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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Thursday, July 12, 2007

Posted by ladyandrea in harry potter, Lady Andrea, summer of awesomeness, unhealthy obsessions.

Here we are gang!  Last book!  As of my writing this sentence, we are 8 days, 2 hours and 16 minutes from the release of Deathly Hallows.  EEEEEE!

The Other Minister begins our final book by taking us to the Prime Minister of England’s office.  One of his portraits tells him that he is going to have a meeting with Cornelius Fudge.  The minister remembers the other visits he has received from Fudge since joining office.  Their first meeting, another one with something to do with a escaped convict named “Serious” and various other meetings over the last couple years.  This time, Fudge appears to tell the minister about how the Brockdale Bridge collapse was no accident, the “hurricane” was actually damage from rampaging giants, and the Bones and Vance murders were committed by Lord Voldemort.  Fudge also tells him that he has been sacked as Minister of Magic and introduces his replacement, Rufus Scrimgeour.  They tell the minister they’ll keep him posted and they vanish.

Spinner’s End sees two women apparate into a very dismal area.  The dark-haired one calls after the blonde one, Cissy.  They are Bellatrix Lestrange and Narcissa Malfoy (sisters) and are on their way to Snape’s house.  Snape invites them in, ordering Wormtail to fetch them drinks.   They toast to the Dark Lord and when Wormtail leaves them, Bellatrix rails against Snape, saying she does not trust him.  She wonders where he was when Voldemort fell?  Why he has stayed at Hogwarts all these years?  Why is Harry Potter still alive?

Snape assures her that he has answered all these questions for Voldemort, but tells her that he is at Hogwarts as a spy and cannot very well kill Dumbledore’s favorite boy right under his nose.  Plus, Voldemort needed Harry’s blood to restore himself to full form.  Snape rails on her about the fiasco at the Ministry, saying they were facing 6 teenagers and yet could not get the prophecy.  Snape says he is firmly in Dumbledore’s inner circle because he spun him a tale of such remorse that Dumbledore took him back.

Narcissa gets to the point, the reason they came to Severus for help.  Draco has been asked to do something by the Dark Lord and she wants Snape’s help because she fears it will get Draco killed.  Snape says he knows of the plan (though I disagree) and that he could try to help Draco, then Narcissa asks him if he will make the Unbreakable Vow.  Snape agrees, asking Bellatrix to be the Bonder.  Snape and Narcissa clasp hands and he swears to watch over Draco, protect him from harm and carry out the deed Voldemort asked him to do if Draco cannot.  And they are bound.

Will and Won’t sees Harry asleep in his room on Privet Drive.  A letter from Dumbledore is laying on his desk, telling Harry that Dumbledore will be there to get him on Friday at 11 pm to assist Dumbledore with something and then let him stay the rest of the summer at The Burrow.  As the clock strikes 11, Harry awakens.  A figure is coming up the garden path.  Harry runs downstairs, but Vernon has already answered the door.  Dumbledore invites himself inside and introduces himself to the Dursleys, then settles himself in the living room, saying there are a few matters they need to discuss before he and Harry leave.  Harry notices that Dumbledore’s right hand is all shriveled and black, as though severely burned.

Dumbledore tells Harry that Sirius left him everything in his will, but that they need to make sure that Grimmauld Place truly belongs to Harry before they can use it again as the headquarters.  To test it, Dumbledore conjurs Kreacher and tells Harry to give Kreacher an order.  If Harry owns the house, Kreacher has to obey.  Harry orders Kreacher, who is having a right little fit, to shut up and suddenly Kreacher cannot speak.  Dumbledore advises Harry to send Kreacher to Hogwarts to work so that the other house-elves can keep an eye on him.  Harry does so.  He also tells Dumbledore that Hagrid can have Buckbeak back, only now they’ll call him Witherwings since he is actually a wanted Hippogriff.

