Gryffindor Tower #21: The Half-Blood Prince

by Dan

This week’s Owl Post:

As you know, J K Rowling released the title of the sixth book: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. You’ll probably be receiving many of these letters, but who do you think the Half Blood Prince could be?

As we all know, Jo announced recently that the title of the long-awaited book six in the Harry Potter series will be Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. After the initial elation at the first in what will undoubtedly be a long line of tantalizing hints leading up to the release of book six, many HP fans tore their eyes away from the newly-unlocked door on Jo’s website to wonder, so yeah…umm…what the hell is the Half-Blood Prince? So, here’s some theories and ideas I have on the identity as well as role of the HBP.

The first thing we know is that this is not the first time the HBP title has surfaced. It was, in fact, a possible title for book two, better known as the Chamber of Puberty…err…Secrets (sorry, every time I think of CoS, Rupert’s voice in the second movie comes to mind). Moreover, the HBP is not Harry or Voldemort. That being said, we can forget all purebloods and think only of the half-bloods or less. I know people have listed everyone in Harry’s class (Seamus and Dean, etc. etc.), but I don’t believe that it will be one of those characters. For this to have been the title of book two, we must examine all the major plot points and characters of that book, because the HBP is probably linked to one of the major points of CoS.

The main story, of course, revolves around the opening of the Chamber. Ginny Weasley is the culprit, although she does this only under the possession of Lord Voldemort, or, more specifically, Tom Riddle, the sixteen-year-old diary-trapped memory given to Ginny by Lucius “Captain Hook” Malfoy. We learn that pure-blood mania was started by none other than one quarter of the Hogwarts Four, Salazar Slytherin. Right here I stop and see two potential HBPs. The first, obviously, is Tom Riddle. Now, before you say, “Jo has already said it’s not Voldemort!”, I ask you to look back to the second chapter (I think) of CoS, when Harry asks if the plot that Dobby has come to warn him about has anything to do with Voldemort. Dobby says no while giving Harry a significant look. We find out in the end that it did have to do with Voldemort in a way, but because Tom Riddle could be named freely before Voldemort’s reign, Dobby had to say no. This makes be believe that Jo does draw a distinction between Voldemort and Tom Riddle, and therefore he could very well be the HBP. The next suitable candidates are Salazar Slytherin and Godric Gryffindor, but I see problems with these two. First, we know that Slytherin was a pure-blood maniac, but so is Voldemort, and he sure as hell isn’t a pureblood. There is no proof (at least, I don’t think there is) that Slytherin is a pureblood, so it could be him, but probably not. Moreover, if he was a pureblood, I cannot see how he would have gotten along with Gryffindor (as it is noted in OotP during the Sorting Hat’s song, they were best friends) if Gryffindor was a half-blood.

Some other characters that could very well be the HBP…Dumbledore, for instance. We don’t know if he’s a pureblood or not, but it is all very well that he certainly harbors no pureblood superiority. However, I cannot see how this would add to Dumbedore’s character at all, and would therefore be a bit surprised if Jo was in fact alluding to the headmaster. Other major characters…Malfoy or Neville would be interesting, barring the unfortunate fact that they are both purebloods. Ron, too, is a pureblood, as are the whole Weasley clan, which discounts them.

Who else was an important character in the second book? Well, Justin Finch-Fletchey, we learned, was not a pureblood, nor was Colin Creevey, whose father is a milkman. I can’t see either of these two being brought into prominence, so I feel that we can safely forget them. We also have Hagrid, who is a half-blood. What, though, would be Hagrid’s role as the HBP, as he is already so fully important as Harry’s first father-like guardian, before Sirius, Lupin, or Arthur Weasley. And Hagrid’s story, while important in CoS, seemed to have been resolved by the end of the book, whereas Riddle’s was not.

Finally, I think that any of the Marauders, save for Sirius, could be the HBP, although I find the idea of Wormtail having any title of royalty to be revolting beyond words. The most likely, I think, is James. We do not know for sure that James is a pureblood, and with the talk of the possibility of Harry being a descendent of Gryffindor (a topic that was not squashed by Jo during the World Book Day chat), it would make things incredibly interesting, especially when I connect that to my next idea…

There is something else of great importance that I feel should be included in this topic, although I am not sure if this is related to the HBP. As written in the “Extras” section of Jo’s website, under the heading “Opening Chapters of Philosopher’s Stone”:

“There were many different versions of the first chapter of ‘Philosopher’s Stone’…various versions of scenes in which you actually saw Voldemort entering Godric’s Hollow and killing the Potters.”

Moreover, under “Opening Chapter of Book Six”:

“I have come close to using a chapter very like this in ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ (it was one of the discarded first chapters), ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’ and ‘Order of the Phoenix’ but here, finally, it works, so it’s staying. And that’s all I’m going to say, but when you read it, just know that it’s been about thirteen years in the brewing.”

First off, I have a very good idea about the nature of this opening chapter. My guess is that it is, in fact, the murder of the Potters. Why, you ask? Well, I offer a few reasons. First, that could obviously have been the opening chapter of book one. PoA? Of course it could have been, as the main story revolves around Sirius…Jo might have had set it up in a way to show someone betraying the whereabouts to the Potters, and then setting up the Sirius plotline. OotP? My guess is that she could have tied in a chapter like that to the second-to-last chapter of OotP, “The Lost Prophecy,” so that there would have been a parallel between Voldemort’s reason for being at the Godric’s Hollow and the contents of Trelawney’s first real prediction. And, now to use it in book six, she might fashion that chapter to reveal information about the HBP, which, if it were Riddle or James, would make perfect sense to the story as a whole.

Final guess…the ones that make the most sense to me are James or Tom Riddle. As always, send in your comments and theories using the feedback form. And now to address some certain ideas that have sprung up in my mind…

“Fudge forced to flee! Minister of Magic chased from office!” Have you all seen that on Jo’s website in the “Rumors” section, under this week’s Quibbler headline? I know that it’s the Quibbler…so Jo is either banking on us thinking that the Quibbler is rubbish, so this must be rubbish, or that since we all think that it’s rubbish, it isn’t, but maybe it is and it’s a red herring because it’s in the Quibbler, or maybe because it’s in the Quibbler we aren’t supposed to take it seriously even though it might be Sirius, I mean, serious, because the Quibbler…okay, I think I’ve gone cross-eyed in confusion.

Wouldn’t it be cool if Fudge really did have an army of heliopaths? That could make life difficult for Harry and co…

Do we really think that Fudge has goblins, the owners of Gringotts Bank cooked into pies? Or is that just rubbish as well…?

Speaking of money, is there any significance to the brain-addled Alice Longbottom giving Neville empty Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum wrappers? Smart HP fans have worked out the possible anagram of the bubblegum title…

This week’s Gryffindor Tower Flick Pick is more a small bit of advice. GO SEE SPIDER-MAN 2. Just do it. You’ll like it. Trust me.

That’s all for this week. If all goes according to plan and my wonderful editor decides to publish the last two GTs I have sent to him, then you’ll get to see the continuation of my OotP analysis. Speaking of, I want to thank MuggleNet editor Jamie for specially posting this editorial for me. Make sure you send him…I don’t know…a bagel basket or sumtin. Take care kiddies, until next week, and to steal a line from Chris Paolini (those of you who don’t know him, find out who he is fast, those of you who do, I’ll be surprised if this doesn’t put a smile on your face)…

May your swords stay sharp.