Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Why I Love Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter Month
Harry Potter Month is a yearly event taking place throughout the month of July, to coincide with Harry Potter's birthday. Hosted by Faith @ GeekyZooGirl and myself here at Lunar Rainbows Reviews, the aim is to fill the month with all things Potter.  There will be themed posts, discussions, art and fans rereading the books and rewatching the movies, all of which will earn the participants House-Points towards the House Cup at the end of the month. For more information or to sign up, click here.

I'm highlighting my favorite books out of the series this year. So far, I've already done Prisoner of Azkaban so now I'm on to one of my other favorites:

Why I Love Half-Blood Prince

I've said it before but it bears repeating: Half-Blood Prince is the book I'd been waiting for since I started reading the series. Of course we all wanted to know about Tom Riddle's past - even if we didn't know it yet - but more than that, I wanted to spend more time with Dumbledore. I wanted Harry to spend more time with Dumbledore and I wanted the wise old man to personally have a hand in Harry's magical education. To me, Half-Blood Prince is Dumbledore's book and since he's still a favorite character of mine, that makes this book particularly special to me. Yes it ends tragically but let's be honest, the way characters were already dropping, it wasn't a total surprise when Dumbledore's turn came up. The way it came about though, was jaw dropping to say the least.

Ok, so why is HBP one of my favorite books in the series? Well for starters, the crew are all adults now. With everything they've all been through in the previous 5 books, even though they're still young, they qualify as adults to me.  It was a real treat to watch them all grow but at the same time, as an adult HP reader, I was looking forward to them being closer to my age and maturity.

I'm a huge fan of how the book starts off in the Muggle world with the Muggle Prime Minister meeting the Magical One.  Yet another moment that should have been in the film, that one short chapter paints a bleak picture of life for Muggles and how things are equally bad for them as it is in the Wizarding World. And that chapter perfectly sets the stage for one of my all time favorite moments in the series: Dumbledore fetching Harry at the Dursley's house, showing up as cool and calm as can be, giving a stern talking to to Vernon and Petunia, and sweeping Harry away in the night.
'Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.' 
I've always enjoyed how Dumbledore takes Harry to meet Slughorn, right from the start because it shows how much he values Harry as a person. Sure Dumbledore had a plan and it required Harry to convince Slughorn to come back to Hogwarts, but Harry, just be being himself, without having a clue, gets the job done.  Which brings me to another all-time favorite moment in the series: Harry and Dumbledore's chat in the Weasley shed.  With a few simple words, Dumbledore offers sympathy, pride, encouragement and faith in Harry for the way he handled Sirius' death, for his courage and he knows that Harry is up to the task at hand in the coming year. That conversation melts my heart.

Finally back at Hogwarts, Harry is now fully taken his role as a hero and The Chosen One among his peers. I was glad for that because the poor kid deserves a break after the hell he caught almost every year prior to this one.  As far as school life goes, well I loved the addition of Slughorn as the new Potions Master. It made potions seem more fun and less scary if you know what I mean. I always thought I'd love that class but wasn't really keep on Snape terrorizing me O.O And speaking of Snape, it was a cool twist to have him finally get his coveted DADA post. Of course, it fit right into Dumbledore's plan but at the time it was like: NOOOO!

Of course, the major thrills for me was when Dumbledore would send out notes for Harry to go to his office throughout the year.  Riddle's past and memories were unnervingly dark and beyond creepy but fascinating all at once.  I'm the type of person that always wants to understand what makes someone a hero or a villain so getting a deeper understanding of who Voldemort was before he became the Dark Lord was thrilling.  I also loved how Dumbledore and Harry would hash out what they saw in the Pensieve afterwards, and how Harry always caught on and impressed Dumbledore with his insight.

