Half-Blood Prince, Chapter Nine

One of the things that’s very cool about the titles Rowling chooses for her books is the moment of drama that’s created when the title is first revealed in the book. She didn’t do it quite so much in the earlier books – for example, the phrase “Prisoner of Azkaban” is never even mentioned in the third book, and the first mention of the place (by Stan Shunpike) is fairly anticlimactic. But I certainly remember reading these sentences for the first time:

At last [Hermione] found what she was looking for.
“I knew it! I knew it!” …
“Nicolas Flamel,” she whispered dramatically, “is the only known maker of the Philosopher’s Stone!” (PS13)

“As you know, three champions compete in the tournament,” Dumbledore went on calmly, “one from each of the participating schools. They will be marked on how well they perform each of the Tournament tasks and the champion with the highest total after task three will win the Triwizard Cup. The champions will be chosen by an impartial selector: the Goblet of Fire.” (GF16)

As the Harry Potter series became more popular, though, readers became familiar with the book titles all around the world months before the books were actually released. And in her last three books, Rowling took full advantage of that familiarity. Not only did she use the phrases to heighten dramatic tension, but each of these is the last sentence in its respective chapter:

Harry looked down at the piece of paper. The narrow handwriting was vaguely familiar. It said:

The Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix may be found at number twelve, Grimmauld Place, London.

And of course, from this chapter:

Nobody else was looking. Harry bent low to retrieve the book, and as he did so, he saw something scribbled along the bottom of the back cover in the same small, cramped handwriting as the instructions that had won him his bottle of Felix Felicis….

This book is the property of the Half Blood Prince.

And there’s one more like this coming up in the next book. Is it apparent yet that I love Rowling’s writing? ;)

Here’s the new chapter:
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, chapter nine: ‘The Half-Blood Prince’

And finally, one last thing: a quick shout-out to artist Gnatkip, who created the lovely drawing that depicts this very moment in the book, and that is now the banner art for the HPC. Thanks, Gnat!

~ by Josie on April 10, 2010.

6 Responses to “Half-Blood Prince, Chapter Nine”

  1. Actually there’s a difference with these chapters, while in HBP9 the last line of the chapter match the chapter’s own title, in OP3 the last line matches the title of the next chapter (OP4). I’ve been lookink the chapter titles and endings in DH, and if I correctly identified the chapter you’re thinking, Josie, the last line in DH20 refers to the title of DH22.

  2. Jose Lopes, I was actually referring to book titles, rather than the chapter titles, here (though I’ve certainly referenced those in the past as well). I don’t know about most readers, but I tend to not pay that much attention to chapter titles as I’m reading. But when the book title that I’ve known for six months first pops up, it really grabs my attention – that’s the experience I’m talking about here. :)

  3. Sorry, I missed that part :)

  4. And speaking of chapter titles, there is a fun (and very challenging) quiz at Sporcle.com that asks you to name all the HP chapter titles. There are some other good HP quizzes on Sporcle.com too, if you’re interested.

  5. I remember hearing the title and thinking it would be the introduction of a character from abroad (like Grindelwald) who was a real prince. Ha!

  6. Ben, thanks for the recommendation – I just tried the chapter title thing, it was harder than I expected! I got 112 in 20 minutes, which isn’t too bad – I probably could have gotten another 40-50 given twice as much time. But wow.

    Here’s the link, if others are interested:

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