Was anyone disappointed in Book 6?

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Was anyone disappointed in Book 6?

Post  Elanor on Sun Jun 12, 2011 1:08 am

Was anyone disappointed in Book 6?

This topic serves as an archive of a thread from the Harry Potter Lexicon Forum as hosted on World Crossing which ceased operation on April 15, 2011. Elanor

Loopy Lupin - Aug 2, 2005 2:36 pm
Edited by Kip Carter Dec 14, 2005 12:29 am
At the risk of being burned at the stake without a good flame freezing charm, I must say that I am, overall, disappointed with HBP. I have had some time to get over my initial impression which was "Wow!" Indeed, I was reeling from the death of Dumbledore and astounded by the fact that, seemingly and after all this time, Snape appears to be evil after all. (I have since revised that opinion.) But, with the perspective that time brings, I was reminded that somewhere around page 350 or so, I was asking myself: "Is anything going to happen in this book or what?"

If I had to put my disappointment in a nutshell, I felt that this outing suffered from a lack of the imagination that made all the other installments so special. OoP is not even my favorite of the series but for some reason it comes to mind. Where were the thestrals, the doxies, the new and inventive brands of magic (e. g. Occlumency) or the clever new spell that wryly spoke to the mental and emotional state of our hero (e.g. the disillusionment charm)? Where was the camaraderie of going through the day-to-day life at Hogwarts that might have seemed mundane, but that to the true fan was just one of those touches that made you feel as though you were truly immersed in this world? Where were the new magical places (St. Mungos or DOM) or items (Hermione's coins or Sirius' mirror) which revealed the wizarding world to be a boundless place containing innumerable magical things?

It was all gone. All gone and replaced by a relentless, hard charging backstory that refused to be curtailed but that could have been summed up much more quickly and which, as a matter of fact, had been summed up much more quickly and sufficiently in previous books save for the one truly new magical item: Horcruxes. All gone and replaced by the relentless, hard charging hormones of teenagers thoroughly immersed in who likes whom, who is seeing whom, who was seeing whom, and who will be seeing whom in the future. Excuse me, I thought JKR said "What's life without a little romance?" I'm not sure exactly, but HBP without the romance and 'shipping information would be about 300 pages.

A good example of what disappointed me was Apparition. We've heard of Apparition before, of course, but in HBP it was time for Apparition tests and practice. It has been presented as something quite exciting and interesting since at least GoF, but here it really came across to me as though JKR would have preferred to be able to ignore Apparition altogether. She practically did by devoting only a short passage to the practices and by having the test occur completely "off screen." By contrast, Harry spent practically a whole chapter trying to learn Accio in GoF. In that instance, we were with Harry all the way up until he could finally summon books to him at will. In HBP, we learn after the fact that Harry achieved apparition. Notwithstanding the fact that Harry seemed inclined to stick to brooms, achieving apparition is supposedly a milestone in a wizard's life, but we only hear about it in passing.

Yes, I'm well-aware that Harry's ability to apparate played a big role with him and DD at the zombie lake. But, again, without having gone through learning apparation with Harry, it just wasn't the same feeling as when, for example, Harry grabbed Cedric's dead body and shouted Accio .

Sorry if I have rambled on too long, but for me, a lot of the things that were my favorite things were completely absent from this book. I hope they are back in Book 7.



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Last edited by Elanor on Sun Jun 12, 2011 1:31 am; edited 1 time in total
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Was anyone disappointed in Book 6? (Post 1 to 50)

Post  Elanor on Sun Jun 12, 2011 1:11 am

Emily - Aug 2, 2005 2:01 pm (#1 of 264)
Loopy Lupin, I too disliked the book. At first, I hated it. Thought it was terrible. But, I decided to reread it, and have since decided that exhaustion from staying up three night in a row probably made me a little more critical than I might have been. I enjoyed my slower reread much more, although I usually find the first time through is the best. Despite this, I was still disapointed by the book. All the reasons you mention contributed, but my biggest was definitely detail. There just seemed to be so little. I mean, you can go back and say, 'But, we learned this and this and this.' That's great, but I loved reading about classes, and as you mention, about learning 'accio', just things like that. I also felt that there was way too little development for minor characters.

Now I'm pretty sure I'm not making any sense at all, so I'll stop there. I just have to add that while I do have a lot of complaints, I still liked the book, and was at any rate grateful that Harry was no longer going into allcaps what seemed like every other page.

By the way, that was an excellent post, I think.

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Denise P. - Aug 2, 2005 2:41 pm (#2 of 264)

Ravenclaw Pony
My initial thought of the book was "hmm....450 pages of filler, 200 pages of action" I raced through my first reading and was disappointed. I felt like there was just not enough plot being moved.

I left the book alone for almost a week and started to reread. I think I am maybe 5 chapters in and have been there ever since, I just don't really want to read it again right now. I hoped by reading the threads and giving time to pass that I would *want* to leap back in but so far, nope.

Now, those of you who were around will recall I was disappointed in OoP as well but it only took a short time before it grew on me. OoP is now my favorite HP book. I just don't see that happening with HBP.

I don't hate HBP, not by a long shot but I just was disappointed with the overall feel, tone and pace of the book. It was almost as if Jo herself did not write it (although I know she did) I would have expected a book like this around GoF, not the 6th book in a 7 book series.

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Nathan Zimmermann - Aug 2, 2005 4:44 pm (#3 of 264)

I can say was not disappointed or enthralled. The first reading reminded me of the feelings I had after reading CoS I was indifferent to CoS and I am with HBP. Having said there were some high points for me in the book. I must admit I really enjoyed reading the tongue lashing Albus gave the Dursleys and I enjoyed the introducion of Slughorn. On a scale of 1 to 10 I would give this book at rating of about 5 or 6 which is the same rating I gave for CoS as opposed to PoA, GoF and OotP which rated anywhere from an 8 to a 10.

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Mrs Brisbee - Aug 2, 2005 4:57 pm (#4 of 264)

Oh good, I'm not the only one then! I haven't been able to do a reread. A feeling of dissatisfaction crept in during the early chapters the first time through, and even when things finally started popping I just couldn't settle down to liking the book.

I too think it lacked the detail that made the previous books sparkle. And I agree completely that when readers learn about things in passing, in a oh-yeah-this-happened-yesterday kind of way, it blunts the impact (and is a bit boring to boot).

Minor characters from the other books seemed fully realized, even if they had only a line or two. Their personalities shone off the page. In HBP though they seemed flat.

There are certain parts of HBP I thought were really good. But the space in between isn't inviting enough to draw me in a second time.

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Loopy Lupin - Aug 2, 2005 6:24 pm (#5 of 264)

Now, those of you who were around will recall I was disappointed in OoP as well but it only took a short time before it grew on me. OoP is now my favorite HP book. I just don't see that happening with HBP. -- Denise

I wasn't around here when OoP first hit, but I found the Forum shortly thereafter. I too registered disappointment in OoP, but it was different. My criticism of that book was that the Prophecy was completely underwhelming in its revelation. At least from the perspective of the reader, it wasn't earth shattering to learn that Harry and LV are destined to duel it out in the end because I sort of figured that would be the climax all along. But, there was so much else to like, that I've re-read it several times. I am actually re-reading it now in between reading some other books. I've read HBP once and have lent my copy to my niece. I'm sure I will re-read, but like Denise, I'm in no hurry.

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Amilia Smith - Aug 2, 2005 7:31 pm (#6 of 264)

I find it interesting that a major complaint is that nothing really happened in HBP. As I was reading it, I couldn't believe how fast things were happening. After OotP where Harry keeps spiralling lower and lower as he broods over nothing happening, and his being out of the loop with what does actually happen, I was amazed at how quickly things started hopping in HBP.

That said, I did not take into consideration that all of the action takes place off camera. I reserve the right to retract the previous paragraph pending rereads . . . which will not be for at least 6 months. Not a slight against the book, just how long it will take me to forget enough to be able to reread.

What disappointed me about HBP was how Harry was once again cast as a mediocre wizard with a lot of help and a bit of luck. What I loved about PoA the movie was whole Harry is a Really Powerful Wizard thing they had going. You don't really get that in the books until OotP. Which I am OK with as the story is told from Harry's perspective, and we wouldn't like him nearly as much if he knew he was all that and a bag of chips. But I did expect his powers to continue to grow and become more obvious in this book. They didn't.

Also, did we learn anything new in DADA this year? Other than nonverbal spells and a quick side note about inferi, it seemed that Snape was just reviewing what Harry had learned in previous years. Combined with the lack of any new information for Harry last year . . . this does not bode well.

Mills.

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haymoni - Aug 2, 2005 8:49 pm (#7 of 264)

I thought OotP dragged on for an eternity. I thought we would see the destruction that we saw in the opening chapter of HBP. Plus I kept waiting for Voldy to pop out and zap Harry - it just never happened. Thank goodness for the MOM battle.

It was the complete opposite for me with HBP. I lost all track of time - I mean track of time in the book - what season it was, what month it was.

It seems like it all could have happened in 1 week.

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Weeny Owl - Aug 2, 2005 9:48 pm (#8 of 264)

Oddly enough I like it tons more now than I did the first time I read it. Some of the shock has worn off, and I can delve into some of the more subtle passages and see if JKR might be hinting at something. The first reading was just a shock to my system, from Tom Riddle's background to Draco stomping Harry's face to the end.

I have a feeling that if a book can make me as emotional as this one did I would be horrid at Occlumency, so I definitely sympathise with poor Harry.

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The giant squid - Aug 3, 2005 2:51 am (#9 of 264)

I feel teh same way about HBP as I felt about Episode I--it's a lot of backstory and build-up so that in the next installment we'll see stuff start happening. On its own, I think HBP suffers, but it'll feel better (I hope) once we have book 7 in hand.

Either that, or JKR's started believing her own hype and phoned this one in. You decide.

--Mike

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Loopy Lupin - Aug 3, 2005 5:40 am (#10 of 264)

Either that, or JKR's started believing her own hype and phoned this one in. You decide. -- Mike

I'm not ready to say that she phoned this one in. I'll give it the benefit of at least one re-read before I say that; still, I'm not dismissing that thought out of hand. What I do wonder now though--along the lines of "believing her own hype"-- is whether the great detail we had regarding 'ships and romance was in her original plan all along? If it was so be it, but I'd hate to think that she filled so much of HBP with those storylines because 'shipping is such a hot topic. It would kind of be (Mike the Squid will appreciate this) like Jar Jar Binks in reverse. Lucas claimed to have plotted out the Star Wars episodes years ago. Everyone hated Jar Jar Binks who played a semi-major role in Star Wars I. Surprisingly, Star Wars II & III had less and less Jar Jar.

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Mrs Brisbee - Aug 3, 2005 6:47 am (#11 of 264)

I'm still hoping I'll like HBP better after a reread. The funny thing is, is at the moment I can't think of much to post about HBP on these boards. There are all the 'ships, but I'm not much of a 'shipper. We did learn a lot about Voldemort and Snape. I confess that Snape isn't a character who has ever enthralled me-- sometimes interesting, yes, but not fascinating. If too many messages piled up in the Snape thread I'd just hit "mark as read". Perhaps that's one of my problems with the book, that I found the revelations about Snape interesting because of the way they effected the plot and the other characters, but not Snape personally. Where there many revelations about other characters?

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Choices - Aug 3, 2005 10:53 am (#12 of 264)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
I can understand what you all are saying, but for me, it is a HP book and what's not to love about that? I think, in a way, we sabotaged ourselves. By that, I mean we came up with so many theories about the plot and characters, some of them really good theories that came very close to the target, that when we read HBP, we felt we had already been there, done that. It just confirmed which of the theories we had come up with were the correct ones. Yes, there were some shocks and surprises, but much of it seemed "familiar". That said, I love it and am almost through re-reading and will re-read it many more times I am sure......while eagerly awaiting book 7.

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wwtMask - Aug 3, 2005 12:54 pm (#13 of 264)

I can't say I was disappointed by the book. Its tone was as I expected and there were a fair number of shocking events that made me talk out loud to myself. My only real complaint would probably be how fast everything seemed to go in comparison to the pacing of OotP. There was less emphasis on classes and on the trio solving mysteries, which might account for the decrease in detail. It makes sense, I think. Dumbledore was no longer hiding anything from Harry, so the mystery solving was more between him and Harry. Also, I might be the only person who happily said goodbye to Quidditch in the series. As fun as it is, it's usually served as filler material and a convenient catalyst for subplots and minor plot points. No, overall I was satisfied with the book and look forward to slowly re-reading it.

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Surtseystwin - Aug 3, 2005 1:39 pm (#14 of 264)

My disappointment started at the very beginning. I had really been looking forward to seeing Amelia Bones grow into a more important character. To learn, right at the outset that she had been killed was a huge letdown.

All the 'shipping was really tedious for me. I would have traded any (or all) of the snogging scenes for a couple of lines telling how Neville was getting on with his new wand.

I wanted to see A. Moody, more workings of the Order, & the return of the DA. (How stupid was it for them to totally abandon DA meetings after what had happened at the DoM?!) I wanted to read what a fabulous DADA prof. Snape turned out to be, and to hear some of the things he was teaching. Even though Grawp was an annoying part of OotP, "Oh, he's happily living in a cave," seemed like a bit of a throwaway. I would think Hagrid should have a little bit more to say about his progress.

As many have already said, I think HBP is lacking in the kind of detail that I love in the other books, especially life at Hogwarts, and development of secondary characters. I've read through twice, and it did grow on me a bit the second time around, but I think it will always be my least favorite in the series.

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popkin - Aug 3, 2005 2:18 pm (#15 of 264)

mother
Edited by Aug 3, 2005 2:34 pm
I was very dissappointed in HBP, at least in part because I was looking for certain things to happen, and they just weren't there. I wanted to see Neville and Luna blossoming and finding their niches in Hogwarts. They had been such a rich part of OotP, and so undervalued by their fellow classmates. I wanted to see Harry coming to terms with his grief over the death of Sirius, and overcoming his feelings toward the Dursleys and Snape. I wanted to at least get some more hints about Petunia's big secret and her and Lily's back story. I wanted to see Harry buckling down to his studies and becoming the truly great wizard he's supposed to be. I wanted to find out more about St. Mungo's and its residents - especially the Longbottoms. The list goes on and on.

So, I reread the book, knowing what was coming and without any expectations. I did enjoy it more the second time. However, I had to skip the first chapter entirely as it bored me completely. I was still pushing myself to slog through the first 300 pages or so. Then, round about Slughorn's Christmas party JKR seemed to come into her element. From that point forward things flowed more like in her other books.

JKR had deadlines to meet - especially finishing the book before her baby was born. I know she wants to spend time with her family, as she should, without the pressures of publishing HBP hanging over her head. If we could go back, I would rather she'd announced it would be another two years until she'd have the book the way she wanted it. It really needed some tweaking.

EDIT: Aside from the writing style, I was also dissappointed by the decline of moral standards in HBP. Dumbledore was abusive to the Dursleys (he's supposed to take the high ground, and I felt it was out of character), and he had no compunction about confunding the director of the orphanage and getting her drunk when she started to ask questions about Hogwarts. He could have gotten her permission without that.

Students and teachers were entirely too quick to drink alcohol in general. Mulled mead replaced butterbeer, and wine was drunk to slake a thirst instead of water or pumpkin juice.

I know there were other things, but these were on my mind just now.

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Loopy Lupin - Aug 3, 2005 3:19 pm (#16 of 264)

All the 'shipping was really tedious for me. I would have traded any (or all) of the snogging scenes for a couple of lines telling how Neville was getting on with his new wand. -- Surtseystwin

Hear! Hear! I knew that after I wrote a veritable tome to start this thread, someone would come along and make my feelings much more succinct. I had completely forgotten that Neville had a new wand. Gee, I wonder why? Yes, what happened with that? Was Neville still inept? Did he do a little better? Or is he just, pardon the expression, a wiz at magic nowadays?

Aside from the writing style, I was also dissappointed by the decline of moral standards in HBP.--popkin

I had some feelings about that as well. (It might even be worthy of its own thread.) Let's see between all the rude gestures, the statements that this character or that character "swore," the actual swear words (one in particular that will remain unnamed), the downing of mulled mead, the downing of wine, the downing of gin, and the rampant snogging, I was beginning to wonder if Harry had been hexed with a springus breakus charm. I realize that the kids are older and are acting a bit more like teenagers supposedly act, but part of the charm, for me, is that the WW is a stuck in a bit of a time warp. Next thing you know, Harry will start smoking mimbulus mimbletonia and be the "Half- Baked Prince."

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timrew - Aug 3, 2005 3:33 pm (#17 of 264)

Middle-aged Harry Potter fan
Loopy:- Next thing you know, Harry will start smoking mimbulus mimbletonia and be the "Half-Baked Prince. LOL!

Surtseystwin:- All the 'shipping was really tedious for me. I would have traded any (or all) of the snogging scenes for a couple of lines telling how Neville was getting on with his new wand.

popkin:- Aside from the writing style, I was also dissappointed by the decline of moral standards in HBP.

Loopy et al........Let's not forget that JKR is writing the books, and not us. We have to accept that.

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Finn BV - Aug 3, 2005 5:17 pm (#18 of 264)

Me kayaking, Niagara River, August 2006. I have been likened to Reepicheep in this photo.
… between all the rude gestures… --Loopy Lupin
I had noticed it in previous books, but this book it actually seemed to me that hardly a page went by before I saw "Ron made a rude hand gesture" again.

… the statements that this character or that character "swore,"…
Same deal.

… the actual swear words (one in particular that will remain unnamed)…
Really? Hmm… what page? I seem at a loss to recall such a word.

… the downing of mulled mead, the downing of wine, the downing of gin,
True, true, mostly elderly men or women doing the downing too, no?

… and the rampant snogging…
Well, I was glad that she included 'ships but they seemed to get a little heavy at times, no?

Well, that said, I have to say that we got a lot from Book 6, but not necessarily in the most efficient and complete way I might have liked it. In OoP, I was pleased with the turning of events and that to date is my favorite book. Maybe a reread will help (it did with OoP) but for now it seems things were either too rushed or done too – pardon me, JKR – sloppily. The same storyline could have been portrayed in another way. I just need to find the time to reread.

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Amilia Smith - Aug 3, 2005 5:38 pm (#19 of 264)

Choices: I think, in a way, we sabotaged ourselves. By that, I mean we came up with so many theories about the plot and characters, some of them really good theories that came very close to the target, that when we read HBP, we felt we had already been there, done that.

You know, I keep trying to get my brother to join the forum, but he keeps refusing for that exact reason. He says that if he reads a theory that turns out to be true, it is as bad as a spoiler.

Mills.

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Deb Zawacki - Aug 3, 2005 5:53 pm (#20 of 264)

I think that in the course of practicing apparition Harry could have been scooped off somewhere and witnessed something cool or important, then come back, maybe without anyone knowing he'd left---that would have cool because he would have abctually passed the test or whatever without being old enough etc.

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Deb Zawacki - Aug 3, 2005 6:01 pm (#21 of 264)

Actually, I just closed the book and tossed it aside--I was angry and disappointed and I didn't want to re-read it because while it added information to the the Voldemort back-story it didn't show much character growth on anyone's part---

Sure Harry matured a little but another book of him throwing tantrums wouldn't have worked. But it was as if everyone was distant--Harry was taking Newts to study to be an auror, but what about Hermione? And Ginny had to have had career counseling prior to OWLS---

I don't think Jo's heart was in this one--she was going to kill DD, went through the pregnancy--and has had to clear up some backstory issues that hadn't been addressed in previous books, and wanted to show Harry as suddenly mature and capable--but all she managed to show was that Draco and DD could both imobilize him and Snape could block his spells--so how has Harry's powers advanced? I didn't see him being any stronger.

Now she has said books 6 and 7 are really one book in two parts---hope she is planning for like 1200 pages, then.

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Hollywand - Aug 3, 2005 6:19 pm (#22 of 264)

Gryffindor
Add me to the disappointed list as well. I think Loopy's remarks about the delicious detail being absent, and Harry as a mediocre wizard are excellent observations.

I could have done without the Snog-a-thon, and much more interested in the maturation of all the characters. Very much looking forward to NEWT level magical class descriptions.

Harry wandered into some very troubling behaviour during the book, and most of his inner circle (save Hermione) have no trouble with his actions. It made the whole underlying theme of ethics ring hollow, eg, "if Gryffindor does x it's justified, if Slytherin does x it's evil". Don't think so.

It seemed to me that Rowling ticked off a list of responses to web queries.

While I was entralled by the previous books, I have no desire to reread Book six.

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Nathan Zimmermann - Aug 3, 2005 6:46 pm (#23 of 264)

Hollywand, the point about Hermione being the only one who is troubled by Harry's actions in book six. The same holds true for the other books as well. In all the books of Harry's close friends only Hermione and at times Neville have been troubled by his actions and voiced their concerns.

In this book Harry did himself a serious disservice in that he has the capabaility of maturing greatly achieving academically to the level of Hermione, the Marauders Lily and Severus, if he would follow the advice Snape gave to Harry to keep his mouth shut and mind closed. I took the quote to mean that he needs to focus more on his studies than he has in the past. So there were echoes of the past books but, they were far and few between.

I disagree with those that said Dumbledore was abusive toward the Dursley's. I would assert that such a conversation about their treatment of Harry should have taken place earlier.

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Madame Librarian - Aug 3, 2005 8:27 pm (#24 of 264)

Oh, my...I can't say that I had any huge disappointments in this book. I hope this thread allows for some praise.

The heavy, heavy mood that ran all through OoP what with Harry being on trial, not believed by his fellow students, feeling betrayed and shunned by Ron and Hermione--all of that depression and anger, pain and suffering in silence was lifted in HBP. Whew! The very air seemed clearer. Clouds looming a bit on the horizon, but the hero took positive action in a well-defined role as a protege of DD's, he had positive relationships with his good buddies again, and he spoke up now in many cases rather than stewing in his own juice. The change of mood lent itself to lighter funnier bits and allowed me to relax and enjoy those trips with DD down Memory Lane.

I relished all the information that was given in this book. That sufficed as good action for me. Each episode in the Pensieve served as a neat, satisfying story on its own (beginning-middle-end). I agree that s some may have felt it dull partly because of all our endless theorizing and imagining scenarios not too far off from what JKR conceived. It's the risk we take and have to live with.

I don't have a problem with anyone's behavior (the relaxing of morals issue) in this book--I think JKR is writing what she thinks is credible for these characters, and there's an honesty about their motivations and actions. There are many teens like Ron who are not the most articulate that go through a period of life when the rude gesture becomes the all-purpose comment. She's stated clearly that she didn't plan this as a children's book, and she's never implied that her intentions will be to cloak things in fuzzy, feel-good ways.

I was thankful not to have to read much about Grawp. The 'ship stuff was fine, and I felt JKR waiting till a break in the intensity of the information and action to treat it. It did not seem to linger. And, I sniffed quite a bit at Harry's break-up with Ginny. It was so sad, and really brought home the point that Harry is going to have to face Voldmeort on his own. JKR used that sweet romance and the dangers any attachments Harry has formed to remind us that not only is he The Boy Who Lived, but that he is quickly becoming the The Boy Who Must Face Things Alone. I thought the development of that concept was elegantly meshed with the whole 'ship thing.

I would have like a bit more on Neville and Luna, and I missed the beginning-of-the-book nastiness of life with the Dursleys. All outweighed by the good stuff.

I, too, am waiting a bit for a re-read. Need to forget stuff (which happens quite quickly these days) in order to "read new" again.

Ciao. Barb

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haymoni - Aug 3, 2005 8:40 pm (#25 of 264)

God help the Dursleys if I had been the one to show up on their doorstep instead of Dumbledore.

I would have wacked them on the head with the decanter, not some piddly little glasses!

I felt that this book brought us back to Harry. I don't think that ANYONE was surprised at the end of OotP to find out that Harry would someday have to face Voldy - Duh! Like that was some sort of big secret.

HBP let us get on with it - How is he going to do it? What steps will he have to take? Who will be there to help him? Who won't be there? Who will try to get in his way?

Bring on Book 7!!! Think it's too early to ask for a title yet???

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Nathan Zimmermann - Aug 3, 2005 8:41 pm (#26 of 264)

Madame Librarian, that is one of the things I enjoy most about the forum is all the opposing view points they giveme much to weigh an ponder. The points you brought up are point that I had not considered.

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Weeny Owl - Aug 3, 2005 9:17 pm (#27 of 264)

As Harry gets older he sees more and hears more than he used to, or at least he pays attention to a bit more.

In one of the books Hagrid is drinking wine at Christmas and ends up kissing McGonagall on the cheek. In GoF Percy is drinking wine. In GoF Snape blasts apart rose bushes because couples have sneaked in there to do some smooching.

I don't see that sort of thing as being different than previous books except Harry notices it a bit more, and when he notices things so do we.

