Half Blood Prince Discussion Chapters 16-20
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16: A Very Frosty Christmas
17: A Sluggish Memory
18: Birthday Surprises
19: Elf Tails
20: Lord Voldemort's Request
Have at it!
1. I know we all love the end when Fleur shows that she does love Bill, but she's really annoying in this book. I can't imagine behaving the way she does to my future in-laws (when I had them).
2. I wonder how the "Levicorpus" spell got around. If it's non-verbal and Snape invented it, he probably shouldn't have told anyone how to do it. He should have known it would get around to the people he would least like to have know about it.
3. So Advanced Potion Making is almost 50, which means we must have been right Foggi, the book was Eileen's first and she passed it on to Snape. Not surprising I suppose, they weren't well off were they?
4. Seriously Lavender? Did you really think a teenage boy would want that necklace. That girl is ridiculous!
5. Love Fleur and Harry inadvertantly making Lupin uncomfortable about Tonks. Molly did it on purpose I'm sure.
6. I marvel at Scrimgeour bringing up Umbridge. He can't be that daft. He must know at least some of what went on the previous year. Why oh why would you mention her to Harry when you're trying to get on his good side?!
7. The conversation with Scrimgeour is another example of Harry's recent maturity.
1. Do you think all students were going to McGonagall's office? Don't you think it would make sense to go to the Head of Household's office? Shouldn't they then have to be more specific than "Hogwarts"? I have so many issues with the Floo Network.
2. I love the password "Abstinence". It fits so well into one of the themes of the book. I think its the best of the entire series!
3. I've said it before, but I'm so glad we get so much harry and DD in this book. I wonder if the end would be as emotional if we had the same amount of DD as in the previous books (not much!)
4. A beginning of the explanation of the Trace, which most of you know I have big time issues with as well. It doesn't make sense.
5. The Pensieve: Once you collect a memory into the Pensieve is it gong until you put it back? It would seem so from Snape in OotP. Is it different from collecting them into a crystal phial or is DD essentially stealing memories? If it is different, how? If not, why didn't Snape just collect his memories in a phial in OotP and avoid the temptation of the Pensieve?
It would appear that a memory, when removed from the mind, is gone -- but then, that doesn't explain how Slughorn still had the original and yet had the altered one that he gave to DD, as well -- unless, by altering a memory, a copy is automatically made?
I've been fascinated by the Pensieve and Rowling's treatment of memory ever since I first read the series. The memories that Harry sees appear infalliable -- no distortion except in the obvious case of Slughorn's intentionally altered memory. Also, memories appear to contain information that the person who "remembered" the events might not have paid attention to -- Snape's "worst memory," for example, allowed Harry to overhear a conversation that Snape might have been able to hear, but was most likely ignoring or blocking out. I remember reading somewhere, long ago, and I can't cite my source, that the human brain is capable of remembering basically everything that happens in a lifetime. Rowling, at least, appears to be operating on this principle.
I don't have a good reason for why Snape didn't just put his memories in a flask -- except that the Pensieve is so darned convenient to move the plot along!
I agree that the Pensieve is likely an invention of DD's. It would explain why we only ever see one and also why in "Lord Voldemort's Request" the cupboard that in Harry's time contains the Pensieve, instead contains drinks.
Here's what I wonder in particular. If, removing the memory makes it gone, then how does DD know what the memories are? After removing them, does he need to then re-experience them in the Pensieve to essentially create a memory of the memory? From reading I do have the feeling that DD knows what is in his memories before he shows them to Harry.
Perhaps it has to do with intent? Snape wanted to completely remove those memories until he put them back, so he did. DD needed a copy of his memories, so that's what he got. What do you think?
One of the original questions was whether DD was, essentially, "stealing" memories from the people he collected them from. Thinking it over, I suppose that, at least in some cases, he was. Morfin, for example -- it sounded like he was rather forceful about getting that memory. In other cases, where the subject willingly gave him the memory, perhaps he only took a copy, or at least took the memory with consent. I think that this was another case where DD was considering "the greater good" rather than the comfort and welfare of individuals.
#7 Yeah, DD hint at being rather brutal in his collecting methods. Which I love, because it makes him more complicated. I agree, he definitely had the 'greater good' in mind. DD went from being the kindly old professor to a Machiavellian mastermind in this one. It's scary, and a testament to Rowling that we still care about him so much.
