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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – Comprehension Questions

Chapter 1:
1. Why does Fudge visit the Muggle prime minister?
2. Who does Fudge introduce to the prime minister? Why?
3. Why was Fudge forced to resign as Minister for Magic?
4. **Why might Voldemort's attacks have spilled over into the Muggle world?
Chapter 2:
1. What might happen if Voldemort learns that Snape has made an Unbreakable Vow with
2. What does Narcissa believe is the real reason Voldemort assigned Draco a nearly-
impossible task? Is she correct?
3. What is Snape's explanation about why he never killed Harry Potter, even though he had
many opportunities to do so? Is his explanation plausible? Why?
4. **Why does Snape make an Unbreakable Vow with Narcissa Malfoy, a vow that puts his
own life at risk? Will he tell Dumbledore about it?
Chapter 3:
1. Why won't Harry be protected at the Dursley's house after his 17th birthday?
2. What effect will Harry's 17th birthday have on his relationship with the Dursleys?
3. What does Dumbledore say to the Dursleys about how they've treated Harry and raised
their son, Dudley? Why did he never speak up about this sooner?
4. ** Why would Dumbledore personally fetch Harry from the Dursleys after only two weeks
there? Where might he be taking him?
Chapter 4:
1. Why does Dumbledore take Harry to Budleigh Babberton Village?
2. Why was Slughorn hiding? How does Dumbledore see through his disguise?
3. Why does Slughorn think Lily Potter, a Muggle-born, should have been sorted into
Slytherin House? What was Harry's reaction to that suggestion?
4. Why does Slughorn finally agree to leave his comfortable retirement and accept the
teaching post at Hogwarts?
5. ** Why would Dumbledore ask Harry to always keep his Invisibility Cloak with him?
Chapter 5:
1. Why is Harry worried about his future?
2. Why are the Weasleys unhappy about Bill's engagement to Fleur?
3. ** Are Ron and Hermione right to be concerned about Harry's well being? If so, why?
Chapter 6:
1. What prompted Harry, Ron, and Hermione to go to Knockturn Alley? What do they learn?
2. How will Harry becoming Quidditch captain affect his relationship with Ron, who was made
a Prefect the year before, causing Harry to be jealous?
3. ** Why is the Ministry of Magic ordering magical items from the Weasley twins' joke shop?
What are they buying?
Chapter 7:
1. Which students are invited to Slughorn's lunch? Why does he select these particular
students? Why was Malfoy excluded?
2. Why does Harry follow Malfoy on the train?
3. Why does Malfoy say he might not return to Hogwarts next year?
4. ** On the train, why does Harry decline Romilda Vane's invitation to sit with her and the
other more popular students? Who does he prefer to sit with and why?
Chapter 8:
1. Why does Harry refuse to report Draco's actions?
2. Why did Tonks find Harry so quickly?
3. Why is Tonks so depressed? Is there some reason other than what Harry thinks?
4. ** Why might Harry, Ron, and Hermione have decided to not take Hagrid's class this year?
Why haven't they told him? What might his reaction be?
Chapter 9:
1. Why does Hermione accuse Harry of cheating at Potions? Are her accusations valid?
2. Does it ever occur to Harry that the suspicious textbook might contain Dark Magic? Why or
why not?
3. Why are Hermione and Ron so dismissive about Draco's boasts that he is on a mission for
Voldemort? Why is Harry so convinced that Draco's claims are true?
4. When Harry sniffs the Love Potion, he detects treacle tart, a broomstick handle, and a
flowery scent. Who or what might these three items refer to?
5. ** If the Half-Blood Prince was possessive enough to put his name on his book, why was it
left in the Potions classroom?
Chapter 10:
1. Why does Dumbledore want Harry to learn about Voldemort's past? How will it help him?
2. Even though Tom Riddle was duped by Merope, why would he abandon his innocent
unborn child?
