Sixth year students during a Potions class

A sixth year is a student who is in his or her sixth year of magical education.

Hogwarts school

During the sixth year

" [...] the sixth years' free periods were not the hours of blissful relaxation Ron had anticipated, but times in which to attempt to keep up with the vast amount of homework they were being set. Not only were they studying as though they had exams every day, but the lessons themselves had become more demanding then ever before."
Harry Potter[src]

At Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, sixth years are typically 16 to 17 years of age, although some may be older, if they have had to repeat a year like Marcus Flint.

The sixth year is the year in which students advance to N.E.W.T.-level classes. Based off of their O.W.L. scores, and depending on the minimum requirements of the Professor teaching the subject at that time, students are allowed to take any number of classes as long as they meet the requirements. Neither the core classes nor the elective courses are available to any student who does not meet said requirements. While students do have the opportunity to choose whether they wish to continue in particular subjects, those who begin studying N.E.W.T.-level subjects in their sixth year are expected to carry on with the subject into the seventh year, and sit the N.E.W.T. exam in that subject.

Sixth-year students are initially excited to have more free time, but this extra time is intended to help them study and do homework, as many, if not all, teachers assign more homework and give more difficult lessons in their N.E.W.T.-level classes.

Students in the sixth year may also elect to take part in Apparition lessons for a fee of twelve Galleons. Specialized classes such as Alchemy become available if there is sufficient demand.



Known textbooks

Harry Potter's sixth year (1996)

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The Trio in their sixth year

At the opening feast, Dumbledore announces that Professor Snape is taking over the Defence Against the Dark Arts post, while Horace Slughorn will be taking Snape's vacated Potions Master job. This allows Harry and Ron to take the N.E.W.T. course, as Slughorn's entry requirements are lower than Snape's. However, neither of them had anticipated this and don't have the necessary equipment. Slughorn loans them old textbooks, and Harry discovers a large number of alternate instructions handwritten into his book. When he uses these methods, his potion making skills increase greatly. At the end of his first lesson, Harry wins a bottle of Felix Felicis, liquid luck. He finds out later that the book was last owned by someone called "The Half-Blood Prince".


In Albus Dumbledore's first lesson, Dumbledore shows Harry the first of a number of memories he has collected concerning Lord Voldemort's past. It shows a ministry official, Bob Ogden, attempting to arrest a man called Morfin Gaunt for attacking a muggle, Tom Riddle Sr., but fails. Dumbledore reveals later that following Ogden's visit, Morfin's sister, Merope Gaunt had given Riddle Sr. love potion because she was in love with him, and they had later ran away together and conceived a child: Tom Marvolo Riddle, the young Voldemort.

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Sixth year Ron

Harry wants to investigate Draco Malfoy, but has other concerns on his hand; keeping up with his immense workload, training the house Quidditch team having been made Gryffindor Quidditch Captain, putting up with the attractions of numerous girls and studying the Half-Blood Prince's book further; in it, he discovers numerous spells that the Prince supposedly invented himself (e.g Levicorpus, Muffliato etc...etc..). Hermione Granger disapproves of the book, partly because some of its spells have a dark nature, but mainly because it allows Harry to outperform her in Potions. Three times, Slughorn attempts to invite Harry to one of his "Slug Club" parties, but Harry avoids them, in order to avoid leaving Ron out (Harry was invited due to his history, and Hermione due to her vast magical knowledge). During a trip to Hogsmeade, a student and member of Harry's Quidditch team, Katie Bell is imperiused and cursed by a mysterious necklace. Remembering seeing the necklace in Borgin's shop, Harry voices his suspicions of Malfoy to Professor McGonagall, but she states that Malfoy wasn't in Hogsmeade, and that there is no proof that he bought the necklace.

In his next lesson with Dumbledore, Harry first sees Caractacus Burke talking about a locket of Salazar Slytherin's a pregnant and desperate Merope had sold him, Riddle having abandoned her when she stopped giving him love potion, then goes into a memory of Dumbledore's to the orphanage that Riddle had grown up in. Harry learns that Merope had later died in childbirth, and that even at an early age, Riddle had developed his powers, which he used to punish people who annoyed him and had a sadistical, cruel and independent nature, just like the adult Voldemort.

Love is in the air

During a Herbology lesson, Ron expresses his jealously of not being invited to Slughorn's upcoming Christmas party, to the point of teasing Hermione about it. When she tells him that she was planning to invite him, however, his attitude changes, and they begin to show signs of attraction to each other. Harry is unsure how he feels about this, remembering his unsuccessful relationship with Cho Chang during his fifth year.

With Katie unable to play, Harry recruits Dean Thomas onto the Quidditch team, which continues to improve. On their way back from practice however, Harry and Ron come across Dean and Ginny Weasley kissing behind a tapestry. Harry gets a huge urge of jealousy, while Ron and Ginny have a heated argument: Ron states that he doesn't want to see his sister snogging people in public, while Ginny tells him that her love life is none of his business, and that he's only upset because he's never kissed anyone, referencing Harry and Cho's relationship and revealing that Hermione had once kissed Viktor Krum. This piece of information wrecks his relationship with Hermione, as well as his Quidditch skills, and badly alters his personality. Harry meanwhile tries to convince himself that his feelings for Ginny are entirely brotherly, but eventually realizes that he has fallen in love with Ginny.

