Now that we’ve learned in Order of the Phoenix it’s either Harry or Voldemort who can survive, our teenage hero must figure out how to defeat the most powerful dark wizard of all time. No big deal. With Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Rowling brings us along on the journey with Harry as Dumbledore tries to prepare Harry for the moment to which his life has been leading.
Dumbledore begins to introduce Harry to the mystery that is Lord Voldemort’s past. Harry must learn about Voldemort’s life in order to discover any weaknesses he might have. Harry must find these weaknesses in order to know how Voldemort can be killed. Harry learns Voldemort has created Horcruxes in order to make himself [nearly] immortal, and I must say, the concept of Horcruxes is quite terrifying. Harry and Dumbledore set out to find and destroy these Horcruxes, but it seems nearly impossible. While it may prove difficult, the thing Voldemort has done to ensure he cannot die is the very thing which makes him most vulnerable.
On top of this daunting task, Harry has another regular school year to deal with—classes and homework, Quidditch captain duties, and an unexpected crush on Ginny Weasley. Harry has also been keeping his eye on Malfoy, who has been acting rather strangely all year. Through it all Harry has found an unexpected companion in the Half-Blood Prince, the previous owner of his Advanced Potions text book. But who is the Half-Blood Prince, and what does it mean to Harry when he finds out?
All in all, this year has turned into Harry’s most challenging yet. It culminates in a devastating finale for which even Dumbledore hasn’t prepared Harry (and to which the movie does absolutely no justice). But that’s life, isn’t it? Sometimes things happen or we are faced with situations we have no idea how to handle. How we respond is what shows us of what we are truly made.
In many ways, the ranking of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is easily interchangeable with Order of the Phoenix in fourth place. What’s great about Half-Blood Prince is that it sets the final foundation which will carry us through the end of the series. And it definitely has a few twists that keep you on the edge of your seat and asking yourself, “Did that really just happen!?!”