Upon reading this, please understand that I am doing everything I am capable of to not give away or spoil the horrific end to this sorcerous book. “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” J.K. Rowling’s sixth installment in the series, goes to great lengths for Harry and his friends to be thought of as tragic rather than young or magical.
This is not a review of the series or of the story as a whole, but of book six, Rowling’s writing and what it leaves the reader to assume or guess along the way.
The story itself is tragic (which I am, by no means, spoiling for you) and Potter’s life becomes more and more pitiable and lovable by the minute. But as a book, not a piece of a series, Rowling seems to lack a bit in fluidity.
The characters’ relationships (i.e. Harry and Ginny, Ron and Hermione) were either poorly developed or not developed at all. It just jumped from one bit of pseudo-sexual tension to another without rhyme or reason. But as faulted as this may be, as a fan, I must say it was nice to finally have some of this come to a head. It has been five books of waiting, so one could say “Something is better than nothing.”
Also, in terms of fluidity, Rowling never gives reasons for us to trust or distrust certain characters. Obviously, she’s probably waiting for a big finale in book seven, but it makes book six lack sense. A clear example of this, as it has been in every book prior, is Snape. He seems evil. He should be evil. But, for reasons unbeknownst to us, Dumbledore has reason to trust him.
However, what Rowling lacks in fluidity, she gains in emotional attachment. It’s impossible (from what I’ve heard everyone who has read it say) to come out of this book with a light heart. Many people I know have cried upon its completion.
As promised, I won’t give away the end. But, while the end alone is exceptionally sad, the rest of the book is equally as gut-wrenching. Harry becomes less of a boy and more of a Christ-like figure. We hail him, respect him, love him and admire him, but his life is full of persecution. We sympathize for him because we saw him once as a boy and we see him now, growing into manhood with little to nothing to live for. Whereas Harry was for us a sign of hope, we have nothing but pessimism and doubt by the end of this book.
As a book by itself, Rowling did a fair job with “The Half-Blood Prince.” It was suspenseful, emotional and gripping. The only problem was that it lacked sense in some areas. As a part of a series, the second to last book in a series, I can forgive its shortcomings. In lieu of clarification for much of what went on in the book, she sets us up for what seems like an impossible amount of ground to cover in the finale.
While this book left us confused, I doubt Rowling didn’t do that on purpose. We’re all left wondering where Harry could possibly go from here. That’s the main point.
And by the way, the Half-Blood Prince is…