Letter Essay #8- Brendan McCarthy

Recently, I finished reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, a 652-page book by J.K Rowling. The books have gained worldwide attention, won multiple awards, and sold more than 400 million copies. They have become the best-selling book series in history and been the basis for a series of films over which Rowling had overall approval on the scripts. I started re-reading the Harry Potter series in February and finished them in early April. It was definitely the most pages I have read in that time period ever. It was a lot of fun doing this because I had different times during the day that I read such as before bed, on the bus, and during school. I currently hope to find another series that I like so much that I will want to read it all the time. I still want to watch the last two movies of the series, hopefully, this weekend.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince starts off with Severus Snape meeting with Narcissa Malfoy, Draco Malfoys mother, and Bellatrix Lestrange. Narcissa expresses concern that her son, Draco, might not survive a dangerous mission given to him by Lord Voldemort. As the reader, you don’t know what this dangerous mission is yet, but you find out later in the book that it was to kill Albus Dumbledore, the Hogwarts headmaster. Then it jumps to Dumbledore picking up Harry at his aunt and uncle’s house. He takes him to the burrow, the Weasley’s house, but before that goes to the house of Horace Slughorn, the soon to be potions and former defense against the dark arts teacher. Dumbledore wants Slughorn because he was a teacher at the time when Voldemort was going to Hogwarts, so Dumbledore wants to retrieve an important memory from Slughorn that will help to defeat Voldemort. When Harry is at Hogwarts he takes special classes with Dumbledore to help prepare him for the fight against Voldemort, he learns about Horcruxes, which are a part of someone’s soul hidden inside of an object that someone can use to live forever. Near the end of the school year, Harry and Dumbledore go to a cave to get a Horcrux, Slytherin’s locket. When they find the locket it is inside of a goblet in which you have to drink the liquid inside of the goblet to get to the Horcrux. Dumbledore drinks it and is weakened severely. When they return to Hogwarts they find that the dark mark was cast above the astronomy tower. They go to investigate and are ambushed by Draco Malfoy. Dumbledore is disarmed and Harry was frozen by Dumbledore under cover, for his safety and he just has to watch. Eventually, Snape comes up the tower and then kills Dumbledore himself.

One of the themes in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and the entire series, in general,  is the importance of friendship. Throughout the series, Harry’s best friends, Ron and Hermione, have stuck together through everything. They rely on each other for many things such as Hermione’s smarts or Harry’s bravery. An example of this is at the end of the book, Ron and Hermione decide to go with Harry on his hunt for Horcruxes which shows how great their friendship is and how selfless they are.

I liked how the author, in the beginning of the book, gives the reader something to worry or make predictions about. She did this when Snape and Narcissa are making the unbreakable vow and it never says exactly what the task that Draco has to do at Hogwarts is.

I also like how the author includes a little humor in the book when sometimes it is really dark. Such as when Professor Snape is telling Harry that the class is for practicing nonverbal spells and Harry replies “yes”. Snape replies with “yes sir” to correct him. Then Harry says “there’s no need to call me sir, professor.” That conversation was funny to me and lightened the book up.

I liked this passage in the book when Dumbledore and Harry are watching old memories that include Voldemort.

“She wouldn’t even stay alive for her son?”

Dumbledore raised his eyebrows. “Could you possibly be feeling sorry for Lord Voldemort?”

“No,” said Harry quickly, “but she had a choice, didn’t she, not like my mother–“

“Your mother had a choice too,” said Dumbledore gently. “Yes, Merope Riddle chose death in spite of a son who needed her, but do not judge her too harshly, Harry. She was greatly weakened by long suffering and she never had your mother’s courage.” (pg. 474) I liked this quote because it shows Dumbledore’s great compassion and empathy ad he imagines what Merope Riddle must have been going through.  It helps the reader understand Voldemort’s past and why he is like how he is like and also shows how good of a person Dumbledore is.

I rate Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince a 10/10.

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2 thoughts on “Letter Essay #8- Brendan McCarthy

  1. Hi Brendan,

    I enjoyed reading your letter essay. I liked your summary of the book because it was very detailed. Something you may want to work on is adding in more text evidence. I have seen all the Harry Potter movies, but never read the books. I will have to find the books so I can read them.


  2. Dear Brendan,
    You had a really good letter essay. I liked how much detail you had threw out your essay. Something you could do is use more text evidence. Overall I can tell that you put a lot of time and effort into it.

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