Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

by

J. K. Rowling

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Lord Voldemort / Tom Riddle Character Analysis

Also known as the Dark Lord, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, or You-Know-Who, Voldemort is the novel’s antagonist, a Dark wizard who has recently returned to his full strength and is now marshaling his army to wreak havoc on the Wizarding world. Cruel, cold, and solitary, Voldemort demands absolute devotion from his followers but remains fundamentally isolated and alone, never forming friendships or placing his trust in anyone. In previous books he’s appeared as a shadowy figure with little characterization or background, but in Half-Blood Prince it emerges that Voldemort comes from a prestigious but bigoted and cruel family, that even as a young child he desired to hurt and control others, and that he was planning his rise to power even as a student at Hogwarts. In some ways, Voldemort’s background is similar to Harry’s: both come from families who care more about status and power than the well-being of their offspring, both grow up as lonely orphans, and both find their first sense of security and belonging at Hogwarts. However, while Harry transcends his upbringing to forge meaningful relationships and develop good values, Voldemort succumbs to his own, inheriting his family’s sense of uniqueness and entitlement and never valuing the power of love. In this sense, Voldemort is a foil to Harry, showing how personal choices cause people to evolve in radically different directions, even if they begin life in similar circumstances.

Lord Voldemort / Tom Riddle Quotes in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince quotes below are all either spoken by Lord Voldemort / Tom Riddle or refer to Lord Voldemort / Tom Riddle . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scholastic edition of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince published in 2006.
Chapter Four: Horace Slughorn Quotes

[Harry] could not quite keep a note of derision out of his voice; it was hard to sympathize with Slughorn’s cosseted existence when he remembered Sirius, crouching in a cave and living on rats. “Most of the teachers aren’t in it, and none of them has ever been killed – well, unless you count Quirrell, and he got what he deserved seeing as he was working with Voldemort.”

Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Five: An Excess of Phlegm Quotes

Moreover, it had seemed the right destiny for him since he had heard the prophecy a few weeks ago…Neither can live while the other survives…Wouldn’t he be living up to the prophecy, and giving himself the best chance of survival, if he joined those highly trained wizards whose job it was to find and kill Voldemort?

Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Thirty: The White Tomb Quotes

…People who cared about him had stood in front of him one by one, his mother, his father, his godfather, and finally Dumbledore, all determined to protect him; but now that was over. He could not let anybody else stand between him and Voldemort; he must abandon forever the illusion he ought to have lost at the age of one, that the shelter of a parent’s arms meant that nothing could hurt him. There was no waking from this nightmare, no comforting whisper in the dark that he was safe really…the last and greatest of his protectors had died, and he was more alone than he had ever been before.

Page Number: 645
Explanation and Analysis:

…In spite of everything, in spite of the dark and twisting path he saw stretching ahead for himself, in spite of the final meeting with Voldemort he knew must come, whether in a month, in a year, or in ten, he felt his heart lift at the thought that there was still one last golden day of peace left to enjoy with Ron and Hermione.

Page Number: 652
Explanation and Analysis:
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Lord Voldemort / Tom Riddle Character Timeline in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The timeline below shows where the character Lord Voldemort / Tom Riddle appears in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter One: The Other Minister
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...wizards’ prison, Azkaban. He explains that Black is an accomplice of a dark wizard named Voldemort, who may or may not still be alive. In subsequent years Fudge informs the Prime... (full context)
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...in the Wizarding world. Brusquely, Fudge says that they have “the same concerns:” in fact, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has returned, and his followers have caused both the bridge collapse and hurricane, as well... (full context)
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The Wizarding world, says Fudge, is now at war with Voldemort. The Brockdale Bridge collapse was an act of reprisal after Fudge refused to step aside... (full context)
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With few successes in the fight against Voldemort so far, morale is low in the Ministry – especially since Amelia Bones, head of... (full context)
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The Prime Minister scolds Fudge, saying that he has to do something to contain Voldemort; but Fudge ruefully responds that it’s no longer his responsibility, as he’s been pushed out... (full context)
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...Prime Minister’s security – but Scrimgeour points out that it will be a disaster if Voldemort manages to enchant him. Scrimgeour explains that the Minister’s new secretary, Kingsley Shacklebolt, is actually... (full context)
Chapter Two: Spinner’s End
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...saying that she if she talks about “the plan” to anyone, she’ll be betraying the Dark Lord ’s trust. The first woman draws her wand; when the other asks if she would... (full context)
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...the small man returns with three glasses of wine, Snape raises a toast to the Dark Lord . (full context)
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...to explain the reasons for her mistrust. Passionately, Bellatrix asks where Snape was when the Dark Lord fell and how he spent so many years living “in Dumbledore’s pocket,” doing nothing to... (full context)
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...says that during all the years he’s spent at Hogwarts, he’s been a spy for Voldemort. After Voldemort fell the first time, he believed him dead – as did many of... (full context)
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...Hogwarts education. He thwarted Quirrell because he didn’t know that Quirrell was an agent of Voldemort, and when Voldemort finally summoned him with the Dark Mark, he returned late in order... (full context)
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Enraged, Bellatrix insists that she is Voldemort’s favorite disciple. Smirking, Snape asks if this is still the case after the recent disaster... (full context)
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...to know why he hasn’t killed Harry Potter yet. Snape admits that, like many of Voldemort’s followers, he once thought that, by defeating him, Harry might have proved himself the next... (full context)
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...to Narcissa, Snape asks what kind of help she needs. Falteringly, she explains that the Dark Lord has entrusted her family with a plan about which she’s not about to speak. Snape... (full context)
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Narcissa is sure that the Dark Lord has chosen Draco for this project in order to punish Lucius. Snape confirms that the... (full context)
Chapter Three: Will and Won’t
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...on Harry himself, wondering whether he is indeed the only wizard who can take on Voldemort. Another article on the front page reports that Rufus Scrimgeour has succeeded Cornelius Fudge as... (full context)
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...in frigid silence. Dumbledore addresses the Dursleys, informing them that with the return of Lord Voldemort, Harry is in more danger than ever – even more than when Dumbledore first left... (full context)
Chapter Four: Horace Slughorn
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...asks if Harry’s scar has been hurting him; Harry says it hasn’t, which means that Voldemort has ceased trying to gain access to Harry’s mind. (full context)
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...the order. None of them have been killed except for Quirrell, who was working with Voldemort and “got what he deserved.” As long as Dumbledore is Headmaster, the teachers are probably... (full context)
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...him to “crack up.” The best way to honor his godfather is to take down Voldemort. Dumbledore commends him on his sentiments, saying he’s talking like his father’s son. (full context)
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...only Harry and Dumbledore have actually heard the prophecy, which states that neither Harry nor Voldemort can live while the other survives. Dumbledore warns Harry not to speak freely about the... (full context)
Chapter Five: An Excess of Phlegm
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...Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects. Ever since Voldemort’s return, unscrupulous people have been selling false protective charms and amulets; Mr. Weasley’s job is... (full context)
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...Weasley complains that Bill is rushing into an engagement because of all the panic about Voldemort. Ginny counters that Bill likes the adventure and glamor that “Phlegm” provides, and Harry and... (full context)
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...estranged from the family, even though his bosses at the Ministry proved drastically wrong about Voldemort’s return. (full context)
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...prophecy, and he admits to his friends the terrifying revelation that he must either kill Voldemort or be killed by him. As they’re all staring at each other in silence, there’s... (full context)
Chapter Seven: The Slug Club
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Suddenly, it occurs to Harry that Draco has replaced Lucius as a Death Eater in Voldemort’s army, but Ron and Hermione dismiss this possibility, saying that Voldemort wouldn’t want an accomplice... (full context)
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...in the Order of the Phoenix. By choosing to believe that it referred to Harry, Voldemort made him into the “Chosen One” and doomed his parents. He wonders what his life... (full context)
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...on to “bigger and better things.” Seeing how impressed Pansy is, he continues that the Dark Lord won’t care about anyone’s grades, only about “the level of devotion he was shown.” Draco... (full context)
Chapter Eight: Snape Victorious
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More gravely, Dumbledore reminds the students that with Voldemort’s rise they are all in danger; all the students should take security measures seriously, no... (full context)
Chapter Nine: The Half-Blood Prince
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...Arts. However, Hermione points out, Snape is actually mirroring what Harry previously said about facing Voldemort: that fighting Dark magic is about “brains and guts” more than memorizing spells. Harry is... (full context)
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...from anything written in a book – she’s referring to her own disastrous experience with Voldemort’s diary years ago. Emboldened, Hermione grabs the book from Harry’s hands and casts a number... (full context)
Chapter Ten: The House of Gaunt
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...his cluttered office. The professor announces that it’s time for Harry to learn more about Voldemort’s motivations and intentions. Dumbledore has told Harry almost everything he knows, and from this point... (full context)
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...about the hovel and asking her companion why he doesn’t remove it. The young man, Tom Riddle Sr., responds that this is the only land in the village that doesn’t belong... (full context)
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...and the son says viciously that Merope is always “hanging out the window” waiting for Tom Riddle Sr. to pass by. Furious that his daughter is “hankering after a filthy, dirt-veined... (full context)
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...On his way down the lane, he crashes into the carriage and its handsome driver Tom Riddle Sr., who laughs heartily at Ogden’s panic. Dumbledore tugs on Harry’s arm, pulling him... (full context)
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...history of Muggle attacks. Recognizing the name, Harry realizes that the old man is actually Voldemort’s grandfather, and Merope his mother. Dumbledore explains that, although they were once a prestigious Wizarding... (full context)
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Moreover, Dumbledore reveals that the Muggle attacked by Morfin is Tom Riddle Sr., Merope’s secret love and Voldemort’s father. Harry can’t believe that two such mismatched... (full context)
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...dies soon after his release. While it’s hard to tell exactly what happened between To Riddle Sr. and Merope, Dumbledore explains that some months after his elopement, Tom returned to the... (full context)
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...Harry stands up. Before leaving, he asks Dumbledore again if it’s important to know about Voldemort’s past, and the professor responds that it is imperative. Harry asks for and receives permission... (full context)
Chapter Eleven: Hermione’s Helping Hand
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...him that it’s because, after all he endured last year before being proved right about Voldemort, he’s an intriguing and “fanciable” figure. Ron points out that he too has scars from... (full context)
Chapter Thirteen: The Secret Riddle
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...wonders why she didn’t use magic to help herself. Dumbledore suggests that her despair at Tom’s abandonment sapped her powers, to the point where she couldn’t stay alive even to save... (full context)
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...memories, in which he visits a grimy London orphanage to invite one of its charges, Tom Riddle, to attend Hogwarts. Although she’s initially distrustful, the overlooked matron Mrs. Cole opens up... (full context)
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Mrs. Cole takes Dumbledore to Tom’s room, where he sits in front of the pale, arrogant boy and explains gently that... (full context)
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Tom demands that Dumbledore “prove” he’s a wizard, so the professor points his wand at the... (full context)
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Dumbledore explains that since Tom has no money, Hogwarts will provide his robes and supplies. Tom quickly rejects the professor’s... (full context)
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As Tom bids the professor farewell, Harry and Dumbledore step out of the memory, discussing Tom’s extreme... (full context)
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Dumbledore also points out Tom’s disdain for his own name, which shows his core desire to be “different, separate, notorious.”... (full context)
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Lastly, Dumbledore remarks that even as a child Voldemort was addicted to “trophies” from his exploits. He says this characteristic will prove important later.... (full context)
Chapter Fourteen: Felix Felicis
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...day, Harry updates Ron and Hermione on his lesson – although everyone is intrigued by Voldemort’s youth, only Hermione is convinced that the information will be truly useful. Harry asks Hermione... (full context)
Chapter Sixteen: A Very Frosty Christmas
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...Lupin reveals he’s been undercover among the werewolf population, most of whom are sympathetic to Voldemort. They’re tired of being shunned by society and believe they’ll have a better life under... (full context)
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...Harry is actually “the Chosen One,” the public’s perception that he’s uniquely equipped to fight Voldemort is important to preserving morale. Given this, he wants Harry to start visiting the Ministry,... (full context)
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...just last year the Ministry was doing its best to smear his reputation and ignore Voldemort’s return. (full context)
Chapter Seventeen: A Sluggish Memory
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...changes the subject to the memories he wishes to share tonight. He recalls that when Tom Riddle arrived at Hogwarts, he proved himself an unusually gifted student, becoming the favorite of... (full context)
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The few people willing to recount memories of Riddle testify to his obsession with his ancestry and never-ceasing hope that his father was a... (full context)
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...is occupied by Morfin, now old and drunk. The door opens and a handsome boy, Tom Riddle, appears. Morfin stands up and moves to attack him, but Riddle orders him to... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Voldemort travels to the village of Little Hangleton and kills his Tom Riddle Sr. and his... (full context)
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...a young Professor Slughorn relaxing in his office, surrounded by several teenage boys – including Tom Riddle. Slughorn is wagging his finger at Riddle and jokingly scolding him for being able... (full context)
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Just as suddenly, the fog clears and Slughorn begins to send the boys to bed. Riddle lingers in his office and asks Slughorn what he knows about Horcruxes. Again, fog fills... (full context)
Chapter Twenty: Lord Voldemort’s Request
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...having given the matter more attention. Dumbledore quietly acknowledges this and changes the subject to Voldemort’s murky life after Hogwarts. Having become a top student and Head Boy by his last... (full context)
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At Borgin and Burkes, Voldemort quickly rose through the ranks and was often sent to persuade people to sell their... (full context)
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Riddle begins to negotiate for some armor that Burke wants to buy, but Hepzibah interrupts him,... (full context)
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The second box reveals a large golden necklace; holding it up, Riddle immediately deduces that it once belonged to Slytherin. Hepzibah says she bought the necklace from... (full context)
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...a house-elf. Meanwhile, Hepzibah’s family notices that her two most valuable possessions are missing and Tom Riddle suddenly vanishes from his job. (full context)
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Thinking over this episode, Dumbledore remarks that Riddle killed not for revenge, as with his father, but to gain trophies – the same... (full context)
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...the same office, looking at a younger version of his professor. The door opens and Riddle enters; no longer a handsome young man, his face seems “waxy and oddly distorted.” Dumbledore... (full context)
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With composure, Dumbledore says that frightening rumors have reached him about Riddle’s activities; Riddle dismisses this, saying that people are jealous of his greatness and his knowledge... (full context)
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Dumbledore remarks on the sinister group of acolytes Riddle has cultivated. Many of them, calling themselves Death Eaters, are waiting for him in Hogsmeade... (full context)
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As Voldemort leaves, Harry and Dumbledore exit the memory. Dumbledore says that he doesn’t know exactly why... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Two: After the Burial
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...the night in grim detail, especially his mother’s brave decision to stand between him and Voldemort. Slughorn is upset and frightened, especially because Lily was one of his favorite pupils. Harry... (full context)
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...he is, in fact, the Chosen One, and that he needs the memory to kill Voldemort. Slughorn is very impressed and Harry presses his advantage, urging him to “be brave like... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Three: Horcruxes
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...Penseive and he and Harry find again find themselves in the young Slughorn’s office, with Riddle and the other Slytherins sitting around him. Instead of blotting out his words in fog,... (full context)
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After the other students leave, Riddle stays behind and asks Slughorn about Horcruxes. The professor is taken aback, but Riddle perseveres,... (full context)
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When Riddle presses for more information on the mechanics of this magic, Slughorn becomes irritated, asking if... (full context)
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...exit the memory. Dumbledore says that this episode confirms his theories: that as a teenager, Voldemort had already figured out how to make himself immortal, perhaps many times over. Dumbledore reveals... (full context)
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Harry asks why Voldemort didn’t just use a Sorcerer’s Stone to guarantee immortality, rather than this more drastic course.... (full context)
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...Harry points out that any object could technically be a Horcrux. But Dumbledore responds that Voldemort has always been attracted to powerful or significant objects, and that he’s probably taken great... (full context)
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Even if Voldemort did manage to procure something belonging to Ravenclaw, the remaining Horcrux remains unclear to Harry... (full context)
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Harry asks if Voldemort can tell when a Horcrux is destroyed, and Dumbledore responds that he’s probably dehumanized himself... (full context)
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If all the Horcruxes are destroyed, Voldemort can be killed – but only by someone with “uncommon skill or power.” Discouraged, Harry... (full context)
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...love is the power referenced in the prophecy. However, the prophecy is only important because Voldemort heard it and chose to kill the Potters, thus giving Harry both the desire for... (full context)
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By trying to kill Harry, Voldemort actually paved the way for his own defeat. Dumbledore points out that, although Harry can... (full context)
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Dumbledore says it’s not the prophecy that requires Harry to fight Voldemort – it’s his sense of injustice and all the terrible deeds he has witnessed in... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Five: The Seer Overheard
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...in shock, realizing that it was Snape who heard the prophecy and carried it to Voldemort, thus dooming his parents. (full context)
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...confounded by Dumbledore’s announcement that he has found a Horcrux in a coastal cave, where Tom Riddle once tormented some children from his orphanage. He wants Harry to help him destroy... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Six: The Cave
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...a rocky cliff lapped by dark waves. Dumbledore says this site is near a village Riddle once visited with his orphanage – the young boy brought two other children to this... (full context)
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...when pulled, drags a small rowboat from the bottom of the lake. Dumbledore says that Voldemort must use this boat to check on his Horcrux, and that as long as they’re... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Seven: The Lightning-Struck Tower
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...actually wants to kill him. Draco shouts that he has to do it, or else Voldemort will kill his family. Sympathetically, Dumbledore says he understands this; he hasn’t confronted Draco all... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Eight: Flight of the Prince
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...and he falls to the ground, screaming – only to hear Snape reminding them that Voldemort wants to kill Harry himself. The other Death Eaters leave and Harry staggers toward Snape,... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Nine: Phoenix Lament
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...always implied he had an “ironclad reason” to trust Snape. Harry reveals that Snape passed Voldemort the information about the prophecy and then claimed to Dumbledore that this is his biggest... (full context)
Chapter Thirty: The White Tomb
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...on the Astronomy tower, and doesn’t believe he would actually have killed Dumbledore. Right now, Voldemort might be forcing him to do other terrible things. (full context)
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...himself, Harry tells Ginny that they can no longer be together; he has to fight Voldemort alone, and the Dark wizard might hurt Ginny in order to get to him. (full context)
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...Ginny says she wouldn’t like him so much if he wasn’t determined to hunt down Voldemort. (full context)
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...close, he’s not returning: he has to find the rest of the Horcruxes and fight Voldemort, just as Dumbledore wanted. (full context)
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...world. Still, even though he dreads the “dark and twisting path” and final fight with Voldemort that lies ahead, it raises his spirits to know that there’s still “one last golden... (full context)