As Lord Voldemort’s power increases, Professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) transports Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) to a small village. Here they visit the hideout of Professor Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent), an old potions teacher whom Dumbledore wants to lure back to Hogwarts. Apparently Slughorn, who once taught Tom Riddle/Voldemort, has hidden memories that Dumbledore desperately needs.
Dumbledore asks Harry to befriend Professor Slughorn in the hope that Harry can entice Slughorn into revealing his hidden memories. During a potions class, Harry discovers an old text book belonging to the ‘Half-Blood Prince’. With the assistance of the book, Harry soon becomes Professor Slughorn’s star pupil. Meanwhile Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) has been charged with a special task by Voldemort. He spends all of his spare time experimenting with a vanishing cabinet.
Romance is blossoming between Harry and Ginny Weasley (Bonny Wright), and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) – but not without some typical teenage dramas. Harry spends his Christmas break with the Weasleys. While there, he is lured into a field and attacked by several Death Eaters including Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter). He manages to escape, but not before Bellatrix sets fire to the Weasleys’ house, burning it to the ground.
Back at Hogwarts, Harry’s struggles continue. Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) has been enlisted to help Draco do Voldemort’s evil work. Slughorn is persuaded to reveal his hidden memory. Harry and Dumbledore learn that Voldemort uncovered dark magic that enabled him to split his soul into seven parts, with each part hidden in a magical device called a Horcrux. Harry’s quest is now to find all seven Horcruxes.
Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.
Magic and the supernatural; death and grief; teenage relationships
Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince contains some violence, but there is minimal blood and gore. For example:
- Swirling black vapours (Death Eaters) swoop down from the skies. They crash through shop front windows and explode the window glass. They cause London’s Millennium Bridge to sway and buckle uncontrollably. People run screaming along the collapsing bridge. We see an image of Dumbledore with a severely blackened hand, and we learn that Dumbledore’s wrecked hand was the result of his attempt to destroy a Horcrux.
- When Dumbledore and Harry enter Professor Slughorn’s hideout, a violent struggle seems to have taken place. There are claw marks scratched into the wall, smashed furnishings, and blood dripping from the ceiling. Some of the blood drips onto Harry’s face.
- Draco Malfoy kicks Harry in the head while Harry is lying unconscious on the ground. A short time later we see Harry with a badly deformed and bleeding nose. When a fellow student offers to use magic to fix Harry’s nose, we hear the sound of bones breaking. Harry shouts out in pain but his nose is completely repaired.
- After touching a cursed necklace, a student rises in the air with her arms outstretched as if crucified. She has a terrified look on her face and falls to the ground. She later recovers from her injuries, and we hear that she is lucky to be alive.
- When the Death Eaters attack the Weasleys’ house, they create a wall of flames that surround the house. Harry and Ginny are cornered in a field and threatened by Death Eaters. There is an exchange of blasts between the Death Eaters, Harry and Ginny (lots of flashes of light and lightening), but no-one is injured. The Death Eaters rise into the air as black smoke and then attack the Weasleys’ house, which erupts in a ball of flames.
- After being given poisoned wine, Ron collapses and falls to the ground frothing at the mouth. He stops breathing. Harry frantically searches through a potions cupboard and then puts something into Ron’s mouth, which causes Ron to recover.
- Harry and Draco attack each other, using their wands to blast each other. At the end of the fight, Harry hits Draco in the chest with a curse that leaves Draco unconscious on the floor with several bloody chest wounds.
- In order to gain entrance to a cave, Dumbledore cuts his hand with a knife so that he can spill his blood on the rocks (no blood is depicted).
- After drinking poisoned water, Dumbledore begin to shake and go into a fit. He cries and begs Harry not to make him drink any more, but Harry keeps forcing Dumbledore to drink the poison until it is all gone. When Harry goes to the edge of a lake to get Dumbledore some water, he is attacked by creatures that rise up out of the lake and pull him down under the water. Dumbledore recovers enough to use his wand to create a fire storm, engulfing the creatures in flames and enabling Harry to escape.