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Loopy Lupin - Aug 4, 2005 6:14 am (#28 of 264)

Let's not forget that JKR is writing the books, and not us. We have to accept that. - timrew

Well, sure tim. I understand that completely. However, accepting that doesn't mean that I have to love whatever she might put her name on. The tense you use in your sentence is also significant: "is writing." Book 7 is not even started yet. I am not so self important or naive as to think that JKR will care one whit--much less be influenced by-- anything that I or we write about her books. Still, she tells us she reads the fan comments, so at least I can speak my peace and it will be there for anyone who cares to look.

I don't see that sort of thing as being different than previous books except Harry notices it a bit more, and when he notices things so do we. -- Weeny Owl

I disagree with that. There was a definite difference in the quantity of that "sort of thing" in this book and I don't think it had anything to do with Harry's heightened perception. Sure, there had been drinking in the past and characters had been a little tipsy or more than a little tipsy before, even if it was just a house elf sloshed off butterbeer. Harry participating, however, was a difference in kind. I also think that Snape catching a couple in the bushes while a dance is going on is a far cry from Ron's and Lavender's snogathon. (By the way, doesn't Hogwarts have rules on public displays of affection? Of course, I'm ancient, but my highschool frowned on that sort of thing.)

The heavy, heavy mood that ran all through OoP what with Harry being on trial, not believed by his fellow students, feeling betrayed and shunned by Ron and Hermione--all of that depression and anger, pain and suffering in silence was lifted in HBP.-- Madame Librarian

Yes, but all the "heavy mood" of OoP was also the source of conflict in the story. What is drama without conflict? I spent way too much time in HBP dealing with Harry being conflicted about liking his best mate's sister.

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Denise P. - Aug 4, 2005 6:21 am (#29 of 264)

Ravenclaw Pony
I have to pipe up with the comment that I didn't go into this book with any preconcieved notions on what to expect, what theories would be debunked or validated so that is not the root of my disappointment.

I would have to say the entire tone of the books was vastly different from the others. We have the dark angst of OoP and seeing as the world is openly at War now, I would have expected more dark angst. Instead, we get a relative romp through Sweet Valley Snogwarts. I would have expected this type of book, one I consider a transition novel, earlier in the series ...not the second to the last book.

Seems to me as if JKR opened up more questions than answered and I wonder how she is going to tie them all up.

One of these days, I will pick it up again and read it. Maybe I will like it better but I don't expect it to ever become one of my favorites of the series.

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Mrs Brisbee - Aug 4, 2005 6:51 am (#30 of 264)

Snogwarts --Denise P.

LOL! Did you coin that one, Denise?

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Denise P. - Aug 4, 2005 7:00 am (#31 of 264)

Ravenclaw Pony
Well, I was going to write Sweet Valley Snogging Hogwarts when I realized I could combine Snogging and Hogwarts nicely Thus was born in my post, Sweet Valley Snogwarts

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Loopy Lupin - Aug 4, 2005 7:30 am (#32 of 264)

LOL. I have to say that I had previously heard someone describe this book as "Snogwarts: A History."

Perhaps expecting more dark angst is a kind of preconception. But, it is what I expected too. The "Second War" had begun a long time ago, but I'm still waiting for the battlefield.

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Lupin is Lupin. Natch. - Aug 4, 2005 7:37 am (#33 of 264)

Sometimes known as Kim.
I have to say that I had previously heard someone describe this book as "Snogwarts: A History."---Loopy Lupin

That was me. I told the both of you. And to give full credit (because I really think it's going to catch on) the person who first coined it and her post can be found here: Oruma - Jul 17, 2005, #218: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

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Nathan Zimmermann - Aug 4, 2005 8:20 am (#34 of 264)

While, I have some reservations and disappointments about the HBP. I was not disconcerted by the alcohol that was served to Dudley at the Dursley's and Harry or any of the other sixth year students at functions because, if I remember correctly in Britain as with other countries in Europe the age at which a person may legally consume alcohol is 16 years of age.

The greatest source of disappoinment I received was due to the minimal notice given to post O.W.L. academics.

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Lupin is Lupin. Natch. - Aug 4, 2005 8:58 am (#35 of 264)

Sometimes known as Kim.
Nathan raises a very good point. Most members of the Forum are American and thus bring American sensibilities to their reading of the Harry Potter books. I had one friend, who shall remain nameless, who thought JKR should explain what a 'Prime Minister' is for those young children who wouldn't know. As I explained, no one would have to tell an eight-year-old American kid what a 'President' was. In some countries, swearing is more acceptable than it is here. And so isn't drinking and it is introduced more casually into the home without the stringent taboos that are found here.

As for rude hand gestures, I believe they're universal.

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Loopy Lupin - Aug 4, 2005 9:43 am (#36 of 264)

Well perhaps you're right that American sensibilities have crept into my reading of the book. I did look up the drinking age issue. It varies depending on what country you are in and what setting you are in (i.e. restaurant vs. pub)as well. I did see something that said 16 was old enough in London but that it was 18 elsewhere in England which I found odd. At any rate, as we've seen with the age of majority (17 vs. 18) JKR doesn't really bind herself to the muggle world.

At any rate, I think I can say that the "morals" issue wasn't my major source of disappointment, just another observation of some things that didn't feel right. Lavender's still a "scarlet woman" in my book though.

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Eponine - Aug 4, 2005 10:25 am (#37 of 264)

Lav-Lav did seem to be a bit loose in that department.

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Veritaserum - Aug 4, 2005 11:22 am (#38 of 264)

Go Jays!
Maybe it's just because I'm a teenager myself, but none of the things Harry, etc. did in this book seemed outrageous. It showed me that they're growing up. Remember, HRH aren't kids anymore; they're 17 years old! I have no problem with how they were acting. They were all being more independent.

I like whoever said that this book was more about Harry. I disagree with all those who said Harry is still a mediocre wizard or who didn't mature. I think it was really brilliant, the character development of Harry in this. I didn't have a problem with the more concise storyline. I could definitely see Harry coming into his element, deciding what he stood for, and getting out of his angsty stage. In my opinion he is finally becoming your classic hero. "Dumbledore's man through and through," I loved it! As for him being a mediocre wizard...Dumbledore seems to think he's good enough: "Don't worry Professor" "I'm not...I'm with you." And wasn't it Hermione who in the first book said there were more important things than books and cleverness, like bravery and loyalty?

The only beef I could have would be that some things seemed written a little hastily, but in light of the overall book, they are insignificant. And as for new inventions, what about the Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes?

I for one, think the ending was magnificent, and I cannot wait for Book 7 based on that. Harry has definitely grown into one of my most favorite characters.

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Loopy Lupin - Aug 4, 2005 11:31 am (#39 of 264)

I disagree with all those who said Harry is still a mediocre wizard or who didn't mature.-- Veritaserum

I am curious about who is saying this. I'd agree 100% that Harry is not nor has he ever been "mediocre." True, he doesn't pick up on some things as quickly as Hermione, but that's to be expected. It was Hermione and 24 other students who sought Harry out to teach them DADA in OoP. Plus, his grades were generally quite high with him actually beating Hermione in DADA. There was nothing about Harry's skill as a wizard that I found to be disappointing in the book.

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Amilia Smith - Aug 4, 2005 6:09 pm (#40 of 264)

OK, the mediocre wizard bit was me.

Basically because the books are told from Harry's point of view, and because Harry considers himself mediocre, we don't see how great he is. We have the back-stage view. We see him struggling over homework; agonizing over what he is expected to do, knowing he is not good enough; then in the final climax of the book, his luck somehow comes through and he is able to pull it off. But Harry really does believe it is just luck. He doesn't think what he can do is anything out of the ordinary.

This doesn't really change until OotP. Sure, he fights off a hundred dementors in PoA, but we don't find out how truly extraordinary this is until OotP. Suddenly Harry is the leader of the resistance. The lone voice of dissent to a deluded Ministry and an incompetent teacher. His fellow students are in awe of what he can do, and ask him to teach them. We find out that Krum felt Harry knew more things he had never learned. We finally come to realize that this really is a truly powerful wizard we are dealing with, one who may just have a chance at Voldemort . . . and for more reasons than just the literary imperative that the bad guy can't win.

But come HBP, Powerful Wizard Harry is once again hiding behind Mediocre Wizard Harry. The one and only thing we see him excelling at is Potions, which is quickly attributed to the luck of borrowing Snape's marked up textbook. Even the climactic sequence at the end fails to show Harry in a more favorable light. It is Dumbledore who is able to get past the defences guarding the Horcrux; Harry would not have known where to begin. It is Dumbledore who, even though he is weakened by the potion, is able to fight off the inferi. Harry is just along for the ride; he's there a Dumbledore's moral support. Then, when Harry and Dumbledore return to Hogwarts, Harry is quickly immobilized. He is not allowed to test or prove his prowess on the Tower. Once he is unfrozen, Harry chases after Snape, who is able to fend him off with no effort at all.

Please note that I am only speaking of Harry's magical ability, not of his character development. I agree, Veritaserum, that Harry has grown into himself. As a matter of fact, I saw the quote you cited, "Don't worry Professor" "I'm not...I'm with you," as more a statement of Harry's character, rather than an assessment of his magical prowess.

Mills.

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The Sword and the Lion - Aug 4, 2005 7:18 pm (#41 of 264)

The HBP was a character study. In the place of lessons, new magic and quirky revelations about Hogwarts, the novel focused on the central characters coming of age while they learned how to deal with their complex feelings and emotions in a mature manner. The lessons, arguabley, took place outside of the classroom this year. I agree that the HBP was emotionally draining, but so is life at times -- not everything can be solved by magic, even in a magical world! The characters grew tremendously in this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the dark-humor and the realistic portrait of a teenagers' hectic life that J.K.R painted.

The central theme of the HBP revolves around the mistakes that everyone inevitably makes in the course of living (Dumbledore and Voldemort included). How many different ways could Tom Riddle have been prevented from becoming what he is at present? What would have happened if Harry had told Dumbledore about Trelawyn's warning or given him the Half-Blood-Prince potion book? Consider what would have happened if Malfoy had not chosen to become a Death-Eater. The HBP was the most emotionally moving book thus far in the series, and for me, that is the hallmark of a great book. Harry Potter has grown up.

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Veritaserum - Aug 4, 2005 8:59 pm (#42 of 264)

Go Jays!
I agree with what you said, The Sword and the Lion, and I like your point about how it is a character study. It truly is, not just for Harry, but for Voldemort and Dumbledore too. You definitely need this kind of depth and backstory before you can go off in the Book 7 and defeat Voldy. It's actually really cool that JKR has a whole series in which to develop backstory, because usually you have to go with the abbreviated version of a few chapters.

And I think one of the main reasons I did like this book so much was because of the character study. These kinds of things appeal to me, maybe because I act and write as well.

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Nathan Zimmermann - Aug 4, 2005 10:28 pm (#43 of 264)

Veritaserum, I had not envisaged HBP in terms of a character study. But, as I reflect on the ide shift my perceptions of the novel as whole are more moderated because, HBP in a way is a character study of the four major figures Harry, Albus, Severus, and Voldemort. But, Also in the book I think that J.K. Rowling successfully reinforced two key themes that are present in each book. First, the choices a person makes defines the more so than their abilities do. Second, love is one of the most mysterious, important, and necessary forces known in nature.

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coolbeans3131 - Aug 5, 2005 4:37 am (#44 of 264)

Count me as another who was and remains disappointed in HBP. If you had told me before it came out, that I'd feel this way, I wouldn't have believed you.

I felt kind of depressed after reading OotP, and had to pass the book on to other family members, so I couldn't re-read it right away. I did, however, start with SS again and was ready for my second reading of OotP by the time it came back to me. It became my second favorite book, behind PoA. I loved the character development in Order.

There are certain passages in all the books I tend to skip over in all the books. I don't care to read Quidditch passages. Once is enough for me. I think Jo went into a little too much detail in certain scenes in both books 4 and 5, and I just skip over paragraphs here and there.

Now to HBP. I haven't really been able to figure out exactly what I find so distressing about this book yet. I have puzzle pieces, but they're not fit together into the whole picture yet. I have no desire to re-read it, or the others right now. Part of the reason I wanted to re-read the whole series after Order, was that I knew I would see characters and events differently than I did in my previous reads, because we learned so much in OotP, especially about characters personalities and their motivations. There was certainly charter growth in HBP, but I was unhappy with most character progressions.

I can't believe Neville was a day player and can someone tell me why Jo bothered with the character of Luna in the first place? She was cute in this book, but completely unimportant. I've always had problems with Ron, and they continued here. My biggest disappointment was in Hermione. She's always had annoying habits, but they were softened by her selfless giving to Harry and her close friendship with him. There was nothing in this book to even the scales for Hermione. She just grated and seemed to regress in maturity with almost every chapter.

I'll stop for now. Maybe I need to get all my problems with the book of my chest and out of the way, before I can focus on what I liked (Draco's characterization, for one)and then re-read and hopefully enjoy this book for what it is. CoS is my least favorite of the series,(excluding HBP) but I still like it and have read it 6 or 7 times. I hope I can enjoy BP 6 times too!

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Eunice - Aug 5, 2005 11:38 am (#45 of 264)

*Snapette & Lupinette forever*
After reading the first two chapters of HBP, I was delighted. Some of the best HP chapters so far, in my opition. But after Spinner's End, you have to wait till the Cave to see something in action.

I completely disliked the treatment of Fleur - I liked her so much in GoF! Why call her "Phlegm" and spend so much time mocking her? I didn't like that.

At Hogwarts there was nothing really special. Draco's attacks - the necklace, the poisoned drink - flowed through me as water, I didn't even realized there was something on. And we didn't see almost anything of Snape's DADA lessons! I thought they were going to be important!

JKR's writing style seemed to raise only in the Pensieve'scenes. She has a knack in writing flashbacks. And I keep to ask to myself: why, if she's so good in writing from another's point of view, she has always to write with the camera fixed on Harry? I'd like so much to read more chapters from other points of view, just like the first two or the first of GoF.

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azi - Aug 5, 2005 12:07 pm (#46 of 264)

Photo borrowed from Ardent Photography
I actually hated the first chapter of the book. It was slow going I found, especially since a lot of things we already knew seemed to be recapped. I did pause to appreciate that we did learn quite a bit about Voldemort's movements in that chapter, but it still hasn't taken to me. I much prefer the rest of the book, which I loved.

Overall, I wasn't disappointed! Yes, I could say the book was too fast paced, especially compared to book 5, and that there was too much information stuffed into my brain too quickly, but after re-reading I don't mind. I can forget the apparent slight difference in characterisation I saw because of the unpredictable plot.

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David Olson - Aug 5, 2005 3:08 pm (#47 of 264)

I'm not sure what I think of HBP, but I don't think I'm nearly as disappointed as some of the posters in this discussion. Maybe my expectations weren't as high as some: as the penultimate book, HBP has the unfortunate duty to tie off some subplots without the compensation of a thumping conclusion. It can't go off on random tangents because, as any reader of the Lexicon Forum knows, JKR's tangents are not random but threads of an intricately woven tapestry. We see the threads and know a conclusion is near. If we could only perceive the fabric, we would see the whole story stretched out on the loom before us.

On that issue, I'm not sure why so many people praise JKR for her inventive fantasy world. I don't, for example, get the sense of an enormous multi-cultural world, such as when I read Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. But JKR tops Tolkien with in a story that is as tangled as taffy. And she does something that few books about children ever do: her characters grow up. Did Charlie Brown or Nancy Drew ever age? And those changes seem to lie at the center of the critic complaints about the last couple of books: the sullen, impulsive teenagers in OotP and the 'shipping and snogging young adults in HBP. If my childhood is any guide, these kids are remarkably well-behaved. It would impoverish the series for them to stay 11 for 7 years.

With regard to drinking, I fail to see any connection to immorality. In terms of responsibility, the drinking is legal, in moderation, and in sensible social situations. I don't drink, and I have two kids; I would much rather my kids learn about drinking from Harry Potter than what they will learn from American pop culture.

And as far as the snogging, JKR's 16/17-year-olds are pretty tame compared to my hometown. What she writes was pretty much the typical "good kid" behavior in my hometown.

I share some of the regrets posted: what about Luna, Neville, and Dumbledore's Army? I could have done without the first chapter, but she has been saving it for over a decade, and it wouldn't fit in the last book. She had to plop it there or drop it altogether (which would have been a good idea). And enough backstory! It is more interesting when everything isn't so thoroughly laid out, and we get to guess at it. We're too confident of the pieces we actually do know. At least the gradual history of Voldy wasn't as bad as the hype for "The Prophecy," but how much clarity did we really need?

Quidditch gone, yawn.

I think HBP will look more interesting, in retrospect, when book 7 comes out. This book is mostly a set up for the fireworks that are to come, so the plot is like riding a train. I also think that the obsession with "Dead or Not" is distracting people from all the clues that foreshadow book 7. For example, Spinners End is a tangled mess. And Harry now unites the Houses: courageous, intelligent, loyal, and ambitious.

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Veritaserum - Aug 5, 2005 4:30 pm (#48 of 264)

Go Jays!
Wow, David Olson, I like your last sentence about Harry uniting the houses in himself. I hadn't thought of that before.

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timrew - Aug 5, 2005 5:03 pm (#49 of 264)

Middle-aged Harry Potter fan
Well, 'Hogwarts' has come to equal 'Snogwarts'. Why did we have a 'Ship' thread in the first place?

Did no-one expect any romance, despite talking about it? And why do we decry it when it happens?

As I said, JKR is writing the books, and I, for one, was expecting book 6 to be a lot darker - so, I got that wrong!

With book 7, we should expect the explanation, or cop-out. Let's wait for that.........I am expecting an explanation........

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Sticky Glue - Aug 5, 2005 6:03 pm (#50 of 264)

I'm enjoying HBP more on the second read, I'm taking it slow and trying to pick up the clues etc.

One of the problems I think is that JKR has seen and heard too much of what the fans (like us) have been saying and wanting to know on these sites.

I think see tried to answer too many of our questions. (Although in some ways I really liked that). I think that she got sick of the shipping questions, so put them in our face in this one.

Also in the first 5 books she was planting clues and hiding so many things, it created more intrige. Where as in this book the clues are starting to be pulled together, they are out in the open.

I think I read somewhere that she had originally planned on this book being quite short, I think she answered our questions about relationships and that padded it out a bit.

Over all I quite like the book and can't wait for book seven.

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Was anyone disappointed in Book 6? (Post 51 to 100)

Post  Elanor on Sun Jun 12, 2011 1:15 am

Prefect Marcus - Aug 5, 2005 6:25 pm (#51 of 264)
"Anyone can cook"
Edited by Denise P. Aug 5, 2005 6:29 pm
Was I disappointed? Yes. Was I satisfied with the book? Yes.

I was disappointed in all the snogging. "Get on with the story, please!" If I wanted Sweet Valley High, I would have bought Sweet Valley High.

I am not saying that such activities are not part of growing up (especially away from possible frowning parents), but Rowling chose to write about them instead of Harry's school work. I guess she was getting to the same saturation point that she has gotten to with Quidditch. There is only so many ways to write about school and schoolwork and keep it interesting and different. So hence the snogfest. That could be why Harry is not coming back to Hogwarts next year. She has run out of Hogwarts ideas.

Things could have moved quicker, I think. Nobody believed Won-Won/Lav-Lav for a second; and as soon as Harry started have gut wrenches whenever Ginny was around, we all knew he was doomed. So cut to the chase, already!

I must admit that the drinking troubled me, too. It was just too casual for my tastes. Nothing there about, "Hey, I can drink this stuff now!" Remember OoP when Ron got excited about drinking fire whiskey? This time around, nothing. What happened?

It was just part of the oh-by-the-ways.

Oh by the way, I'm drinking now.
Oh by the way, I'm apparating now.
Oh by the way, I'm taking DADA from Snape now.
Oh by the way, I'm researching in the Restricted Section now.

Marcus

Marcus, I just edited an HTML tag for you so your italics showed up D~

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Loopy Lupin - Aug 6, 2005 9:10 am (#52 of 264)

Yes, I would have thought that "Oh, by the way" I have to learn DADA from Snape would have deserved more attention. We end OoP with Harry absolutely hating Snape. No, he never liked him, but with Harry blaming Snape, in part, for Sirius' death, I looked at it as a different kind of "hate." So, here we are in Book 6, still dealing with him, still having to look at him, but from reading you'd think having Snape as a teacher again was simply a mild annoyance.

Perhaps she has run out of ideas for lessons in school. That wouldn't seem like her though, at least in my view. I can see how there is only so much you can do with the Quidditch sport which is probably why she focused more on the internal dynamics of the team than the actual matches in these last two books.

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Eunice - Aug 6, 2005 11:16 am (#53 of 264)

*Snapette & Lupinette forever*
I wasn't annoyed by the snogging, but I do believe that she inserted so much of is in this book because of the fans and because she enjoyed so much reading the fans' shipping theories on the web. I don't believe that she foresaw writing the snogging while she was planning book 1.

I hoped there could be a more active role for Ron and Hermione, that barely do anything but quarreling and making it up again. They're not influent on the plot.

I was happy that Harry seemed pretty grown since the OotP's dumps. Until he wounds Malfoy, Harry seems even to do everything good

I'd loved to see more of Voldemort and his deeds. As someone said, although there's a war going on, it looks like it's the smoothier Howgarts year till now.

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Good Evans - Aug 6, 2005 11:29 am (#54 of 264)

Practically perfect in every way
well I for one loved it! It may be my favourite installment - the jury is out!!

I like the books to stand alone, that was what disappointed me most about OOtP, it was a filler. I can now appreciate OOtP much more because I understand the subtle plot devices that were expanded in HBP. I was a bit dissapointed in the title (the half blood prince was not the main plot and therefore unneccesary, but the story was there and was contained). Granted there are lots of questions and lots of tantalising parts for the remaining book. But disappointed? Most definitely not. She made me laugh (loved the lavender and ron storyline - dont you remember being 14 - 16 when you had your first kissy relationship - spot on!). I liked Harry again - I wanted to give him a boot up the bum during most of OOtP.

overall - loved it and it may be my favourite, but that means replacing POA and I need to read it a couple of more times to make that decision yet.

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Mrs Brisbee - Aug 6, 2005 11:35 am (#55 of 264)

I was annoyed by all the snogging, but in such a way that I thought it was funny that I felt annoyed. It was just so sixteen. Just like everyone was so annoyingly thirteen in PoA, in an amusing kind of way.

I'd have to say it was the Oh by the way stuff that bothered me most, and the loss of the usual great detail that usually comes with Hogwarts and the minor characters.

I have a friend who really disliked CoS because she said all the new characters --Mytle, Colin Creevy, and Lockhart-- were just annoying. Did we have any nice new characters introduced in HBP, or were they all somewhat scummy? The new MoM, the girl who keeps trying to feed Harry love potions, the jerk who wants to be Griffindor's keeper --they're all just obnoxious. Some people do find Slughorn lovable, though not me (although he at least is not evil like Lockhart was). Maybe all the negative interaction with other characters outside of Harry's select group was a little wearing too.

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Steve Newton - Aug 6, 2005 1:47 pm (#56 of 264)

Librarian
I was surprised that some previous subjects were ignored or given very little play. Grawn had most of 2 chapters in OOTP and gets a line in this. The Creevey's get no mention at all. Most of the DA is not mentioned. Neville, Luna, and Lupin get marginal. Very little mention of centaurs. Peter only in one chapter. I thought that most of these would be more important.

The snogging seemed appropriate and fun to read.

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M A Grimmett - Aug 6, 2005 2:11 pm (#57 of 264)

I felt that JKR needed to lay the last pieces out so that book 7 will be absolutely spectacular. She did it in a way that I found entertaining, and it's maddening to know that we have to wait years for the final installment, but CoS is still my least favorite book. I took the snogging as kind of an emotional reaction to the danger--Molly mentions that there are a lot of fast marriages going on, just as there were during LV's first reign of terror.

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Veritaserum - Aug 6, 2005 4:56 pm (#58 of 264)

Go Jays!
Yes! I'm glad there are some people that liked the book!

And I know someone sort of said this before, but I do think that probably the more personal we make it, and the closer relationship we have with the books, the more we'll be disappointed if things don't turn out the way we wanted. We stop feeling like spectators and more like participants. This is why it hurts so much when characters die, too.

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Denise P. - Aug 6, 2005 5:57 pm (#59 of 264)

Ravenclaw Pony
I realize that there are many, many, many people who love/adore this book and can't understand why anyone would dare be disappointed but those who were, their feelings are just as valid.

This thread was set up for those who were/are disappointed in HBP, at least on the initial reading.

If you want to praise the book, please start a thread about "What I loved in HBP" rather than go off topic trying to explain why people should not feel disappointed or why you loved it.

Thanks!

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Loopy Lupin - Aug 6, 2005 7:10 pm (#60 of 264)

Indeed. And, let me also say that "disappointment" does not necessarily equate to "dislike." There are legions of people who feel that none of the books after POA have lived up to what JKR accomplished in that third installment. (At least, I think it still remains safe to say that POA is the frontrunner of "favorite" among most people.) I, by no means, have meant to imply that I "hate" the book or that I feel resigning as a Harry Potter freak. Rather, I was simply disappointed and felt the need to say so.
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Chemyst - Aug 6, 2005 9:30 pm (#61 of 264)

"Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up." A.A. Milne
This thread was set up for those who were/are disappointed in HBP, at least on the initial reading. - Denise P.

