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Film / Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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"This is beyond anything I have imagined."
Albus Dumbledore

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the sixth Harry Potter film, released in 2009.

The Ministry of Magic has finally accepted that Voldemort is back, but that's not really making the situation any better. With everyone terrified, obviously unjustifiable arrests, and misinformation still being printed, just in the other way, and events play out to show that the Ministry can't really stop Voldemort in its current form.

But while those events linger over the plot, the action stays fully grounded at Hogwarts. Harry learns more about Voldemort's Back Story, becomes increasingly suspicious of Snape's loyalty and discovers an old potions textbook annotated with powerful spells and useful notes from its previous owner who identifies himself only as "The Half-Blood Prince". Draco Malfoy is tasked with something by Voldemort himself; and wacky romantic hijinks ensue for everyone.

After Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix began cutting plots and characters left and right to fit as movies, this film has an air of just going with it, and happily continues in the direction set by the films so far, cuts and all. While it may cause fans to nitpick (it's rather involuntary at this point), it's nevertheless easily one of the biggest fan-favorites of the series. Perhaps most notable is the major factor that the final book had been released by this film's premiere, allowing this film to begin some heavier foreshadowing of the next films since the writer finally knew how the story would end.

Followed by the final story, which was split into two films: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Parts 1 and 2.

Tropes exclusive to this film:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • Slughorn is strawberry blond in the book (in flashbacks to him as a younger man), but his younger self is black haired in the film.
    • Cormac MacLaggen is the other way around; black haired in the book and blond in the film.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: Has its own page.
  • Adaptation Induced Plothole: Has its own page.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Cormac McLaggen is described as wiry and not particularly good-looking in the book. In the film he's more of a Pretty Boy.
    • Pansy Parkinson gets a bigger role here than in the other films, and her actress certainly does not have a "face like a pug".
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • Subplots involving Ron's insecurity and Cormac MacLaggen's bossiness were cut for time, leaving Ron without much of a character arc and Cormac as a mere Designated Villain.
    • Downplayed with Romilda Vane, her attempted date rape aside. In the book she's something of an Alpha Bitch, who says mean things about Neville and Luna, and appears to have something of a Clingy Jealous Girl nature. None of these traits are shown in the film.
  • Adapted Out:
    • The Gaunt family don't appear at all. Flashbacks to them were included in the original script but were cut for time.
    • Inverted with Bellatrix. She wasn't among the Death Eaters that came to Hogwarts in the climax, but is in the film.
  • Age Lift: Done for the sake of convenience. Romilda Vane was a fourth year in the book, and Katie Bell was a seventh year. Both are in the same year as Harry, and introduced during Slughorn's first Potions class.
  • Almost Kiss: Harry and Ginny in The Burrow, before the Death Eater attack.
  • Artistic License History: Despite being set in 1996-97, they manage to destroy the Millennium Bridge, which wasn't started until 1998.
  • Ascended Extra: Ginny, who goes from minor character to a rather vital person in Harry's life. A common complaint of the book is that this happens too much in a "tell, don't show" manner, so the film tries to temper this by giving her character more development (and more time around Harry).
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Harry tries to call a Quidditch tryout to order. He isn't quite loud enough, so Ginny intervenes with a very helpful "SHUT IT!"
  • Captain Obvious:
    Ron: It's just... you can't break an Unbreakable Vow!
    Harry: I worked that part out myself, funnily enough.
  • Condensation Clue: Lavender draws an "RW + LB" heart on the window of Ron's train compartment. Hermione is pained when she sees it, the more so in that it's not clear to her that it's on the outside of the glass and wasn't drawn by Ron himself.
  • Converse with the Unconscious: Played with hilariously. When Ron is unconscious from a poisoning, Lavender Brown (who he had been dating) rushes to his bedside. She starts to call his name, which causes him to stir... and croak out Hermione's name. Lavender runs off in furious tears, while Hermione takes her place sitting by Ron. After Ron recovers, he thinks that this was just a dream and has no idea why Lavender is angry with him.
