Felix Felicis

chapter fourteen of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

With the first Quidditch match approaching, Harry notices Ron and Hermione flirting in Herbology – and then when he and Ron encounter Ginny kissing Dean, Ron lashes out for days while Harry realizes he likes Ginny himself. Then, the morning of the match, Harry pretends to spike Ron’s juice with Felix Felicis, and Gryffindor wins; but in the ensuing party, Ron hooks up with Lavender, and Hermione attacks him with birds.

The Trio vs. the Snargaluff, by Cambium

They all took deep breaths and then dived at the gnarled stump between them.

(by Cambium)


Trio, by glockgal

“‘Slug Club,’” repeated Ron with a sneer worthy of Malfoy. “It’s pathetic. Well, I hope you enjoy your party. Why don’t you try hooking up with McLaggen, then Slughorn can make you King and Queen Slug -“


In the Greenhouse, by lberghol

“We’re allowed to bring guests,” said Hermione, who for some reason had turned a bright, boiling scarlet, “and I was going to ask you to come, but if you think it’s that stupid then I won’t bother!”


In the Greenhouse, Take 2, by lberghol

“You were going to ask me?” asked Ron, in a completely different voice.


Greenhouse, by Maria Abagnale

It was not as though he was really surprised, thought Harry, as he wrestled with a thorny vine intent upon throttling him; he had had an inkling that this might happen sooner or later. But he was not sure how he felt about it….


Secret Passage 1, by gerre

When Harry pushed open the tapestry to take their usual shortcut up to Gryffindor Tower, however, they found themselves looking at Dean and Ginny, who were locked in a close embrace and kissing fiercely as though glued together.

(by gerre)


by Mudblood428 and reallycorking

“Right,” said Ginny, tossing her long red hair out of her face and glaring at Ron, “let’s get this straight once and for all. It is none of your business who I go out with or what I do with them, Ron -“


Brotherly Advice 2, by lberghol

“You don’t know what you’re talking about!” Ron roared, trying to get a clear shot at Ginny around Harry, who was now standing in front of her with his arms outstretched. “Just because I don’t do it in public – !”


Secret Passage 2, by gerre

“Harry’s snogged Cho Chang!” shouted Ginny, who sounded close to tears now. “And Hermione snogged Viktor Krum, it’s only you who acts like it’s something disgusting, Ron, and that’s because you’ve got about as much experience as a twelve-year-old!”

(by gerre)


Having Trouble Sleeping, by Cambryn

Harry lay awake for a long time, looking up at the canopy of his four-poster and trying to convince himself that his feelings for Ginny were entirely elder-brotherly.

(by Cambryn)


The Filthy Hypocrite, by gerre

As he was ducking toward the drinks table, he walked straight into Ginny…. “Looking for Ron?” she asked, smirking. “He’s over there, the filthy hypocrite.”

(by gerre)


Face Eating, by Emily Benson

“It looks like he’s eating her face, doesn’t it?” said Ginny dispassionately. “But I suppose he’s got to refine his technique somehow. Good game, Harry.”


Halo of Canaries, by Nat Dai

[Harry] found her in the first unlocked classroom he tried. She was sitting on the teacher’s desk, alone except for a small ring of twittering yellow birds circling her head.

(by Nat Dai)


Avis, by lberghol

“Oh, hello, Harry,” she said in a brittle voice. “I was just practicing.”


Oops, by deeterhi

The door behind them burst open. To Harry’s horror, Ron came in, laughing, pulling Lavender by the hand.
“Oh,” he said, drawing up short at the sight of Harry and Hermione.
“Oops!” said Lavender, and she backed out of the room, giggling.


Oppugno, by Nat Dai

The little flock of birds was speeding like a hail of fat golden bullets toward Ron, who yelped and covered his face with his hands, but the birds attacked, pecking and clawing at every bit of flesh they could reach.
“Gerremoffme!” he yelled, but with one last look of vindictive fury, Hermione wrenched open the door and disappeared through it. Harry thought he heard a sob before it slammed.

