I'm getting to the end of my Harry Potter series re-read, having now finished Half-Blood Prince. I know that this one is a lot of people's favourite, and although it's personally not one of mine I can see why it's so well loved. This is the one where the romance kicks in but you can also feel momentum building, pulling us towards the end of the series. I really enjoyed it.
New Thoughts this time:
Re-reading Harry Potter 6 immediately after 5 was interesting. First thing I noticed was that Harry seems to have got over Sirius's death very quickly (two weeks??) - especially considering it was kind of his fault, and how cut up about it he was initially. Not that I mind, really, as it's a relief to have Harry more emotionally stable than he was in Order of the Phoenix. But still. Second thing I realised, was that I actually don't mind Harry/Ginny. It's done so badly in the film, but even in the book it used to niggle at me, I always thought Ginny changed too much and that Harry's feelings came on too suddenly, but I've come to the conclusion that it's actually quite well done. And I liked Ginny more on this re-read. However, I do think Harry is less relatable in this one. He's not so humble as he used to be, I don't feel he takes his quidditch captaincy seriously enough and although his obsession with Malfoy turns out to completely justified, it's annoying. I love how sassy he is though. (On the necklace Lavender gives Ron for Christmas: "Classy. You should definitely wear it in front of Fred and George." On Dumbledore's dubious fashion sense in the pensieve: "Nice suit, Sir" and to a mis-judged comment by Snape : "There's no need to call me Sir, Professor.")
This time round, I also noticed quite a lot of similarities and links between this book and The Chamber of Secrets - and I wondered whether it was at all purposeful? There's the revelation of the Horcruxes (one of which turns out to have been Riddle's Diary, which first surfaced in Chamber of Secrets) there's the thing with Malfoy fixing the Vanishing cabinets (first broken in Chamber of Secrets) we learn more about Voldemort's past, and his Slytherin bloodline, the Harry/Ginny romance is resurrected (although this time it's him that's got the unrequited crush on her) and Harry falls under the spell of the Half-Blood Prince when reading his old potions book, as he once did with Tom Riddle after reading his diary. And did you ever notice the book covers are the same colours? Blue and Green. None of the other books have repeat colours. I know, I'm 100% reading too much into this. But I did think it was interesting.
Favourite forgotten moments:
I'd forgotten just how much Harry hates McLaggen and how funny it is. Especially when McLaggen loses Gryffindor a match by demonstrating to one of the beaters how to use his own club and knocking Harry out by mistake.
I love Harry's lessons with Dumbledore - the flashbacks to Voldemort's past are all dead interesting but I also like to see developing relationship between the two of them. Seeing Dumbledore trust Harry more (although still not enough) and the pair of them becoming (as Daniel Radcliffe described it on some programme once) more like soldier and commanding officer rather than student and teacher. The bit where they go to the cave is so dark, but also so exciting.
I love the bit where Harry takes Felix Felicious, Luna's quidditch commentary and that moment in the hospital wing when Mrs. Weasley finally sees Fleur clearly - it always makes me cry.
"Well, it is clear to me that he has done a very good job on you," said Scrimgeour, his eyes cold and hard behind his wire-rimmed glasses. "Dumbledore's man through and through, aren't you, Potter?"
"Yeah, I am," said Harry. "Glad we straightened that out."
...he understood at last what Dumbledore had been trying to tell him. It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high. Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew - and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents - that there was all the difference in the world.
...age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth.
"You thought I would not weesh to marry him? Or per'aps, you 'oped?" said Fleur, her nostrils flaring. "What do I care how 'e looks? I am good looking enough for both of us, I theenk! All these scars show is zat my husband is brave! And I shall do zat!" she added fiercely, pushing Mrs. Weasley aside and snatching the ointment from her.
"I never really gave up on you," she said. "Not really. I always hoped...Hermione told me to get on with life, maybe go out with some other people, relax a bit around you, because I never used to be able to talk when you were in the room, remember? And she thought you might take a bit more notice if I was a bit more - myself."
"Smart girl, that Hermione," said Harry, trying to smile.
"I am not worried, Harry," said Dumbledore, his voice a little stronger despite the freezing water. "I am with you."