Sunday, September 4, 2011

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (#6) by J.K. Rowling


*** Warning: This review contains spoilers! ***

It looks like I originally gave this book 3 stars, but upon re-reading, I'm going to increase the rating to a whopping 5 stars! All the Harry Potter books have been better the second time around, but in this one, J.K. Rowling's masterful storytelling really shines.

So, why such a difference in the rating? I think I originally was kind of annoyed at all the teenage romance, but for some reason - I really don't know why - it didn't bother me this time, and I actually rather liked it, even. Mostly, though, I am pretty sure that my original 3-star rating was heavily swayed by my initial dislike for Snape and love for Dumbledore. I probably couldn't get past the former's treachery and the latter's death. This time, of course, knowing the big picture, Dumbledore's death was much more poignant, and it wasn't tainted with raging feelings of betrayal.

Knowing Snape's true motivation for various activities really made for a whole new reading experience. Snape is the best! The revelation of his potion-making genius as the Half-Blood Prince was just scratching the surface of this complex fellow. It's amazing that J.K. Rowling was able to write a book that instilled such a strong sense of dislike for a specific character the first time it's read, and then created entirely different feelings of admiration and pity for the same character the second time!

As I read along, I was pleased to realize that this installment was definitely a case of the book being better than the movie. I really couldn't stand Ginny in the movies - she came across as quiet and mousy, and she never smiled! What's to like about her?! That scene in the movie, in which Ginny helps Harry hide the book in the Room of Requirement - I just wanted to gag. But in the book, she definitely came across as smart, funny, and talented. What's not to like!? Other parts of the book were much more satisfying than their movie counterparts, as well, like how much more developed the horcrux-hunting trip with Dumbledore was in the book than it was portrayed in the movie. Some of my favorite parts didn't even make it into the movie at all, like Tonks and Lupin's troubled relationship, and Fleur's declaration of love for Bill after Bill was bitten by a werewolf. "I am good-looking enough for the both of us!" Love it.

Still, the book wasn't perfect - but how many books are? I didn't quite understand why Hermione insisted that taking the luck potion wouldn't help Harry in his investigation of Malfoy. Harry knew Draco was up to something, so why couldn't the potion have helped him to arrive at the Room of Requirement at just the right time to follow Draco into it? Also, it bothered me that when Harry was horcrux-hunting with Dumbledore, Dumbledore specifically said that fire is used to fight Inferi, but Harry forgot and had to be saved by Dumbledore. I guess that moment of weakness was supposed to remind us that Harry is still just a kid, and at least his usefulness on the trip was confirmed when he successfully Apparated both himself and Dumbledore back to Hogsmeade. (Yay!) Finally, though, why didn't Harry tell Professor McGonagall about the horcruxes? It does seem like now that Dumbledore is gone, someone in the Order of the Phoenix ought to know what Harry is up against!

Only one more book in the series to go, and then I will really miss the wizarding world!

1 comment:

  1. yeah, why didn't he just tell mcgonagall! i mean, she's completely trustworthy, and could've helped! but he did that the whole series...the whole not-telling-someone-when-they-could've-helped-him thing. Maybe the lesson here is that people should trust others and look for help, don't try to do things on your own.