Yes, Ma'am.
I'll commence complaining.

The disappointing parts were almost entirely due to *What Was Missing*. Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's, Easter holidays have always given a sense of flow and continuity to the school year; but not this time. Ron's birthday– well it is nice he got a watch, but I think some regular Owl Post deliveries in the Great Hall have felt more celebratory. No one asked Luna how her summer was, "Find any snorcacks?" Marietta wears make-up; I guess I should be thankful for that one line but- does that mean they are slowly fading?

The school drop-out plan was rather jolting. If book 7 follows through with that, it won't take a Trelawny to predict a bunch of upset muggle educators.
As I was reading it, I kept thinking what a hard time a scriptwriter would have adapting this book for the movies. There are some great sets and individual scenes, but they seemed to be strung up like a series of one-act plays. The snogging stories were the only thing that gave it continuity!

The other thing that bothered me was Draco without his minions. After he got off the train, he seemed to act more like Lone Riddle than Alpha Slytherin. I know we were told that his polyjuiced friends were around, but the story never really made it feel that way.

And **gasp** I'm agreeing with Marcus about the drinking being too casual. It fit at the Slug's Christmas party, and Sibyll's cooking sherry was in character, but the rest was gratuitous.

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Saralinda Again - Aug 7, 2005 9:03 am (#62 of 264)

My Patronus is a Crumple-Horn Snorkack
I was deeply disappointed not to see more of Luna and Neville.

I was seriously honked off that my favorite character was reduced to slinking, mousy-haired, around the halls of Hogwarts. I know it was just the color of her hair, but I always got the sense of a bird molting. [ick]

I just wanted to shake Tonks and JKR and say "Can we just get on with it, please?" Surely she did something other than mope disconsolately about the corridors. The Trio have an excuse to flake out on us; they're at a hormonal peak. Tonksie is adult, or at least she plays one in the books. :/

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Veritaserum - Aug 7, 2005 11:46 am (#63 of 264)

Go Jays!
I'm sorry for going off topic everybody. I'll leave you all to complain and go find another thread to amuse myself.

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Saralinda Again - Aug 7, 2005 11:49 am (#64 of 264)

My Patronus is a Crumple-Horn Snorkack
Veritaserum, don't go!

We don't have to be all-kvetching-all-the-time; we just have to make sure we don't let the thread slip completely off target.

Heck, I loved HBP. It's my favorite to date -- but there were some thigs that disappointed me. It's nice to have a place to talk about them. (And yeah, it's really hard not to jump in and defend the book when someone's venting!)

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Prefect Marcus - Aug 7, 2005 2:02 pm (#65 of 264)

"Anyone can cook"
Chemyst - And **gasp** I'm agreeing with Marcus ...

Careful, you might end up like Catherine. :-D

Seriously, I think the biggest problem I had with this book is the oh-by-the-ways. Rowling style has always been to insert all those nifty-neat throw-aways that add flavor and brings the story to life. She seemed to gloss over far too much this time around.

Perhaps it is, as she said, because she is very much aware of the fact that the series is rapidly reaching its termination. I am guessing that she might have been thinking in terms of two books more than just one.

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Loopy Lupin - Aug 8, 2005 7:54 am (#66 of 264)

As I was reading it, I kept thinking what a hard time a scriptwriter would have adapting this book for the movies. -- Chemyst

Oh, I don't know about that. Remember that this one will have zombies! Please notice that at no time have I complained about the zombies!

I do think that this one will finally give the filmakers the 2 hours or under movie they've been wanting. Nevertheless, I could see the script bringing to the screen much of the left out, oh-by-the-way, stuff. Oh-by-the-way, there was a huge battle at Hogwarts which is pretty much over and done with by the time Harry and DD show up. I could see this battle being embellished quite a bit; as long DD is killed in the end, it will be the same difference. Point being though and focusing back on the book, I really felt short changed simply being told about this battle. By comparison, the DOM epic in OoP was one of the things I liked the most about that book.

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Regan of Gong - Aug 11, 2005 5:32 am (#67 of 264)

Self declared doctor of everything.
Yeah, I'm going with the people who say that there wasn't much of a running storyline through it. It was sorta like- Yeah, Draco's up to something...and Dumbledore's teaching Harry about Voldemort...Voldemort's killing off minor characters etc etc. The most consistent part was the 'ships, which I really enjoyed. Won-Won was the funniest, and I liked it because he really grew up this year, but Hermione on the other hand, only seemed to care about Won-Won and Lav-Lav, and spent a lot of the time avoiding Ron, which seemed pretty immature.

I didn't mind the Quidditch, it was the vehicle for Harry and Ginny, so it did serve a purpose. I quite like the matches, especially Luna's commentry. Did anyone else get cold shivers when Gryffindor won the Quidditch cup? the same thing happened to me in PoA, possibly my favourite book of the series.

This book seemed to tie up a lot of loose ends, and just seemed to tick off theories one by one, with the "by-the-way" kind of attitude. I didn't think the drinking seemed out-of-place, the exception being when Harry waited to see what would happen under the influence of Butterbeer at Slughorn's party.

Butterbeer? What is this Buttery beer you speak of? Remember the good old days when it was Harry's favourite drink in the world, ahh, but they're long past. On to bigger and better things by now I suppose.

Overall, I was slightly dissapointed in HBP, mainly because of a lack of running flow or consistent events and dates like Easter, Halloween etc. It seemed to cut lots of theories down, but raise massive questions about Horcruxes etc. I think Loopy's right about the film makers, this is probably not the meatiest book of the series and they can afford to lose a lot of stuff from it.
Bit long, sorry- Regan

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Madam Pince - Aug 11, 2005 12:58 pm (#68 of 264)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
I will say I was slightly disappointed, but not as badly as I was for OoP. At least I didn't throw the book down like I did at the end of OoP!

For all its "build-up," I was highly disappointed in the first chapter. Ho-hum. "Spinner's End" made up for that early disappointment, though. Then, as most posters have noted, I felt that it dragged through until we reached "The Seer Overheard," at which point it picked up again. I found myself feeling impatient -- "Isn't anything ever going to happen?"

However, I am trying to look at it as JKR said -- it's actually the first part of a two-part book. I really liked getting the backstory through the Pensieve visits, even though they were somewhat "slow." I am not a 'shipper at all, but the teen romances didn't bother me much -- it fit the ages of the developing characters, and I liked the humor that they added. In fact, the overall addition of more humor improved the book over OoP for me. There were so many good and funny one-liners.

I thought the title of "Half-Blood Prince" was a bit misleading, because even though the Potions book was prominent and we found out who the HBP was in what felt like an abbreviated explanation, it doesn't really help us much overall.

I don't think it's JKR's best effort as an author -- I thought the editing made it lacking in the rich detail we've become used to.

I think I was so mad at myself for "over-hyping" my expectations for OoP, that I deliberately toned down my expectations for HBP, so that I wouldn't be as disappointed. It seems to have worked.

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Abracapocus - Aug 11, 2005 6:34 pm (#69 of 264)

My patronus is a boggart
Up until this book, in I was thoroughly entertained with each book to the point of obsession - My favorites being Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire. If the plot of book one had been as unsatisfying for me as the plot of HBP, I may have never read another one. In my opinion, it was ok as a part of the whole, but on its own, not so much.

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Madam Pince - Aug 12, 2005 9:32 am (#70 of 264)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
I think that's a good point, Abracapocus. It doesn't stand alone on its own very well (in my opinion.)

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Regan of Gong - Aug 12, 2005 4:13 pm (#71 of 264)

Self declared doctor of everything.
Seconded, Madam Pince

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Veritaserum - Aug 15, 2005 11:25 am (#72 of 264)

Go Jays!
I don't think that OOP stands alone as well as the others either. The first four books were more self contained, but the last two have gotten a lot more intertwined and "to be continued"ish. I can't wait until Book 7 and then everything will be complete.

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Madam Pince - Aug 15, 2005 12:27 pm (#73 of 264)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
Yes. It was after Book 4 that she totally gave up the bit of repeating the whole "backstory" into the first chapter, to bring readers up to speed. I guess she (or her editors) felt that by OoP, there wouldn't be too many readers who hadn't already read the first ones.

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M A Grimmett - Aug 15, 2005 4:24 pm (#74 of 264)

She's always intended the books to be an arc of a story, so it makes sense to me that as she matured as an author, the more the books would flow into one another.

I do kind of prefer each book to stand alone, since it's such a long wait between them!

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Soul Search - Aug 16, 2005 7:28 am (#75 of 264)

I guess I was more disappointed with HBP than any other book. Now, I am disappointed with the series.

Harry really has no triumphs in HBP. And only a few in previous GoF and OotP (although not enough to make up for the tragic endings.) I haven't truely "liked" a book since PoA.

After GoF I thought JKR might be using a traditional "trilogy" format: Up, down, up kind of structure, but spread over seven books. Doesn't look like it. Now it looks like book seven will be tragic, with a lot of deaths, up until the very end. I don't think even Voldemort's downfall can make up for the tradegy that has occurred so far.

JKR received awards from children's book groups for SS/PS. I haven't kept up with such things, but I would bet there won't be any awards from children's organizations for HBP. They might even be regretting granting earlier recognition.

JKR has managed to work in a few good "chiseled-in-stone" kind of messages, "choices" in CoS and "easy thing/right thing" in GoF, but I don't see any possibilites in HBP or book seven.

Although, Umbridge is one of the best evil characters I have ever run across. JKR had to had known someone like her; no one could just make up Umbridge. And, her portrayal of the Ministry of Magic throughout the storyline so well describes all government that it is a good lesson to learn.

I started into Harry Potter because I bought the first book for my granddaughters and I thought I should read it first. I haven't bought HBP for them.

After the first couple of books I thought Harry Potter was destined to become a classic children's series; required reading for generations to come. Not now though. JKR blew it. No way can we recommend such a dark storyline to our children.

I will read book seven, but I won't likely be in line at midnight.

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constant vigilance - Aug 16, 2005 9:12 pm (#76 of 264)

art student
First, I absolutely loved the book--especially reading Dumbledore dialogue from beginning to end!

That said, I was a wee bit disappointed.

I, like others, missed Luna and Neville. I still want to know where Fawkes was. I can not see a reason to leave him out of the ending of HBP aside from it serves the Plot. I was also hoping for more than a few sentences on Pettigrew, Moody, Molly and Arthur.

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haymoni - Aug 17, 2005 7:54 am (#77 of 264)

Soul Search - I beg to differ. This will be a classic children's series because it actually grows with the child.

My son who is 12 has read all of the books - I was very concerned about him reading HBP, as I had (of course!) taken the book first and had already finished, but it encouraged a lot of discussion and he has very astutely reminded me that it is, indeed, only a book!

My daughter is 5 and I envision giving her a copy of each book with each birthday, starting with age 11. If she discovers the books before that, I'll read each chapter with her, just like I did with my son.

HBP was not the book for a 7 or 8-year-old to just pick up and read. I have cautioned several of my friends who have been reading the books to their children as the movies come out that they may want to hold off on reading ahead. They aren't cutesy kids books anymore. I was glad to see the PG-13 rating on GOF.

This is a poor example, but it is the best that I can come up with right now: I remember reading "The Little House" series, and certainly the content is milder, but "The Little House in the Big Woods" is written differently than "The First Four Years". Laura was 4 in the first book and is a married woman in the last. The vocabulary and situations changed as Laura grew up.

These are not 7 books about an 11-year-old wizard. They take you through time. This will/is a classic, because kids will not outgrow the series.

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timrew - Aug 17, 2005 3:36 pm (#78 of 264)

Middle-aged Harry Potter fan
I'm afraid I must disagree with Soul Search also. Didn't JKR receive an irate letter along these lines from a Mom somewhere, "Unless you change the way you write, I will no longer buy these books!"........or something like that.

JKR wrote back (it was in the days when she did write back), "I'm not going to change the way I write, so you'll have to stop buying the books".

JKR has not written a series of kids books, she's written a series of books. Hence the adults that read them. And personally, I've enjoyed them all.

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Archangel - Aug 17, 2005 4:42 pm (#79 of 264)

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end. -- Semisonic
Good to know I wasn't the only one disappointed with this book. The Voldemort-Pensieve scenes are gems but other than that this book really didn't have the same *omph* of the other 5. I felt let down by the first chapter; didn't JKR say that this chapter was like 13 or 15 years in the making?!

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Madam Pince - Aug 17, 2005 6:45 pm (#80 of 264)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
Welcome to the "We-Hate-The-First-Chapter" Club, Archangel. We meet every Wednesday down the pub.

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Snuffles - Aug 18, 2005 1:26 am (#81 of 264)

Olivia
Which pub and what time Madam Pince, I'll see ya there!

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Mrs Brisbee - Aug 18, 2005 4:47 am (#82 of 264)

I actually liked the first chapter, but it was very different from what I was expecting. I think several people have already mentioned that our extensive knowledge of what Rowling says outside of the books is tainting our expectations. She keeps promising in interviews that we'll learn more about this or that (what did the dementors make Dudley see, what jobs did Lily and James have, etc.). Unfortunately her web site does hint that chapter one could be about what happened at Godric's Hollow, giving readers some promised answers, so I can definitely see how that could lead to disappointment.

I know I keep wondering when the promised information is going to crop up. Unfortunately, any promised answers will be shunted to Book 7, which means I know too many plot points that have to be covered in that one book.

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Loopy Lupin - Aug 18, 2005 5:40 am (#83 of 264)

"Hate" is a strong word. But, I will say that when I get down to re-reading this thing someday, I may just have to skip that first chapter.

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Madam Pince - Aug 18, 2005 7:48 am (#84 of 264)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
You're right, "hate" is a strong word. But if we used the "We-Are-Highly-Disappointed-In-The-First-Chapter" Club, then the t-shirts would be too crowded with words, the meeting announcements in the paper would cost more -- there's just so many complications...

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KWeldon - Aug 18, 2005 11:17 am (#85 of 264)

I didn't hate Chapter 1, I was just frustrated that it was so peripheral in nature. I mean, she got the message across that the war was on, Emmeline Vance and Amelia Bones were dead, and introduced the new minister, but I expected some chapter about the night at Godric's Hollow, for instance. Then upon starting Chapter 2 when I realized I still had to wait to hear about Harry, I was even more frustrated. After reading the chapter and finding out more about Snape, though, I thoroughly enjoyed Chapter 2.

I don't know that I was disappointed in Book 6, but I've noticed that my interest in this forum is waning, and I can't put my finger on why. It's definitely not the forum itself that is the cause, but Book 6 itself.

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Neville Longbottom - Aug 18, 2005 11:57 am (#86 of 264)

First of all, I loved the first chapter. I found it highly entertaining and funny, especially things like the Prime Minister's dismay about Fudge's casual remark, that they wanted to import three dragons and a Sphinx.

About the book: I think I liked it AND was disappointed with it. It's definitely not my favourite, this is still OotP, but I nonetheless think it was a good and enjoyable read.

First of all, I enjoyed the Pensieve scenes, and I do not think that they were useless or that we didn't learn more about Voldemort than in the previous books. In the contrary, I think that every bit of information, like the several places were Voldie felt home and his ability for collecting trophys is crucial for Harry and the readers if they want to figure out a) what else might be a Horcrux and b) where the remaining Horcruxes are hidden. Therefore I consider the flashbacks highly important for book 7's storyline and there was more information needed than simply learning what Horcruxes are. (And more was delivered, thankfully).

About the shipping: I found it pretty realistic and not extreme at all, however, I still was annoyed by it. Not because I thought that anyone's behaviour was inappropriate, but because I couldn't help thinking how many of the screentime that went to Ron/Lavender could have been used to develop Neville or McGonagall or Lupin or Luna. I appreciate JKR for including this part of growing up, and I can understand why she did it, but there were other things that I prefred to see. However, I guess it's just my personal choice and JKR made another one. And to be fair, this was the way JKR always handled things. Ginny was crucial in CoS and then practically nonexistant in PoA. JKR always developed those characters, who are important to the particular plot of this book. That's why for example Neville and Sirius got some development in OotP, while in HBP it was Draco Malfoy she developed further.

I was, to say the least, also surprised how less we saw of the actual war. On the hand, I found the random sentences, were we learnt of more dead or disappearing characters creepily realistic and pretty well written.

My biggest disappointment however, and I realize that I seemingly contradict myself after saying, that I would have prefered less shipping, was that we didn't see enough of H/G. I'm not the biggest fan of this pairing, but I expected it to happen. However, in spite of the fact that it happened, we hardly saw any interaction between Harry and Ginny. That was especially true after they became a couple. It was like: "And Harry and Ginny were a couple and they had fun spending their time together." Full stop. No mentions of what excatly made the relationship that special for Harry or what exactly they were doing. The relationship lacked detail, and therefore it failed in having me emotionally interested in it. If by the end of the book we know more about the relationship between "Won-Won" and "Lav-Lav" than about the one between the main character and his "ideal girl", than something went wrong, IMO. This also had the consequence, that I didn't care at all when they broke up. The last scene fell flat for me. Instead of emotionally moving, what the noble break-up surely was intended to be, I found it uninteresting and melodramatic. However, that was at once made up for by the great final scene between the Trio.

So in conclusion: Yes, I was partly disappointed, but there were still enough positive things for me to like the book overall.

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Denise P. - Aug 18, 2005 2:02 pm (#87 of 264)

Ravenclaw Pony
I didn't hate the first chapter but think it was unnecessary. I think a paragraph could have given us the same information.

"Should you notify the muggle authorities?"

"Already have, you know that the Minister always has a direct line to the Muggles. Poor chap in office now, gave him quite a turn the first time I contacted him." Rich chuckle "Well, I am off to tell him of Rufus now being the Minister and how I will continue to liason during this difficult time."

Yeah, we miss some amusing details but the basic info is there and the word count could have been used elsewhere.

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Ginerva Potter - Aug 18, 2005 9:25 pm (#88 of 264)

I think that I was most disappointed because I had read all the people from Scholastic and wherever talking about all the questions this book answered. But I don't feel like it answered the questions that I really wanted to know. It basically gave us the back story of Voldemort, developed Ron's character, developed Harry's character and had a lot of shipping. I really liked the book, but I just wanted more answers. Bring on book 7!!!

Ginny

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LooneyLuna - Aug 19, 2005 6:46 pm (#89 of 264)

Like others here, I missed the rich day-to-day detail that is life at Hogwarts. I also missed Neville and Luna. Has Neville improved with his new wand? How did Luna find out about the Rot Fang Conspiracy? Inquiring minds want to know.

Overall, I liked HBP, the pensieve scenes were fascinating. As for the drinking, it didn't bother me at all. People relieve stress by drinking - there is a war going on - people are stressed. The snogging didn't bother me either. I kept thinking, "It's about time!"

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Esther Rose - Aug 23, 2005 11:48 am (#90 of 264)

I loved it. But I guess I went into book six realizing that it is the second to last book in the series. The second to last book to me should be the eye of the storm. The calm before all heck breaks loose. I didn't expect much of anything new because it's almost to late for that now. But it did deliver a set up for book 7 as I expected.

I was surprized. Book 6 has more riddles and undercurrent twists and really ties in with the other books. But I can see how some folks might have thought that book 6 was not so hot though.

It's funny, HBP has got reading all of the other 5 books simutaneously.

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rambkowalczyk - Aug 24, 2005 11:01 am (#91 of 264)

Overall I thought this was a great book, but in order to post here I have to say what disappointed me.

None of the "shortcomings" expressed bothered me.

The only thing I thought was inconsistant was why Tom is the way he is. The book seemed to imply that Tom's family suffered from insanity due to inbreeding therefore Tom was born with a set of genes that predisposed him to violence. Tom's actions at the ophanage (concerning the abduction of the two children in the cave) imply a sociopathic personality. So the question is does Tom have a choice? Can he be any different?

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M A Grimmett - Aug 24, 2005 1:33 pm (#92 of 264)

The way that JKR writes, I can't see her denying somebody the right to make a choice. I think that Tom chooses to be the way he is.

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Ann - Aug 26, 2005 10:28 am (#93 of 264)

I was disappointed in some aspects of Book Six, although I still liked it overall, and I agree with those who say it will probably improve once we have Book Seven. I suspect that those flashbacks, which are one reason the book seems so light on secondary characters--it's hard to give more information on Neville when you've got to introduce Hepzibah Smith and Morfin Gaunt--will seem more essential when the Horcruxes start to turn up. They are presumably packed with clues that will make sense later and had to be planted. The rude gestures and wine don't bother me at all; they're teenagers.

I agree with those who say that the texture of school life, friendships, and classroom moments are a bit perfunctory. I loved the bit where Ron gets distracted by the conversation and accidentally makes it snow--there was far too little of that. And I, like many others, would have liked more of Snape's DADA classes. I think I also missed the glimpses of what's going on with Voldemort through Harry's scar, which we've had since Book Four. Because of that silence, Hogwarts seemed isolated from the larger war--but that's probably partly because Harry's not fighting it alone any more.

And I agree that the relationship with Ginny, which is clearly meant to be more profound than that between Ron and Lavender and probably even more profound than Ron and Hermione, was given short shrift. I didn't particularly need to see them snogging, but one real conversation (aside from the break-up) would have been useful in establishing that Harry had more to like than just her perfume.

I think Jo simply decided that she could NOT make the book as long as the previous two, and I think she cut it to within an inch of its life--literally. She's assumed that at this point we could take it on faith that classes were as they'd always been and that there was a scrumptious feast at Halloween and silly goings on for Valentine's Day. She spent the book showing Harry's character developing: he's no longer an isolated outcast, fighting Umbridge, the Ministry, and Voldemort simultaneously; now he's in training to be the hero, learning methodically about the enemy and about how a great wizard does magic. (I think the Cave experience is going to be really, really important.) I also differ from most people on this thread in that I think the Half-Blood Prince thing was important. Not only are Snape's actions crucial here, but I think the book is an important learning tool for Harry: first, in the way he finds himself liking the Prince, which may be the basis for an alliance later, and second in that it introduces him to the idea that magic is more than just following the instructions--one can work out ways to do new things or to do old things better. I do wish she'd let herself make the book another long one (goodness knows her fans wouldn't mind!) but despite the things I miss I don't think she cut it so short that it doesn't work.

One thing I've not seen mentioned is that we get a LOT more adult conversation in this one: the first two chapters, plus the flashbacks. And this may also cut down on the lighthearted humor (although Hepzibah is a kick, and I loved Armchair!Slughorn). And of course people who like big battles, like Jo's eldest daughter, are going to be disappointed. But I suspect Book Seven will make up for that.

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Mrs. D. - Aug 30, 2005 1:33 pm (#94 of 264)

I wonder if this will ever be like Stephen King's "The Stand"... it was released as a giant novel, but then later was re-released with so much more detail back in. I loved it!! Maybe one day, she will release a less edited form of this novel.

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popkin - Aug 31, 2005 11:26 am (#95 of 264)

mother
I think that could be a significant improvement. I would definitely read it.

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Ana Cis - Aug 31, 2005 4:25 pm (#96 of 264)

Zen: After the Ecstasy, the laundry.
Edited by Aug 31, 2005 4:31 pm
I read the book in one sitting; it took my about 12 and half hours. As I started reading the book, I found the first chapter kind of trivial, but somewhat humorous. From the second chapter on, I was totally enraptured. I love books that dwell more on the characters then on the actual action...though that’s important too. Then came DD’s death, and I was totally shocked. I really never expected it; maybe because he’s my favorite character out of the whole series...Harry being second. However, I kept reading the book hoping it was a hoax. By the time I finished the book, I hated it! I was depressed that whole weekend. I didn’t touch the book for a couple of weeks. I had to mourn DD’s death. I felt he was more of a father to Harry than a teacher, DD’s death seemed more of a personal tradegy than Sirius's death. But as a true Harry Potter addict, I started reading the different chat forums, a week or so later, just to see what people had to say. I found it very helpful to see that other people felt the same pain I was felling. That’s how I got to join this forum—first forum I’ve ever joined. As I reread the book, things started to connect, and I began to understand JKR's reason in killing him--there’s still a small part of me that hopes that is still a hoax though. However, I can say now that I’m not disappointed w/the book. JKR has given tons of information on LV, his background, his childhood, his views, his objectives, and his weaknesses. She’s also shown us through DD what Harry needs to do, and the tools he has available to him to defeat LV. The most fascinating part has been to see how Harry has grown, from a lonely, insecure child, to a confident compassionate young man. He’s learned who his true friends are to truly appreciate them. JKR did an absolutely great job w/the last chapter. Harry has already begun to process many of Dumbledore’s lessons; he’s come to have great affection of his friends, not let other peoples’s views about him affect him as much, and have the abilti to see the good things in life even after experiencing such a terrible tragedy. He still needs to do some growing up, but don’t we all. After all that’s what life is about, gaining wisdom, becoming a better person...at least that’s what it means to me.

