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Nightmare Fuel / Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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Touching that cursed necklace was not a good idea.
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WARNING: Spoilers are unmarked.


  • The Inferi, especially when they come out of the water. Harry slashes at them, but they have no blood to shed, and they try to drag Harry down into a watery grave.
    • Especially considering the fact that Voldemort's Inferi are the bodies of his victims; hundreds of innocent people with families, floating in a mass grave, forced to do their murderer's bidding. The movie only made them creepier, just by making them succeed in pulling Harry underwater.
    • Made ever-so-much-worse in true Rowling fashion with the knowledge that one of those corpses is most likely Regulus Black, Sirius's brother.
    • A subtle but unnerving example. When Harry is trying to give water to Dumbledore, he quickly fills up the previously-filled-with-potion bowl with water, but he can't fill it up whatsoever due to the bowl's magic... just when Harry realizes it won't work, he goes absolutely still. He slowly looks around at the lake, the water perfectly calm, surrounding this dark island... but he has no other choice. Slowly, body language in the film screaming that he knows something is gonna happen the moment he gets water, he inches toward the edge of the island... Cue an Inferius grabbing his hand, then all hell breaks loose.
  • The potion in the cave. It's freaking Dumbledore sobbing and pleading for Harry to kill him. And Harry can't do a single thing but force more and more of the potion down his mentor's throat. It's a real Tear Jerker.
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    • The music/sound effect when Dumbledore drinks the potion. It sounds like muffled, distorted screams.
  • Young Tom Riddle. He made a rabbit hang itself, among other things.
    • And that is only one of the things the orphanage's staff knows Tom must have done, but cannot prove; the headmistress says about the rabbit that "he must have [hung it], a rabbit doesn't hang itself", after all. When she first says they are glad to be rid of the kid, it sounds harsh but when she says all the things they suspect him of, it becomes more understandable.
    • What Riddle did in the cave to terrify two other orphans. It's never revealed what happened and the two kids refuse to testify so there is no proof the orphanage is aware of that he did anything wrong, but does show, even at that age, Riddle was a terrible person.
  • Katie Bell touching the cursed necklace, floating up with her arms outstretched, then dropping to the ground screaming. The worst part in the movie is when we get a closeup of her face while she's being held rigid in the air. Her eyes are bulging and the angle makes her mouth look like it's open much wider than humanly possible.
    • That's not the only part that's terrifying about that scene. Even before then, when it looks like her body's getting thrown and dragged across the ground like some sort of human ragdoll, it's so inhuman that it could probably give The Exorcist a run for its money.
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    • Her friend shouting "I warned her! I warned her not to touch it!" as Katie thrashes about on the ground is pure Adult Fear.
    • Even Hagrid's appearance doesn't help to dampen the fear felt during this part, as he is absolutely serious as he warns the characters not to touch the necklace. It helps to highlight just how serious of a threat that necklace was.
  • The Deleted Scene where the school choir is singing that song is both beautiful AND haunting.
  • The fact that Muggles can feel Dementors' presence, but can't actually see them. These creatures are wandering the streets at night, preying upon victims that can't even see what their captor is. Rowling has stated that she based Dementors on clinical depression. Taken with the above, this implies that, in the Potterverse, Muggles who suffer from the disorder do so because they have an invisible soul-sucking demon lurking close by. Charming.
  • Apparation, when you think about it. In the books, it's the extremely-uncomfortable sensation of being squeezed through a narrow tube, unable to breathe, which is terrifying to those with a fear of enclosed spaces. In the films, a person's body is shown twisting, stretching, swirling... it's all very disturbing, especially for any unlucky freeze-frames. Not to mention that if it's done incorrectly, people can be separated from their body parts or otherwise get gravely injured.
    • Worth remembering here is that Apparation is pretty explicitly the Wizarding equivalent of driving an automobile.
    • Except when you remember from the books, that Apparation still has a far risk of being Splinched... sure, in practice you have plenty of experts who can re-do mistakes at will, but imagine being alone and having yourself go through that, particularly if you're not good at the particular kind of magic...
  • The idea of Voldemort murdering people, then modifying the memories of others to believe they've committed the murders. Like he did with both his father's family and Morfin and Hepzibah Smith and her house-elf Hokey respectively.
