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Monday, December 31, 2018

Enough slugs for one day

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceChapter 7
For a guy who had to be "talked into" coming out of retirement, Horace Slughorn sure likes forcing attention on himself. As with most new professors throughout this series, I suppose we'll be hearing a lot from Slug this school year.

Will he be an ally for Harry? Possibly. He likes to be associated with successful people and ride their robetails, so I could see him being helpful to "the chosen one." He might even buy Harry's theory that Draco Malfoy has the Dark Mark and is a future Death Eater. Of course, with a mom and pop loyal to the Dark Lord it only makes sense.

Malfoy sounded convinced that Voldemort will rise to supreme power, and Malfoy couldn't bear being on the losing side.

Which brings us to Harry's foray into the Slytherin compartment. He is desperate to convict Malfoy and is willing to risk much (including a physical beating) to get the evidence that his rival is indeed loyal to Voldemort. He said as much even though he didn't say too much.

Because I chastised Hermione for her lack of spy craft in Knockturn Alley I should do the same with Harry for getting caught. Hastily devised plans often fail.

School is about to start, and it looks like from the chapter names that I'm only two away from learning why this book is titled "The Half-Blood Prince."

I've ridden the Hogwarts Express at Universal in Orlando, but I've always wanted to ride a real train to real places and see real countryside. Add that to the bucket list.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Alleys are mysterious places

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceChapter 6
Not quite the way I remember back-to-school shopping.

Mom took us shopping for shoes and outfits, not robes. We needed rulers, not wands, and we had to have the newest brand of those fancy multi-pocketed notebooks for shoving papers into, not books.

And in an alley? Sounds more fun than a strip mall.

The Weasley boys' joke shop reminds me of when we would wander off into Spencer's at the mall. Don't think I ever spent a dime there, much less a Galleon or a Sickle or a Knut. But it was fun to look around and laugh at the mostly juvenile jokes.

So much for the fun stuff. Nothing makes life in Harry Potter's world more stressful than the appearance of Malfoys. It's such an evil sounding name anyway, and Draco is the most perfectly rude teenager ever. He needs someone to wave a wand at him and zap him with the ShutUpus curse. (I know that's not a real curse but it should be.)

If there is an upside to Draco crashing school-shopping day, it's the opportunity to break out the invisibility cloak. I asked for one for Christmas, but I didn't get one. At least not that I've seen.

So what is Draco up to at that dusty shop down Knockturn Alley? Another mystery it seems. All we know is that an object is involved. And he wasn't too happy with the shopkeeper. But is a Malfoy ever happy? Happiness is not in their full-blood DNA.

For not being a big fan of Ron, I must say he was right about Hermione's lack of spy-craft skills. There ought to be a class at Hogwarts about how not to be Captain Obvious. But that might have put a blemish on Hermione's O.W.L report.

Guess we'll be off to Hogwarts soon. See you there. And don't forget your new robe.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Communication is a wonderful thing

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceChapter 5
What we've had to endure here for chapter after chapter and book after book has been a failure to communicate.

Suddenly, everybody's sharing and following instructions. Someone must have cast a spell to loosen tongues and wills. That's the only thing I can figure.

At the end of Chapter 4, Dumbledore takes Harry to the woodshed not to punish him but to praise him for his handling of the battle with the Death Eaters at the ministry. Then he tells Harry to tell Ron and Hermione about the prophecy.

And not just that he knows what it is but the really big thing: Harry has to kill Voldemort because ... Neither can live while the other survives.

And in a shocking turn of events in Chapter 5, Harry actually tells them the first chance he gets. I figure they'd be in a tight spot somewhere before Harry would tell them. And he'd be in forehead pain. And they'd get mad because he didn't tell them sooner. And maybe they wouldn't believe him.

But that's all been averted in the comfort of the burrow. Now everybody who matters knows the prophecy. Others will surely need to know in time, but for now at least our little group is on the same page. And they even took the news well that Harry gets one-on-one training with Dumbledore. Our young friends are maturing.

Meanwhile, the O.W.L. results are generally good. Harry's are a little better than Ron's even though Harry doesn't get to train to be an Auror. And Hermione ... of course, she's almost perfect. She can become just about whatever she wants. Probably be Minister of Magic some day.