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christina - Sep 4, 2005 10:08 am (#97 of 264)

Yes I was very disapointed in the 6th book! The best book had to be the 4th one. I really enjoyed everything that went on. I know that JKR wanted to give us background in book 6, but somethings I felt we already knew. It seemed to only get good towards the end when harry went with DD to get the horcruxes - like around chapter 23. I really was disapointed that Harry didn't start in the first chapter. I like it when JKR starts him out at Privet Dr. Oh well.

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MoonRider - Sep 6, 2005 3:13 pm (#98 of 264)

Edited Sep 6, 2005 3:49 pm
Oh I am SOOOOO thankful for this thread! I am also thankful for Loopy Lupin, Denise P., and Catherine (I think it was) because they were the ones that I agreed with when I came on here a couple of days after my first read/when the book came-out (I've just finished my third read). They said something to the effect that they were holding judgement until they had had time to absorb-----or, something like that. I was, in a way, concerned because I was afraid no one would have the hutzpah to admit if they didn't like it. I haven't been here in ages (BTW, thanks for the "Welcome Back", Catherine [Greeting Thread]!), mainly because I thought the book was HORRIBLE, and didn't know how to say all the things that I needed, DESPERATELY, to say, and say it with tact! All of you have done that now, basically, for me (I haven't read that many posts, though, so please forgive me if I seem to be parroting others), but I've been DYING to add my two cents-----so, here goes:

1) Chapter one was a waste of paper and ink! It could've easily been conveyed, as some other stuff was, by "showing" us a Daily Prophet article.

2) I can't remember how Loopy Lupin said it in his first post-----something like he kept wondering what all this was leading up to-----I kept saying: "But-----what does this have to do with anything?" with each chapter I read.

3) This book could NOT stand alone-----as I was thinking ANY of the other 5 could, until I re-read OotP last week-----there are NO (or, at least, "little") references to why Harry had the scar, background info on Aunt Petunia, background on how Voldy "came back to life", so-to-speak-----stuff like that.....

there was even some stuff that I said "Huh?" to-----and I think I've read each book 5 times, now.

4) There was NO development of characters/situations/"feelings" between characters, etc. For instance since when did Madam Pince and Filch have feelings for each other (other than book 6)?

.....which brings me to my next "problem".....

5) I get the feeling that JKR was experiencing "a need to please", possibly, because of the MAJOR ship stuff. Had she planned, I wonder, for Tonks and Lupin to get together all along? Something tells me she added that bit for the shippers. I feel like after we read SO MUCH shipping crap in this book, that she threw in Pince and Filch for "good measure". Don't get me wrong-----I LOVE that Harry and Ginny got together------and, that Hermione and Ron seemed to be "together"!

6) I wondered if there was a book missing or something. Do you know that, after hearing that some books arrived with missing pages, that I actually went through my book and read each page number to see if my book might not have been one of those? Like Denise P. (I think it was) said she wondered if JKR had actually written the book (though she knew she had). I felt the exact same way-----I just kept saying: "I don't understand-----who wrote this book-----I wonder if she had somebody write it for her, from her notes (I know she didn't-----I was just so "shocked", I guess is the word)-----where did it come from?" Also, in regard to JKR having a need to please, I felt she used DADA abbreviation for that reason as well-----sort of saying: "I hear ya, Internet people"-----"I'm with ya"-----or, whatever.

7) There was just, like, absolutely no warning, so-to-speak, that Harry had grown-up, come to terms with Sirius' death-----nothing, IMO-----just, all of a sudden Harry was standing up to people, being extremely cheeky, "slamming" people up against walls by their shirt collars, or whatever.....

we had no "warning"! We didn't have any, like, "character development"-----even after my third read this past week-----there's nothing in there that says, something like: "Harry really had grown-up quickly over the summer-----he had to, so as to better deal with Sirius' death....". I mean, I know it said something like: "Sirius would want me to move on", or whatever-----but, it just wasn't enough!

Cool I was really disappointed at how Sirius' will was related. I get the feeling that this was another bit of info that was thrown in for fans (as, I feel, the DADA, alot of the ships stuff was, and her having Slughorn call Ron, Rupert). I thought it should have had, at least, a WW name.

9) There were just so many, like, "holes" in the book, IMO-----not even in just how this book fit in with the rest/with the series-----but, how it fit in, with itself!

As for first reaction to OotP.....

I didn't "hate" the book-----I hated Harry (what I call) whining-----just on, and on, and on-----about "why isn't anyone writing", "why don't they trust me", "why do they think I'm a child", and so forth.....

Although, on, I think, my very next read, that stuff didn't bother me at all-----I even surprised myself!

Note: No disrespect, AT ALL, intended in regard to JKR-----SHE RULES!!!!

Sorry this is so long-----but I've been holding-back, for what, 6 weeks, now!

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Madam Pince - Sep 6, 2005 4:27 pm (#99 of 264)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
You know, MoonRider, the only problem with your posts is that you hold yourself back so -- please, do just go on and let it all out!

Just kidding -- it's a great post! I agree with 'most all of it! And welcome back, too, by the way!

Did she really use the abbreviation DADA in the book??? I completely missed that -- thanks for mentioning it! We spend waaaaay too much time here, don't we, if we miss stuff like that!

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Lupin is Lupin. Natch. - Sep 6, 2005 5:18 pm (#100 of 264)

Sometimes known as Kim.
I am also thankful for Loopy Lupin, Denise P., and Catherine...they were holding judgement until they had had time to absorb...I was afraid no one would have the hutzpah to admit if they didn't like it.---MoonRider

Oh, don't worry, MoonRider. Those three have rather cornered the market on hutzpah.

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Was anyone disappointed in Book 6? (Post 101 to 150)

Post  Elanor on Sun Jun 12, 2011 1:17 am

MoonRider - Sep 6, 2005 5:21 pm (#101 of 264)
Madam Pince: "You know, MoonRider, the only problem with your posts is that you hold yourself back so -- please, do just go on and let it all out!"

LOL!

"And welcome back, too, by the way!"

Thanks-----you're a Sweetie-Pie!

"Did she really use the abbreviation DADA in the book?"

YEP! Page 239 (American version)

"We spend waaaaay too much time here, don't we....."

FOR SURE!! I've been here, reading, ALL DAY!!

Edit: Whoops! I didn't see you there, Lupin is Lupin. Natch.!

"Oh, don't worry, MoonRider. Those three have rather cornered the market on hutzpah."

YEAAAAAAAAA!! Let's hear it for hutzpah!

Hip, Hip, Hooray!!!! LOL

Oh, also, I wanted to say that I know EXACTLY how Denise P. (I think it was) felt about not being able to re-read HBP, at first. When I came on here (July 19th, I theenk) and was reading all sorts of stuff that people "got" while reading-----and I didn't get-----I thought: "Huh?-----well, I'll need to reread now, and see what they mean....."

It took 'til two weeks ago (I think it was) to be able to reread it-----I just couldn't stomach it, before then!!!!

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KWeldon - Sep 7, 2005 10:34 am (#102 of 264)

I'm impressed that you could re-read it, MoonRider. I started it a second time and put it down because I got bored, if nothing else.

I reiterate that I still love HP and JKR's writing, but this book really took the steam out of my sails about HP in general. I have been visiting here on the forum MUCH less than before, and I can see it petering out even more as the next two years unfold.

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Mrs Brisbee - Sep 7, 2005 10:48 am (#103 of 264)

I'm doing the HBP Read Along, because I figure the only way I'm getting through it again is with help.

I really want to love this book as much as the others. I sort of feel like I went to my favorite restaurant and ordered a wonderful dish, but got served something else by mistake.

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Denise P. - Sep 7, 2005 11:03 am (#104 of 264)

Ravenclaw Pony
I have to say, I have let time pass and I still can't read this again. I pick it up and after a few pages, I am looking for an excuse to put it down again. I don't hate it, I just am not interested enough in it to continue to read.

Mrs. Brisbee, you summed it up very well.

My disappointment has not diminished my enjoyment of the series as a whole nor am I going to boycott the next book. I will read HBP again but for now, I read a few pages every few days. There really is nothing in it right now that is compelling me to keep reading it...unlike other HP books.

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MoonRider - Sep 7, 2005 11:38 am (#105 of 264)

Edited Sep 7, 2005 12:21 pm
Hey, you guys-----what if you started reading from page 25 (if you have the American version)-----just totally skip that whole first chapter? (I'm thinking that's what's bringing you down-----or, at least, hindering your process, maybe.) If you don't have the American version.....

it's AFTER where Snape "zaps" Wormtail through the bookcase ("Spinner's End"), and pours the wine for Bella and Narcissa.

.....because the first time I attempted a re-read I did the same thing as you guys-----I couldn't get past the first couple of pages-----"boring", reminded of the disappointment, or whatever-----but, I found that when I started at the "meat" of the Snape/Bella/Narcissa conversation that, like, my enthusiasm kicked-in! Maybe that'll help you guys, as well!!

It's just a suggestion-----I know you guys will have to do it in a way that's "right" for you-----but, I tell ya what.....

I "feared" that I was going to feel the same way KWeldon does-----I was thinking: "Oh geez-----well, it's over-----it's just gonna be all down-hill from here-----book 7 is just gonna 'suck rocks'.....", etc., etc., etc.-----but, somewhere, somehow, I got interested, again-----THANK GOD!!

Anyway-----I hope it gets better for you guys!!

Mrs. Brisbee: I like the example you gave about your favorite restaurant, TOO!! I might add that, for me, it's like when you buy your favorite-----let's say, spaghetti sauce-----at the grocery store, and they've changed the recipe-----even, ever so slightly-----and you no longer get that "mouth-gasm" (as a friend of mine would say) feeling that you once got-----AND, if that's not bad enough, they've raised the price, as well!!! It's a SIN, I tell ya!!! LOL

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Abracapocus - Sep 8, 2005 4:53 am (#106 of 264)

My patronus is a boggart
In the previous books I felt as though I was there... in the action... a part of the conversation... involved in the day-to-day activities. In HBP a lot was being told second-hand. "Oh and so-and-so did such-and-such". Since the book is from Harry's perspective and Harry can't witness all events, I do understand the reasoning, but it was boring to me nevertheless.

The story didn't have the usual white-knuckled intensity. If the Penseive scenes supplying the back story and all the exposition were removed, there really wasn't much of a story at all. Closer to the end, I didn't care what Draco was up to -- just get on with it. It wasn't until The Cave when the action picked up.

If the Half-Blood Prince story line had been used as originally intended (Book 2) I wouldn't have figured out who it was so early in the book. No surprise there either. I'll reserve judgment the relevence of the HBP story line until book seven. Compared to the other books in the series, I give this one

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Paulus Maximus - Sep 8, 2005 9:14 am (#107 of 264)

It seems that a lot of book 6 ISN'T told from Harry's perspective. For example, when Harry pretended to spike Ron's drink with Felix, Harry knew what he was doing, but the reader didn't.

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Neville Longbottom - Sep 8, 2005 9:40 am (#108 of 264)

I am not disappointed in the whole book, but only in some parts. In contrast to most others (it seems) I love the first chapter. I think it is hilarious, and it's more imaginative than the recapping chapters in books 2-4. (I look at you "The Scar"). I also enjoyed the following chapters, but IMO the book gets boring around the middle. I loved the Pensieve scenes but I was completely bored by the shipping stuff. And I am very disappointed with the way Ginny is written. IMO, she stopped being a realistic individual and turned into the perfect girl and the reward for the heroe after he finishs his task. She's a stereotype of the worst kind and I don't like this character anymore. The last chapters, beginning with Horcruxes, were however again great and IMO one of the best parts JKR wever rote so far. All in all, HBP is my third or fourth favourite of the series. I quite like it, but not as much as PoA and OotP, and I think I like GoF also a bit better.

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KWeldon - Sep 8, 2005 11:31 am (#109 of 264)

MoonRider, it's not the first chapter that did it for me. I DID skip that chapter when I tried to re-read it, and I put the book down anyway.

I've been wondering how much of my feelings are directed at frustration for having less to speculate on, given that the end is near, versus actual disappointment with the book. It's hard for me to say.

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Loopy Lupin - Sep 9, 2005 12:31 pm (#110 of 264)

Oh, don't worry, MoonRider. Those three have rather cornered the market on hutzpah.-- Lupin is Lupin

Kim, I think that MoonRider left out a conspicuous member of the hutzpah club. I'm sure it was unintentional.

Well, I can't say that my feelings have changed much. I'll even go Denise one better in that I haven't even tried to read the book again. My copy was loaned to my niece. I've seen her at least twice since then and have neglected to retrieve the book from her. Admittedly, I did think about reading it on the beach last weekend while I was visiting said niece, but didn't think about it until I was plopped down in my chair. Didn't have the energy to go back and get it.

I must also say that KWeldon's post a couple posts back really struck a chord with me. My disappointment in this book has also dealt a severe blow to my HP fanaticism, having reduced it to mere over-enthusiasm. Obviously, I'm still hanging around and posting on this Forum. However, I thought that I would be knee deep in theories and arguments at this point. I guess I need something new to re-spark my interest. I thought HBP would be that catalyst, but alas, . . earwax.

I will still be at a Barnes and Noble around midnight for Book 7. But, it will be because Book 7 is the last book, not because of anything I read in HBP.

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timrew - Sep 9, 2005 3:56 pm (#111 of 264)

Middle-aged Harry Potter fan
Loopy Lupin:- I'll even go Denise one better in that I haven't even tried to read the book again.

I know how you feel, Wayne. I got about a quarter of the way through on my second read................and, well, that was about four weeks ago. Like you, I'll buy book 7 - because it's there.........

And I hope it's not like the last episode of "The Prisoner" - a TV series I watched avidly in the 60s, only to be bitterly disappointed by the last episode...............'bad' is the word that describes the good bits. The words for the rest of the show aren't appropriate on this Forum!

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Lupin is Lupin. Natch. - Sep 9, 2005 5:26 pm (#112 of 264)

Sometimes known as Kim.
Kim, I think that MoonRider left out a conspicuous member of the hutzpah club. I'm sure it was unintentional.---Loopy Lupin

Well, I did wonder.

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Denise P. - Sep 9, 2005 7:45 pm (#113 of 264)

Ravenclaw Pony
So, there does seem to be a certain percentage of those who were avidly waiting for HBP that are very disappointed. Given that many have spoken up, I would think it is fair to say there *is* something lacking in the book and that it was not just that we had higher expectations than we should have. I know I didn't come in with any preconcieved notions(other than what JKR had said would be there) so that is not it.

Do you think it is an age thing? I noticed many of us who have been bold enough to express our dissatisfaction are past our 20's :::hem hem::: and some pushing close to their 60's.

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Herm oh ninny - Sep 9, 2005 9:23 pm (#114 of 264)

"Accio treats!"
I have to say that I am surprised that so many of you are disappointed in HBP. I thought that it was great. So many questions were answered and learning all about Voldemort's past and family was fascinating to me. Also, I actually enjoyed the first chapter. I thought it was interesting to see how the MOM deals with each new Muggle Prime Minister and I had had a good laugh when Fudge said that the previous Minister tried to throw him out the window! As for speculation and theories, HBP has left me with many clues, red herrings and other theories to think about. While HBP is not my favorite of the series, GOF holds that place, I still consider it to be a great book. OK, I'll get down off my soapbox now!

.....oh, and in case your wondering Denise, I'm 26. LOL

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dizzy lizzy - Sep 9, 2005 10:04 pm (#115 of 264)

There is more to life than increasing its speed: Mahatama Ghandi.
I was talking to my step-mother on the weekend. She had just finished HBP the previous week and I asked her what she thought of it.

Her summing up was "Snape is evil, DD is dead and the book is half finished and when is book 7 coming out???". When I pressed her further she liked the book, but wasn't wild about it, liked it more than OoP and not as much as PoA. But she would have liked book 6 and 7 together.

This comes from someone who does not follow HP in any way, never re-reads the books and has not seen any movies and has no knowledge of the interviews done by JKR and has no interest in disscussing it in depth with anyone (including me) apart from that comment.

Strangely enough the only part of her comment I don't really agree with at this point in time is the "Snape is evil, DD is dead..." bit. (I'm building a nice comfortable seat on the fence on these matters!) Everything else I agree with totally .

And although what my Step-Mother said is worded differently; it seems to be of similiar sentiment to many of us who actually have more than a passing interest in HP and his adventures.

Lizzy

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Neville Longbottom - Sep 10, 2005 3:26 am (#116 of 264)

Also, I actually enjoyed the first chapter.

Glad I'm not the only one. I thought it was an awesome chapter.

I thought a bit about my feelings for this book, and I think I'm schizophrenic. Because on the one hand I think it's a good book, though not as good as OotP, but on the other hand, I'm also a bit disappointed. And I think it might be, because it's the sixth out of seven, and we now only have one in the series left. Because it's that close to the end, I think the romance parts annoyed me more, than they did in book 4 and 5, because I am aware that there is not much time for resolutions anymore. And although we really get some answers in this book, there are still a lot we didn't get, and I'm afraid that every page used for Ron/Lavender will be a wasted page in the end. I think my ultimate opinion about this book will depend on book 7. If JKR manages to answer all important questions in book 7 in a satisfying way, than I will probably see HBP as the calm before the storm, where JKR wanted to give Harry and his friends some last happy days after the Umbridge regime in OotP and before the dangerous Horcrux quest, and in which she also brought some intersting backstory, that will further the plot. If she doesn't manage to tie everything up in book 7, than HBP will probably be the book of wasted opportunity for me, because although it does answer some questions, it could have answered more.

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popkin - Sep 10, 2005 8:19 am (#117 of 264)

mother
Edited by Sep 10, 2005 8:24 am
I can still reread the other books and enjoy them very much. Goblet of Fire still grabs my attention right from the beginning. HBP bores me from the outset. I don't think my dissappointment stems from a change in me - reading the forum, and discussing theories - but from a change in JKR's writing style and formulas. Very frequently it reads like an outline. It seems like JKR was distracted, and couldn't get into her stride much of the time. A conversation here and there would have enlived many passages. A little more day to day Hogwarts life would have done the same. I don't think she quite finished writing this book.

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Madam Pince - Sep 10, 2005 8:49 am (#118 of 264)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
I don't think she quite finished writing this book.

I think that's a really good sum-up, popkin. It felt to me like we were being rushed through all the "Points That Need To Be Covered" (like you mention - an outline) and that some editor somewhere had told her "you need to tighten up your lengths a bit." I wouldn't go so far as to say it bores me, but I really felt the detail and day-to-day-Hogwarts from previous books was lacking. I did like Dumbledore's character more, though, for some reason.

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coolbeans3131 - Sep 10, 2005 1:14 pm (#119 of 264)

I have barely posted on any HP forums since HBP came out. I have no interest in reading it again. I might, right before book 7 comes out, but I doubt that I will read any of the books again before that. I'm sad about that.

I can see not liking HBP, but it seems to have sapped my enjoyment of the wholo HP experience. I am looking forward to GoF the movie, as it's my favorite book, but I was sooo disappointed in HBP and I thought I might be getting over it by now. I'm not. I wasn't thrilled with OotP the first time, but I started right away on a re-read of the series, and really enjoyed Order the second time. It's sad for me to not be getting over these feelings, like I hoped I would.

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Round Pink Spider - Sep 10, 2005 3:56 pm (#120 of 264)

Crazed Writer
It felt to me like we were being rushed through all the "Points That Need To Be Covered" (like you mention - an outline) and that some editor somewhere had told her "you need to tighten up your lengths a bit." I wouldn't go so far as to say it bores me, but I really felt the detail and day-to-day-Hogwarts from previous books was lacking.

Madam Pince, I agree with your assessment of the problem. There wasn't enough of the everyday stuff we've all come to know and love. And I'm thinking there might have been two possible reasons:

1. She might have tried so hard to streamline the book that she cut out stuff that was important to the feel of the book rather than the plot. She was asked in one of the interviews about trimming out non-essentials from OotP. Did she try too hard?

2. She was very pregnant, and wanted to get HBP written and off to the editor before the baby was born, so that she could concentrate on being a mum instead of a writer.

Personally, since it was lacking in detail compared to her "normal" writing, given adequate time, I think #2 is the most probable reason. She was hurrying to get done, so she gave us the essentials of the plot. None of us would have wanted to wait another year and a half, and she probably didn't want it hanging over her head either.

I also liked the first two chapters. I thought the one with the Prime Minister was a stitch. I didn't really find any part of the book boring, just... thin. Lacking in the usual goodies with which she normally spoils us. I also think that part of the problem is that it's only the first 1/3 of a 2-part story (I won't call it "half", as I'm sure that well more than half the action will have to be in book 7). She did say that the two books would be essentially one story, and we're not used to that.

I have no doubt that she did, in fact, put stuff in the book in response to readers (I, too, noticed that she used "DADA" -- oooops! Been reading too many posts... ).

I'm sorry to hear that some people have lost interest in theory-spinning. I think that very few questions got answered myself, but I also don't think she introduced many new questions. And I think some of the old questions are getting a little worn out.

We need an infusion of new questions, Jo. Could you tease us some more on your website, please?

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timrew - Sep 10, 2005 5:21 pm (#121 of 264)

Middle-aged Harry Potter fan
Round Pink Spider:- I wouldn't go so far as to say it bores me, but I really felt the detail and day-to-day-Hogwarts from previous books was lacking.

That's what it is, RPS! JKR seems to be 'bringing us up to date' on a few things; and in doing so, she has produced a book that I really don't want to read again. At least not until the week before book 7 is published!

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Neville Longbottom - Sep 11, 2005 2:59 am (#122 of 264)

Can someone please tell me the chapter in which she wrote DADA. The page was mentioned, but seeing that I have another edition, that didn't help me at all.

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Loopy Lupin - Sep 11, 2005 11:42 am (#123 of 264)

She might have tried so hard to streamline the book that she cut out stuff that was important to the feel of the book rather than the plot. -- RPS

I think this sums up my own speculation about what was going through JKR's mind writing this. There had been criticism about the length of OoP and the lack of editing. It didn't come from me though. I wanted them to keep getting longer. For me, the something that was "lacking"-- to paraphrase Denise from a few posts back-- was the detail and day-to-day stuff at Hogwarts. I was skimming through OoP the other night and realized that it was something like page 400 and the story was still in October of the school year. When I first read OoP, I can assure you that at no time was I wishing the pace would pick up. I was too immersed to really notice. With HBP, as I've said before, it was about page 350 that I was noticing nothing had happened and was wishing I could slow things down.

As far as so many questions being answered, I didn't really feel that way so much. Ok, obviously, we got big answers on the 'ship front. A lot of the other "answers" were things that we Forumers had pretty much concluded anyway or were things that, speaking for me, just weren't that surprising.

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Mrs. D. - Sep 11, 2005 11:55 am (#124 of 264)

I have not yet reread this book but keep trying to talk myself into it. I don't think I will reread the first chapter though.

I loved the Bella/Narcissa/Snape chapter and wished for a sniggle more about wormtail.

The ships aggravated me.

I was deeply into the Gaunt family information.

I feel that there was so much more DD could have done to teach Harry. I kept waiting for the lessons to begin. I didn't really view the Gaunt history as a lesson though clearly it was. I guess I wanted active lessons, learning a new skill or spells or anything!

I truly missed Neville and Luna and the classroom studies.

It just feels so far from the beaten path I have become used to and I am wary that book 7 will follow suit. It would be a great disappointment. It even makes me wonder if JKR is doing it on purpose so she won't be hounded to write any more about Harry when this is over. She is a bit like Harry after all. She wasn't as bad off as he was to start with but she was dumped into major celebrity and I am sure values family more than fame and money. As it is said, "Be careful what you wish for..."

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Madam Pince - Sep 11, 2005 5:57 pm (#125 of 264)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
Neville, the term D.A.D.A. is found in Chapter Twelve, "Silver and Opals," right near the beginning shortly after you see the words "Levicorpus (nvbl)" At least, in the American edition. Maybe it was spelled out in full in other editions?

"... he was still having difficulty with nonverbal spells, something Snape had been quick to comment on in every D.A.D.A. class."

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Neville Longbottom - Sep 12, 2005 3:43 am (#126 of 264)

Thank you, Madam Pince. And I just checked, it is indeed written DADA in the British edition as well. Just tells you how used I am to this term, that I didn't even realise it.

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rambkowalczyk - Sep 12, 2005 9:20 am (#127 of 264)

I don't think that it's age that has to do with whether one likes the book or not. Next year I will hit the half century mark and I was not disappointed. I will acknowledge some things.

1 The mystery in this book was not as good as book 1,3 or 4. Unlike book 5 that seemed to have no mystery (other than who set the Dementors, and the meaning of Petuna's howler), there were enough twists and turns that made the story fascinating for me. Although I correctly guessed Draco's mission and what Snape would do, as I read the book I kept looking for other possibilities because I did not want this tragic event to happen. I didn't figure out that Draco was hiding in the ROR nor that he was using Polyjuice on Crabbe and Goyle, (I thought that scene was hysterical), nor why Tonks was so depressed, nor even that Slughorn was hired to be the Potions' teacher. I'll agree that there was no major plot twist involving character's motives.

