I finished the latest Harry Potter book…

I finished the latest Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince today. The story moved better than it did in Book V, and I’m pretty sure that’s not just the Lortab speaking.

Spoiler Alert!

If you ask me, Dumbledore had it coming. Neither he nor any of the other adults give their precocious students nearly enough credit, and his machinations were bound to bring him to an unpleasant end.

That said, I really hope Snape isn’t a bad guy. I hope Dumbledore WANTED Snape to kill him, and in effect ORDERED him to do as he did in order to cement himself on Voldemort’s inner circle. Not because I think that’s an effective strategy, mind you. Because I want Snape to be a good guy. It would be a real shame if the only really MEAN teacher, and also the only truly TALENTED teacher was actually EVIL.

And that’s it for the spoilers.

The book did not move me, stir me, or make me think nearly so much as the pre-release copy of The Weapon, by Michael Z. Williamson did. But I’m being a little premature. I’m not supposed to be saying anything about Williamson’s book for another week or so.

–Howard

54 thoughts on “I finished the latest Harry Potter book…”

  1. I kind of agree. All that stuff Dumbledore was harping on about, with the ‘I am old an expendable!’. Makes you wonder if he and Snape weren’t playing a deeper game than has yet been revealed.

  2. That’s actually my hypothesis – specifically that a) Dumbledore knew he didn’t have much time left anyway (due to the curse that withered his hand), b) Snape’s validity as a Death Eater spy is worth far more to the Order than Dumbledore’s few remaining months of life, and c) Snape was therefore ordered to prefer killing Dumbledore to blowing his cover should the conflict arise.

    I agree, though – Snape actually being evil would be disappointing as well as nonsensical, seeing as how he’s been protecting Harry since the first book – in subtle ways as well as clear ones. (Recall the muttered countercurses from the Quidditch match in the first book – he didn’t have to do that, and he wouldn’t have been faulted for not doing it.)

  3. Intriqueing.

    While Snape comes off as a real mean SOB, There is also a bit of resentment and loathing mixed in for good measure, That is a valid hypothesis given the current data set out there. (i.e. the six books taken as a whole as far as personality development, and ignoring everything else)

    Some of the meanest SOBs that you’d ever meet (I personally know a few) have hearts of pure gold; if you needed help, they’d gladly give it. But lord help you if you cross them, ’cause no one else would.

  4. There’s a decent chance he had absolutely no choice, insofar as the Unbreakable Vow required it, because Draco was unable. He probably told Dumbledore, Dumbledore understood, and was prepared to die for the reasons you’ve noted.

    That’s *my* hope, at least. Snape may be one of the few characters in the books that are on the edge. Fights evil, but is really not the best person in the book. Hates a large number of the “good” characters, yet helps them against his emotions. And so on.

    Again, just my hope talking there.

  5. Snape HAD to kill Dumbledore. He let himself be roped into the Unbreakable Oath to A) Protect and Watch Over Draco and B) Fulfill The Mission If Draco Couldn’t.

    Please note that in the final confrontation with Harry, he was TELLING HARRY HOW TO BEAT HIM. Harry, being the petulant, stubborn ass that he is, couldn’t see that, and couldn’t muster the moxie to cast unvocalized spells.

    1. A quick note: Harry does try to cast a spell without yelling the incantation, but he also is unable to prevent Snape from reading his mind (a big deal from Book 5). So a nonverbal spell is useless without the ability to conceal his thoughts.

      </geeking out>

  6. As I have said elsewhere, if this had been the first book in the series, I would never have read the subsequent ones. Nothing in this book made me care. Which is sad, because every time Neville gets 10 points in the first book winning the cup, I tear up. Sirius made me sad, and makes me sad every time I read it. I enjoy the books so much, I can read them again and still enjoy them. Books like that are rare. Sadly, book 6 is not like that. I see myself in the future skipping it, or slogging through it to get to the good stuff in book seven when I decide to re-read the series for fun.

