My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Hogwarts year 6 starts off with a stark reminder that the war against Lord Voldemort is not going well. So bad, in fact, that the Muggle Prime Minister received a visit from former Prime Minister Fudge and new Prime Minister Scrimgeour. To the Prime Minister’s surprise, the events of the previous months that have muggles on edge are due to Lord Voldemort’s Death Eaters, not incompetent government offices and the Prime Minister is not happy that the wizarding world has been unable to maintain control.
The trouble is, the other side can do magic too, Prime Minister.
The return to Hogwarts is different than previous years even for students. Hermione and Ron scan The Daily Prophet for names they might recognize, Dumbledore is often absent, and Snape has finally won the teaching position he has been envying. The plus side of being a 6th year, however, is finally learning how to Apparate. Classes are getting harder and students are nose-deep in books, but the war against Voldemort is just beginning.
Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.
Harry receives help from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince in Potions class and continues to attempt to convince Dumbledore that there is something sinister going on behind his back. Dumbledore, wiser than he may seem, brushes off Harry’s accusations and decides the time has come to give Harry private lessons. The lessons seem trivial to Harry at first, but he learns more from then than in all his time spent at Hogwarts. The time has come to face fears and join together to defeat the Dark Lord.
It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.
Of all the Harry Potter books, this was my favorite. With that said, I still have the final book in the series that I have yet to read, so that may change.
There were more noticeable differences between this book and the film adaptation and that makes me a little sad. The changes that were made to the films, while good in their own right, took away from the story. The opening scene of the Muggle Prime Minister and Prime Minister Scrimgeour talking about what has been going on in the wizarding world and Lord Voldemort answered a lot of those questions that were left open in the films. What does do the muggle officials do? Do people actually notice there is something happening? Are the results of Lord Voldemort’s return felt in the muggle world or is it all conveniently erased? All of that is answered in a way in the very opening of the book, which I really liked and appreciated.
I was more hesitant to read this book than the previous 5 only because I know the ending thanks to the movies. Not that watching the movies before reading the books took away from anything, because these are so beautifully written they are fantastic by themselves. Regardless of knowing the outcome, I still was sad when the ending came. I still was angry at Snape and sad that Dumbledore is actually gone. NOT DUMBLEDORE!!! The funeral scene (left out from the movie) made me cry. I could see Hagrid, Harry, Hermione, and Ron looking at their beloved headmaster. I could feel the tension and the grief and I was fighting back tears at the loss. Oh, J.K. Rowling, you got me with this one.
Not that there is much more to say about this that hasn’t already been said by myself and other fellow Harry Potter fans, but this book series is amazing. It reminds me of how I felt when I read the Narnia Chronicles for the first time as a child. The magic is real. I believe it is real and I am transported to a world where it is as normal to see a person perform magic as it is to see someone riding a bike. These are the kinds of books I lived for as a child and still love with all my heart.
It isn’t overly descriptive or full of complicated language. I don’t have to look up words I’m unfamiliar with and re-read paragraphs because I’ve dozed off and started day-dreaming. The wizarding world is what I daydream of and I not-so-secretly am waiting for my Hogwarts letter. I’m pretty certain it was lost in the mail because delivering it to the U.S. by owl would have been too exhausting of a trip.
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