(by Nat Dai)


about the chapter


Leading up to the release of Half-Blood Prince, there was no topic of conversation that elicited such a strong response as the question of which character would end up dating whom. Does Hermione love Harry or Ron? Will Harry end up with Ginny or Hermione? And what about Neville, or Luna? Everyone had their own ideas, and arguments between different “shippers” (‘ship’ from ‘relationship’) were always passionate and often heated. And with ample evidence to support lots of different theories, our own biases certainly got in the way – for instance, as someone who married my best friend (and for whom intelligent conversation is critical in any relationship), I always hoped Harry and Hermione would wind up together. And there were as many other combinations as you could possibly imagine. Ginny/Draco? Hermione/Snape? Harry/Giant Squid?

There were hints, of course, both in previous books and particularly in the first half of this book. Remember, now, what Harry smelled in the Amortentia? But I remember the first time I read this chapter, thinking: this was it. With only a year and a half left in school, it was becoming increasingly unlikely that anybody was going to change his or her mind. I still didn’t know what would happen, but with this chapter, we knew fairly certainly what our main characters wanted. And so most folks (some grudgingly) accepted it, and moved on.

And of course, a few of us even woke up one day, much later, and suddenly remembered that the real story here is about Harry and Voldemort…. ;)

Something You May Not Have Noticed

I wonder how much Ginny and Hermione hang out together during the school year. Over the holidays, of course, Hermione shares Ginny’s room whenever she’s visiting the Burrow, and the two are clearly friends. And it’s not as though Hermione is hanging out with Lavender or Parvati, the other girls in her year. But it’s interesting because one of the things Ginny throws at Ron during their argument is the fact that Hermione has snogged Viktor Krum – a fact which, to this point, was unknown to either Harry or Ron. Come to think of it, Hermione was invited to visit Krum the summer after her fourth year, and never comments either way (to her male friends, at least) on whether she did. But regardless, it would make sense for her and Ginny to have talked about it while sharing a bedroom at Grimmauld Place that August. I wonder what else Ginny knows about Hermione, and Hermione about Ginny?

Life at Hogwarts

It occurred to me as the sixth-years were attacking their Snargaluff stumps that Herbology, far beyond any other subject, must require some serious planning on the part of Professor Sprout. After all, her lessons have to be mapped out months (if not years) in advance, so she can plant the right number of plants at the right time so they’re ready for students at the right part of the term. I’m sure she’s plenty flexible in her planning, adjusting when she teaches things and even what she teaches based on what’s ready in the greenhouses. But still, with seven different grade levels to keep track of… she’d have to be amazingly organized, and either way it’s incredible she doesn’t have (or need) a full-time assistant to help manage her greenhouses while she plans and teaches the classes!

The Boy Who Lived

Harry’s faked use of Felix Felicis on Ron is an interesting moment for him – I can’t think of another time that we see him being quite so deliberately manipulative, especially toward his two best friends. But even more than that it’s an interesting literary moment for us readers, who with a few exceptions have always seen everything in the books from Harry’s point of view. Here, instead, we have an interesting break in convention, as the entire chapter is still written from Harry’s point of view, but a key piece of information (the fact that he *faked* spiking Ron’s drink) is intentionally withheld from the readers. The result feels a little clumsy in more ways than one, but at least Gryffindor wins the match….

The Final Words

(Question: “What happened between Hermione and Viktor krum during the summer?”)
“Ron would like to know that, too.” –J.K. Rowling, March 2004

(Question: “When you write the books now, do you see the actors from the movies, or do you see your own characters?”)
“…I still see my Ron, I still see my Harry, I still see my Hermione. I was writing them for too long before the films came out for the film images to displace what’s in my head. I was lucky in that sense. I’d lived with these characters so long, it just couldn’t have any effect. Occasionally I will — Ron/Lavender, I did kind of think of Rupert. I mean, it was always planned that way, obviously, but I would kind of emerge for a coffee break and I might have a wry smile about Rupert. Not so much doing it, he’ll be more than adequate to the task of doing it, but thinking about him attending the castings for Lavender, stuff like that. It just kind of makes you smile once you know the people who are acting it.” –J.K. Rowling, July 2005

