On Harry Potter
Defense Against the Real Dark Arts
At the beginning of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, both wizarding and Muggle worlds are in upheaval. Fear and gloom pervade both universes as a dismayed Prime Minister of Great Britain stands in his Downing Street office with the newly deposed Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, and Fudge’s successor, Rufus Scrimgeour. Upon hearing word of Lord Voldemort’s return and the ensuing mayhem, the Prime Minister gazes hopelessly for a moment at the pair of them, then finally blurts out in frustration: “‘But for heaven’s sake– you’re wizards! You can do magic! Surely you can sort out–well–anything!’” (Half-Blood Prince 18). By the time the Prime Minister speaks these words, Harry Potter is about to begin his sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he will continue his Defense Against the Dark Arts studies. Yet, despite Harry’s five years of Dark Arts study (albeit with some pretty incompetent professors), Voldemort is more powerful than ever, and the final showdown between the two looms ominously. And, as Half-Blood Prince closes, Harry knows, in refusing Scrimgeour’s protection, that the Ministry can’t sort out his problems any more, it seems, than his beloved Dumbledore could.
But Harry has learned a great deal at Hogwarts–about himself, his parents, his teachers, and about Voldemort. However, insight into the early lives of his family and Tom Riddle is not the most important thing that the Boy Who Lived has acquired in his years at Hogwarts. In learning to fight Voldemort and the Dark Arts, Harry …