Friday, September 27, 2019

#YearOfHarryPotter: Half-Blood Prince, Chapters 5-8

The second section I read in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was Chapters 5 to 8 ("An Excess of Phlegm," "Draco's Detour," "The Slug Club," and "Snape Victorious.") This post may contain spoilers for the entire series.

As is always the case, I love the scenes set at the Burrow. Though everyone is annoyed with Fleur (whom they Weasley siblings are calling "phlegm") and the arrows on the family clock all point to "mortal peril" there is still something so cozy and comforting about being in this warm family home. I was especially surprised by how much I enjoyed Ginny's emerging personality as a very funny and sassy young girl. I'd also forgotten about Tonks's struggle to accept Sirius's death, and I think the change in her personality drives home the change in tone of the series now that Voldemort has risen to power.

Also pleasantly surprising is the way the Weasley twins' joke shop business is actually proving useful in the fight against the Death Eaters. I could have done without the toilet humor of their "U-No-Poo" product, but there is something so satisfying about seeing their sense of fun and tendency not take things seriously actually helping a life-and-death cause.

The other thread of the story that is introduced in this section is Harry's obsession with what Malfoy is up to. This leads Harry to follow Malfoy into Knockturn Alley where something odd is definitely going on, and also to have a verbal confrontation with him at Madame Malkin's and a physical one on the Hogwarts Express. The tension between these characters provides the right amount of suspicion to keep us guessing about Draco's motives and also shows the way the stresses of Voldemort's return weight on Harry.

Finally, as I remember from my first reading of this book, the biggest shock in this section is the announcement that Snape will be assuming the Defense Against the Dark Arts post. The fact that he is finally given the position he wants after all this time, and after he just made an Unbreakable Vow to accomplish some sinister task creates a sense of suspense and uncertainty surrounding his character that really drives the rest of the story.

No comments:

Post a Comment