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The W - Print - The Half-Blood Prince
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tarnish
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Since: 13.2.02
From: Back in the Heart of Hali

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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.03
I can't be the only geek who went to the bookstore this morning. Even in in my teensy-tiny town the bookstore apparently opened at midnight last night for those who just couldn't wait. Today they had a magician/juggler out front, a cake inside, and little goody-bags for those who had pre-ordered (I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't pre-order it). It was nice to see.

I think it's probably the best of the lot so far, although not necessarily my favorite. But it certainly lives up to the hype; and there are indeed the many answers that Rowling promised. Of course, there's a whole new pile of questions. And she continues the amazing trend of the maturity of the writing and subject matter matching the maturity of the characters.

Part of me loathes the idea of another two-year wait for the next book, but knowing it will be the last, I want Rowling to spend as much time as she has to in order to finish the story in a way befitting the excellence she's already achieved.



/tarnish...

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Since: 23.7.04
From: Baltimore, MD

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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.49
    Originally posted by Tarnish
    Part of me loathes the idea of another two-year wait for the next book, but knowing it will be the last, I want Rowling to spend as much time as she has to in order to finish the story in a way befitting the excellence she's already achieved.


The long wait is the reason that I'm not reading the books right now. I read the first four, but by the time the fifth one came out, I didn't have much desire to read it because I had pretty much forgotten what the first four were about (well, at least the details, if not the general plot). I didn't want to go back and re-read the first four because the fourth alone was about 700+ pages, wasn't it? So I figure that sometime after the seventh one comes out I'll go back and read them all from the beginning over a month or two.



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Since: 12.4.04
From: PA, USA

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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.30
I bought it, read it, and anyone else surprised who the half-blood prince was? *no i aint gonna say, cuz i dont want to spoil it* but was anyone else as surprised as i was?
Wolfram J. Paulovich
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Since: 11.11.02
From: Fat City, Baby

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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.72
I don't want to spoil anything here either, and I won't. But about a third of the way through the book, I was pretty sure who the half-blood prince was. I got that sense of satisfaction at the end, the "You guessed right!" moment. It didn't make me feel awesome or anything (I'm not super special because of my guess), but Rowling telegraphs a lot. At least in my experience.

That said, I agree that Rowling has matured as a writer as much as her characters have matured. The last book was long, angsty and filled with many passages that were angry repeats of earlier passages. It was very "teenage": the characters did the same things and got angry about the same things over and over, and the author did the same things over and over. This book is a big improvement: there's the teenage ambiguity and anger, but it's shortened, more focused, more mature, more on-point.

I don't think that Rowling's writing "for the screen" by making this book shorter. Some people might think that, and it's an understandable complaint, if you're a fussbag. Instead, I think that she's finally realized that previous books develop characters, and you don't need to repeat those books to bring those characters to life. "Phoenix" spent a lot of time reminding the reader of character traits that were already pretty much a given. With this, she's avoided the two- or three-hundred potential extra pages by just assuming that we, obviously, know these people by now.

This book seemed to have much more content and pace than its predecessor. My only complaint about it is that Harry, Ron and Hermione still seem pathologically compelled to not do basic sensible things. For instance: "I have a really helpful book from a person with the name Half-Blood Prince; I should never tell a teacher about it or even question them about it. Instead, I'll keep something potentially dangerous." It's little stuff like that that bugs me. You'd think that someone so accustomed to stumbling across REALLY dangerous stuff would, you know, ask around about other mysterious stuff. My only problem with the Potter books is that, no matter how much older and smarter all the principle characters get, they still act mighty stupid about basic things that could be basically DEADLY. It's a cheap plot point, and the older the characters get, the more forced it seems.



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Since: 12.1.02
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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.07
I bought the pre-order throught the SPEND link on this site, and am through about 100 pages or so. I'm avoiding the spoilers that I'm sure are already in this thread, but, I'll say, that it looks extremely interesting so far.



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Since: 2.1.02
From: nWo Country

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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.19
I thought the conclusion was as weak as anything she's written. I won't get too into spoiler territory, but....


