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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Hanging in the balance

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceChapter 12
The important, plot-evolving part of this chapter is Katie Bell being dangled by her ankle by an invisible hand or crane or giant or some kind of other magic.

But let's allow that to hang there for a minute before I speculate and analyze this important development. Instead, let's spend a moment on Harry's fascination with the scribblings of the Half-Blood Prince. 

Doing well on the potions is certainly good for his grades. But learning hexes and jinxes? Now that's good stuff.

Be honest. Didn't you always want to be the one who was good at practical jokes and pranks? We all have wished at one time or another that we could pull off something original. To you who have that ability: I tip the Sorting Hat to you.

And a silent jinx that can throw Ron up in the air, keep him hanging there and drop him on the bed? Yeah, that would've been fun in the dorm.

So after Ron's upsy daisy foreshadowed what happened to Ms. Bell, it was the usual nasty cold, wind and every other winter element you can conjure up on the road to Hogsmeade. Is it just me or is the everyday nastiness of winter weather overplayed just a little? Quit making me think the current Ohio weather I am enduring ain't so bad.

Anyway, this business with Katie Bell being cursed 😱 by a necklace delivered in a brown-paper package sounds pretty suspicious. 😏 (Yes, I just discovered I can use emojis on here, so I'm gonna do it some. Forgive me if I overdo it.) I wonder if brown-paper packages used to be one of Katie Bell's favorite things. I digress.

Who was it meant for?

Who sent it?

Maybe it was a test by 💀 and his death-eating squad to see what could make it past Filch. At any rate it doesn't sound like Malfoy's doing unless he's got a lot of people on his payroll. That's a lot of conspiracy. Still, you better believe that son of a Death Eater is up to bad stuff.

Nothing good will ever come of that boy.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Who are your favorite Harry Potter characters?

I hear this discussed a lot among my near and dear.

So I want to know? Who are your favorite Harry Potter characters?

List your top 3 as a comment on this post. They can be a primary character like Harry or Dumbledore. They can be someone who shows up from time to time or hasn't been around since Book 2. Or someone obscure.

Rank your favorite as No. 1 and so on.

Hoping for good participation. If so, I will compile a top 5 or 10 of favorite characters of readers of this blog.




Saturday, January 12, 2019

Hagrid, Quidditch, Detention: Just a typical Saturday

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceChapter 11
So N.E.W.T level classes are kinda like grad school. More difficult and the busiest you've ever been. Been there, done that, don't want to do it again.

Yet, you do allow yourself to make time for things you really love. At Hogwarts that means old friends and Quidditch.

Making amends with Hagrid -- even if they didn't do anything wrong -- was obviously important to the dream team. Their cautious, patient approach was wise. When a guy gets upset over a giant spider facing death and has empathy for dumb giant, you must tread lightly. The bigger they are, the harder the emotions are to overcome.

Being Quidditch captain stresses Harry as much as anything else. But he shows the firmness a captain/coach has to show.

For Ron's sake -- and I'm not typically empathetic toward Ron -- I hope he never finds out that Hermione helped him earn his spot on the team. I will give him this: Ron deserves props for being willing to be on the team and face the Slytherin hate. Haters gonna hate, and apparently Ron doesn't care so much anymore.

Of course, that doesn't stop Ron from moping about not being invited to a party that the others don't want to attend. At least he doesn't have to endure detention with Snape sorting rotten flobberworms from good ones.

Ick.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

This blog now featured on Harry Potter blogs list

As I plug away on this chapter-by-chapter review of the Harry Potter series I am thankful for the loyal readers of my yada, yada.

I was recently contacted by Feedspot and added to its list of Top 30 Harry Potter blogs. So maybe our little community can grow.

If you're interested, go to the Feedspot page of Potter blogs and check out the other blogs on the list. You can also sign for a daily email of links to blog post from the Top 30 list.

And if you are coming to this blog for the first time, there are over five Potter books worth of chapter reviews to dive into. If you're reading Potter for the first time or re-reading the series, follow along with my reviews.

And if you're not reading the series right now, read the blog anyway. It will remind of lots of things you probably forgot.


Saturday, January 5, 2019

Riddle me this

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceChapter 10
Before we get to the downright creepiness of The House of Gaunt, let me say one thing: If Hermione had been fortunate enough to land the Half-Blood Prince's copy of Advanced Potion-Making she would use all those scribblings to her advantage. Oh, she might be stubborn at first with each new potion, but she wants to win and be the undisputed best in her year. Not that that's a bad thing.

Ron wants to use the hints but he still struggles, of course. He is not the fledgling wizard that Harry is. Just keep trying to be a good friend, Ron. Harry's gonna need you despite your cauldron and wand deficiencies.

