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From the first chapter of The Half-Blood Prince (The Other Minister) the following things are known:

  • The Ministry finally realized that Voldemort was back. (End of The Order of the Phoenix)
  • Death Eaters were out in the open wreaking havoc on the Muggle and wizarding world .(Most probably on Voldemort's orders, in order for Voldemort to blackmail Fudge to give him access to the Ministry).
  • Voldemort needed Dumbledore out of the way and had enlisted Draco for the job.
  • Killing Amelia Bones (and maybe killing a few more people).

Apart from this, for the rest of the duration of the book, there is hardly any information about what Voldemort did for an entire year.

I know the book narration is from Harry's point of view but I am curious to know if there is any canon or any other interview/text by JKR where any details of Voldemort's activity during Harry's sixth year has been given?

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    Chillin' out maxin' relaxin' all cool and all shooting some b-ball outside of school. – The Dark Lord Jan 24 '18 at 12:49
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    @Raditz_35 maybe. ever since 4th book there has always been slight mentions through Harry's headaches about what Voldemort has been up to. The lack of this in 6th book made me curious. Wish I could find any evidence of his activities. – dobby Jan 24 '18 at 13:27
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    @TheDarkLord Then a trio of kids who were up to no good started making trouble in his neighborhood! – Bellatrix Jan 24 '18 at 21:03
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    @Bellatrix I would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for those meddling kids. – The Dark Lord Jan 24 '18 at 22:35
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    @the and their mangy house elf scooby dobby do – user13267 Jan 25 '18 at 7:42
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There were certainly numerous nasty goings-on referred to passingly throughout the book, such as:

'Did you hear about Florean Fortescue, Remus?' asked Bill, who was being plied with wine by Fleur. 'The man who ran -'

'- the ice-cream place in Diagon Alley?' Harry interrupted, with an unpleasant, hollow sensation in the pit of his stomach. 'He used to give me free ice creams. What's happened to him?'

'Dragged off, by the look of his place.'

'Why?' asked Ron, while Mrs Weasley pointedly glared at Bill.

'Who knows? He must've upset them somehow. He was a good man, Florean.'

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - p.104 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 6, Draco's Detour

And:

'Anyone we know dead?' asked Ron in a determinedly casual voice; he posed the same question every time Hermione opened her paper.

'No, but there have been more Dementor attacks,' said Hermione. 'And an arrest.'

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - p.208 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 11, Hermione's Helping Hand

And:

Harry and Ron did not answer, but Harry knew that they were all thinking the same thing. There had been a horrible incident the day before, when Hannah Abbott had been taken out of Herbology to be told her mother had been found dead. They had not seen Hannah since.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - p.210 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 11, Hermione's Helping Hand

And:

'They're the Montgomery sisters and of course they don't look happy, didn't you hear what happened to their little brother?' said Hermione.

'I'm losing track of what's happening to everyone's relatives, to be honest,' said Ron.

'Well, their brother was attacked by a werewolf. The rumour is that their mother refused to help the Death Eaters. Anyway, the boy was only five and he died in St Mungo's, they couldn't save him.'

[...]

'What was the werewolf's name?' said Harry quickly.

'Well, the rumour is that it was that Fenrir Greyback,' said Hermione.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - p.442 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 22, After the Burial

So plenty of general death, destruction and terror.

We also know that he was building, for example, by attempting to recruit werewolves:

'I've been living among my fellows, my equals,' sad Lupin. 'Werewolves,' he added, at Harry's look of incomprehension. 'Nearly all of them are on Voldemort's side. [...]'

[...]

'How come they like Voldemort?'

'They think that, under his rule, they will have a better life,' said Lupin. 'And it is hard to argue with Greyback out there ...'

[...]

'[...] And this is the man Voldemort is using to marshal the werewolves. I cannot pretend that my particular brand of reasoned argument is making much headway against Greyback's insistence that we werewolves deserve blood, that we ought to revenge ourselves on normal people.'

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - pp.313-4 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 16, A Very Frosty Christmas

In terms of the big picture, we know that his main plan seems to be toppling Dumbledore through Malfoy and he seems to have been primarily focused on that. He wasn't in any hurry, he wanted to terrorise and terrify the wizarding population. His greatest obstacle was Dumbledore. He wanted him gone and then he would strike.

However, that wasn't all. We know that Ollivander was taken during the events of the Half-Blood Prince, so that Voldemort could find out more about Harry's wand.

'Talking of Diagon Alley,' said Mr Weasley, 'looks like Ollivander's gone too.'

'The wand-maker?' said Ginny, looking startled.

'That's the one. Shop's empty. No sign of a struggle. No one knows whether he left voluntarily or was kidnapped.'

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - p.104 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 6, Draco's Detour

Also, it's worth noting - this is how it was last time too. That's how Voldemort works. A slow game. In the shadows. Terror and fear. He's one man with a small band of fanatics. A cultist. He doesn't go straight for the Ministry right away. Not with Dumbledore around at least.

'Imagine that Voldemort's powerful now. You don't know who his supporters are, you don't know who's working for him and who isn't; you know he can control people so that they do terrible things without being able to stop themselves. You're scared for yourself, your family, and your friends. Every week, news comes of more deaths, more disappearances, more torturing ... the Ministry of Magic's in disarray, they don't know what to do, they're trying to keep everything hidden from the Muggles, but meanwhile, Muggles are dying too. Terror everywhere ... panic ... confusion ... that's how it used to be.'

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - p.457 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 27, Padfoot Returns

  • You might also want to mention the murder of Amelia Bones, which Fudge reckoned was committed by Voldemort in person. – The Dark Lord Jan 24 '18 at 22:42
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    @TheDarkLord it's a great example, but already present in the OP, I was really looking to explain first that it really didn't stop with the events summarised in The Other Minister and that in fact the carnage went on throughout the year and was referenced by the books, and then talk more about the other things that were going on, recruiting werewolves, the Ollivander project, and then basically explain why, yes, apart from that it probably really was just the Dumbledore project and actually that's not too surprising and really makes sense at least to me. – Au101 Jan 24 '18 at 22:49
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    But you're right the Other Minister is full of examples that show you weren't just twiddling your thumbs, only I really took the OP as asking - was that it? Because I can't remember much happening throughout the rest of the book, and I suppose I meant to say, well no not really there was loads of stuff, Rowling didn't neglect to write it in. However, having said that, she did apologise profusely for writing a 766 page book and promised never to do it again, so you know, maybe HBP is a little lighter on details than it might have been – Au101 Jan 24 '18 at 22:51
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    Yeah, I forgot dobby mentioned it in the question, fair point. The other quote which backs up what you're saying is the one where Voldemort says that one false move on Scrimgeour will set him back months. So really the whole year including killing Dumbledore, recruiting werewolves etc. was preparation for taking over the Ministry. – The Dark Lord Jan 24 '18 at 23:00
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    Nah, I'm working on my Lovegood answer. :) – The Dark Lord Jan 24 '18 at 23:06

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