What I would like to know is--After you read chap 2, did you guess what Draco's task was or did you think Draco was suppose to try to kill Harry? I think that if the series were read with no long gaps between the books that the plot twists would seem more profound, but when you have 2 years between books and read these forums the element of surprise is diminished.

2 The book was shorter and by definition details were left out. I get the impression alot of people feel that JKR's heart (or soul) seemed to be missing. (not a sentiment that I share) The idea that she might have rushed this book so that it would be finished before the birth of her third baby could very well be a factor. However I think it's possible that some detail isn't as necessary because the series is coming to an end. Sometimes the details are needed to provide background information as well as provide clues and red herrings for overall plot. Perhaps she has all the clues laid out.

3 The Half-Blood Prince breaks tradition with previous stories. This year the DADA teacher was a character from previous books. There was no end of the year speech from Dumbledore to Harry. We are even left with the strong possibility that there might not be a Hogwarts or if there is that Harry won't go.

4 I think it might be helpful if book 6 was compared to Shakespeare. First of all there is an overall tragedy-that is Snape is caught in a bind. We know that somehow that Snape is doomed as a result of making the Unbreakable Vow regardless of what he does. Harry knows Draco is up to no good, but if Harry stops him, Harry does not know that Draco or Snape will die. Therefore although we root for Harry, we know there is more to the story. To offset the tragedy,a comedy in the form of mismatched couples take place. I am not a Shakespeare expert but all this snogging was a little like a Midsummer's night dream even if the basic premise of both stories were a little bit different.

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Amilia Smith - Sep 12, 2005 4:33 pm (#128 of 264)

After you read chap 2, did you guess what Draco's task was or did you think Draco was suppose to try to kill Harry?

I admit, I thought Draco was supposed to knock Harry off. I called my brother after reading that chapter, and he thought Draco was going for Dumbledore. I said, "No, that can't be it, because Snape says he plans to keep spying on DD if Draco is able to pull off his mission." But when it actually did turn out to be DD, I looked back on that passage, and Snape does not actually say DD's name.

Mills.

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Loopy Lupin - Sep 13, 2005 5:59 am (#129 of 264)

This year the DADA teacher was a character from previous books.-- ramb

Slughorn had been mentioned before?

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Round Pink Spider - Sep 13, 2005 6:15 am (#130 of 264)

Crazed Writer
Slughorn was the Potions master.

Ramb, I agree with you that there might not have been as much action because she's got her pieces in place -- the breath before the storm. I've speculated as much elsewhere.

Actually, my husband observed that he knew DD was doomed when he made his "speech" to Harry near the beginning of the book instead of at the end. And then he had another one with Harry about the true significance of the prophecy and Harry's choices. So he had his speeches; they were just displaced.

I think I always realized that Dumbledore was it, because in this genre, the old guy who's mentoring the young hero always has to be killed or lost or something before the hero does his thing. It's just got to be that way, or else the hero wouldn't have to act in the first place.

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Lupin is Lupin. Natch. - Sep 13, 2005 12:35 pm (#131 of 264)

Sometimes known as Kim.
This year the DADA teacher was a character from previous books.---rambkowalczyk

Slughorn had been mentioned before?---Loopy Lupin

Hmmm, maybe the reason Loopy didn't like Book 6 is because he didn't read Book 6.

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Round Pink Spider - Sep 13, 2005 12:40 pm (#132 of 264)

Crazed Writer
Ooooo, ouch!

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Madam Pince - Sep 13, 2005 2:06 pm (#133 of 264)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
After you read chap 2, did you guess what Draco's task was or did you think Draco was suppose to try to kill Harry?

You know, this is going to sound absolutely ridiculous, but I don't think I even thought about what Draco's task was. It's been awhile and my brain is so full of swirling ideas since then that I really can't recall, but I swear I don't think I even gave it a second's thought -- I was just plowing ahead reading with blinders on. I suppose if I did think about it, I must've thought that the task was to try to kill Harry. But, having said that, I was absolutely certain that Dumbledore was doomed to die in this book, long before I ever started reading at all.

Egad. I am appalled at my own lack of curiousity...

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I Am Used Vlad - Sep 13, 2005 2:13 pm (#134 of 264)

I Am Almighty!
After you read chap 2, did you guess what Draco's task was or did you think Draco was suppose to try to kill Harry?

I guessed right, which leads to what disappointed me about the book. It was too easy to figure out what was going to happen next. I also thought it was fairly obvious that Draco was doing something to help the Death Eaters infiltrate the school. At the end, I think every "knew" that Dumbledore was returning to the school to be killed. Also, the Horcruxes were supposed to be "unguessable," but numerous forum members had guessed that there were other objects like the diary.

There were some surprises, but only small ones. We were surprised that Snape killed Dumbledore, but not that he was killed. We were surprised that the new Potions teacher was an elderly gentleman who had known Draco's grandfather; we had thought it was going to be the new DADA teacher.*

The fact that there is an entire thread devoted to the discovery of Snape as the HBP being meaningless in terms of the plot of book 6 says all that needs to be said on that subject, although I think we will find out it is very important once we've read book 7.

.*Well, a few of us, anyway.

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Sparrowhawk - Sep 13, 2005 3:49 pm (#135 of 264)

I agree with Ramb... and I'm 45! As I had been convinced for three or four years that DD would die in book 6, I expected Draco's mission to be something like that.

I can see that the lack of details about the school year came as a disappointment to many, but personally, I didn't miss them very much (IMO a few additional paragraphs, totaling 10 pages or so, would have been enough), and I appreciated the tighter story, compared with books 4 and 5. All in all, I liked this book better than GoF or OotP, although my favourite remains PoA...

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Loopy Lupin - Sep 14, 2005 6:13 am (#136 of 264)

Hmmm, maybe the reason Loopy didn't like Book 6 is because he didn't read Book 6. -- Kim

Ooops. LOL. I was just getting ready to write something snarky when I realized my mistake.

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Lupin is Lupin. Natch. - Sep 14, 2005 11:03 am (#137 of 264)

Sometimes known as Kim.
Snarky? You? Pshaw.

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Catherine - Sep 17, 2005 9:17 am (#138 of 264)

Canon Seeker
Looks the the hutzpah is showing again...

I've had time to think about HbP, and I've been listening to it on the way to work every morning.

I really do miss the anecodotal meanderings that we were treated to in GoF and OoP. I realize that Harry has always had the most evil wizard in the world trying to kill him, but there's always been so much fun in the other novels, and this one seemed to lack that element of fun. I missed the Stinksap mishap, the Puking Pastilles, and having Myrtle spy on a bathing Harry. So many things appeared to happen "off screen" that I would have liked details about. We went to so many new magical places in OoP like St. Mungo's and the Ministry and 12 GP that HbP feels a bit...bare.

I felt a bit cheated that finally Snape has the DADA position, and I wanted to see him in it much more than I did.

For me, the book still feels like a warm-up or a prelude, and it feels unfinished.

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Regan of Gong - Oct 2, 2005 9:31 pm (#139 of 264)

Self declared doctor of everything.
I think one of the main problems in the book was actually our fault. Before the release, we came up with so many theories and ideas about what would happen, we eventually (and unwittingly) guessed almost the whole story. People guessed Harry would end up with Ginny, people guessed Snape would kill Dumbledore and people guessed that Dumbledore would die. While it all came as a shock when Dumbledore actually did die, no-one on this forum was actually surprised when it happened.

All through the final chapters I was sitting there, waiting for Dumbledore to die, and I actually covered up all the page except the part I was reading so I didn't see something like "...and there, clearly dead, laid Dumbledore...". I expected it, but when he actually fell from the tower after Snape killed him I was still shocked. It sounds a little crazy, but maybe someone out there will know what I mean.

I think that we helped spoil the surprise for ourselves, and it's probably a bit unfair to not like the book simply because we were uninterested in a book we had already extracted most of the major ideas from and read them over and over.

Now I've got that off my brain, I'll continue with my actual thoughts on book 6.

Admittedly, I thought it was a little lacking in general day-to-day banter and classes etc. That was an area I thought the book could have expanded on a little, and that was probably something a lot of people missed. Things like Ron's moustache were little things I enjoyed, but this time, the ones that were mentioned were there for a purpose, e.g. Hermione laughing at Ron's moustache.

I also felt that there was no-one to really side with or against. E.g. Prof. Umbridge was universally hated, while everyone felt pity for Lupin. Moody was always interesting, and everything Lockhart said was cringe worty, and that's something we enjoyed. The actual introduction into the magical world in the first book was something which kept us turning the pages, but Slughorn seemed to be the kind of character that McGonnagal or Flitwick filled. He had little things which made him interesting, but overall, he seemed a little dull. Something which may have added interest would be more interaction between Snape and Harry in D.A.D.A, but alas.

Finally, the mystery of the book ("what do you think Draco's up to?") never seemed to heighten until we got to the end of book, where it suddenly heightened and turned out to be the big "thing" of the book. We had no clues as to what he was doing, unlike books like PS, where we see evidence mounting against Snape e.g bite on leg from Fluffy until we're sure he's going to steal the stone. Here all we had was Draco's up to something, but we don't seem to know anything new about it until the final 3 chapters.

Overall, I was slightly dissapointed in the book, partly because I had read theories about everything that happened, partly because the main plot points didn't seem to develop as gradually as the would normally and partly because I really miss day-to-day Hogwarts with all its quirks, fun and charm.

And the last line of the book was the best ever ending to any of the series, "...he felt his heart lift at the thought that there was still one last golden day of peace left to enjoy with Ron and Hermione."
Regan

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Esther Rose - Oct 3, 2005 8:48 am (#140 of 264)

It is always tough as a writer to figure out what to do with the second to last book in the series. You want to answer questions but not too many so that the last book isn't needed. You need to get most of your story lines in a position to be wrapped up in the last book. But refresh some old ones to keep folks guessing for the last book. You can't really introduce anything extremely new, yet you can't put in too much of the old stuff and bore the reader.

Rowling had two choices. Make 6 stand alone or a part one of 7. She holds the pen so I trust her decision that 6 is better as a part one of 7.

All of the other books had a specific agenda.

Book 1: Introduce Hogwarts and Voldemort.

Book 2: Create hints of Voldemort's back story.

Book 3: Introduce Siruis Black.

Book 4: Voldemort's Rebirth and Test Harry without RH assistance.

Book 5: Reveal Voldemort's return.

Book 6: Harry prepares to fight the war against Voldemort.

Book 7: Harry enters the War as an adult.

I did not expect book 6 to be very strong. After all it is ultimately book 7 that I am anxiously waiting for with reluctance. ;-)

But if it helps. Think of book 6 as boot camp. Not incredibly exciting, almost painful to get through but necessary before the real stuff begins.

I loved the 6th book. (though not as much as I loved GOF.) Especially the first two chapters which arguably may not go with the rest of the book.

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kingdolohov - Oct 3, 2005 12:36 pm (#141 of 264)

Esther Rose-

For Book 3, I think that the purpose was to reveal more about Harry's parents' deaths, and to introduce Pettigrew so we weren't surprised when he helped Voldemort return.

Sirius was an important addition, but not as important in the overall story of Harry against Voldemort.

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Loopy Lupin - Oct 4, 2005 5:50 am (#142 of 264)

People guessed Harry would end up with Ginny, people guessed Snape would kill Dumbledore and people guessed that Dumbledore would die. -Regan

Did someone guess Snape would kill Dumbledore? If they did, I didn't see it or just didn't pay attention to it. Harry being with Ginny and Dumbledore dying (in some way or another) were certainly guessed and theorized plenty though.

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Mrs Brisbee - Oct 4, 2005 6:09 am (#143 of 264)

That was a nice summation, Regan of Gong.

I think one of the main problems in the book was actually our fault. Before the release, we came up with so many theories and ideas about what would happen, we eventually (and unwittingly) guessed almost the whole story-- Regan

I do think part of my disappointment is the way I personally look at the story line. Not much can be done about that, it's hardly Rowling's fault. My problem is that I am neither a 'Shipper nor a Snape Fan, and that's two thirds of the book right there. Not that much of that wasn't interesting, but I would like more other stuff to mull over in the long years between now and the next book--and I really hope next book isn't more of the same. I always suspected Ginny and Harry would get together in the end, but I guess I'm an old fuddy-duddy and I'm having a hard time processing True Love at fifteen.

Finally, the mystery of the book ("what do you think Draco's up to?") never seemed to heighten until we got to the end of book, where it suddenly heightened and turned out to be the big "thing" of the book. We had no clues as to what he was doing, unlike books like PS, where we see evidence mounting against Snape e.g bite on leg from Fluffy until we're sure he's going to steal the stone. Here all we had was Draco's up to something, but we don't seem to know anything new about it until the final 3 chapters.

I wonder, did anyone out there figure out that Draco was attempting to repair the vanishing cabinet, which with it's twin from Borgin and Burke could be used for an invasion of Hogwarts by Death Eaters? Given the sparse clues, I'm not smacking myself on the head and feeling stupid for not coming up with that scenario. I actually did figure out fairly early that Draco was supposed to kill Dumbledore, though it seemed an odd mission to give a sixteen year old.

Rowling had two choices. Make 6 stand alone or a part one of 7. She holds the pen so I trust her decision that 6 is better as a part one of 7. --Esther Rose

I hope it is. There were a lot of things that didn't go anywhere interesting in HBP. Maybe she needs them for the next book.

For example, in HBP we find out that Lily was good at potions. But it dead ends right there. It didn't really add anything interesting to her character because we don't learn what it mean to Lily to be good at potions or what she use it for.

Also Harry's detention with Snape copying the old detention records. I expected that Harry might find out something relevant to the plot, but it ended up being boring. Old ground was covered.

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rambkowalczyk - Oct 5, 2005 5:31 pm (#144 of 264)

I didn't slap my head over the vanishing cabinet--that was too vague, and I didn't feel too bad about not figuring that Rosmerta was under the Imperious curse--that could have been figured out by a true Ravenclaw, but I did slap my head not figuring out that it was the room of requirement that Draco was going to.

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Regan of Gong - Oct 8, 2005 4:56 am (#145 of 264)

Self declared doctor of everything.
Yeah, Loopy, I might have made an assumption about Snape and Dumbledore, there's so many theories going round here...

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João Paulo Costa - Oct 10, 2005 2:49 am (#146 of 264)

Regarding the first chapter of HBP

The first chapter of book six of the series had been, according to author J.K. Rowling, "in the brewing for the last therteen years", and and almost been the first chapter of some of the precedent books of the series.

Unusually on the series, this book is not written by Harry Potter's perspective, but rather from the Muggle Minister - assumedly the English Prime-Minister, as the series take place in that country.

What I did not like about this was the tone in which the whole chapter was set and the Muggle minister portraied. He seemed a very passive charqacter, that waits for the dropping y of the ministes of Magic, and almost begs for information. now a british Prime-minister is not a passive person, or without ideas or initiative. He would undoubtely have shown a lot more presence of mind with his visitors, and would certainly have had the strange phenomenos innestigated.

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Sparrowhawk - Oct 10, 2005 4:20 pm (#147 of 264)

Why couldn't an imaginary british Prime Minister be a passive person, lacking initiative? I'm sure that our British friends on the forum could come with more than one example, if they were to choose between all british Prime Ministers since WW2 (I'm not asking for names, knowing that this is no political forum ...)

BTW, have you ever seen the series, "Yes (Prime) Minister"? Hilarious, and with a Prime Minister (Mr Hacker) who does not exactly look like a paragon of courage and decisiveness! You might well say that this was purely fictional, yet I'm convinced that the film producers were inspired by some very real british politicians... And of course, the same could apply to other countries as well!

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Denise P. - Oct 17, 2005 4:50 pm (#148 of 264)

Ravenclaw Pony
I was at a Cub Scout meeting tonight. We have a Boy Scout, Martin, who helps with our younger boys. Martin and I have always gotten along well and discuss various books. After the meeting, the first thing he asked me was "Did you think HBP sucked as much as I did?"

In talking to him more, he expressed similar disappointment in the book that has been said here. Martin is 15 so I found it interesting that he had the same sense of disappointment in the book.

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wynnleaf - Oct 17, 2005 10:24 pm (#149 of 264)

In talking to him more, he expressed similar disappointment in the book that has been said here. Martin is 15 so I found it interesting that he had the same sense of disappointment in the book.

I suppose it just goes to show that the things that disappoint adults can disappoint the kids, too.

On the other hand, between my own kids and all their friends, I now know 12-15 kids who I've heard their opinion of HBP and all loved it, many thinking it their second favorite thus far. (Nobody had it has their favorite.)

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João Paulo Costa - Oct 18, 2005 3:58 am (#150 of 264)

Sparrowhawk - Oct 10, 2005 4:20 pm (#147 of 149) wrote: "Why couldn't an imaginary british Prime Minister be a passive person, lacking initiative? (...)"

What stroke me as completely different in the Muggle Prime Minister behaviour was the fact that it was completely different from any one previously written in the series. None of the other characters just sits idle waiting for news, without doing anything after some time, when confronted with changes in their world.

The British Pime-Minister is a person of power, that would not ignore something that would be interfering with his world. Even if he could not activelly do anything, he would, at least, have a series of questions ready to throw at his magical oposite number. I do not think he would sit stammeringthrough all the talks without trying to establish some form of control (particullary if they ar taking place in his office).

PS: I did see some episodes of "Yes, Prime.-Minister", but I do not think they relate to this. That series was declearly a humurous TV show, and the HP books adopt a serious, even if phantastic, view of the world (even if there are some brilliant laughable scenes).

Good readings to all!

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Was anyone disappointed in Book 6? (Post 151 to 175)

Post  Elanor on Sun Jun 12, 2011 1:21 am

I Am Used Vlad - Oct 18, 2005 3:30 pm (#151 of 264)
I Am Almighty!
I occasionally like to read my old posts, and I noticed that in my only post on this thread I come across like a smug jerk who thinks he's smarter than everyone because some of my predictions about the book were not that far off. That was not my intention. Prior to the release of HBP, my only hope was that the book would not, as Denise's young friend so aptly put it, suck. Whether or not my ideas about the book were accurate was, quite frankly, the furthest thing from my mind.

Nor do I make it a habit to try to figure out if I'm smarter than other members of this forum. With the exception of Chaplin fans, those who elect to post their IQ, twelve-year-old Shakespeare experts and people who change their screen name to German words that I have to look up in order to tell me that I'm an imbecile, it's just not something I think about.

What I'm trying to say is that if anyone other than Andrew was offended by my post, I'm truly sorry.

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Mrs. D. - Oct 19, 2005 7:41 am (#152 of 264)

It is a sad state of affairs to say I have not spoken to anyone in person who was happy with this book. They haven't hated it, but were sorely disappointed and rather worried what the final novel will have in store. One said he finally understood why some church groups were wanting to ban the series or felt it wasn't good for children. I argued with him a fair bit about it. He really wanted the "Hero" to stay always on the side of good and felt extremely let down by Harry's use of the cutting curse on Draco. I think it was necessary though as Harry now has felt at a gut level the pain he could inflict. I think his horror at it proves he cannot use an unforgiveable curse against anyone and mean it. Although I can't honestly say Voldemort is an "anyone" at this point.

I wish I could speak in person with at least one who liked it, but alas there are none to be found here.

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haymoni - Oct 19, 2005 8:02 am (#153 of 264)

Vlad - we know you are a smug jerk. We like you anyway!

The only thing that really, truly disappoints me about this book is that it has made me question what I thought I knew. I now have even more questions than before and it just makes me crazy that I won't know the answers for another 2 years.

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Sconie Girl - Oct 19, 2005 10:57 am (#154 of 264)

Hello all. I am a frequent reader and seldom poster to the Forum, but I thought I would throw in my 2 knuts.

I have to agree that I felt let down when I finished the book. My mom and I both stayed up to get the book at midnight. (An impressive feat for an "old" lady getting up at 4:45am to get to work.) We agreed to read only the 1st chapter and go to bed. When I was done with Chapter one, I was like, WHAT WAS THAT? After reading all the posts on the Forum I also thought the 1st chapter would for sure be about Harry's Past.

By the time I finished I felt pretty grim. I expected more action...and not the Ron Ron/Lavender type.

I forced myself to reread the book a few weeks later because I had felt the same way about OotP. It did get better, but not great. The book seems to have lacked what everyone says... I did enjoy the flashbacks.

I recently finished listening to HBP on CD and must say that I have grown to like it. Not anywhere near PoA or GoF, but it was a "fun" book. I think the initial dislike stemmed from my expectations that it would be DARK and Action packed, leading up to the big finish in Book 7.

I will reserve final judgment until then! (Sorry this was so long!)

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Loopy Lupin - Oct 19, 2005 2:25 pm (#155 of 264)

Dunno what that was all about Vlad, but "smug" is the last thing that comes to my mind when it comes to you or any of your posts. (That includes your posts about Buster all of which are merely misguided, not smug. ) Anyway, I fail to see where any offense could be taken by your only post on this thread.

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wynnleaf - Oct 19, 2005 6:40 pm (#156 of 264)

Mrs. D,

I liked HBP. Not as much as POA of course, but I liked it as much as the others. OOTP I was so irked with Harry through much of the book that I found it hard to enjoy, although now it's one of my favorites. I have never cared for GOF, as I consider it highly episodic and when I do read it, I usually skip forward to after the world cup. So that sort of tells you where I fit in on the books.

I didn't find many surprises until the last few chapters and I agree that Draco's assignment didn't have any suspense. But on the other hand, I rarely care what Draco's up to -- he's just too much of a light weight for me to care.

I never care much for the ship parts. I could take or leave it.

What I enjoyed were the quiet information chapters, going back into LV's history and particularly seeing him relating to other characters. I loved every scene with Slughorn. He's an interesting character. Aragog's funeral was full of humor.

The potions book notes of HBP were very interesting. I knew right away that what was important wasn't the potions and spells Harry was learning, but the personality of the person behind the notes, so I tended to focus on that -- " shove it down their throats," peppermint, euphoria, stir in the opposite direction, hold someone up by their heels -- and then the sectumsempra. By that chapter I was certain it was Severus and then there was the song countercurse, rounding out the last thing we learn about Severus as HBP.

All of the last chapters from around Aragog's funeral on were great.

I liked spending a lot of extra time getting to know DD more. I felt, by "hearing" him speak so much more, we got to know him as a personality a lot more.

On the whole, I enjoyed what I felt were the good parts far more than I was dissatisfied with any other parts.

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Regan of Gong - Oct 22, 2005 3:16 am (#157 of 264)

Self declared doctor of everything.
After another re-read of HBP, skipping chapter 1 of course, I have grown to like it a bit more. It still isn't my favourite book of the series, but I have definately come to appreciate it more. I continue to stick by my other post, but I encourage you all to read it again after watching some of the movies or reading some of the other books, if you haven't already. It worked for me, dunno bout the rest of you.

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Jeremy Tuttle - Nov 8, 2005 9:24 pm (#158 of 264)

I was dreading reading HBP because I was expecting the successively darkening tone in each of the previous books to continue, but it didn't. I was expecting the increasing emotional intensity of books 3-4-5 to get worse in HBP, but it didn't. I was disappointed. It seems JKR backed off.

I also thought the snogging was too much, but the 'ships, per se, didn't bother me except that Harry+Ginny was basically only mentioned, not described in any detail.

I was very aware that too much happened "off-stage", and it really bothered me that in two weeks, Harry went from an oh-so-typical 15-year-old, devastated by grief, to 16-going-on-20, then in 4 months he's about 16-going-on-30. I was gratified to see him handle Scrimgeour so manfully, however.

I have read HBP 3 times, and have just completed re-reading the previous books to prepare for a 4th read of HBP. I expect I will appreciate what is there more as time passes, and worry less about what's missing.

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Chemyst - Nov 22, 2005 7:09 am (#159 of 264)

"Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up." A.A. Milne
After the marathon weekend when HBP was first released, I thought I'd have done a re-read well before Thanksgiving. Except for the Spinner's End chapter and some picking and choosing around the DD death & RAB's note, it hasn't happened. And I don't feel any great urge to revisit all the Pensieve scenes any time soon either.

In the Original Post, Loopy wrote:
If I had to put my disappointment in a nutshell, I felt that this outing suffered from a lack of the imagination that made all the other installments so special.

There were a few exceptions to that nutshell description, (Aragog's funeral being but one,) but I understand his point. HBP seems overly plotted and structured to the point that the spontaneity is gone. The finished project reminds me of a process that happened in a class I once took. We spent an entire term writing one paper. The assignments were to reedit, rewrite, revamp, try different angles, etc. In the end, I think my best version actually came after the third edit and everything after that started seeming worn. That is what some sections of HBP feel like.

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Sticky Glue - Nov 22, 2005 12:11 pm (#160 of 264)

I've read HBP 3 times, I must say that it got better on the second and third read.

My immpression is that JKR has been influenced to make by the HP forums, I seemed like she was trying to answer too many of our questions, and in the process, lost the flow and suspence that the other books had.

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Mercedes - Dec 13, 2005 7:58 pm (#161 of 264)

What bothered me most about the book was not lack of new stuff (although that would have been nice) but rather not enough of the good stuff.

