Thursday, March 12, 2015
Book Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
(If you're one of the four people in the world who haven't read or seen HP yet, be warned there may be spoilers below.)
Ah book 6. So much good stuff, including a ton of tragedy! While there aren't really any new monsters or major characters introduced in this installment, there is still a lot of new stuff.
This is the first book in which we see Dumbledore allow Harry to take an active part in his mission to bring down Voldemort.
It's also the first time Rowling introduces a lot of history that is relevant to Harry. (Granted, we've seen the pensieve used to dispense fascinating history all the way since book 4, but this is history that is specifically relevant to the Harry/Voldemort relationship and how it will all end.) And of course we have romances budding all over the place. :D
We do see new characters in Tom Riddle's family, but they are in the past, rather than the present. I think Rowling was a genius to do it this way. We haven't known much about Voldemort before he became Voldemort up to this point. The only things we knew for certain was that he definitely attended Hogwarts, his muggle name was Tom Marvolo Riddle, and he opened the Chamber of Secrets. That's it. Even the diary (which we now know was a horcrux) was never fully explained. Now Rowling sends up on a treasure hunt, giving us only small nuggets, Easter eggs, if you will, about Voldemort's past.
I loved this book, even though Dumbledore passed at the end. It was so tragic, and I especially loved his funeral. Very beautiful and fitting.
Mainly, there were just things that weren't included that I wish would have been. I would have liked to have seen the fight at the end. In the film, there was no fight with the Death Eaters. Snape and Voldemort's other followers walked right out the front doors while everyone (other than Harry) apparently slept through the invasion. I'm sure the film makers just didn't want to upstage the final, epic battle they knew was coming in book 7, but still. I felt like it was an injustice to both the plot and the characters.
Overall, I really loved this installment, despite the tragic ending. Snape's part, especially when you know his true history, was done really well here, and re-reading his role in Dumbledore's death just makes it all the more tragic.
I'll end with a story I heard Rowling herself tell. She was signing books after this installment came out. Up to her table came a very young boy. So young, in fact, that she was surprised he could even read her books on his own. But, he was precocious and very excited about the Harry Potter books, assuring her he'd read all the published volumes several times. He was so cute and enthusiastic that she talked with him for several minutes before handing him a signed copy of book 6. Just as he took his mother's hand to leave, he said, "Okay, whatever you do, just don't kill Harry and don't kill Dumbledore." As he walked away, she cringed and just mouthed, "I'm sorry" after him.
I thought that was a cute story. Poor kids. Poor all of us. She had the entire world wrapped around her little finger. At least she used her super powers to tell a fantastic story! :D
What did everyone else think of book 6?