Books: Love Potions and Tragic Magic

It's a curious fact about Harry Potter's magic that it doesn't really look all that hard to do. You wiggle the wand, you say the words--"Lumos! Expelliarmus! Accio Car Keys!"--and if you're not a Muggle or a Squib, if you've got the right stuff or the midichlorians or whatever, you're in business. How hard is that? And that Hermione Granger is supposed to be some kind of genius.

What J.K. Rowling does doesn't look that hard either. She's not a showy stylist or a Big Thinker, but in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Scholastic; 652 pages), the sixth novel in...

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