I'm interested in what you say about DD becoming Machiavellian in this book. What makes you say that? I could see saying it about DH, or looking in hindsight and saying it from the start of the series, for we know after all that DD was planning and schemeing from the moment he left Harry on the Dursley's doorstep, indeed, what we learn of him in DH shows that he has always had that tendency. In HBP I find him the closest to the kindly professor that we have had in a long time, certainly more so than OotP or even GoF. I'd love to hear more from you on this subject!
And I think it's that he's so close to being totally honest with Harry that does it for me. He seems like he's being very truthful, and sharing a lot with Harry, but really he's setting up all these enormous betrayals and horrors. He's lying to everyone, including Snape and Harry.
Maybe it's because I'm biased as HECK about this, but it's also that during this time he's getting Snape ready for what will happen, and that whole plot point upsets me terribly. When he's gone, Snape is utterly alone in his assignment.
Ultimately, I think it's because he manages to control everything that happens in book seven from the grave, in large part because of what happens in DH.
While I agree he's been doing this from book one, and even way before, rereading this book after number 7, you realize just how manipulative he was being. He really does play with Harry's emotions. He has to know how this will affect a kid who's lost so many people in his life. I never noticed it the first time I read the book.
It's weird, because I do love DD, but he does a lot of 'greater good' things that upset me horribly.
Sorry for the length! I get rambly about HP.
I have more thoughts on what you've said, but I just typed a paragraph and managed to contradict myself twice, so I think I need to put more thought into it before I write it out.
As to the pensieve, I like bib's notion that it has both "cut" and "copy" functions, so to speak. In OotP, Snape was definitely using it to block Harry from seeing stuff, but does that mean you necessarily have to forget what's been put in there? We need to know, Jo!
Edited because I was getting ahead of myself.
Something else that I just realized, Snape had this spell used on him in his memory right after sitting for his defense against the dark arts O.W.L. But the sell was written down in a potions textbook that Harry had to buy specifically for his N.E.W.T. level potions class. Did the potions master in Snape's time use the more advanced book? Or did Snape transfer all his notes from an older potion manual to his new one? So many questions!
You know I'm just giving you a hard time, right? :-)
#15: I know that Snape wouldn't be able to resist showing off to his Slytherin buddies, I guess I was just trying to point out that he should have though. I hadn't thought about James and Sirius reading it over his shoulder, although from the description of the way it's "crammed in a corner" I would think they'd have had to steal the book to get a good look at it really. Good point about the books and the timing of the spell, however, the book itself is "almost 50 years old" and I believe was Eileen's in school, it's possible she gave it to Snape when he got into Hogwarts or for a birthday present or something before 5th year.
1. I just want to point out that they study antidotes in GoF, remember Snape threatens to poison someone before Christmas. At one point Harry needs a bezoar to complete his antidote, so SS/PS is not the only time they've been mentioned or used, though that's the way it sounds in this chapter. (Sorry I can't give page numbers, I don't have access to my GoF book, I noticed when I was listening to GoF in the car.)
2. Kinda puts Harry's bad birthdays into perspective, doesn't it?
Edited because I always seem to add apostrophes where they are not needed. '
I am not happy about how it says Harry would see Crabbe or Goyle hanging around corridors by themselves when there was no sign of Draco. Why doesn't Harry figure out it is always the same corridor and that it is the corridor for the Room of Requirement!
#26 I agree with your point about Crabbe and Goyle. Harry's kind of a moron about that stuff sometimes though. I think he sometimes forgets about magic. Does that make sense?
My theory on Slughorn is that Dumbledore asked him for the memory -- pressed him, but politely, to give it to him. Slughorn eventually agreed, but gave him the "altered" version. He knew that, as soon as DD "viewed" the memory, he would realize that it had been changed, but was hoping that he could avoid DD thereafter. What Slughorn was giving DD was the memory of what he wished had happened. I think he remembered the original event, and he remembered giving DD an altered memory of the event.
Another thing that doesn't stand up to close scrutiny. Yet it works while you are reading it, so who really cares?
#29: Very true lg. There are many, and I don't really care all that much about them, I still love the books and recognize the part they all play in furthering the plot. I just have fun speculating!
And I don't mind people loving Sirius and Snape, I just don't get it. Because I love Snape. I'm one of THOSE.
#24 Thanks! I suspected it might be that, but I wanted to check. I'm always tragically behind on HP news.
LG just has a big heart she has room for them and half the cast of battlestar galactica she is to be praised for her broadmindedness. ;)
I am actually interested in the pensieve conversation. I may have to reread a bit and come back.
