Half Blood Prince Discussion; chapters 11-15
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Chapter 11: Hermione's Helping Hand
Chapter 12: Silver & Opals
Chapter 13: The Secret Riddle
Chapter 14: Felix Felicis
Chapter 15: The Unbreakable Vow
I didn't take an over abundance of notes this week. I don't know if my brain just wasn't working the same as usual or what. However, I did have an overall observation on the book. As we discussed many times in past weeks, in OotP JKR writes emotion very well. The more I read HBP the more I thik this is her best told story. The way she unfolds each element and ultimately brings them all together is brilliantly done. I'm talking not just about the classic mystery elements of the Malfoy thing, but who the HBP is and of course, each of the lessons with DD. I think this might be her best book (but OotP is still my favorite.)
I'll be in and out during the day.
I agree, Bib, and one of the things I think this refers well to is Harry's feelings about Ginny. First he smells something from the Burrow in the love potion. Later he feels bad when she leaves. The monster inside him when he sees her with Dean. It is brilliant!
I will have more to say later, too :)
1. Non-verbal spells are expected in most of their classes now, but not all wizards can do non-verbal spells. This doesn't really seem fair.
2. Oh poor Ron! (I think this had something to do with Hermione.)
3. I still don't understand the change in Quiddich tryouts. Why are we suddenly trying out the whole team?
4. Of course all the books make me laugh, but this one has me chuckling more than usual. Jo really knows how to turn a phrase. In this chapter in particular I enjoyed:
"He would have quite liked to have hidden his face in his hands, as she (Lavendar) did a moment later, but thought that as the Captain he ought to show slightly more grit, and so turned to watch Ron do his trial"
"After that, the atmosphere lightened considerably, for although neither Harry nor Ron had shown any inclination to go and feed giant grubs to a murderous, gargantuan spider, Hagrid seemed to take it for granted that they would have liked to have done and became his usual self once more."
1. I don't have any notes. The whole chapter gets explained later in the book. I guess it was kinda nice to have Katie Bell with a bigger role. And of course it contributes to the Quiddich and relationship drama.
a. Do you think Hermione nonverbally confunded MacLaggen? Also, sometime people can “see” the spells shoot out, there is a light or something. I guess not here.
b. I feel sorry for Ron with his goalkeeping, but it is time for him to get over it. You’re good Ron! I missed Quidditch in book 7, but at least we didn’t have to go through Ron’s insecurities again (at least as far as it concerned quidditch :).
c. Not sure why here there is a full tryout, but not before. Maybe we can assume it was just left out before. It wouldn't have been too big of a deal without "The Choosen One" as captain.
a. I don’t remember if I guessed Snape was the HBP when I first read this, but it seems really obvious now. The book was in his old classroom. He was one of Slughorn’s best students. I think I at first thought it was maybe Lily, but not when the spells started getting nasty.
b. Harry’s run-in with Mundungus sure seemed inconsequential, didn’t it? I wonder if the locket was in the bag. Why was Aberforth there? Wasn’t Mundungus banned from the Hog’s Head? Why would they be talking? Is this where he got the mirror?
c. I love how Hermione and Ron act whenever Harry talks about his “Malfoy-is-a-deatheater” theory.
On one side of him Ron rubbed his nose in apparent embarrassment; on the other, Hermione shuffled her feet as though quite keen to put a bit of distance between herself and Harry.
The amazing thing is that Harry turns out to be right!
#6 c. If that were the case though, Harry would have had to tryout every year and he never did. He didn't even have to tryout in year one!
1. I must remember to begin using the phrase "That's better than a whack on the nose with a rusty poker." in everyday life.
2. Dude! How great would it be to have a band called Harry and the Dumbledores?!
3. Do you suppose Tom was already doing rudimentary legilimency? I ask because of the following:
He spoke the last three words with a ringing force thatwas almost shocking. It was a command, and it sounded as though he had given it many times before. His eyes had widened and he was glaring at Dumbledore...pg 269-270 US
4. 11-year-old Tom is creepy!
(I was obviously feeling very shallow while reading this week!)
I'm going to go ahead with my chapter 14 notes, I want to finish all my notes tonight and not have to bring them to work with me!
1. My favorite Herbology class ever, for both the Snargaluff Stump, which I think is really cool, and the conversation that takes place there.
2. I love Harry's inner turmoil. A small amount of normal teen angst. (Both in his worries about the burgeoning Ron and Hermione relationship and his feelings for Ginny).
3. Not to disturb anyone, but the descriptions of Harry's monster ("The monster in his chest purred.") remind me of Jeff Lindsay's Dexter books.
