Title: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Author: JK Rowling
Length: 652 pages
Source: personal collection
Reason for Reading: The ongoing Harry Potter Reading Marathon hosted by Shannon at Giraffe Days.
Summary (from Goodreads):
After months of frenzied anticipation and wild speculation about the identity of the Half-Blood Prince, the numerous bombshells and incredible plot twists in the sixth, ever-darkening installment of J. K. Rowling’s bestselling Harry Potter saga will leave readers as shocked and stunned as they are utterly satisfied..
As the novel begins, a “grim mood” has fallen over the country. The minions of Lord Voldemort (a.k.a. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named) continue to grow as his evil spreads. The Ministry of Magic has stepped up security everywhere, and as Harry enters his sixth year at Hogwarts, he begins to see himself — and everyone around him — in a different, more discerning, light. With rumors swirling about Harry being the prophesied “Chosen One,” he begins taking private lessons from Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore.
As Dumbledore prepares Harry for his destined clash with Voldemort by revealing jaw-dropping insights into the Dark Lord’s past — who his parents were, what happened after he left Hogwarts, and more — Harry also struggles to uncover the identity of the Half-Blood Prince, the past owner of a potions textbook he now possesses that is filled with ingenious, potentially deadly, spells. But Harry’s life is suddenly changed forever when someone close to him is heinously murdered right before his eyes….
My Thoughts: Oddly enough, most of my thoughts are focused on the Ginny-Harry relationship. Before this reread (my 3rd of this particular book), I was 100% convinced that it was merely the films that didn’t do that relationship justice as far as the books did. But I have come to the realization that the films NOR the books did that relationship “justice”. I have never liked the fact that Harry and Ginny got together. I think that is because deep down I always felt that JK Rowling hadn’t written the first five books with that intention–she seriously did just add it in randomly to mix things up, I’m convinced. There were no feelings on Harry’s part until the sixth book, and it was only the first couple books where Ginny’s awkardness around Harry hinted at any feelings towards him.
Maybe it’s merely that I like the Harry-Hermione-Ron trio and don’t like ANYTHING to mess that up.
It bugs me that at the very end, Harry says to Ginny, “Sorry, I love you too much to let Voldemort use you against me,” in so many words. But then he turns right around to Hermione and Ron and says, “Well, okay. I guess I don’t love you that much and I’ll let you endanger yourselves for me yet again.” It’s just such a contradiction.
1. What one big theme or scene or character really stuck out for you in this book? What was the most powerful?
2. Harry and Ginny: thoughts? Rowling said she wrote the epilogue of book 7 at the beginning, and it was always in her head that Harry and Ginny, and Ron and Hermione, would become couples. What did you think about how this played out in book 6?
3. The film: pass or fail? Favourite bits?
I’m not sure if you’d consider it a theme, but I really like Dumbledore’s training of Harry. Dumbledore somehow knows that he won’t be around much longer, so his passing on his knowledge to help Harry fight Voldemort was very imperative to this story. I don’t think Dumbledore was naive about his time being short. Voldemort would have to go through Dumbledore to get to Harry and both knew it, while Harry might not have realized it. Harry thought he would fight alongside Dumbledore, whereas Dumbledore knew Harry would have to go it alone.
I’ve already given my thoughts on the Harry-Ginny relationship. Knowing that Rowling had intended Harry and Ginny to be together in the end really upset me. (I hadn’t known this before.) I thought she was a better writer than that–her development of their relationship was awful. I think there should have been more about their feelings towards each other in the previous books–even just the intermittent mention of Ginny feeling awkward around Harry and something that makes it seem like Harry paid a bit of attention to Ginny.
It’s been a long time since I saw the sixth film. But from what I remember of the film and having just read the book, I think they are pretty similarly matched. Although I don’t remember Harry being so obsessed with catching Draco at something bad in the film as he was in he book. But, honestly his obsession in the book was a little overdrawn, so the lack of its full extent in the film fit right in with the faster pace of the story, for film’s sake.