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1) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J.K.Rowling

I confess that I read enough of the reviews behind spoiler warnings that I knew what was going to happen, so I was really in it for the ride rather than the plot. And, while it took a while to get going (I see minny complaining that she has got half way through and not a lot has happened yet) I think this is the best of the series since Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. While the third book marked a turning point in exploring the back-story of Harry's family and past, this one seemed to me to have some the first real development in terms of his friends and future (after what I felt was a bit of a false start in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix). And I was completely wrong about the identity of the Half-Blood Prince, who I had assumed right from the start must be Hagrid, since we knew he was a half-giant.

The one thing I found noteworthy which I haven't seen others comment on is the nature of politics in the wizarding world - clearly Fudge and Scrimgeour are not appointed by Tony Blair, as I had assumned from the other books, but emerge through some other non-transparent process. The Ministry runs everything, but to whom is it accountable?

So, still much to play for in the final book. We've put childish things aside - Dumbledore, Hagrid to an extent - and now on for the big finish. Is Snape really evil, or is Dumbledore in a sense complicit in his own demise? (Indeed, will Dumbledore return, like that guy E.T., or Father Jack, or one or two other better known mythic figures?)

I still think the third book is the best, but I will read the seventh faithfully.

< Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone | Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets | Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban | Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire | Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix | Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince | Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows | The Tales of Beedle the Bard >

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
ccfinlay
Aug. 2nd, 2005 02:23 pm (UTC)
The third book in the series was the first I finished, after starting book 1 with my kids and all of us losing interest. After 3, we went back to the beginning and read our way up through the whole set.

I think she's done some different things in each of the novels, and the last three for me all have a very different feel to each of them. It's satisfying to see that, both as a reader and a writer, and I'll be in there for book 7 when it comes out.

I'm also very interested in seeing what kinds of stories she wants to tell after this series is done. I want to bet that she'll push herself in a different direction rather than repeat herself.
___avenue
Aug. 2nd, 2005 02:39 pm (UTC)
I read the book for the same reason - I had to find out the circumstances of Dumbledore's death! To me, this was less of a novel and more of a large amount of information being very slowly revealed. There's no magic left in these books. However, there's a pretty gripping storyline, and I'm already looking forward to the last installment.
seawasp
Aug. 2nd, 2005 03:24 pm (UTC)
The question...
... of who is accountable is one of the primary threads running through almost all the books except the very first -- wherein we were, like Harry, simply being introduced to the world. The separation of Muggle and Wizard was necessary in the Old Days, or at least desirable. The Wizards then developed their own civilization and have been spending increasing -- I suspect in the past century EXPONENTIALLY increasing -- amounts of time and effort to hide themselves from the world as our own civilization expanded both in physical size and in capabilities. The breaking point is NOW. The wizarding world is now being stretched to its limits, and in another twenty years there is simply NO way they will be able to keep their existence a secret, especially given the established wizards' contemptuous attitude towards technology. Yeah, your magic can nullify the security alarms... if you know they're there. But what if one of the spy agencies decides to track one of you? Clueless as the wizards mostly are...

Oh, and I think Dumbledore is just exactly as dead as I am.
ninebelow
Aug. 2nd, 2005 05:45 pm (UTC)
as I had assumned from the other books

I'm surprised you assumed this since the wizarding community so obviously feels aloof and superior to the muggle community.

The stupidity of everything involving the Ministry, particularly Umbridge and related events in the last book, severely detract from any enjoyment I might be able to wring out of these mediocre books.
selah9
Oct. 26th, 2006 09:50 pm (UTC)
If they are so mediocre, why read them?
I get annoyed when people say these books are mediocre. JKR puts a lot of little details into those books that make these books masterpieces. Every character's emotional reaction is more complex than it seems, but you'd have to go back and read the whole series again to pick up on it. If they were so mediocre, no one would read them.

I just got through a mediocre book called Deep in the Familiar. It was about meditation and how you can waste your whole life just serving other people's selfish needs. The author did that most of her life and found no one to take care of her needs as an old woman. She is spending the rest of her life in retreats in the mountains. It was a mediocre book because a lot goes on that she does not want to talk about. She will mention somebody's personal problems and then leave the rest of the story uncompleted. THAT is mediocre.

I liked how ninebelow noticed that the wizarding community seems aloof and superior to the muggle community. That is true. That is how the US president and those politicians act around common people, they act superior and aloof, as if they did not need the lower classes.

What JKR was really talking about in Book 2, 5, and 6 was about the class system around the world. The low class people are Muggles, the middle class people are Mudbloods/muggleborns, and the upper class people (quarter bloods, half bloods) are related to the high class people, or purebloods.
It's really just Pride and Prejudice all over again with Jane Austen. She did not mention it was her favorite book for no reason.

I also like her take on issues like airport security. Do you notice (in the US) the security guards check people coming out of America, not coming in? Isn't that odd? Shouldn't the US government be worried if people are sneaking something IN? The people that crushed the towers were not white Americans, they were Arabs. These security guards are just looking to filch people's belongings, like hair clippers, nail clippers, batteries and stuff. That is what FILCH (notice the name) does when he checks students coming out of Hogwarts for Dark Objects. He keeps jabbing the students with a security sensor, just like security guards at the airport do. Remember Crabbe had a shrunken head confuscated from him? Remember that guy who tried to set off a bomb by lighting up his shoes with matches? They guy is a lot like Crabbe---STUPID!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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