July 27, 2005

Half-Blood Prince Talk

Ok, I figure I've waited long enough. Anyone who hasn't read and finished the book by now probably doesn't care whether the whole thing gets spoiled. Anyone who wants to avoid spoilers...well...

You've been warned.

First, there is a lot of good discussion on this book among the fandom. I recommend some of the following places, including all the comments:

  • Dumbledore Is Not Dead, or is he? This site systematically goes through clues to answer some of the big unanswered questions in the series so far. Is Snape really a bad guy? Is Dumbledore really dead? etc.

  • This link leads to a very thorough interview of J. K. Rowling by a fan site. Some new things in here as well as stuff to chew on from previous books that you might not have thought of.

  • here is a post from Kevin Drum with lots of good reader comments and links.

  • here is a discussion from "Alas, A Blog!" with some great reader comments and embedded links.

My guess is that Snape really is a good guy (he has had so many opportunities to kill Harry, and the idea of saving him for Voldemort is a stretch) and that Dumbledore really is dead. I mean, Rowling isn't trying to lead us into some kind of new revolutionary type of story. The mentor *always* dies in these things, ever since Merlin died, leaving King Arthur alone to face the darkness. Obi Wan died. Gandalf sort-of died. But with each of these deaths, there is a always a bit of a cheat. The dead person still gets to play a role (of course, Gandalf came back a completely different person). Dumbledore will still get to play a role, giving advice from his picture frame.

Some people speculate that the awful stuff Dumbledore had to drink was actually one of the missing horcruxes, and so he wanted to be killed as the only way to get rid of that piece of Voldemort. Others speculate that Dumbledore is too well associated with phoenixes, which always rise from the ashes, etc., so he'll have to come back. There are a lot of plausible plotlines here, and it'll kill me to have to wait for the resolution of book seven.

I also don't want this to be true, but I think it is a good possibility that Harry himself (or at least his scar) is a horcrux. It explains the link between Harry and Voldemort very well. Does that mean Harry has to die (and then Ron and Hermione name their first kid Harry at the end of the novel or something)? I hope not. I'd rather he not die.

I think that there are so many little details that mean so much later on that I'm going to have to go back and read the first six books shortly before I read the seventh. The sixth book reading was definitely hampered by the fact that I hadn't read the fifth book in over a year.

Oh, and most people think that R. A. B. stands for Regulus A. Black, Sirius' supposedly dead brother. Could be anything, I suppose, but that seems most likely. If you want to follow just about every speculative thread possible, those links I mentioned above are a good place to start, good signal-to-noise-ratio comments about the sixth book, things you probably haven't thought about before.

Posted by Observer at July 27, 2005 02:35 PM

Comments on entries can only be made in pop-up windows while those entries are still on the main index page. Sorry for the inconvenience this causes, but this blocks about 99.99% of the spam the blog receives.

AAAAAGHHHH! If you're going to put spoilers on your page, put them hidden on another page or something!!!! I didn't even have time to realize what you were writing about because my eyes immediately saw the UNDERLINED TEXT very near the TOP OF YOUR POST about Dumbledore!!!! I'm at page 321, and now I know what happens. BAH on you. BAH! grrr....


I scrolled fast to the comments button, averting my eyes a little so I didn't see any more of those underlined whatevers!

Posted by: Perkusi on July 27, 2005 03:55 PM

Sawwy. In fairness, though, as many have put it, Dumbledore had vultures circling about his head from pretty much his first appearance in the sixth book. Rowling's not afraid of a little foreshadowing.

Posted by: Observer on July 27, 2005 04:52 PM

A little foreshadowing? Really? :D

Yeah, I even had the feeling of who was going to die before I started reading. But still, just wanted to let you know. (I scrolled down again not looking. I go read now. :D)

Posted by: Perkusi on July 27, 2005 10:16 PM

Ok, I'm done with the book now, so now I go read from those sites. Whee! Since we can't afford 2 copies, I had to wait for Kodo to be done with the book - he reads FAR faster than me and has more free time to do so, so he got his hands on it first by default. That's why I hadn't finished yet, and I had miraculously avoided almost all spoilers until I found yours by accident. :-D

Posted by: Perkusi on July 30, 2005 08:53 PM

We only have one copy in our household, too, but we also picked up a copy at the local library, where there were still about ten available in the afternoon of the Saturday when the book was released. So I read the library copy, which Sarah inherited, and Michelle read the hardback we purchased, which was then inherited by Cody.

Justin has stubbornly refused to read the Potter books so far, claims he's waiting for them all to come out. Not sure why. Maybe he thinks it's too immature for his old and wise 16-year-old self. He just started "The Belgariad" and says he likes it. That's a good series for young readers who don't have a lot of experience in the epic fantasy genre, because they don't realize how stale it all is. After reading that, Justin may graduate to something similar but higher quality.

Or I may give him "The Sword of Shannara". He's such a big LOTR fan that it might be funny to watch him actually get angry at how much of a ripoff "Sword" is. It'll be his first step into the larger, more cynical world of modern speculative fiction.

Posted by: Observer on July 30, 2005 09:02 PM