Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: How Harry Lost his Lobster

July 20, 2009 at 4:22 pm | Posted in Thoughts | 10 Comments
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HP and the Half-Blood Prince

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I haven’t read the book, but I’ve watched the movie. Before I begin let me just say that I am not a Potter maniac, never mind the fact that I lined up with a friend outside a bookstore for a few hours at 2 in the morning for the book premiere (I planned to get an autographed copy for free, and auction it off). I don’t like the magic in HP. There are no earth-shattering magical duels, as in the Magic: the Gathering series, nor a sense of charming harmony between natural forces as in Ursula Le Guin‘s Earthsea quartet. No, what you get is a bunch of overgrown kids swishing little sticks and muttering strange Latin words.But enough of that. The film opened to a scene of two or three black clouds (Death Eaters, actually) zooming through London, smashing into various tourist attractions and office buildings before heading into the magical corner of town. Now after seeing something like that you’d expect HP and co. to do something about it, wouldn’t you? One would certainly be forgiven for wishing that we would be treated to a sight of a tour group of powerful wizards hopping aboard a flying red double-decker bus, or even a subway train, to challenge the smog…

But no, we don’t get anything concerning the real world besides that. I’m pretty sure everyone who hasn’t read the book and saw the trailer would have thought, ‘Oh, HP’s going to make a mess in the non-magical real world? Jolly good, this ought to be fun’. No. After a pretty bridge gets blown up, it’s back to everyone’s favourite messy school which just happens to be named after a pig and a skin disease. Imagine saying, ‘I’m a Hogwartian’… alright, I’m running off track, but what the heck, I couldn’t resist a little jab… Uh oh, I think I see pitchforks on the horizon…

Ahem. Anyway, back in Hogwarts, Harry is ordered to get close to this new teacher (Slughorn is his name, or something equally disgusting). In Sluggy’s class, he finds a strange old textbook belonging to someone called the ‘Half-blood Prince’. Here’s where the audience is expected to go “Ooh, aah…“. The book is a big help to Harry, and he carries it with him like an athlete who’s just discovered an undetectable perfomance enhancing drug before the Olympics.

The book causes some trouble of course, but let’s just skip that bit. It would have been more fun if the gang ran around the school trying to find out who the Prince is, but no, all we’re told is that Hermione went to the library, did some research, and failed to find anything. Boohoo. Meanwhile, Harry gets another mission- to go along with Dumbledore in search of some dangerous artifact, which he does. There isn’t much action here either, besides a boat ride across a lake and… oh wow, an army of Gollums!

Only Harry was chosen for the super-secret-Gollum-smacking-artifact-snitching-lake-escapade, but we can’t let him have all the fun, can we? Guess what Ron and Hermione were up to the whole while- Ron was busy ‘snogging’ this girl who’s obsessed with him, and not noticing that Hermione likes him, while Hermione is well, busy reacting to Ron’s idiocy. Kiss, sob, kiss, sob, ouch, glare

Pretty much the whole world knows what happened, so I’m going to tell you the ending in this paragraph. Harry and Dumbledore in Dumble’s office. Dumble tells Harry to hide and sit still. Malfoy comes in and says he wants to kill Dumble. They yap a bit. Malfoy falters. Death Eaters appear. Snape comes to Harry and tells him to shut up too. Snape joins the rest. Snape kills Dumble for Malfoy. They leave. Outside, Harry confronts them- fires one of the Prince’s spells at Snape. Snape tells Harry that plagiary is not good. He reveals that he is the Prince.

Oh joy, what a revelation. Snape is the Prince but we aren’t told what it all means. Snape lets Harry live but Harry is too daft to realise that Snape saved his life, and goes on blaming him for Dumble’s death. Must be the result of all that plagiarism- he’s learned absolutely nothing. After all that romantic nonsense, Ron and Hermione aren’t together yet. Nothing is done about the Death Eater’s wrecking of London. Someone says something like ‘Voldemort’s drawn the lines’- like, wasn’t that done in the previous movie/book? What were you doing in between, holidaying in Barbados?

Simply put, this movie was 153 minutes of pure, undiluted intermission. A long, dragged out commercial for the next Potter movie. It didn’t help that the director seemed to be confused as to which direction he should have gone. Having read the summary of the book on Wiki, the book does feel a little better than the movie, almost, say, a little more focused, with a little more depth. The critics seem to love this movie. I don’t, but I suppose that’s pretty obvious.

