Monday, October 14, 2019

#YearOfHarryPotter: Half-Blood Prince, Chapters 13-16

Two weeks ago, my assigned segment of Half-Blood Prince included Chapter 13 ("The Secret Riddle"), Chapter 14 ("Felix Felicis"), Chapter 15 ("The Unbreakable Vow") and Chapter 16 ("A Very Frosty Christmas").

In a lot of ways, Rowling mainly uses this book to set up the final one, and this is definitely clear in the way she finally provides all the details about Tom Riddle's past. The conceit of the Pensieve prevents this from being too much of an info-dump of exposition, and just as I did on my first reading of the book, I soaked up all the details and immediately began fitting them into the narrative of Voldemort's actions. 

The other major character Rowling continues to focus on is Snape. His discussion with Draco in the hallway, to which Harry listens from under the invisibility cloak, does a great job of casting suspicion on both characters and continuing to make the reader uneasy about Dumbledore's implicit trust of Snape.

On the lighter side, in these chapters dating drama is beginning to unfold. Ron and Hermione are constantly arguing and bantering (Ron's lines are especially funny - he's such a great character.) Hermione and Ron also start spending time with Cormac Maclaggen and Lavender Brown, respectively, clearly trying to make each other jealous and acting somewhat out-of-character in the process. Harry also finds himself feeling jealous of Ginny's relationship with Dean, in what is a very believable realization of the change in the way he sees her. The Weasleys also have strong opinions about Bill's relationship with Fleur Delacour - I did not at all remember that they all disliked her so much!

Finally, these chapters end on a great note for Harry, as he stands up to the new minister of magic and refuses to be exploited. With current news stories floating around about kids being used to promote agendas they may not fully understand, it was nice to see this savvy kid refusing to be made into a talking head for anyone's opinions but his own. Moments like that remind me why I do like Harry.

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