As we began our trip to see family two weeks ago, I was unsure of how much reading time I would get. While I love to have my nose in a book, I also know how important it is to spend time with family and friends. Lucky for me, and for my goal, I was able to find just enough time to finish The Half-Blood Prince. My friend Amy was totally right about this series getting better as it goes along. This installment in Harry Potter's story was much more interesting to me.
I had a few guesses about the identity for the Half-Blood Prince, but of course, I was no where close. Rowling is a master of plot twists, at least from my perspective. Maybe you had it figured out long before I did. I've admitted before that I tend to become absorbed in the story and not see what is coming up around the corner.
I really enjoyed the scene at the beginning of the book when Dumbledore arrived at Privet Drive and attempted to teach the Dursleys some manners. I loved when he said "I don't mean to be rude- yet, sadly, accidental rudeness occurs alarmingly often." I also find this to be the case, though I try hard to avoid it in myself. And then, "Shall we assume that you have invited me into your sitting room?" The Dursleys have been horrible to Harry all his life and I rather enjoyed seeing them bested. "You did not do as I asked. You have never treated Harry as a son. He has known nothing buy 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." Love it!
I loved when Harry pretended to give the Felix Felicis potion to Ron so that he would play well in the Quidditch match. If he hadn't made sure that Hermione saw him slip (or pretend to slip) something into Ron's drink, it wouldn't have been nearly as effective. Or as fun!
I like that Rowling uses the Pensive as an interesting way to convey information that Harry otherwise would not have known. It is much more engaging than having Dumbledore just tell one story after another.
And I know that it's not integral to the story, but I loved when Seamus was assigned to write the lines: "I am a wizard, not a baboon brandishing a stick." It really made me laugh.
And of course, girl that I am, I enjoyed watching Harry realize that he is in love with Ginny. Ron and Hermione were a little frustrating, but isn't that how young love is? Poor Harry, constantly worried that Ron would hate him for fancying his sister. I've loved all the new words that Harry Potter has brought into my vocabulary: Fancy, Snogging, Blimey, Bloody, Bloke, and I was sure to wish everyone a "Happy Christmas" this year.
The scene in the cave was horrible for Harry and for Dumbledore, but I loved at the end, when Harry was trying to get Dumbledore back to Hogwarts. Harry says, "We're nearly there....I can Apparate us both back....Don't worry...." And Dumbledore's response is "I am not worried Harry. I am with you." All this time Harry has been depending on Dumbledore to take care of him, to fix whatever might break and to know the right things to do. Suddenly Dumbledore is needing to depend upon Harry and Harry finds that he is up to the task. At the top of the tower, when everything is about to go wrong, Dumbledore protects Harry one last time by freezing him under his invisibility cloak so that he won't be hurt trying to save Dumbledore. I was so sad to see Dumbledore killed and shocked to see that it was Snape who pronounced the final curse just as Dumbledore appeared to be pleading with him.
As I finished this book very late at night, I couldn't wait to get up the next morning and start the final adventure. And that's just what I did.