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  1. :(

    I’m afraid to go see it. A LOT of fantastic stuff happens in the book! And…the showdown is in Dumbledore’s office, not on the tower? The CHAPTER it happens in is called “The Lightening Struck TOWER.” :( :( :( Harry and Dumble come racing back after finding the locket, only to find the Dark Mark hanging above the tower. So up they zoom, and they’re checking it out, when the door opens and Malfoy appears. Dumbledore immobolizes Harry immediately (Harry is under his invisibility cloak, so no one else should even know he’s there), which gives Malfoy enough time to disarm him. Then Dumbledore talks to Malfory for a while, trying to calm him down, and stalling for time. Some Death Eaters show up, followed by Snape, who kills Dumbledore (who is shot off the tower by the spell and falls to the ground), and then they all run off, with Harry chasing behind, while the students and members of the Order fight Death Eaters in the halls of the school.

    As for finding out who the book belongs to. Hermione does some research once or twice, but there’s not much she can do really. Harry thinks it might be his Dad for a while (I thought it was Voldemort for a bit myself). Then Hermione finds a newspaper clipping of some girls with the last name Prince. But near the end Harry has to hide the book away anyway, because Snape catches him casting Sectumsempra on Malfoy.

    Things are kind of being done in the human world. The book opens up with a scene where Fudge goes to visit the Muggle Prime Minister to tell him what’s going on. But the story isn’t about “What is the ministry doing to stop Voldemort.” It’s about the kids, and they’re not old enough to go out and do anything on their own (none of them can even cast magic outside of school yet). Plus, you know, they have school.

    As for the Prince bit…. I don’t think it’s really supposed to mean anything. It’s meant to fool you for a while, I think, like it did to me, that it might be Voldemort. In the end it just shows you that yet ANOTHER of the “bad guys” is a half-blood too. So all the fuss about pure blood wizards is a load of bull.

    Anyway, Ron and Hermione will hook up soon. :) And Harry will get some sense knocked into him regarding Snape, though far too late.

    • I thought that would be the case- the movie just seems to have so much missing from it.

      Movie spoiler for you here, if you care for it: In the movie Harry and Dumbledore returned to some tower (Doesn’t look like D’s office, but it is a tower) after retrieving the locket. I think the Dark Mark only appeared after Prof. D died. Prof. D told Harry to sit still and zip it- Harry hid under the floorboards, or on a lower level. No invisibility cloak, and he moved around freely.No students vs. Death Eaters either- just DEs jumping on the tables in the Great Hall.

      End of spoiler. I really would have liked the movie to have more to do with the HBP. Instead all we get is a book and Snape’s revelation at the end. The fact that Snape plays a major role in it is a bit of a consolation, but not enough.

      I guess the book was a lot better, but I can’t help but feel that Rowling couldn’t think of a better title, noticed HBP, thought it would be mysterious-sounding, and stuck it on the cover.

      Quote: “It’s about the kids, and they’re not old enough to go out and do anything on their own (none of them can even cast magic outside of school yet). Plus, you know, they have school.” I get it, but after that scene in the movie where they showed the DEs having the time of their lives in London, I just expected something to be done about it. It might have worked in the book, perhaps being mentioned in passing, but for the movie… nah, it was a let-down that nothing came out of that. We aren’t even told why the DEs bothered to make a mess out there.

      -deep breath- That said, don’t let what I’ve said here take out any potential enjoyment you might get out of watching the movie, if you chose to do so:)
      Say, hold on, did you say ‘lightening struck tower’? I’m counting on it not being a typo- it sounds like fun…

  2. “the movie just seems to have so much missing from it.”
    Order of the Phoenix suffered from this too (also it was a mess of editing and choppy story telling), but it had the disadvantage of being the longest book in the series (apart from Deathly Hallows, I think). It was kind of a disaster, and the weakest of the films up ’til then.