  • Ron being poisoned by drinking the oak-matured mead. He is shown frothing at the mouth and convulsing violently. If Harry did not read the Half-Blood Prince's copy of Advanced Potion-Making, it would've been too late to save Ron.
  • Right before, there is a rather unsettling moment when the love potion's effects wear off. The dopey look of infatuation fades away and a rather horrified expression replaces it; Harry and Slughorn just laugh it off. From a brain chemistry standpoint, powerful infatuation can have similar effects to drugs. What Ron might have been feeling may have been similar to crashing after coming down off a high, and he was only exposed to a small bit of the potion for a few hours. Imagine what it felt like for someone that may have been fed the potion for several months...like what was implied to have happened to Tom Riddle Sr., Voldemort's father.
    • When you think about it, what happened to Riddle Sr. is outright nightmarish. He was magically enslaved by Merope Gaunt, forced to abandon everything and everyone he knew; and basically raped until Merope conceived his child. He immediately seized his chance to escape when she stopped feeding him the wizarding equivalent of roofies, but he can't tell the truth about his ordeal because nobody would believe him; pre-WW2 asylums weren't the greatest of places and, of course, a man can't be forced into a sexual relationship, everyone knows that. Then sixteen years later, his Child by Rape finds him and murders him along with his parents. He might have been an asshole, but he still had quite a crappy life.
  • Fenrir Greyback is one of the nastiest villains in the series. A werewolf who enjoys being what he is, deliberately going after people. He specializes in going after children, at one point killing a little boy, and even acts like a werewolf when it is not full moon, with cannibalistic urges. He even attacks Bill while un-transformed and leaves him with permanent scars. The pedophilia and rape overtones don't help.
  • The Attack on the Burrow in the film version. Regardless of what you may think about its inclusion note , the scene has terrifying Adult Fear vibes: Voldemort and his followers are back in power, and are able to appear/attack anywhere. The ones attacking involve an Ax-Crazy woman who tortured several into insanity, and a werewolf who has no hesitation in spreading lycanthropy... and they're toying with you, trying to draw you away from others, which succeeded on Harry and Ginny. Then once they have you alone, they hunt you... not just fight, but constantly apparate around to make you unsure where they are, hiding until the right moment to strike. Then at the end, just like the attack itself, they damage the Burrow for the fun of it. The book had vibes of this, but never was "nowhere is safe" so strongly showcased.
  • And speaking of nowhere being safe, the fact that a whole team of Death Eaters get into Hogwarts, which is supposed to be the most secure location in Britain. If they can get in there...
  • The Sectumsempra curse, particularly from the point of view of a victim. Imagine having your skin cut open without anything even touching it, to point that you could bleed to death. Even if the first victim is Draco Malfoy, you can imagine Harry's horror at seeing blood spurt from his opponent's body "as though he had been slashed with an invisible sword".
    • Especially since it's implied the wounds bleed more freely and don't close as quickly as normal cuts (or don't close at all, short of magical intervention). Bleeding out from being slashed deeply in the chest is one thing, but bleeding to death from a small cut on the cheek?
  • Malfoy essentially joined a terrorist cult and is tasked with killing someone, namely Dumbledore. Granted, when he confronts Dumbledore, he obviously can't do it face-to-face. Now remember the effects of the necklace and the poisoned mead? All Malfoy's idea. In his fear and despair, Draco actually risked more lives by accident in his efforts to just get Dumbledore.
  • What kind of abuse did Merope Gaunt suffer at the hands of her father and brother if it was literally bad enough to suppress her magic? The only other example of this that we see is Ariana Dumbledore suppressing her own magic after she was assaulted by Muggle boys for performing accidental magic, which was apparently so traumatic that it forced little Ariana into seclusion for the rest of her young life. No wonder Merope was so warped by the end.
    • And Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them makes it even worse.
    • The Gaunts (or at least Marvolo and Morfin) are extremely proud of their pure-blood status and their direct descent from Salazar Slytherin. The descriptions of all three make it pretty clear the family is heavily inbred. It's pretty clear how Marvolo intended the family line to continue.
      • Speaking of Merope, Dumbledore lampshades that the reason why she stopped giving Riddle the love potion was because she truly loved him. It doesn't make her actions justifiable, but it's hard to hate her when you see the abuse she endured and all she wanted was someone to love her. Made even worse by the theory that Merope, likely due to this, had a high-risk pregnancy and had to choose: Abort her baby and live, or die and give birth.

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