Snape's desire for the DADA job was infamous throughout the books, even from the very first one. But now that he actually got it it seemed like no big deal. I was expecting things to get really excitingly ugly after he got a hold of Harry's best class. I thought there would be a strike or petition by all the students for Harry to take over (though it could not be done)

Hagrid was diminished and neglected so much I could have cried. After his impressive adventure with the giants I thought he would be given even larger parts. After all he did for HRH, they basically blew him off. It me mad that the only reason Harry went to console Hagrid with the burial was because of the potion.

My favorite part was Harry's lessons with DD, yet there were less than 10 for the whole year!! DD was the best wizard alive with the most interesting things to learn from. It seems that Harry (and us) could have learned mounds of stuff but didn't. I felt his time was cut short.

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the judderman - Dec 15, 2005 5:42 pm (#162 of 264)

I've wanted to post something to this effect for a long time, and i suppose that this is at least vaguely relevent for this thread so i'm going to say it here.

These books are set in Britain. Britain is not a small version of America, and in many ways British values are different from American ones. In Britain, drinking is not a big issue. I started drinking at 15, started going to night clubs (illegally) at 16. My parents knew this and were and are fine with it. So did most of my friends from school and most of the people i have subsequently met in Uni. That Harry and his friends drink is completely unsurprising in context of them being British. Drinking is not a massive moral decline, it is a normal part of being a teenager. It is also a normal part of being an adult; most adults drink alcohol with meals, and go to the pub to socialise. That JKR didnt make a big deal of drinking alcohol is both correct in context, correct morally, as for 17 year olds alcohol is legal with a meal or in the home, and surely preferrable to "wow we're all drinking alcohol, isnt that exciting."

If you read these books and feel that they are portraying something in an immoral way, you need to consider the cultural point that they are written from. Many countries in the world ban alcohol completely, some ban women from driving, some have legal forms of execution. In the context of these countries these things are normal, in a British book they would not be. The opposite also applies.

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hawick girl - Dec 17, 2005 10:24 am (#163 of 264)

Underage consumption is not unheard of in the US either.

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Loopy Lupin - Dec 18, 2005 4:01 pm (#164 of 264)

Point well taken judderman. In fact, the differences in the "drinking issue" in the American context vs. the British context were discussed a bit back up around posts 30-40 or thereabouts. In the middle of that discussion, I said the following which still states my current opinion:

At any rate, I think I can say that the "morals" issue wasn't my major source of disappointment, just another observation of some things that didn't feel right. Lavender's still a "scarlet woman" in my book though. -- Loopy

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Catherine - Dec 25, 2005 5:12 pm (#165 of 264)

Canon Seeker
Lavender's still a "scarlet woman" in my book though--Loopy Lupin

I'm still thinking "Ewwww" remembering the Won-Won/Lav-Lav scene that resembled eels.

It also doesn't help me that Lavender's name is the first three letters of the word "lavatory" and that Myrtle resides in the loo. Neither of those young ladies appeals to me very much, and they both seem very silly.

But that's just me.

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Denise P. - Dec 29, 2005 2:54 pm (#166 of 264)

Ravenclaw Pony
Absence does make the heart grow fonder or at least a bit more tolerable. In the past few days, I have managed to pick up HBP again and begin a re-read. I am finding more bits in there that I like but it is still far from me calling it a great or fantastic book.

Some of the issues I had in the first read are still with me. I think many of the characters act off, not themselves. More than can be explained by the dangerous times they are facing.

So, even though I have not finished it again yet, it is better on my second read. Heck, at this rate, I may be on a 5th read by the time book 7 comes through and maybe by that point it will graduate to the "not bad" rating on my scale.

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Solitaire - Jan 1, 2006 11:05 am (#167 of 264)

I have not read the rest of the thread, but I was certainly disappointed in several things. Since Jo has said we will have all the backstory we need by the end of the series, Book 7 is going to have to spend A LOT more time in the past than in Harry's present, I should think. There are so many unanswered questions that I find it hard to believe they can all be covered adequately in Book 7, along with all of the new tasks (finding and destroying the Horcruxes) that have been dumped on Harry.

I was really expecting more background on James and Lily's life together after Hogwarts. I was also hoping for a bit more personal background on Lily. We know about the Marauders as James's closest friends. What about Lily's friends? I am disappointed that we did not get more in this area.

Solitaire

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Loopy Lupin - Jan 13, 2006 12:44 pm (#168 of 264)

Hmmm. I don't know about that Solitaire. I think that HPB is the backstory. Perhaps there will be questions that remain unanswered. There'll be lots to do in Book 7 what with finding the Horcuxi and the final showdown.

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haymoni - Jan 13, 2006 2:25 pm (#169 of 264)

That website of hers is going to be open for YEARS with all our questions!

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Mrs Brisbee - Jan 13, 2006 8:02 pm (#170 of 264)

Unfortunately, I think there is a wide gulf between what we feel we need to know to understand the story and characters and what Rowling thinks we need to know in order to understand. There's a lot to cover in book 7, and at this point I suspect I will be somewhat dissatisfied in the end, because there is no way I will learn much about all the characters and things I care about and have been wondering about for the past six books.

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haymoni - Jan 13, 2006 8:44 pm (#171 of 264)

If she's got 10 years of work in those notebooks, I'm guessing she's thought this thing out.

And if she hasn't caught on to how much people want to know about her world by now, she'd better get started filling a few more notebooks.

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DJ Evans - Jan 13, 2006 9:27 pm (#172 of 264)

Genealogy....Where you confuse the dead & irritate the living!
I agree Mrs. Brisbee. Well said.... I have a feeling there will be more questions (for me that is) left unanswered than answered at the end of book 7.

I had a hard time in getting through HbP. I even admit to feeling like the first part of HbP was not written by Jo herself. Though I knew it was, to me it just wasn't the style or pace that I had come to know from books 1-5. I mentioned this to a couple of my friends & they felt the same -- something just wasn't flowing right. Before my Mom read it, I didn't voice any of my thoughts about HbP -- was wanting to let her form her own opinions & basically she felt the same once she had read it.

Then for 2 or 3 years I kept hearing about the first chapter & how Jo had left it out of other books -- she felt it belonged more in this one, how it gave out too much info. I know it was me & I had built it up to be something more outstanding than what it actually was. But as far as I was concerned, it could have been condensed down to a one or two paragraphs -- heck I'll even go so far as to say it could have been left it out completely. What info was there (the deaths etc.) could have been placed here & there within the storyline.

The Spinner's End chapter was OK but I don't know -- something wasn't quite right here either to me -- maybe it was out of place or something? IMO most of the chapters, not counting Spinner's End, seemed to have been written in one style & then toward the end of HbP we have what I consider to be more like Jo's style/pace of writing.

I have to admit I didn't care much for OotP when I first read it, but for different reasons. It was more becuase I wasn't crazy about Umbridge & her story line. I'd get too mad/upset with her antics -- it was hard to read at times. Now though, I've read OotP several times & it has become one of my favorites -- in 2nd place after GoF matter of fact. OotP is full of drama, suspense information etc... HbP? It's just boring.....not to my taste. Being that I wasn't crazy about OotP at first, I thought to give HbP a second try. Nope, I've tried -- didn't work. I got all the way up to chapter 19 & finally gave up on it.

I know HbP is part of Jo's work -- but it will just have to live as not one of my favorites. I was so disappointed in it. Plus I wasn't a fan of let's go back in the past & see what happened then. I wasn't crazy about DD's lessons. And I felt DD left a lot unsaid to Harry that he should have addressed at some point in HbP. I mean for 5 years now DD has been closed mouthed around Harry concerning so many issues. I love DD but he's always left a feeling in me that he wasn't always treating Harry right & that feeling really came on strong to me in HbP. I came away feeling DD was using Harry in a sense. I kinda feel/wonder if DD didn't already know what to expect in the cave & knew he would need help & Harry fit the bill -- otherwise I think DD would have gone alone.

I'll stop now cause basically most of what I feel about HbP has already been said. I'm still looking forward to the final book -- will hate that it is the last in the world of HP yet will be glad to know how it all ends up.

Later, Deb

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Regan of Gong - Jan 14, 2006 8:56 pm (#173 of 264)

Self declared doctor of everything.
Yeah, I admit I thought I'd been swindled at first, and that someone had written a book and put it out under JKR's name (I even pinched myself to check it wasn't a dream). As for book 7, it's been mapped out for longer than I've been on this earth, and I've got complete faith in Jo that she'll answer everything.

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Aimee Shawn - Jan 24, 2006 6:53 pm (#174 of 264)

Wow, I've just read all 173 posts and enjoyed the venting.

When I read the book I felt like I read the Cliff's Notes and now was ready for the book. I miss the day to day parts. I was disappointed with Harry's lessons with DD. Shouldn't they be more practical? Learning about LV's history was interesting but couldn't it have been a bit condensed and more room made for secondary characters? I love Neville and Luna; they are so like children I've taught. Even Hermione and Ron got shorted. They weren't important to the story as they have always been.

I did love the first chapter. Not necessarily in this book or in that place but it was hysterical! Spinner's End needed more - well - I don't know what. Something to intrigue me. Perhaps a better hook to get me into the story. (Although I admit to being totally wrong, I thought Harry was the target.)

The relationships were not the big turnoff for me as to so many others. It is a part of growing up and finding out about ourselves and the opposite sex. It seems so innocent. Kissing seems so harmless as it was portrayed. Perhaps to Americans, "snogging" conjures up more than it means in UK. Guess it depends on where your mind is.

I share ??? *someone's hope*-I forget who, sorry, that there will be another edition of the HBP that isn't as well-edited. I, too, miss the day to day life at Hogwarts.

Disappointed? Yes. Hated DD dying, of course but was glad to have Harry out of the teenaged angst years. He was getting on my very last nerve.

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Honour - Jan 24, 2006 7:32 pm (#175 of 264)

LOL! Aimee Shawn, my very last nerve was at breaking point, and Harry was jumping up and down on it! Wonderful, simply wonderful!

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Was anyone disappointed in Book 6? (Post 176 to 200)

Post  Elanor on Sun Jun 12, 2011 1:23 am

Die Zimtzicke - Feb 9, 2006 2:06 pm (#176 of 264)
I read the first five books at LEAST ten times each. I read HbP three times and had to quit because I got more and more angry every time.

It's just not a stand alone story you can love for itself. I know Jo had to lead into the seventh book, and I did NOT expect her to tie up all the loose ends, but I did expect a beginning, a middle, and a sensible stop off point. This one is not a book you can love for what it is on it's own, the way the others were. It's just a prequel to...whatever is coming. And in that I feel cheated.

There were more mistakes in this book than in previous books, there was horribly done romance from Harry/Ginny to Filch/Pince and long stretches that were quite dull.

This is ALL my opinion, but I was disappointed. I agree with whoever said it was mostly filler, with only a little action. (Forgive me for paraphrasing, but that was many posts ago, and I'm trying hard to catch up.) A friend of mine called it a cross between a Detective novel that never comes to a conclusion and Sweet Valley High, and I agreed with that.

I was just disappointed and that's all I can say.

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Caius Iulius - Feb 13, 2006 1:03 pm (#177 of 264)

I love HBP. I thought it very brave of JKR to have Dumbledore murdered. Snape as the HBP wasn't much of a surprise to me. The book was about Potions after all. But the first two chapters were superb! So was the scene at Aragogs funeral and the two drunk singing together/Harry obtaining the memory.

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frogface - Mar 7, 2006 11:05 am (#178 of 264)

On the whole I enjoyed HBP. Finding out about Voldemort and his past was extremely interesting to me, and it was satisfying to see Harry and Ginny get together and win the quidditch cup. We also got to know Dumbledore quite well.

But I can see what people didn't like the book. And I think a big element of what made this book a lot different was the fact that the detective element was missing for most of the book.

In each book we've been presented with a mystery or two to solve which drove the plot forward:

Book 1 - Whose the bad guy and what are they after?

Book 2 - What and where is the chamber of secrets and who is opening it?

Book 3 - How did Sirius Black escape prison and how is he getting into Hogwarts?

Book 4 - Who put Harry's name in the Goblet of Fire and why?

Book 5 - What is Voldemort after and what are these visions Harry is having?

In book six we aren't really presented with anything to solve. Questions are brought up as Harry begins to learn about Voldemort but we know that within a lesson or two the answers will be presented. We aren't given any mysteries to solve until the end. Namely that of R.A.B. and the exact nature of the Dumbledore/Snape relationship. But these mysteries aren't solved. Which means the book can't be judged as a stand alone book in the same way the others can.

I think book 6 needed to be like this though. It needed to set up the final chapter of Harry's story, it needed to leave us on some kind of cliff hanger. I even witnessed a few people on the forum predict that we'd be left on a cliff hanger by the end of HBP and they were sort of right. Sadly this maybe what contributed to some readers disliking the book.

I think Book 7 may well help this though. As JKR says, book 6 and 7 are more like one story in two parts, and so hopefully when we get the rest of the story we'll be provided with the things the book 6 lacked.

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Sticky Glue - Mar 8, 2006 3:18 am (#179 of 264)

Thankyou frogface I think you have just pin pointed why I didn't like the book as much - And I hadn't figured that out, I just knew something was missing.

Although the mistery could have been what is Malfoy up to, but the suspense didn't realy come across as well.

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frogface - Mar 8, 2006 5:00 am (#180 of 264)

We also had the mystery of the identity of the Half-Blood Prince. But that didn't really push the plot forwards as Harry never really tried too hard to work out who it was. Hermione devoted some time to working out who it could be, but it wasn't given much attention plot wise.

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geauxtigers - Mar 16, 2006 10:10 pm (#181 of 264)

Yum!
My first read of it I was like oh my gosh that was definatly the worst Harry I've read! Now I'm not sure why I thought that, becasue its actually not at all. I think I was mostly shocked at how, bland so to speak it was. DD dying confused me because, A, I felt sure the major death would be him, and B, I thought something was fishy with it. I felt really dissappointed in it and refused to read it again for several months. After my second read I was like, oh thats not as bad as I remember! I read it a 3rd time, and its still my least favorite, but I think we needed to have it in there, and the more I think about it, it's the most informative and had so many clues that we are all currently trying to figure out! I that if anyone is still mad or upset by it, you should read it again and recognize how important it is to the series, it's not bad like it seems at first. But seeing as this is meerly my opinion...

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Vulture - Jun 14, 2006 10:06 pm (#182 of 264)

It's just my opinion, but I like it !!
Edited Jun 14, 2006 11:33 pm
(This is a bit disjointed _ been writing it for ages, and wanted to read the whole thread first, but now I feel I'd better put it up in case the thread disappears !!)

I initially did the whole essay below without saying a word about the "major death" in Book 6. My feeling is that, quite simply, this death was a mistake on JKR's part. Whether she (and we) like it or not, Dumbledore, as a character, is so similar to Gandalf and Star Wars's Obi-Wan Kenobi that anything remotely like a copycat operation should have been avoided like the plague. (By the way, if you look at Alec Guinness's appearance as Ben Kenobi, it's far closer to JKR's description of Dumbledore _ even down to the nose _ than any of the HP film actors.)

But it's not just the copycat aspect _ the "major death" is also a cop-out. I make a number of criticisms of Book 6 below, but without the "major death", the book would simply have stood or fallen on its merits (it does have some). The major death blows everything else out of the water, and out of the reader's mind. Afterwards, the reader's reaction is to feel that that was exactly the point _ to disguise weaknesses. Thus, the major death ends up casting a stronger and harsher light on the book's weak points than need have been the case.

The funeral is overblown _ it has so many characters from every corner of JKR's books that we half-expect Lord V to waltz in with the Dursleys. Yes, I know THIS funeral is necessarily a big occasion, but JKR has conveyed other big events in the past with much more restraint, which paradoxically has given them bigger impact.

I also feel a certain cynicism behind the writing of this death which I didn't feel about that of Sirius (which, in its fulfilment of his life, had a sort of tragic beauty). This death is a sort of nuclear option _ it practically forces readers to buy Book 7. I dislike that.

BUT _ in the (very unlikely) event that JKR was to ask my advice, I would say: please please please, DON'T try and raise him from the dead !! That would just kill all remaining credibility !! What's done is done !!

I do think that this one will finally give the filmakers the 2 hours or under movie they've been wanting. (Loopy Lupin - Aug 8, 2005 7:54 am (#66))

_ You're on to something here: whereas previous books were so full of good action and dialogue that Hollywood directors _ unable to decide what to cut _ have fallen flat on their faces trying to pack everything into a few hours, Book 6's plot has precisely those few high points surrounded by disposable tedium which make an unimaginative film-maker's life easy. As you'll gather, I'm not a fan of the HP movies I've seen (1, 2, and 4) _ the actors are fine, but the direction has been terrible: particularly the decision to sacrifice JKR's own lines for the most banal dialogue.

Anyway, Book 6 came across to me as something written by a writer with some marketing person breathing down her neck about movie prospects and "what the public wants". (The irony of such conformity, of course, is that the best way to win over "the public" is not to give a damn what others think.)

To all those who keep chipping in with criticisms of Book 5: I utterly disagree. Book 5 was G R E A T , and improves with every reading. However, these unfounded criticisms do lead me to admit something: I've long felt guilty about the fact that, after reading Book 5, I nit-picked over what I saw as problems in Book 5 (in a Lexicon thread named for that purpose). Worse, I didn't shout loud enough (or at all, in fact) about the great points of Book 5. Of course, I'm quite sure that JKR has no notion of MY particular existence or what I say _ but I feel that if I made this mistake, then no doubt others did too. I've met quite a few people who couldn't see what was great about Book 5, and I'm realising that Book 6 has more than a hint about it of an author who may have taken too much notice of such criticism. I wish I (and others like me) had been more loudly supportive of Book 5 when it mattered. (I also noticed that many who like Book 6 also liked Book 4 but didn't like Book 5, whereas many (like me) who like Book 5 seem to have found Book 4 weak and Book 6 weaker.)

I want to discuss Book 5 for a bit because its strengths provide good reference and comparison points for Book 6, not least because the latter often refers to the former. Book 5 has a good central theme (Harry's connection with Voldemort and the mystery in the Ministry), some great sub-themes connected to that centre (e.g. Umbridge's regime and resistance to it, the developing tragedy of Sirius), and GREAT character growth: each character, no matter how small, gets their moment in the spotlight which, in each case, is so well done that it appears absolutely necessary to the main action and not simply designed to shove that character in for their own sake. (E.g. Kreacher's gleeful announcement of Sirius's peril, the moment that Luna shines light on Harry's darkness after Sirius's death, the stylish exit of Fred and George, Hermione's luring of Umbridge into the Forest.)

The most important thing about "Order Of the Phoenix" is that JKR does what she's strongest at _ relies on character all along the line. The result is that that the book comes to life because its people do _ plausibly and individually. Harry isn't simply a character with a No. 1 Good Guy label _ he's part of a world of flesh-and-blood, believable people _ and all the better for it. I particularly loved the character growth of Hermione _ I realise that, like all The Trio, she has many sides, but we've been mainly used to her as a likeable class know-it-all, and, in their adventures, the logical Spock to Harry's Captain Kirk. But in Book 5, she takes charge of both the school's resistance to Umbridge and of the campaign to prove Harry's testimony about Voldemort to the wizard world. It's all nicely expressed by this extract: '"Harry's leader" said Cho, looking at Hermione as if she were mad.' (This is after Hermione asks for _ or more accurately, orders _ a leadership vote for the D.A.

Apart from the (predictable) effect on Harry, that particular moment, I think, makes us pause and realise _ yes, Harry is leader and teacher in the D.A., but Hermione is its creator; it was her idea. What emphasises Hermione's growth is the way she quite deliberately puts aside her own cherished habits and attitudes in the greater cause _ after turning the school upside down with fireworks, Fred and George are stunned when Hermione forces her way through an admiring crowd to openly congratulate them on the disruption _ and be seen to do so. She knows exactly the effect her words will have, not only on Fred and George, but on everyone else. In a way, she is still the same old Hermione as in Book 1 _ still faithfully doing her duty to the school. It's just that, with the school at war, her duty is different. We may often have been tempted to call Hermione conformist, but conformity is blind and duty is not _ Mariella is conformist, not Hermione. It all comes back to Dumbledore's words about choice _ the choice between what is right and what is easy. The rightness of Hermione's choice is backed up later by the sight of McGonagall, that strictest of disciplinarians, encouraging Peeves in creating mayhem. I love the balance in both cases _ Hermione and McGonagall each see clearly that sabotage and disruption is their duty, but in each case they also see that the lead in actual deeds of mayhem must be left to the experts !! _ that is, to Fred & George, and to Peeves.

(Ran out of space; continued in next post ...)

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Vulture - Jun 14, 2006 10:15 pm (#183 of 264)

It's just my opinion, but I like it !!
(... Continued from #182)

... I could go on for hours !! Hermione is a wonderful character. Actually, JKR is particularly great in her depiction of strong women characters _ apart from Hermione, the characters of Rita Skeeter in Book 4 and Umbridge in Book 5 arouse very strong reactions. Indeed, Umbridge, as a villain, arouses far more unbridled hatred in the reader than Voldemort.

Actually, I just closed the book and tossed it aside--I was angry and disappointed and I didn't want to re-read it because while it added information to the the Voldemort back-story it didn't show much character growth on anyone's part--- (Deb Zawacki - Aug 3, 2005 6:01 pm (#21))

In Book 6, the characters _ apart from Harry, Voldemort (young and adult), Dumbledore, and (to a lesser extent) Snape and Malfoy _ are given no important roles (by "important", I don't necessarily mean tied in with the plot _ I mean "important" in the sense of being convincing in themselves and making an impact). And yet, despite having nothing to do, I doubt if there's another Harry Potter book where so many of the whole cast of characters are forced to shuffle sheepishly into the spotlight one after another (e.g. Dobby jammed in with Kreacher, Myrtle in a pointless re-hash of previous books) _ this undermines their plausibility. Hermione and Ron are the obvious ones, of course: as far as I can see, they are forced to re-run their quarrel of Book 3 (more viciously, of course, because more impact is needed for a re-hash) simply to obscure the fact that (a) JKR apparently feels (wrongly) that she can hardly leave them out of large parts of the book, yet (b) the only real point of their presence in Book 6 is to hold Harry's hand when listening to Voldemort's life-story.

But it's the less obvious characters who, by being shoved in when they would have been better left out, give the whole thing a creaking implausibility. Luna, in Book 5, was both funny, and in the end, moving _ in Book 6, she simply is mostly unnecessary, and jamming her in as McGonagall's choice (as if !!) of commentator is amusing, yes, but not credible. In a great book it would get by as a comic moment, but here, although it raises a laugh, it increases the feeling that it's there mainly to give McGonagall and Luna things to do. McGonagall is marginalised in this book _ in Book 5, she came across as someone with a mind _ and heart _ of her own. Lupin turns up on the pages to clutch his hair in theatrical "all is lost" mode at the end, to (wrongly) rebuke Harry's suspicion of Snape earlier, and to flesh out the character of Fenrir Greyback _ of the three, the last is the only useful thing he does. (Contrast this _ perhaps unfairly _ with Book 3, where he's the main actor for large sections, and Book 5, where he's an important contributing character.)

And that brings me to Tonks. What on earth is JKR up to here ? I mean, is Tonks's gloom supposed to be about Sirius's death or Lupin's refusal to marry her (the latter reason, of course, is opted for at the end of Book 6) ? If it's the former reason (i.e. Sirius), why is there no evidence of it when she joins the others in standing up for Harry to the Dursleys at Book 5's end ? But if it's the latter reason (Lupin), why on earth is she so cheerful for all of Book 5 ? It's not the nit-picky details I'm interested in for themselves _ my point is that, in Book 6, Tonks's presence serves no real purpose of character or plot (if you leave out the soap-opera stuff at the end) after she rescues Harry from the train _ she just keeps wandering in and out of the book having Gloomy Hair Moments, giving the impression that JKR had damn all else to stick on the page just then.

I've a feeling that JKR herself was aware of possible criticism, because I notice that she herself puts in several comments to pre-empt it, as it were. For example, she has Harry comment precisely on what I've just said about Tonks, wondering why on earth she turns up in a passage where she has no reason to be. Another example is the over-lengthy stuff about Voldemort's boyhood _ instead of leaving it to the reader to think "What's the point ?" after finishing the book, she has Ron say precisely that, and early on. It's a good technique, because signalling in advance that she's aware of these issues has the unconscious effect of making the reader put up with them for longer. It's a nice touch, too, having Ron make the criticism. On the one hand he's a sort of person-in-the-street figure whom we can feel speaks our mind _ often quite wittily; on the other, because of his general image (i.e. not stupid, but apt to make mistakes) we unconsciously absorb the message that just because Ron (and we) can't see the point, it doesn't mean that there isn't one.

I'm more critical of JKR's dragging in of irrelevant characters than I am of the Voldemort life-story: Ron is right from a plot point of view, but then plot has never been why I read JKR.

The odd thing is that the very characters JKR did choose to leave out _ i.e. the D.A. _ would have made the whole thing easier for her !! You know, this is why I don't want to do a complete hatchet job on Book 6: I have the feeling that, yes, as others have said, boredom is catching up with JKR, but I'm not saying that she has got lazy _ because if she had gone for lazy options, Book 6 would, paradoxically, have worked better !!