    AHHHHH I wanted them to get that scene PERFECT! It sounds horrid now. What happens, exactly, is this: Dumbledore is weakened by the potion from the basin on the lake, so Harry has to apparate them both back to Hogsmead (with a very wonderful set of lines – H (paraphrased): “Don’t worry sir, I’ll get us back” D: “I am not worried Harry. I am with you.”). Once there, Madame Rosmerta finds them in the street and tells Dumbledore that the Dark Mark is hanging over Hogwarts. Dumbledore asks her for brooms, which Harry “accios” to them, and they fly back to Hogwarts (Dumble tells Harry to wear his cloak), landing on the Lightning (I did mispell it, sorry, lol) Struck Tower, which is where the Dark Mark is positioned (this turns out to be a trap to make Dumble rush back to the school).
    Meanwhile, on the stair way up to the Tower, a battle is being fought between the DA (ie: Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Neville, Luna), the Order (Lupin, Tonks, maybe some others…I don’t think Mr and Mrs Weasley are there, basically), and the Death Eaters. Malfoy comes up to the Tower and Dumble immediately casts an immobolize spell on Harry so he can’t move or talk (and he can’t be seen under the cloak). This spell gives Malfoy the chance to disarm him. Dumble keeps Malfoy busy talking, until some Death Eaters arrive, and Malfoy freaks. Snape rushes in, Dumble (who can barely stand at this point) pleads “Severus…please.” And Snape kills him. He flies up in the air and falls off the tower to the ground below. Snape leads everyone off the tower. As soon as Dumble dies, the immobolize spell ends, and Harry is free, and chases them down the stairs and through the halls (which are filled with bodies, blood, and fighting wizards). I think I saw Bellatrix in a trailer…she’s not supposed to be there, but I’m sure they put her there because it was easier than introducing new people to the audience.
    As for the HBP, you may be right about her title choice. In the book, it just helps him excell in potions class (so Slughorn adores him, and Hermione gets ticked off), and he practices the various spells he finds, including sectumsempra, which he uses on Draco in a bathroom. Hermione researches just twice I think. And there’s a bit where Ginny gets angry because Harry is following stuff in a book (like what happened to her in Chamber of Secrets). And like I said, for a while Harry thinks it’s his father’s book, and I think the reader is meant to think it may be Voldemort’s (I did anyway).
    But really, the book is about Snape in many ways. He makes the Unbreakable Vow with Draco’s mother (he promises to protect Draco, and kill Dumble if Draco is unable). He’s hovering around Draco the entire book. He finally gets to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts. We find out that he’s pretty much a genius wizard. And he kills Dumbledore. In the next book, you learn a lot more about him, and about why he hates Harry (but has been protecting him too). It’s quite sad, especially when you find out why he was so upset that he turns to Dumbledore after he finds out he led Voldemort to kill James and Lily Potter.
    The only time the bridge and stuff is mentioned is when the Muggle Prime Minister and Fudge discuss it as having already happened. It’s never really gone back to. There’s a massive tornado too. And the giants are on the rampage. But it’s mentioned in that one chapter, and the kids mention it in passing later, I think, but nothing really comes of it. I think it’s just meant to show you that it’s affecting the Muggle world too. And then it just goes back to focusing on the magic world.
    Ah, sorry! I typed so much! I really love the books (and the films). She tells a good story, although I don’t think much of her technical writing abilities. But they’re entertaining enough.

    • Certainly a long reply, but no worries- I enjoyed it. Saved me the trouble of having to verify that the book is indeed better than the movie. I agree, her writing isn’t wonderful to begin with, but the HP books make for a relaxing read, something nice to pass the time with. Although I have to admit that I don’t know why people are so crazy about it- so you love the series too, hehe. What made you like it?

      Everything you said about the whole ‘DumbleD dies’ scene sounds a lot better than what was shot. The movie just makes Harry an irritating kid who won’t stop to think about what happened. I mean, Dumble didn’t cast a spell on him, so he could move around freely. The only thing binding on him was that Dumble told him not to show himself. Consequently, Dumble got killed, and Harry didn’t lift a finger. What should really be eating him up are thoughts like ‘I should have done something, anything’ or ‘I should have ignored his orders’, and not ‘Snape you hoary bastard, I hate your guts!’

      Besides that, Snape went to Harry under the floorboards and told him to keep mum. If he was really on VolD’s side, he’d have killed Harry outright, or brought him out- keeping him ‘for the Dark Lord’ seems like quite a flimsy excuse to me- should have seemed pretty suspicious to Harry. He just doesn’t put one and one together. It seems like there was a lot more of Snape in the book. He doesn’t do much in the movie- we don’t get that ‘hovering presence’ you mentioned. So for the movie it’s really like ‘it’s named after him, he’s in it, but he’s hardly there’. We weren’t even shown a Defence against the Dark Arts class, which I found a little odd, since it’s what Snape always wanted/what Harry would probably hate. Just odd.