Finally, Dumbledore does a little dressing down of the Dursleys about how they’ve treated Harry but does acknowledge that since they took him in, they sealed a magical protection that Harry has when he is under their roof.  He therefore asks them to let Harry come back one last time before he turns 17.  With that, Dumbledore and Harry leave the house.

Horace Slughorn begins with Dumbledore sending Harry’s stuff along to The Burrow, saying he needs Harry to help him with something first.  He tells him to keep his wand ready, though he doubts they will be attacked tonight.  Harry asks why and Dumbledore says, “You are with me.”  Dumbledore tells Harry to grab hold of his arm so they can do side-by-side apparition.  They are off, feeling as though being squeezed through a tube and suddenly they are in a deserted village.  Harry wonders why his scar hasn’t been hurting lately and Dumbledore surmises that Voldemort figured out the connection between himself and Harry wasn’t necessarily a good thing and closed it off between them.

Dumbledore leads Harry to a house, where inside everything is ransacked.  However, Dumbledore pokes a fat armchair with his wand and it yells, “OUCH!” and changes back into a fat man.  Dumbledore introduces Harry to Horace Slughorn, who says he’s been moving from Muggle house to Muggle house for a year to keep away from Death Eaters.  He also tells Dumbledore he is not going to be persuaded to come to Hogwarts.  Dumbledore leaves to use the bathroom and Harry talks to Slughorn, who tells Harry he looks just like his father except he has his mother’s eyes.  Slughorn tells him Lily was a favorite student of his.  Vivacious, charming and cheeky, should’ve been in Slughorn’s house (Slytherin).  He couldn’t believe it when he found out she was Muggle-born.  Harry takes a little offense, saying his best friend is Muggle-born and is the best in their year.  (Awww.)

Slughorn says he isn’t prejudiced, it was just surprising.  He goes on a bit about his former students who were great who went on to great things and all the treats they send him, though not for awhile since he’s been on the run.  He says that a prudent wizard keeps his head down at times like this and that going to Hogwarts would be tantamount to claiming allegiance to the Order of the Phoenix.  Harry points out that he doesn’t have to join the order to come to Hogwarts and that he would be the most protected there, as Dumbledore is the only one Voldemort ever feared.

Dumbledore returns and says they must be on their way, but on the way out Slughorn says he’ll take the job.  Heh.  After they leave, Dumbledore tells Harry “well done.”  He says Slughorn will be most interested in “the Boy who Lived,” saying he’ll be the crown jewel in Slughorn’s “collection.”  They apparate for the Burrow and Dumbledore takes him inside a gardening shed for a few more words in private.  He tells him that he is proud of the way Harry is coping with things and that Sirius would have been proud too.  He regrets they had such little time together as godfather and godson.  Dumbledore then tells Harry that the only two people who know the prophecy are sitting in this shed, but that he thinks he should tell Ron and Hermione.  The burden is too great to bear alone.  He also tells him that he will be having private lessons with Dumbledore this coming year and to keep his Invisibility Cloak with him at all times, just in case.  Finally he tells him that the Burrow is under extra protection while Harry is a guest and not to waste Molly and Arthur’s hospitality and inconvenience at the extra measures by taking unnecessary risks.

An Excess of Phlegm has Dumbledore taking Harry inside the house, where Molly is having tea with Tonks, whose hair is an unusual shade in that it’s plain brown.  She takes off and Dumbledore does too.  Molly tells Harry she’ll feed him and asks if he persuaded Slughorn to take the job at Hogwarts.  He says he did and then she tells him that Arthur’s been promoted at the Ministry, heading the Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects.  Harry glances at Molly’s clock, noticing that everyone’s hand is pointing to Mortal Peril nowadays.

