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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Chapter Sixteen:
A Very Frosty Christmas

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

U.S. hardcover edition: pages 325 - 348
U.K. hardcover edition: pages 305 - 326
Timeframe: 21-25 December, 1996 [Y16]

In which Harry and Ron discuss Malfoy and Snape, Harry tells Mr. Weasley his suspicions and hears about the Ministry's poor fight against Death Eaters, Lupin talks about Snape and Greyback, and Harry discovers that the Half-Blood Prince's book was fifty years old.  Percy shows up on Christmas with Scrimgeour, who then asks Harry to support the Ministry, and Harry refuses strongly, saying he disapproves of the actions the Ministry has been taking.

A Very Frosty Christmas

The chapter title has a double meaning that may be lost in translation. The surface meaning refers to typical winter weather in England; the next layer refers to the emotional atmosphere between the characters in the chapter (Harry and Scrimgeour, mainly, but to a lesser degree Molly and her daughter-in-law-to-be).

Interesting facts and notes about the text of this chapter:

Oh, my poor heart, where has it gone?
It's left me for a spell...

Another candidate for jokes to be lost in translation.

Who's Greyback?

"Fenrir Greyback is, perhaps, the most savage werewolf alive today. He regards it as his mission in life to bite and to contaminate as many people as possible; he wants to create enough werewolves to overcome the wizards. Voldemort has promised him prey in return for his services. Greyback specializes in children...Bite them young, he says, and raise them away from their parents, raise them to hate normal wizards. Voldemort has threatened to unleash him upon people's sons and daughters; it is a threat that usually produces good results.
"It was Greyback who bit me."
Greyback bit Remus because Remus' father had offended him. Remus didn't know for a long time the identity of the werewolf who bit him. Outline of Greyback's tactics to get around the mindless violence of the werewolf state.

Characters introduced in this chapter:

  • none

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....

Spells and Potions:

Links and Resources:

Memorable lines:

  • "Well, you can't break an Unbreakable Vow...."
    "I'd worked that much out for myself, funnily enough."

  • And speaking of hitherto unsuspected skills, Ronald," said George, "what is this we hear from Ginny about you and a young lady called - unless our information is faulty - Lavender Brown?"
    Ron turned a little pink, but did not look displeased as he turned back to the sprouts. "Mind your own business."
    "What a snappy retort," said Fred. "I really don't know how you think of them. No, what we wanted to know did it happen?"
    "What d'you mean?"
    "Did she have an accident or something?"
    "Well, how did she sustain such extensive brain damage?"

  • "Sometimes you remind me a lot of James. He called it my 'furry little problem' in company. Many people were under the impression that I owned a badly behaved rabbit."

  • "Classy. You should definitely wear it in front of Fred and George."

  • "Dumbledore's man through and through, aren't you, Potter?"

Strictly British:


The first part of the chapter takes place on an unspecified day near the start of winter break, though since it says afterward that "Harry did not get a chance to speak to Mr. Weasley... until Chrismas Eve night" it was probably one of the first days back at the Burrow, likely 21 or 22 December. The chapter then continues through Christmas day, 25 December.


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