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Finally... the last person on earth finishes "Half-Blood Prince"! *G* - "You didn't hear about the polar bear?"
July 27th, 2005
10:22 pm

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Finally... the last person on earth finishes "Half-Blood Prince"! *G*
Or at least it feels that way!

So, allow me to join the pack and give my spoilerish thoughts on this latest installment of The Saga of the Boy Who Lived...



I thought this was the best page-turner so far, and that thought started with the meeting of Snape, Narcissa and Bellatrix. Finally, we get to see into the world of the Slytherins, and what goes on - and start to get the idea that Draco's future is not necessarily the bright one he expects.

And the rest of the book, as it progresses, is refreshingly unnerving. Harry finally gets to spend the time with Dumbledore that all of us, in the back of our minds, knew he should be. But the result? We see the eerie similarities between Harry and Voldemort, and what a thin line there is between the two (orphans, parseltongue speakers, incredibly gifted), especially as Harry seems to become more arrogant and careless - in part due to the Half-Prince's book. Equally unnerving is Dumbledore's sudden openness; was I the only one wondering if this was really Dumbledore? Frankly, he creeped me out at times!

And then we hear of a boy who's been crying in the bathrooms, and I know at once that it's Draco - with whom Harry again shares eerie similarities (singled out, given difficult tasks) and with whom Harry is frighteningly obsessed. And, on top of it all, it turns out that Harry is, sadly, right! (or at least close to the mark). And, yes, it was good to see that Draco could not kill in cold blood; but was it because of goodness, or fear? And interesting to know that Draco was putting up a brave front the whole time - or I assume that was the case. I can finally feel something for Draco.

Did I anticipate Dumbledore's death? Yes, but as a general principle, not because of anything specific. Yes, the withered hand hinted that Dumbledore was not indestructible - that was part of it. But mostly I was thinking that we're getting close to the end of the books, and in all classic coming-of-age tales, the old generation must make way for the new - often by the father, or father figure, dying. And that's exactly what happened here. In fact, now Harry's father, his godfather, and, you might say, his surrogate father, are all dead.

Did I expect Snape to kill him? Honestly, I wasn't sure what he'd do! The conversation at the beginning, and everything else, seemed to point to Snape being a double agent. So did the apparent backfiring of his attempts to teach Harry Occlumency, which seemed to only open his mind up more. But I did think that Dumbledore had something that made his faith in Snape unshakable... other than the reason he gave Harry, which, frankly, seemed like the last thing that would make Dumbledore have faith in Snape.

Did I guess who the Half-Blood Prince was? Not until Snape caught Harry using the spell... then I started thinking about it. Did I know Hermione and Ron would end up together? Well, come on - we all knew that! *G* Did I guess about Tonks and Lupin? Not in a million years! But, how adorable! Squeee!

So, very interesting read compared to the others; I was very happy with the book.

Of course, I have a couple of pet "Peeves" (*groan*). One I've already mentioned to anima_mecanique, which is: if every spell in the world is Latin, why in the world don't they teach these kids Latin? In fact, they seem to be unaware that the language exists! Why else would Harry be surprised by what "Levitatum Corpus" or "Separatum Sectum" do? (Sorry, I'm sure these are not correct, but you know what I'm referring to.) So, is a spell created by just translating the action into Latin? If not, how do people invent spells? On the other hand, I was relieved to see Harry and Ron preparing food by hand because they're underage and can't use magic at home; I'd wondered how they got around that, if all the work at home is usually done by magic. Still, if that's the case, you'd think they'd be more familiar with muggle technology, then - since that's the only way kids can do things (i.e., without magic).

Ah, well, just a couple of quibbles. Excellent book. Now let's see how Harry gets through all those Horcruxes in one last book!

Another question, though... what's the use of keeping your soul immortal in these different items? I mean... how does it help? It's not like there are 7 Lord Voldemorts, since the one in the body seems to be the only conscious one that is capable of much action. Ah, well... - it's just a plot device, anyway!

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From:hobbitgrrl
Date:July 28th, 2005 04:36 am (UTC)
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what's the use of keeping your soul immortal in these different items?

Honestly, the whole "keeping a part of your power/soul in an object so that you cannot be completely detroyed even if your body is" immediately struck me as Sauron and the Ring. I mean, c'mon... you have to destroy the ring to completely destroy him, and even when his earthly body was destroyed he couldn't be totally vanquished because of the Ring. :P
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From:rosamundeb
Date:July 28th, 2005 05:13 am (UTC)
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EXACTLY! That's exactly what I was thinking. But, I mean... how would that work? With Sauron, it was like his soul "rose out of the Ring", and that's how he came back. In fact, I believe one of the reasons he had difficulties coming back was because he was parted from The Ring. His "soul", for want of a better word, was apparently some insubstantial spirit, or gas, that took ages to rebuild a body through sheer willpower and sorcery. The Ring really didn't help him. In fact, The Ring has always seemed to be a weakness - a way in which part of his power can be taken from him.