Spoiler Below: Highlight text to read
Snape murdering Dumbledore was fucking stupid. Not only has she killed off one of the most likeable and well-written characters of the series, she's also torpedoed what was a complex, multilayered persona by revealing Snape as a bad guy all along. Grante, there's the possibility that there's something more to all of this-and I'm sure we'll get some explanation of Snape's motivations and Dumbledore's trust in him in part seven-but still.


(edited by oldschoolhero on 17.7.05 0711)

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Since: 20.2.02
From: Columbia, MO

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.50
I was one of the people who bought the book at the midnight sale here. The store I was at had live owls, which was sort of cool.

As concerns the book itself, my thoughts:


Spoiler Below: Highlight text to read
As you said, oldschool, there might be something more there with Snape. Did he have to kill Dumbledore to fulfill his Unbreakable Vow with the larger goal of stopping Voldemort in mind? Is this a "someone gets sacrificed for the greater good" sort of thing? I think we should reserve judgement on how stupid of a move it was till the next book.

Plus, Dumbledore was a great character, but he also could have become a crutch to protect Harry in the next book. Now, stopping Voldemort has to be up to the three main characters, who are the people that should end up heroes anyway. These books are all about the power kids have to shape the world, and having no powerful adult there to help them drives that point home all the more.

And yes, I agree with Jeb about the utter frustration I feel sometimes when Harry and Ron do utterly stupid things. The emotional crap I can relate to, but I would bave been pretty quick to tell Dumbledore about the book, especially after using the spell that almost killed Malfoy, even when I was a teenager. I was obstinate, but not stupid.

Anyway, I liked the size of the book and pacing, and I liked the glimpses of love between Ron and Hermione.

I will say though, I do hope Snape ends up being good and becoming a hero in the next book. I've always liked his character.




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Since: 2.1.02
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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.19

Spoiler Below: Highlight text to read
Yeah, I think Snape turning out evil may just be frustrating personally, as he was always a favourite of mine. Like I said, he's probably Rowling's most layered creation, and I just think it'll be a real shame if he gets shunted into the villain role for the finale, especially considering that we already have a knock-out monster heel in the form of Voldemort. Buuuuut as we both speculated, I do think there's more to it. It was just a bit of a sour note to end the book on, leaving us with a ton more questions than answers. I'd have appreciated a little meat with regards to furthering the series story arcs, rather than even more "wait and see".

None of this, of course, will stop me being first in line when the final book hits the shelves in 2007. ;)


(edited by oldschoolhero on 17.7.05 1112)


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tarnish
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Since: 13.2.02
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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.03

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I agree that Snape appearing evil was a bit of a letdown, but I'm also of the mind that there's plenty of possibilities there, including that he isn't evil and there's still more to the story.

As for the "plot hole" of Harry never mentioning the book to anyone of authority, I think Rowling has done very well with these things. In this case, he knew that he was, essentially, cheating and didn't want to give up a good grade in potions or his "in" with Slughorn by owning up unless there was a reason to believe the book was "meaningful". After it had been established both that the book didn't belong to Voldemort and that the book had no magical properties of its own, there was no reason to tell anyone about it. I still don't see how Harry telling Dumbledore about the book would have made a hill of beans difference: trace it back to Snape and all you have is a heavily annotated schoolbook from Snape's school days. It wouldn't have proven anything to anyone.

I wonder about whether Dumbledore's withered hand. Ostensibly, it was the result of destroying one of the horcruxes (the locket, I think). If he didn't totally succeed, perhaps the part of Voldemort's soul had become part of Dumbledore?

Further, maybe Harry himself is a horcrux. It would explain his scar, and his affinity to Voldemort. Maybe after destroying Voldemort Harry becomes a muggle? Who knows? I'm trying not to hypotesize too much for fear of ruining Rowling's chances of finishing it up in a way I've already decided I won't like.




/tarnish...

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Since: 11.11.02
From: Fat City, Baby

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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.72
Tarnish, I wasn't really thinking of Harry's not mentioning the book as a plot "hole." It just seems like a lack of character development. I mean, maybe I'm a wuss, but were I in Harry's place, I'd be checking and doublechecking whether something is evil/bewitched/generally messed up. Having seen someone get possessed by a book, any book that seemed the slightest bit out of the ordinary would be something I'd show to someone in the know. Yeah, it would be pretty sweet to half-ass my way through a class for a year with one big cheat book. But -- and here's where I have a problem with the characterization -- not being dead is much sweeter in my book.

