Saturday, September 28, 2019

#YearOfHarryPotter: Half-Blood Prince, Chapters 9-12

Last week's reading assignment in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince included Chapter 9 ("The Half-Blood Prince"), Chapter 10 ("The House of Gaunt"), Chapter 11 ("Hermione's Helping Hand"), and Chapter 12 ("Silver and Opals"). Spoilers for the whole series beyond this point.

These chapters made me realize how many different things are going on this book. Harry is trying to keep up with NEWT-level schoolwork, while also taking lessons from Dumbledore on Voldemort's family history, conducting Quidditch tryouts as the new Gryffindor team captain, trying to make things up to Hagrid for not taking Care of Magical Creatures anymore, trying out different spells that turn up in his borrowed Potions textbook, and also working on mastering non-verbal spells for Defense Against the Dark Arts. It's a credit to J.K Rowling that I'm not having trouble following all of these disparate threads, but I have noticed that a lot of new storylines keep coming along, but very few are moving forward so far.

One thing that did happen at the end of these four chapters, though, is that Katie Bell was cursed by the mysterious necklace which Harry believes Malfoy purchased from Borgin & Burkes. As I believe I was the first time I read this book, I feel torn about Harry's concerns. On the one hand, yes, he does seem paranoid, but on the other hand, have these adults not learned that they need to address Harry's concerns to prevent him from going off on his own and reacting rashly? Granted, McGonagall seems to take him a bit more seriously than Arthur Weasley did earlier in the book but it's still frustrating to see his concerns dismissed. And of course, Dumbledore is conveniently absent again. Even though I know what he's doing, since I've read the book before, I still feel Harry's irritation at not seeing him for long stretches of time and his sense of having been abandoned by the person most likely to believe and help him.

I don't remember much about how the situation with the potions textbook pans out, so I'm looking forward to that. So far, there are no obvious hints that the Prince is Snape, which is kind of disappointing, but maybe some will surface as the book goes on.

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