The saying never judge a book by its cover should only be applied to everything except for inanimate objects because no one wants to be deceived when buying a product, they expected to receive. Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince is exactly what you get. Based on the mass-produced book cover version, readers get to spend more time with Dumbledore! This made me a happy reader, but this book sure broke my heart (I know human emotions are just so hard to understand even I sometimes don’t understand myself). Happy to be sad. It’s a paradox. If you have been following this blog and my previous Harry Potter posts, you’d know that I like Dumbledore very much. I sort of suspect that Dumbledore was going to die when the author kept describing him as old and not as agile. I was still in shock when he did die. What a dramatic turn. The series is coming to a close. The symbol of wisdom and an all-knowing, benevolent wizard is no more.
The structure of the book is pretty straightforward. You got to know your enemy in order to defeat it. It talks about Voldemort’s childhood and his ancestry. It also revealed who the Half-Blood Prince is, which I was in fact surprised. Just as I expected of the author who likes to build tension and suspense in her story. The only character that I thought seemed out of place was Horace Slughorn, the new potion professor who replaced Snape. A part of me thinks the author chose this type of character to emphasize the classism issue as I previously mentioned in Book 5. He is not necessarily a bad person, but just a little bit wicked. Not wicked enough to be a part of the Death Eaters that’s for sure. Have you met people like that? Someone who only associates with those who can provide them with the finer things in life? They collect people like they collect treasures. In other words, they create a circle of people and only “special people” are invited. I know I have met someone like that. It’s hard to call it a vice but it’s definitely not the type of friend who will have your back in the time of need. Their interest foremost lies in living a comfortable life, and are only persuaded to act when it threatens their lives. People like Slughorn can make anyone like Ron feels inadequate in society because ordinary is just not good enough. You have to be exceptionally extraordinary to be in Slughorn’s club, and oddly, I agree with Harry on Slughorn. He is like a “rich fussy old lady” (p. 67). No wonder the Death Eaters tried so hard to recruit him. He’s very worldly.
Speaking of Ron, I thought it was interesting how the character is used to demonstrate that one’s self-worth is all in the head. You know the saying it’s all mental? There’s some truth to that statement. Harry tricked Ron into believing he poured a lucky potion called Felix Felicis into Ron’s cup right before the Quidditch match. And guess what? Surprisingly Ron performed well as a Keeper. Sometimes, it really is all in the head. How many of us have closed the door on ourselves simply because we think we are just born unlucky, or talentless? It’s a nice little message from the author to the readers. Take notes, we should have some faith in ourselves.
Overall, this book is relatively short. I don’t have much to say about the romance part of Harry and Ginny; Ron and Hermione; and Tonks and Lupin. I don’t care much about romance drama and I was never intrigued with any of the characters besides Dumbledore and Snape. Now, I am just looking forward to finishing the final book which will be sometime next month. Just in time for Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, which looks great!
Stay tuned for my final thoughts on the Harry Potter series. Hope to see you next time!