My Harry Potter readathon is winding down just as the holiday season is heating up. I completed Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince about a week ago, but life forbade me from having time to write up a review for it. I apologize if this review feels disjointed and short!
Enough apologizing, Dobby! Let’s get to it! This time, I’m just going to do a few points and then a sum up.
- Harry, for the love of Merlin, stop talking about Draco Malfoy. Jeez. This is was equal parts exhausting and infuriating. He really would not let this go! I mean, he did end up being right about Draco being up to no good, and it did all come to big trouble when everyone else told him to shove it already, but I really can’t blame them for wanting Harry to cool it about Malfoy for a second. Rowling managed to humanize our school bully as he warred with himself over the task Voldemort set for him, however, I don’t think his conflict came as much from morality as it did from sheer cowardice. Malfoy has often proven himself to be a scardy-cat against serious threat, and underhand when he was too afraid to be outright. We’ll see what he gets up to in the next book to see if I change my mind.
- Voldemort’s past was as troubling as it was interesting. I had forgotten most of the finer points of his ancestry and his background, so it was essentially a new discovery to learn about where each Horcrux came from and why each was chosen. As a character, Voldemort is fascinating, but somehow he remains very distant and one-dimensional to me. Each of the nuances of his character doesn’t come as much of a surprise and nothing ever seem incongruous with what I already believe about Voldemort. Somehow, while all the other characters illustrate growth and evolution, Voldemort stays Voldemort. Even as a child, I imagine him as just a shrunken version of his adult Ralph-Finnes-form.
- I will never be a Snape apologist! If I ever say anything sympathetic with Snape, know that it is not me, but someone charade-ing as me via Polyjuice Potion. Sure, he had a rough upbringing, but so did Harry and he didn’t turn out to be a major dick who picks on children for fun. I like getting to know his story, and see the variation and complexity of his character, but I just don’t like the guy and I can’t bring myself to allow him anything. He’s horrid and disgusting and pathetic. The best part of Snape is Alan Rickman. End of discussion.
- Just when Dumbledore was growing on me! Man! I felt just as duped as Harry. I loved the emotional turmoil that Harry experienced following Dumbledore’s death, and I really look forward to the next installment to see more of that. I never cared much for Dumbledore — like Voldemort he always felt very distant to me, and not quite human. I access Dumbledore best through Harry. I totally felt his loss with Harry, who ow believes that he is utterly without a protector against Voldemort. It’s so, so heartbreaking to read Harry’s anguish over Dumbledore’s death, but I can’t help but feel like I didn’t know the guy at all (I am still looking forward with eager delight to Jude Law’s Dumbledore in the next Fantastic Beasts film.)
- The teen romance was so entertaining. Not only was it great to get more emotion and feeling out of our heroes, but it was so rewarding to see them come back around to each other. Ron and Hermione’s relationship is one of my favorite in the series, so watching that relationship progress knowing it was coming was delightful. Ginny grew on me so much through the past two novels that I was totally on board with her and Harry. Movie-Ginny is awful, and there is zero chemistry between Ginny and Harry in the films so it’s kind of painful to watch, but there was none of that awkwardness and stiffness in the book relationship. Watching Harry battle his feelings for her was entirely hilarious (and a little embarrassing).
Upon re-reading, this book proved itself in my prior ranking of the novels. It was always top two, and after re-reading it will definitely hold that ground. It was a touch lighter than The Order of the Phoenix to me, so it didn’t carry on this depressing doom-and-gloom feeling that would totally have ruined the last novel. Instead, it sets up an adventure and a battle with light infused and hope restored, so that I move into the final novel, not dreading a horrid end, but with a tiny flask of hope and courage in my heart. I’m sad to start the last novel because that means it’s over, but I’m so excited to see how it turns out. I haven’t read the novels probably since they were released, so the finer points are gone from memory which will make it almost as good as new. Onward!
How do you feel about The Half-Blood Prince?