A Fan-Made Soundtrack to “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” – Part 1
Music is powerful, especially when paired with a compelling story. Through our Potter re-reads, it’s easy to compile a list of songs that fit perfectly for key moments. Our own selections can add another layer of depth to the story.
Growing up, I found movie scores that pulled at my emotions to be the soundtrack of my re-reads of the series. They always spoke to me, especially in key emotional moments. I mourned Dumbledore’s death with James Newton Howard. I felt goosebumps rise on my arms as the music of Hans Zimmer swelled while Harry confessed his plan to hunt Horcruxes. But then I also liked to break it up with my favorite lyrical artists as well, such as Regina Spektor and Imogen Heap. So let’s travel back in time to our younger selves and enjoy a teenager’s fan-made soundtrack to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
“Tiger” – Paula Cole
This song’s purpose is to set up the sixth story. I have memories of listening to this song on drives to early morning theater rehearsal, thinking about the foggy streets of Privet Drive and rumors of Inferi. Really gritty and eerie, this song talks about abandoning youth and not caring what people think, which encapsulates Harry’s journey in the sixth book.
“Suite from My Best Friend’s Wedding” – James Newton Howard
I grew up with the My Best Friend’s Wedding soundtrack. The whimsical trill of James Newton Howard’s score helped me envision something magical, easily painting a picture of returning to the Burrow and visiting Fred and George’s joke shop. Harry settles into his second favorite building in the world — the Burrow — next to a purring Crookshanks while eating a late dinner. The second half of the track is the trio visiting Fred and George’s joke shop for the very first time, hitting the eyes like fireworks.
“Puttanesca” – Thomas Newton
Having watched Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events starring Jim Carrey in theaters, I was greatly influenced by the soundtrack. With 29 tracks, each piece provides a different sound. “Puttanesca” particularly lends a lighthearted yet studious feel, which is perfect for Harry’s first Potions class of the year, following the directions of the Half-Blood Prince. The track is playful and bouncy, and it ends with triumph, blending well with Harry winning Felix Felicis at the end of class.
“The Baudelaire Orphans” – Thomas Newman
Again, the A Series of Unfortunate Events movie score had an emotional impact on me, especially on this track. It’s poignant, heartbreaking, and beautiful. This track evokes the emotion of tragedy and loss, which is why it fits perfectly with Hannah Abbott being pulled out of Herbology to be told that her mother was found dead. A palpable cloud of weight hangs on the school as threats loom over loved ones’ lives.
“A Narnia Lullaby” – Harry Gregson-Williams
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe will always hold a special place in my heart. The film score is goosebumps-inducing, packed with emotion and intensity. “A Narnia Lullaby” specifically is both alluring and ominous, which is why it is perfect for the opal necklace incident with Katie Bell. Katie accidentally touches the opal necklace and is sent six feet above the ground, screaming in pain. The trio and Leanne tug her to the ground, where she continues to thrash and scream.
“Shining” – Kristian Leontiou
I first heard this song from the movie Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! Though the film itself is lacking in substance, “Shining” by Kristian Leontiou is filled with teenage heartbreak that can be perfectly set to Hermione witnessing the sudden romance between Ron and Lavender. “Oppugno!” Hermione shouts, wand raised. Birds violently rain down on Ron as Hermione yanks open a door and runs through it, sobbing.
“The Regrettable Episode of the Leeches” – Thomas Newman
See what I mean about being greatly influenced by the A Series of Unfortunate Events soundtrack? “The Regrettable Episode of the Leeches” is full of rising tension and panic. It paints a perfect visceral picture of Ron being poisoned. Ron drops his glass, his body twitches, and foam dribbles from his mouth. The oak-matured mead that Slughorn gave him was laced with poison.
“Drunk Is Better Than Dead” – The Push Stars
This track came into my life after a sibling was gifted the Malcolm in the Middle television show soundtrack. The song itself is sluggish and playful, making this a perfect backdrop for Hagrid and Slughorn’s intoxication after Aragog’s burial. Harry watches as with each tankard, Hagrid and Slughorn become even more drunk.
Stay tuned for part two of a fan-made Half-Blood Prince playlist. Are there any other songs you think fit well with reading the Half-Blood Prince? Let us know by commenting below.