Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

by: J. K. Rowling

Chapters 12 and 13

Summary Chapters 12 and 13

Although Harry allowed himself a small bit of time in which to grieve, he is clearly not entirely recovered from the shock and hurt of Sirius’s death, and he harbors a great deal of anger, directed both at himself and at Voldemort, about the events of that fateful night at the Ministry. Overcome with rage, Harry cannot control himself, and he raises his wand to attack. It is one of few moments in the series when readers see Harry acting maliciously and carelessly. Although Harry is often rash, he is rarely hurtful. In response to Harry’s raised wand, Tonks reappears. Once again, it seems obvious that Tonks has been ordered by Dumbledore to keep Harry out of trouble. This is the second time she has mysteriously appeared to rescue Harry from his own lack of foresight. Thankfully, Tonks is able to prevent Harry from risking his own life by breaking Magical Law.

Once again, Harry tries to implicate Draco Malfoy in the cursing of Katie Bell. Harry is absolutely certain that Draco must be involved in the plot, and his suspicions do not seem to dissipate, even after Professor McGonagall explains to Harry that Draco had never been to Hogsmeade, having spent the entire day in detention. Draco has a clear alibi, but Harry still insists that he had something to do with the cursed necklace. We may infer that Harry’s urge to implicate Draco has much to do with Draco’s father, Lucius Malfoy, who fought Harry at the Ministry on the same night Sirius was killed. Harry’s inability to get over Sirius’s death no doubt colors his treatment of Draco.

Harry and Dumbledore’s next trip into the Pensieve is enormously revealing. By observing Tom Riddle as a young man, before he transforms into Lord Voldemort, Harry is able to make important inferences about his character, and Dumbledore gently guides him to these conclusions. Tom is not a pleasant young man, and not particularly sympathetic, but he is also an orphan, like Harry, and Harry no doubt feels a certain kinship with Tom’s situation. Each of Tom’s reactions to Dumbledore’s news that he is a wizard and invited to enroll in Hogwarts is extremely telling. Dumbledore tells Harry to remember how Tom did not like his given name and showed enormous contempt for anything that marked him as ordinary. That disdain for the ordinary is also a big part of his glee at finding out that he is a wizard and has magical abilities, because having such abilities immediately marks him as different from his peers at the orphanage. Dumbledore also points out that Tom was highly self-sufficient, secretive, and friendless. Tom even enjoyed collecting trophies of his destructive behavior.