  • Creepy Child: Tom Riddle, but especially so in the movie (which works really well, seeing it's the nephew of the guy who plays him as an adult!). A good example - in both the book and the movie Dumbledore sets Tom's collection of trophies he's stolen from the other orphans on fire to both show him he's not lying and (attempt to) teach him a lesson. Book Tom's reaction to a bonfire erupting in his room is awed shock and a bit of fake apology. Movie's Tom's reaction is an undeniably giddy smile. <shudder>
    • Lavender's obsessive simpering over Ron reaches this trope's level at times.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: During the scene of Katie Bell's cursing, we see her lifted into the air and suspended in this position.
  • A Death in the Limelight: Michael Gambon as Dumbledore gets the largest presence in the movies and its promotion (see the above poster) as befitting his final living role in the series.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Some scenes in the movie, such as Harry having Dumbledore drink the liquid in order to get the horcrux, are so desaturated that they have very little color in them.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Tonks and Lupin only appear in one scene - mainly to establish that they have become a couple since Order of the Phoenix.
    • Mrs Cole got a whole chapter's worth of description in the book, serving to explain how Tom Riddle was born in the orphanage. Here she just briefly appears to show Dumbledore his room, and allude to "nasty things".
  • Dramatic Curtain Toss: Every time Draco goes to the wardrobe. It gets silly after a bit.
  • Everyone Can See It: Ron and Hermione, even more so than in the book. Ginny lampshades it in the infirmary scene when leaving Ron and Hermione alone and says, "About time, don't you think?", which also doubles as a huge hint from herself to Harry.
  • Fingertip Drug Analysis: Dumbledore checking the blood at Slughorn's house.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Harry has a brief reaction to the ring foreshadowing the fact that Harry himself is a Horcrux. This, and other subtle hints towards the events of Deathly Hallows, are due to this being the first script written where the writers knew how the series ended.
    • When the trio sit down at the Three Broomsticks, Hermione orders three butterbeers "And put a little ginger in mine".
    • Ron has no lines in the final scene, and is sat a little apart from Harry and Hermione - foreshadowing how he'll temporarily walk out on them in the next film.
    • Molly Weasley says of Dumbledore, "What would we do without him?" Snape kills Dumbledore in the third act of the film.
  • For the Evulz: Presumably the only reason the Death Eaters torch the Burrow and when Bellatrix Lestrange gleefully torches Hagrid's home and blows up the dining hall.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • In an early scene with McGonagall, she calls out to an offscreen Roger Davies "that is the girls' lavatory". She has a very disapproving look on her face too.
    • After their kiss in the Room of Requirement, Ron asks "did you and Ginny do it?", prompting a startled reaction from Harry. By 'it', Ron meant hiding the book.
  • Gilligan Cut: Played for laughs when Harry and Hermione are discussing their date choices to Slughorn's Christmas party:
    Harry: I'll invite someone I like. Someone cool.
    (cut to Luna Lovegood waiting for Harry in her Jane Jetson dress)
  • Good Luck Charm: The Felix Felicis potion, literally good luck in a bottle. It also apparently has side effects, as Harry develops a nasty case of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and a tendency to blurt things out.
  • Intoxication Ensues
    • Harry, after imbibing some Felix Felicis, is wrapped in euphoria.
    • Hermione seemed to be feeling some effects from drinking butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks.
    • Ron's consumption of the love potion leaves him cheerily deranged.
  • Irony: Harry and Ginny walk past the Vanishing Cabinet in the Room of Requirement, not knowing it's what Malfoy has been working on.
  • Lampshade Hanging: McGonagall is in disbelief that the Power Trio is involved in yet another Hogwarts crisis:
    McGonagall: Why is it, when something happens, it is always you three?
    Ron: Believe me, Professor, I've been asking myself the same question for six years.
  • Last Minute Hookup: The opening scenes build a rapport between Ginny and Harry, setting up their romance with a bit more grace than the novel.
  • Lighter and Softer: Much like the book, this film is more light-hearted and humourous in tone than the previous one. At least until near the end...
  • Little Black Dress: Ginny shows up to a party at Slughorn's wearing one of these.
  • Mexican Standoff: On the Astronomy Tower during the climax, Draco and his compatriots have their wands on Dumbledore and Harry (unseen by the rest) has his wand on Draco. Then Snape appears and pulls his wand on Harry.