4. Not sure how I feel about Hermione's attack on Ron. On the one hand I can totally understand it, on the other hand, it was really mean!
1. It's a mark of how much Harry's matured that he keeps his mouth shut and doesn't take sides between Ron and Hermione.
2. I'm never sure about the Hermione/Pavarti conversation. It almost sounds planned. This might just be one of those girl things I never experienced and therefore don't understand.
3. The Rotfang Conspiracy is one of the best insane ideas of the Lovegoods. Gum disease taking down the Ministry?! Hilarious!
a. I am still mad about the idea of Merope just giving up and dying because of a broken heart. Maybe it should be more like she had no formal schooling and would never be able to get a job and couldn’t face going back to the hovel where her father probably had returned to after prison.
b. This kind of goes with the previous thought. The orphanage may not have been a “cheery” place to grow up, but a lot better than the Gaunt house. Of course, the Riddle house would have been nice, but who knows how he would have been treated.
c. I second the thought that young Riddle was creepy. The dead rabbit, the kids in the cave, using occy and legi. The stolen items seem mild, but who knows how he stole them.
d. Back to Merope, Tom even says “My mother can’t have been magic, or she wouldn’t have died.”
e. Thank goodness Dumbledore was the one who went to notify Tom Riddle of his acceptance to Hogwarts. He knew to keep an eye on him. What if it was someone less observant or if they just sent a letter. He would have gotten away with murder! Wait, I guess he did, but it would have been a lot worse.
a. Neville got a pod out before everyone else. I love it that he is starting to do so well in herbology.
b. I love when Hermione tells Ron she was going to ask him to go to the Christmas party. Poor Harry.
c. I do think it is awful of Ron to be mad at Hermione for snogging Krum. It happened two years ago!
d. More of Ron and his low confidence. I guess he really bugs me so far in this book. I guess it is better than Harry’s angst.
e. Ginny running into Zacharias Smith! She rocks!
f. Ron was awful to Hermione, but I agree with above: the birds were a little too cruel.
#16 c ron should have realized a long time ago what was up!
a. What do our HE librarians think of Madame Pince and her reaction to Harry’s “Despoiled! Desecrated! Befouled!” book?
b. Harry asking Luna to the party is just wonderfully nice. I am still debating if Hermione going with Cormac was worse than the bird attack or not. Zacharias Smith would have been worse, but easier for Ron to see through.
c. I love the Rotfang conspiracy too, Bib! Tooth decay! The “fang” part must come because the Quibbler wanted to publish that Scrimgeour was a vampire.
#18b: Agreed about Luna. I suppose I think the bird thing is worse. Hermione quickly discovered how dumb the Cormac thing was. I don't know that Ron would have seen through Zacharias either though, he's not that bright about women, I mean, he gets jealous of Harry when it comes to Hermione!
#16d: I love Ron as much as the next guy, but he is particularly annoying in the last two books.
I love the birds. He deserved it. And I have known boys to behave all judgmental exactly the way Ron does. It's totally annoying!
*braces for abuse*
It helps us put the deeds of some boys out of our heads.
No time to post my thoughts on these chapters right this minute, but I did want to address the point about Madame Pince in #18-a. First of all, I want her job. Secondly, I wish that the Hogwarts librarian could have been cool. Why did Rowling have to go with a stereotype? With all of the time that Hermione spends in the library, I think that the librarian should have been helpful -- that would have been a great way to get needed information to the trio. Maybe that was just too easy? But I think the original question had to do with Pince's reaction to the HBP's textbook -- which I thought was just ridiculous. It's not a library book, so she has no reason to complain about how it's been treated. Maybe I'm atypical in this, but I don't have any problems with people doing whatever they want to the books they purchase. If you buy a book, it's yours, and if you want to highlight and underline and make notes in the margin, go right ahead. If you want to tear out each of the pages after you read them and fold them into origami swans, go right ahead. It's your book. (If you do this with a library book, that's another story, of course.) But Madame Pince is a little unhinged, anyway.
Pince is a stereotype, and it's surprising because generally Rowling avoids them, or uses them to surprise people. Maybe she had a bad experience with a librarian...
Then again, if everyone is buying their books anyway, then it doesn't matter.
The fly in the ointment of this theory is that most of the books in the restricted section seem to be about potionmaking, but my argument to this is that most of the books in the restricted section were not mass printed, rather they were diaries and commonplace books of dark witches and wizards.
Hw often are new editions of student books available anyway (in HP). Are any of the books on the school lists appended with a "3rd edition" or other such qualifier. My books are all packed away, and I don't feel like looking at the lexicon right now.
