Sunday, June 29, 2014
Reread: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
I was both looking forward to and dreading reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I wanted to do the reread because I knew how much information was given in this book and I couldn't remember all the hints. I didn't want to reread it because of the death in this one. (I'll mention it later so go away if you don't know who I mean!) For more info about this challenge and the idea behind it, visit Just a Lil' Lost's sign up post. Check out Twitter and Instagram if you'd like to follow along with our #HPreread tag. A reminder: if you haven't read this book, or even finished the whole series, please beware of spoilers. If you don't want parts of the story or series ruined for you, stay away until you finish the books!
I remembered early on how many deaths there actually are in this book. We met Amelia Bones in Order of the Phoenix and then, in the first few pages of Half-Blood Prince, we find out that she was killed. Sad! Of course, it's not just deaths that occur but serious injuries as well (see: Bill). There are a lot of minor characters that have popped up throughout who become more important as the series progressed. It's another nod to Rowling's excellent storytelling.
I never really saw the appeal of Draco Malfoy the first time I read the series. I didn't dislike him any more than the average person but I didn't like him either. I know a lot of people love him and I now understand it. My heart hurt when he confronted Dumbledore and explained what he had to do and why. And when he was crying to Moaning Myrtle right before Harry cursed him? Oh, so sad. I imagine this feeling of..empathy, I guess?..is a result of knowing how the series ends and what else Malfoy goes through. This feeling also applies to Snape and my feelings about him. Going into the series the first time all we know is that he's such a villain in Harry's eyes so what happens in the end is so surprising. Knowing the final ending makes rereading this book even harder because you can tell that Snape is struggling with his duties.
And let's just talk about this for a second:
Ah, young love. I love that Harry and Ginny become a couple and I love that Ron and Hermione eventually get it together and realize they should be together, too (though that's in the next book. Expect another page shot of that scene). Speaking of Ron and Hermione...reading about two sixteen year olds who are struggling with their feelings for each other? It's definitely sweet, yes. But also quite funny. Makes me glad I'm not a teen anymore :)
I had forgotten that the novel opens with the British Prime Minister and the visits from Fudge and Scrimgeour. I especially liked when the PM says, "But for heaven's sake - you're wizards! You can do magic! Surely you can sort out - well - anything!" Scrimgeour replies, "The trouble is, the other side can do magic too, Prime Minister." (page 24) This sort of sets the tone of almost helplessness that the magical community has as well as making you realize how much the Muggle world is being affected by Voldemort's return.
Finally, it's time to talk about Dumbledore. I was dreading the end of this book so much. I hate that he dies. I hated knowing going into it that he dies. All the clever little quips and thoughtful pieces of advice...all stabs to the heart. Of course, knowing that Dumbledore knew he was going to die makes a lot of things clearer. All the lessons with Harry, the knowledge he tried to impart, and so on, it was all done with a purpose. But reading as Harry had to deal with the death of his mentor...oh, it was just so hard.
For more thoughts and random quotes that I enjoyed, check out the Storify link for this month's reread.
I can't believe next month is the last book! Ah! Where did the time go? It's going to be hard to finish the series (again) but I'm looking forward to it. I've only read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows once so I can't recall some of the tinier details like I can with some of the others. Final note: is anyone else planning on bingewatching all of the movies in August like I am?