Monday, July 25, 2005

Harry for your water cooler

So you need an opinion on the new Harry Potter book, you say? 600+ pages not quite as intimidating as the 900+ pages of Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix, but you still feel behind all your co-workers who stayed up all night to be the first person to finish the book? Not to worry. Here, for your convenience from your friends at Wordwright, is your opinion of Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince.

WARNING: Serious spoilers ahead!

1. Ms. Rowling's sixth book is very entertaining, but oddly Baby-Sitters' Club-ish. There's really not much but hormones going on in the first 400 pages or so. Still, Ron and Hermione's orbits seem to finally intersect ('bout damn time!), and there's a great deal of satisfaction when Harry lays one on Ginny Weasley. (Good for you Harry. No Luke Skywalker monkish celibacy for you.)

2. Which reminds me, whatever happened to Cho Chang? Not that I really liked her, but a whole lot of minor characters who played big roles in the last two books all but disappear in this one. And we spend a lot of time with the Weasleys, but what about Hermione's parents? They seemed cool when mentioned in books 1 and 2. Let's see a little bit of them, eh?

3. Yeah, Dumbledore dies, and I even teared up a little, but we all saw it coming. (In fact, one of my co-workers at Schuler Books in Lansing was predicting that Dumbledore would be the casualty in book 5 before it came out.) If Dumbledore is around, he'll try to put himself between Harry and Valdemort, so in order to set up the final showdown, he had to go.

4. You know, the revelation of the identity of the Half-Blood Prince seemed kind of anticlimactic, especially compared to all the other surprises that Ms. Rowling has layered through her other books. Snape earns his place in the title, but the fact that he was the "Half-Blood Prince" doesn't really seem to matter to anything.

5. So is Snape really a bad guy after all? I think yes and no. Killing Dumbledore is a really big thing, but there is at least a possible (twisted) altrustic motivation--to save Draco's life. (Valdemort would have killed Draco if he failed to kill Dumbledore, and Snape saved Draco from having to do it when it really looked like he wouldn't.) Look for Snape to stick it to Valdemort by the end of book 7, and I bet that Draco will perform a good deed or two as well.

That's my opinion, anyway. Feel free to appropriate it as necessary. Impress your friends and coworkers, without any all-nighters.


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