36 Responses to “Felix Felicis”

  1. great artwork!
    I always loved this chapter, because after all the heavy-Voldemort’s past-stuff it’s light, normal teenagerfeelings… :)
    I remember reading somewhere that timewise, Hermione wouldn’t have had the time in her 4th year summer to go to Krum, since Harry got, since the start of that summer, letters from both Hermione and Ron, who both were already at the same place (Grimmauld Place). Unless she used her timeturner, I doubt Hermione would have been able to travel to Romania also…

  2. I was SO disappointed in Ron, Hermione and Ginny in this chapter. Every one of them should have behaved more maturely!

    Harry definitely emerges as the hero here.

  3. Professor Sprout’s workload is certainly daunting! Comparing her with Professor Binns, who probably did some preparation during his first year of teaching and has used it unchanged ever since, it’s clear that life in the staffroom can be unfair.

    Which makes me think of the only other staff member we know of with a startlingly low teaching load: Madam Hooch. When she isn’t teaching flying and refereeing the odd match, perhaps she lends a hand in the greenhouses. She seems a very competent person.

    Unless, that is, she also teaches Runes. Do we ever find out who really does?

  4. Ah, I can clearly see where the emphasis is on this chapter. :-) No discussing or pictures of the Quidditch match, the fact that Harry was quite manipulative towards Ron and Hermione, that due to the chapter title the reader was probably tricked into thinking Harry really had used the potion, or a little girl dropping something in a certain hallway.

    Harry uses the Episkey Spell in this chapter. The first time we (and he?) see this Spell is in this book when Tonks repairs Harrys broken nose. Then, Harry was rather nervous about having someone other that Madam Pomfrey tamper with a broke nose. Now he uses it himself after only having heard it once? There’s no need to practice it? Is that a sign for Harry growing into a better wizard than one would think at first sight?

  5. kim: An interesting idea (that Hermione couldn’t have gone to Romania), but surely she could have found a week somewhere, or even just a few days?

    Deborah Hubbard: The Ancient Runes teacher was never mentioned in the books, but on one of the secret trinkets you can find on Rowling’s website is a sheet that she used to plan the Hogwarts staff prior to writing PA, and the teacher is listed as Bathsheba Babbling. On the other hand, the Divination teacher is listed as Mopsus, so some things did change after that – but I do think if she intended it to be Hooch, that would have been listed there (as we’d already met Hooch before this was written). I always assumed Hooch was just part-time, as we never see her at the staff table or patrolling the corridors, either.

    Kim: I’m probably guilty of letting the artwork influence what I chose to write about the chapter. To be fair, the Quidditch match wasn’t a particularly interesting one, but you’re right that I probably should have mentioned the Felix debacle (which was interesting for a couple of reasons). Maybe I’ll go add that in…. (ETA: Done!)

  6. I’d been pretty sure about Hermione and Ron for reasons mostly unrelated to who I thought was compatible. There are certain literary conventions in western fiction that Rowling tends to play straight. French people are haughty; redheads are hot-tempered; and opposite-sex characters who do nothing but bicker at the beginning of a story will be in love by the end of it. Harry and Ginny aren’t as strongly set up; the little girl who decides who she’s going to marry and grows up to be right is pretty common, but is subverted from time to time, too.

  7. My reaction to this chapter? Thank goodness I’m not in high school anymore! Teenagers can be so awful to each other when they are in the throes of hormones, crushes, first loves, etc. and Rowling’s characters are (thankfully) honest in that respect.

    And just a note on Harry’s “use” of the Felix potion on Ron — the Sorting Hat told him he’d do well in Slytherin, and I think this is just one example of Harry’s cunning, Slytherin side. It was a little dishonest and it was certianly manipulative, but it got him what he wanted (i.e. a more confident Ron and a win in the match) and that was all that mattered to him at the moment.

