Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Discussion [Summer Reading Challenge]

Hey, y'all! So, as you can see, I'm behind on my June challenge. Raise your hand if you're surprised! No hands, right? I figured. Anyway, the whole point of this was to re-read my favorite series and enjoy myself. I'm still mad at myself for spilling into July, but I'll be making up for it this weekend (hopefully).

As I said in the last posts, these Harry Potter posts will be formatted differently from the May discussion posts. I won't be writing non-spoiler sections for any of the Harry Potter books, simply because it's Harry Potter. If you haven't read the books already, go read them. At this point, there's almost no excuse for not having read the books except a lack of interest... in which case you probably wouldn't be here reading my discussion! I also will not be writing a summary of each book because, again, it's Harry Potter. If you don't know what Harry Potter is about, I'd really like to know what rock you've been hiding under because it sounds like an amazing place to get away and completely shut out all knowledge of the outside world.

Anyway, on to the discussion!

So, a little background. This was the first book of the series that I read at its release. This physical book is probably the one that is most special to me, because it's the only one I was able to get at its midnight release party (I would've done the same with book 7, but there were some circumstances out of my control, which I'll explain in that post). The release party wasn't extremely exciting- they had a Bertie Bott's station where if you ate a random bean you got a metal Harry Potter bookmark. I ended up getting a gross one, but I used that bookmark for forever and I still have it somewhere even though it broke. I also got a stuffed Hedwig, but I'm not sure where exactly that came from. And while the party wasn't exactly exciting, the ability to get it at midnight was very exciting. I'm also pretty sure (but not certain) that of all the books I own, this is the one I've had the longest. Nine years is quite a while.

On to the book. When I started this book, I instantly felt at home. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this, but I've read Half-Blood Prince more times than any of the other books in the series. So, beginning this book was both extremely familiar and extremely comfortable. And that was kinda the general feeling throughout the whole thing for me. I know that both Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix are longer than HBP, but nonetheless, I flew through HBP. Normally, 600+ pages seems like a marathon even if you really enjoy a book, but the entire thing felt like a walk in the park. 

The best moments of the book, for me, are the ventures that Harry and Dumbledore take into the Pensive. Voldemort's back-story is incredibly interesting, and I always loved getting to learn more about his past. I especially love the first memory- where Ogden visits the Gaunts. I'm not sure why, but I've always thought that memory was particularly interesting. 

The one thing that makes me really sad about this book is the lack of the Weasley twins. Throughout the series, up to this point, they have been very prevalent and now that they're not in it very much, I'm definitely missing them. Sure, we get to see their joke shop in all of its wonderfully perfect glory, but that's part of a chapter, and then they're gone for the majority of the book. This is one of my favorite Harry Potter books, and yet my favorite characters aren't in it. I'm not sure how that contradiction managed to happen!

Harry, Ron, and Hermione also learn a couple of the coolest wizard skills (in my opinion) in this book. First off, they learn to do magic without speaking, which is both cool and really helpful. They also learn to apparate, which is something I really wish I could do.

Also, horcruxes! I'm not the only one who thought they were horribly described in the movie, right? It's been a while since I've seen it (not one of my HP faves) but I remember that they didn't go into a ton of detail about horcruxes and I was wondering how anyone who hadn't read the book could be able to understand the movie. Anyway, the revelation that Voldemort has split his soul into several pieces is absolutely terrifying and interesting at the same time. 

And then, of course, we have one of the saddest deaths in the entire series. What really got me more than the actual death was the other characters' reactions to his death. Hagrid's false sense of hope was the one that I think really got to me. It's just the most definitive statement that Harry has to do this himself. He's been depending on Dumbledore to lead the way, but now it's all on Harry.

I know I haven't really said a lot about this book, but I honestly don't know what else to say about it but that I love it. I LOVE IT.

So, let's talk rating. Easy 5/5 stars. So great. Wonderful.

Favorite Quotes

Page 51: Uncle Vernon shouted, "Will you get these ruddy things off us?"
Harry looked around; all three of the Dursleys were cowering with their arms over their head as their glasses bounced up and down on their skulls, their contents flying everywhere.
"Oh, I'm so sorry," said Dumblefore politely, and he raised his wand again. All three glasses vanished. "But it would have been better manners to drink it, you know."

Page 55: "You did not do as I asked. You have never treated Harry as a son. He has known nothing but neglect and often cruelty at your hands. The best that can be said is that he has at least escaped the appalling damage you have inflicted upon the unfortunate boy sitting between you."

