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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


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DONE!

I enjoyed the book. There are many things to speculate. I have many of the same suspicions that Alan listed. I'll wait until others finish. Oh, but I did wish to ask, Alan, what was your overall impression of the chapter titled Horcruxes?

"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - Groucho Marx

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DONE!

This book struck me as a "middle" book, like the middle volumes of trilogies, whose job it is to set up up for the third volume. So, with this one, I wasn't blown away. If anything, I was underwhelmed. BUT, it certainly set us up for the last book!

DONE, as well! I agree with Alan, that this is the "middle" book. It moves us past the exposition and beginning adventures, reintroduces a real sense of menace, sets up the final confrontations and all that. The Half-Blood Prince is like the Empire Strikes Back of the series.

I devoured this book, and must say I enjoyed it more than Order of the Phoenix. I cannot wait for the final book. It will be a doozy.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Oh, I totally see where Michael's going and I agree. I just had this conversation with my friend today.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Anders, it's just a thought. Admittedly, a dark one, but if you want to talk about Harry being a Christ-figure. We've had six books filled with people laying down their lives for Harry's sake. I have no idea how many died for Christ to come into this world and survive until his baptism, but in book seven it may be time to see Harry will take on the true mantle of the Son of Man.

Edited by Michael Todd

"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - Groucho Marx

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I'm up to chapter 18 now -- things slowed down today and yesterday due to work and other distractions.

In the meantime, has anybody noticed that Wikipedia has an entry on this book already, including a plot summary and a list of mistakes? (One of these mistakes concerns a statement that Dumbledore has not yet made in the 18 chapters that I have read, so beware, there be spoilers here.)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I think Rowling's biggest, or most high-profile, mistake to date was the scene at the end of Goblet of Fire, where the last few people killed by Voldemort are supposed to come out of his wand in the reverse order in which they were killed ... but she got Harry's mother and father reversed! (What do you call it when something is reversed twice?) I believe Rowling corrected this in later editions of the book, but that miffed some fans, who had been developing theories to explain this seeming discrepancy.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I did an internet search Sunday night to trace the etymology of the word Horcrux, and wikipedia had a decently long entry on it. I was amazaed.

Peter, I've appreciated your chapter-by-chapter observations. I wondered whether you would do that throughout the whole book. I have an idea on who R.A.B., but I don't know how you fellows do that neat-o hidden text hypertext.

After some discussion and thought, I may be backing off the Harry being a horcux possibility. Why would Voldemort attempt to kill an irreplacable part of his soul?

"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - Groucho Marx

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Uh-oh. My school's PR office called the department today looking for a quote on HP. I was the only one in the building, and had just begun reading the book (now up to chapter 8 or so), so I called back and gave the usual anti-Baehr answers, along with a couple of references to other pro-HP Christian authorities, such as this interview with Connie Neal. Don't know what will come of it.

So far, liking #6 better than #5.

There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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FWIW, I'm up to Chapter 28 now. Wow. Only 38 pages to go.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I'm in the midst of Chapter 20, and I like what I've read. It has much stronger subplots than The Order of the Phoenix did (so far), and apart from getting involved in a ton of iffy romantic hogwash the main characters seem to be back to form (considering how annoying they all acted in the last installment). If this episode isn't as good as The Prisoner of Azkaban, it's at least a step in the right direction. Rowling has won back my interest.

-"I... drink... your... milkshake! I drink it up!"

Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood

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FWIW, my review.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Finished it last night. Overall, this is a much, much better book than 5, and I am once again enthusiastic about Rowling's series.

spoilers1.gifspoilers1.gifspoilers1.gif

However, there is one thing that needs closure in this book and does not receive any: we are never given any real reason for Dumbledore's unwavering trust in Severus Snape, even up to the bitter end. All throughout the stories so far, Dumbledore has pooh-poohed any thought that Snape might be a Death-Eater, but he goes to his grave without ever giving any

real reason why he trusted Snape so much. I kept waiting for Rowling to pull out the stops and make a big revelation about how Snape couldn't POSSIBLY be a follower of Voldemort, but alas, this never happens; instead, Dumblebore ends up being just plain wrong, and considering how wise he is supposed to be, this is kind of annoying. Are we supposed to believe that Snape was so good an Occlumens that he could play the role of triple-agent right under Dumbledore's nose?