  8. I love love love this chapter, and love all the fanart too. I was pretty sure it was Hermione and Ron for awhile, and hoping that Harry would go with Ginny. I really loved this scene in the movie, because the actress who played Lavender was fabulous! She was just this side of crazy, and it was so funny. Great chapter!!

  9. I’m pretty sure I would hate studying Herbology, wrestling with a tree stump isn’t my idea of fun.

  10. After reading this chapter, I couldn’t help but wonder if Ron would do better in school or something else with more confidence? Maybe he would think he was likely to succeed and so he would try harder.

    I swear, every character was annoying me at this point! Ron, Harry, Hermione, and Ginny were all rather awful, and all overreacted. As a teenager, I can’t stand to think that I would act similarly in their situations.

    And you’d think by this point Ginny would have noticed that Ron and Hermione liked each other, especially if she and Hermione were friends. Sure it was more obvious for us as readers (at least I thought so) but even Harry noticed, and he can be rather thick about these things :D

  11. I must say, I absolutely adore that picture by gerre, mainly because of Neville trying to impress that girl with his Mimbulus Mimbletonia.

  12. My God, this chapter is like a Godsend ot every shipper who ever lived! I think this is also the chapter when I started disliking Ron so much, because he acted like – no other word for it – a douche. My heart really goes out to Hermione, and to Harry for having deal with all this. I think it’s important to note that this is just about the first time Harry “sides” with Hermione over Ron – he goes to comfort her instead of celebrating with Ron, deciding “her need was greater.” This is a far cry from not talking to her in PoA, and another way we see their friendship developing. Harry’s finally starting to appreciate Hermione as she should be appreciated – the most loyal friend he has, and not just a walking encyclopedia.

  13. Something you may have missed: When Harry is trying to get Ron to drink something, he offfers him the same drinks Umbridge offered Harry, when she is trying to make him drink Veritaserum, in OotP.”Tea? Coffe? Pumpkin juice?”. I don’t know whether this was deliberate or not.

    Please, keep it up, you brighten my day whith your posts, I wish I had the time to comment more.

    We need to remember that the actual story is about growing up and choosing what we know it’s right. There’s lots of those themes in this chapter, even if it is about teenage drama instead of fighting the Big Evil. Of course, chapters like these are why some (close-minded) people call HBP “a glorified fanfiction”.

  14. I think that Harry pretended to use Felix to booster Ron’s confidence more than anything else. Before Hermionie jumped on him about useing an illegal substance, I could imagine Harry saying to Ron: “Ha ha, fooled you. You didn’t need this stuff, after all.”

  15. GinGin4, I think that is exactly why Harry did it. It’s a pity he never had the chance to say so. Nice catch, Martin – I never noticed!

    Yes, I was VERY annoyed with Ron for giving in to his sister’s taunting and hormones, but we have to ask why his hormones fired for silly (but harmless) Lavender instead of for his best friend Hermione, who had already asked him out! Hermione’s bickering and criticising really is immature, and there was a very real sense in which she deserved to lose her man over it.

    I was annoyed with Ginny too – snogging senseless a man for whom she didn’t really care. But it’s possible she was making a genuine effort to forget Harry – that she wasn’t deliberately deceiving Michael or Dean – and that Harry was simply the Love That Refused To Die. Clarification of this ambiguity would clarify whether or not Ginny really deserves to be the princess of the piece.

    Kit, the literary arc that foreshadows the Harry/Ginny romance is that she is the girl for whom he slew a dragon.

  16. Not that anyone would care, but I used to go by “Bella + James P.”, and I am now shortening it to “Bella”.

    Yes, I also noticed how Ron was being rather difficult to deal with, starting at this chapter, and one part proves this more strongly: the part where Harry is thinking that “Hermione’s need was stronger at this point.” I quite agree with Harry, if there was someone to comfort, it was Hermione.

  17. Absolutely, Bella! Hermione has always been such a good friend to Harry. This is the first time he has reciprocated by going out of his way to be a friend to her. He chose her need for a confidant above the fun of partying with Ron and their other friends in the common room.

