Thursday, July 13, 2006

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince: Book Six

I am late to the game. Harry Potter's book six came out about a year ago and I just got around to reading it. I resisted the Harry Potter series for quite a while. I worked at Borders during the craze over book three and saw the half dazed looks of eager children, teens and adults grabbing the books as though it were sacred water from an enchanted oasis that they as dedicated travelers migrated on camel for one hundred miles in the hot sun to purchase. Really. Personally, I poo pooed such literature. Give me Sylvia Plath or Virginia Wolf, something oozing with goobity gobs of meaning. When I finally quite grudgingly picked up a copy and actually read book one to see what the big deal was, I suddenly got it. JK Rowlings is a gifted storyteller. She creates the story so well that I who am ordinarily averse to anything smelling remotely of science fiction or fantasy read it believing every word about Unicorns and enchanted cars. It's fun and according to some there actually are layers of depth for those interested in unearthing it.

**Warning: Though it is all together quite possible I am the last Potter aficianado to have finished the latest book I do want to warn of upcoming spoilers for the unwary. I repeat: spoilers ahead for all two of you who did not read the latest book, proceed at own risk!**

Adverbmania. I think the quality of her writing was not the same as it normally is. Adverbs are nails on chalkboard for me and someone of her writing caliber has no business using them in every other sentence of the book. Some websites estimate its roughly 15 per page. You know this book is good when I go through it despite fifteen nail on chalkboard moments per page.

Ginny and Harry sitting in a tree? JK Rowlings as great of a writer as she is, is not too good with the love storylines. I didn't buy the Harry/Ginny thing. I know that she had a crush on him for a while but in this book she really seemed over him. Yet when he kissed her the next thing you know they were dating. And they just didn't develop it except for some awkward "he felt a rumblin in his chest" huh? I dont know, I guess its proof a good writer can still have room for improvement. I personally thought Hermione and Harry would have been a better match. What about the Hermione and Ron thing? There was awkward jealousy but nothing matured.

Dumbeldore, say it aint so. I was so sad Dumbeldore died. I feel like in each book I look for him to make things better. He's a good teacher and he's patient and kind and just. He also knew what he was doing most of the time. So what happened? Is he really dead? Clearly some people don't think so. There are many loop holes in the whole story that make his coming back entirely possible. He had told Draco that he could make it appear as though he had died and thus save Draco the awful choice of becoming a murderer. So if he could give that appearance for Malfoy could he not have Snape done this as well? The only thing throwing me off is the immobilizing curse on Harry broke once Dumbeldore died. As soon as. Huda also pointed out that Dumbledore's portrait is in the headmaster's office now which ordinarly only happens when you're dead. But then again he was sleeping in it. Maybe he's not really there. Its just a fake? I mean if he was actually in the portrait couldn't they have asked him what happened. Those portraits can talk so why wouldn't Dumbledores? Ofcourse it is also entirely possible that Dumbeldore died and that's the end of that just like Sirius Black died. I still hope in the back of my head its not the case though.

No more Hogwarts? According to Harry he ain't returning to school for the last year. I think that would be very foolish. First of all, it would kill the structure the book has taken these past six books with each year being one year of school culminating in his final year in book seven.. Besides book structure, we saw in this book that he is not very skilled. He cheated his way through potions. He could not hurt Snape though his passion to attack him was stronger than ever. If he can't counter Snape how can he counter Voldemort?

Snape: Snake or Scrapegoat? Most people despise Snape. I think he's really cool. He's the villian you love to hate. I think if he killed Dumbledore it was because he had to. Dumbledore trusted him completely. Would he say that about just anyone? Most sites say that when Dumbledore said "snape.. please" in that moment of impending doom he was saying "please dont blow your cover. kill me" but what if it is as simple as it appeared and dumbledore was saying "please dont kill me. please fight the death eaters and save me." And if Snape killed him and that's what Dumbledore asked, for Snape to kill him. Why? Wouldnt the death eaters have done it if Dumbledore wanted to die? Why did he need to have Snape come over and kill him. That leads to me wondering if he didn't kill Dumbledore but just did some sort of spell or something that makes it appear he is dead but actually is not. Personally I think Snape is like a CIA agent infilitrating the Mafia or something. Its sad he had to kill one of his own but this cause is bigger than every individual person (except maybe Harry). Dumbledore gave hints thoughout that he was not afraid to die for the cause. I don't that Dumbeldore wanted to die as he tried to talk Draco out of killing him, but that if it came down to it, that Snape could not blow the cover. I find it odd that trusting Snape was made into such a huge deal. It had to mean something right?