One more quibble I have is the cliched, Spider-Man style ending to the romance between

Harry and Ginny, a romance that I thought added a nice touch to Harry's character and had a positive impact on the story as a whole

. The whole "give eachother up for a noble cause" thing is nice and all, but it has been done to death; for once, can't a couple just get together and stay together through the hard times?

But overall, I'm pleased with the book. The ending was quite shocking and it has me pumped for part 7; that's as positive a statement one can make about a book series.

Edited by Mister Jeff

-"I... drink... your... milkshake! I drink it up!"

Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood

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Probably all spoilers...

I kept waiting for Rowling to pull out the stops and make a big revelation about how Snape couldn't POSSIBLY be a follower of Voldemort, but alas, this never happens; instead, Dumblebore ends up being just plain wrong, and considering how wise he is supposed to be, this is kind of annoying. Are we supposed to believe that Snape was so good an Occlumens that he could play the role of triple-agent right under Dumbledore's nose?

I doubt that we will be able to tell until the end of the next book whether Dumbledore was right or not. Before Snape killed Dumbledore we had seen Dumbledore order Harry to keep going at his given task even though it caused him agonising pain and could even have killed him. We don't see Snape kill Dumbledore until Rowling has established that Dumbledore is willing to order someone to kill him in order to achieve a greater end.

It seems entirely possible that she's setting Harry up for a critical decision in Book 7 as to whether to trust a Snape who claims he was acting on Dumbledore's orders (or potentially even a crisis when he kills Snape and then discovers that Snape wasn't as evil as he believed, but I think that less likely).

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Done. (I had to wait my turn.)

Not much new from me. My overall impression is that this is still very much a transitional book, and while it was pretty heavy on the exposition, it was still much more enjoyable than Harry5.

Okay. Confession time....

I know this is one of the dangers of reading books after film versions have burned certain actors in your mind for particular characters. But, how many of you, like me,

expected Dumbledore to die, largely because you had Richard Harris' death in the back of your mind

?

For that matter, how many of you, like me,

still think Snape will turn out to be working against Voldemort, in part because you just plain like Alan Rickman

?

I'm a little ashamed to admit that both are true for me, but there you go.

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zalm wrote:

: But, how many of you, like me,

expected Dumbledore to die, largely because you had

:

Richard Harris' death in the back of your mind

?

Um, I sort-of expected it, but not for that reason.

For one thing,

Richard Harris never seemed healthy enough to be a believable Dumbledore in the first place; he lacked the energy, the wit, of the books' Dumbledore. Heck, just try to imagine Richard Harris SWIMMING, in his robes, the way Dumbledore does in this book. Re-casting the role with Michael Gambon was much, much closer to the mark

.

As for why I DID expect it, well, John Granger has been predicting this for a few years now, though he expected it to happen in Book 5, not Book 6. Mind you, a lot of his OTHER predictions have been way, way off. But this one always felt right, especially when you consider

what happened to Gandalf and Obi-Wan

.

: For that matter, how many of you, like me,

still think Snape will turn out to be

:

working against Voldemort, in part because you just plain like Alan Rickman

?

Um, I sort-of do, but not for that reason. All I can say is, remember what happens in Chapter

(2)

.

Alan Thomas wrote:

:

I was disappointed that, while the books only occasionally mention God, there was

:

no clerical presence at the funeral nor was there any hint of an afterlife

. I find this

: to be a big omission.

Well, as A.N. Wilson points out, one thing that sets Hogwarts apart from the OTHER British schools that clearly provide its template, is the fact that the students are not made to attend chapel. I don't think I have a problem with this, though, because I like it when my myths deal with religious themes indirectly, instead of bringing religion directly into the mix (as Book 3 came dangerously close to doing in its very first pages, as Harry works on a school project about witch-burnings). The LAST thing I want to do is sit through a discussion among the witches and wizards as to what sort of "magic" lay behind the Resurrection or the miracles performed by Christ.

