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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

W. J. Rayment / -- This is the sixth in a series of books about Harry Potter an eponymous young man who found out (in Book I) that he is a wizard. He has had to struggle, going to school at a castle called "Hogwarts", with the usual problems of growing up and also with the minor nuisance of having one of the greatest wizards ever to live trying to kill him.

It seems that young Harry Potter, it has been foretold, is the nemesis of this evil wizard known as Lord Voldemort, or more frequently called "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named". In "The Half-Blood Prince" the plot twists and turns, but it is heavily based on occurrences from the past and J.K. Rowling definitely makes this book part of a series, not a stand alone work. The series itself seems to be growing up in a modern world that is tinged with evil. The main characters begin young and innocent and remain relatively so up through book three as they progress through their education. Yet they cannot help but be heavily effected by the weighty events that occur in their immediate vicinity.

The Harry Potter series is interesting this way, it seems to be written for a progressively maturing and perhaps worldly audience. Thus, while the first book might be appropriate for a child under eight or nine, book six decidedly is NOT and seems to be directly aimed at teenagers and even young adults. The themes and issues of the story have become very dark. Even so, the book seems highly naive about certain things. One of them is the very magic that makes up some of the charm of the book. Having magical children run around with wands in the wizarding world is rather like giving Colt revolvers to children in the American West, and truthfully the results are not near as gruesome in the book than they probably would be in reality.

Another interesting aspect of the magic of the wizards is that it seems almost obsolete, in that it has been almost superseded by the modern technology of we "muggles" (which is the denigrating term used by the wizards for those of us not gifted with magical abilities). In truth, many of the magical things described in the Harry Potter series are reality in the modern muggle world or soon will be what with dishwashers, robotic vacuum cleaners and Tasers. However, this is not an argument to change Harry Potter into a sci-fi thriller. There is indeed a certain fun in pretending that wonderful things can spew from the tip of a wand.

"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince", continues the story lines of earlier books, it advances the characters and sets the stage for what is projected to be the denouement of the entire series, which is up and coming. It is a fun read for those who are familiar with the series and mature enough to deal with the themes.


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