- Draco tells Dumbledore that he has to kill him because otherwise he will be killed by Voldemort. Dumbledore manages to convince Draco not to murder him and Draco lowers his wand. Snape arrives and kills Dumbledore, who falls from the top of a tower to the ground below. Following Dumbledore’s death, Bellatrix uses her powers to explode numerous windows and then burns Hagrid’s hut to the ground. Harry chases after Snape. Harry tries to blast Snape with his wand, but Snape manages deflect Harry’s curses and leaves Harry unconscious on the ground.
- We see a very upset and distraught Harry crying over Dumbledore’s body.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of eight. For example:
- In a couple of scenes, the image of a giant skull forms out of dark clouds.
- Menacing images of swirling black ink-like vapours (Death Eaters) travelling at great speed fly through the air.
- In one scene, a lounge chair transforms into a man. The transformation occurs in stages.
- We see a dead giant spider (from an earlier Harry Potter movie). A man rips one of the dead spider’s fangs off in an attempt to extract spider venom.
- A skeletal arm appears suddenly out of a lake and tries to grab hold of Harry. Hundreds of creatures then rise out of the lake and swarm over Harry, pulling him under the water.
- In a couple of scenes, Dumbledore is seen with a blackened and diseased hand.
- Snape grasps the hand of Draco Malfoy’s mother. Magical bonds wrap around their hands while they recite an oath.
- We see images of a man who is also a werewolf. Although we do not see the man transformed as a werewolf, we get a quick glimpse of the man with fangs. His general appearance is scary, threatening and menacing.
Children in this age group could also be disturbed by the above scenes, as well as scenes where main characters are distressed, particularly when Harry cries over Dumbledore’s body.
Some children in this age group could also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.
This movie contains occasional low-level sexual innuendoes and references. For example:
- A Hogwarts boy asks Harry if he would mind introducing him to Hermione. The boy tells Harry that he wouldn’t mind being on a first-name basis with Hermione, ‘If you know what I mean’. Later, Harry tells Hermione that the boy ‘has a bit of a thing for you’.
- A boy sucks his finger in a suggestive manner while looking at Hermione.
- On one occasion, Hermione refers to one Hogwarts boy who was pursuing her as ‘having more tentacles than …’. The same boy refers to Hermione as a ‘slippery little minx’.
- In relation to his girlfriend Lavender Brown, Ron Weasley tells Harry that ‘all she wants to do is snog me … my lips are getting chapped’.
- A student asks Harry, ‘Did you and Ginny do it then?’
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
This movie contains some use of substances. For example:
- Harry, Ron and Hermione sit in a tavern drinking.
- Professor Slughorn holds a party. We see Hogwarts students dressed as waiters serving wine glasses filled with an undefined liquid.
- Ron eats a box of chocolates laced with a strong love potion and acts as if he is high on love.
- Professor Slughorn gives Ron a ‘pick-me-up’, which turns out to be laced with poison.
- Hagrid and Professor Slughorn drink alcohol from large mugs, singing and behaving in a drunken rowdy manner. Hagrid passes out, leaning back in his seat with his mouth open and snoring.
Nudity and sexual activity
This movie contains some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- Hermione often stares longingly at Ron when no-one else is looking.
- Ginny Weasley kisses Harry tenderly on the lips.
- Ron passionately kisses a girl on the mouth.
- Hermione wears a low-cut top that reveals cleavage.
None of concern
This movie contains occasional low-level coarse language and minor putdowns.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the sixth fantasy in the Harry Potter series. It is solid entertainment and contains some genuinely funny and clever humour and stunning special effects. Although it is milder in terms of scary images and violence than other Harry Potter movies, this movie is a little darker and has higher levels of emotion and romance than its predecessors. It also has more mature themes. It reflects the increasing age of Harry and his friends.
The movie’s main messages are that:
- Trust in each other is all important, and doubting one another will lead to defeat.
- To overcome insurmountable odds, you must be able to rely on your friends for friendship, help and support.
Values in this movie that you might wish to reinforce with your children include courage and selflessness.