If we had to choose one of the books of this saga, we would definitely go for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince without hesitation. Why? Because it breaks the usual structure known throughout the series and what we know about our characters and the wizardly world.
After so much speculation and wild ride throughout the books, you finally get a piece of darkness and what a not happy ending is. It can sound like a spoiler if you haven’t read the book, but you must know this leaves many questions to be able to determine what we are referring to.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the sixth novel in the saga and one of the most anticipated ones before the great finale.
With over 500 pages and a lot of stories to tell, it was one of the best-selling books in its year and continues to bring joy and tears to anyone who reads it.
But beyond being another novel of the Harry Potter saga, where does it actually stand in terms of sales and earnings? And is it that good as many other people and we mention?
Since this is the sixth novel of the saga, expect some spoilers during the article as, well, you should have read the previous five to be here, or maybe you are just jumping from one article to another. Whatever it is, you’ve been warned!
Who Is J. K. Rowling? – The Life of a Genius
Isn’t it natural to first focus on the author of a novel in order to learn more about it? This is why we will be focusing on Rowling’s life before being able to jump to the book itself.
Take a seat since this could be quite a ride compared to other authors we have reviewed so far.
Many refer to her as J. K. Rowling, but it isn’t quite her real name but rather the nickname she uses to release her books.
Her real name is Joanne Rowling, born in Yate, United Kingdom, on July 31, 1965.
Her father was an aviation engineer, while her mother was a scientist technician. Unfortunately, her mother died before she was able to show her how an amazing writer she would be, and it has been one of Rowling’s regrets over the years.
During her childhood and school days, she was called “Jo” due to her name and how some close friends still refer to her.
Since her earliest years, books have been a constant companion in her life. She has stated repeatedly that she loves books with all her heart and calls herself a common-or-garden bookworm.
Due to her love for reading, her childhood years were the best for her to consider becoming an author. She was only six years old when her first book was published.
The book’s story was very simple since it was based on a plot inspired by a rabbit named “Rabbit.” Of course, this was just the simple beginning of a child in the industry that wanted to make her dreams come true.
However, years later, she didn’t lose her desire to be an author and decided to start her first novel at the age of eleven.
The novel at the time was about seven cursed stones and their owners, which is why the story included magic and fantasy. Many wouldn’t know that this would be her first work related to the fantasy genre and how it is reflected today in Harry Potter novels and new work by the new writer.
Despite her passion, Jo didn’t find much success at a young age.
Instead, she was ready to go to college as a teenager and had completed high school just like the rest of us.
Rowling, therefore, decided to enroll at Exeter University. There, she read a lot despite being very busy with her French and Classics curriculums and signatures.
She spent so much time at the library, and she took so many books to be read to the point of forgetting to return several. This led to Rowling being fined $50.
Starting a Novelist Career – After College
After completing her degree, she moved to London with a new mindset that would take her to success.
Following her graduation, she was hired by several companies, including Amnesty International, as a researcher. This position would lead to her most memorable moment, and she found great inspiration to write her novels.
At the time, she was reading hurriedly scribbled letters by both men and women in her office. This was to inform outsiders about what was going on. Despite the simple task and the job itself, she got many ideas based on those letters and how people communicated.
One day, she was going to work as usual, and while waiting for a train to London King’s Cross, she got the idea for the first book in the Harry Potter series.
She quickly took notes and decided to continue developing the idea over time.
Contrary to popular belief, she did not start with the first book without thinking about the rest. Instead, she went to map out the entire story in five years, which means she had a great idea of where she wanted it to go while writing the books over the next few years.
Based on her claims and storytelling, she wrote mainly in longhand and slowly built up a large number of notes to help her understand how the story would unfold and where it was to be set.
Then she went to Portugal to teach English as an additional language. Her marriage to Jorge Arantes in 1992 was followed by the birth of her daughter in 1993.
We are unable to tell when every single was written in specific despite them being written based on popularity and when they were published.
However, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling must have been written between 2003 and 2004 due to its release on July 16, 2005. The first, with a difference in years, was published in 1997.
Building Success: Previous Books of the Saga
Going back to years prior and her moving to Portugal, she returned to the U.K. with her daughter Jessica and a suitcase containing the first chapters for “Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone.”
However, instead of aiming for her career as a writer, she moved to Edinburgh to pursue a career as a teacher. She began working in some of the city schools but continued to write books.
After having a better idea of her first book and how the story would unfold, she wrote the manuscript for the first book and sent it to several literary agents.
One of the literary agents contacted her to request more information and samples since he loved the work so far.
With this, we are finally in her first book that was published in June 1997. This was also when she chose to use J. K. Rowling as a pseudonym as a writer.
After the success of her first novel and the following ones, she had a lot of pressure to know how she would close the story in specific. After all, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince isn’t only the sixth but penultimate novel of the saga, which had to build the expectations and surprise for the last one.
She has mentioned in several interviews that although she had the entire map of her ideas and notes, it isn’t the same just to write a book and ensure it continues to be as popular and exciting as the rest.
Fortunately, we all know she published it and managed to write one of the best pieces of the saga, which we will never get tired of mentioning.
With 30 chapters and a lot of stories to tell, you will find this one fascinating on a new level.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Plot Summary
With the author’s introduction, we are ready to jump to the actual plot you must have been waiting for whether you read the book or not.
And as we mentioned, expect quite the spoilers here since it is impossible for us not to mention a thing or two (just in case you aren’t ready).
Harry Potter’s sixth year at Hogwarts is marked with the return of Lord Voldemort, who is back and intends to retake the world.