  3. To be fair, there’s not much of the DADA class in the book, either (but Snape does give Harry detention for a good part of the year, after he attacks Malfoy). There’s several potions classes, though. Including one regarding poison antidotes, where Hermione spends the whole class meticulously creating a complex antidote, while Harry looks in the Prince’s book and finds: “Just stuff a bloody bezaor down their throat.” And he goes off to get one of those. Slughorn takes it from him and puts it into his bag, which is why Harry knows to use one and where to find it when Ron is poisoned. In the movie it makes NO SENSE.
    Another thing that doesn’t make sense, as we keep mentioning, is the final scene with Snape on the tower. It really irritated me because, like you said, Harry in the movie is free to move and intervene, but does NOTHING. It makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE, because Harry has disliked Snape since day 1 of Hogwarts, has never trusted him for 6 years, and indeed has believed Snape to be helping Draco all that year! But he just puts his wand down and lets him walk up there? What the hell?!
    Never mind that Alan Rickman wasn’t given as much time as he should have to play all that out; he’s so amazing, and I was a little disappointed. In the book, Harry calls him a coward and Snape snaps and goes “Don’t call me coward!” and knocks him back (I think). But he also says the “Leave him for the Dark Lord” line in the book, too. Because one of the Death Eaters (one that’s not in the movie, I don’t think) is attacking him.
    I’m not sure what they’re going to do with the next films. Because the Death Eaters that attack Hogwarts in HBP are supposed to come back as teachers for DH. But the only ones they really bothered to point out were Bellatrix (who wasn’t at Hogwarts that night in the book, that I recall) and Fenrir Greyback (the werewolf, who they didn’t name outright, but there’s a wanted poster or something with his name and picture early on).
    I was also upset that they had them attack the Weasley’s house. It was a stupid scene that shouldn’t have been there…not when they cut out SOOO much important stuff. I’m assuming, somewhat, that it may have to do with the next story/film. Because at the beginning of DH, they’re attending Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacor’s (from Goblet of Fire) wedding, but they’re attacked. So I’m guessing they just put the attack in early, and won’t bother with the wedding. Which is unfortunate.
    They cut the House Elves out of this one too. And an important detail that I assume they’ll add into the next one. Sirius left Harry Grimmauld Place, and thus Kreacher. So Harry sends Kreacher to Hogwarts, and he later uses Kreacher and Dobby to tail Malfoy (which is how he finds where Malfoy has been going). In DH, Harry, Ron and Hermione used Sirius’ house as their base of opperations.
    Anyway, I enjoyed the film, but a LOT was missing. Like some important details regarding Voldemort (his mother used a love potion to make a Muggle fall in love with her, but he later left her and the child behind; he came back to Hogwarts to become the DADA teacher, but Dumbledore turned him down, which is why the position is cursed now; he has a great attachment to Hogwarts and its history, and the book explains that the locket/necklace belonged to Slytherin, and that Voldemort is Slytherin’s descendent, the ring belonged to his grandfather (not his mother, and I actually think he stole it from his mother’s brother), and the other missing objects should have some connection to Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw (Dumbledore shows a memory regarding a cup belonging to Hufflepuff, but the Ravenclaw item is a mystery)).
    Why do I like the books? They’re good stories! There’s lots of little twists and mysteries, and the characters (particularly the adults) are very interesting. Well, not Harry…Harry’s kind of a prat honestly, lol. But everyone else is interesting. The movie VERY brieftly hints at the relationship between Remus Lupin and Tonks (she calls him sweetheart, once), but in the book it’s kind of amusing, because he keeps pushing her away, and she’s moping around the whole time all depressed. Then at the end, in the battle in Hogwarts, Bill Weasley is attacked by Fenrir and bitten. Because he wasn’t transformed Bill won’t be full werewolf, but will have some qualities. Fleur basically says “I don’t care I’m marrying you anyway.” And Tonks goes nuts and starts berating Lupin with stuff like “See! She doesn’t care! And I don’t care! Why can’t we be together too!” And he finally gives in (or well, she doesn’t give him much choice). So it’s touches like that that make the books really entertaining. Plus the Weasley’s are just so fantastic, really; they’re a delight and you don’t get to see much of their interactions in the movies. Like, Order of the Phoenix leaves out this really fantastic scene at Sirius’ house, where they’re cleaning up, and Molly comes across a bogart (the ones that turn into the thing you fear most; they were in PoA), and it turns into her members of her family lying dead, ending with Harry, and she’s just screeching and crying, and Sirius walks in at the end too and sees Harry’s body and it strikes him dumb for a moment. It’s GREAT, and I really wanted to see it, but it wasn’t put in. :(
    Eh, anyway, that’s quite enough from me, I think. ^_^