    The whole book was wrapping up or setting the stage. No real plot. Seriously. Nothing. Malfoy is supposed to kill Dumbledore. Dumbledore already knows about it. Snape has to do it if Malfoy doesn’t, and Dumbledore knows it. He sets it up so Snape WILL do it to save Malfoy (or try to) so that we have a scene in book seven where Snape will put Harry in a position where Harry has to trust Snape or lose to Voldemort. So… painfully obvious.

    The previous books always had fun revelations or exciting things going on that made you think. This book didn’t make me think. Or care.

    But it did make me laugh at several points, which is new. Dobby as comedic relief was weak. She actually seems to have put some real humor into this book (and it’s a dark book, so that’s a good feat!) and that made me happy.

    Ah well. Only another 3 years for book 7, right?

    1. Voldemort is a wizard with his soul torn in seven pieces and stored in seven different places. A (seven)-part series, such as this one, is a single plot torn in seven pieces and packaged as seven different books. In a sense, they both have the same problem.

  7. My current thinking is that Dumbledore is too mixed up with Phoenix symbols for me to entirely trust that he didn’t do something sneaky.

    I’ve been pondering the idea that Snape may have wanted out of his double-life, and had four options; die, betray Voldemort (which is about the same as the first option anyhow), betray Dumbledore (or at least appear to), or (before taking an Unbreakable Vow), betray both of them by Apparating as far away from the entire mess as he could and hiding really hard.

    From the point of view of Snape wanting out.. if Dumbledore knew of the Unbreakable Vow regarding Malfoy, he could have pushed Snape towards the “betray Dumbledore” path – perferably without letting Snape know he knew – in order to fake his own death.

    That’d let him get free of the Ministry of Magic, Hogwart’s (which he couldn’t be sure would even be around next year anyhow), as well as convincing Voldemort that it was safe to become more openly aggressive.

    Dumbledore, a free agent at last, with the time to go hunting bits of Voldemort’s soul.

  8. I got this spoiled for me on accident. I was chatting with a friend who said they’d just finished reading it, and I said “I hear Dumbledore dies.” I was just being outlandish, like saying “Hermione gets pregnant” or “Ron kisses Malfoy.”

    Anyway, she said “Yup.”

    Serves me right.

  9. the pre-release copy of The Weapon, by Michael Z. Williamson did. But I’m being a little premature. I’m not supposed to be saying anything about Williamson’s book for another week or so.

    Why not? The first 8 chapters are online at http://jiltanith.thefifthimperium.com/ *with permission*.

    Along with chunks of the next Honor Harrington book, the next Belisarius book, “1634: The Bavarian Crisis” and others…

    1. Or at Baen.com, fercryinoutloud. Just finished reading the first 8 chapters of The Weapon, and I love it. And E-books make my budget work!

  10. Snape thoughts

    Personally, I really would like a Snape who actually did betray Dumbledore by killing him. Because it seems pretty clear that (a) Snape doesn’t actually bear any ill-will towards Dumbledore and (b) Snape seems to be behaving (when he isn’t badgering Harry) out of a sense of honor rather than in pursuit of personal gain. So if he really did join the Death Eaters, you have a truly morally struggling character.

    In reality, though, I think he was working under Dumbledore’s orders. It makes sense with the argument Harry overhears (Snape trying to back out of his agreement to kill Dumbledore), Dumbledore’s “please” (Dumbledore’s not the type to beg for his life), and the fact that throughout the book Dumbledore seems to be preparing Harry for his death. Not to mention that it is still a bit hard for me to let go of the concept of “Dumbledore as nearly-infalliable oracle,” which would be destroyed if he were so obviously wrong about Snape.

    1. Re: Snape thoughts

      I’ve never seen Dumbledore as “nearly-infallible oracle” and he’s made several mistakes in the handling of Harry and the Voldemort situation (asking Snape to try to teach Harry Occlumency was a doomed enterprise from the start, for example). But if Dumbledore turns out to be “so obviously wrong about Snape,” he will have shown himself to be as stupid as the Jedi masters in the Star Wars saga, and I’d really hate to see that.