Although Harry’s life has never been easy, he discovers that his world is changing again: Wizards, Witches, and Muggles are all dying, all despite the efforts of the Order of the Phoenix and the Ministry of Magic.
Harry, his best friends Ron, and Hermione return to Hogwarts despite the danger and follow a darker life they were used to before the events in the fifth book.
In preparation for their lives after Hogwarts, they begin their N.E.W.T. classes. During his journey, Harry receives some vital Potions assistance from the mysterious Halfblood Prince, while Quidditch continues to be popular and Harry is elected Gryffindor Quidditch Captain.
Besides the focus on our main characters’ lives, the book is also a reintroduction to news one and the appointment of Horace Slughorn as a teacher of Potions. Moreover, romance is reintroduced to find the perfect balance with the grim events elsewhere.
This romance includes how Harry is deeply introspective about his feelings for Ginny Weasley, who is Ron’s younger sister. He also tries to understand its effect on his friends.
But as we mentioned, this is just a balance. Sadly, Hogwarts is still full of death, and there are many near-fatal incidents taking place. There is danger lurking around every corner, and Harry is determined to uncover it.
Albus Dumbledore takes Harry under his wings, and together, they embark on discovering Lord Voldemort’s past to find a way for him to be stopped before it is too late.
After all these years, Harry finally realizes that he must accept his role as The Chosen One and his fate to be killed or to kill Voldemort.
What Makes It Better Than Other Novels of the Saga?
Although we will dive deeper into critics and how well-received the novel was, we need to focus for a couple of minutes on why the book is so important.
You see, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince unmasks mysteries that were shared and introduced during the first five books, and as much effort as you put into it, you won’t be able to discover them all until you reach this novel.
And, of course, that’s a good thing. After all, you are supposed to follow the story and stay eager to know what is next.
The mystery and suspense in this part of the saga are amazing. Although they have been genres approached and included in previous novels of Harry Potter, the peak is definitely in this one since Harry and his sixth year in Hogwarts revolves around this half-blood prince.
Who is he, though? Why did we never pay attention to this question in the previous books? Or more like, how did we never notice this and who this character is in the previous novels?
Although the Half-Blood Prince answers many questions in the saga, it also leaves many behind in preparation for the final book, and even when we agree the finale was amazing, the way the sixth novel of the saga builds. Completes and yet leaves many mysteries behind is just to admire.
More than focusing on the structure, writing style, and literature of the book like in previous reviews, we believe mentioning how surprising and fascinating it is more important as we know how Rowling writes by this point.
And yes, she continues doing an incredible job at it.
So, just to bring you more hype despite how long it has been, should you re-read the book or maybe give Harry Potter and his story a chance?
Great Success in Reception & Sales?
With fans and readers around the world waiting for Lord Voldemort to finally take his place as the ultimate villain and menacing character after the events of the last novel, you can expect this novel to boom everywhere, and it did.
During its release on July 16, 2005, over 6.9 million copies were sold in the U.S.A. alone within the first 24 hours, which is about 250k copies per hour.
With this pace, it made the book the fastest-selling novel in history, and it generated over $100 million in sales out of the gate.
Besides the sales in the first hours, there were 1.4 million pre-orders of the book on Amazon.com, which broke the record of the fifth book of the Harry Potter saga.
The initial print also broke records as it sold over 10 million copies. This was followed by a nine-week rapid pace with additional 11 million copies sold on the U.S.A. alone, and the audiobook read by Jim Dale sold over 165,000 in two days.
Today, the book has sold over 65 million copies worldwide and continues to be one of the favorites in the saga. In the U.S.A., particularly over the U.K., the book ranked as a best-seller for many consecutive weeks.
When it comes to the critical reception, most of the reviews were extremely positive. Magazines of prestige like The New York Times consider the novel’s themes to be amazing as suspense is present throughout the story.
But despite this, the novel made sure to transmit amazement, excitement, happiness, and sadness all at once. It is clearly a masterpiece in the storyline and how Rowling made sure to tell a different yet same story in a new novel.
When it comes to readers, people loved it and thanks to the positive reviews shared online today and on previous platforms, it stands strong with 4.8 stars out of 5.
With the success of the novel, Rowling won the 2006 British Book of the Year Award and was followed by other United Kingdom prizes and American ones.
Film Adaptation: Big Success on the Screen?
It isn’t a secret that J. K. Rowling’s books by this point have been adapted to the big screen, which led to the creation of what we know as the Harry Potter franchise today.
But just like with films overall, one thing is the book and another the film.
However, it is fair to say that the film just followed its original version when it comes to success.
Released in 2009, four years after the novel, it broke the then-record for biggest midnight showings after making $22.8 million in 3k cinemas.
After opening in over 4,000 cinemas, the film grossed $58.2 million on its opening day in the U.S.A. and Canada alone and $46 million in other territories.
By the end of the running box office, and with a budget set at $250 million, the film grossed $934.5 million and became one of the highest-grossing films at the time.
During this part, we were accompanied by the same actors (and new ones) of the previous film adaptations of the novels, being the one previous to this “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” released in 2007.
4 Mysteries About Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling
- The name Severus translates to “strict” or sometimes, “stern” in Latin.
- By the end of the book, you will notice that you know much more about Voldemort than Severus Snape.
- Grief is one of the genres approached in the book as many deaths occur following the events of the previous novels.
- Severus Snape teaches about potions because Rowling hated chemistry., at least, it is one of the reasons.
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