Celebrating 10 Years of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” on the Big Screen
Picture this: It’s 11:59 p.m. on July 14, 2009. You and your pals are dressed up in your favorite Harry Potter-themed cosplay and munching on popcorn in a movie theater. Maybe you even have 3D glasses on over your classic Potter-style circle frames. The clock strikes midnight, and it’s go time. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince makes its debut on the big screen.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been ten years since the sixth film was released. Was Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince everything you hoped it would be? I remember feeling a little bit hysterical after leaving the theater. Between the comedic moments and the absolutely heartbreaking ending (RIP Dumbledore), I felt like I just got off a roller coaster of emotions.
Fans had four years to wait between the book and the film release, and it felt like a lifetime. Did you know that this sixth film was originally set to be released in November of 2008? Warner Bros. held back in hopes that Harry’s adventures would become a summer blockbuster. The strategy worked, and as of today, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ranks number 51 on the list of highest-grossing films of all time.
To celebrate the film’s tenth anniversary, here’s a whole bunch of reasons we will keep re-watching Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince after all this time.
Shopping Spree in Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes
Few moments in the series gave me more wizarding world envy than reading about Fred and George’s joke shop. The film brought Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes to life, and it couldn’t have been more perfect. Ten years ago, I was tantalized by the colors and creative animation of the Weasley Twins’ pride and joy. Of course, you can visit the recreation of this whimsical film set at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida. Still, I know I could spend hours browsing the shelves for real magical hijinks. If only.
Potions with Professor Slughorn
Although his appearance didn’t quite match the book’s description (where’s the walrus mustache?), Jim Broadbent as Slughorn made for a lovable portrayal of this Slytherin. Slughorn isn’t the perfect professor, but his funny quips make up for some ethically questionable teaching decisions. He brought some engaging lessons to Potions class and lightened the mood after years of Snape’s doom and gloom.
Quidditch is Back and Better Than Ever
After a two-film hiatus, Quidditch made its return in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I was stoked to revisit the action-packed game, and this year, Ron and Ginny join Harry on the pitch. Even tryouts for the Gryffindor team were full of suspense. Hermione Confunding Cormac is one of my favorite parts of the series. It struck me as pretty sweet that Hermione Granger of all people would break the rules so Ron could win the Keeper spot.
Romantic D-R-A-M-A Is in the Air
Speaking of Ron and Hermione, it becomes more obvious than ever in this film that Harry’s two best pals have feelings for one another. Ron’s attempt to make Hermione jealous through dating Lavender Brown totally works. All the teenage dating drama makes the film feel more like a rom-com than a Harry Potter movie. On the plus side, Harry and Ginny start dating. While the movie’s version of their first kiss is different from the books, I think this is maybe the one time where the movie did it better. Ginny helps calm Harry after he almost kills Draco with the Half-Blood Prince’s spell. She makes the first move in a really lovely way, too.
Fun Times at… Aragog’s Funeral?
Harry’s sip of Felix Felicis leads him and Slughorn to Aragog the Acromantula’s funeral in a lucky turn of events. Aragog was one of Hagrid’s most beloved – yet eccentric – magical creatures, so obviously he’s heartbroken. Harry, on the other hand, seems to be high on luck and downright goofy. Daniel Radcliffe’s impression of Aragog’s pincers might be the peak of his comedic acting career. Of course, everything works in his favor, and in a post-funeral drinking session, Slughorn finally caves and gives him the memory Harry has been trying to collect.
Draco Interns with the Death Eaters
Tom Felton’s acting got to me here. I actually felt sympathy for Draco, who is a character I couldn’t stand up until this point. Draco seems on the verge of a nervous breakdown throughout the film. Who wouldn’t be when faced with the near-impossible task of murdering one of the most powerful wizards in history? When he finally has Dumbledore backed against a wall, you can see the misery in Felton’s eyes. Bravo!
Saying Goodbye to Professor Dumbledore
How could I write an article about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince without mentioning Dumbledore’s death? The events leading up to Dumbledore’s death are terrifying: I was surprised this film only had a PG rating. His final adventure contains a mysterious potion that makes him beg for death and zombies coming out of a creepy lake. The most vivid memory I have of seeing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the audible sobs in the audience when Dumbledore falls from the tower. It was one of the first moments I realized how influential Albus Dumbledore was to Harry Potter fans. In a way, he became my childhood mentor as well as Harry’s.
What is your favorite moment from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince?