Thursday, July 15, 2004

Who is the Half-Blood Prince?

It has been an agonisingly long wait for Potter fans the world over, with no new Harry Potter-related trivia between the release of movie ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ and the completion of Book Six in the Harry Potter series. However, websites related to the Potter phenomenon have been rife with rumours about the name of Book Six in the series, including the now infamous ‘Harry Potter and the Pillar of StorgĂ©’. In fact, the author’s website has a separate section dedicated to rumours!  

J K Rowling has now laid all speculation to rest with the announcement of the title, “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince”, thereby creating a ripple of anticipation among fans worldwide. 

Ms. Rowling, on her website, adds that the Half Blood Prince is neither Harry Potter nor Voldermort. She also hints that she had once considered this title for the second book in the series, ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’, thereby setting in motion a wave of speculation among fans as to who the Half Blood Prince could be. 

Anushka Ravishankar, a playwright and author for children herself, feels, "I suspect Hagrid isn't exactly what he seems - maybe he's the Half Blood Prince? Though I wouldn't dare to guess what the other half is..." As for the book itself, "I consider the third book, 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban', as the most complex and the best. But somehow, the two books that followed weren't quite in the same league. I hope the sixth one is better." 

Sanjay Subrahmanyan, Carnatic Vocalist and a major Potter fan, also believes it could be Hagrid. The reason being, “In one of the earlier books, it was mentioned that Hagrid has giant blood in him. Hence, the half blood could actually mean half giant and he could well be the prince among them. Moreover, Rowling normally uses an existing character from an older book to take things forward. And Hagrid has been a constant in each of the books.” 

Sanjay Santhanam, a marketing professional, believes, “If it’s neither Harry nor Voldermort, and has links to Book Two, then it must be Salazar Slytherin himself!” After a dramatic pause, he adds, “In Book Two, there’s the diary that brings Harry face to face with Tom Riddle, an alternate self of Voldermort and a descendent of Slytherin. Maybe in Book Six, he gets to meet an alternate self of Slytherin himself, and we’ll discover that Slytherin was also a half blood?” 

“The Half Blood Prince is probably half wizard and half muggle. And since this book is later in the series, the novelty of the entire concept may be wearing off. So, I think the author is introducing a new character in the Half Blood Prince.” Says Rangashree, Manager and Coordinator of Goodbooks. She adds, “This character could be the same age as Harry and he could prove to be a friend or an anti hero, going by the importance in the title.” 

Lavanya, a pre-teen and an avid Potter reader, agrees but adds, “Considering the title says Prince, I would assume it’s somebody of royal lineage. We haven’t had any such characters so far in the series. Maybe this Half Blood Prince has some interesting history like Harry did, involving Voldermort. For all we know, he could even be related to Voldermort!” She reasons, “As Voldermort wants to wipe-out all half-bloods, this new character could be an ally, being half-blood himself, who will fight Voldermort alongside Harry.” 

"I don’t know who the Half Blood Prince could be. I’m sure it’s an existing character - I’ll have to go through the older books to figure that out.” Says Tejasvi, in her tenth standard, "But I’m praying hard that the new book gets completed and released after my public exams in April 2005! It would be a tragedy for me if it came out before.” 

While fans are poring over the earlier books to deduce what will happen in Book Six, the author has admitted to following a complicated timeline and event chart as an aid in writing out the sixth book. And although the book looks like it could well take a long time to come out, the announcement of the title will keep imaginations busy. At least until the next rumour crops up…

Pic courtesy Third Eye
An edited version of this article was published in Madras Plus in 2004.

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