I loved how the romances matured and flowered in HBP too.  Harry + Ginny get their day and it it glorious ♥  I love the moment when Harry FINALLY cottons on that he has feelings for Ginny and how awkward it makes him, especially with Ron.  I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the relationship progress until their big kiss in the Gryffindor Common Room. That was so dreamy and perfect and awwwww XD  Ron and Hermione take a detour in this one with Lavender and Cormack but it also leads to progress for them which was a treat - not to mention the comedic relief it provides for the readers.  Like when Ron takes the love potion. LOL!  It,s a shame that that scene ends in such a near-disaster but it goes to show how much Harry cares for Ron and how desperate Malfoy is getting when it comes to finishing his task O.O

We get tons of good stuff when it comes to magic, magical devices and whatnot.  We are introduced the fascinating Felix Felicis and see it at work when Harry finally takes the potion. We get a closer look and the Pensieve, which is beyond cool!  We learn about the Unbreakable Vow, a truly horrible spell that makes me nervous just thinking about it.  There's a cursed necklace, a poisoned drink, love potions^^, Horcruxes galore - even a fake one *sniff* - and the horrible Sectum Sempra.  And without knowing it, we explore the inner workings of the Half Blood Prince, how he was a brilliant mind at potions and an twisted on at that, to come up with Sectum Sempra.

Needless to say, the book has tons of stuff going for it, but everything comes to a head when Dumbledore takes Harry out on a quest to locate another Horcrux.  As much as I dread the outcome of that quest, I still adore that Dumbledore and Harry set out on an adventure together. Seeing how bloody brilliant Dumbledore is in that cave gives me chills! The way he senses the magic, how he teaches Harry throughout, patiently and calmly.  The cave is a wicked location for everything to go down and well, seeing a weakened Dumbledore swooping in a saving poor Harry is nothing short of EPIC.  Dumbledore is THE MAN, there's no doubt about it!  Finally, the pair return to Hogwarts in a nightmarish haze of Dark Marks, Death Eaters, secrets and lies. All a part of Dumbledore's master plan of course, but in the moment it's such an emotional roller-coaster.  It still is too, no matter how many times I reread it. And despite not being surprised by a certain character's fate, that part still kills me. I can't make it through without shedding a tear - or more.

I think that the real genius of HBP is that the Snape/Dumbledore EVENT at the end there makes you SO SURE that you've got Snape figured out! And I remember how strong my hatred for him was right then: GAH! That BASTARD! I knew it!!  Why Dumbledore?!? WHYYY!!! And the moment that you turn the last page, the need to continue the story is almost tangible.  Luckily for me, when I finished reading HBP, DH had *just* came out.  I finished HBP at 8:40 pm and made a mad-dash for my local bookstore (which closed at 9pm) so that I could rush straight home, DH in hand and read until well-past midnight.

So there you have it, Half-Blood Prince clearly brings on a lot of feels and that's why it'll always be a favorite of mine. It doesn't have a happy ending to be sure, but it makes sure that you're dying to keep going with the series and that is the mark of a brilliant book. It's a shame that the film didn't even come close to delivering in terms of tone, but that's another story for another post...

Is Half-Blood Prince one of your favorite books?
What are some of your favorite moments?


  1. Oh gosh, I've been having HP withdrawals, after reading your post I now wish O have a port key so I can go to HP park an hang out some more!

  2. When I first read the series, HBP was one of my least favorite books, but now it's somewhere in the middle. I used to think it was slow and boring, but the last time I read it I realized how much humor there was in the Hogwarts drama. It reminds me that even though Harry is "The Chosen One", he's still just a teenager and he acts like it. The same goes for Hermione and Ron.

    I absolutely love when Dumbledore picks Harry up from the Dursleys! Dumbledore is trying to be polite, but at the same time he's definitely messing with them. It's funny to see Mr. Dursley's hot temper vs Dumbledore's cool and friendly manners.

    You're right, there are a lot of cool magical things introduced in HBP. I also love that almost every object that Harry saw in Borgin & Burkes in CoS has a role in this book (the Vanishing Cabinet, Hand of Glory, the cursed necklace). I always wonder if JKR planned that ahead of time or just decided to recycle some objects. Either way, I think it's awesome.

