Monday, June 29, 2015

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Title: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Author: J. K. Rowling
Publication Date: 7/16/05
Pages: 652
How I Found It: Listening through the series with Kevin
Date Completed: 5/18/15

Summary: In case you had any doubts about the good vs. evil, light vs. dark battle building in the series, Rowling fully embraces Harry's internal and external conflicts in this penultimate novel.

What I Thought: Back at the start of 2014, I had grand illusions of Kevin and I finishing the Harry Potter series together in a year. If we finish book 7 by the end of this year, a mark double the length I had originally hoped for, I will be quite happy. Our slow pace has been due entirely to limited time spent in the car together and not at all lack of enjoyment of the books. Kevin really seems to be liking the series, a fact which thrills and slightly relieves me. 

After watching Harry work through all that teen angst in book 5, it is so refreshing to see a new maturity developing in book 6. It is clear that Sirius's death has sobered him and forced him to face the unpleasantness of Voldemort's return in new ways. Plus, you know, people believe him now, which helps. Just as Rowling draws a distinct line in the series with the Dark Lord's return at the end of book 4 separating Harry's childhood from his adolescence, so I think she does again with book 6. It is here that Harry Potter really begins his journey into adulthood.

In a lot of ways, this book feels like a prelude to or and extension of book 7. The hunt for Horcruxes begins and the light-hearted tone present in the early books drains away for good. Harry now understands the fight he is in, the fight for which he was destined. He understands its gravity and its dangers. He still has moments of immaturity - Come on, Harry! Haven't you learned your lesson about trusting magic of questionable origins yet? - but his maturity is growing and slowing manifesting itself. All the private tutelage and trust from Dumbledore plays a big role in this, in my opinion.

Speaking of Dumbledore...don't mind me weeping over here. We listened to that part as we were on our final flight home from our Mexico trip. So, there I am, on a packed late-night flight from Atlanta to Raleigh trying not to completely lose it. I'm pretty sure the lady next to us thought I was a little crazy...sniffling quietly with my headphones in while the pilot announces we'll be in the air about ten extra minutes due to some scheduling issues. 

I am really excited for book 7. We don't have tons of travel planned this summer, but I am hoping we can squeeze in as much as possible before Serial returns in the fall. We know from experience that all other audio entertainment gets pushed aside when we are presented with new Serial episodes (Seriously - if you did not listen to season one, go do so RIGHT NOW). Anyway, between book 7 and the Harry Potter movie marathon I am trying to plan with our new North Carolina friends (some of whom have never seen them!), I am hoping to have a magical summer.

Quote I Loved: "Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure."

Rating: ★★★★★
Will I Re-Read: Absolutely

A Reduced Review: As Rowling sets up for the big finale, Harry finally starts to mature and Dumbledore finally starts to trust him.

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