Re-Read Thoughts: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Since I read the final two books in my Harry Potter Re-Read back to back I thought it would be a good idea to put my thoughts together because the books sort of melded in my head.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

By JK Rowling

Scholastic Inc.

ISBN: 0-439-78454-9

The short re-cap: Harry returns to Hogwarts for his sixth year.  His hopes are high after learning he will be having private lessons with Dumbledore, finds he has feeling for Ginny he never imagined, and realizes his life is about to change forever.

Spoilers below; I’ve warned you so no complaints.

I love how book six begins with a visit to the Muggle Prime Minister.  I don’t know why but the scene where the Muggle Minister gets annoyed by having to wait for the Minister of Magic to appear just makes me laugh.  I love, love, love Fred and George and the new joke shop.  U No Poo!  How can you not chuckle at that?  Also, the Fleur and Mrs. Weasley testing of the waters of the in-law pool is a nice aside in a book that can otherwise be full of tension.  The pensive is probably one of my most favorite of Rowling’s magical inventions and the ways she uses it to tell Voldermort’s story makes it all the more interesting.  And then, there’s the romance.  I don’t care much for teen angst but here it’s not annoying.  Ron and Lavender are amusing but poor Hermione getting stuck with Cormac McLaggen is just mean.  And yes, I know she’s doing it to hurt Ron but she could have picked better.  Harry and Ginny — I love that these two get together but I hate that they break up.  Harry, can you be more stubborn?  Yes, he can but I won’t go there now.

I can’t escape it so I’ll mention it — Dumbledore’s death.  It’s sad and it makes the ending of this book seem so final.  Each time I want it to end differently and it doesn’t but I appreciate that Rowling has people die in this series.  It’s necessary for the story and adds much more weight to it.

The Half-Blood Prince is one of my favorites in the series.  This is probably my second favorite followed by the Prisoner of Azkaban.

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

By JK Rowling

Scholastic Inc.

ISBN: 0-545-01022-5

The short re-cap: Harry, Ron, and Hermione leave Hogwarts and their families behind to search for the horcruxes hidden by Voldermort.  Camping ensures, fighting begins, and life as Harry knows it will never be the same.

OK, folks, spoilers drill remains in place.

The Deathly Hallows is a sad book for many reasons but for me it’s sad because it’s the end.  There’s no more to look forward to.  Also, the first time I read this book I didn’t so much mind the epilogue.  This time it didn’t feel necessary for me to know that Ginny and Harry marry and have three children or that Ron and Hermione stay together.  But, that off my chest now, let’s move on.

The camping is slow and the first part of this book does feel like it drags a bit.  While the searching for the horcruxes bit is a necessary part of the plot, it’s slow and the in fighting with Harry, Ron, and Hermione gets tired.  Although, this is the book in which I fall in love with Neville and Luna.  They both shine brightly doing more to help Harry that he could or would have ever asked them to do.  They’re stand up people and I couldn’t be happier that it’s Neville that chops off Nagini’s head!  Luna is still loopy but she gets people so well, that in the end, when she sees Harry sitting on a bench in the Great Hall after the battle, she’s the one that provides him his means of escape.  Ginny is pure fire and the way Harry looks for her dot on the Maurader’s Map is sweet, if still a little creepy.

Snape.  I skipped mentioning him in my thoughts on the Half-Blood Prince even though he plays a large part there because I wanted to talk about him here.  No, I didn’t have a change of heart.  I still dislike him greatly.  He does redeem himself, in Harry’s eyes, but not mine.  My dislike of him has been cultivated for far too long for me to like him now even after knowing what he has done to help Harry.  Snape harbors too much hate for Harry’s father James to really care much about him the end.  Yes, I know he does care but for me it feels forced and I can’t go along.

Earlier I said I found this book sad.  There are a number of reasons but the one that stands out is Dobby’s death.  I got a little teary when reading it.  Dobby has been there for Harry and to have him die now is heartbreaking.  Harry finds resolve in his death but I don’t.  For me, it’s sadder than Dumbledore’s death.

There are some amazing moments:  Mrs. Weasley taking on Bellatrix.  How fabulous is Molly!  Ron finding he cares about house elves, at least for Hermione’s sake.  Hermione’s quick thinking that gets them out of several incidents.  Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s escape from Gringotts on a dragon.  Neville becoming the man!

My re-read may have started on a whim and took a lot longer than I thought it would to finish the seven books but I’m glad I made the time.  These aren’t books I pull off my shelf often, in fact, it’s been years since I’ve read any of them but it was fun to re-live this story.  Even knowing what happens and how it will all end, there were still a few surprises here.

Final thoughts on all the books:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone — It must have been at least 10 years since I read this one and it was a lovely surprise.  The story is full of wonder at the beginning and I forgot how easily Rowling can pull a reader into her world.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets — I wanted to pace myself for the re-read because I didn’t want to burn out.  I did rush into this one and while I loved it, I was really looking forward to book three.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban — Undoubtedly, my favorite.  I loved it the first time I read it and fell in love all over again on page one.  The story takes a little bit darker turn but it also re-introduced me to characters like Lupin and Sirius that I heart.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire — I have to say that I enjoyed this one more on this reading.  Why, I can’t really say but I discovered many things this time around that I forgot.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix — While I didn’t find as much joy in book five as I did in the previous four, I still liked it.  Harry gets very moody in this one and my tolerance for teen angst is low so I was annoyed a bit but nowhere near enough to stop!  Besides, I get to intense moments of Snape dislike in this one and that’s totally worth it.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince — Again, more Snape disliking and that’s good.  Also, while the teen angst gets to me, the teen romance got me in this one.  I think it’s because I love when Harry and Ginny together.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — It’s sad because so many people die in this one but there’s something so wonderful about seeing it through to the end.  While I can do without the epilogue, the ending seems just right for me.

Well, after several months, my re-read is over and all I have to say is the end.

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4 thoughts on “Re-Read Thoughts: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

  1. Neville’s journey is one of my favorite in the books—the Almost Chosen One proving that had he been chosen, he would have done equally well. (I’m very much looking forward to that in the film adaptation—Matthew Lewis does a fantastic job with him.)

    Although I always thought Harry could have at least named one of the kids after, oh, I don’t know, his wife’s dead brother?

  2. I think the whole reason I wanted to read the seventh book over again was Neville killing the snake. When he says “Kill the snake?” and you know he’s grown up so much — oh, Neville. I well up every time I think of that. Doing it now. Also when I saw the film and Neville had two seconds on screen.

    >>Although I always thought Harry could have at least named one of the kids after, oh, I don’t know, his wife’s dead brother?

    What the hell was with that? Neither he nor Ron named any of their kids after Fred? What? He could name a kid after SNAPE but not after Fred? But hopefully George had a kid and called it after Fred. Maybe they all got together and agreed nobody but George could name a kid after Fred. #rationalizing

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