3. Why would Morfin jinx a Muggle?
4. What might cause Merope to lose her ability to perform magic?
5. ** Hermione, a Gryffindor Prefect, strongly disapproves of Harry using the Prince's
textbook, believing it is cheating and also dangerous. Why doesn't she report him?
Chapter 11:
1. Why are wordless spells important?
2. What does Harry think is the real reason the Ministry of Magic arrested Stan Shunpike? Is
he right?
3. Did Ron deserve to be chosen for the Quidditch team over Cormac McLaggen, who is a
stronger athlete? What was Harry's reasoning?
4. ** Why does Hermione help Ron at the Quidditch trials, even though she is upset with
Chapter 12:
1. Who does Harry think might be the Half-Blood Prince? Why does he want to believe this
and what finally makes him discount it?
2. Who does Harry attack and why?
3. Where has Harry seen the necklace before, and who does he connect with it? What does
McGonagall have to say
Chapter 13:
1. Why did Merope Gaunt sell the Locket? Who did she sell it to, and why was she willing to
accept so little money for such a valuable object?
2. What did the staff at the orphanage think about Tom Riddle? Why?
3. Why would Tom Riddle believe that Dumbledore arrived at the orphanage to take him to
an asylum? What was Riddle planning to do if that was true?
4. What is Dumbledore's initial opinion of Tom Riddle at the orphanage? What did he resolve
to do? What does he tell Harry about Riddle?
5. ** Why might Slytherin's locket be gold - Gryffindor's color - and not silver like Slytherin's
House color?
Chapter 14:
1. Why is Ron in such a bad mood?
2. Why is Ron able to perform so well in the game?
3. Why is Hermione upset with Ron?
4. ** Are Harry's fears about Ron and Hermione being together justified?
Chapter 15:
1. Why does Harry invite Luna to Slughorn's party? Why does Ron object?
2. Why does Ron mock Hermione? Was it deserved?
3. Why did Hermione invite Cormac McLaggen rather than another student?
4. Is Luna right that Ron sometimes says funny things, but also hurtful ones? Explain. What
does Harry think?
5. ** Snape seems to not be aware of what Draco is doing. Yet in the start of this book, he
tells Draco's mother that he is aware of the plan. Explain why this is not a contradiction.
What does Snape not know about Draco's mission?
Chapter 16:
1. Why does Scrimgeour want to recruit Harry's help? Why does Harry refuse?
2. Why does the Ministry refuse to release Stan Shunpike and other innocent people?
Chapter 17:
1. Why did Tom Riddle murder his Muggle grandparents, in addition to his father?
2. Why does Dumbledore react the way he does when Harry says he told Scrimgeour that he
is, "Dumbledore's man?"
3. **Why would Slughorn alter his memory?
4. ** Why doesn't Snape's conversation with Malfoy worry Dumbledore?
Chapter 18:
1. Why is Malfoy arguing with his cronies?
2. Why does Ron fall in love with Romilda Vane? Who did Romilda intend to fall in love with
3. Was Harry actually cheating when he presented the Bezoar stone to Slughorn during the
Chapter 19:
1. Why might Hogwarts close?
2. Why is Ron always asleep when Lavender visits him in the hospital wing?
3. Why did Harry have Kreacher, rather than Dobby, tail Draco? Why does Dobby participate?
4. **What agreement might Dumbledore and Snape have? Why would Snape want to back
Chapter 20:
1. Why did Ginny argue with Dean? What is Harry's reaction to the news? Why is Hermione
suspicious of this?
2. What do the two memories reveal about Voldemort?
3. Why does Dumbledore tell Harry there will be no more lessons? What does Harry need to
4. Why would Tom Riddle have taken such a lowly job at Borgin & Burke's?
5. **What reasons might Dumbledore have had to refuse Tom Riddle the Defense Against the
Dark Arts position? What's the long-term result of this decision?
Chapter 21:
1. Why does Harry decide not to test the Prince's Sectumsempra spell?
2. Why does Harry believe his Potions book can help him retrieve Slughorn's memory? What
does Hermione say?
