(This contains spoilers of HP: HBP, so read at your own risk. Don’t say I didn’t warn you either.)
Hello again! For all of you who don’t know, the next installment of the “8-movie series” (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is going to be in 2 movies since one “wont’ do it justice,”). Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is due to be in theaters nation wide July 9th, 2009. The filming ended, May 17, according to a new update on Emma Watson’s official website. It was due to be released last November however, Warner Brothers wanted to give the “brother” movie Twilight a chance at actually making money.
The 652 pages of volume six drive forward more satisfyingly. At the outset, Cornelius Fudge, whom we have met as the Minister for Magic, updates a Muggle prime minister about the dark times — raising the intriguing possibility that a real British prime minister might be tempted to play a bit part in a future film which is not confirmed yet. Fudge is then to be replaced by Rufus Scrimgeour as the new Minister. The device of this meeting in the PM’s office gives an opportunity for a certain amount of (rather dull) recapping — for those who will read only this volume, perhaps? They would be unwise to do so. A great deal of the pleasure of this book comes from seeing developments unfold that careful readers will have predicted. This is the book in which everything in the series starts to come to unfold as we uncover the truth behind the 4 most powerful Wizards.
A question that pop’s up a lot in this book (as well in the series) is Snape persuading Death Eaters of his loyalty to their side. Is this what it appears to be? Or is Snape fulfilling Dumbledore’s orders to infiltrate the enemy as a means of fighting them? Through out the entire book, Snapes actions are uncertain, I was even confused, with him wanting to help Draco Malfoy (due to the fact he made an unbreakable vow with Malfoy’s mother to protect him) in fulfilling his “job” since he replaced his father in Voldemort’s circle. At the end when Snapes actions are clearly leaning towards one side, there is still room for interpretation. For example, after Snape kills Dumbledore and Harry runs after him, Snape deflects Harry’s spells and yells, “Blocked again and again and again until you learn to keep your mouth shut and your mind closed, Potter!” Now doesn’t that sound an awful lot like Snape’s giving Harry a few pointers on learning occulemcy again? We all know how well that turn out in the Order of the Phoenix… utter and complete disaster. It is one of the achievements of this volume that we are left questioning what we know in order to understand Snape and his motivations that are left unresolved until Deathly Hallows.
We then find ourselves back at No. 4 Privet Dr., the Dursley’s as Dumbledore comes to pick up Harry (for the first and last time). This is where Rowling’s creativity and charisma lashes out as kind Dumbledore, being scrupulously polite, manages at the same time to be devastatingly rude to Harry’s foster family. From then on the book is aloft.
We expect this volume to be grim, with the after effects of Sirius’ death, and the danger to the wizarding world is as great as it has ever been. And yet the novel has vivacious bubbly attitude, partly thanks to the blossoming of young love, in directions Rowling neatly and cleverly encouraged us to hope for. They get their OWL results (Hermione gets her 11 O’s). A wedding begins to blossom. Weasley Wizarding Wheeze is a success. Luna commentaries, quite enthusiastically, a quidditch match. Dumbledore takes Harry back through the Pensieve to learn more of the early life and antecedents of Voldemort. Malfoy’s alliance is questioned, which side is he really on? Harry’s now the “heart throb” of the school and finally dates Ginny, to Ron’s annoyance. Ron’s now pimpin’-it-up with Lavender Brown, and they’re even interpreted as “a noise like a plunger being withdrawn from a blocked sink.” Three guesses who said that.
As expected the book takes it’s usual dangerous action packed adventure where Dumbledore gives clues, Harry follows them, almost gets killed, blames himself in sorrow, Hermione snap him out of it, add a couple of inappropriate comments from Ron and all is well until the next installment. In this morally complex sequence, there are agonizing issues of responsibility and sacrifice. It ends in shock and tears, and its consequences will resonate to the end of the seventh book.
There will always be those who say that Harry Potter, measured against great literature like Twain, is not worth the hoo-hah. But the hoo-hah is born of pure enjoyment, and those who have enjoyed the first five volumes can’t possibly abandon the story now. Rather than miss this, most enthusiasts would, as Peeves the Poltergeist urges in the book, “set fire to their own pants.”
(disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, that alone belongs to JK Rowling.)