Sunday, July 24, 2005

Half-Blood Prince: not half bad

My love for the Harry Potter series has waned considerably over the years, especially after I read Philip Pullman's majestic masterpiece, the trilogy His Dark Materials, which severely kicked HP butt (Rowling's celebrated creativity is nothing compared to Pullman's brilliant genius). But I was still eager to get started on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the 6th and penultimate installation in the HP series.

I finished the book after two nights of reading into the wee hours. The verdict: it's not as rich and engaging as Book 3 (still the best of the series, in my opinion), it's mercifully not as annoying and burdened with long, pointless chapters as Book 5 (definitely Rowling's worst work), but it gives Book 4 a run for its money in terms of suspense and tragedy. However, unlike Goblet of Fire's shocker which prompted me to put down the book and wander around the house in a disbelieving daze, HBP's twists and tragic turns were a little predictable. I saw the character and relationship developments and demises coming from as early as Book 2, although this predictability was strangely satisfying (to my students and HP fanatics Laureen and Clarisse: HAH! I told you so... ;p). Everything's beginning to fall into place, albeit a little late, and in spite of myself I am looking forward to finding out how it all ends.

After HBP, things are quickly coming to a head for The Boy Who Lived and his whole wizarding world, and it's going to be interesting to see how Rowling manages to cram the sure-to-be-sensational conclusion to her phenomenal series in one final book. From the number of unresolved matters left hanging at the end of Book 6, Book 7 might turn out to be even longer than Book 5... but hopefully without the same disappointing results. Harry and his friends-- and enemies--deserve a good send-off, and Rowling had better not screw this one up, or she'll be facing this Muggle's wrath.


At Sunday, July 24, 2005, Anonymous Clarisse said...

I never denied that Ron and Hermione would end up together... It really was kinda obvious from the previous books... It's just that I prefer another shipping which I know will only exist in fanon.. Sadly.. =( Oh and I also agree that Pullman's trilogy is way more creative, but i still love Harry Potter nonetheless. ^_^ I guess I can relate to it better, with their teen/friendship issues and all... It also gives me hope for an alternate reality which is more possible than what Pullman created in his books... I still keep wishing that there really IS a Hogwarts out there... Haha ^_^

At Monday, July 25, 2005, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Hi Clarisse! Nice of you to pop up. ;p Funny you should mention the possibility of alternate realms. Just yesterday I saw a book in Powerbooks called "The Science of Philip Pullman" written by two scientists who provide facts and arguments supporting the seemingly fantastic things Pullman wrote about in His Dark Materials. Maybe it's not as far-fetched as we think it is. :) But I certainly wouldn't mind if we stumble upon a real Hogwarts one of these days... after all, you're talking to someone who still dreams of discovering her Jedi powers someday. Haha.

At Monday, July 25, 2005, Anonymous kassiewassie said...

i'm just wondering.. how the hell is jk rowling going to cram everything in book 7?? harry has a LOT of things to find and destroy.. and he's not even that good a wizard yet. he can't do it alone.. maybe tutulungan sha ni snape =D

At Monday, July 25, 2005, Anonymous Laureen said...

The Draco/Hermione ship will ALWAYS sail smoothly!

(We don't care if we're the first ship JKR bombed down, no siree!)

But I am learning to enjoy the Ron/Hermione interaction now (I never said that it wasn't going to happen either! Ron just needed a little growing up to match Hermione, that's all! :)), though I still bear a reluctance to accept Harry/Ginny. I also agree that this book was a bit more predictable than the others, though there were still some parts where I admit (and am glad, because I enjoy being surprised) that I was wrongfooted.

I am terribly excited for Book 7, because a lot of things will (finally) be revealed and explained. I only wish the book can come tomorrow. :) Until then, I will continue to swear my undying trust in a certain slimy character's (hidden) goodness. :D

P.S. I've also read the His Dark Materials Trilogy, and also believe that Philip Pullman is one heck of a creative genius! Though I'm still partial to The Boy Who Lived...Haha.

At Monday, July 25, 2005, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Kassie: I wonder about the same thing. That's why I'm afraid Book 7's going to be the size of a hefty atlas when it's published.

Laureen: I think Harry and Ginny are cute together. :) I'm certainly glad Cho's out of the picture.

At Tuesday, July 26, 2005, Anonymous maddy ong said...

I LOVE Ron/Hermione. And I HATE Harry/Ginny. Ew, ew, ew, I'm so glad they broke up.

All the romance in HBP seemed rushed, don't you think? Especially Ron/Lavender and, ew, Harry/Ginny.

But I adored the ending. I was sad about it, but it was so necessary and I'm glad JKR had the courage to do it.

(The death in HP5, meanwhile... actually, MOST of HP5... ugh. It ruined what could have been a perfect series.)

I borrowed His Dark Materials from Katco. I will read them soon. :)

At Tuesday, July 26, 2005, Anonymous maddy ong said...

PS: JKR promises Book 7 will be shorter than 5. :)

At Tuesday, July 26, 2005, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Then she's got a helluva task ahead. They're still missing, what, 4 Horcruxes? PLUS Harry still has to finish off Voldemort. How's she going to cram all that in a book shorter than Book 5?

The Ron and Lavender thing was just gross. It reminded me of all the PDA couples in college. Ick.

The ending supports my theory that the HP plot pattern follows that of Star Wars. I won't enumerate the similiarities lest I spoil the book for people who haven't read it yet. Try to make the connections for yourself. :)


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