Slughorn's Christmas Party

In an effort to improve Ron's Quidditch and possibly mend his relationship with Hermione, Harry pretends to slip Ron some Felix Felicis, the day of the match between Gryffindor and Slytherin. Feeling lucky, Ron goes on to save everything the Slytherin chasers throw at him, and Gryffindor hammers Slytherin. However, after the match, Ron accuses Hermione of not having faith in his Quidditch abilities, because she thought he really had taken lucky potion, and starts going out with Lavender Brown to spite her.

As Slughorn's Christmas party approaches, Hermione warns Harry that a number of girls, particularly Romilda Vane, plan to slip him a love potion to get him to invite them. Harry gets round this by going to the party with Luna, while Hermione goes with Cormac McLaggen to get back at Ron (which she regrets very much later). During the party, Malfoy tries unsuccessfully to gatecrash, although Slughorn lets him off the hook. Snape however takes Malfoy out of the party and into a deserted classroom. Harry follows them both and overhears Snape offering to help Malfoy with his mission, which Malfoy flatly refuses, accusing Snape of trying to interfere.

Christmas Day

Christmas time at the Burrow

Christmas at the Burrow

During the Christmas holidays at the Burrow, Harry tells Ron, his father Arthur Weasley and Remus Lupin what he overheard, but they believe that Snape was trying to find out Malfoy's plan so he could tell Dumbledore. Later, Scrimgeour visits the Burrow, and requests that Harry appear to work alongside the Ministry, to boost the morale of the public. Harry turns it down, knowing that the Ministry is arresting and imprisoning innocent people and remembering how they persecuted him last year.

Returning to Hogwarts

On their return to Hogwarts, Harry notices Ginny is not enthusiastic about meeting Dean, and tells Hermione about what he heard between Malfoy and Snape, but she also believes Snape was working on Dumbledore's orders. When Harry mentions Fenrir Greyback, a werewolf Lupin had told him about during the holidays, she recalls Malfoy threatening Borgin with him, and Harry states that this proves Malfoy's a Death Eater.

In his next lesson with Dumbledore, Harry learns that during his time at Hogwarts, Voldemort had gathered a mixture of friends who became the forerunners of the Death Eaters, and researched his family. He first investigated his father, and later assumed the name Lord Voldemort upon discovering his father was a Muggle. Dumbledore and Harry then go into Morfin Gaunt's memory, where he reveals to Voldemort how he was conceived. After hearing this, Voldemort went on to murder his Muggle ancestors, taking revenge on them for abandoning him, eliminating the last of the "unworthy" Riddle line, stealing Morfin's father's ring and framing Morfin for the murders.



Ron poisoned

In the next memory, Voldemort asks Slughorn about Horcruxes, which results in Slughorn yelling that he knows nothing about them. Dumbledore is confident that the memory has been tampered with, however, noting patches of grey fog that came up when Slughorn was shouting, and asks Harry to retrieve the true memory. Realising Harry is on to him, after a botched attempt to get the memory, Slughorn starts avoiding him, and Harry instead chooses to focus on investigating Malfoy, using the Marauder's Map, noticing that Malfoy disappears off it at certain times. On Ron's seventeenth birthday, Ron consumes a number of chocolate cauldrons with love potion in them (courtesy of Romilda and intended for Harry). Harry takes him down to Slughorn for an antidote, and the three of them decide to have some of Rosmerta's Mulled Mead, originally meant for Dumbledore. Ron discovers, upon drinking it, that it's poisoned, but Harry manages to save him with a Bezoar.

As a result of being poisoned, Ron reconciles with Hermione and Ginny. Some time afterwards, Harry sends Kreacher and Dobby, another house-elf to tail Malfoy. In their next lesson, Dumbledore is disappointed Harry failed to show him the memory, and shows him two new ones; one of Voldemort being shown Salazar Slytherin's Locket and Helga Hufflepuff's Cup, both of which he later stole, the other of Voldemort applying for Defence against the Dark Arts post at Hogwarts, which Dumbledore feels was an attempt to further search the school for secrets and recruit followers.

The Horcruxes

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Harry and Ginny kiss

Harry learns from Kreacher and Dobby that Draco is regularly visiting the seventh floor, and realizes he's viisiting the Room of Requirement (which isn't mentioned on the map), he also realizes that Draco is having Crabbe and Goyle take Polyjuice Potion in order to disguise themselves. He later spends the next few days trying to get inside the Room of Requirement. Not knowing what Draco is using it for, he has no success, and makes similar progress with Slughorn, until Ron suggests he use the Felix Felicis. As a result, Harry is able to get the memory with ease, and shows it to Dumbledore. It turns out that in reality, Slughorn had told Riddle everything he wanted to know about Horcruxes; they are objects that a person has concealed part of their soul in, which explains how Voldemort was able to survive his rebounding killing curse. Dumbledore believes that Voldemort had made six Horcruxes: his diary (which Harry had destroyed four years ago), the Gaunts Ring (which Dumbledore had destroyed earlier, getting his injured hand in the process), the Slytherin's locket, the cup, an object of Rowena Ravenclaw's and the snake Nagini.

