Teaching Harry Potter in Middle School English: Final Discussion Guide for The Half Blood Prince

Beginning of the End

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry’s return to Hogwarts as a sixth-year student really marks the beginning of the end of his school career. Although Harry does not know it yet, this will be the last year he spends at Hogwarts as a student. At this time, the Wizarding World is aware that Voldemort has returned to power and everyone is on guard.

Trust, Deceit and Discovering Truth

The major theme of this novel is trust and deceit. Harry, although he trusts Dumbledore, has to open himself up even more in order to trust in what he sees via Dumbledore’s memories of Tom Riddle. From book one, readers and Harry alike were on the fence about Snape. Dumbledore has always trusted Snape.

Perhaps even more important than the uncertainty of whether Harry will triumph in the final book is the matter of Snape’s loyalty. This subject is called into question many times throughout the series, but no more so than here, when he murders Dumbledore in front of Harry’s own eyes. It seems certain to Harry and to readers alike that Severus Snape has emerged as evil and loyal to Voldemort. However, is this really the case?

Sometimes People Are Simply Misunderstood

Students must finish the series to learn Snape’s true nature. However, in this book, we learn a great deal about Dumbledore’s trust in others and that he has always trusted Severus Snape. Is Dumbledore, in his final words, pleading for mercy or for death at the hands of a friend? Snape could truly emerge as a hero, not just of the book, but of the literary world; one of those great but misunderstood characters.

References

This post is part of the series: Harry Potter Middle School Lesson Plans

Each article in this series covers one book in the Harry Potter collection and includes a PowerPoint download that will serve as a helpful teaching tool.
  1. 1. Teaching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  2. 2. Teaching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  3. 3. Teaching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  4. 4. Teaching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  5. 5. Teaching Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix
  6. 6. Teaching Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince