BookPeople is buzzing. Everyone is getting excited about the arrival of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II, so excited that we’re throwing a midnight release party! (Get your vouchers here!) And so excited that one of our booksellers, Melissa, is going back and rereading all of the original seven Harry Potter books and giving us her input on what it’s like to read these treasures as an adult. Check out what she has to say below!
(If you haven’t read the series, first off, do it now. Second off, don’t let me be the reason something gets spoiled. Please don’t read this blurb unless you’ve read the series.)
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince:
If someone says they don’t like Half-Blood Prince that much compared to all the other books… they’re lying. I don’t believe you for a minute. This book is certainly one of the most interesting in the series for several different reasons. But the biggest reason, which I think is pretty obvious, is the means of memory hopping to learn about Tom Riddle vs Voldemort. Seriously, what a magically creative idea… see what I did there? While still not being forgivable, it is fascinating to learn why Tom Riddle has become the way he is. In fact, it’s pretty scary. I don’t want to feel sorry for him… but… come on, poor little evil eleven-year-old Tom Riddle doesn’t even realize how evil he’s being, because he was conceived under a love potion. No guys, that’s seriously messed up. It almost feels like he never even had a chance. What is love? Voldemort don’t know. He obviously did many dark things, but it adds some amazing elements to the story to know that’s why he is the way he is.
Adult me is very proud of Harry for many reasons in this book. But I think an important one is that he finally is right about being suspicious about some things that are in fact happening right under his nose. Maybe he didn’t know exactly what Malfoy and Snape were up to, but he at least was right to feel like there was something fishy going on. I think it actually shows how prepared he truly is now for what is up ahead. Why is this? Sure, he makes it pretty obvious his dislike for these two characters, but these suspicions aren’t based on hate as much as when he was younger. In fact he blamed those two characters for different things before even hitting the age of thirteen, because he just simply didn’t care for the two of them. I mean, they did seem pretty suspicious then too. But at least Harry has some kind of evidence at this point. And I do beautifully admire that from 16-year-old Harry.
While on the subject, Draco Malfoy’s struggle throughout this book is one of my favorite parts. I’ve always had a soft spot for him in my heart. I am totally aware that he’s actually not a good guy. He was usually a little brat, to be honest, which is something any reader can tell you. But what I do enjoy is watching him, starting in this book, start to question the Dark Lord his parents and almost entire family has followed behind and been completely loyal to since before he was twinkle in his Death Eater parents’ eyes. Some can argue this is because of cowardice, and maybe that is a small part of it, but I do also like to believe it gives Draco some depth that we didn’t originally realize was there. He may not care about all of our heroes per say, but at least we are learning that doesn’t mean he wants to murder them all or have everyone enslaved.
Happy times for at least one paragraph on this blog, shall we? Something I absolutely adore in this book is all these crazy teenage relationships starting to form. My gosh, I love it all so much. Each one of those scenes (especially between Ron and Hermione) make me so happy. Adult me appreciates how adorable it all is. Young love is so freaking cute, and they are all so nervous and cute and scared, and oh my… just thinking about it makes me smile. SO PRECIOUS.
Alright everyone, prepare yourself for what I’m going to bring up next. We all knew I was going to bring it up, so let’s just pull off the bandage… we’re talking about the death of Albus Dumbledore here. And I think the hardest thing about him dying in this book, besides him dying, is the fact that it’s not just that scene. There are several scenes during this whole period of time that can tear anyone’s heart apart. I cried, or least teared up at all these moments: Malfoy lowering his wand, Harry watching everything happening without even being able to scream when all he can feel is agony, the description of the body, Faukes singing, Hagrid breaking down and crying, the funeral itself, Harry feeling officially alone and empty. And despite knowing, as a fourth time reader, that Snape killed Dumbledore because it was part of their plan, I still wanted to push Snape off the Astronomy tower myself. Knowing the back story of Dumbledore’s death doesn’t make it any easier.
One more thing, and I will make it a happy thought, I promise. I think the last scene in this book is amazingly beautiful. Ron and Hermione sticking with Harry throughout Hogwarts adventures was always big, but to be 100% willing to risk their lives to help Harry defeat Voldemort is one of the most touching parts of this series in my eyes. I know I don’t mention Ron and Hermione too much on these posts, and that’s because I’ve always loved the two of them. I didn’t discover anything new about them really, just was able to relive the many reasons why they are some of my favorite characters. Their friendship and loyalty to one another is so strong, and that will always send shivers up and down my spine.
Everything about this book is amazing. I read it so quickly that it was hard not to just open it back up to the beginning and start again.