning the bottle of mead meant for the headmaster. Summing up what we've been thinking all along: Draco might be capable of being a pretty big jerk, but he doesn't really have it in him to be a killer.
- As usual, it seems Dumbledore is right: Draco claims (rather shakily, we might add) that he's been chosen to do the Dark Lord's bidding (he even shows Dumby his new Death Eater arm tattoo).
- Okay, so now we're getting the picture: Draco has been ordered by Voldemort to kill Dumbledore. He disarms the headmaster, and things are not looking good.
- Dumbledore hears the door opening and realizes Draco's not alone. Draco, now in full mental meltdown mode, explains how he made a passage with the two vanishing cabinets. He tells Dumbledore that if he doesn't follow through on the Dark Lord's orders, Voldemort will kill him.
- Bellatrix and the others arrive. Really not looking good now.
- Meanwhile, below (where Harry is hiding) Snape arrives. He signals for Harry to be quiet.
- Then Professor Snape goes above. As Draco is still faltering, Snape steps in and aims his wand at the headmaster, seeming to hesitate for a second. Dumbledore, calm as ever, says "Please," at which point Snape invokes the Killing Curse at Dumbledore, who falls back and off the tower.
- Wait, what? What?
- Seriously? Dumbledore is dead? And Snape, whom he had always defended, did it? Say it ain't so!
- Sorry, it's so: Bellatrix revels in their Death Eater victory (mostly by breaking stuff around the castle) and she, Snape and the other Dark Lord minions head toward the forest, with a horrified, crying Draco in tow (guess we were at least right about him not being 100% evil).
- Harry chases Snape, grieving and furious, and tries to use that nasty Sectumsempra curse from his Potions book against the professor.
- Snape accuses Harry of trying to use Snape's own spell against him. Wait, what? That means…Snape is the Half-Blood Prince? The hits just keep on coming.
- Snape flees toward the forest to join the other Death Eaters, who have set Hagrid's house on fire. Nice.
- Harry returns to the castle, finding students and teachers gathered where Dumbledore's body has fallen. They all raise their wands in tribute.
- Ginny comforts Harry. And we are full-on sobbing now.
- The next morning, Harry makes his way to Dumbledore's office, which is deserted, of course. He finds Dumbledore's wand on his desk.
- McGonagall comes in and tries to comfort Harry. Oof, this is depressing.
- Hermione and Harry are looking out from the bell tower, talking about everything that's happened. Harry doesn't think Draco would've gone through with killing Dumbledore if Snape hadn't stepped in.
- To make things even worse (is that possible?), Harry's got some bad news: the Horcrux he and Dumbledore retrieved was apparently a fake. Someone with the initials RAB stole the real one and left Voldemort a note inside the locket.
- Harry claims that when he leaves Hogwarts for the year, he's not coming back—he has to go finish what Dumbledore started.
- He indicates he's planning to go alone, but Hermione isn't having any of it. Does he really think he find all those Horcruxes by himself?
- Ron, Hermione, and Harry watch Dumbledore's phoenix fly around the castle.
- And that's it. Now we just wait for the next installment, in which Harry and his friends basically have to save the world. Yeah, pressure.