Harry learns the next day that following his exploits last night, Ginny and Dean have split up. He is unwilling to ask her out though, fearing Ron's reaction. Meanwhile, a recovered Katie has returned to the school, and Harry asks her who gave her the necklace. She states that someone Imperiused her in the girl's bathroom in Rosmerta's Pub in Hogsmeade. Shortly before the final Quidditch match of the year, Harry finds Malfoy crying over how his mission is failing. When he sees Harry, he attacks him. During the ensuing duel, Harry uses a spell written in The Half Blood Prince's book, which badly injures Malfoy. As a result, Harry is given a large number of detentions by Snape, causing him to miss the match. Upon returning to the Gryffindor common room after his first detention, he discovers that the team had won the Quidditch Cup in his absence, and Ginny runs up and hugs him. At this point, Harry finally reveals his feelings for Ginny and kisses her. Afterwards, they start dating.

The Cave of Inferi

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Dumbledore holding back the Inferi in the crystal cave

Some time later, Dumbledore asks Harry to come to his office. On the way, he runs into his old Divination teacher Professor Trelawney, who was trying to hide sherry bottles in the Room of Requirement before being thrown out. She tells Harry that she heard a male voice (which Harry suspects to be Malfoy's) laughing before she was ejected, and also reveals that Snape had told Voldemort about the prophecy concerning him and Harry, which caused him to murder Harry's parents. Harry expresses outrage that Dumbledore later gave Snape a job at Hogwarts, but Dumbledore states that Snape felt great remorse for what he had done. He then asks Harry to join him in finding a Horcrux, Slytherin's locket, which Harry agrees to. Before leaving, Harry tells Ron and Hermione that Malfoy's almost certainly going to try something tonight, and gives them the remainder of the Felix Felicis.

Dumbledore and Harry travel to a cave in which Voldemort had tortured two children in his youth. They proceed through the cave, coming to an island in the middle of a lake. On the island, they find a basin of emerald green potion, with the locket at the bottom. On Dumbledore's orders, Harry reluctantly force-feeds him the potion, which badly weakens him and causes extreme thirst. In an attempt to save him, Harry gives him water from the lake, awakening dozens of Inferi Voldemort had placed to guard his Horcrux. Harry attempts to fight, but there are too many of them. Just as he is about to be overwhelmed, Dumbledore creates a ring of fire around them, which fends off the Inferi.

Dumbledore's death

Draco Malfoy

Draco Malfoy

During his sixth year, Harry became increasingly suspicious around Draco Malfoy, starting when he followed Draco down Knockturn Alley. Harry tried to convince Hermione and Ron that Draco had replaced his father as a Death Eater, but they doubted whether Voldemort would allow an underage, inexperienced wizard to serve him.

After they had returned from the cave, they had discovered the Dark Mark had been cast above the Astronomy Tower at Hogwarts.Borrowing broomsticks, the pair fly to the tower. Upon hearing someone approaching them, Dumbledore paralyses Harry and hides him under his invisibility cloak, before being disarmed by Malfoy. He reveals that he had let Death Eaters into the school, through the objects he was questioning Borgin about, a pair of Vanishing Cabinets, and that he had been behind the necklace and mead incidents, which were really assassination attempts on Dumbledore.

Dumbledore reveals that he had known Malfoy was attempting to kill him but hadn't tried to stop him because he knew that Voldemort would have murdered Malfoy if he was discovered. Dumbledore tries to persuade him to change sides, but they are later joined by other Death Eaters, who urge Malfoy to finish his mission. Snape then appears, and after hearing Dumbledore's pleading, Snape kills him.

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Albus Dumbledore dead

Released from his paralysis after Dumbledore's death, Harry pursues Snape as teachers, students and Order members battle the Death Eaters, ending up near the entrance to Hogwarts. Harry attempts to curse Snape, who repels his attacks with ease. When Harry attempts to use some of the Half-Blood Prince's spells, a now enraged Snape reveals that he was the the Half-Blood Prince, before being attacked by Buckbeak the Hippogriff and escaping with Malfoy. When returning to Dumbledore's body, Harry finds out that the locket was a fake: the real horcrux was already stolen by someone with the initials R.A.B.

They soon hold a funeral for Dumbledore. It was attended by many witches and wizards. Dumbledore was laid to rest in a white marble tomb on the grounds of Hogwarts. Harry also resolves to leave school and hunt down the remaining Horcruxs to insure the defeat of Voldemort once and for all.

Beauxbatons Academy

At Beauxbatons Academy of Magic, students take exams in their sixth year.


Hogwarts years
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