Arthur comes home from work and Harry goes up to bed.  In the morning, he is woken up by Ron and Hermione pouncing on his bed.  Ginny comes in and complains about a female someone and Hermione jumps in too.  This someone turns out to be Fleur, who appears in the doorway with a tray of food for Harry.  She kisses him hello and tells him about her wedding next summer to Bill.  When she leaves, Ginny informs Harry that Molly hates her and obviously Ginny and Hermione aren’t too fond of her either, flouncing around and making fun of their house.  Ron is about half-drunk from her visit and Hermione gets mad.  She and Ginny make fun of Fleur and Harry stands up for her, saying she’s not stupid.  She was good enough to be a champion in the Triwizard Tournament, after all.

They wish Tonks was marrying Bill, because at least she’s a laugh but Ron points out she’s not much of a laugh lately.  Hermione says she hasn’t gotten over what happened, since Sirius was her cousin.  She has survivor’s guilt, since she was fighting Bellatrix before Bellatrix got Sirius.  Ginny goes downstairs to help her mom and Harry asks about Percy.  Ron says he’s still being a git, won’t apologize or anything.  Harry also tells them about his private lessons with Dumbledore this year and the contents of the prophecy.  Hermione squeezes the joke telescope she picked up off the floor so hard that it punches her in the eye.  They wonder if he’s scared and assure him that if Dumbledore is teaching him privately, he must think he has a chance against Voldemort.

Harry tells them that Dumbledore told him their OWLs are arriving today and Hermione runs downstairs and starts freaking out.  Finally, they all come.  Hermione gets 10 Outstandings and 1 Exceed’s Expectations (in DADA).  Ron gets 7 OWLs and Harry also gets 7, with an O in DADA, but only an E in Potions, which dashes his hopes of becoming an Auror because Snape only takes Os into his NEWT level.   Harry had really taken a shine to that idea, after hearing the prophecy.  Knowing that he either has kill Voldemort himself or die trying.



1. Baba Oje - Thursday, July 12, 2007

I think its funny that my school’s bookstore is having a Harry Potter night festival, staying open all night with movies, games, and a midnight release

2. Ivan - Thursday, July 12, 2007

Mine is also, but my is co-owned by Barnes and Noble.

It always makes me laugh when i read there part where Aurthur comes home and makes Molly say her nickname is “Mollywobbles.”

3. DougOLis - Friday, July 13, 2007

Yeah, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley’s security questions to each other are pretty hilarious. That had to be soo awkward for Harry.

Why does Harry start calling Fleur “Phlegm” too? Is it merely a way of flirting and getting on Ginny’s good side? He never had anything against her and they seem to have a good relationship.

4. Ivan - Friday, July 13, 2007

I go with the first one.

5. Slothrop - Friday, July 13, 2007

ah, my favorite book. what an opening! The scene with Blair (I assume–as Blair took office in early May 1997) is wonderful. the portrait is a fun detail as is Fudge coming in, drinking and having been sacked.

Snape reveling in his own crapulence is one of the reasons I’m in the “Snape is Evil” camp. While I will not be surprised if he’s acting here, his glee while ordering Wormtail around, taking the Vow for “Cissy” and his deep connection to the DEs here tells me that he’s either the greatest actor and double agent in the world, or just a fiend.

The scene at the Dursleys makes me actually feel sorry for them for once. DD is utterly, devastatingly honest. Saying that they’ve damaged Dudley and Harry is true. Dudley is an abused, spoiled, rotten boy. The trip to Slughorn’s current abode is a lovely set-up for the rest of the text–particularly in DD’s sense of who he vs. who Harry is. Harry’s good at DADA, but DD is the proverbial 5-Tool Player, he knows it, and he’s not ashamed of telling Harry. It doesn’t strike me as arrogant, but rather, that Harry has to know his own limitations.

The scenes at the Burrow are always good, and the Phlegm/Fleur stuff is good, as is the moment Ivan mentioned. I think Harry plays along with the Phlegm stuff because he needs to be in the crowd–he misses his friends so much in those days between terms, and, remember, they were all there when Sirius was killed, so he’s more than willing to gang-up on a scapegoat of sorts. He’s still only 15 at this point.