  • Mood Whiplash: Right after Slughorn cures Ron of Romilda's love potion, he, Ron and Harry attempt to have a drink together, which causes Ron to collapse. At first, it seems like a Crowning Moment of Funny... until Ron starts spasming and nearly convulsing on the floor.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Harry, when he sees how badly he wounded Draco Malfoy after using the sectumsepra spell on him.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Not very villainous, but Slughorn's stubbornness about handing over the memory is fixed by the fact that he awarded Harry the Felix Felicis.
  • No Ontological Inertia: In a brilliant bit of Adaptation Expansion, the movie uses such a detail to make Professor Slughorn's 'proud teacher' relationship with the late Lily Potter into a warm emotional moment for the calculating old glutton.
    Slughorn: I once had a fish... Francis. He was very dear to me. One afternoon, I came downstairs and... it vanished. Poof.
    Harry: Poof.
    Slughorn: It was a student who gave me Francis. One day I came down to my office, and there was a bowl with only a few inches of clear water in it. And there was a flower petal floating on the water. Before my eyes it started to sink, and just before it hit the bottom, it transformed into a wee fish. It was a beautiful piece of magic, wondrous to behold. The flower petal was from a lily. The day Francis disappeared was the day your mother... (starts crying)
  • Oh, Crap!: McLaggen, after he vomited on Snape's shoes, knowing that Snape is going to give him detention.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Trust Luna to attend a Christmas party in a dress that looks like the lovechild of a Christmas tree and a wedding cake.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Of a sort. This marks the first time Bonnie Wright is listed in the main credits instead of just on the list of cast members. Funnily enough, she's still listed among other actors in a list while Timothy Spall's name gets the screen to himself for a while despite only being in the film for six seconds.
  • Punctuated Pounding: When Hermione and Ron were at the Opening Feast, Harry is absent but Ron is eating away hungrily. Hermione hits him with a book with each word of "Will you stop eating!" worried about where Harry was.
  • Race Lift: In the early films, Lavender Brown's character name was assigned to two different black extras with no lines, though they were never actually identified as such on screen. Lines in the book, which came out after the first 3 films, imply that Lavender has the same skin tone as Ron, and the film runs with this.note 
  • Red Herring: The girl who hits on Harry in the diner. This was just put in for the movie, and has no relevance on the plot aside from letting the audience know that Harry does have hormones.
  • The Reveal: Snape is furious at Harry (for a different reason than usual) when he makes it:
    Snape: You dare use my own spells against me, Potter? Yes... I'm the Half-Blood Prince.
  • Rule of Funny: For much of the film, theaters were cracking up — at least until the final scenes.
  • Scenery Porn: The entire film pretty much. Most memorable being the shot of Dumbledore and Harry's arrival outside the cave where Voldemort has hidden the Horcrux. With the camera panning up to show waves battering against the cliffs, accompanied by the haunting soundtrack.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Dumbledore and Harry apparate, arriving within the Hogwarts grounds, something it was repeatedly pointed out in the books was impossible. Were it possible, Draco wouldn't have had to fiddle with a Vanishing Cabinet for months to get the Death Eaters in. But Dumbledore hints that there's a special exemption in the defensive barriers for the Headmaster:
    Harry: But, Sir - I thought we weren't allowed to apparate on Hogwarts' grounds.
    Dumbledore: Well, being me... has its privileges.
  • Ship Sinking: Dumbledore begins to inquire if Harry and Hermione are a couple, but Harry immediately shuts him down.
  • Sigh of Love: Ron is sighing while looking at the moon, after having eaten several chocolates that have been spiked with love potion and were intended for Harry.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Harry has this look in the opening scene, courtesy of the tragic outcome of the last installment's battle.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: At one point, Cormac is shown leaning down out of camera shot and vomiting on Snape's shoes.
  • "Wanted!" Poster: There are wanted posters for the many escaped Death Eaters, such as this one for Bellatrix Lestrange. Note that these Death Eaters escaped about midway through the events of the previous film but these posters are only just seeing the light of day because the previous regime was more focused on its smear campaign against Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore.