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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Saturday, August 13, 2016

*WARNING - SPOILERS...IF YOU HAVEN'T READ OR SEEN HP 5 OR 6 OR WELL 7...THEN MOVE ALONG...ALTHOUGH I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU HAVEN'T.*

August 13, 2016

"When you have the last piece of the jigsaw, everything will, I hope, be clear..."  - (Albus Dumbledore) J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Again I am asking the question: Jo, why? Yet, I am still answering my own question because I know why. I understand from a reader and a writer's point of view why these tragedies happen. I know why Dumbledore had to die and why Snape had to do it, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" is one of those books that could be a finale if, for once, Evil was allowed to win, but it is also a finale in a sense of all the other books when it comes to the aspect of security. For six books we have relied on the beloved Headmaster and now, like Harry, we are on our own. I say we because when someone reads these books, it isn't just reading. You know? We, as readers, get immersed into a world like no other and when a character loses someone, we do as well. 


The book starts out rather amusing. Dumbledore showing up at the Dursleys and practically ordering them around is such a Dumbledore thing to do and I love it. This leads to a short trip to visit Horace Slughorn and then back to the Burrow we go. To me, the Weasley family is just the brightest light of the entire series and seeing them mostly together (excluding Charlie and Weatherby [Percy]) just makes me smile. In this book we find out that Bill and Fleur are to be married and it just makes me feel even better. 

Of course the book was full of little moments that set up the next and final book. A lot of them including Ginny and Harry. If you remember back in book 2, Ginny Weasley was Harry's biggest fangirl and over the years they have grown closer as friends, but in year 6, Harry isn't exactly thinking of friendship. I will never forgive Warner Brothers for messing up Harry and Ginny's first kiss. There was such a lead up to in the books and when he kisses her after the Quidditch Match it was just such a beautiful moment that I still love to re-read. YET, the film decided that they were emotionless robots and made them kiss in the Room of Requirement like a couple of plebs. It just irks me, you know? I love Ginny and Harry together, always have, and the films do not do their relationship justice. Come to think of it, they don't really do Ron and Hermione justice either...or Remus and Tonks. Hell, they focus more on Harry and Cho then they do on the others...SHAME. 


For me, in all of the Harry Potter universe, the most annoying part is the Ministry. Let me give you a run down. Book 3: They are trying to hunt Sirius and are offering all this help and protection. Book 4: Trying to find out who conjured the Dark Mark meanwhile their officials are going bonkers. Book 5: Calling Harry and Dumbledore liars and cheats and that they are mad. Publishes horrible articles about them and refuse to see reason. Oh, and UMBRIDGE. Book 6: Try to get Harry to be their smiling little marionette...no! It just pisses me off how much they try to use him. You didn't believe him that Voldemort was back and now that he has made a fool of you and your bloody ministry you want him to be all smiles and forgive you...screw you! Sometimes I think I get a little too passionate about these stories, but they just infuriate me. Somebody sick some Inferi on them honestly...

Speaking of infuriating...Lavender Brown. This girl causes so many problems in book 6 and sometimes I just want to smack her. Not only is she just annoying, but she is only interested in Ron because he helped Harry in the Department of Mysteries. Same with Romilda Vane and every other bloody girl in this book. I feel bad for Harry. He just wants to be Quidditch Captain and date his best mate's sister...poor guy. I think some of my favourite bits were Harry's internal struggles about Ginny, man that is hilarious. 

Now, about Dumbledore. Even though I didn't like how Dumbledore died, I can honestly say that it didn't effect me as strongly as it did others. He was never my favourite character and even though he did care for Harry, at times I felt that he was using him so much that it was like Harry was always in danger mostly because of Dumbledore. But, hey that's just my opinion. I sort of felt that he was holding Harry back and there was no way that Voldemort could move in on Harry with Dumbledore in the way, so I get why JK killed him.

Let me talk about my favourite character for a bit. Draco Malfoy, that is. This is the most layered and most dynamic character in my opinion. Most people consider him a villain and a bully, but Half-Blood Prince brings this other side of him out into the open and it really shows who he is. Draco ISN'T a killer. That is plainly shown in both the book and the film. I think the films demonstrates that a bit more because we actually see what he is doing rather than just reading what Harry thinks is happening. One of the most haunting scenes for me is the bathroom duel in the chapter: Sectumsempra. 


Obviously Harry discovers Draco crying in the bathroom and the duel ensues. I think it was very interesting that right there, Draco could have rolled up his sleeve and begged Harry to help him and for a moment I think he really considered it...but then he remembered his parents and fought back. I also believe that if Draco hadn't of started the fight, Harry would have tried to help him in anyway that he could. When Harry unleashes that curse onto Malfoy and Draco lays dying. It sort of awakes a fear that was in Harry since he found out about Voldemort being inside his mind. I believe he was afraid that he was becoming bad. The way he rushed to Draco's side and the horror in his voice at what he had done shows that even Draco Malfoy was worth saving to Harry and there adds yet another layer to Potter as well.  

The introduction of the Horcruxes was something I didn't expect. When I first read the novels, I was quite curious to see how they were going to defeat Voldemort as it is constantly mentioned that he is immortal and that nothing can kill him. The idea of splitting one's soul and concealing it in objects to be kept safe was absolutely brilliant. I have never read anything like this before and still haven't. I also like how the Horcruxes here introduced in year 2, with Tom Riddle's diary. Yet at the time it was not known to be a Horcrux, but Harry still destroyed it. Now Harry knows of the other ones: the locket, the cup, the snake, and something of Ravenclaw's or Gryffindor's. YET, if you have already ready book 7 then there is a little easter egg in book 6 when Harry is hiding his potions book. He places a tiara on top of a bust, this ends up being the Ravenclaw Diadem or so I've heard...clever huh? 

Finally let us take a moment to speak about our beloved Professor Snape. Now when I first read book 6 I was outraged! I hated Severus and yet in the back of my mind I felt bad for him just as I felt bad for Draco. He had sworn to Dumbledore to be a spy in the Death Eaters, yet he made the Unbreakable Vow with Narcissa and it was clear he had no choice in the matter. Then again he could have broken it and died like a true soldier...but nonetheless he is still a bit of a prat in book 6. Yet, book 7 of course everything changes. I will touch on this later. I also think that Snape always knew Potter had his potions book and he let him use it in hopes that Harry would find something to use against the Dark Lord. That is just my thoughts though...I could be completely wrong. 

Overall I think this book was brilliant.. I loved the psychoanalyzing of Voldemort's past and how Harry seemed to grow up immensely in book 6. It is said that when Hedwig dies in book 7, that that is the symbol of the end of Harry's childhood, but I think him dueling Snape and Dumbledore dying are the moments in which Harry becomes a man. If you have never read book 6 or any of them, I am afraid I just spoiled the hell out of it, but I am guessing you've seen the films. Who hasn't? I am off to read book 7 and will be back shortly with another review. 

"I am not worried, Harry...I am with you.” - Albus Dumbledore 

RIP

Happy Reading

- Haley


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