My feeling is that JKR's earliest writing for Book 6 (possibly done while also in full flight on earlier work) was done with great hopes and the desire to take a few risks. (After all, starting a Harry Potter book with Sirius dead, the reliable standby of Fred & George no longer in school, and less of the Dursleys than usual, can't have been easy.) unfortunately, I feel that the risks didn't come off and that disillusionment crept in _ and shows, in places. (My bet is that the strongest parts of Book 6 were the earliest-written ones.)

Why did JKR leave out the D.A. ? It's clearly a very deliberate decision (she has Harry express it to Luna and Neville as early as possible, clearing it out of the way and leaving no ambiguity). Leaving out the D.A. adds to a problem she would have had anyway in filling the gap left by Fred & George: don't get me wrong, their exit was absolutely stylish _ and just what you'd expect from them !! _ but their absence, the disappearance from the Hogwarts scene of that ready source of amusing material, was always bound to create a gap.

Keeping the D.A. would have helped somewhat to compensate for Fred & George's departure. It would also have been consistent with the end of Book 5, both (a) on the school level of new friends for Harry (and new interest for the reader), and (b) on the magical theme level (the new generation of "good side" comrades to succeed the Marauders and the Order). A lot of D.A. stuff would, in effect, have written itself. Harry says that there's "no point (in the DA) now that Umbridge is gone", but of course, that reason works simply because the writer doesn't want the D.A. _ if she did, she could equally say that, with the war now on in earnest, the D.A. was even more necessary.

The DA's presence ... (continued in next post)

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Vulture - Jun 14, 2006 10:20 pm (#184 of 264)

It's just my opinion, but I like it !!
(... Continued from #183)

The DA's presence would have filled up a lot of gaps, further developed characters like Eddie Macmillan, Cho, Neville and Luna _ all of these had, as characters, developed, opened up, and increased our curiosity about them in Book 5, and more would have been quite consistent. (I admit that there would be problems over Cho's role once JKR had decided that she and Harry would not stay together _ but even that problem could have been turned, in fact, to the writer's advantage: Cho, in Book 5, had moved beyond simply being Harry's love interest to being interesting in her own right _ I think particularly of our conflicting reactions to her fierce loyalty to her friend, the traitor Mariella.) In Neville's case, JKR went to some trouble to focus our attention on him and his family in Book 5 _ the D.A. is the context for the "slightly alarming change in Neville" (after Bellatrix's escape) as he tries to move beyond the comfortable (to us, I mean, not to him !!) accident-prone character we have been familiar with. And then, in Book 6, JKR simply switches off from Neville _ apart from honourable mentions at the beginning and end about his loyalty. In fact, she by and large switches off from all Book 5's character work altogether (except _ perhaps _ in Harry's case): it's not simply that characters aren't developed _ in fact, in many cases they revert to what they were before Book 5. Book 6's Hermione shows no trace of all the growth I mentioned above. Neville is as if the D.A. and Bellatrix's escape had never happened.

Now, don't get me wrong: I'm not shouting for more visibility for Neville for its own sake, any more than for any of the D.A. or for any character at all. What I'm saying is that JKR did a lot of spadework in Book 5 on building up characters other than the frontline ones, and this spadework could have been used and added to in Book 6 _ unless there was some definite, coherent, purpose in leaving it all behind. In fact, as it turns out, Book 6 has no such compelling need _ on the contrary, further developing Neville and the DA would have filled up a lot of slack bits. What intrigues me is that I think JKR originally intended to use the D.A. in Book 6: why else stage that scene _ right near the end of Book 5 _ where D.A. members (all carefully named for us, remember) leap to Harry's defence against Malfoy ? That scene leaves the comradeship of the D.A. prominent in our minds _ I think that JKR was going to use them in Book 6 but changed her mind.

Partly due to the memory of this passage, I was left unmoved by the criticism of the D.A. at Book 6's end: "they alone (Luna and Neville) of all the D.A. had responded to the call ... and Harry knew why: it was they who had missed the D.A. most ...". Whether this is supposed to be Harry or JKR speaking, it makes no sense _ Harry (and thus, JKR) had ruled out the D.A. from the start of 6th Year; we can easily understand why Eddie Macmillan (a prefect), Zachary Smith (Hufflepuff Quidditch captain and never Harry's biggest fan), Cho (estranged from Harry as both his ex-girlfriend and by loyalty to Mariella), and others who are both popular and busy, would be far less likely than Luna and Neville to spend their spare time watching and waiting for a call which nothing all year indicated would ever come. (That might sound cruel, but it's a realistic assessment of Luna and Neville's social lives.)

So, my general feeling about Book 6 is: I think JKR had all sorts of visions of new things _ at first. How else do we explain her leaving out so much which could reasonably have been carried on from Book 5 ? (And which would have made Book 6 easier ?) Her high hopes really come across in the fact that there are no fewer than three (maybe more) chapters which would each have been fine as book-openers on their own _ by the time the reader has read Fudge's news to the Muggle PM of the war, Snape's oath, and Dumbledore's portent-filled conversations with Harry, the appetite is well and truly whetted. Unfortunately, the meal that follows is something of an anti-climax. I feel that JKR didn't "play to her strengths", as Moody would say _ JKR's No. 1 strength being character. Is she perhaps tired of being seen as a great character creator and not so hot on plot ? (The hype about Book 6 being "part one" of a story ending in Book 7 does, by its very nature, focus our attention on plot.)

I think Book 6 would have worked better if JKR had left out characters (even Ron and Hermione sometimes) when they're not needed, kept the D.A. (which, by the way, would have made it easier to shove Hermione and Ron in more), and focussed on (1) the questions over Snape; (2) the mystery of what Malfoy is up to, and (3) a shortened version of Dumbledore's classes about Voldemort. Leave out Quidditch beyond brief mentions, and slim down all the soap-opera stuff with Ginny, Ron and Lavender _ if it's left in at all. I mean, why does there now seem to be a law that all HP books should be BIG ? The first three, smaller, ones were _ along with Book 5 _ the best.

Another problem with Book 6 is that far too many episodes are re-runs. Now, re-working previous books' stuff didn't start with Book 6, but I think JKR wrote well enough to get away with it previously. Unfortunately, the inadequacies in this book mean that we now notice that (a) the first Harry-Snape meeting is a re-work of the flying car arrival in Book 2; (b) the overheard cryptic Forest conversation is a re-work of the same thing in Book 1, with the eavesdropper and one of the talkers changed (i.e. Hagrid instead of Harry, Dumbledore instead of Quirrell); (c) the Hermione-Ron quarrel of Book 3 is now replayed, for no good reason unless you're a fan of soap opera; (d) the whole business of Harry's detective work on Malfoy, from eavesdropping in Borgin & Burke's to trailing him around the school, is a straight lift from Book 2's plot, with a few bits tweaked here and there. Even the Polyjuice part is back _ except that now it's Malfoy who's using it. Grafted on to this re-hash is another _ (e) Book 5's sub-plot of the D.A. undermining Umbridge all year, using the Room Of Requirement to hide, is now re-worked with Malfoy plotting against Dumbledore all year, using the Room Of Requirement to hide the Death Eaters when they arrive.

In fact, if you look carefully at Book 6, you'll find several cases of previous words and deeds of Harry and Dumbledore being re-worked for "Dark Side" versions now involving Malfoy and Snape. This, of course, doesn't have to be a weakness, but the trouble is, the more re-works there are, and the more obvious they are, the stronger the rest of the book (i.e. the original stuff) needs to be to convince. This just isn't the case in Book 6, chiefly due to the character weaknesses I mentioned earlier.

As for the snog stuff, it's unconvincing because Harry fancying Ginny _ as depicted here _ is unconvincing: why? _ because no subtle background preparation work is done first, as it was with Cho (from Books 3 to 5). With Cho, JKR takes subtlety almost to the point of being over-delicate: we get little isolated moments of Harry noticing how pretty she is _ it's as if JKR sprinkles seeds of suggestion and leaves them alone, to germinate in readers' heads. This works like a charm. By Book 5, we don't need to have Harry's feelings described _ we know.

(... Continued in next post (sorry !!))

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Vulture - Jun 14, 2006 10:28 pm (#185 of 264)

It's just my opinion, but I like it !!
(... Continued from #184)

... Contrast this with how Ginny is suddenly thrust (there's no other word for it) into the Girl-Whom-Harry-Fancies role, at breakneck speed and with complete overkill treatment. We're hit over the head with this monster in Harry's chest, again and again. Absolute rubbish. There may be writers whose writing works when they go for beating us over the head instead of subtle suggestion, but JKR is not one of them. I found Ginny's lines at the end particularly cringe-making: "... but you'd have been too busy saving the wizarding world ...". It's as if, after 4 films of Hollywood directors butchering and discarding her best lines, JKR has thrown in the towel and started making her characters talk like a B-movie. Another thing I hated about that last _ utterly banal _ conversation is the way Ginny is made to imply that her life always revolved around Harry _ all that stuff about Hermione advising her to get out and meet more boys just so she can cure herself of her shyness with Harry. Again, it's as if the Ginny of Book 5 had never happened. It might seem an odd thing to say, but when she was blushing fiercely and tongue-tied in Book 2, she seemed much more her own person.

In Book 5, Ginny, like other second-rank characters, grew and branched out _ convincingly: mainly through Quidditch, the DA, general material on the Weasley family (I may be wrong, but Book 5 seems to have much more on the Weasleys' doings as a whole family than at any time since Book 2) and mentions of her boyfriends (and Ron's reactions to them _ which, unlike Book 6, were believable and un-exaggerated). The Quidditch aspect was helped, of course, by the ban on Harry, Fred and George: a smart move by JKR _ firstly, plunging the Gryffindor team into crisis stops the reader feeling they've seen it all before during Quidditch passages; secondly, that crisis atmosphere focuses attention on the new team _ and thus we start to look at Ron and Ginny in new ways. But in Book 6, we do, finally, hit the "seen it all before" feeling with Quidditch: Snape provides a central crisis by keeping Harry out of a crucial game, but that's the final, so it doesn't provide a drama to define the Quidditch year (and thus, Quidditch characters) as Umbridge's ban did.

I don't want to get caught in some mad Internet war between Ginny fans and Cho fans, so let me make clear _ my gripe is not about who Harry goes for. In Books 2 and 3, Ginny fancying Harry carried complete conviction, because it came across naturally. From its very first moment in Book 2, in fact _ we see Ginny blushing and disappearing into her room combined with Ron's immediate comment about how rare it is for her to be this shy: we've hardly seen her, yet in two lines she has become a believable, flesh-and-blood person. The effect is added to by JKR's not lingering on the moment, but moving on without extra comment. I have that "less is more" feeling about a lot of JKR's writing. Same goes for the Harry-Cho relationship, unfolding slowly, across several books _ and (important in JKR's writing, this) subtly , rather than 'in-your-face'.

Aside from the writing style, I was also dissappointed by the decline of moral standards in HBP. (popkin - Aug 3, 2005 2:18 pm (#15))

From Book 1 to Book 5 there has been a code of right and wrong in place which, though evolving, was consistent and clear _ and, though always forgiving, rock-hard. Of course there have been many writers who do not establish a moral line in their work, or who leave certain moral questions open to debate. But JKR has never gone down that road. From Book 1 to Book 5 she has written as if there IS a moral law, a law of right and wrong, and as if all people know it in their hearts, even if they do not obey it. We, in fact, accept this line of hers: how else could we possibly approve (as we do) of Dumbledore's words about choosing what is right rather than what is easy ?

So if anything I say from here on is unclear, please keep going back and referring to the last paragraph. It's the centre, the basis on which I believe she has drawn all her characters. It is the standard by which their choices are measured; it defines them.

In Book 6, I'm afraid, she begins (whether by accident or design I do not know) to undermine this standard that has held firm from Book 1 to Book 5. I'm not saying that she has thrown it aside _ yet. It's still there, still hanging on. But in Book 6 she has begun to write as if the moral law she defended so well for five books were not true, or perhaps, mostly but not completely true.

Now, my personal opinion is that we all know in our hearts (and not in our moods and inclinations) what it means when it would be so very convenient if the moral law of right and wrong were not true. It's called temptation.

As I've said, there are writers who have written either against the moral law or who disregarded it, and who remain effective writers _ though we may wish their moral code to be other than what it is. But in JKR's case, the world she has written into existence, and its characters, has been defined by the moral law. Therefore, tampering with her books' moral code makes her characters carry less conviction than before.

The main reason why Book 6 appears to undermine the moral code of Books 1 to 5 is that it undermines Dumbledore's moral image. It's not that he does anything hugely wrong _ but cracks appear. In Book 2, Harry "hated the disappointment in his voice" _ but Dumbledore, though reproving Harry according to the rules, was not trying to humiliate him or put him down. In short, there was nothing of "self" in what he was doing. Contrast that to his reaction in Book 6 when Harry forgets the "homework" of stealing from Slughorn. He sits there in glacial silence, deliberately making Harry feel smaller and smaller, until Harry breaks and cannot stand it any more. In Book 5, when Dumbledore says "Be silent, Harry, or you will have to leave my office", both he and Harry know that it's for Harry's own protection. In contrast, in Book 6, when Harry, frantic with suspicion of Malfoy and Snape (which, after all, simply means frantic with loyal concern for Hogwarts) tries to stop Dumbledore leaving, Dumbledore reacts with what amounts to emotional blackmail: "Please do not suggest that I do not take the safety of my students seriously". Harry is suggesting no such thing and we all know it (so Dumbledore must, too) _ the debate between them is about tactical effectiveness, not commitment. Indeed, by thus rebuffing the student whose detection abilities have served him so well and often, and which he himself acknowledged in ordering the theft from Slughorn, Dumbledore does lay himself open to the charge of ignoring Hogwarts's safety needs.

I realise that the above are no great crimes, but what is the point of staining _ no matter how faintly _ Dumbledore's previously unblemished character ? There may be all sorts of (seemingly) great purposes behind it for the Holy Grail of Book 7 which I'm sick of hearing used as justification for all Book 6's weaknesses, but there's no getting away from the fact that Dumbledore is not just a character _ before Book 6, he has always also been the 'Voice Of Right' in the books, the one who comes on stage at the end to deliver the moral verdict and final explanation which the reader accepts with 100% confidence _ because it comes from him . In short format, he epitomises the moral code established and defended from Book 1 to Book 5, which I referred to above. Undermine him and you undermine that moral standard.

(Continued in next post (apologies !!) ...)

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Vulture - Jun 14, 2006 10:35 pm (#186 of 264)

It's just my opinion, but I like it !!
Examples of Dumbledore's moral pronouncements:

Book 1 _ "If there is one thing Voldemort does not understand, it is love".

Book 2 _ "Only a true Gryffindor could have pulled that sword from the Sorting Hat".

Book 3 _ "You think that the dead whom we have loved ever leave us ?"

Are we supposed to believe that Dumbledore is morally perfect ? Well, perhaps that would be asking too much and make him an unconvincing human being. But I think it's no coincidence that, in Books 1 to 5, we hear about him a lot but see him relatively rarely (as is the case with Voldemort), and that when we do see him, especially near the end of books, what he says expresses the truth and understanding of what is right. Also, what he says commands our attention.

In Book 6, we start to see all sorts of inadequacies and weaknesses in Dumbledore's behaviour that undermine how we previously saw his character. Is this deliberate or accidental ? _ I can't decide. If it's deliberate, we could see his withered hand as a piece of symbolism (much as Harry's rages in early Book 5 symbolised his later inner struggles). But in Book 5 we had authoritative statements of clarity, sanity and truth _ mainly from Dumbledore, Hermione and the writing itself _ set against what is happening to Harry. In Book 6, there is no comparable "verdict" on the changes in Dumbledore's character _ of which I've given examples. This means that either JKR doesn't realise the change in her portrayal of Dumbledore, or approves of it. Either way, that means that her treatment of the moral law is not as it used to be.

I see the changes in Dumbledore as central examples of the moral problem, but they're far from being the only ones. When stealing the memory from Slughorn, Harry deliberately manipulates Hagrid's sentimental grief to get him and Slughorn drunk. Then, for the first time in all the books, he deliberately trades on his "Boy Who Lived" fame (something he's always been dead against doing) and flaunts his mother's image to emotionally blackmail Slughorn. Of course, I realise that the Aragog burial chapter is largely written for laughs and that I can be accused of having no sense of humour. Of course, Hagrid's grief over Aragog is, to our eyes, absurd and laughable _ as, indeed, Ron says. Yes, Hagrid acts like a buffoon as often as he acts like the one who liberated Harry with fire, food and his first birthday cake; the one who, unnoticed by us or Harry, plays the role of a parent (e.g. when he says in Book 4 "you did as well as your father would have, and I can give you no higher priase than that"). Of course, Harry is under orders to get the memory from Slughorn (though, in the event, the line "Dumbledore is particularly fierce about it" (i.e. the subject of Horcruxes) makes clear that Dumbledore already knew most of what the memory tells us). But something about the way Harry acts here is troubling.

Another example of the moral decline is how JKR handles Ginny's behaviour. It's not what Ginny does _ that, as has been pointed out, is normal enough among teenagers: which, by the way, does not make it right. The real problem is that neither by overt comment or subtle suggestion, does JKR give us any moral verdict on Ginny's line that Ron is 'lacking' in some way simply because he has no kissing 'experience'. Yes, this is a very common tactic in schoolyards _ it's also both mistaken in its logic and, quite simply, vicious. But in any case, Ginny's first outburst against Ron could be dismissed as a burst of anger. Later, when she sneers in triumph at the sight of Ron being all over Lavender, we get no authorial comment, or even hint, on the rights and wrongs _ particularly on the hurt that Ginny, and through her, Ron, have caused Hermione _ who is an innocent party. (In Book 5, and previously, all sorts of characters did all sorts of things right, wrong and mistaken _ but there were always authorial devices making clear to us whether they were right, wrong or mistaken: in short, what standard they should be measured by.)

By the way, the moral code is not simply a matter of drink and/or snogging _ I feel, reading comments in this thread, that there's a danger of this debate turning into a USA-versus-world contest on legal drink age and relationships. I'm not saying these have no importance, but I think both sides in that contest miss the point about JKR's writing.

In Books 4 and 5, drink and snogging were also there _ in Book 5, they presented no problems _ I mean, no writing quality problems. (Of course, a reader's own personal rules might mean problems with them, but as I say, that's not the point.) In Book 4 drink and snogging sometimes were depicted OK, but sometimes were a foretaste of Book 6, where they ARE problems.

Why sometimes and sometimes not ? _ because JKR's books work when she concentrates on character and on a certain kind of story, and DON'T work when she slides into soap opera. Yes, a certain amount of stuff about teenage problems and relationships works, but unfortunately, here we come up against an area where JKR is great when she goes for half-obscured feeling and subtle suggestion , and Godawful when she goes for in-your-face detail. She's the same when depicting anger _ for example, Snape is a hugely effective character, but her depictions of him losing his temper at the ends of Book 3 and Book 6 are just plain embarrassing.

Another problem _ since Book 4: _ when is The War really going to start ? Or more accurately, the good side's war ? To use the analogy of World War 2 Britain, we seem to be stuck in the Neville Chamberlain phase rather than moving on to the Churchill one. (And yes _ those of you who say that she's just chucked her own 'Churchill' character overboard !! _ I agree !!)

At the end of Book 4, we were left expectant by Hagrid's down-to-earth "we'll fight" speech. In fact, the war did not start in Book 5 _ but we accepted the reasons: mainly, the Ministry's obstructionism and refusal to face facts. In the end, Book 5 was great, in fact. But _ given that the struggle against Voldemort is a central theme _ there's a limit to how long any writer can put off "the war" and make it convincing. We're now at Book 7, and really, it's just not convincing for the whole of Book 6 to have gone by with no real fight (in big war terms, I mean) from the anti-Voldemort side, and no real initiative or fresh strategy _ except, of course, for Dumbledore's "secret" (which everyone in the wizard world knows !!) _ "The Chosen One".

It's not that I see Dumbledore's private lessons to Harry in Book 6 as implausible in themselves _ I don't. What I can't buy is that the wizard world _ quite logically _ scream for Fudge's resignation to get a more warlike Minister, and THEN put up with the exact same from the new guy, a guy described in Ch.1 as far tougher than Fudge, and who, Dumbledore says, has fought Dark wizards all his life. Even if we buy that, surely others (the Order, for example) would take some initiative if they felt they'd never get protection from the Ministry. In fact, that's what we saw in Book 5 _ the Ministry did nothing, so individuals took matters into their own hands, more and more got involved, and the whole thing snowballed. And now we're supposed to believe that everyone goes to sleep just as Voldemort takes off the gloves and launches all-out war ?!! COME ON !! To paraphrase someone else's post, I'm not buying into something that doesn't stand up, just because JKR's name is on the cover.

(... Continued in next post (sorry, driving me nuts too !!))

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Vulture - Jun 14, 2006 11:14 pm (#187 of 264)

It's just my opinion, but I like it !!
Edited Jun 15, 2006 12:02 am
(... Continued from #186)

... I don't want to finish without acknowledging that there are some good points about Book 6 !! I like the new details added to our knowledge of Lord V's background _ though, as I've indicated, I think they could have been covered in fewer pages. I like the writing of certain moments: for example, Snape bursting through the Tower door is well and dramatically done _ though, oddly, I find Dumbledore's murder itself over-melodramatic, as are Snape's antics in the last confrontation with Harry. I also like the moment when "to Harry's horror", Slughorn merrily scoops Snape "out of thin air" at the Christmas party.

So that's that. It only remains for me to apologise and thank anyone who went to all the effort of wading through posts #182 to #187!!

Also to make clear that, whatever else happens in Book 7, if it follows the Obi-Wan-type death with a Snape speech going "I AM YOUR FATHER ... JOIN ME AND I WILL COMPLETE YOUR TRAINING ... WE WILL BRING ORDER TO THE HOGSHEAD AND RULE DIAGON ALLEY AS FATHER AND SON", I will be very upset.

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journeymom - Jun 15, 2006 10:31 am (#188 of 264)

I'll just comment on your last statement. Jo has already stated categorically that there will be no Star Wars-like revelations of Snape's paternal linkage to Harry Potter. You could hear her eyes rolling at the idea, through the print medium.

Sorry, as to the rest of your magnum opus, I'll have to make myself a cup of coffee and set aside some time in real life to read it thoroughly. Lol.

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haymoni - Jun 15, 2006 11:09 am (#189 of 264)

My biggest disappointment in Book 6 is that it wasn't Book 7.

I mean, I want all my questions answered NOW!!

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Hollywand - Jun 15, 2006 11:18 am (#190 of 264)

Gryffindor
Hi Vulture. I commend you on your careful and articulate thoughts on the Potter series. I first discovered the books as controversy; I had to read them since they were being burned by certain groups in protest of their content---the "Delores Umbridge" pathway to enlightenment.

In my desire to discover the underlying message of Rowling's writing, applying the tenets of Alchemy to the series makes a lot of the metaphors interlink and integrate. I believe the books are written in a doubled set: Books one through Five, and Six/Seven as a final pairing.

Alchemy has a whole exotic, non-linear, non-rational series of notions that I believe Rowling draws upon for her character development. One example is alcohol----the "water that burns" as the notion of opposition.

Many of the light elements have dark pairings. This would give some support to your frustration with some of Dumbledore's character development in book six.

I agree with a lot of your observations regarding Ginny's character, and Snape's outbursts; I also agree that Rowling is, unfortunately, influenced by Hollywood and the fact that so many of her readers are analyizing every hyphen, and dreaming up wild scenarios on their own, refusing to even look at the actual text for grounded arguments.

I don't see book six as a continuation of book five, which remains the strongest work of the series in my opinion. I think book one gives us a blueprint of the progression of the series, and book five gives us a greater ending to the final two books. The battle in the Ministry for Magic, I submit, is a kind of rebus for the resolution of book seven. There's a more detailed description on the Alchemy thread if you are interested.

I admit that I had dreamed up my own scenario for book six, and was deeply disappointed that the book did not fit my progression.

Kudos to you for your careful analysis, which was very enjoyable to read.

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Madam Pince - Jun 15, 2006 11:57 am (#191 of 264)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
Yes, bravo, Vulture! I really enjoyed reading your analysis.

I find that I agree with a good many of your points, without knowing beforehand that I did! Your convincing comments make me want to go back and re-read OotP again, because I truly disliked it the most of all the books so far. You are right about the character developments there, though -- my problem was just that I was sooooo annoyed by Harry's character throughout that book that I almost couldn't focus on anything else. You've given me new food for thought.

You are spot-on about HBP's treatment of the Harry/Ginny romance, and also about Snape's temper tantrums. Neither felt right to me. Excellent observation that JKR's writing really shines brightest when she is being subtle -- we have never had problems picking up what she is trying to say before! Why hammer us over the head now? Perhaps it is that she is caving in to some editor somewhere. Like you, I thought HBP felt like someone had rushed her through it and that it had been over-edited by someone other than her. I was willing to cut a bit of slack by assuming that Book 6 is really just "Part One" of Book 7, but if after I read Book 7 it still doesn't mesh together, I will be far more critical of 6.

