Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.R. Rowling (2005)

Half-Blood Prince is gristly sinew that holds together Books 5 and 7 in the Harry Potter series; it's not very tasty.  Mostly exposition and explanation, Rowling is building up the finale that is Deathly Hallows.  Every Potterish box is check marked on the check list:  Scooby Doo mystery (check), Malfoy acting superior (check), Ron jealous (check), Snape mysterious and grumpy (check).  You would think after saving everyone's asses five times in a row, people would start to trust and believe Harry Potter's instincts, this time about Malfoy (and Snape), but nope.  No one believes (not in 7 either).

There's not enough Malfoy and too much quidditch in 6.  Malfoy is just about the only interesting thing in the whole book, and we hardly get anything  - just bits and pieces, mostly seen through Harry's intense mistrust and dislike. 

There's a lot of love in this book too, which I remember finding extremely annoying the first time I read it; I guess I'm numb to it now.  I do think that some characters act far older than they actually are; Ginny Weasley, for example, is a very mature 14 year old.  Perhaps wizarding families mature faster than Muggles.  But for teen relationships, they all seem very adult.

So, my least favorite in the series (the movie is even worse).

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6)Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If, like me, you read all seven Harry Potters in a row, then there isn't anything meh-worthy about the series. You can quibble the ridiculously complicated Scooby Doo mystery plots (Voldemort says: "Foiled again, and I would have gotten away with too, if it hadn't been for you meddling kids;" you can also spend plenty of time poking holes in the Macy's Thanksgiving parade balloon that is the world of Harry Potter - but the series really is delightful (just like a parade). The rules of magic aren't always the easiest to create (Rowling's time turner is my bane of the series), but Rowling's world building is not only a strong example of satire, but quite fun. However, carving apart the series leaves each book to rise or fall, and the air pretty much leaks out of 6 by the end. It's by far the weakest of the series; much exposition and explanation and not a whole lot of anything else. The Harry Potter checklist has each and every box faithfully ticked off (Malfoy acting suspicious, check. Snape, mysterious and bitchy, check. Ron jealous, check. Trelawney drunk, check. And so on.). This is 5 reeled out, a thin piece of twine that connects 7, and that's all.

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