    • Ah, so you’ve seen the movie! Glad to hear that my little rant didn’t have too much of a negative effect on your enjoyment of the movie.
      Yes, the ‘beazor’ thing was odd. I was left thinking, ’so what’s a beazor?’ but attributed it to Harry having studied the book. The book version of HBP does make a lot more sense. Not to mention that movie Harry didn’t even get punished for nearly killing Malfoy…
      But enough fussing over the discrepancies between the two. After going through all your comments on this post, I do believe you could just copy everything out and turn it into an independent review of your own, haha. I think I’ve mentioned this earlier, but your ’synopsis’ here frees me from having to read HBP for myself:)
      Harry. I’ve never really liked him either. He was fine in the first book, and perhaps OK up to, I think, Azkaban, but after that… no. I do like Hermione, though, and
      actually sympathize with her for having to put up with Harry’s ridiculous going-ons.
      Ahh, the details! The teeny weeny little details are what make books, especially thick books with a lot going on, so fun. The few missing scenes and tidbits you mentioned sound delightful, too.
      Haha, nothing more to add? At least until Deathly Hallows comes out… I guess I’ll be counting on you for another detailed summary of the book then too *winks*

  4. Yes, I did go see it an I enjoyed it! The scene where the whole school came out and Mcgonagall led them all off with lighting their wands and driving away the Dark Mark was really moving. I loooove Mcgonagall, seriously. Maggie Smith does such an amazing job, and the character is tons of fun in the book (she’s the best of the teachers IMO).

    There was one other important thing I hadn’t mentioned yet. In the book, Harry spends a lot of time trying to get into the Room of Requirement, and on the night Dumbledore calls him to go to the secret cave, he’s up there again and finds Professor Trelawney (the divination lady, who is constantly drunk in the books) crying in the hall. She’s just been kicked out of the RoR by someone (she was trying to hide her sherry bottles). She makes some comment about Snape and not liking him because she finds him underhanded. It’s not mentioned in the OofP film (but it is implied), but Trelawney gave the prophecy about Voldemort and Harry, and it was given to Dumbledore, the day he went to interview her for a teaching position (so he knows she’s the real deal, which is why this seemingly crack-pot teacher has a job). Well, basically Trelawney makes mention to Harry that Snape was there the night of her interview (she’s unaware of when she gives prophesies), apparently eavesdropping outside the door. Harry puts two and two together, and realizes Snape overheard (part of) the prophecy, and reported it to Voldemort, which drove Voldemort to kill Harry’s parents (Lily and James). So Harry FLIPS and goes running to Dumble’s office, and just starts SCREAMING at him. “How can you trust him! He helped kill my parents!” Stuff like that. And Dumble calmly explains that that was the biggest regret of Snape’s life, and that immediately after he found out what he had done, he came to Dumble, and Dumble took him in. Well, duh, Harry doesn’t really believe this, but Dumble basically says “Are you going to scream at me all night, or are you going to come with me to get the hocrux?”
    Anyway, I think that’s just one of those important little details, particularly if you care about the character relationships.
    Oh, a Bezaor, by the way, is a stone found in a goat’s stomach (according to the book), and is an antidote for most (though not all) poisons.
    Hermione…. :) I think she’s awesome.
    I will totally give you a detailed play-by-play when DH comes out, lol. If you can stand another.

    • I’d whistle if I could- that scene about the prophecy sure is an important one they chose to leave out. Another detailed explanation when DH comes out, eh? I suppose I’ll just have to watch the movie to provoke a reaction out of you again, hehe. Feel free to bring it on- this Pottery journey was quite enjoyable. Definitely more so than the movie, at least:)

  5. All I can say is…..you’re STILL watching the HP movie series?! I gave up on them a long time ago, not that I was all that interested in the first place….=P

    • Haha, I just went along with a friend. I’d never have bothered to watch it alone- no qualms about watching it 5 years later on TV, though.


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