If you haven’t finished the book DO NOT go any further in this post. I am putting it behind an lj-cut because I am sure that there are people who will take their time reading it. These points are not as structured as they could be, but it is 4.25am on Sunday morning and my thoughts are a little bit all over the place…I am sure that I will have more to write when I have read it (the book) through again.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Opinions and Review
What can I say? No, really…what can I say about this latest foray into the canon world of Harry Potter and his friends?
I liked it. I was surprised, the rumours were running rife all over the internet for the last week or so, in fact one site even got a cease and desist order from Bloomsbury and JK Rowling’s solicitors…guess they really were accurate afterall!
For the first time in the seven book series (although we all know that so far there have only been six) I actually found myself liking Harry’s character. There was none of the big-headedness that seemed such a part of him once he entered the wizarding world, and I liked this about him (the lack, not the presence).
I like the fact that the story started so quickly, and all the twists and turns led somewhere. Dumbledore is still a manipulative bastard. He knows so much and yet he hides things. If this book proved anything it is that Dumbledore is not infallible. He made some very big mistakes in trusting people, and because of his own high opinion of himself these mistakes proved to be his undoing.
This belief in Dumbledore’s judgement brings me to Draco Malfoy and Severus Snape. Oh my God, could Rowling have done anything more shocking to these two characters? Draco being evil I can actually come to terms with as the canon!Draco is someone I know we aren’t meant to like. But Snape? Dumbledore put his trust in Snape, and I guess that the revelations that came about in this book could still be turned around, right? I am trying to evaluate everything in my head and I may well read the book again just so I can establish more firmly in my head what we are meant to think.
I know that Rowling told us that we needed to keep an eye on Snape, but was he driven by revenge? Was he desperate to just pretend that he was loyal to Dumbledore because he was ordered to by his master? Could it be that the Unbreakable Vow he made with Narcissa, witnessed by her sister Bellatrix, was what drove him to cast the unforgivable on his ‘mentor’? We know that the Unbreakable Vow, if broken, means the death of the person who made it and broke it, was he acting for self-preservation or does he really hate Harry so much that the whole of the wizarding world has to be put in danger? I was amazed that he was the Defence Against the Dark Arts professor, although it certainly fitted, he did only last the year that the others managed to last.
The revelation that Snape is a half-blood makes me see an even closer connection to Voldemort; does this information put a different slant on the bullying that Snape received at the hands of the Marauders?
Draco. He’s weak, a scared little boy desperate to prove himself, determined to fit in with his peers, become more like his father. Is it possible that had he become friends with Harry in the very beginning he wouldn’t have become the arse that he now is? Well, what-ifs are hopeless really. He is a weaker clone of his bastard father and makes no bones about the fact that he wants to be the way that he is.
Harry’s attraction to Ginny is actually rather funny if you have ever read any fanfiction pairing the two. He actually does break up with her because in his own words he doesn’t want anyone to be put in danger because they are friends/involved/close. What is so funny about it has to be the fact that distancing himself is not going to put them in any less danger. Hermione is a Muggle, Ron and Ginny come from a family of ‘blood traitors’, those two facts alone would get them killed if Voldemort’s cause was successful.
Ron is such a prat. It is obvious that there is a great deal of tension between him and Hermione, and that she is very hurt when he gets involved with Lavender. The lovey-dovey stuff that goes on between the unexpected couple is enough to make anyone with a full and rather weak stomach rather sick. I felt incredibly sorry for Hermione when she was getting upset about Ron finding a girlfriend, was he going out with Lavender because she was there, showering him with attention and actually spending time with him, when Hermione seems to just be ‘one of the gang’. Hermione has always been there, and perhaps that is something that makes Ron not notice that she is more than just his friend or at least she wants to be more.
We finally found out a bit more about Blaise, the boy who, until recently, no one knew anything about at all, it was all speculation. Now we find out that his mother is a serial wife (having had seven husbands die mysteriously) and he is black.
While the death was upsetting and tragic, it was not as traumatic as it could have been because in a way it was expected. I think what upset me more was the way that Dumbledore died rather than the fact that he did. Snape’s betrayal is going to do more damage to the Order than anyone will want to admit. That and the fact that if Dumbledore was wrong about him, and the Horcrux that led to his weakened condition before the battle at Hogwarts, how many other things was he actually wrong about.
When reading through this book I couldn’t help wondering if perhaps the next book wasn’t going to be centred around the mission that was started in this book. Is Harry going to be searching for the rest of the Horcruxes, all those little bits of Voldemort’s soul hanging around in objects that hold the key to the Dark Lord’s immortality.
All that remains now really is to find out when Book Seven is due out, and who will be Harry’s mentor now that Dumbledore is no more? The man lied, cheated, hid things from Harry, but he was always there for him when he was really needed. Now Harry is all alone, and likely to be very vulnerable. He has already lost so many people, and is seemingly doing his best to isolate himself.