Harry the Horcrux? So this is the most troubling part. A lot of people think that Harry is one of the Horcurxes that hold Voldemort's soul. This is very plausible as he does have a very visible scar on his forehead from Voldemort's attempted murder. The sorting hat who knows where all the children go, in the first book, had a hard time trying to figure out whether to put him in Gryffindor or Slytherin. This was made out to be a big deal. Voldemort in his youth was a Slytherine. Is it because part of Voldie's soul is inside of Harry so the hat got confused? hmm! Now what troubles me is that people who follow this theory think that Harry will have to sacrifice himself in order to kill Voldemort. This is a kids book in the end. I really hope she would not do that. I hope there is a way around this if infact she is debating this.

Beautiful Bill. I know this wasn't a big storyline but it got to me. I almost cried and I didnt even cry when I read that Dumbledore died. As the parents gathered around the bed wondering if he'd be okay I seriously felt like my stomach was hurting wondering what would become of him and in denial telling myself he would not become a werewolf. I really really hope he will recover and they will find a cure for him.

So that's what I think. What are your thoughts on the book? I do fully realize that I am quite behind the times on this discussion but your thoughts greatly appreciated!

24 comments:

Enyur said...

You know, I've never read of any of the Harry Potter books. I always go watch the movie, while my friend NEVER watches the movie without reading the book first!

I think I want to read one too now! lol!

Anonymous said...

I have never read any of the Harry Potter books either. Like you, I don't like sci fi or fantasy. I haven't seen the movies either. Maybe I will start with the books though. Are there any other books that you would recommend reading? I've read and enjoyed John Grisham and Mary Higgins Clark novels. I have a couple of weeks off in August, so for the first time since before law school, I might actually read "for fun"!

By the way, I wanted to congratulate you on your firm internship! Inshallah it will go well. Let us know how it goes. Did you get it through on campus interviewing?

- Rasha

Aman said...

Well you are ahead of me =P

Mia said...

I got into the HP books when they first came out because of my younger siblings. I wanted to see what they were reading while I was trying to turn them on to Shakespeare. I got hooked on the books and the movies too and in turn my siblings learned to love The Bard. I got a few bones to pick with JK I see alot of "borrowed" elements from other stories and movies in the HP series. Off the top of my head I see Leprachaun, The Worst Witch to name just two. But freak it if it makes a kid want to read on their own time I'm all for it.

momyblogR said...

I'm afraid I'm must join the company of the others. I have never read any of the Potter books. I love to read, they just don't interest me I suppose. OK. Now, I'll go hang my head in shame...I know, it's a terrible, terrible thing to admit. Whew, I feel better just saying it out LOUD, LOL!!

:):)

mayya said...

haha you're pretty late! last summer was crazy, moping over dumbledore's death and then cheering up on the arguments given on www.dumblredoreisnotdead.com there's mugglenet.com and jkrowling's website too

I personally think that the last book might not be as great, unless the writer really puts in her best, she's got a lot of work cut out for her, the entire horcrux chase, the final battle, so many secrets to be revealed and the ending, but she's done with the plot so it might not be very tough
A friend mentioned that in today's storytelling genre, the hero takes the villian alone, so dumbledore had to die
Can't for the 7th book though

Sohnii said...

Aisha!! :D

Achi book haina? u get addicted to it, tho i dint like them killing off Sirius like that in last one, he was my fave character :( and now they kill Dumbledore...

I think it'll more be the complete indian melodrama of DUmbledore coming back from the dead to help Harry in his final battle and then going back to being dead... lol, imk crap at guessing... but cant wait for the next book.. which one was ur favourite in the whole series? mine was half blood prince and prisoner of azkaban.

i finally read Veronica decides to die.. i think i read abt it once on ur blog... I thot it was pretty good... have u read it?

Aisha said...

Enyur I saw movie one but I didnt like it. I dont know why. I know they are very popular.