I mean does anyone seriously think that having a beer with Snape, assuming you could get him to do it at all, would really be any fun? And Sirius would be really mopy. He'd be that friend who comes along to parties but never has a good time, and who calls you in the middle of the night drunk, complaining about "the man" or some woman who got tired of his crap and left him.
Not that I have any friends like that! ;-)
1. Arthur says it was "a lucky day for the Weasleys" when Ron sat with Harry on the train, but it's quite possible that none of them would have been put in jeopardy in the first place if he and Harry weren't friends:
a. While Lucius may have still gotten Ginny the diary (to halt Mr. Weasley's Muggle Protection Act), she might not have written as much about Harry nor would she have made such good Harry-bait to the Chamber.
b. The Weasley's may or may not have joined the Order. They weren't in the first Order. They may not have felt as compelled to take action without being so close to Harry. If they hadn't joined the Order, Mr. Weasley would never have been attacked.
c. Ron likely wouldn't have eaten the cakes in the first place (Harry probably wouldn't have the Marauder's Map!) and never would have been in Slughorn's office to drink the poisoned mead.
Am I over thinking it. Probably, but it struck me while reading, so I share it with you.
2. So Hagrid says something about if DD knew who had done the necklace and the poison he would do something about it. DD might not 100% know, but he 99.9% knows who it is and does nothing. Two students could have died! Is this more of his greater good crap? Exactly what greater good comes out of allowing Malfoy to clumsily attempt to murder him and anyone else who might be unlucky enough to get in the way?
3. On a happier note, I love this Quiddich match! I wish Luna always commentated!
4. I suppose they won't have the elf fight in the movie, too bad I would have like to have seen it. But then I got to thinking...you know how they keep giving Dobby's stuff to Neville...you know what I'm picturing!
I hate the elves, except for maybe in DH, so they can leave them well out as far as I am concerned.
I like making people pick because I think it's interesting.
#35 LG, Sirius is just like a lot of guys I went to high school with. They're handsome and smart and arrogant, and have a crappy family life you know very little about. I feel bad for them, but I still don't want to deal with them. Snape would be fun if you got him started on a good topic.
Imagine a drunk Snape waving a beer around and bellowing about first-year dunderheads.
And you're right - Sirius is totally a drunk dialler!
It would be very hard to get Snape to even go out to a bar, let alone get him drunk. He is a control freak--it's what allows him to succeed as a double agent. DD knew he could trust him because he'd never do what you're suggesting.
Will you, Severus, watch over my son, Draco, as he attempts to fulfill the Dark Lord's wishes?
That's pretty ambiguous. What exactly does watch over mean? Do we know that DD knows about the vow (I haven't read Deathly Hallows yet)? Also, if DD does something to stop Draco, would that tip off V that Snape told DD?
I just reread your post ellevee and I'm going to leave what I wrote but also say, I don't think the Pensieve's main function is to protect memories, that's just how Snape uses it in OotP. I think the main purpose of the Pensieve is to make it easier to sift through memories. DD uses it this way in GoF looking through his memories to attempt to find the connection between past events and present events. Hmmm....I'm going to have to think about that in relation to my theory.
#34 I prefer Lupin. Mostly because of the cardigans.
#35 Very true. I think Sirius could be fun depending on his mood. He wasn't always sullen. I had a friend like that in college. Lots of 2 a.m. calls.
37: LG I agree about the elves. Dobby bugged me until he died, then I ended up crying like a baby. Never liked the Crouchs' elf; glad she was left out of the movies. Kreacher was better in DH. Hated SPEW. The only thing it was good for was to get Hermione to kiss Ron in DH :)
But a girl can dream.
Lupin's second only to Snape.
#41 I wonder why Snape used it in that way. He could have just bottled them. Of course, it is such a good plot device.
#43 I did the same thing with Dobby! Never liked him, bawled like a child when he died. Kreacher grew on me, because of the cooking.
#42: Sorry, I knew what you meant but disagreed and added my own spin. Yes, obliviate will permanently remove a memory, but Snape needed to keep the memories, he just needed them temporarily removed to keep them from Harry. IMO, he needed those memories to maintain his sense of purpose. Without them, that would be lost.
Rereading this thread makes me very nervous about the movie...
1. An allusion to DD knowing the Hog's Head barmen.
2. I remember being amazed at just how long the D.A.D.A. curse had been in place, nearly 40 years! Also nice to know that it is turly a curse.
See, very in depth and impressive, aren't they?
