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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Ch. 16-19 Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Posted by ladyandrea in harry potter, Lady Andrea, summer of awesomeness, unhealthy obsessions.
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Hello all [shuffles feet nervously].  Haven’t been around much lately.  But last summer we did an awesome Harry Potter series and then I couldn’t finish it because work got to be too much.  This summer, seeing as how I am jobless, that is not a problem.  And I also happen to be rereading the Harry Potter series for the first time since last summer (so I haven’t read Deathly Hallows except for the night it came out.)  It occurred to me the other night that I never did finish these, so I’m going to now.  Here is where we left off.

Chapter 16, A Very Frosty Christmas
The boys are at The Burrow and Harry fills Ron in about Snape and Malfoy while they help make dinner (Hermione is at her house for Christmas break).  Ron is stunned to hear Snape made an Unbreakable Vow, telling Harry that if you break your vow, you die.  Fred and George tried to get him to make one when he was five and Arthur found them and went crazy.  It’s the only time he’s ever been as angry as Molly.

Harry claims no one could be as good an actor as Snape and that he must be trying to help Draco do whatever it is he was assigned.  But a little voice in his head (sounding a lot like Hermione, imagine that) tells Harry that obviously Snape is pretending to offer help to trick Draco into revealing the plan.

After dinner, everyone hangs around listening to Celestina Warbeck sing on the wireless network.  Fleur keeps making fun of her and Molly keeps wanting to punch Fleur, so all is right at the Weasley house.  Harry gets Arthur alone and tells him all of what he overheard at Hogwarts and Arthur’s first idea is that Snape was pretending to offer help.  Lupin jumps in saying that it’s Dumbledore’s business and that “it comes down to whether or not you trust Dumbledore’s judgment.  I do; therefore, I trust Severus.”  He also reveals that he doesn’t dislike Snape, that was more James and Sirius’ business.  He also tells Harry that he’s been living underground with his werewolf people as part of his job for the Order, keeping an eye on Fenrir Greyback, a werewolf who likes to prey on children. (Gross).  Harry also asks Lupin questions about the “half-blood Prince,” but is disappointed to find out that neither his dad nor Sirius went by that nickname at school.

The next morning there are piles of presents, with Ron getting a tacky gold necklace from Lavender that says “My Sweetheart.”  Snerk.  Kreacher gives Harry a package of maggots, and later Harry gets goosebumps when Ginny picks one out of his hair.  Woo woo.  At dinner, the subject of Tonks comes up with Molly saying she’s spending Christmas alone.  Harry then asks about her Patronus changing and Lupin takes a long time to answer, saying perhaps an emotional upheaval caused it.

Suddenly Percy arrives and Molly starts crying.  Everybody else just stares him down.  The new Minister of Magic is with him and the Minister (not very subtlely) asks to speak with Harry outside.  The MoM wants Harry to be seen coming and going from the Ministry, to make it look like he’s helping them out since everybody thinks he’s The Chosen One.  Harry says he’d be a lot more willing to help if the Ministry wasn’t arresting innocent people like Stan Shunpike.  It’s a really good scene, but I could only do it justice by transcribing it.  But the end has Harry telling the Minister to leave Dumbledore alone.  The Minster says, “Dumbledore’s man through and through, aren’t you, Potter?” and Harry replies, “Yeah, I am.  Glad we straightened that out.” and walks away.

Chapter 17:  A Sluggish Memory
The kids return, with Molly all of a dither because Percy wasn’t *really* there to see the family on Christmas.  Harry and Ron find Hermione and Harry gets her up to speed on the Snape/Malfoy conversation.  She reacts just the way he thought she would.  The kids then sign up for Apparition Lessons and then Harry heads off to another private lesson with Dumbledore.

They first discuss the meeting Harry had with the MoM.  Dumbledore reveals he’s been refusing to let the MoM have a meeting with Harry.  Harry tells him the MoM accused him of being Dumbledore’s man through and through, to which Dumbledore responds, “How very rude of him.”  Harry says, “I told him I was,” and “Dumbledore opened his mouth to speak and then closed it again … To Harry’s intense embarrassment, he suddenly realized that Dumbledore’s bright blue eyes looked rather watery … ‘I am very touched, Harry.'”  (Andrea cries #24).