As for "nor was there any hint of..." Actually, I thought the previous books had dealt with that already.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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One thing I find interesting is that the characters do celebrate Christmas, albeit in a very secular fashion (and I think one of the books might just contain a reference to Easter too, though that may just be my imagination).

I DID expect it... especially when you consider what happened to

Gandalf and Obi-Wan

.

Ditto.

Every wise old mentor-figure dies at some point, so that they can make some kind of dramatic comeback. Dumbledore might come back dressed all in white with a shorter beard, become a blue ghost, etc.... Actually, one person I know postulated an interesting theory: that the Phoenix seen flying away at Dumbledore's funeral might actually be Dumbledore himself, somehow. That'd be cool if he came back as a bird (although it wouldn't be as radically original as it seems; Tommy Lee Jones does the same thing in

The Missing, if I remember correctly).

-"I... drink... your... milkshake! I drink it up!"

Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood

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Mister Jeff wrote:

: Ditto.

Every wise old mentor-figure dies at some point, so that they can make some

:

kind of dramatic comeback

.

Um, no, I don't believe that is the reason why, certainly not in this case. After all that Rowling has said about

death being permanent

, I find it hard to believe she would change her tune now.

Dumbledore will now be no more than a portrait on the wall of the headmaster's office, I'm afraid -- at least as far as the characters living in THIS world are concerned

.

The reason

every wise old mentor-figure dies

has more to do with the fact that

the apprentice-figure must grow up at some point, and prove that he can triumph against adversity WITHOUT the mentor's help

.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Alrighty... R.A.B.??? 

Regellius Black

That's who my money is on as well - especially considering

the locket they found at the Blacks' house in Book 5 that no one could open - seems likely Regulus took the horcrux. I wonder if it was among the things Mundungus was pilfering from Sirius's house when Harry, Ron and Hermione ran into him talking to the Hogs Head bartender - who is Dumbledore's brother Aberford (or something)? That whole episode just smacks of future significance.

Edited by Bethany

I wanted to get lost and love the questions there

Beauty and the truth I could breathe like air

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That's who my money is on as well - especially considering

the locket they found at the Blacks' house in Book 5 that no one could open - seems likely Regulus took the horcrux. I wonder if it was among the things Mundungus was pilfering from Sirius's house when Harry, Ron and Hermione ran into him talking to the Hogs Head bartender - who is Dumbledore's brother Aberford (or something)? That whole episode just smacks of future significance.

Funny. This afternoon, I talked to my wife for the first time since finishing the book (she's out of town), and she has exactly the same theory. I think it has a lot of merit, because there's really no other reason for

Mundungus to even be

part of the story in Book 6, if he isn't somehow involved in the horcruxeses.

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You know, I'm quite surprised that as of yet nobody has initiated/mentioned any of the usual political discussions/Iraq War comparisons that always seems to come with fantasy works these days (ahem, Star Wars III, ahem). I would have thought for sure that book critics nationwide would consider the new Minister of Magic to be a George Bush figure; maybe they're getting tired of looking at everything through a political lens?

-"I... drink... your... milkshake! I drink it up!"

Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood

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Actually, I allude to this book's war-on-terror parallels (and even at least one Star Wars: Episode III parallel) in the chapter-by-chapter comments at my blog post.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Before Snape killed Dumbledore we had seen Dumbledore order Harry to keep going at his given task even though it caused him agonising pain and could even have killed him. We don't see Snape kill Dumbledore until Rowling has established that Dumbledore is willing to order someone to kill him in order to achieve a greater end.

It seems entirely possible that she's setting Harry up for a critical decision in Book 7 as to whether to trust a Snape who claims he was acting on Dumbledore's orders (or potentially even a crisis when he kills Snape and then discovers that Snape wasn't as evil as he believed, but I think that less likely).

Let us not also forget that Snape continually refused to let Harry use an unforgivable curse on him. Even with his sneering, I got the sense that Snape was trying to protect Harry from doing something that would mark him forever. Snape could have easily dodged or blocked Harry's spell--he was reading his mind after all--but instead he chose to keep him from going down that path.

Jesus is not a zombie...I shouldn't have to tell you that.

--Agent Booth, Bones

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