#35 -- I made some comment like that months ago, at least regarding Snape. If I met him in real life, he would absolutely despise me. Three well-chosen cutting comments and I would be weeping in Myrtle's bathroom. That's why I prefer my fantasy world. ;-)
#39 -- Ah, but I don't drink. Yet another reason why we are perfect for each other. (In aforementioned fantasy world.) Hmmm . . . do I not drink because I am a control freak? Possibly. But I would make a lousy double agent.
#50 My David Thewlis crush led me to buy his book. I haven't finish it yet, because I just kept thinking, "Lupin wouldn't write such dirty things!"
I have David Thewlis book as well. I thought it was well done but I stopped reading it because I think the British sense of humor is far more self-depricating than is comfortable for me. I just wasn't ready to watch Hector do more stupid self destructive things.
Hmm but I didn't picture Lupin as the author. Yes there was lots of that self consciously gritty art scene swearing and bohemian behavior.
I will finish it at some point, because I was enjoying it. Plus I've watched Naked since then, which shatters the Lupin connection entirely.
It is funny I loved Lupin in the book and Thewlis did not look like I imagined but I like Thewlis as an actor so much that it is fine.
On a similar note though i have avoided seeing Julian Sands in any of the B movies he's done because I want to see him as George Emerson in Room with a View and I also avoided watching Ben Kingsley play a vicious killer.
I had a hard time imagining him doing Lupin before I saw it. He does a creditable job, but Lupin is way different in my mind.
Naked is simultaneously one of my favorite movies, and one of those films I can't stand watching.
His book isn't worse than Naked, but it is unexpectedly graphic. Lupin would never write naked stories.... ;-)
Oh, I get it now, he's still a werewolf so he has to have an undercurrent of creepy, even though he is kind.
I had no idea that Thewlis had written a book and now I will of course have to get it. I have not seen Naked, what is it about?
I also love his wife/S.O. (I've seen her called different things in different places).
Who's Thewlis married to?
ETA: btw, it's brilliant and a masterpiece, just horribly difficult to watch. Major misogyny. And misanthropy, for that matter.
#64 Sounds like the kind of thing I could enjoy if I'm in the right mood.
Holly and her hubby watched The Big Lebowski just before she gave birth and started calling my nephew the Dude. There's been talk about dressing him in bathrobe next Halloween and having him carry a sippy cup of iced formula (in lieu of a White Russian of course!)
As for Naked, it's worth seeing, but I've only seen it once. It's almost the same vibe as Trainspotting, but even more bleak, as there is no attempt to make the protagonist seem at all hip. And Thewlis is not Ewan MacGregor if you know what I mean. Might be the single greatest achievement in film acting ever, however. And I'm not kidding.
Maybe Snape used the pensieve because he didn't know about the bottles.
and the levicorpus time-line is probably just more of her math issues.
1) Fred and George are in rare form in this chapter -- I guess since they're not at school any more, we get all of their witty remarks at once during holidays.
2) Lupin is so rational -- which is, I think, one of the reasons he doesn't connect with Harry as well as Sirius did.
3) Fleur is always going to have mother-in-law issues. I know Molly gets reconciled to the idea later, but Fleur and Molly are just so different, they will always clash.
4) Scrimgeour mentioning Umbridge was certainly a tactical error.
5) All in all, I feel that Harry does a very good job of handling Scrimgeour in this encounter. Very mature.
1) Are all of the students using McGonagall's fireplace, or just the students in her house? Harry didn't specify which grate, which makes me think that all of them must be coming out of her fireplace. I wonder how the muggle-borns are getting back to Hogwarts (especially those without fireplaces)?
2) Dumbledore is in rare form with the witty remarks in this chapter.
1) Imagine Snape's reaction if Harry had tried the bezoar trick in one of his classes!
2) Ron on love potion makes me laugh out loud every time.
1) Luna's commentary is brilliant!
2) Even madam Pomfrey gets a witty moment: "I'm afraid that (killing Maclaggen) would come under the heading of 'overexertion.' "
1) I thought Gulping Plimpies were a kind of fish. Why would you want to ward them off?
2) Hermione's enabling behavior with Harry and Ron's homework (doing the work for them) continues to bother me.
3) Do all house elves have to have cutesy names?
4) "Hufflepuff's Cup" makes a good tongue-twister. Try saying it five times fast.
5) The scene with Voldy and DD is vivid, gripping. Good writing there.
20:4 Maybe that is why they never win, the Tongue-Twister curse.
20:3 Would you call "Kreacher" cutesy? I wouldn't!