Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: How Harry Lost his LobsterJuly 20, 2009 at 4:22 pm | Posted in Thoughts | 10 Comments
Tags: Earthsea, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Magic: the Gathering, Ursula Le Guin
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.