Review · Uncategorized

The Inner Struggle Between Good and Evil – Harry Potter Book Review

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is the 6th book in the series and it’s significant in that it paves the way for the final battle between Harry and Voldemort. While most people have seen the movies and understand the story, I have found the books offer more insight into the emotions Harry felt. Throughout the book Harry’s emotions are incredibly deep and it anyone can relate to them. Also please note, many people now consider the Harry Potter series authorless or written by Daniel Radcliffe. I am one of those people as I believe an author that can inspire imagination in children should be able to have enough imagination to at least grasp that gender is spectrum and a social construct.

Much like the previous book (The Order of the Pheonix), Dumbledore is adamant on teaching Harry the reasons behind a persons character. In the Order of the Pheonix, he explained the reasons why Kreacher betrayed Sirius and allowed Harry to interpret both sides of the story. In the Half Blood Prince, the lessons on character were almost entirely on Voldermort as Dumbledore believed he needed to understand his past in order to defeat him. While this was a part of the reason, there was another important factor in teaching Harry about Voldemorts past, so he could draw parallels with his own. Both Harry and Tom Riddle grew up lonely and orphaned, one became humbled and the other turned to pure evil. At one point in the book, Dumbledore questions whether Voldemort was born evil or whether he became evil. When comparing Harry and Voldemort, they both grew up in similar circumstances, so what was the definitive part that made Harry choose good?

When analysing Harry’s childhood, he grew up abused and lied to. He was told his parents died in a car crash, though he still had family and there was some kind of connection to who he was. In contrast to Tom Riddle, he grew up with no connection to anyone, all he knew is that he could do these special things. One of the ideas Dumbledore explained, was that because Riddle was surrounded by Muggles, he assumed he was special and because of this, he was above them. This idea was further developed because Riddle had no idea who his parents were and so he created a fantasy that they were powerful. When comparing Harry and Riddle, it can be quite easy to understand what set them both on their individual paths. Dumbledore wanted Harry to draw these comparisons because in doing so, his own character could develop.

In the Half Blood Prince, Harry was around the same age that Riddle started to kill. Riddle started to become interested in his family because he had this unique ability to talk to snakes and thus he must be the heir of Slytherin. That idea came crashing down when he discovered his family lived in horrific conditions and were living in squalor. Yet, the biggest factor that contributed to what he became, was that his mother loved a Muggle – a group he thought he was above. Learning that he wasn’t special, he sought to erase his past through murdering his Muggle side of the family. Dumbledore believed it was important for Harry to understand this because the journey ahead would involve the discovery of secrets, lies and objects of true power. Glory would be within his reach and he would have to reject it. Throughout the book, Harry is shown to be very susceptible to the effects of gaining prestige. The potion book owned by the Half Blood Prince was an analogy for this. Harry almost gave into the praise he recieved and through trust in the book he severely injured Draco. Through having this insight, Harry could see the consequences of striving for someone else’s greatness, much in the same sense Voldemort strives for the Slytherin familys greatness. Through understanding the consequences striving for glory, Harry could have a chance of overcoming his obstacles, as the ones to come would be the hardest he ever faced.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is a fantastic book and while it is quite dark in comparison to the others, it teaches people to understand and learn from others, amongst other things. Life can be hard and having ones hopes and dreams crushed can have a profound effect on an individual, however taking a path that doesn’t give into those insecurities through seeking greatness is better in the end. This book had a profound effect on me and I felt it deserved an analysis. Thanks for reading!

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