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

Chapter Twenty:
Lord Voldemort's Request

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

U.S. hardcover edition: pages 423 - 446
U.K. hardcover edition: pages 396 - 418
Timeframe: Monday, 10 March, 1997 [Y17]

In which Ginny fights with Dean and Ron with Lavender, Luna delivers a message to Harry of a lesson with Dumbledore, and Harry arrives at the lesson to find Trelawney being asked to leave. Dumbledore makes Harry feel guilty for not procuring Slughorn's memory, but they view two new memories: in the first, Riddle visits Hepzibah Smith and sees Slytherin's locket days before her death; in the second, Riddle asks Dumbledore for the D.A.D.A. post at Hogwarts, which Dumbledore admits began the curse on the position.

Lord Voldemort's Request

No comments on the chapter title yet.

Interesting facts and notes about the text of this chapter:

Dumbledore had not raised his voice, he did not even sound angry, but Harry would have preferred him to yell; this cold disappointment was worse than anything.

I think we've all been there and done that.

a very old, very rich witch by the name of Hepzibah Smith

One or two people (including me (MLW), but not just me) have begun wondering if Zacharias Smith might not be a relation of hers - particularly given his haughty father, who we'll meet in passing at the end of the year.

"You see, we have never been able to keep a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher for longer than a year since I refused the post to Voldemort."

This doesn't seem consistent with the tone of the earlier books, considering the number of years that had elapsed. Need to update Quirrell's data in light of this, because the evidence up to this point suggested that Harry's first year at Hogwarts wasn't Quirrell's first year teaching.

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....

Spells and Potions:

Links and Resources:

Memorable lines:

  • "Divination is turning out to be much more trouble than I could have foreseen, never having studied the subject myself."

  • "Lovely, madam," squeaked Hokey.
    Harry could only assume that it was down in Hokey's contract that she must lie through her teeth when asked this question, because Hepzibah Smith looked a long way from lovely in his opinion.

  • "I know what you are known as," said Dumbledore, smiling pleasantly. "But to me, I'm afraid, you will always be Tom Riddle. It is one of the irritating things about old teachers. I am afraid that they never quite forget their charges' youthful beginnings."

  • "The time is long gone when I could frighten you with a burning wardrobe and force you to make repayment for your crimes. But I wish I could, Tom.... I wish I could...."

Strictly British:


The entire chapter takes place on the Monday following the previous chapter. Since that chapter ended on Saturday, 8 March, this one must be on Monday, 10 March.


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