TRIGGER WARNING, YO: What you’re about to read is satire. Please don’t get offended. Or do. Whatever, I’m not your mom. I love Harry Potter and I’m just having fun with it.
And the Half Blood Prince
After skipping much of the backstory catch up in the last book, Rowling returns to it here (maybe there was a long gap in publishing dates between books 5 and 6?) with a lot of exposition in the first chapter. But the way she executes it is clever. She shows a series of meetings between the Minister of Magic and the Prime Minister of Great Britain over the years, so we can get caught up in a series of real-time conversations. Well-done, and feels authentic.
Then, FINALLY, we get some intervention from Albus Dumbledore that isn’t late-novel swooping in to save the day and explain everything after the fact. He’s going to give Harry private lessons this year. About goddamned time, Albus Dumbledore. Do your frakkin job and prepare this kid for the end-times.
Good mysteries at the outset: why is Albus Dumbledore’s hand messed up? Why were Rufus Scrimgeour and Dumbledore arguing? No surprise that Rowling went on to write crime novels after Potter… she has a flair for setting up mysteries and dripping the clues throughout the story.
After the Dumbledore excursion, Harry confronts Narcissa Malfoy in the magic shop: shows he’s more confident, has some edge to him. A little dark and he’s not going to put up with adults’ shit anymore. Good for you, Harry. Adults are all liars, anyway. The un-confident, passive little kid Harry is gone now. About time.
At school, we introduce the luck potion, but adding this plot element creates more problems than it solves. Why haven’t they used it before? Why couldn’t they use it for every challenge after?
Ah, but then, Ron says “Its a great feeling. Like you can’t do anything wrong”. Okay, so the luck potion isn’t magic, it’s a bit of the rooty-toot-toot nose candy? Makes total sense. A wizard gets zooted, then everything seems right with the world. Pop that collar, son, I’m on a boat!
As Harry spends more time with Albus Dumbledore, we go back into the Pensive. Interesting that Rowling devotes so much of this book to Voldemort’s history. Why is Dumbledore revealing this now? We don’t find out until book 7 (along with the mystery of his hand injury).
Now we finally see that Snape had hornswaggled Dumbledore. But why did Dumbledore trust him so? It’s one of the biggest as-of-yet explained mysteries of the series. but then again, (as I’ve clearly established already), Dumbledore is an idiot. Maybe he’s just a bad judge of character.
Albus Dumbledore dying seems surprising at first, but it makes perfect story sense. Harry is now alone, the person who saved him so many times is gone and he’ll have to defeat the Dark Lord without the help of a mentor. Ruh-roh, Harry, shit’s about to get real.
And the Deathly Hallows
So, Harry’s not coming back to Hogwarts. There have been plot twists in the series before, but this is the first real unexpected event. This means no more Quidditch. Yay!
We see much more of Voldemort’s POV throughout. But I don’t get why these death eaters pledge allegiance to him? He treats them all like shit. He must provide airtight health insurance or something, because I sure wouldn’t want to work for that mudblood-hating asshole.
So much lamentation about all the things Harry didn’t ask Dumbledore. I expect Harry to be sad, but it does drone on quite a bit. After Sirius’ death, Harry was just angry, and that made for better conflict, at least. Sad Harry is kinda boring. I’m over feeling sorry for Harry, now I just want to see him rush out and kick some ass.
Later, after Harry reads the chapter from “The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore,” I wonder why Rowling has inserted all this anti-Dumbledore stuff for Harry to puzzle over. Sure, it’s an easy source of inner conflict for Harry to wrestle with, but I think it goes deeper. All of Harry’s father figures have died: James Potter, Sirius Black, Albus Dumbledore (The Durseleys don’t count, they were never like parents to him). So Harry has never been able to have the necessary teenage rebellion against his father. Finding out Dumbledore might have been a sham fills that void, a continuation of when Harry discovered that his Dad James wasn’t such a nice guy when he was younger.
Voldemort takes over the ministry and institutes the Muggle-born Registration Commision: Finally, I understand his goal and what drives his crazy behavior. I knew he hated non pure-bloods, but now we learn why: the dude is Hitler. Purify the bloodlines and so forth.
Maybe it’s because we’re not at Hogwarts anymore, but parts of Deathly Hallows feel like a very different kind of book. Lupin wants to come with Harry so he can abandon Tonx and his unborn child out of guilt? What a strange and grown-up plot development. Also, this book features a couple dirty words, so it’s not exactly safe for little kids anymore.
We do, after all this time, get an explanation about the idea of creating food from nothing, but it doesn’t make sense. Hermione says you can’t make food with magic, only increase existing food, but seems to contradict some scenes from earlier books… I distinctly remember McGonagall waving her wand to create food. What gives?
The story of the three brothers: at the Lovegood’s, when we hear about the story of the three brothers, I groan. We already have seven horcruxes, now we also have to have three hallows? How many more quests can Harry undertake?
Mixing the hallows quest in with the horcrux quest actually works, though, because Harry is now faced with a decision about which one he should pursue. Go for the hallows, Harry! An unbeatable wand would be badass!
Then they get caught in the tent after saying Voldemort’s name, because they’ve put a magical trace on anyone who says the word “Voldemort.” Why doesn’t the ministry put a trace on using the name Harry? Or Hermione? Would have been much easier to track them, but I guess evil wizards aren’t that clever.
When the goblin Griphook says that Gryffindor actually stole his famous sword from its rightful owner, Harry can’t reconcile this. Interesting, because this is the third time (his dad, Dumbledore, now Gryffindor ) that Harry has discovered someone he revered wasn’t the person he thought them to be. Pay attention, kids: Rowling is trying to tell you that adults are full of shit.
The final attack on Hogwarts is crazy action-packed. I raced through the last few chapters to get to the conclusion. Will Neville Longbottom finally reveal his love for Ron Weasley? I wait with bated breath.
And so, Snape’s a good guy after all. Or at least, he did what he did because of a sick and unreciprocated obsession with Lilly Potter. Close enough.
Not sure I understand the bit about the wand at the end… why Harry’s broke, which is the elder wand and why it doesn’t work for Voldemort… the rightful owner is Malfoy? it’s kinda confusing.
Yay Harry! Beat that evil wizard! Now, go back to school and do something with your life. Nobody wants to hire a wizarding school dropout; not in this economy.