6. Ivan - Friday, July 13, 2007

I wonder if Harry will ever approach Dumbledore’s power. We have never really seen if Harry is really that powerfully magically. As he says in OotP he has gotten by on luck and balls more than strong magic. Do you think Ginny or Hermione are as powerful as he is?

7. Slothrop - Friday, July 13, 2007

Give Harry another half-century, and maybe. But clearly, as we see in the OWL exam in OotP, Dumbledore was special even as a student and Riddle was among the best ever at Hogwarts.

I would disagree about Harry not being powerfully magical–he does learn the Patronus at an almost unheard of age, he was the youngest Seeker in a century (flying is clearly a magical skill), his reversal of the Legilimens and ransacking Snape’s mind are pretty powerful. Once he learns to cast spells perfectly without speaking and gains physical and mental maturity, look out. But in the end, Voldemort vs. Harry is not a fair fight–Harry cannot win alone. I am convinced that Wormtail and possibly Snape will do something–probably personal sacrifice–to wound/distract Voldemort long enough for Harry to destroy the Dark Lord.

Snape’s lessons in potions, DADA, and Occulmency keep coming back for me–he’s always telling Harry to learn control, to learn to keep his emotions in check. Snape is quite right here, I think. Harry’s greatest asset is his powerful connection to love–family, friends, et cetera–but his greatest weakness are his emotions.

8. DougOLis - Friday, July 13, 2007

You’re getting kind of spoilerish there Slothrop.

I don’t know if Harry will ever be as powerful as Voldemort or Dumbledore, but I think he is powerful at casting spells. It’s just that he’s not as good at the other stuff. I think that Hermione is less powerful but more talented, and that Ginny is potentially just as powerful (maybe even more). Harry is reckless and he doesn’t study hard; I wonder if that’s one of the reasons why Snape hates him. Snape knows he’s naturally gifted but Harry doesn’t use it to his full potential. Meanwhile, I’m guessing Snape had to work for everything he got.

Snape is a great actor either which way he’s faking it.

9. Ivan - Friday, July 13, 2007

I can see where you’re both coming from. Also, if James and Lily were both powerful then it should pass on to him shouldn’t it?

Are talent and power different in this case? Isn’t being powerful a talent, or do you mean a talent to learn the spells, Doug? (about hermione)

I can see where the emotions can hurt him, i agree taht if he learns to channel his emotions and gain focus when he is deuling, then he would be much more powerful.

10. Slothrop - Friday, July 13, 2007

Right, sorry there Doug. I forget which one of what, four or five separate parts of DeadOn/Andrea’s Atrium we’re in at times.

I agree 100% with your point that Harry doesn’t study hard. There are countless times where Harry and Ron skive off work, fall back on Hermione to do the work, and/or where their natural talents and luck pull them through. I have a feeling that DH will have a lot more of Harry having to work exceptionally hard to achieve his ends.

Snape definitely worked hard–like Hermione, he has great gifts for study and for practical results. He just has that Slytherin way of doing things for self, whereas Hermione is often self-less.

11. Ivan - Friday, July 13, 2007

I think that the people that study hard are probably the ones that do best in Potions. You have to be so careful and methodical, so people like Harry really don’t do well in that subject, while people like Hermione, Snape and the like do well.

12. DougOLis - Friday, July 13, 2007

By talent I mean the skills she possesses to accomplish different things. I probably should have said knowledgeable rather than talent, but it was her talent (and desire) to learn that gave her that knowledge.

13. Ivan - Friday, July 13, 2007

Oh, ok. Akin to the drive to succeed.

14. Baba Oje in your house - Friday, July 13, 2007

DougOlis, despite what he is lacking elsewhere, makes solid and correct points in #8

15. DougOLis - Sunday, July 15, 2007

I just realized how similar I am to Harry and Dan. Not as brave, but our personalities are quite similar.

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