Oh and it wouldn't be 30 years, it would be more like twenty. Harry's parents and Snape are the same age. Harry's parents were 21 when they died and Harry was 1. Therefore Snape is twenty years older than Harry. We don't know if the book existed before that, do we? I can't remember. Was it Snape's mom's before him? Then it would be more like 40 years old I guess. I couldn't possibly be overthinking this, could I?
I like Espy's theory about the secrecy involved in potionmaking, and about the "restricted" books in the library. This might also explain why the recipes in the Advanced Potionmaking text seemed to be often flawed -- I know that muggles often write a recipe one way, but they make improvements on it and don't bother to jot them down, they just know to increase that ingredient by so much or lower the oven temperature so many degrees or whatever.
I must admit, I didn't really understand what Espy was saying, but now that you put it in terms of Muggle cooking (I hate when people ask me for recipes, I don't measure anything!) I think I get it and concur.
(Edited for clarity)
1) This whole bit about Stan Shunpike's arrest feels superfluous to me. I know that, plot-wise, it gives Harry a beef with Scrimgeour, but it feels like a plot point that never goes anywhere.
2) Harry's relationship with Hagrid is well-done -- a nice counterpoint to Harry's relationship with Snape.
1) Like Hermione, I can't believe that Harry tried "Levicorpus" on Ron, without knowing what it did or how to reverse it. What if it had been something like "Septumsempra?"
2) The description of what happens to Katie is eerie. In its own little way, it's one of the scariest scenes in the series, partly because it's so well-described. I can see it so clearly in my mind, and if I had been Katie's friend, I would have been freaking out.
1) The Pensieve works two different ways for different memories -- I wonder how it differentiates? Does it know, from the memory you put in, or is it some sort of nonverbal command or control that differentiates between whether the memory will come out (in the form of a talking head) or you will go in? I love the Pensieve.
2) Another hint about Tonks here: unrequited love and despair can sap a witch or wizard's powers.
3) Dumbledore's plum velvet suit . . . this was, when, late 20's? Early 30's? He was way ahead of his time -- in the 60's or 70's, nobody would have batted an eyelash! The question is, was he wearing a paisley shirt? ;-)
4) "Better than a whack on the nose with a rusty poker" -- the matron's turn of phrase is so colorful!
5) Dumbledore says, "As we know, there are Parselmouths among the great and the good, too . . ." Who? Harry? Salazar Slytherin (who wasn't necessarily "bad," I guess)? Who else?
1) Did Hermione snog Krum? I just always got the impression that he liked her, but she just wanted to be friends. Maybe it did get to the kissing stage, though. Since it's Ginny who says she did . . . well, who knows what Ginny and Hermione talk about when they're sharing a room at the Burrow when Hermione visits.
2) When Ron gets hormonal, he really gets hormonal. Angst! (Aren't we all glad this didn't happen during OotP? I don't think I could take both Harry and Ron being angsty and unreasonable together.)
1) Harry should have chucked those chocolate cauldrons in the bin as soon as he got up to his dorm. He pretty much knew they were spiked.
2) Luna is wonderful.
3) It's interesting that the Ministry suppressed Xeno's article about Scrimgeour being a vampire. I guess that, with the credibility that they got from publishing Harry's interview, the Ministry didn't want people actually believing the Scrimgeour article. I also think that Scrimgeour probably keeps even tighter control of the press than Fudge did.
4) Can anybody think of a good reason why JKR introduces vampires this late in the series? It's not like she does anything interesting with them -- no major character is a vampire, the characters don't witness any mass vampire attacks, there's not big concern about vampires the way there is about werewolfs, giants, or inferi (which seem to be the JKR equivalent of zombies) . . . just this random vampire at a party for no apparent reason.
12.1 To be fair, he wasn't aiming at anything in particular. Not that I think it was a good thing, but he didn't do it on purpose, he didn't even think it would work!
13.3 Just to show my extreme nerdiness it would have been about 1936 (I think CoS says Voldy is a 6th year during his CoS opening, I could be wrong though, it might be 5th year in which case it would be 1937.)
13.5 I think he was just referring to Harry.
15.4 A good reason? No. I wonder if maybe she thought she should slip an actual one in there somewhere just to show that they do actually exist in the world. It also lets her have that biographer at the party, not that he's all that important either. Really though, she keeps herself in check pretty well in this book, so I'm willing to overlook this little bit of superfluity.
15.4 I believe the fraud DADA teacher, I can't remember his name, in CoS claims to have saved some village from vampires or some such. I get the impression that they mostly exist in Eastern Europe.