Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Fate

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We got the big news in the last film: According to a prophecy made at his birth, Harry is destined to be the one to battle and defeat Lord Voldemort. The "when" and the "how" are still unclear, but we're all pretty sure now that Harry has to be the one to save humanity. No big deal, right?

He's not the only one who's dealing with the burden of being "chosen" for a special mission, though. Lord Voldemort has given Draco the task of killing Dumbledore, and the kid feels like he has about as much choice in his matter as Harry does with his whole mission-to-save-humanity stuff.

So, you see, we get two sides of the same coin in Half-Blood Prince: Harry and Draco are both burdened with stuff that's way too heavy for their age, and they feel like they have no way out.

Of course, that's kind of an illusion. They both have the power to just refuse the "call" to their respective missions and deal with the consequences, though neither of them do. But that struggle of choosing between stepping up to the plate or playing it safe definitely drives a lot of the drama for these kids.

Questions About Fate

  1. Does Harry really have a choice as far as killing Voldemort goes, if it was in the prophecy? Why does it matter?
  2. Does Draco really have a choice as far as killing Dumbledore goes, if the Dark Lord has demanded it? Voldemort will kill Draco (and probably his whole family) if he fails, right?
  3. How much does Harry embrace this whole "Chosen One" title? And why does it matter?

Chew on This

Draco thinks he doesn't have a choice…until he's literally unable to kill Dumbledore, and realizes he had one all along.

Even though Harry has basically been outed as the "Chosen One," he kind of resists the title—and, by extension, this whole idea of destiny. He's a moral kid, and it seems to be pretty important to him to be actively choosing how to behave and what to do (as opposed to just riding the "destiny" wave).

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