Page 116: Set against the dull, poster-muffled shop fronts around them, Fred and George's windows hit the eye like a firework display.
The right-hand window was covered with a gigantic poster, purple like those of the Ministry, but emblazoned with flashing yellow letters: 
Harry started to laugh. He heard a weak sort of moan beside him and looked around to see Mrs. Weasley gazing, dumbfounded, at the poster. Her lips moved silently, mouthing the name "U-No-Poo."
"They'll be murdered in their beds!" she whispered.

Page 120: "Harry, you help yourself to anything you want, all right? No charge."
"I can't do that!" said Harry, who had already pulled out his money bag to pay for the Decoy Detonators.
"You don't pay here," said Fred firmly, waving away Harry's gold.
"You gave us our start-up loan, we haven't forgotten," said George sternly. "Take whatever you like, and just remember to tell people where you got it, if they ask."

Page 180: "Do you remember me telling you we are practicing nonverbal spells, Potter?"
"Yes" said Harry stiffly.
"Yes, sir."
"there's no need to call me 'sir,' Professor."

Page 282: "We're allowed to bring guests," said Hermione, who for some reason had turned a bright, boiling scarlet," and I was going to ask you to come, but if you think it's that stupid, then I won't bother!
"You were going to ask me?" asked Ron, in a completely different voice.
"Yes," said Hermione angrily."But obviously if you'd rather I hooked up with McLaggen..."
There was a puse while Harry continued to pound the resilient pod with a trowel.
"No, I wouldn't," said Ron, in a very quiet voice.

Page 298: "Ginny, where're you going?" yelled Harry, who had found himself trapped in the midst of a mass midair hug with the rest of the team, but Ginny sped right on past them until, with an almighty crash, she collided with the commentator's podium. As the crowd shrieked and laughed, the wood under which Zacharias was feebly stirring; Harry heard Ginny saying blithely to an irate Professor McGonagall," Forgot to brake, Professor, sorry."

Page 326: Ron turned a little pink, but did not look displeased as he turned back to the sprouts. "Mind your own business."
"What a snappy retort," said Fred. "I really don't know how you think of them. No, what we wanted to know was... how did it happen?"
"What d'you mean?"
"Did she have an accident or something?"
"Well, how did she sustain such extensive brain damage? Careful, now!"
Mrs. Weasley entered the room just in time to see Ron throw the sprout knife at Fred, who had turned it into a paper airplane with one lazy flick of his wand.

Page 335: "But you are normal!" said Harry fiercely. "You've just got a-a problem-" 
Lupin burst out laughing. "Sometimes you remind me a lot of James. He called it my 'furry little problem' in company. Many people were under the impression that I owned a badly behaved rabbit."

Page 357: "he accused me of being 'Dumbledore's man through and through."
"How very rude of him."
"I told him I was."
Dumbledore opened his mouth to speak and then closed it again. Behind Harry, Fawkes the phoenix let out a low, soft, musical cry. To Harry's intense embarrassment, he suddenly realized that Dumbledore's bright blue eyes looked rather watery, and stared hastily at his own knees. When Dumbledore spoke, however, his voice was quite steady.
"I am very touched, Harry."

Page 385: Harry spun on the spot, lost balance, and nearly fell over. He was not the only one. The whole Hall was suddenly full of staggering people; Neville was flat on his back; Ernie Macmillan, on the other hand, had done a kind of pirouetting leap into his hoop and looked momentarily thrilled, until he caught sight of Dean Thomas roaring with laughter at him.

Page 402: "Er-my-nee," croaked Ron unexpectedly from between them.

Page 449: "I love you, Hermione," said Ron, sinking back in his chair, rubbing his eyes wearily. Hermione turned faintly pink, but merely said, "Don't let Lavender hear you saying that."

Page 459: "Er- well- ghosts are transparent-" he said.
"Oh, very good," interrupted Snape, his lip curling. "Yes, it is easy to see that nearly six years of magical education have not been wasted on you, Potter. 'Ghosts are transparent.'"
"Well, what Harry said is the most useful if we're trying to tell them apart!" said Ron. "When we come face-to-face with one down a dark alley, we're going to be having a shufti  to see if it's solid, aren't we, we're not going to be asking, 'Excuse me, are you the imprint of a departed soul?'"
There was a ripple of laughter, instantly quelled by the look Snape gave the class.
"Another ten points from Gryffindor,' said Snape. "I would expect nothing more sophisticated from you, Ronald Weasley, the boy so solid he cannot Apparate half an inch across the room."

Page 578: "I am not worried, Harry," said Dumbledore, his voice a little stronger despite the freezing water. "I am with you."

So, there you go, that's all for this summer reading post! I hope you enjoyed it, because I definitely enjoyed making it. I could talk about Harry Potter ceaselessly for the rest of my life and never get bored. If you have questions, ask in the comments! As you can tell, I'm a bit behind again (what a big surprise) but I'll be getting the rest of the posts out ASAP!

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