Choice vs. Fate:
Tom Marvolo Riddle: The 6th installment is like an ode to Riddle. Was Tom Riddle fated to become Lord Voldemort bc of his mother's poor choices? Or did he choose to twist life's opportunities into the ill-gotten fame & glory he desperately desired? I greatly appreciated the way that Riddle's past was shared as it humanized the man who sought to defeat death.
Harry James Potter: The Chosen One. On the heels of an emotional 5th year, we see Harry take a quick turn as he allows fame & glory go to his head. To me, Harry's initial enjoyment of the glory just adds to his & Tom's parallels, which brings choice vs. fate back around again. Did Harry ever choose to be The Chosen One? No, Voldemort did. But then again, Harry could have run away or given in, but instead he chose to take on the task by the end of the book. So - was Harry fated or did he choose?
Regrets & Flaws:
Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore: While we see a lot of Dumbledore in this book, the mystery around the man only grows. Does he regret bringing Tom to Hogwarts, or leaving Harry with the Dursley's? Or perhaps pushing away loved ones such as Harry? Clearly the gut-wrenching scene in the cavern is too much to bare. When we read between the lines of the Half-Blood Prince, we see that Dumbledore's wisdom is sometimes gained through his life regrets.
Professor Horace Eugene Flaccus Slughorn: The way we meet Prof Slughorn sums up his entire character. He is a flawed buffoon who finds his own self worth in the achievements of others while locking away every life regret. I don't agree with his philosophies, but I appreciate his character's presence in the series; he is the personification of poor decisions that we try to forget, or the act of attempting to rewrite the past. Even teachers don’t always know the right answers. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
Do you think that it was Tom Riddle's fate to become evil because of how he was conceived? Or do you think that he could have learned the capacity to love and therefore lived a very different life?