    Compare this with the little scene in PoA, after Harry & Hermione have rescued Buckbeak, when Hermione gives Harry a tug in order to save his life. Instead of being grateful, he is annoyed at her “bossiness”! That’s the kind of detail that proves Hermione is never going to be Harry’s romantic interest, but it also proves that she is a good friend whom he utterly fails to appreciate. She is justified in being “bossy” in a life-and-death situation, and Harry really ought to understand that.

  18. Good point, Grace. Also, Harry should have trusted her for another reason: Hermione got top marks on every exam she took, and Harry had long known that she was a highly sensible person. Therefore, when the time came to put her skills to use, he should have trusted her to use them! She’s really a better friend to Ron and Harry than I think they realize.

  19. I was naughty and went to the last chapter of the last HP book when I hadn’t even read the 4th book, so I knew that Ginny dates/marries Harry. I regretted it afterwards… ;X

  20. I always figured Ginny was trying to forget Harry and trying to find the other guys interesting but it “wouldn’t die.” I also gave Harry the benefit of the doubt on trying to find a way to boost Ron’s confidence instead of being manipulative.

  21. If she was just trying to forget about Harry, and she actually DID still want to ask him out, how come she seemed so passionate with Dean in this chapter? No wonder Harry didn’t pick anything up earlier!

  22. This has been a wonderful chapter! I love both the comments and the art. I wanted to mention though that the mudblood428 picture is a collaboration with reallycorking, and she should get a credit. Here’s the original post with the picture:


    You can tell, I think, by Harry’s face, which isn’t quite like mudblood428 draws him (she draws my absolutely favorite Harry). :D

  23. AFAICT, the only other time in the entire series when the reader learns something that Harry had been “keeping” from us is the final speech to Voldemort. Apart from that, the reader always knows either as much as or more than Harry. (Except, of course, for whatever goes on in Harry’s “private life”, to whatever extent he even has one.)

  24. Thanks Sarah – I totally missed that! But I’ll fix it right away.

  25. I just wanted to repeat what’s been said already – the fanart is brilliant for this chapter! My favourite picture from this has to be the second Iberghol sketch of Ron and Hermione, Ron’s expression is perfect to how I always imagined him. Much as I love Rupert Grint, I think he always overacts when it comes to Ron’s dumber side, and the kind of ‘third wheel’ role he has in the movies as the stupid sidekick. Ron is a lot more than that, and I sometimes wish WB would see that.

  26. My first comment… Thank You Mr. Kearns for providing us with such a beautiful and well thought out site, i couldn’t ask for much more but maybe some more chapters, maybe even without the pics until you find some befitting… But i wanted to add something to why is that we don’t see Madame Hooch more often. I alway believed that she was also a ‘double agent’ acting as Mrs Norris… I thought this is why they were careful in the movie to show you distictly that her eyes, that they were cat like and green, because that is Mrs Norris’ eye color too. And both of their descriptions, Mrs Norris’ being more human like and not like normal cats, I believe it was Harry who thought maybe she was bewitched to help the aquib Filtch… And maybe this wsa in my own mind or i read it somewhere that Madame Hooch was and animagus… any thoughts on that???

  27. Ashlee, your idea is interesting, but I can’t really buy it. My feeling about theories on people acting as each other and manipulating things via Polyjuice / Animagus / Time-Turners is that if Rowling intended it to be the case, she would have told us – and now the series is over, so if it wasn’t mentioned, it’s probably not accurate. I’m also a little unclear as to why it would matter if Mrs. Norris was also Madame Hooch… I mean, they’re both such minor characters, I don’t really see that it would have any effect on the plot, so why do it?

  28. Grace – Thank you for pointing out the literary arc, as I never noticed it until you mentioned it. Great observation!!!

    Yes, Ron acts like a ‘prat’ but I think he is secretly afraid of, and at the same time very much in love with, Hermione and has been for ages, he just doesn’t know what to do with/about it, so he turns to someone he doesn’t love, but is ‘safe’ as an outlet.