  3. I'm actually rereading HBP at the moment and I call it the book that I both love and hate. I love it because I think it's brilliant for all those reasons that you've mentioned; I also think that J.K. Rowling's mastery solidified in this book and her humour is just wonderful. I'm not so much reading as drinking the book, savouring every word and phrase. 'The Other Minister' has got to be my all-time favourite chapter. I ADORE it.

    However, HBP is also the book that breaks my heart every time I read it. Dumbledore's death was a devastating blow and I remember crying so hard my aunt threatened to take away the book. But the fact that crushes me the most is how magic and magical devices that worked for Harry and his friends in the fifth book were used against them by Malfoy in this one, ultimately leading to that scene on top of the tower.

    Also, this is silly, but I can't forgive Moaning Myrtle for "cheating" on Harry with Malfoy :D

    Why don't we do a group reading of HBP?

  4. It's like you said, this was Dumbledore's book. Since I adore Dumbledore, this was also one of my favorites. I LOVED getting to spend so much time with him. He is amazing and I remember thinking in that cave that he is so incredibly skilled and light years beyond Harry in magical talent, but he keeps referring to Harry as the important one. I knew he was going to go since I saw no reason Harry would have to face Voldemort alone with him around, but it still hurt. A lot. I still didn't think Snape was bad at the end. I was waiting to find out how exactly that would be twisted to vindicate him. I was happy too with the Ginny and Harry romance in this one and I oddly really liked the part where Ron got hit with the love potion. Him saving Ron as just another Weasley on the list that he had saved. The parts that I hate that weren't in the movie (other than all of Ginny's awesomeness) were the ones with the Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore's Army fighting in The Battle of the Astronomy Tower. I wish it would've shown him saving some of Felix for them and everyone joining together in that fight...especially Bill and how he was changed. You're right though, it was just a good book. All the information about Voldemort's past, plus extra insight in to Dumbledore was fantastic to read.

  5. This is such a brilliant post, Micheline! ❤ I must confess, the first time I read HBP, I didn't appreciate it as much as I do now. I mean, all of the info on the Horcruxes is just so critical to Harry's impending showdown with Voldemort. And OMG, the cave scene in the film is one of my favorite scenes across all of the movies- despite being weakened by that horrible potion, Dumbledore shows why he's like the greatest wizard. EVER.

  6. Oh man! I really enjoyed Half-Blood Prince too! In terms of Dumbledore, this was a redemption book for him. He spent all of Order of the Phoenix making decisions when it concerned Harry. He chose to ignore him, rather than help and confide in him, which he did acknowledge at the end of OotP, but that always bothered me. In Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore doesn't make that mistake again. I love that he includes Harry in his research and his business.
    I also love that this book gives up so much back story about Tom Riddle and Snape. We don't know that it's Snape we're learning about, which makes an even bigger impact when we find out. J.K. Rowling really knows how to write!
    Thanks for sharing, Micheline!

  7. I'm rereading this one now :) And yes, FINALLY we get some much needed Harry-Dumbledore time! I think out of all of Harry father-like figures, Dumbledore was my favourite. I loved all their moments together in HBP and how Dumbledore guides him and treats him as a complete equal <3 Learning more about Voldemort and the horcruxes was definitely a very intriguing and daunting part of reading this book, as well. And of course I also adored all the Harry/Ginny moments. The film really does the book a disservice by turning what should be an ominous toned year into a bunch of light-hearted gags -_-

  8. Half-Blood Prince is my favourite book of the series, and I love how you've talked us through all the bits you loved. I think part of the reason I enjoyed it so much is the relief from moving on from Order of the Phoenix, one of my least favourites thanks to Harry's grumpiness!

    We watched the film last night, and were talking about some of the differences between the film and the book, like the scene at the Burrow, which was actually quite a good movie addition we think. I know it's a really minor thing but Tonks and Lupin's relationship got kind of glossed over, and no one questioned that they were together, which is a little disappointing. Dumbledore's moment with the Inferi is so epic though, and I think the film really did it justice.


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