This is taken from my Recent Readings page (which reminds me I want to put a link to it on my blogroll) in exactitude. I want people to be able to reply to it…
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, J. K. Rowling. SPOILER ALERT! DO NOT READ if you do not want to have critical plot elements revealed to you. You are warned (again).
We waited in the Savannah, GA, Barnes & Noble from 10:00 PM on July 16th, 2005, along with 400 other people, for the stroke of midnight in order to buy the latest installment of the Harry Potter series. Despite wanting to cleave the skulls of some over-enthusiastic youths who were running around, it was a perfectly friendly environment, then…”attention Barnes & Noble Shoppers…” and the book was up for sale!
We bought our books (one for each of us to avoid any potential marital discord) and proceded to read them in our hotel room until around 3:00 AM. We had them finished by 2:00 AM the next morning. Not bad considering we were also in Savannah for sight-seeing purposes. We discussed the book at bit, but we had to get up early to move on to the next part of our trip, so sleep was more important.
R.A.B.? We had no clue to start. I know (or suspect) who it is now, from the J.K.Rowling interview alluded to in my blog entry of July 29th. It’s probably Regulus Black, and the locket is sitting in the cabinet inside Number 12 Grimmwauld Place, Harry’s new house. If you don’t believe me, see the opening chapters of The Order of the Phoenix, where Harry and Crew are cleaning the house and the cabinet in particular.
The Severus Snape Scenario? I personally think that Snape is a mean, cruel, horrible man, who is not a member of the Dark Side of the Force. I believe that Dumbledore knew (somehow) that he was going to die because of either his hand or picking up the locket horcrux, and enlisted Snape to kill him to further his infiltration of Voldemort’s dark league. Why do I think this? It’s a feeling. I feel that Ms. Rowling would not have harped eternally on Snape seeming evil yet being one the good merely to cast him aside now. There are hints that this is possible, from Dumbledore’s and Snapes argument in the book, but I must confess I do not have any hard data to cast on the waters. An argument against this would be the second chapter where Snape swears the Unbreakable Vow. Would Dumbledore have known almost a year in advance that he was going to die? Possibly, but we know from this book that Dumbledore is not a seer. I seem to be arguing against myself, but I’m merely confessing to no conclusive data.
The dilemma arises that if Snape is still a member-in-good-standing of the good side, how is he to explain what occurred on the top of the Astronomy tower? No one, least of all Harry, will be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, so there would need to be some ironclad proof to support that position. Another memory for the pensieve? One left to Harry by Dumbledore? I don’t know about that one. We know it’s possible to edit memories badly, as evidenced by Slughorn, and Dumbledore implies that it’s possible to do it well, therefore deceiving even the pensieve viewer. Perhaps the painting of Dumbledore in the Headmistress’s office will constitute unimpeachable testimony? Perhaps Snape is intending to sacrifice himself for the cause in the next book, thereby removing this question from play and showing his true colors? The last chapter of the book has a lengthy internal dialogue where Harry remarks that all of his protectors (James, Lily, Sirius, Dumbledore) are now gone and that it’s time to step up and be a man. Maybe the last, least-known, least-wanted protector will be Snape? Speculations, all, but it’s certainly ripe territory.
Ginny. It certainly seemed trite at first for Harry to cast aside Ginny in order to pursue his quest yet maintain the help and support of Hermione and Ron. However, after the second read of the book, I realized that we don’t know anything like that at all. Harry divorces himself from Ginny at the end of the funeral, then attempts the same thing with Ron and Hermione, who refuse to hear anything about it. Then the book ends! No more interaction between Harry and Ginny, but we know they’ll see each other soon at Bill and Fleur’s wedding. I think it’s equally possible that she will hook up with the three musketeers again as remaining Harry’s reward for completing the quest. We will see.
Godric’s Hollow. I look forward to seeing Harry visit Godric’s Hollow to pay respects to his Mom (mum) and Dad. I anticipate that there will be a Death Eater ambush there, resulting in useful intelligence for the good side. We shall see.
Half-Blood Prince (and his book). Will Harry return to the Room of Requirement to get the Advanced Potion Making text he secured there? Hmmmm… Will the book play any more role in the series. We, again, shall see.