Now for the House of Gaunt. What a haggard, grim and desolate family and dwelling. The only way I'd want to visit that place is through Dumbledore's Pensieve, and it's not a trip I would volunteer for.

Harry wants all the answers now. Don't we all. But Dumbledore the wise knows a little bit every Saturday night is for the best. Plus, the author has a lot of chapters to fill.

And here we are well into the penultimate book and more riddles are starting to reveal more answers.

I couldn't remember why Harry understood parseltongue (usually hereditary), but some of my resident Harry Potter experts reminded me of what was explained to Harry first in The Sorcerer's (or Philosopher's) Stone and later in more detail in The Order of the Phoenix. His mother's love to the point of being willing to die for him saved him. And the event caused some of Voldemort's powers (in this case parseltongue) to go into Harry. What else can he do?

Not that Voldemort could not have risen above his dysfunctional family circumstances, but it's no wonder he has such a dark spirit. What a soap opera. Merope becomes his mother because she magics a muggle named Tom Riddle into a marriage that didn't last. I can just see Voldemort, Merope and Marvolo on Dr. Phil trying to untangle their mess.

And then Dumbledore has this black ring that was a Gaunt heirloom that Marvolo was super proud of. He makes a point to say it has the Peverell coat of arms engraved on it. First I've seen that family name. Must be important.

Lastly, how perfectly ordinary is the name Bob Ogden. I thought only the youngsters in this story had muggle-like names. The other names are fun, but Bob Ogden? Hope we meet him again.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Potions and notions

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceChapter 9
A few observations before I get into the stirring part of this chapter.

  • Clearly Hermione will be the prefect to fear. Taking Frisbees? Yeah, she would do that.
  • Ron is a prefect in name. But in spirit? Not sure yet.
  • I rediscovered what N.E.W.T. stands for: Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests. That's just what I would've named them.
  • And to apparently have time to deal with the workload of N.E.W.T.s they now have free periods. My experience with college students (I was once one too) is that they will often use this time for anything but studying: gaming, show-binging, napping, donut runs, etc. Hogwarts students aren't of college age, but in their world it amounts to the same.
  • Snape's description of fighting the Dark Arts is memorable: "... You are fighting that which is unfixed, mutating, indestructible."
  • And Harry's slip of the tongue: "There's no need to call me 'sir,' Professor." Well, let's just say if a student such as Harry said that to me, I would undoubtedly laugh and immediately give 20 points to his dorm.
Chapter titles are meant to tease. But come on. I should've expected not to expect the revealing of the identity of the Half-Blood Prince. I won't guess. Would probably just make myself look silly. And who's to say it's a character we've even met. I need someone to cauldron me up a patience potion.

In these stories it doesn't pay to believe in coincidences. Slughorn just happens to be teaching the class? Harry just happened not to realize he could get into the potions class? Harry just happens to stumble upon an old book that helps him win the "lucky" potion? And the book just happens to have once been the property of the Half-Blood Prince?

Did Harry already drink the lucky potion? I can only assume that this discovery is another step toward Harry's destiny. The Chosen One he is.

Now if I could just whip up a potion that graded papers for me.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Old Snape has a new job

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceChapter 8
In the interest of not burying the lead (newspaper lingo), Snape will be teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts.

Is it too late to register? I hope there's not a waitlist.

Take it this year if you want Snape, because hanging on to this job is as impossible as trying to cast a spell without a wand. Let's review previous DADA professors:

  • Sorcerer's Stone, Professor Quirrell: That guy was so two-faced.
  • Chamber of Secrets, Gilderoy Lockhart: GilLo is still giving out autographs.
  • Prisoner of Azkaban, Remus Lupin: Dude was a werewolf.
  • Goblet of Fire, Mad-Eye Moody/Barty Crouch Jr.: This was a train wreck in so many ways.
  • Order of the Phoenix, Dolores Umbridge: The High Instigator. Enough said.

This was certainly big and surprising news at the year-opening feast. If they all only knew about Snape's meeting a few chapters back with Death Eaters. But as you know from Chapter 2 I think Snape is on the Dumbledore side of magic.

Harry, however, will dread every time he walks into Snape's classroom. If Snape becomes a hero or martyr for the good guys, will Harry's opinion change? Of course, if Snape is a truly dark dude, Harry won't be surprised. He might even feel vindicated.

In the continuing trend of open communication lines, Harry tells Ron what happened to him in the Slytherin car. And Ron again has an adult conversation. As much as things stay the same -- escape from the Dursleys, catching the train to school, Harry finding trouble, Malfoy being Malfoy -- the more they change.