Rasha, salaam :) Thanks for the congrats. I did get this internship through the law school. I'm glad I got it because it was my last summer and I needed one. Alhamdullilah. Harry Potter is fun. If I were you (and you like to read good storytelling) I'd check out a copy from the library and see what you think. Its just fun :) But I'm biased because I love young adult fiction. Suzanne Staples wrote two, one I can recall: Haveli about a Pakistani girl in Lahore And I love the Series of Unfortunate Events books which are also aimed at little kids. So keep that in mind if you do decide to take a go at Harry :)

Aman and Mommyblogr, y'all need to get on the bandwagon and read. Lol. just kidding. Its not everyone's cuppa tea but its great for those who like her writing.

Aisha said...

Mia- WOW I didnt realie that though there were a few things here and there that reminded me of Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars etc. but I dont know if its on purpose or not. Thats so awesome that you got them hooked on Shakespeare though! :)

Mayya, thanks for the web links!!! :) I agree she has quite a few things to wrap up in book seven. I wonder if it will be like 2,0000 pages. *gulp* I think thats a very good point that Harry has to do this alone with the way things are so in a way dumbledore dying is sort of fitting. THAT being said I dont think that Harry is in any way ready to be on his own. Thats what bothers me. For example in the previous books he seemed to be ahead of the game. This book I didnt get that. HE couldnt hurt Snape. He cheated in potions. He couldnt even wrapt he invisible cloak around himself properly (remember Draco immobilized him at the start of the book?) so truly he seemed about avg I hope she deals with that

Sohnii- yes I hope there is melodrama and Dumbley returns. That idea isn't bad I mean they have ghosts and talking frames of people who were once alive so hello, why can't Dumbley help? I liked Azcaban a lot and Sorcerors stone :) AND YES Veronika Decides to Die was me LOVE That book Did you like it? Were you surprised by the twist at the end or did you see it coming? I had no idea that was the twist I took it very literally (the whole story) pls share your thoughts!

Enyur said...

I actually did like the movie (I watched the first three), but that's probably because I never read the books. My friends did, and they all thought the book was better as it was more detail oriented.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Aisha! I will keep that in mind if I try reading Harry Potter. I've read Haveli too! It must've been about ten years ago, but I remember enjoying it. And I read the second novel - part two of the same story - but like you, I can't remember the name.
Are there any "adult" books you recommend? ;-)

Rasha

Sohnii said...

My sister bought that book, she was tellin mum the story and I overheard so that was a spoiler but otherwise, i really liked the book... i love the way Paulo's shown human nature in it...

any other recommendations?

Huda said...

I normally stay out of Harry Potter discussions mostly because I love the books so much I don't want to get into deep debates where I find myself in a defensive position all the time because that just sucks everybody's fun away... but I'm up for work, so here goes. :)

Ginny and Harry: I bought it completely because Ginny's been crushing on him for a while and because Harry's interest in her has been growing as well. If Ginny had done nothing but pine away for him since the first book, I think it would have irritated me, but instead, she's grown into her own person despite her thing for Harry. Unlike Meredith Grey, whose whole world still revolves around McDreamy, Ginny is a person in her own right, so I have no problem with the explanation that she moved on because Hermione told her it would be better. She saw other people, and she accepted that Harry didn't return her interest... then when he did, she got what she wanted having become whiny, spineless, or pathetic.

Dumbledore: I think he's dead because of the portrait. He's sleeping, yes, but he wouldn't get a portrait at all unless he were dead. I don't know how I feel about that, though. I think Dumbledore knew what was coming, and certainly he was willing to sacrifice himself for Harry, but by doing so, he just took away Harry's greatest protection. Perhaps that was the point. We'll see in book seven, I guess.

Hogwarts: Harry Potter without Hogwarts is simply unimaginable to me.

Snape: I think there's more going on with Snape than meets the eye, and that's all I'm going to say.

Harry as a horcrux: Don't buy it, sorry. First of all, Voldemort made horcruxes when he killed people. Even if you argue the Harry horcrux was made when James was killed, Voldemort was going for Harry next, so it makes no sense at all. Why destroy your own horcrux?

Bill: I love Fleur.

Aisha said...

