Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Re-Read 2015: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling

Summary (from Goodreads):
The war against Voldemort is not going well; even Muggle governments are noticing. Ron scans the obituary pages of the Daily Prophet, looking for familiar names. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses.

And yet...
As in all wars, life goes on. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate — and lose a few eyebrows in the process. The Weasley twins expand their business. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Classes are never straightforward, though Harry receives some extraordinary help from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.

So it's the home front that takes center stage in the multilayered sixth installment of the story of Harry Potter. Here at Hogwarts, Harry will search for the full and complex story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort — and thereby find what may be his only vulnerability.
This book is one of my favorites. You know a book is great when upon re-reading for possibly the 10th or maybe the 15th time, you still cry when a certain character dies. You still cry when it hits all of your favorite characters at the funeral. You still cry when Hagrid realizes the truth. And you still need at least a few minutes afterward to gather up your strength and deal with the loss.
I have said over and over again how impressed I am with Rowling’s ability to plan and prepare this extraordinarily complex and layered children’s fantasy story from the beginning. I loved re-reading and finding her not so obvious clues. I loved tying all the pieces together. But, what this book proves more than anything for me is how fantastic the characters are too. I cried with them. I laughed with them. I shipped them. I think I may be the only person alive who actually shipped the couples the way they were written. I screeched with Joy when Harry ran into Ginny’s arms for the first time. And every possibly sentimental moment between Ron and Hermione had me hoping (from book 4 on).
This book deals with so many things. It has been years since I’ve read this book and I what I find the most interesting is how I have changed between readings. I used to skip over a lot of the bits about Voldemort’s past, finding them to be slow and less fun than the rest of the story. But, this go-around, I loved those parts and focused in on every minute detail. I also remember being so mad at Harry’s friends for not listening to him and taking him seriously about his gut feelings for Malfoy. And this time, I found Harry’s obession, well, a little too obsessive. Those parts were the parts I wanted to skim over, but didn’t.
I also felt a lot more empathy for Draco in this reading. He made some seriously bad moves and some terrible choices, but man, I felt so bad for his situation. I remember always kind of hating him in the past. Also, I remember not loving the beginning before and wishing it just started with Harry immediately. This time, I loved the beginning. Rowling seriously knows how to set up a story.
I love the combination of the magic world with the ordinary one. I loved seeing the prime minister interact with the minister of magic. I also loved how Harry stood against the minister. He did not fall into any traps there, and I am so glad.  There’s so much darkness in this book. There’s death, dark marks, curses, disappearances, and wrongful arrests. There’s also private lessons with Dumbledore, relationship drama, adventures to find horcruxes, inferi, quidditch, the Slug Club, and attacks on the school.
I love Professor Slughorn. He’s not the nicest or easiest professor in the lot, but I found his character to be fascinating. His whole concept of “collecting” students was believable. And I love how important he ended up being to the whole process of learning how to kill Voldemort.
All in all, this is one of my favorites. The characters are fantastic. The mixing of worlds is extraordinary. The new and old characters feel like people you know. The death is terribly sad. The adventures are at an all time maximum. And I cannot wait to start book 7 again. This is another 10/10 fur sure.

1 comment:

  1. Half-Blood Prince is one of my top favorites for the series too Nori! I'd been waiting from the start for Dumbledore to take up a bigger role in Harry's magical education, so needless to say when he says he will be doing just that at the start of the book, I was over the moon :D Too bad it had to end the way it did though *sob* I love the extra darkness of this one, and the romantic dramas, our little friends are growing up! And like you said, seeing how the pieces of this story were falling into place was absolutely glorious! JKR is a mastermind ♥