We know you're counting down the days — 6! — until the sixth movie in the Harry Potter juggernaut finally roars into theaters Wednesday, leaving movie theater box offices flush with cash. We also know you've reread the book — again! — in anticipation of watching the boy genius Harry and his best pals Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger discover love, play Quidditch, learn how to apparate, deal with loss and fight evil. So, to prepare ourselves (and you) for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, we've done a little nonmagical detective work to determine the six new faces you should get to know in the series. Jennifer DeCamp, Times staff writer
1Tom Riddle, age 11 (Hero Fiennes-Tiffin). As an adult, Riddle takes the name Lord Voldemort.
Connection to Harry: Murdered parents Lily and James Potter and tried to kill baby Harry, is responsible for Harry's lightning bolt scar. The prophecy revealed in Order of the Phoenix stated that "neither can live while the other survives."
Trivia: The creepy, haunting resemblance of young Riddle to Voldemort's Ralph Fiennes in the movie's trailers makes sense after a little detective work: Fiennes-Tiffin is the Oscar-nominated actor's nephew.
Key scene: Dumbledore gets a glimpse of Riddle's true nature during their first meeting at the orphanage where the boy lives.
From the book: "His powers, as you heard, were surprisingly well-developed for such a young wizard and — most interestingly and ominously of all . . . he was already using magic against other people, to frighten, to punish, to control." — Dumbledore to Harry
2Professor Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent)
Connection to Harry: Potions professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry; chooses his favorite/well-connected/most promising students for after-class gatherings, called the Slug Club. Of course, Harry (the Chosen One) receives frequent invites.
Trivia: Although many of the adult roles in Half-Blood Prince are filled with illustrious actors, Broadbent, Maggie Smith (Professor Minerva McGonagall) and Emma Thompson (Professor Sybil Trelawney) are the series' only Oscar winners.
Key scene: Harry learns through Slughorn's memories that the professor provided the teenage Voldemort with knowledge on how to split a soul, rendering the adult Voldemort nearly immortal.
From the book: "I am not proud . . . I am ashamed of what — of what that memory shows . . . Just don't think too badly of me once you've seen it." — Professor Slughorn to Harry
3Narcissa Malfoy (Helen McCrory)
Connection to Harry: Wife of Lucius (one of Voldemort's followers), mother to Draco (Harry's sworn enemy at Hogwarts).
Trivia: McCrory was originally cast as Bellatrix Lestrange (Narcissa's sister) in Order of the Phoenix, but had to drop the role because she was pregnant during filming. Instead, Helena Bonham Carter played Bellatrix with evil, cackling abandon.
Key scene: Narcissa begs Professor Severus Snape to protect Draco after the Dark Lord assigns her only son a seemingly impossible task.
From the book: "That's because he is sixteen and has no idea what lies in store! Why, Severus? Why my son? It is too dangerous! This is vengeance for Lucius' mistake." — Narcissa to Snape
4Lavender Brown (Jessie Cave)
Connection to Harry: Love-sick, co-dependent first girlfriend of Ron. She adoringly refers to him as Won-Won.
Trivia: More than 7,000 girls hoped to win the part of the clingy Lavender Brown, who has appeared in every book but finally has a speaking role in Half-Blood Prince.
Key scene: Anytime Lavender and Ron are sucking face in public, causing the green-eyed monster in Hermione to rear its head.
From the book: "If Won-Won thinks that, you'd better do it. After all, when has Won-Won's judgment ever been faulty?" — Hermione to Harry
5Cormac McLaggen (Freddie Stroma)
Connection to Harry: Becomes the Gryffindor Quidditch keeper while Ron is in the infirmary; also a member of the Slug Club.
Trivia: McLaggen's character only appears in Half-Blood Prince.
Key scene: Hermione takes Cormac as her date to Professor Slughorn's Christmas party, to make Ron jealous.
From the book: "I though he'd annoy Ron most." — Hermione to Harry
6Fenrir Greyback (Dave Legeno)
Connection to Harry: Fenrir, the bloodthirsty werewolf leader, aligns his kind with Voldemort in fighting the Ministry of Magic. He also mauls Ron's brother Bill in the book's pivotal fight scene.
Trivia: Fenrir's role in Half-Blood Prince has been greatly expanded to include a scene that never appeared in the book.
Key scene: Fenrir and Bellatrix lead Voldemort's followers in an attack on the Weasley home while Harry is a guest.
From the book: "Fenrir Greyback is, perhaps, the most savage werewolf alive today. He regards it as his mission in life to bite and to contaminate as many people as possible; he wants to create enough werewolves to overcome the wizards." — Former professor and werewolf Remus Lupin to Harry
Sources: imdb.com, Warner Bros. Photos: Warner Bros.