  11. I note that p.405-406 has Hagrid mentioning that Snape “didn’ wan’ ter do it anymore” and Dumbledore responded by saying that “he’d agreed ter do it an’ that was all there was to it.” Add the context of the Unbreakable Vow, Dumbledore specifically calling on Harry to summon Snape, Dumbledore deliberately rendering Harry immobile, and Dumbledore pleading with Snape to do something, and we see a plausible case that Snape was acting on Dumbledore’s instructions.

    And, frankly, I’m amazed anybody can see this book as anything but an improvement over book 5. It wasn’t on 4’s level, but certainly was on 3’s.

  12. I enjoyed this book a lot more than the last one that I think of as Harry Potter and the Terrible Teen Angst.

    Dumbledore’s death was expected, but it still brought tears to my eyes. I’m an old softie 🙂 For all that he could have given more credit to his students, I often felt in the series that some things could have been slightly easier for Harry if he’d trusted Dumbledore more.

    The surprise to me was learning that the last book wouldn’t be at Hogwarts. I’ll miss it!

    1. Who says it won’t be at Hogwarts? Just because Harry announces that he won’t be going to school, and just because Ron and Hermione announce their intention to follow him, doesn’t mean that’s what’ll happen.

      Admittedly, it would be a little contrived for everything to revolve around and resolve AT Hogwarts, but that would be by far the LEAST of Ms. Rowlings contrivances.

      –Howard

  13. The question I keep asking is, why the heck did Dumbledore need to drink all that potion? Why not, oh, maybe bail it out? If he was on a sinking boat, would he try to drink all the water in the bottom?
    My buddy’s mother suggested the potion protected him from Snapes’s curse, and he’ll be back, not really dead.
    Don’t know that I buy that one, but we’ll see.

    1. Because it would refill if not drunk.. You could lift it out with the goblet but spilling it onto the ground would probably just make it regrow.

  14. Well a couple of things..

    RAB = Regulus A. Black I think. Mentioned a few too many times as “former Death Eater” “died a few days after he left the DEs”

    Also Both Dumbledore and Snape are good at Occulmency and Legilemency. Dumbledore’s behavior was very strange. He could easy have been ordering Snape (they locked eyes!) mind to mind to kill him. He said he completly trusts Snape and I suspect thats from a much earlier Unbreakable Vow. I could easily see Dumbledore sacrificing himself (especially with his injury and his growing weakness) for both Harry AND Draco and to keep Snape alive as well.

    We’ll see… but thats what I think.

    1. I figured RAB was probably a Black, yes. I was going to go back and look up the family tree they found in book 5, but 5 seems to be the only book so far I don’t own.
      But now I’ve heard several people theorizing that it’s Regulus Black, and – I couldn’t remember anything about it – the bits you cite are further evidence.

      Anyway, Rowling has slowed down the introduction of new major characters ever so slightly and has started reusing the old ones – lots of people assumed that the Half-Blood Prince was going to be a new character – that I have a strong, strong suspicion that we HAVE been introduced to RAB, so Regulus would fit, and looking for an existing character is to be RAB is more likely than a new character.

  15. It’s interesting to theorize about this book. The really interesting thing is that Rowling is following fairly standard story conventions. This allows us to use the Cambellian monomyth structure to peer ahead and see what she’s up to.

    Let me give you an example. In traditional story mechanics the guardian character has to be rendered ineffective. This is the only way for the hero to step up and fulfill his destiny. Ergo, Dumbledore has to die.

    Another is the whole Harry / Ginny romance. I saw that coming clear back in book two. Why? Because for the story to end well, Harry needs to become part of the Weasly family. It’s the family he wishes he had and there’s only one way he can become an official part of it. So I was not even remotely surprised when Harry suddenly discovered he had feelings for Ginny.

    Now, where can we go from there? First, Snape has to be a good guy in the end. Any other conclusion destroys the character, taking him from someone deep, complex, and real to a cardboard cutout.