Spoiler Below: Highlight text to read

Count me in with the people who thinks there's got to be more to Snape's actions. Rowling may have her shortcomings, but I don't think she'd be so simple as to have Snape be evil all along. Every book has featured the trope of, "Snape is actually a good guy, despite every other indicator pointing to his being evil"; if he turns out to be evil, it's just a giant letdown. What makes him a good character is finding him loathsome but knowing that he's essentially good. If it turns out that he's a jerk who really is evil, it's lazy. It suggests that you can judge a book by its cover.

I'm guessing there will be an Obi Wan vibe to Dumbledore's death. Not that he's going to start chatting with Harry from beyond the grave; instead, I get the sense that this might have been something he and Snape worked out ahead of time, that Dumbledore perhaps knew he'd be killed and chose to have Snape do it, so that he'd be better trusted by Voldemort. Regardless, I have faith that it won't be as straightforward as it seems. Rowling's got to have one or two twists left for Snape.

Does anyone else get the sense that the last book's going to be about 800 pages? I can't imagine how all those different horcruxes can be polished off in a quick fashion.




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Since: 2.1.02
From: nWo Country

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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.19

Spoiler Below: Highlight text to read
The more I look back over it, the more those little pointers Rowling became famous for start to pop up, all indicating some kind of collaboration between Dumbledore and Snape. DD was begging to see no-one but Snape when he and Harry returned from fetching the fake Horcrux-perhaps because he HAD to be seen as being finished off by him? And there was something out the way she wrote Snape's big reveal as being evil, I think it must be Dumbledore "pleading" with him. Pleading with him to finish it? Aaaaaaaaaaand if Snape were soooo devoted to seeing Voldemort's word fulfilled above all else, i.e. not killing Harry, at great risk to the mission, would he really have finished off Dumbledore himself? Or would he, now knowing that Draco was safe and the Unbreakable Bond fulfilled, have insisted that Draco did it, as expressly wished by Voldemort? Yeah, there's definitely something up there. Rowling's storytelling always pulls together in the end, and there are too many loose threads here for thee NOT to be a big secret plot behind them all.




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Since: 17.1.02
From: New F'n Jersey

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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.75

Spoiler Below: Highlight text to read
While I sincerely hope that you fellows are correct in your Snape assumption, I'm not so sure. Rowling has shown us that DD thinks/knows that he is sometimes wrong, but it turns out that he hasn't been wrong much at all. The big deal throughout the whole series has been that Dumbledore trusts people, Snape most of all. I can see JK keeping Snape evil just to prove that DD is incorrect in this case.

As for the book itself, I'll refrain from talking too much about the relationships that sprung up (that's more for the Harry Potter sites), but I was very happy that JK gave us some movement in this direction. While the Hermione/Ron hookup hasn't happened yet, it will. I still don't know if H/R is the ultimate pairing, especially as presumably none of the three should be thinking about their crushes in light of the task ahead of them. The Harry/Ginny relationship was much more fun to read about than Harry/Cho. And just minutes after finishing this book, my anger at the ending (so I'm emotional, sue me) is somewhat abated by the fun I had reading this sixth book.

I will be sad if Hogwarts isn't a big part of the final book, although it looks like that the workings of the school will be a subplot just as the love relationships wil be.

Overall, I didn't find this story as riveting as the fifth book or as much fun as the fourth book (Goblet of Fire), but HP&HBP was a great read that I'll have plenty of time to think about as I try to wait two years (AT LEAST) for the final book.






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Since: 23.1.02
From: Phoenix, AZ

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#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.65
Finally got around to picking this up last night. My thoughts:


Spoiler Below: Highlight text to read
Well, I got spoiled by a bunch of assholes on the internet who took a screencap of the page where Harry tells Hagrid that Snape kills Dumbledore. Second book in a row that the big death has been spoiled for me, so I was less than shocked when we got there. Personally I much prefered it when Ron was Dumbledore.

http://www.knight2king.net/Knight2King/weasleyisourking.html

Anyway, when has Harry *ever* been right about Snape? Not a single time. Snape and Dumbledore have cooked something up, and I won't be surprised if it takes both Snape AND Draco turning on Voldemort to help Harry take him and his Horcruxes out.

