Friday, March 4, 2011

Harry Potter Quandaries: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince #6

Since this is my first time reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince again, I thought I'd have a long list of things that stood out to me.  Unlike my good friend over at Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Books with her awesome literary analysis and quandaries about the book (see the end of her post for additional comments), I felt somewhat stymied!  Actually, I think it was laziness on my part, because I just didn't have my reading cap on when I read book six.

Some of my lackluster reading of this particular book might be because I was much too influenced by the film this time around.  I'm not a huge fan of Ginny Weasley in the movie versions, and although she's sweet and cute, she also seems like an awfully flat character to me.  Where is the spunk that I see in her character in the books?  Where is the quick-witted girl from the books who practically has to beat the boys off with a stick?  What happened to the articulate, sparkling (in a non-vampire sort of way) character I grew to love in the books?  In the films, I'm actually not sure why Harry would pick her.  In fact, I cringe a little when Harry and Ginny have lovey-dovey scenes together!  Several of the things I like about Ginny from the books is that not only is she familiar to Harry in the sense that he has known and loved her family for years, but also that she, herself, is her own person who always feels able to propel the story forward on her own.  Both seem perfect for Harry, who we've seen as this lonely, yet talented kid.  In short, I like the Ginny in the books, and not so much in the films.  What's up with that?  Is it just an expected gap between my own imagination and what is portrayed on screen?

One last point that stood out to me in this book was the demise of Dumbledore and Snape's role in it all.  First off, the books do an excellent job of weighing out the tension that Harry feels towards Snape and the constant validation Dumbledore, Hagrid, and others at Hogwarts keep giving Snape as their ally.  If I heard one more character defend Snape I was going to scream!  Listen, I like Snape a lot.  In fact, he's been one of my favorites since about book three, but even I was ready to scream, "[you all] do protest too much!"  It seemed like a total overkill to constantly be telling Harry that he could trust Snape; it just played with my head and made me remember why I was grasping for book seven as soon as it came out.  In book six, it become painfully obvious that it's J.K. Rowling's intentions versus the reader's opinion!  Once you read this installment, you have to find out, for sure, what side everyone was playing.

Now that I've finally read book six again, I'm sure I'll have more to consider down the line.  This time around though, I just enjoyed that lovely escape factor once again.  Like a cherished memory, it took me back to those days when we all anxiously waited for each installment to come out!


  1. I love all the books so had to check out your post here.

    I dont think any of the movie characters bugged me, I guess in the early books we are led to feel that Harry will wind up with Hermoine so I think the whole Hermoine - Ron and Ginny - Harry is just another twist that Rowling pulls out of her hat.

    I am currently listening to the first book on audio read by Steve Fry. Last year I listened to them as read by Jim Dale and they were fantastic and I highly recommend the audio. I swear I pick up on something more brilliant each time I read or listen. :)

    What stood out in the Steve Fry one is the meeting of Ginny and I like thinking back to that moment when Harry was scared on platform 9 3/4 and the Weasley family helps him out.

  2. I feel the same way about Ginny in the movie. I just don't like her but dont have those feelings towards her when reading the books. In the movies, she kinda makes my skin crawl.

    Your posts on HP make me want to re-read the series. My intent is to re-read in June in time for the last movie installment.

    I want more HP books!

  3. I agree that Ginny in the books has much more personality than in the movies, but this book she does NOTHING. Seriously, she's completely pointless, aside from the scene where she's all, "Come up to my bedroom, Harry, I'm going to kiss you like you've never been kissed before." DO I EVEN WANT TO KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS?!?!?

    Anyway... pretty much all the "love" scenes in the Harry Potter movies are awkward, aren't they? Like when the horcrux shows Ron a vision of Hermione and Harry naked and making out.

    Thanks for the link, btw. :)

  4. Oh, you would choose this one. The books that sent me online to seek more. Some of the things I liked about HBP was the way it linked back to CoS (which previously had been my least favorite of the books). Chamber of Secrets is where Peeves breaks the vanishing cabinet that Draco has to fix. CoS is where Harry sees the cursed necklace that nearly kills Katie Bell, and where we see the Hand Draco uses to see in the dark. Jo does a wonderful job of linking books 1-7, 2-6, 3-5, with GoF standing on its own. Obviously there are story arcs that start and stop through the books.

    HBP is the book that launched one of the most heated discussions--Snape's loyalty. And the Dumbledore Isn't Dead battles, at least until Rowling confirmed that he was dead.

    This series of books is so wonderful because rereading them is like a treasure hunt. Every time you read them, you discover something new.

    I love also how Rowling does such a wonderful job about things hidden in plain site. Like the very first spell Ron does on Scabbers in Sorcerers Stone. Maybe the spell Fred gave his would have really turned Scabbers yellow--if Scabbers had really been a rat. Clever writing.

    And Ginny. Book Ginny as others have mentioned is so perfect for Harry. As Jo said in an interview, Harry brings a lot of baggage with him. He needed a girl friend who was strong enough to take that, someone who could understand some of what he was going through. Who else had been possessed by Voldemort and lived to tell about it? I'm sure she was a dedicated to his downfall as Harry was. I also love what Ginny brought with her ... a family who loved Harry and whom Harry loved back.

  5. Sheila--I don't think I've ever listened to the Stephen Fry version, but I would love to! I'll have to look into that. :)

    Bree--I know, I can't wait for more books and the last in the films either. I feel a little guilty not being a Ginny fan in the films, but know in my heart of hearts that I love her in the books!

    Heidenkind--UGGG! Yes! Those romantic scenes are just NOT romantic. Maybe that's why I'm more into Ron and Hermione in the films, because they actually have chemistry?!?

    Donna--Thanks so much for your awesome comment!!! Yes, I agree that HBP was the Snape book. It's funny that I guessed what his deal was, but still can see how completely evil he seems after this book. That's a great comment by Rowling about Ginny too. Harry definitely needs a capable woman!