    Second. I agree with the previous poster who suggested that the links between Dumbledore and Phoenix symbols are too numerous to count him out. Dumbledore knew about the practice of dividing one’s soul before Harry recovered the memory. He is also preaching endlessly about the power of love. It is entirely possible if not likely that Dumbldore put part of his own soul (using love and devotion instead of murder) into Fawkes. Think about it. What better place to put one’s soul than into a container that cannot be destroyed. (I also think that there is a part of Dumbledore’s soul Harry. Rowling went out of here way to remind us that as long as there are those loyal to Dumbledore at Hogwarts, he won’t be truly gone.) The short of this, you will see Dumbledore again and probably just when Harry needs him.

    Last, about Sirus. I think he’s gone for good. That’s just my personal opinion, though.

    About the book itself. It was a fun read. Much better than the overlong, overwrought last one. Unfortunately, it was a bit fluffy. Lots of things happened, but Harry himself did almost nothing. It’s like he was a bystander for the whole book. Also, am I the only one who is bothered by how little Harry knows about magic? I mean the Half Blood Prince is inventing spells (as, incidentally, are the weasely brothers) but, as fare as we know, Harry couldn’t invent a spell if you held a gun to his head. He’s only got one year at Hogwarts left, what are they teaching him in that school?

    1. Snape was a prodigy, as are (sort of) the Weasley brothers.
      Harry, despite what he and a bunch of others like to think, is not a prodigy. I mean, he may be reasonably powerful, but he’s really, let’s face it, not very bright.
      Snape, Voldemort, the others, are all pretty smart.

      And as for why Hogwarts isn’t teaching its students how to invent new spells… what do you learn in, say, physics class? You learn what other people have already discovered. You don’t learn anything about what we DON’T know, and you don’t learn how you might go about inventing ways to start knowing it.
      That’s the whole thing, you aren’t taught how to invent new spells because that’s what inventing is – you can’t be taught what to do, because if we already knew what to do, it’d already be invented!

      Thing.

      Anyway, its a school for how to do magic, not anything else. And he’s learned just fine how to do magic.

      That said, he only knows like ten spells. Notice the spells he uses in the dumbledore-dying chapters – petrificus totalus, twice. then impedimentia, twice. then stupefy. then he tries to use crucio a couple times. then incarc-something, I can’t remember the whole thing. then stupefy and impedimentia again. then the two spells Snape invented. That’s not a wide range of spells, especially considering that petrificus, impedimentia, stupefy, incarc-thing, and the one with the ankle-hanging all do essentially the same thing. What ARE they teaching him? A bunch of identical spells that are easily blocked?

      The most effective spell he knows is sectumsempra, which, naturally, he learned from a Death Eater.

      The good guys all use wussy, useless spells.

      1. OK, good points all.

        Still, something is missing. Even if they don’t teach students specifically how to invent spells, there must be some underlying theory about it. I mean, lets not forget that one of the most powerful magical items in the whole series is a map that was created by four students who weren’t even in their final year. They can’t all be prodigies.

        Besides we do have Hermione, and she most definitely is a prodigy. Yet we get nothing from her. Sure, she’s a good girl, but she has interests of her own. You’d think she’d be coming up with all kinds of useful things.

        I guess where I’m going with this is that it seems that Harry and his friends are being kept younger than they should be. Like Rowling is afraid that they will get too skilled and too powerful before the last act.

        1. I agree — Harry and the rest of his friends seem like total no-accounts compared to pretty much everybody else. The ONLY difference seems to be that what they lack in magical skill, they make up in chutzpah, real-world detective work, and teamwork.

          But yeah, they’re nothing compared to young Snape, young Voldemort, young James, young Lily, Fred and George (whose darkness powder was so superior to the alternatives that the Death Eaters used it), and even Draco (who repaired a magical teleportation system).

          The comparison of Hogwarts to modern education is a little silly. Compare it to what it’s modeled after — 19th-century education elite boarding schools, in which stuff actually got INVENTED for the science fairs.

          Or compare it to high-school computer science classes, where students can and do create useful things based on initial programming principles.

          All told, I’m pretty disappointed in Harry, Ron, and Hermione as wizards. They still copy each other’s homework, for crying out loud.

