What does the half-blood prince mean

Why was the half-blood prince's identity important to the story?

What follows is a lengthy analysis that argues the throw, but there is one way in which it is very important.

The fact that Snape was the Half-Blood Prince enables him to identify that Harry cursed Malfoy with Sectumsempra. So he asks for Harry's Potions book and asks Harry to bring him his books. This is what causes Harry to hide his copy in the Requirement Room. This is how he came across the Ravenclaw Horcrux diadem for the first time, and of course he knew where to find it in 7.

Yes, it is important to the story in and of itself.


Well, it isn't strictly necessary to get us from Harry to survive the killing curse in Book 1 until Harry defeats Voldemort in Book 7.

However, the character of Severus Snape is one of the most important and interesting in the series (including the plot, as he is of course heavily involved in Dumbledore's machinations). Obviously you are thinking in terms of The Philosopher's Stone that for most of the time he's the bad guy; then it turns out that he really was on Harry's side the whole time. After that, there are a number of moments when his allegiance is called into question, but the facts of The Philosopher's Stone keep you Hermione - and even Harry and Ron - more or less satisfied. Then experience you in The Goblet of Fire that he was a Death Eater, and then of course it comes Spinner's End - which pretty much leaves the question mark. I don't know about you, but I fell for it and thought he was Voldemort's double agent. Then he kills Dumbledore and it seems confirmed. You despise him.

This, of course, prepares us for the final great twist in The Prince's Tale , my favorite chapter of all time.

Snape as the half-blood prince plays a role in this. Here you have this book

the book that had taught Harry so much ... the book that had become some kind of guide and friend?

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - p.491 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 24, Sectumsempra

This book is a mine of information:

Harry woke up early in the morning of the trip, which turned out to be stormy, and spent the time leading up to breakfast reading his issue of Advanced Potion-Making too read. He wasn't usually in bed reading his textbooks; That kind of behavior, as Ron rightly said, wasn't indecent with anyone except Hermione, who was just weird that way. However, Harry felt that the copy of Advanced Potion-Making of the Half-Blood Prince could hardly be qualified as a textbook. The more Harry thought about the book, the more he realized how much was in it, not just the practical hints and acronyms for potions that made him so good at Slughorn, but also the imaginative little curses and hexes that came in the book was scrawled with margins that Harry was sure the prince himself had invented, judging by the crossovers and reworks.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - pp. 223-4 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 12, Silver and opals

This book without that:

I would never have won the Felix Felicis. I never would have known how to save Ron from poisoning.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - p.496 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 24, Sectumsempra

And you and Harry are very attached to it, defending it against Hermione. You're included, just like Harry:

He stopped and looked out the window. He couldn't stop himself from pondering Dumbledore's inexcusable trust in Snape ... but as Hermione had accidentally reminded him, Harry had been welcomed the same way ... despite the growing malice of those scrawled spells, he had refused to believe badly about the boy who had been so smart, who had helped him so much ...

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - p.594 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 30, The white grave

This adds to your sense of betrayal, it adds to your feelings about Snape, it's all part of the Snape backstory with its many twists and turns, all of which add to the power and clarity of one of Harry Potter's great mysteries. Hated Snape, Dumbledore's killer, was perhaps the bravest of men, sacrificed himself and worked for Dumbledore all the time. And why? For his only great love.

I think it's important, I think it's important that we learn that our friend the Half-Blood Prince was the man we now despise, Severus Snape, at the end of book 6.

But on top of that, it's also a nice little look at confidence, we're being taken for a little ride or seem to be doing it anyway. And at the end of 6, it has the purpose indicated above to excuse Dumbledore's trust. We might be tempted to wonder how the great man could be fooled by Snape if it hadn't been for us.

However, in some ways this is over-analysis. Why shouldn't it just be character development? Simply developing one of the most important, controversial and courageous characters in the series?

I mean, what's so special about Harry Potter? It's Hogwarts and Quidditch and the House Cup and Honeyduke's Candy Store and Potions and Transfiguration and Spells and Dinner in the Great Hall and Gryffindor Tower. It's the mundane, it's the relationships you build over literally thousands of pages with these characters that get you so immersed in the world. That makes re-reading the books like seeing old friends. In fact, almost none of it really advances the plot, but I couldn't be without it.

And finally, it's strange. The Book of the Half-Blood Prince plays a central role in the story. So Harry gets Felix Felicis, and so he gets the memory of Slughorn. This is also how he learns about bezoars and it's a big piece of magic for us.

The title doesn't just refer to the book. There is a double meaning. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is not all about advanced potion making but also Harry Potter and Severus Snape. Snape is obviously a big part of this book,

Killing Dumbledore.

We spend the whole story wondering about him and Malfoy and what they're up to and whether Snape is really a Death Eater and who is trying to kill Malfoy and so on and so forth.

The fact that Snape = The Half-Blood Prince, however, is not a great detail in terms of the sheer progress of the story. And yet the premise of your question seems to be that it is important to the story, but you seem to want us to tell you why: PI means you decide how important you think it is.

Rand al'Thor ♦

Absolutely brilliant answer. You will receive a bounty from me once the question is old enough to put a bounty on it.

Rand al'Thor ♦

I would like to vote once for the second paragraph, once for the excellent analysis a few paragraphs later of our perception of Snape, once for " The Prince's Tale , my favorite chapter of all time "... and that's only the first quarter of the answer!


"It's the mundane, it's the relationships you build over literally thousands of pages with these characters that make you feel so immersed in the world." The same goes for the real world, except for thousands of hours!


You brought me something nice, thank you. As a kid I didn't have a lot of money so I always waited and bought the paperbacks (except 7!). So reading HBP didn't really have to this Thrill for me. But this. This.


@bleh I agree to the above. Why mark spoilers for one event and not mark the other? Just silly.