Ah, well... guess I can't be too made at Rowling if Tolkien's approach is just as strange - *L*!
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From:aeb
Date:July 28th, 2005 06:43 am (UTC)
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Keeping a soul in an object is Traditional. Yes, "Traditional" with a capital "T". It's been featured in an awful lot of legends and stories with minor variations. I think house-elves fall in the same category.

No, Traditional doesn't promise it makes sense. Sometimes I think Tradition like this guarantees it doesn't. {Chuckle, mischievous GRIN}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin
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From:psyknife
Date:July 28th, 2005 04:46 am (UTC)
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No, you're not the last. I haven't read it. I haven't even read the last one yet.
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From:quiet_moments
Date:July 28th, 2005 02:26 pm (UTC)
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Did you figure out R.A.B. and where at least one of the remaining horcruxes are? ;)

Also, JKR said in an interview that though finding the remaining horcruxes could seem overwhelming, Harry has gained quite a bit of information in the past several years that he is not even aware of. Which means some hints might lie in the other books. Which, of course, means that once I take a break and read another book or two, I will restart the entire series with this in mind.

I thought Dumbledore was more open and informative because he knew he would die soon. He may not have known when or how, but I think he knew it was a possibility.

Also, what are your thoughts on Snape now? Evil, good, what? At first reading, I thought "that EVIL S.O.B.?!?!?!?" Then I got to thinking about it, and the reason he gave to Bellatrix and Dumbledore gave to Harry doesn't hold water. Dumbledore was capable of mistakes, this is true. This was made clear in this book. But I do not think he would have placed unshakable faith in Snape had there not been reason to do so. Did they have an Unbreakable Vow? And why did he kill Dumbledore? Was it to keep Draco from having to do it? Was it agreed upon with Dumbledore that, should it come to it, he was supposed to do that? (Remember their argument, overheard by Hagrid?) We know Dumbledore said he was not afraid of dying. Yet he sounded afraid and pleading then. Was it an act? What was going on? I do believe he is dead, even though many are trying to hold on to theories of how he might not be. He needs to be in order to make Harry stand on his own in the final confrontation with Voldemort. The hero must always walk alone to the final battle. He cannot turn to Sirius, or Dumbledore, for help and strength. It must be on his own. For Dumbledore to be alive would just defeat the purpose, imo.

Draco was interesting in this one. For the first time ever, I had sympathy for him. I don't think he would have gone through with killing Dumbledore. I honestly don't. He was terrified of what Voldemort would do if he didn't go through with it, yet he hesitated. Very telling. There may yet be hope for redemption where he is concerned. He is not thouroughly evil. He talks the talk, but he is not so keen to walk the walk.

I honestly thought there would, and should, be more deaths in this book. I guess she covered that in killing off characters we met briefly though the series, people we were familiar with but that were not central to the story. It still shows the danger of the war they are in, yet keeps the main characters alive...for now.

The horcrux idea is odd. Maybe it means that, as long as there's part of his soul kept alive through the horcruxes, the part of his soul with his body cannot pass on. So he still lives, but it less than a ghost.

Your thoughts on Slughorn?
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From:rosamundeb
Date:July 28th, 2005 03:42 pm (UTC)
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"I thought Dumbledore was more open and informative because he knew he would die soon. He may not have known when or how, but I think he knew it was a possibility." That did occur to me, and may be why it felt... odd. It would be because he felt rushed. AND... that would explain why he took Harry along, something he would never have done previously. He knew that, if he died, Harry would have to carry on the fight, and he also knew that Harry would be involved in the fight no matter what, because of the prophecy. I think that may be it, but I wonder if there was something else going on as well.

Snape... I agree completely; Dumbledore's reason does not hold water, and he always stated his belief in Snape categorically. Perhaps, after all, his pleading was for Snape to carry out his killing? Perhaps he feared that Snape would hesitate and reveal himself to the Death Eaters; perhaps Snape has a role to uphold that was important enough to allow Dumbledore to die; and, now that I think of it, perhaps there is something to this that is similar to Obi-Wan's death in "A New Hope", and Gandalf's death in the mines of Moria, in that, in some way, Dumbledore will have greater power in death than he ever could in life, and be better able to help Harry.
*eyes wide* I think we've hit it!!!

Ooops... now I just read on, and you're right - I bet that was the argument with Snape! But, yes, I think the real answer is between what you and the others say - he's dead, but death is NOT the end! Look at the ghosts! The portraits! Hell... maybe even the phoenix? He could have performed a Horcrux, even - but I don't think that's the route, since it's "evil".

As to the deaths - I was afraid it would be Hermione or Ron, and I still think that's possible... but I do think there are enough that you feel the real danger.

Slughorn? Well, not much thought on him at all; I think his role is about done here.

Good thoughts - thank you!


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