          –Howard

        2. Ah, yes. I see your point now.

          Though I don’t particularly think Hermione is a prodigy – she knows a lot, but only because she reads a lot. She doesn’t, you know, have any independant ideas of her own.
          And she’s the epitome of a Hogwarts success story: she has learnt everything Hogwarts teaches, and nothing more.

          Hogwarts doesn’t WANT to be churning out powerful witches and wizards – it wants to be churning out LOYAL witches and wizards. The only house that really cares about power is Slytherin. Which goes to show that its natural Voldemort and Snape would be inventing spells. Its a bit more of a stretch that the Gryffindors – I assume Lupin, Black, Pettigrew and Potter were all Gryffindor, but I don’t remember when it specifically said so – and the Weasleys – its a bit of a stretch they’re inventing things.

          Or maybe its just that inventing a spell takes a great deal of time and effort, time and effort that Harry doesn’t have because he’s off fighting evil all the time and Hermione doesn’t have because she’s too busy doing her schoolwork to do anything worthwhile (Mark Twain: “I never let my schooling interfere with my education.”, or something along those lines.)

          Whereas Snape had no social life, no friends, and was good enough at the work he cared about that he didn’t need to waste time studying, so he had all the time in the world for invention. And the Weasleys and the Marauders – why, they didn’t care about schoolwork, they cared only about mischief, and mischief was what they spent all their time on.

          Or it could be that Harry and Hermione just doesn’t have the necessary initiative to do anything on their own.

          But all of that said, I can still see your point.

          1. I have it!

            I just remembered. That was what Tom Riddle was always complaining about! That they never actually taught anything useful!

            Ok there we go.

        3. The maurauder’s map is tied to Hogwarts, which is already enchanted out the wazoo. Probably it’s leveraging existing Hogwarts magic, and couldn’t easily be done for something like hogsmeade.

          Hermione has some weird aversion to “unofficial” spells. That was established, although why is an open question. She seems very bright but not very creative, she’s basically a gifted technician, but not an inventor.

          And keep in mind that Harry/Ron/Hermione were involved in original magic: when all three of them simultaneously cursed Draco and company onboard the train back at the end of a previous book, the effect of the combined spells was nothing like any of the individual spells. But they never seem to follow up on this sort of thing. (Possibly for the same reason they didn’t do anything like try to ask any questions of Dumbledore’s painting in the headmaster’s office after his death. Lots of possibilities of Rowling’s magical environment are never explored.)

          By the way, Ron seems to be able to come up with original magic: remember his slug attacks from a backfiring wand? I don’t remember them being taught a slug spell. Harry did magic without a wand (making the glass disappear in front of the python cage in the first book, turning his aunt into a blimp, etc), and that kind of thing was never followed up on either…

          The setting’s held together with duct tape in places, I’m afraid. What exactly it means for the weasleys to be “poor” when they can conjure food with wands is an open question. (What, some kind of wizard taxes? Yeah they have to buy books and robes and such for Hogwarts, but the school doesn’t seem to charge _tuition_, unless every interesting character is there on a scholarship. We know it pays its professors a salary…)

          Rob

          1. In Dumbledore’s memory of his first meeting with Tom Riddle, he mentions that Hogwarts has a special fund for needy students, so it’s likely that the school has a number of students who are there on financial aid. Given the way magic works, however, it isn’t at all clear how a wizard or witch could manage to starve or be without basic necessities, and that’s a flaw in Rowling’s world building.

            I read an interview with Rowling in Time magazine this week, and she made the remark that she doesn’t like fantasy, that she didn’t think of the Potter books as fantasy until other people started calling them that, and that in writing them she’s been trying to subvert fantasy cliches, in a sense. Maybe that’s why she hasn’t probed the setting as much as we fans would like.

    2. First, Snape has to be a good guy in the end. Any other conclusion destroys the character, taking him from someone deep, complex, and real to a cardboard cutout.

      Ever heard of a character named “Gollum?” I never thought of him as a cardboard cut-out, and yet he didn’t end up as a good guy.

      I also don’t see Dumbledore ever coming back. Rowling is too much of a realistic writer to allow any literal return, and too resistant to Star Wars cliches to allow his spirit to guide Harry.

