Monday, July 6, 2009
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Do you re-read books? I do. Love to. In fact, that's a prerequisite for nearly every book purchase for me: do I think I'll read it again? If not, it's off to the library. And a book in a good series that is still being written, that's a definite re-read. I just have to: have to refresh my memory by starting over from #1 each time a new installment in the novels (or now) movies comes out.
Well, this time I cheated. I only read #6, getting myself geared up to go to the midnight premiere of the film in a week and a half. And here's what really surprised me, although it probably shouldn't have: I didn't realize how much I'd forgotten. Maybe its because I've re-read #6 (and 7) fewer times than the rest of the series since they're...at the end...but still, all I really remembered was that ________ died and ________ was the half blood prince. That's all!
(Okay, I was trying to be nice and not spoil anything for those of you silly people who DON'T READ BOOKS and JUST WAIT FOR THE MOVIE, but my post will just turn into a bunch of deleted names. So if you don't want to know what happens, stop reading. Sorry.)
Totally forgot about Professor Slughorn and what a shifty, slimy sort of guy he is--but then he isn't really, is he? He can also be friendly and helpful, and he certainly has a soft spot for Harry--or it that just so he can get kickbacks from a grateful Harry in the future? I love these interesting, complex minor characters JK creates.
And what about Snape? Do you hate him or sympathize for him? He is such a tortured soul, and even though it seems like he really hates Harry, I wonder how much of it is an act--whether (like Harry says at one point in #6) anybody is even capable of acting that well. And of course, I've forgotten most of what happens in #7, so I don't really recall what ends up happening with Snape. I have a feeling he is doing a little of both--acting and hating at the same time. (And don't tell me: I'm going to dive into #7 as soon as I finish this post!)
And I remembered that Harry and Ginny hooked up by the end of the whole thing, but I forgot it happened so soon! I'm glad for it, though. Harry needs something positive in his life, especially after you-know-who dies. Besides, I've liked Ginny from the first mention of her in #1 (or was it 2?)--had a feeling she and Harry might be destined for each other.
Of course, Fred and George are probably my favorite Weasleys. Don't you love them? Every time they pop into the story, I end up laughing out loud. The tricks in their joke shop, the spell-checker quill of theirs Ron was using (that began making him write crass things when it ran out of magical power), the way they talk to each other and Ron--I love it. Any book that makes me laugh is an instant favorite.
TOTALLY forgot about Luna Lovegood commentating the Quidditch match. In typical Luna fashion, she spent so much time talking about inconsequential things like the shapes clouds were making, how much she liked or disliked some of the players, and whether one of the players (Zacharias Smith) might have a mysterious disease called Loser's Lurgy that she forgot to keep track of the score.
Really, only two complaints: one, I think the real action didn't start till the end. The Horcruxes. Those are the climax, the exciting part, and for much of the novel, I didn't even know to be concerned about them. Harry spent more time brooding about Malfoy and wowing Slughorn with the HALF BLOOD PRINCE'S potions ability. But still, a minor flaw, in my opinion, because I certainly didn't put the book down for lack of interest in the story. In fact, I read most of it in one day. My other complaint: I still don't really get WHY Hermione likes Ron. I believe his attraction for her, and I understand why he is interested in her, but I don't know what she sees in him. I LIKE Ron, don't get me wrong, but he doesn't seem like much of a catch. I think of all JK's characters, he could use more development. Who is he, when he's not with Harry?
But overall, if you haven't read this book (and would still like to, now that I've told you pretty much all the major plot events), you should read it. It's funny and exciting and touching. A good book on its own, without the props of #1-5 and 7. In fact, I like Harry more in this novel than in #4 and 5. He isn't as moody and whiny. He's determined, he's brave, and he's starting to believe in himself.