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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book)
In 24 hours, the book sold 6.9 million copies in the United States alone, or 287,500 books per hour, making it the fastest selling book in history. It generated over $100 million in sales on its opening weekend, outpacing even the combined take of the top movies at the box office that same weekend. Bookseller Barnes and Noble reported sales averaging 105 copies per second in the first hour of sales.
OverviewHarry Potter and the Half Blood Prince opens in a darker setting than the previous books. Voldemort and his allies begin to act openly, causing widespread chaos and paranoia in Britain and convincing the Dementors to abandon Azkaban. Following a public outcry regarding Cornelius Fudge's mishandling of the Voldemort situation, Rufus Scrimgeour becomes the new Minister of Magic.
Early on in the story, Severus Snape makes an Unbreakable Vow to Draco Malfoy's mother Narcissa, with Bellatrix Lestrange as a witness, that he will protect Draco and aid him in his mission, although the exact details of Draco's mission are kept secret at this point.
Due to increased Death Eater activity, security measures are increased at Hogwarts. Snape is given his coveted Defence Against the Dark Arts post while Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter persuade Horace Slughorn to return from retirement to replace Snape as Potions teacher.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
23 in. x 35 in.
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Because Slughorn only requires an "E" in the Potions O.W.L. for N.E.W.T. students, Harry and Ron find out that they are able to continue Potions, initially using the school's supplies. During the first Potions class, Slughorn lends Harry an old textbook marked as the property of the "Half-Blood Prince". Its handwritten notes help Harry to outdo even Hermione in Potions, and his performance in the first Potions class earns Harry a twelve-hour dose of Felix Felicis.
Harry suspects that Draco has become a Death Eater. He confides his suspicions to Dumbledore, who appears to pay no attention. Later, it is revealed that Dumbledore was trusting Snape to investigate.
After a victorious Quidditch match for Gryffindor (which Harry missed due to detention with Snape), Harry and Ginny Weasley begin dating.
The story contains increased interaction between Dumbledore and Harry. Using his Pensieve, Dumbledore shows Harry a number of memories throwing light on Voldemort's past. Having seen the last memory, Dumbledore theorises that Voldemort has split his own soul into seven parts, storing six of the pieces in Horcruxes to grant himself immortality as long as they exist, and leaving the seventh piece in his own body. While two of Voldemort's Horcruxes have already been destroyed (Tom Riddle's diary by Harry[HP2] and Marvolo Gaunt's ring by Dumbledore), Dumbledore believes that there are four more that must be destroyed. He and Harry set off to retrieve one (Salazar Slytherin's locket), and are successful in retrieving a locket from the expected location, though Dumbledore is heavily weakened in the process.
The two return to find the Dark Mark over Hogwarts. As they investigate, they are surprised by Draco Malfoy. Dumbledore paralyses Harry, who is wearing his Invisibility Cloak, allowing Harry to witness all the events that follow while remaining invisible and unable to interfere. The time taken to paralyze Harry prevents Dumbledore from defending himself against Draco, who disarms him.
Other Death Eaters soon arrive and urge Draco to fulfill his mission, but he hesitates. Snape arrives shortly thereafter, and after a brief dialog, kills Dumbledore with the Avada Kedavra curse. The Death Eaters then flee. With Dumbledore's death, his paralysing spell is broken, and Harry is again free to move. Harry pursues Snape, who identifies himself as the Half-Blood Prince before fleeing Hogwarts.
Harry recovers the locket from Dumbledore's body, and discovers that it is a fake. He finds a note inside to the Dark Lord, from someone with the initials "R.A.B.", who has "stolen the real Horcrux", intending "to destroy it as soon as [possible]", with the hope that when Voldemort meets his match, that he "will be mortal once more".
A funeral for Dumbledore occurs. Many prominent members of the Wizarding world including Rufus Scrimgeour attend. Dumbledore is entombed. Minerva McGonagall becomes the interim headmistress of Hogwarts, but she and the other teachers fear that the school may have to be closed down. Both McGonagall and (after the funeral) Scrimgeour attempt to obtain information from Harry he received from Dumbledore, but Harry believes he should act as if he were alive, and keep it secret.
After Dumbledore's funeral, Harry decides not to return to school so that he can devote his time to destroying the remaining Horcruxes and defeating Voldemort. He tells his friends Hermione and Ron about his decision, and the two insist on coming with him to seek out Voldemort. Harry breaks up with Ginny, saying that she would be at risk and that Voldemort would attempt to get to Harry through her. The book ends with Harry's observation that at least he'll get to spend one last happy day with his friends.
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