      1. Gollum’s character arc was quite a bit different than Snape’s. His villainy grew out of his desperation, and his betrayal was followed up by his accidental redemption.

        Both Gollum and Snape serve as obstacle characters, rather than as true antagonists, and in those roles I suppose you can draw all kinds of parallels, but I’m with Dan on this one — if Snape turns out to have been truly villainous throughout the series, it undermines the strength of the work, and reduces both his and Harry’s characters quite a bit in terms of what we as readers are able to learn from them.

        –Howard

      2. Your analogy is flawed. Frodo trusts Gollum, Harry has never trusted Snape. It would be completely impossible for Snape to betray Harry since you have to have trust in order to betray. If Snape turns out to be just the villain Harry always thought he was, what has Harry learned? To accept first impressions? As a children’s book author I can tell you that’s NOT a message you send to kids.

        Gollum isn’t a cardboard cutout because he experiences growth, not because of whether he’s good or evil. If Snape turns out to be evil then there will have been no growth there. He will simply be what he has always appeared.

        No, Snape must be a good character for Harry to learn and grow past his own bigotry. At some point they will probably have to work together. (This will almost require Dumbledore to return to bring it about, which is why I think you’ll see the headmaster again.)

        1. I guess I was looking at it from Dumbledore’s and Snape’s perspectives, rather than Frodo’s. Gollum never seemed to be a character that experiences growth, but rather a character who experiences changes and fluctuations and is constantly at war with himself – rather than a “good guy” who always does good or a “bad guy” who always acts selfishly.

          I agree that Snape being a good character is the easiest route for Harry’s development. But I still feel that a Snape who is as morally conflicted as Gollum, who knows he has murdered his best friend for a variety of reasons, could make a compelling character.

        2. Sorry, I meant “rather than Harry’s”, not rather than Frodo’s.

          Dumbledore = Frodo
          Harry = Sam
          Snape = Gollum.

          It isn’t a 1:1 correspondance, but I think it has the same potential for allowing the reader to see a character who is deeply morally flawed without being a villain. Even if Snape will have to do something really heroic (self-sacrifice, etc.) in order for Harry to see his good side.

          But really, I do think Rowling will take the easier solution and make Snape good. That way, Harry only was mistaken, and needs to look past the superficial mannerisms of characters (as opposed to him NOT being mistaken, and yet still needing to understand that even adult Death Eaters can be human.)

    3. > also think that there is a part of Dumbledore’s soul Harry…
      > The short of this, you will see Dumbledore again and probably just when
      > Harry needs him.

      Okay, so is Dumbledore going to tell Harry to “Use the force”, or warn him that if he goes to Zahadoom, he will die?

      Well I’m curious.

      Rob

    4. wait, dividing souls?

      Ok, so to divide one’s soul, you have to kill. It never says you have to kill SOMEONE ELSE. Could Dumbledore arranged to have snape kill him, and in doing so, split his own soul? If so, where would he have put it? I would guess one of three places.

      1. He obviously trusted Snape wholly, so perhaps snape was prepaired as a vessel. This makes further sense when you realize that while Dumbledore seemed to be dying, he was calling for Snape.

      2. He had Potter swear to him, and this sort of oath might have counted as a binding for the purposes of using Harry as a vessel. I find this to be unlikely though, as I doubt Dumbledore would have done so without Potter’s express consent and knowledge.

      3. If one wanted to bring oneself back from the dead, what better place to hide a bit of your sould than in the body of a pheonix?

      That all being said, I think that even if Dumbledore DOES return, it won’t happen till after the Voldemort crisis is definatively past. As for Snape, well, it just all seemed to much like a set-up. Dumbledore pleading for his life? Please, I think we all see how silly that is. He was putting on a show, but for who? For all his effort at being a criminal mastermind, Draco is small fry here. It wasn’t him. Snape, also, is out because he knew and respected Dumbledore’s power and poise too much to fall for such an obvious lie. This leaves Harry and the other Death-Eaters. I think it was for the both of them.