    As for Prof. Sprout, perhaps the house-elves help her? I personally love plants, and can see where this might be one of their duties they especially enjoy.

  29. @ Ashlee
    You are forgetting a little detail: in CS mrs. Norris was petrified, but madame Hooch was still a referee at the quidditch matches, so this theory doesnt fit.

  30. Mrs. Norris, in my view is either a Kneazle or part-kneazle, as is Crookshanks, which is why she can let Filch know what is going on.

  31. Maybe it’s because I’ve always had a bunch of guy friends and I’m drawing on my own experience, but I always saw Harry/Hermione as purely platonic. And from a story viewpoint, where would that leave Ron if H/H did hook up? It’s not like he could end up with Ginny, and I certainly couldn’t see him with, for instance, Lavender or Parvati.

    I don’t think Ginny was leading on Michael or Dean – especially not Dean, considering how long they were together. Sure, part of her heart always belonged to Harry, but she realized she couldn’t just sit around waiting for him – what if he never saw her as more than a friend or, even worse, as just Ron’s little sister?

    I’ve heard complaints that Hermione, especially, was out of character here, but come on. She’s a teenage girl in love with a boy too thick to notice it. Hermione’s talent and intelligence do little to prepare her for matters of the heart.

  32. Weighing in on Hermione/Viktor here: I think the Grangers would have something to say about it if Hermione had wanted to visit Krum after her fourth year. They allow Hermione a lot of leeway, but I can’t see any responsible parents sending their 15-year-old daughter off to a foreign country to visit an adult man they’ve never even met. If Hermione did visit Krum that summer, I think one or both of her parents would have accompanied her.

  33. I agree with Heather, whole-heartedly. I personally never saw Harry and Hermione as more than friends, as they seemed to have no chemistry together. I had no idea of Hermione/Ron until this chapter (the first time I read it, I was barely 11 and romance was a foreign concept), but this was a real turning point in relationships. If you ask me, every character had a “practice run” relationship (Harry’s was Cho, Hermione’s was Viktor, etc) that basically made them grow up romantically.
    I think that the purpose of Ron being with Lavender was to finally grow up and make himself worthy of Hermione.

  34. This chapter is a fun read, because of the total abscence of anything Voldemort-related. I think JKR does a great job here, with depicting how much the relationships matter to our characters, as well. So good teenage behavior :)

    I never really sided with any opinion on who should end up with whom – as a nine year old I thought Harry/Hermione was obvious, but I dropped that along the way and decided just to see where it went. In this book it became pretty obvious who were going to end up with who, but it’s still great fun to see HOW they get there.

    I never had a problem with Harry dating Ginny. I think she’s a really nice character, but I do see where the people saying it was a bit sudden come from. But I think Harry is just so wrapped up in everything around him that he doesn’t realize that he likes Ginny until it is apparent that she’s with someone else. After all, he knows she’s been after him since the start of book two, so I think he’s subconsicously telling himself she will always be there – then it comes like a surprise when he ACTUALLY sees her with Dean.

    About the strange writing here – I also felt it was a bit clumsy, for the first time in a Harry Potter-book, I think. I felt a bit fooled to be honest, as if the book had played a trick on me. I didn’t really like that.

  35. I don’t think that Ginny “didn’t care” for Dean. She is more or less testing the waters. There is no reason why she shouldn’t like Dean, or why Dean shouldn’t be the right one for her. He isn’t, but she gives the relationship a shot. It’s actually similiar to what Cho does and what Hermione does, but Ginny is more upfront about it.

  36. This chapter features one of the rare occasions in which Professor McGonagall displeases me. Smith keeps insulting her own team while commentating, but she does not rebuke him; however, she always corrected Lee Jordan whenever he acted impolitely, and she gets mad at Ginny when she deliberately crashes into Smith’s location. Granted, Ginny did act immaturly, but you’d think McGonagall would defend the honor of her own players and chastise Smith for his rudeness.

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