Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A few questions after rereading the Half-Blood Prince

Like many other Harry Potter fans, I've just reread the sixth book so it will be fresh in my mind for the seventh and final installment in the series.

I enjoyed this one because it gives us further insight into many characters, particularly Snape and Dumbledore, and the romantic relationships were so much fun! I particularly loved the part where Luna is the commentator for the Quidditch match - she is a wonderful character. I enjoyed the way Bill and Fleur's relationship played out, and how Harry is finally permitted to take a more active role in fight against Voldemort (not that he hasn't played an active role in previous books, but here the adults are no longer trying to protect him by keeping him in the dark). Much is at stake now, and Rowling isn't pulling any punches.

Some questions came to mind as I was reading:

How on earth did Hagrid get wrongly accused in the Chamber-of Secrets matter back when he was a student, given the existence of veritaserum? Couldn't they have just used that to see what actually happened? In fact, wouldn't that have worked at the inquest when the Ministry of Magic tried to have Harry expelled from Hogwarts in the Order of the Phoenix?

Also, the existence of the time turners creates other questions - if characters can go back in time and change things, is anything that happens fixed and immutable?

And of course, there is the question that everyone's been asking since this book first came out - what on earth did Dumbledore know that made him trust Snape so implicitly? Was he just flat out wrong? He does say to Harry at one point that because he (Dumbledore) is cleverer than most, the mistakes he makes tend to be fairly colossal. Or is there something yet to be revealed?

Well, we'll find out some of these answers, maybe, in a few days...

For further reading on this subject, and for some well-thought-out conjectures on events in the last book, check out Nymeth's excellent reveiw of this same book, which she posted today, too!

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic, 2005)


  1. I just finished this last night. I'm telling you, the further I've read in the Harry Potter series, the more intrigued I am. At first, I just read them because my class was crazy about them. Now I'M hooked. I can hardly wait until Saturday (not thinking I'll brave the crowd on Friday night).

    Like you, I'm full of questions, mostly: Will Dumbledore come back? Will Sirius come back? Who will diy? And just what's up with Snape anyway? At this point, I have no guesses; Rowlings' imagination is beyond me!

  2. p.s. I know how to spell 'die', that was a typo. Sorry. :)

  3. It sure is bitter-sweet to be anxiously waiting for book 7 and yet knowing you will not be reading about these characters again.

  4. Well, in regard to time turners, I got the feeling that they’re a closely guarded thing in the wizarding world. Remember when Hermione used one, she said she had to go before the ministry and swear she wouldn’t use it for other purposes besides school, and that she wouldn’t tell anyone? Then in whatever book it was, Hermione said there were no more time turners because they’d smashed them all when they were fighting the death eaters at the ministry? That means, to me, that there were a limited number of them to begin with and the ones that were available, were given limited access to by the public. So my point is that most events probably are fixed, if there were only a small lot of time turners, and only a small number of government officials (and trusted students) were allowed to use the ones that existed.

  5. I finished re-reading this yesterday, and like you I am wondering about many things.

    Your first question is a good one, and I have no answer for it. Perhaps it's just something Rowling overlooked. I remember having a similar question about book 4: The Cup had a portkey that would transport Harry to where Voldemort needed him to be, and this is why Barty Crouch Jr. went out of his way to make sure Harry won the cup. But wouldn't it have been much, much easier to just put the portkey in any random object Harry was sure to touch?

    As for your second question, maybe changing the past is considered unethical? And it could have unpredictable consequences.

    About Snape, I have faith in him. I don't think Dumbledore was wrong, and I think we will finally find out why it was that he was so sure Snape could be trusted.

  6. Bellezza - I agree - the books just keep getting better and better. Let's hope we are happy with the answers to our many questions!

    Deslily - yes, it is definitely bittersweet. I'm trying to comfort myself with the fact that at least we'll have two more films to look forward to! Although I much prefer the books, but I'll take what I can get.

    Dance Chica - yes, I think it was at that point in the book that I really started thinking about the time turners and wondering if that was a way of saying nope, not happening again, or else a little reminder of their existence. After all, if they can be made once, they can certainly be made again. It's definitely intriguing, isn't it!

    And Nymeth - yes! I remember thinking the same thing as well, about the portkey. But it made for such a fun plot line that I went happily along for the ride, anyway. I would like to have your faith in Snape, not only because I'd hate to have Dumbledore be so totally wrong about him when he was such a perceptive man, but also because I just love Snape. He is a fascinating character. But I have niggling doubts, sigh.

  7. I've been real good about not seeing/reading any spoilers but I am just dying for Friday night to get here already! I'll be going to the midnight party then I'm pulling my usual all-nighter. Have to finish reading it before anyone posts a review and spoils it for me. LOL.

  8. Just finished re-reading six as well... now I'm dying to find out what many questions!!

  9. It's funny - I don't think that there are many other books out there that engender discussion about HOW you read them. There are gobs of newspaper articles about people going into isolation to read them, and patrons at my library have told me about various different approaches. One said she reads it so fast all at once just to find out what happens before anyone can spoil it for her, and then she gets some sleep and starts all over again, reading it at leisure to truly appreciate it. Others just wait till the furor has died down and then pick up a copy, not caring what they might hear about the book. What a strange, interesting cultural sensation these books have created!


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