      Harry needed to be set free of his restraints, so he could seek his destiny in earnest. As long as he was avoiding the inevitable confrontation with Voldemort, Harry, and his loved ones, would be on the defensive, and vulnerable to their more proactive enemies. Dumbledore’s death has forced Potter’s hand, and made him grow up. It was essentially like Dumbledore tossing Harry the responsibility, and telling him “Catch!”

      The bad guys needed to be convinced so that Snape would finally be trusted by the other inner circle members of the Death Eaters. At the beginning of the book we witness the vitriol and distaste one of the Voldemort loyalists have for him, and it isn’t hard to imagine those emotions mirrored by others of the inner circle. The act of killing Dumbledore, however, would serve as inarguable proof that Snape has sided with Voldemort. It also gives Snape a chance to leave his position at the school and still return to Voldemort with his head held high. Of all the people who COULD have killed Dumbledore in the final encounter, Snape was the best choice for the cause (assuming of course, he isn’t really evil, though that is indeed up for discussion now isn’t it?)

  16. “Because I want Snape to be a good guy. It would be a real shame if the only really MEAN teacher, and also the only truly TALENTED teacher was actually EVIL.”

    I must take issue with your claim that Snape is the only really talented teacher.

    McGonagall was always portrayed as quite talented indeed. Flitwick, too, though he’s rarely actually portrayed as such, is very intelligent indeed, being head of Ravenclaw and all.

    1. McGonigle is clearly a talented witch, but you don’t see her doing any *teaching* after that first Transfiguration class in Book 1 or whenever it was. Howard specifically said *talented teacher.*

      1. Oh.

        Oh. Um. Good point. I missed that meaning entirely.

        Hm.

        Well, in that case, I’d say most of them are pretty competent teachers, with the obvious exceptions of Hagrid and Trelawny. And several of the DADA teachers.

        But in any event I wouldn’t agree that Snape is very talented as a teacher. In his own words, he said he didn’t think he had managed to teach Harry anything. Of course, that’s just twisting his words around into a meaning they were never meant to achieve, so never mind.

        1. Re: Oh.

          And even Hagrid knows his subject area, namely, the care and feeding of magical creatures.

          On reflection, one could argue about how effective Snape was at teaching. I’ll let Howard take on that issue if he wants, since it was his comment I made the remark about in the first place.

  17. Actually, I enjoyed book 6 more than book 3 (my previous favorite). I must admit that it was damn smart of Rowling to have Harry overcoming his petulance. I mean, sure, he got upset because Dumbledore (and his friends for that matter) refused to listen to him about Draco or Snape, but I don’t hold it against his teachers and the like.

    I saw Dumbledore dying early on. While I may not have been taught about the Cambrian? form of storytelling, it seemed rather logical for Dumbledore to die so that Harry would be forced to do things on his own. And I also suspect that Snape is still a good guy, being deep under cover. No doubt Harry will inherit Dumbledore’s Pensieve and there will be a few memories for Harry, including the one where Dumbledore orders Snape to kill him when the time is right. And no doubt Harry will refuse to believe it.

    (By the way, Harry is a bit dumb at times. I mean, nice boy, love him dearly, but if I were around him I’d smack him upside the head a few times and hope some sense was jarred by the smacks.)

    The relationship with Ginny was most subtlely done. I mean, go back and look at Harry on the Hogswarts Express when he realizes Ginny is not going to hang out with him. He feels disappointment. Then in the potions room he’s next to the love potion and smelling things that he cares for… and some flowery scent he’d smelled at the Burrows. When he meets Ginny next, he realizes that the flowery scent is from *her* and even recalls he smelled it from the love potion as well. And on down the line.

    Ginny’s own attraction to Harry has been a constant. It’s not Ginny who tells Harry she’s over him. It’s Hermione. Hermione, who told Ginny to see other people instead, and to be more assertive around Harry. (Hermione, who also seemed to *disapprove* of them being together. Rather odd, that. Maybe she just thought Ginny too young for Harry, or something like that.)

    I think though that Harry isn’t meant to be a magical genius or the like. Instead, he has a quality to him that Voldemort lacks. This quality is the weapon that will destroy Voldemort. This being Harry’s ability to love, even after everything he’s been through.