3. Why does Tonks say she is looking for Dumbledore? What does she mean by "nothing in
4. Why is Tonks always so sad? Why does Hermione doubt that Tonks was in love with Sirius?
5. **Ron jokingly tells Hermione he "loves" her. Is he really joking or do his words reveal
deeper feelings? What is Hermione's reaction?
Chapter 22:
1. Why does Harry invite Slughorn to the funeral?
2. What might Harry have been intending to save the Felix Felicis potion for?
3. How does Harry persuade Slughorn to give him the memory? What helps him?
Chapter 23:
1. Why might Voldemort have created so many Horcruxes? Was this wise? If not, explain.
2. What is the significance of each object Voldemort hides the Horcruxes in?
3. Why was Dumbledore so frequently absent from Hogwarts?
4. ** How would love be able to defeat Voldemort? Does Harry truly understand its
Chapter 24:
1. Why does Malfoy fear for his and his family's lives should he fail to complete his task?
2. **Why would Harry cast a spell without knowing what it does? Was he justified in using it?
3. **Why does Snape only assign Harry detention for such a serious offense, rather than
recommend he be expelled?
Chapter 25:
1. What exactly did Snape hear when Trelawney related the prophecy to Dumbledore?
2. **What might have Snape done or said that has made Dumbledore trust him implicitly?
3. **Why did Dumbledore never tell Harry who overheard the prophecy?
4. **Why were Harry's repeated warnings about Draco Malfoy continually ignored, especially
considering Malfoy's obviously suspicious behavior?
Chapter 26:
1. What was the green liquid that Dumbledore drank?
2. Why would Dumbledore ask a still-unqualified student to accompany him on such a
dangerous mission?
3. Why did Dumbledore wish Harry to kill him?
4. **Why did the young Tom Riddle (Voldemort) take the two orphans to the cave?

Chapter 27:
1. If Dumbledore did not know about Snape's Unbreakable Vow, he nevertheless suggests to
Draco Malfoy that "perhaps Severus may have told you so," implying that Snape might not
really be disobeying Dumbledore. Is it possible he was bluffing to Malfoy?
2. **Why did Dumbledore paralyze Harry Potter under his Invisibility Cloak upon Draco's
arrival on the Tower?
3. **Why would Snape kill Albus Dumbledore? Was it ruthless murder or a prearranged plan?
4. **If Snape actually is loyal to Dumbledore (as Dumbledore always claimed), why wouldn't
he be willing to sacrifice himself to save Dumbledore and Harry?
5. **Why did the Avada Kedavra curse affect Dumbledore differently than it has others?
Chapter 28:
1. Why does Snape not curse or kill or capture Harry to bring him to Voldemort during his
escape? Why would Snape tell Harry what he is doing wrong as Harry attempts to curse
2. **Who might R.A.B. be?
3. **Why would Snape react so strongly when Harry called him a coward?
4. **During his duel with Snape, why didn't Harry cast any spells nonverbally, one of Snape's
first lessons in Defence Against the Dark Arts?
Chapter 29:
1. Why does Mrs. Weasley believe Fleur will end her engagement to Bill Weasley? What is
Fleur's reaction?
2. Can Tonks and Lupin's relationship last? What precautions must they take?
3. Why does Hogwarts close early? Will it reopen next year?
4. Why does Harry refuse to tell McGonagall what happened after he and Dumbledore left for
the cave? Couldn't she get this same information from Dumbledore's portrait?
5. ** What reasons might Snape have killed Dumbledore? Is it possible he is still loyal to
Dumbledore even after causing his death?
Chapter 30:
1. What does Harry mean when he says he is, "Dumbledore's man, through and through"?
2. Why does Harry end his relationship with Ginny? Is it likely they will reunite in the future?
3. Why did Harry not want Ron and Hermione to join his search for the remaining Horcruxes?
4. ** Why would Dumbledore want to be buried at Hogwarts?