"There it was, hanging in the sky above the school: the blazing green skull with a serpent tongue, the mark Death Eaters left behind whenever they had entered a building...wherever they had murdered...."
When Dumbledore arrives at Privet Drive one summer night to collect Harry Potter, his wand hand is blackened and shrivelled, but he does not reveal why. Secrets and suspicion are spreading through the wizarding world, and Hogwarts itself is not safe. Harry is convinced that Malfoy bears the Dark Mark: there is a Death Eater amongst them. Harry will need powerful magic and true friends as he explores Voldemort's darkest secrets, and Dumbledore prepares him to face his destiny....
©2005 J.K. Rowling (P)2015 J.K. Rowling
"A marriage made in heaven, Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter." (The Times)
"Twists, turns and shocks!"
This is the sixth of the magical seven, each developing the story and leading to the climactic finale in The Deathly Hallows. JK Rowling uses The Half Blood Prince to further ensnare the reader into the twists that are to reveal themselves in the final conclusion of the story.
Part of the skill really is that these characters genuinely grow as they progress through their school years. As in real life with that growth comes responsibility. Once again Harry is pitted up against his now traditional enemies. Increasingly he starts to see shades of grey rather than simple black and white issues while the stakes become increasingly high.
There are twists, turns, surprises and shocks including for anyone who doesn’t know the stories a huge one at the end which I certainly wouldn’t reveal as it really is a huge development. This is something that continues into the final book so be prepared to constantly re-evaluate characters. The identity of the Half Blood Prince I found particularly intriguing and on first encounter with the stories didn’t see it coming at all.
The depth of the mysterious plot is increased by the beautiful marriage of the antiquities of the wizardly world and the seedier side of modern society such as government corruption and the modern media. The latter most ably represented by the brilliantly presented Rita Skeeter, a journalist so awful she could grace any of our tabloids!
I’m very glad that the author took the longer form for the final few books. This story and its characters needed that depth and the genuine cleverness of this book should not be fully judged in my opinion until the final book, The Deathly Hallows has also been finished. I’ll say no more.
The narration of course, the Master Fryer, little need be said other than a quick “Bravo!”.
One small note. I see all of these books listed under “Children : 8-10”. I would never seek to advise any parents on what their children should or should not read (within reason) and I was happy to let my daughter read these at age 10 when she asked. However, the books changed quite distinctly with the ages of the main characters. A line or two is bound to have been crossed so some parents may well want to review a plot synopsis or research these later books before making a decision on them. Not my call but I suspect some parents might just draw the line for a sensitive 8 or 9 year old.
"Even better as an adult"
To be fair I've only listened to A Song Of Ice And Fire and Harry Potter so far. But this is my first Stephen Fry listen. It's the most comforting hailback to my youth, and the perspective of my adulthood has actually vastly improved the experience. I should have guessed before that Fry would be fantastic in his voice acting. I only wish I'd listened when I was younger!
Because we finally have some negatives it is Dumbledore - reading this ten years ago I thought he was infallible. Rereading, he is a very wise but flawed and somewhat arrogant character; it is interesting to read the facts he omits and to speculate on why he does this, and to watch the many lapses in judgment he makes along the way. As a teenager I believed he was omniscient and knew everything; as an adult I can finally see his weaknesses. His story is incredibly interesting and intelligently written in hindsight.
No - too long!
This is by no means an 8-10. This is a coming of age classic. No other Bildungsroman makes me feel this amount of grief and immersion.
Brilliantly read by an experienced professional. Worth every second of the listening experience. 5 stars
"Once you start"
Once you start the Harry Potter series, you won't be able to stop. Fact. It's addictive.
Stephen Fry read this beautifully as always, perfect voices and easy to listen to. Harry Potter for life! :D
"A Bit of a Lul"
Nothing really happened in this book until the very end. It sticks to the Potter formula wherein there is a mystery throughout and then a great lot of exposition at the end tells us exactly what happened. Although the problem was that the mystery in this book was not very interesting. It was interesting to see Snape 's character explored though and Stephen Fry does a great job as ever.
"Potter on the go!"
I had already read this book and loved it but Stephen Fry really brings it to life. Once you start listening you can't stop. Brilliant for long car journeys. Suitable for all and a must have for any Harry Potter fan. 5 stars all the way!
"Couldn't fault it"
Excellent book! And Stephen Fry's performance was incredible- such a range of voices! Quite dark in parts, not sure it's appropriate for children under 10? Fine for me though!
"puts the movie to shame"
This is the best of the Harry potter books so far, so much depth of character . there is so much missing from the movie, its a must listen.
all characters played well by Mr fry.
"More tissues needed!"
Loved this book too. There's such darkness and now the finale and he reversal of that. Can't wait.
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