Harry then fills Dumbledore in on the Snape/Malfoy conversation and Dumbledore gets a bit short with him, saying “I think you might even consider the possibility that I understood more than you did.”  Since we all know how it ends, I wish Dumbledore had just maybe spilled the beans and a lot of the end of HBP could’ve been avoided.  But that wouldn’t have made for a good book, I guess.

Dumbledore changes the topic to tonight’s memory, saying Tom Riddle came to Hogwarts and was brilliant and well-liked, but that Dumbledore never completely trusted him.  He had gathered a group of “friends” around him who became the first group of Death Eaters after they all left Hogwarts.  Dumbledore takes Harry into a memory that puts them back at the Gaunt house.  Riddle confronts Morfin, his uncle, who informs Riddle inadvertently that Riddle’s father was a muggle who lived in the great big house on the hill and that his mother, Merope, ran off with Slytherin’s locket.  The memory ends there.

Back in Dumbledore’s office, he fills Harry in about the RIddles all being found dead and Morfin confessing to the crime.  Riddle Jr. had used Morfin’s wand to kill his father and grandparents and then implanted a false memory in Morfin so he could confess to the crime.  Morfin died in Azkaban, but before his death Dumbledore extracted this memory from him using terrific Legilimency skills.

The second memory of the night is one of young Slughorn sitting amongst a group of students that includes Riddle.  Riddle is wearing Morfin’s Peverell ring, so he has already killed his father and grandparents.  The memory goes foggy, though, and has Slughorn telling Riddle he’ll go bad and that, when Riddle asks, he knows nothing about Horcruxes and wouldn’t tell Riddle if he did.

Back in the office, Dumbledore tells Harry that Slughorn modified his own memory because he’s ashamed of how it really went.  It is now Harry’s job to get the real memory from Slughorn because it could prove very important.  He bids Harry goodnight.

Chapter 18:  Birthday Surprises
Harry fills Ron and Hermione in on his task and is surprised to learn that even Hermione doesn’t know what Horcruxes are.  Geez.  In Potions, Slughorn sets them at the task of separating out a potion into all its parts in order to make an antidote. Hermione gloats that the HBP book won’t help Harry now.  Harry does struggle, but then reads on the HBP’s book antidote page to “shove a bezoar down their throats.”  He grabs a bezoar and shows it to Slughorn, who pauses for a full 10 seconds and then starts cracking up.  He tells Harry he has nerve, like his mother, and gives 10 points to Gryffindor for sheer cheek.  Hermione is livid.

After class, Harry unsubtly tries to ask Slughorn about Horcruxes, but Slughorn sees right through him (duuuh) and shouts him down and then runs off.  Over the week, Hermione can’t find a single book in the library that mentions Horcruxes.

On Saturday, they have their first Apparition lesson in the Great Hall.  Harry sneaks over near Malfoy and overhears him telling Crabbe and Goyle to keep their nose out of his business and just stand as lookout like they’re told.  Afterwards, Harry gets out the Marauder’s Map, determined to find out what Draco is up to.  He spends the next couple weeks looking at it constantly but never seeing Malfoy leaving the school grounds, though his dot did disappear several times, but Harry just chalked that up to losing it amongst the other hundreds of students’ dots on the map.

Ron’s birthday dawns and as he goes ripping through his stash, he accidently opens the chocolates that Romilda Vane gave Harry back when she wanted him to ask her to the Slughorn Christmas party.  He eats one and is suddenly lovesick and obsessed with Romilda.  It’s quite funny, he even punches Harry when Harry makes fun of him.  Harry realizes the chocolates were full of a love potion and drags Ron off to Slughorn.

Slughorn gives Ron the antidote, then pours him some oak-matured mead from Madam Rosmerta to calm him down.  Ron takes one sip and then starts seizing uncontrollably and foaming at the mouth.  Slughorn freezes up, but Harry grabs a bezoar from Slughorn’s potions kit and shoves it in Ron’s mouth, who collapses.

Chapter 19:  Elf Tails
Everyone is gathered in the hospital wing, Hermione just sitting there sniffling.  The Weasleys and Harry go over and over again how it could’ve happened, but conclude that the poison could’ve been meant for Slughorn or for Dumbledore (who Slughorn was planning on giving it to for Christmas).  Molly and Arthur arrive and Arthur says, “Half our family does seem to owe you their lives, now I stop and think about it …  Well, all I can say is that it was a lucky day for the Weasleys when Ron decided to sit in your compartment on the Hogwarts Express, Harry.”  (Andrea cries #25).