Enyur, I have a sneaking suspicion you might like Potter series if you try it. Read a chapter of one of them and see what you think :)

Rasha, you and a few others have asked me about book recommendations so now I think I should do a post books I've read lately. For my all time favorites this is a link to a post I wrote many months ago on it :) http://aishaiqbal.blogspot.com/2006/03/plethora-of-books.html

Sohnii, Awww that sucks that the ending was spoiled for you Thats like my brother Ali. He heard the ending to 6th sense before he saw it. It takes away a lot of the suspense!! But yeah I liked it I think as a desi it really is important. We are taught to conform sooo much and sometimes so many of us forget to really feeel and live. Veronika learned that being who you are isn't as bad as you might think What did you get out of it?

Aisha said...

Huda! Thanks for your input. I mean I guess logically I see the build up to Ginny/Harry But i dont know I feltl ike it was sort of awkwardly written.

Oh and the Horcrux being Harry. How about the fact that Harry's blood revitalized Voldie in book four or five? Or the fact that the sorting hat was confused. Or that he feels pain in the scar coordinating with Voldie's emotions. I wonder if it was a lst minute decision he made OR if it was accidentally made? I dont know. I just dont know why that scar is so central in the books. I hope he's not a horcrux though but it would be a twist.

About Dumbledore dying I read an interesting excerpt from an interview with JK about killing off main characters that I found slightly troubling. she said maybe writers kill off main characters so they won't make merchandise off them and nonauthors can't start their own stories tangentially related to her characters. I would hate that she would affect her stories with fear of others profiting from her and thus killing off characters that loyal readers care for.. i mean it kind of hurts the integrity of the stories you know? I know she's not a greedy greedy person as she plans to write several future books for charity but I nkow she was ticked about the merchandising done since she gets no cut in the profits. This is a sour of sticking it because it is sticking it to the readers as well.

Sohnii said...

Aisha! (hugs) lol... just felt like it...

hmm... i agree with the conformity part.... especially around these parts, ure told at the age of five what u shud achieve by what age, and what things in life should make u happy... i can understand where veronika is coming from, the way she feels about her life that everything hss been done and there's nothing more left to see or do... its a sad place to be...
and i like the way the writer has depicted the way the other patients feel, the security they feel the place offers them and how they see madness as a norm.. good book...

lol, funny thing is i dont hate spoilers...

Enyur said...

I think I will too :o) I've heard the books HP series are addictive!

Maryam said...

man, that first link you posted by dave kopel or something, it sparked a huge discussion in my family once i shared his theory! my whole family, from my dad to my nieces and nephew read and love harry potter! yay!

maryam

Tee said...

I came about Harry Potter the same way! At first I didn't want to get into the fad. I poo-pooed it for years. An Aunt finally convinced me that it was worthy. When I read book 1 I was blown away and so thrilled that I had more Harry Potter ahead of me.

I loved this latest one as much as the others. JK is so incredibly gifted. I think she is one of the most creative minds ever - and the ability to come up with such twisted and complicated plots? AMAZING.

ASH said...

Have never read the books.........not sure if I will. *shrug*

mayya said...

I'd love it if somehow harry's parents returned *sniff* and sirius too

Huda said...

Way late with this response, I know, but...

I think the thing about killing off characters isn't about marketing so much as it is protecting them from other people. Even dead characters can be merchandised.

I could see her being upset if someone else did an "unofficial" sequel to HP7. I think I'd be upset on her behalf. Those are HER characters, and SHE has a plan in her head for what will happen to them. Nobody else should get to come in and change all of that up later. And it does happen -- how many post Pride and Prejudice books are there? I don't read any of them because I doubt very much that any of those authors can really capture Austen's Darcy and Elizabeth, but there are thousands of people who do. Perhaps if Austen had known that would happen, she would have killed off Darcy and Elizabeth too.

It's a question of intellectual property, really, and I can understand why she wouldn't want anyone else to play with her toys... but I sincerely hope she doesn't let that fear mess with her vision for the story.

The Bengali Fob said...

Harry Potter movies are a disgrace to the books. the only movie that I've watched that has done justice to the book is the Peter Jackson's LOTR.

Keep on reading!

superclosetnerd said...

i was out looking for harry potter sites to get ideas for mine... and somehow landed here. still haven't figured out the search engines. anyway... looks good.
harry potter merchandise

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