As for the Half-Blood Prince... I always figured it was Voldemort again, as he's our known vain half-blood. And I was SO FRUSTRATED when Harry looked in the book and saw that the book was originally owned 50 years ago. Harry thinks "My dad and his friends weren't in school then" and I shout, "BUT TOM RIDDLE WAS YOU NINCOMPOOP" So having it be Snape made me happy as the books finally managed to surprise me.

The Room of Requirement... argh, where do I begin? How about "I NEED A PLACE THAT GIVES ME THE TOOLS TO SPY ON DRACO MALFOY"?! Sheesh. These kids have no imagination.

I'll be sorely disappointed if Neville doesn't get his shot at Voldemort in the next book.


All in all, I liked this book much better than Order of the Phoenix. I tried rereading OotP before purchasing Half-Blood Prince, and I put it down in disgust within an hour. Harry is such a twit in that book.

I never want to read the word Snog again.

And if the seventh book is titled, "Harry Potter and the Ninja that Ruined his Shit" I will probably cry.


With tears of JOY.

-Jag

That link is to a debunked (but quite interesting) theory concerning Ron Weasley.




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Since: 3.1.02
From: Calgary

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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.00
As for the movies...

The Goblet of Fire hits November 18th [directed by Mike Newell, written by Steve Kloves]
The Order of the Phoenix is set to hit in June 2007 (about the same time as the 7th book).

With the last two books out by the time Phoenix hits, it's expected that they'll try to get the last two books adapted ASAP due to the aging of the lead actors into awkward teenagers.



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Since: 9.12.01
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#15 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.52
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Since: 6.1.02
From: Brooklyn, NY

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#16 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.14

Spoiler Below: Highlight text to read

There is absolutely no way Snape is evil. Put me down for the whole "He and Dumbledore read each others minds and Dumbledore said to kill him" thing. Not only would Snape being evil be boring, but it'd also not fulfill any plot requirement. Harry already has a couple of "Bad guy Henchmen with personal beef" to go through - Lucius Malfoy (maybe not anymore) and Bellatrix Lestrange, who killed Sirius. She's the Penultimate baddy, not Snape (although Neville might take out Bellatrix). Plus, I'm sure there'll be one more turn in book 7 by somebody.

If the Snape backstory isn't as follows, I'd be really surprised: Snape and Harry's mom were in love. Harry's mom dumps Snape for James Potter. Snape is overcome with jealousy. He hears the prophecy, and figures out it could refer to Neville OR Harry. However, Snape is so infuriated at James and Lily, he tells Voldemort only that it refers to Harry. Voldemort kills Lily, and Snape realizes he's caused the death of the only woman he's ever loved, is overcome with guilt and remorse, and turns back to good.

All in all, it seems like 2 more books are needed. Four Horcruxes, Lestrange, Voldemort, AND studies for the NEWTS? And school will definitely be part of the last book - Harry can't becomoe an Auror without passing his NEWTS.

Also, you better believe Dumbledore pulls an Obi-Wan and starts talking to Harry from his picture in the Headmaster's office.



(edited by MoeGates on 30.8.05 1324)


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Since: 2.1.02
From: Darkenwood

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#17 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.00

Spoiler Below: Highlight text to read


Just finished it! What a ride. I really enjoyed the book. Some random thoughts nobody's mentioned:
1. Of course Harry couldn't get the Room of Requirement to appear for him when he was searching for Malfoy. The room "knew" Harry didn't really NEED to find it. What he needed was to NOT find it so the plan hatched by Dumbledore and Snape would work.
2. Dumbledore's love for Harry (as his mother's love before that) will become a powerful charm since Dumbledore sacrificed himself. In other words, Dumbledore can do Harry far more good dead than alive.
3. I think Harry's scar is definitely the final piece of Voldemort's soul.




(edited by MoeGates on 30.8.05 1324)
Jaguar
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Since: 23.1.02
From: Phoenix, AZ

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#18 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.03

Spoiler Below: Highlight text to read
Snape called Lily a Mudblood. I don't think there was anything going on between them.




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