Hagrid comes to visit Ron and when he and Harry leave, Hagrid lets slip that Dumbledore is mad at Snape.  Harry presses Hagrid for info and and Hagrid says he overheard Snape saying Dumbledore takes too much for granted and that maybe he (Snape) doesn’t want to do it anymore, but Dumbledore responded that he agreed and that’s all there is to it.

Back in the common room, Cormac McClaggen corners Harry about being the new Keeper since Ron’s in the hospital.  Cormac practices with the team, but it’s kind of a disaster because he’s a bossy know-it-all blowhard.  The actual match comes and Luna does some of the greatest commentary ever.  I can’t wait to see it in the movie.  My favorite line is, “And Harry Potter’s now having an argument with his Keeper.  I dont’t hink that’ll help him find the Snitch, but maybe it’s a clever ruse…”  Hahaha!

Cormac ends up taking a Beater’s bat and hitting Harry with a bludger, landing Harry in the hospital.  Ron laughs at Luna’s commentary and tells Harry that Ginny came to visit while he was unconscious.  Harry gets all daydreamy about Ginny weeping over his body and confessing her love for him, but snaps out of it to tell Ron that he saw Malfoy and two girls leaving the Quidditch match.  He knows Malfoy is up to something and used the time when practically the whole school is at the match to work on it.

That night Harry realizes that there IS a way to have Malfoy tailed and he calls on Kreacher.  Kreacher appears but is wrestling with Dobby.  Dobby cries, “Kreacher will not insult Harry Potter in front of Dobby, no he won’t, or Dobby will shut Kreacher’s mouth for him!”  HAHAH!  Dobby rules.

Harry forbids them to fight each other, then orders Kreacher to tail Draco Malfoy.  He tells him he’s not allowed to communicate with Draco in any way about what he’s doing and Kreacher grudgingly agrees.  Dobby says he’ll do it too because he would be honored to help Harry Potter.  Harry says he wants regular reports about what Malfoy is up to.

Tune in tomorrow for Chapters 20-23.

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Comments»

1. JB* - Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Welcome back, Book Club!

2. Harry Potter « Keeping Up Foreign Relations - Tuesday, June 10, 2008

[…] June 10, 2008 by ladyandrea I’m home and jobless and finally getting around to finishing our Harry Potter book club from last summer.  So jump in for the end of the Half-Blood Prince and then grab your copy of Deathly Hallows.  I haven’t even opened my copy since I finished reading it the night it came out, so it should be a pretty fun reread.  We’re over at Dead On! […]

3. DougOLis - Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wow, that was a bit of a break. Welcome back though! I wish I would have kept my notes around from the last go. Guess I’ll have to start re-reading now.

One thing I do remember from chapter 19: I loved that Dobby is so dedication to Harry that he’s willing to throw himself off the tower if he fails. That warmed my heart and made me laugh.

Looking back on that last post I was pretty contentious and confrontational to you. Sorry about that; I don’t think I was trying to be mean.

4. Rockabye - Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The lady of the house being back is very nice. And I hope this means we’ll be picking apart DH this summer, too.

5. ladyandrea - Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I think I’m going to finish up Half-Blood Prince this week and then start Deathly Hallows on Monday. I want to put up a post on Friday with the reading schedule so people can follow along if they want to.

And thanks for calling me the lady of the house, that’s very sweet. : )

No worries, Doug. But I’m watching you. [does Barney two-fingers at eyes gesture]

6. RedEft - Friday, June 13, 2008

hooray!!

7. Ronaldo - Monday, January 5, 2009

Hello there,

I am reading half-blood prince again and stopped completely during this Mr.Weasley’s line :
Well, all I can say is that it was a lucky day for the Weasleys when Ron decided to sit in your compartment on the Hogwarts Express, Harry.

Having read all of the books I couldn’t help being surprised, again, by this line. It is shocking in a good way. I see you cried in this part…I smiled, and started a search that got me here =)

well, greetings!

by the way…i think it was a lucky day for harry too.

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