    As for him surviving book 7… I have my doubts. Not just because Rowling has claimed that it’s not a sure thing Harry will live. There’s also the fact that I think Harry Potter is himself a Horcrux of Voldemort. I mean, think of it. Power *passed from Voldemort to Harry* when Voldemort tried to kill infant Harry. Furthermore, Harry has quite a few qualities found in Tom Riddle (aka Lord Voldemort), from being a Parselmouth to a skill with the Dark Arts (and defense of them).

    Finally, Voldemort had been planning to use Harry Potter’s death to create his final Horcrux. Harry may thus have been an accidental Horcrux of Lord Voldemort.

    In order for Lord Voldemort to die… Harry Potter must die as well.

    You must admit, it would be the greatest twist of all.

    Robert A. Howard, Tangents Webcomic Reviews
    http://tangents.keenspace.com

    1. Excellent point Robert. I also wonder if Harry doesn’t have a bit of Voldmort’s soul in him. It does make things interesting.

      The story form I was referring to earlier is called the monomyth. It was developed by Joseph Campbell and explained (if you want to call it that) in his book “Hero with a thousand faces”. Read it only if you want to be a fiction writer or annoy people in movie theaters by revealing the plot before it happens on the screen.

    2. Harry Potter as a Horcrux?

      I highly doubt that is possible. Remember the prophecy? “Neither can live while the other survives”. If it IS true that Harry is Voldemort’s Horcrux, shouldn’t the prophecy go something like “They will both have to die” or “Both will live forever”? Just a thought.

      Incidentally, I’m an avid fan of Schlock, and I created a Livejournal account JUST to post in your blog, seeing as you disabled OpenID and Anonymous postings… =D

    3. Hm.

      I’ve actually been theorizing that maybe Voldemort – and by extension everybody else – is wrong about the prophecy. And its not this whole self-fulfilling thing, they just think it is, and… hm. I haven’t read the whole text of the prophecy in awhile, so you can ignore that part of the post.

      BUT I think – and this is either more or less likely with the idea that Harry himself is a horcrux – I think that Voldemort will kill Harry, then NEVILLE will kill Voldemort.

  18. Some interesting analysis by the Master Ninja.

    Not that any of you care, but he is one of those folks who over analyzes everything.

    Which, me, I wouldn’t read Harry Potter to save my life. The first book left me irritated with JK her own self.

  19. Book 6 made me feel that Harry is slowly going insane, even more than the last book. He’s so paranoid, so horribly convinced that he’s right, regardless of all information to the contrary. Draco was actually really sympathetic, which I found strange, and Harry just wouldn’t see what was going on with him because he was convinced that Draco had to be evil.

  20. Hi there, I’m a Schlock fan! I don’t want to be moving at the moment so I’m posting!

    I’m pretty meh about this book and really the whole series.
    I’d much rather read Modesitt or Eddings.
    I thought some of the machinations contrived, the hero a paranoid bore who badly needs to be proved wrong. The romance section gets lamer and lamer. The backstory you learn here is interesting, though.

    As a college student, I whole-heartedly disapprove of the academic qualities displayed here; I could accept it in books 1-4, but when you’re in your last few years? No. Lame. Etc.

    –opinionated schlock fan

  21. The story moved better than it did in Book V, and I’m pretty sure that’s not just the Lortab speaking.

    It’s not. I thought Book 6 moved a lot better than either Books 4 or 5 had done. You may be interested in my long comment on on the book.

    Because I want Snape to be a good guy. It would be a real shame if the only really MEAN teacher, and also the only truly TALENTED teacher was actually EVIL.

    I’m with you on this one; I will be really disappointed in Rowling if that turns out to be the case.

  22. I too think that it’s too easy for Snape to be the bad guy in the end. I have this theory that Snape does in fact resent and hate Harry for a reason. Because Harry reminds him of James Potter. I think Snape was really in love with Harry’s mom despite calling her a mudblood. Typical high school behaviour where you are mean to the ones you are really attracted to. So he indirectly caused her death and that’s why he changed sides.

    Bertman

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