Saturday, August 06, 2005

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Spoiler Alert!
Warning: If you have not yet read the 6th Harry Potter book, go no further!

So, I've finally finished it. Wow. What a shocker! And I'm not necessarily talking about Dumbledore's death, although that was pretty sad. What was most shocking to me was Snape's betrayal. Yes, I know he is a really nasty man, and he was a former death eater...J.K. Rowling has set it up so that we really hate him, and we want him to be bad so that we can feel justified in hating him. I'm sure that Harry finally feels justified in his intense dislike. Yet it almost feels like a cop-out on Rowling's part. I thought Snape was an interesting character simply because it says a couple of things about people: First of all, no matter what somebody has done in the past, they can change. It's difficult, but it can be done. And secondly, sometimes someone you dislike and don't get along with can be on your side, and you have to learn to work with them. Just because Snape was nasty doesn't mean he would for sure turn out to be evil.

I thought it was simply too easy for Snape to just turn out to be evil, so therefore I didn't believe it. Even in the beginning when he made the unbreakable vow, I thought "Hmmm. How's he going to get out of this one?". It never occurred to me that he wouldn't. Even now I find myself doubting Snape's true allegiance. Maybe he had to kill Dumbledore because of the unbreakable vow...maybe he knew Dumbledore was dying anyway...maybe he thinks he can do a better job than Dumbledore in taking down Voldemort...

And yet, he killed Dumbledore. Dumbledore who was his champion all along. And, as we've heard before, you cannot use one of the unforgivable curses if you don't mean it. Therefore he must have meant it. And also the expression of hatred as he did it...

Yes, I believe I must accept that Snape is evil. He is lost to us forever.

As for the rest of the book, I called Harry and Ginny and Ron and Hermione a long time ago. I wonder if Harry will get back together with Ginny at the end of next book? I also thought it was a bit shocking and scary that they are not going back to school next year. And I thought it was a bit silly that Harry's going to allow Ron and Hermione to come with him, but not Ginny. I think Ginny's as competent as those two, and Harry loves Ron and Hermione just as much. And really, as ma soeur so thoughtfully pointed out, Dumbledore's always said that the only thing Harry has that Voldemort doesn't is love. By running away from his love with Ginny and trying to separate and protect himself from it, I think he's throwing away his only weapon.

Finally, I thought the ending was pretty cool with the mystery about R.A.B. and the horcruxes. Who is R.A.B.? Did he or she destroy the horcrux? Do they know where and what the others are? Will R.A.B. help Harry? Pretty good cliffhanger. Why oh why must I wait another two years to read about it??


JB said...

I’m so glad you posted about the latest Harry Potter book!

Okay, so I was shocked by Dumbledore’s death, too, but I should have seen it coming because there was plenty of foreshadowing. (I started thinking maybe Dumbledore was done for when he looks out over the grounds at Hogwarts for the last time and a blood-red sun is setting, but I forgot about my premonition and so I was still shocked when he died.)

I think it was probably necessary for Rowling to kill him off because Harry needs to truly grow up and realize he can’t be protected from the evil in the world. He must fulfill his duty. I think Dumbledore even knew he was going to die, and that’s why he spent so much time preparing Harry to face Voldermort.

But I disagree about Snape. I think he’s still good, but that he’s gone very deep undercover. I’m also not entirely convinced he killed Dumbledore, but don’t ask me to explain it. I really do think, however, that Snape will turn out to be the redeemed hero of the series; he has REDEMPTION written all over him.

But I totlally agree with you about Harry and Ginny breaking up—very stupid move on Harry’s part. He’ll regret it.

I really liked the book on the whole and I think it sets up the finale quite nicely, but I do wish that Hermione had a bigger part. She’s my favorite character.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Violette said...

Hey JB,
After discussing it with some other people, I have come to the conclusion that you are right. Snape as evil didn't sit right with me, but I couldn't see how he could kill Dumbledore and not be evil, but, as a few people have pointed out, Snape made the unbreakable vow, so he had to kill Dumbledore or else die himself. Secondly, we never did find out what it is that Snape did to convince Dumbledore to trust him. I don't buy Harry's theory that Snape said he was sorry about getting Harry's parents killed. It's got to be something bigger than that. Dumbledore wasn't stupid. Lastly, a friend of mine has an interesting theory: Harry himself will turn out to be one of the Horcruxes and will have to sacrifice himself in the end. I'm not sure I buy it, but it's interesting to think about it.