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Complete, detailed, and amazing Reader's Guides
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Chapter Thirteen:
The Secret Riddle

Notes by Steve Vander Ark and Michele L. Worley
Synopsis and links by John Kearns

U.S. hardcover edition: pages 258 - 278
U.K. hardcover edition: pages 242 - 260
Timeframe: a Monday evening in mid-October, 1996 [Y16]

In which Harry has his second lesson with Dumbledore, where they briefly discuss Mundungus and Draco, and Dumbledore discusses Merope with Harry again. Together, they then view a memory of Dumbledore's, where he visits Voldemort's childhood orphanage to invite him to school. In it, Dumbledore learns Riddle's history and discovers that he has already been using magic, hates his name, likes to steal and collect trinkets, and neither has nor desires friends.

The Secret Riddle

The chapter title is a nice play on words.

Interesting facts and notes about the text of this chapter:

Contains character analysis of Tom Riddle by Dumbledore.

"Then you will address me as 'Professor' or 'sir.'"

Echoes of Snape's remarks to Harry during their first Occlumency tutorial.

Characters introduced in this chapter:

Characters returning in this chapter:

Characters mentioned in this chapter:

Settings and locations introduced or returning in this chapter:

Settings and locations mentioned in this chapter:

Exceptional character moments:

  • Still to come....


  • (unnamed) nonverbal spell Dumbledore performs to make Mrs. Cole stop questioning him about Hogwarts

  • (unnamed) spells young Tom Riddle was able to perform at the orphanage

  • (unnamed) nonverbal spells Dumbledore uses to light the wardrobe on fire (Incendio?), then put it out

Links and Resources:

Memorable lines:

  • "Oh, and Malfoy knows, of course," said Harry to Ron and Hermione, who continued their new policy of feigning deafness whenever Harry mentioned his Malfoy-Is-a-Death-Eater theory.

  • "It's very hard to catch him at it. There have been incidents.... Nasty things..."

  • "I can make bad things happen to people who annoy me. I can make them hurt if I want to."

Strictly British:


The chapter takes place the Monday evening following the previous chapter's trip to Hogsmeade. All we know about the date is that it is in the middle of October.


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