In a quick, spoiler-free review of the novel, I quite enjoyed the style of the book and found that Rowling managed to fill out a number of characters in a manner that made them far more interesting to me personally than they had ever been in the previous novels. Certain issues were clarified whilst simultaneously becoming far more obscured- which is frustrating- but only in that I cannot wait for the next book to be released! Good times. Now, onto my mercilessly spoiler-filled but complete review of HBP before I delve back into the fandom!
The Half-Blood Prince. I was expecting Snape from early on, even though I saw JK steering the book so that one would assume it had been Voldemort; I think the adeptness at potions in conjunction with the fact that I’m so damned fond of Dear Severus are what made me jump to my conclusion. Hm. I must admit, though- I’m thrilled that a book now has Snape in the title. Glee.
Dumbledore, or lack thereof. I was half-expecting Dumbledore to be the death in this book, I suppose, but Snape being the one to deliver the final blast of green light? I did not see that coming. I still had The Unbreakable Vow and the parties/terms involved floating around in the back of my head, but somehow I just assumed that something would happen to prevent Snape from acting as such… I don’t know why, but that’s how these things normally work out. Damn JK and her consistent storytelling…! Mrr. The jury’s still out on whether or not I think Snape’s “in for good” with the Death Eaters, but I’m not about to jump to any conclusions without re-reading the book beforehand.
The death itself got to me much more than I thought it would have, especially seeing how I was much more attached to Sirius than I was to Dumbledore throughout the run of the series and yet I didn’t cry nearly as much when the former was thrown through the arch… Though I had grown fond of Dumbledore’s character in this book what with his faults and working alongside Harry and such. I really do hope he had a reason for trusting Snape that none of us know about, as otherwise the death is going to feel much more trivial than I would like it to be. Hrm.
TMR/Voldemort back story. I can’t complain- I always love having context, and knowing about his heritage and childhood experiences makes him all the more interesting. I enjoyed Dumbledore comparing him to a magpie- there’s something interesting about Voldemort putting so much value on material objects to the point of creating seven Horcruxes, and I’m intrigued to see how this attribute will play out in the next book.
Lupin/Tonks omgz OTP. I find it wonderfully ironic that, on our way to Borders to pick up the book at midnight, Maddy and I were discussing Remus’ role in depth and how we thought the Lupin/Tonks shippers just didn’t have much to go on, no matter how plausible the relationship might’ve been... Thus, the scene over Bill was a complete surprise, and I actually sat up and laughed at the thought of the Remus/Sirius and Lupin/Tonks contingents in an unavoidable flame war of epic proportions. I have no problem with the relationship itself- I do, in fact, think that dammit Remus deserves some love and making out at this point- I just wish that 1) Nymphadora hadn’t resorted to moping during the entire book instead of being proactive, and 2) it’s fleshed out a bit in the next book.
Relationships in general. Not seeing Ron/Hermione coming would’ve ment that I’d been living under a rock for the past few terms, so it was nice to see that come into it’s own even though it hasn’t yet been acted upon. Harry/Ginny is plausible and I found the spontaneous kiss to be insufferably cute, but my approval will depend entirely on how JK deals with the pairing in the future- I don’t want Ginny to be the Girlfriend By Default or anything of the sort.
I wish Lavender and Dean had been fleshed out a bit more as opposed to being Teh Love Interestses in this book, but I can understand as the book was notable more plot- than character-based in several instances. Besides, I never really liked Lavender anyway.
Whoa- Draco. Waitaminnut, I’m not supposed to like Draco- what the hell is going on? The scenes of Draco in the bathroom with Myrtle and hesitating to kill Albus made him suddenly and unexpectedly three-dimensional, and for the first time in the series I’m actually interesting in what happens to him. Dumbledore’s verbal confrontation with the boy drew out a lot about his character, so I’m actually a mite bit curious about his role in conjunction with Voldie and the Death Eaters.
…That would make a great band name.
Inferi. I’m a sucker for a good army of minions, so the Inferi in the
Overall? I liked it. I liked it more than OotP, actually (despite that I seemed to be one of the few who sincerely enjoyed Book 5 when it was released as I fondly remembered acting just as stupid and angsty as Harry did, simply with somewhat less-dire consequences), but I think I’ll wait for it to settle before ranking it in the series as a whole… Still, Rowling done good.
Oh, and a quick note to everyone that you can expect a good lot of fanart from me in the next few days, so I promise to spoiler tag those that are particularly topical. :D
More on my actual life later,