As far as the Tonks thing in HBP, I assumed at the end that it had been a weak attempt to be a red herring for us that perhaps Tonks was the spy / betrayer. But it was very weak indeed, in my opinion. I didn't even think of that red herring until after I'd finished the book and was wondering "So what was up with Tonks?", which means that for me it didn't function very well as a red herring during the reading.

I, too, tired of the lessons with Dumbledore, which seemed not so much believeable as designed to just string us along as a cliff-hanger for Book 7. I mean, now we're at a point where the war is about to start, Dumbledore knows Harry is going to be a critical fighter, why be cagey and not tell him crucial things? Bah.

Anyway, excellent analysis of the books! Thanks for your time and input! I am looking forward to a re-read of OotP to see if I can revise my opinion of it!

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Holly T. - Jun 15, 2006 12:38 pm (#192 of 264)


Perhaps it is that she is caving in to some editor somewhere. Like you, I thought HBP felt like someone had rushed her through it and that it had been over-edited by someone other than her.


Let me just say that, as an editor, I suspect JKR falls into that category of writers who get a very light edit. I seriously doubt there is any editor in the world to whom JKR would have to cave.

I got tired of the Pensieve flashbacks in HBP. I think she put in one or two too many of those.

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azi - Jun 15, 2006 2:24 pm (#193 of 264)

Photo borrowed from Ardent Photography
I definitely agree that HBP felt it was rushed! That alone is the major reason it's not my favourite book.

The Harry/Ginny relationship was also weird to me. It seemed completely out of the blue. However, I found Snape's tantrums believable, particuarly as I've just finished re-reading PoA, where he also tantrums a little. We get to glimpse a teeny bit of the issues underneath the cool, smarmy exterior (and it's not pretty).

I loved the Pensieve flashbacks, but would have liked Harry to have learnt something slightly more useful in the field of battle. He seems unprepared to me. What DD taught Harry, almost anyone could with the memories and investigation - it's not exactly difficult magic!

Vulture - I think the fact you wrote so much is impressive! I agree with your point about there being very little action against Voldemort in book 6. We didn't hear much from the Order or the Phoenix, which is a disappointment, considering how well organised they appeared to be when we first heard about them. It's a year later - they should be out there!

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Madam Pince - Jun 15, 2006 2:27 pm (#194 of 264)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
I thought that, too, Holly, until I read HBP. It just didn't even "feel" like JKR to me for some reason. It had a different flow than all her previous ones to me.

But I agree that it doesn't make sense that she would need or permit much editing -- she's got a bit of clout with her publishers, I would imagine.

Azi, you're right -- I feel like we've been waiting since the end of GoF for the Order to get moving! ("...round up the old crowd... You know what I must ask you to do....") That part got me all excited because it seemed like something was getting ready to happen. Then OotP, and not so much. Then HBP, and still not so much. Sigh...

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TomProffitt - Jun 15, 2006 6:35 pm (#195 of 264)

Bullheaded empiricist
I hated HBP after the first read. My favorite was, and remains, PoA because it has a stand alone plot. It's a good book with out the rest of the series. All of the others, and HBP to the greatest degree require the other books to give the plot line value or legitimacy.

Also on the negative side I felt that too much of HBP was spent with Jo trying to answer all of the nit-picky questions she gets in her chats or fan mail or whatever. I think a good bit of that stuff could have been put on her web page and left out of the book.

How in the heck is Harry going to get by all of the magic stuff Dumbledore neutralized in the cave? If even one of the remaining horcruxes is half that well protected it will take Harry years to figure out how to get through, if he survives.

On the positive end the book is truly growing on me. She knows very well what the questions are that need to be answered to complete the series. She has hidden them for the five previous books, but in HBP Jo very carefully puts all of those questions before us. So now when we read book 7 instead of wondering what is going on we will be able to say "Ah ha, that explains that, that means this will probably happen." No, HBP does not stand alone, but I think when the series is completed it will be a very important book.

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Vulture - Jun 16, 2006 9:25 am (#196 of 264)

It's just my opinion, but I like it !!
Edited Jun 16, 2006 10:38 am
Hi, Folks: Thanks very much for all your comments on posts #182 to #187 _ very encouraging to have so many reactions already in two days.

Journeymoon, thanks for telling me that about JKR and Star Wars. I have to admit that, with all the "was Snape at Godric's Hollow that night" theories, I've feared that a plot might turn up involving a swap (Polyjuice or otherwise) of appearances between James and Snape _ i.e. that the real Snape, disguised as James, died defending Lily and that the real James has been impersonating Snape ever since for spy reasons. (This of course would explain all the staring at Harry's Lily-like eyes and there would be all sorts of emotional potential in him giving Harry all those detentions _ the only times he could be alone with a son whom he could never reveal himself to.)

The whole area of artists borrowing is tricky, of course _ sometimes it works, sometimes not. Where is the dividing line ? I guess the answer is that a writer should try to avoid copying as far as (s)he can, but that an inspired use of earlier stuff can work as long as the reader doesn't see the glaring resemblance to the original. For example (as I think I mentioned), pictures of Alec Guinness in Star Wars made me think of descriptions of Dumbledore, but that in itself isn't a problem: in effect, it amounts to saying that I've a hunch JKR would love for Alec Guinness to be around nowadays to play the part of Dumbledore. And Dumbledore as a character is, of course, very far from simply being a re-hash of Gandalf and Obi Wan. That's why I was all the more disappointed with the Big Death tactic.

Madam Pince (thanks for agreeing with me so much, by the way !!) _ a lot of people have, like you, found Harry annoying in Book 5. I reacted differently _ I fairly quickly decided that his rages, etc., were all about his body and soul being attacked at all levels by the influence of Voldemort.

I think it's significant that the first of his "teenage tantrums" (as some see them), when he shouts at Ron and Hermione, concludes with him trying to steer the conversation away from Dumbledore "because the very mention of his Headmaster made his insides burn with anger". (Later, he realises that something inside him wants to attack Dumbledore.) Some might say this is Harry's own feelings, others that it's the effect of Voldemort _ I say that Voldemort's influence is trying to use what it finds in Harry's nature. Another occasion on which he finds himself shouting at Ron and Hermione is when their attempts to persuade him to start what becomes the D.A. inadvertently brings up all over again the horror of what he endured in the graveyard in Book 4. At that moment, it is Hermione who once again intervenes to (on a symbolic, not magical level) 'break the spell' _ for the first time she speaks Voldemort's name, and Harry immediately calms down. This scene works on so many levels _ Hermione is the bringer of order; the speaking of the name is both defiance to Voldemort and the shutting off of their room to the rages of evil.

The Voldemort effect was not confined to Harry (though I feel that we're meant to see him as suffering more than most from it) _ various levels of imagery, description, language of the writing and harshness of speech between characters, all combine to proclaim the Dark Lord's return.

I suppose that the character who, next to Harry, most shows the effect of Voldemort's return is Sirius: in Book 3 he was the jailbreaker, half-mad from 12 years of Azkaban; Book 4, of the 3 books he appears in, is _ despite being on the run _ his happiest time after Azkaban; in Book 5, his personality is subjected to a terrible siege by forces of evil, which is conveyed to us on several levels of symbolism using Kreacher and the dreadful Grimmauld Place house. In the end, though, Sirius is not conquered by evil _ and the more often I re-read what he endures through Book 5, the nobler his death becomes. In my last post, I listed some of Dumbledore's moral summaries _ how on earth did I forget that great moment when he says quietly and gravely of Sirius "... the fact that the person Sirius cared most for was you (i.e. Harry). The fact that you were coming to see Sirius as a mixture of father and brother ..." If only ( IF ONLY!! ) the HP films had a director worthy of what I consider to be a good bunch of actors, there shouldn't be a dry eye in the house at that point !!

Much of Book 5 is set in depressing or ominous landscapes when outside, and when inside, much of it is small rooms, hunted people and secrecy. When Hogwarts term begins, quarrels break out right, left, and centre: Harry may be to blame for some _ but not all. For much of the book, Hermione is cast as the voice of reason and right _ as the school year begins, she reminds Harry that Dumbledore (in Book 4) warned that Voldemort's return would bring division between those who should be friends. (I've always felt that Voldemort, the way he's written and portrayed, is much more effective as a character when he's an absent, menacing, and mysterious force being reacted to by others , than when he's present.)

Incidentally (and partly because I want to look for good points in Book 6 !!), there is a feeling through Book 6 of Voldemort having suffered a defeat, from the moment that Dumbledore tells Harry that Voldemort is now using Occlumency to shut off contact between their minds. Of course, on the practical level, it's simply that for much of Book 5, Voldemort was unaware of the connection, and now he is. But on the symbolic level, I can't help noticing the difference between Book 5, where Harry and his friends felt menaced by evil at every turn (even though Voldemort himself was still in hiding), and Book 6, where their lives often seem much calmer (even though Voldemort is now openly at war). Remember, even when Voldemort became aware of the connection to Harry, he did not at once shut off contact, but tried to use it. So, in Book 6, we see (or rather, very much don't see) a Dark Lord who, bruised by that Ministry encounter, now wants to use minions, to avoid getting involved himself with Dumbledore and Harry. I feel it's a pity that JKR didn't emphasise this more with various images and symbols. Indeed, I would say in general that, for me, what makes Book 5 better than Book 6 is that almost every word and gesture in Book 5 had a sense of (JKR's) purpose behind it _ even things I criticise in Book 6 could have been turned around if I had felt that same sense of purpose.

Well, I seem to have ended up banging on a bit more here than I meant to; any more would risk repeating what I wrote earlier. Thanks again for all your comments.

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Madam Pince - Jun 16, 2006 12:47 pm (#197 of 264)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
...his rages, etc., were all about his body and soul being attacked at all levels by the influence of Voldemort.

You did it again -- I would never have thought of that! Excellent observation, and a strong possibility. ***bangs head against computer screen for being dense***

Also, even though the "Snape was at Godric's Hollow" idea is a huge pet of mine, I have somehow missed the speculation that James and Snape switched identities. At the risk of sounding too fawning, I agree with you there again! I just can't see it. I'd be very disappointed in JKR if that turned out to be the case. I do remember some speculation that James and Lupin had switched, I think? But I can't see that either. I think Snape is Snape, but he was at Godric's Hollow somehow. And James is toast.

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haymoni - Jun 16, 2006 12:50 pm (#198 of 264)

JKR shot down the "Lupin is James" theory and said that James would never sit by and let all this happen to Harry, so I'm guessing it wouldn't change if "Lupin" was replaced with "Snape".

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Choices - Jun 16, 2006 6:19 pm (#199 of 264)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
Yeah, and I really liked that "Lupin is James" theory, but you are correct - it has been shot down. You've got to admit that if Snape is really James, he's done a heck of a job pretending to hate Harry. Give that man an Oscar! LOL

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Die Zimtzicke - Jun 16, 2006 8:38 pm (#200 of 264)

If anything, Jo needs a better editor. I don't think anyone is willing to keep her, a literal cash cow, on any kind of a leash at all, never mind a short one, to ensure: 1) The text is logical and the story flows 2) The characters are consistent and 3) The text has very few mistakes in it.

I hated HBP the first time I read it and now after three more reads, I can barely stand to look at it. I just think it's dreadful, for many reasons, most of which were mentioned in some way in that long, but excellent essay. Of course a lot of the details in the essay were wrong as I see it, but it conveyed my huge dissatisfaction with the book. I can agree with the author on that 100%.

The book just felt wrong, and was nothing like the earlier books, that I fell in love with. The patterns I liked were off, the plot devices I had come ot expect were missing, and it was a book that could not be loved for itself, unlike the earlier efforts. If she could have set up the last book without making the 6th book so obviously nothing more than a disjointed prequel, I would have been happier.

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Was anyone disappointed in Book 6? (Post 201 to 220)

Post  Elanor on Sun Jun 12, 2011 1:27 am

journeymom - Jun 17, 2006 11:38 am (#201 of 264)
"And James is toast. " And the proof is in Voldemort's wand, when James' shade came out during the prior incantato scene.

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Neville Longbottom - Jun 18, 2006 2:49 am (#202 of 264)

I have to say, that while I don't agree with every single detail of Vulture's long post, it does confirm my overall opinion of the book as being not as good as some of the others. Even though it's not my least favourite, that's CoS. In general, I like the odd numbered books (1,3,5) better than the even numbered (2,4,6). I hope this bodes well for book 7.

I do not agree with Vulture about Dumbledore. I think his character might be undermined now, but I am actually pretty sure, that this will have changed after book 7, and that Dumble will have been proven right all along. I mean, a Dumbledore, who begs for his life is simply inacceptable and JKR knows this. Therefore it seems logical to me, that he indeed asked Snape to do it and that most of it was part of a plan. And as regards to the DA, Neville's development and other things I think we also have to keep in mind, that this is JKR's style and always was. Very often a character and/or storyline is kept back for one or two books just to return later in full strength. I think there's a very good chance that things like the DA or the development of sevral characters will be continued/come to a conclusion in book 7.

The two points, where I agree most with Vulture are the criticism that nothing really happened about the war and her opinion about Harry and Ginny. I just wanted to read something about the war, after all, we were promised this ever since Trelawney's prediction in PoA and there was hardly anything. Particularly the middle part, with all it's trivialities and completely useless characters like Cormac McLaggen was highly annoying, IMO. But luckily the Trio left Hogwarts at the end of HBP, which I think bodes well for book 7. There always was the problem that even though Harry is at the center of the war, there cannot be shown too much about this, while he's in Hogwarts, simply because the castle is supposed to be safe.

The H/G relationship was IMO awful (and I do not ship either of them with anyone else. It's really not the digruntled shipper speaking here), especially the overly melodramatic conversation after Dumbledore's funerals. "We could have had years", indeed. And what is worse, while she admittingly never was one of my favourites and I had some problems with how she written in book 5, the book literally made me hate Ginny. I did not realise *how* much until I reread it three weeks ago. And it's not in a good way, like how I love to hate Umbridge or the Dursleys, I simply hated to read about her. In almost every scene she appears, she did something nasty or annoying, which we were supposed to love or find oh so funny.

Edit, because the post sounded pretty negative: There were several things I liked about it as well. The development of some Slytherin characters, for example, and also the Pensieve memories (even though there were a lot I think each of them needed to be there, since Harry needs all the informations he can get to find out, where the Horcruxes are hidden), and I loved the whole climax.

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Denise P. - Jun 18, 2006 7:36 am (#203 of 264)

Ravenclaw Pony
Wow Vulture! I actually printed out your post (7 pages, 10 pt font, .5" margins all around) to read.

I think you did an excellent job in laying out many of the problems I had with the book. I find it interesting that you made the comment that those of use who were less than thrilled with Six tended to love Five and find Four sorta weak as well since I have long felt that.

I have re-read HBP twice and while it gets easier, it is mainly because I skip large sections. Sorry, I still find it weak and filled with areas that are filler with maybe 3 lines that actually advance the plot.

I think if I had one overall major disappointment in the book it is the way it fills like a filler. I would have expected OoP to be the transition book (somewhat slower and more backstory) rather than HBP since we only have one more book. I will get the paperback version when it comes out and perhaps, now that more time has passed, I can find it easier to read.

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Catherine - Jun 18, 2006 11:37 am (#204 of 264)

Canon Seeker
I have found that with HbP, absence does make the heart grow fonder. While I did experience "let down" after I read this book, I appreciate it even if it is not my first HP choice.

I finally reread HbP this spring, and then did another really close reading after I reread the series.

From a structural point of view, I was frustrated that we had so many "Pensieve" scenes, although I appreciated the "stories within the story" that they represent.

I finally identified what I think is the real disappointment for me in this book. The way the story was written, (and this may have been JKR's intent) I was as relatively unconcerned as Harry about the identity of "The half-blood Prince." As long as it wasn't James, it didn't seem so important. The big mysterious revelation, though, seemed quite anti-climactic after the sudden murder of Dumbledore. The other big quest--the acquisition of the faux horcrux (fauxcrux, I call it! ) --ended with so little triumph.

At least in OoP, we got to "hear" the prophecy, and find out what the persistent nightmare was really about. Besides the actual existence of horcruxes, and Snape's "Prince" identity, I never had the "AHA!" moment that I have come to expect from the other novels. There was so much she wanted to show us--the past--that I felt like much of the "discovery" aspect of the other novels seemed to be missing.

I still think PoA is the best "novel" and I probably enjoyed reading OoP the most. Perhaps that puts me on the "odd" trajectory to love AND appreciate Book 7.

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Die Zimtzicke - Jun 18, 2006 6:37 pm (#205 of 264)

I totally agree that the odd numbered ones are better for the most part than the even numbered ones. After HBP, my least favorite is the CoS, because of the horrible way Harry was treated in it by nearly everyone at the school. The fact that he had to take the blame for the petrification of the other students for so long was upsetting to me.

Plus it was the least logical in many ways until HBP came along. Come on, Slytherin lived a thousand years ago and he hid his chamber in a modern girls bathroom? Ginny was raised by a father who handled magical artifacts, and she and Ron learned all about them (Ron did warn Harry, who was new to the wizarding world about enchanted books) but she still gets sucked into using that? I saw someone on Ficiton Alley Park say it's like a fireman's kid burning down the house playing with matches, and I agree. And the best place to destroy a book is not a toilet KNOWN to be haunted by a nosey ghost, in my opinion. I could go on, but what's the point in bringing up more things I consider mistakes?

HBP was the same way. You have Sybill not knowing what she's doing when she makes a prophecy, but then she knows Snape overheard her in the Hog's Head. Draco says Montague apparated into the toilet, and Dumbledore lets the kids practice apparation in the Great Hall, but we were told for ages you couldn't apparate in Hogwarts. Same here...why go on about it, but the two books both have the same sort of problems a nitpicker like me can't stand.

GoF was okay, but not my favorite. I think it could have used some heavy duty editing. I liked OotP best, and PoA next, and then PS/SS. This might relate to what was said earlier about things (situations and themes) repeating themselves from book to book. HBP and CoS didn't seem very original to me.

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The expert - Jun 21, 2006 3:12 am (#206 of 264)

While there are things in the HBP I enjoyed, I did get the impression that Jo simply did not have enough story for 7 books.

I also thinks she has changed her writing style a bit. The origial, much shorter stories was facinating in that almost every detail was significant. As the story has grown into larger and larger books, probaly to satisfy fans request for mor details of the wizarding world, they are simply to big, with much stuff that seems to be insignificant.

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Madam Pince - Jun 21, 2006 6:47 am (#207 of 264)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
Good observation, expert. "...seems to be insignificant..." being the operative phrase! JKR has created a lot for herself to have to "tie together" in Book 7. If she does a good job of it, we will all have to eat our words and say "Oh, now I see why she did that!", or alternatively, if not, then her ability as a writer may drop several notches in a lot of people's opinions. I'm hoping and betting that she'll pull it off.

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Michael Politakis - Jun 21, 2006 6:48 am (#208 of 264)

Guys, that was the point of book six. You felt dissatisfied or felt it was off... well that was the whole point of the book. It wasn't perfect, but I loved it.

Once seven is out, this WILL be seen under a new light. People wondered why things that were in book five, were not dragged into book six, other than just a passing mention, well... doesn't hat mean it could actually be a clue? Something important? But it can't be there until the end. JK HAS had enough story for seven books, but she didn't want to reveal all the information now. So we were stuck with what. LD back story and romance. Let me tell you, the entire series as we know IS filled with miss-direction. JK has been misleading us in each book. I'm sure I don't have to explain what, that is obvious. BUT BOOK SIX WAS ONE FAT PIECE OF MISS- - DIRECTION! That is why JK was so happy with it. She loves miss- leading us, and that is the whole basis of this book. The LD back story and the excessive romance were there to prolong the nessessary information she needs to give us, whilst giving us vital clues for book seven. If she gave us all the info now, with book 7 JUST being the battle, and Horcrux hunting, there would be nothing there to sustain the reader, as the HP series is all about mystery, and the unexpected. If we got all the back story, we'd probably know Snape was a good guy, and a whole swag of other things. But what JK has done is cleverly kept the plot points for the next book safe (and there are alot seeing as she has to answer alot) and only mentioned them in passing in this book, as a way to remind us, that hey these issues are still in play, but you're not going to get them yet. Book six was also a bit of a tease for this reason.

I wouldn't be surprised if JK was happy some HP fans felt this way. The general perception from the overall HP fan base is that they did enjoy book six but found it empty in some ways. Some said they hated the first chapter of the book as it was boring.... well it was there to show us what was happening to the wizarding and muggle word now that Voldemort is out in the open. She didn't show us what Voldemort was doing throught the hole book or make references to all of his deaths for a bloody reason. He's up to something she obviously doesn't want us to know about, and I'm guessing it has alot more to do with than just Dumbledore's death. Revealing more deaths and showing more carnage would give that away to some degree. And even in war life still does go on. People still fall in love, and teens will still be teens. As I said, the romance, although not done as well as it could have been, was there to distract us and perhaps set the fans straight.

To those who wanted more Hogwarts life.... well JK was weaning us off of it. She knew it was coming, so she didn't want us to become even more attached. I would have liked to see Harry learning more spells but as they were probably not nessessary to the ending, JK doesn't want useless information in there. More Hogwarts life would have been great but as Harry won't be at school any more, JK was trying to give as little as possible. Even the way she described the school wasn't in such a great light. She'd put in comments like Hermione predictably went off to the library', and other such phrases for this reason.

I suspect that is also why she didn't give us much of the Harry/Ginny relationship. She didn't want us to get use to them and fall in love with them. Ginny may possibly be Harry's partner once all this is all over (I'm guessing that is what their get together in HBP was setting up, their eventual life post Voldemort, well that's if Harry does survive.)

To me JK's writing style didn't completely change. There were some changes though. The first Burrow chapters felt a little off, but the more I read them, the more they seem to fit. It's just like with OotP. The dark, anger Harry was hard to get use to but now I absolutely love it, and it really does seem like a HP book. The same goes for the HBP. Also, not only was this book there to set all the plots into place, something many are forgetting, (it is also one half of the last part of the series) but JK WILL need to change her style for book seven as it wont be a school book any more. The usual patterns she set up in the other five books were not all there in the HBP and I suspect fewer will remain in book seven as Harry will be hunting the Horcruxes. So she has started to tweak her style in this book so it doesn't come as a shock to us for HB7.

And to the comment someone made above about Dumbledore not being so great in this book, well he certainly had other stuff on his mind. I'm a believer that he KNEW about his eventual death (possible fake death?) and he too, like Voldemort had something cooking. A plan more or less to help Harry. I think though that many are reading a little too much into what he was saying. I think he did think Harry was suggesting he didn't take care of his students. Because wh else would he bring it up? Harry didn't MEAN it that way. Harry was talking more about Snape's involvement with the Order. but to say that, in the way Harry did, does suggest that Dumbledore doesn't take the care of his students correctly. What Dumbledore was probably trying to tell Harry was... would I employ a Voldemort follower, a bad guy, to tea ch my students? Trying to get Harry to see that Dumbledopre would only hire good people for this reason. The same goes for the teens. They w ere growing up and acting out as most 16 year olds do. It's natural. I felt Hermione was the gal we've always loved but SHE herself was smtten with Ron at this point as was so very annoyed with him. In my opinion, fans always see Hermione as this godess, who is so perfect, and even see her as Lupin's future wife (rolls eyes) BUT they forget all about her not so great characteristics. Seeing her go off at Ron was normal. I'd have thought it unbelievable if she hadn't done so.

I'm not saying the HBP was perfect. It was rushed in parts, but with JK trying to ween us off of Hogwarts life, she too was new with her new style of writing as it was getting out of her comfort zone alittle. I'd rather she iron out the chinks now than bung it all up in 7. At times the first half did seemed rushed, BUT the last half was all JK Rowling. It did feel to me like a HP novel, with small parts seeming alittle off. Could this be for a reason? Or can we blame it on JK's direction with the books. All I know is that the more I read HBP, the more I feel it's JK's work through and through. Smile

I think once book seven it out and all the shocking revelaions come out, book six will be seen in another light all together. Critics have loved the HBP, but avid fan have felt let down. But once seven it out, I think, those who hated it may not love it but will certainly gain a respect and far better understanding of it. I think it a multi dimensional book, that will be one of most importance when seven is out. Look at book 2. Up until the HBP was released, I asked myself what was the point of it? But once 6 came out, it all started to make sense and my love for book two has increased tenfold. My love for JK's stroy telling has increased as well. JK did say before HBP's release that there will be those who wont like the book. She was right, but she too knows what is to come, and she knows what to place where and why. She also said book seven will finsih up, like a lovely neat bow being all tied together, which makes me think everything, well most of the important answers are all connected in some way, which would also answer why we got little info in HBP (well compared to all the new questions it proposed to us fans.) If this is the case, I expect book seven may not be as long as we think, although I still seeing it being longer than book 5, as she does have to cover a lot of ground, even if everything is linked, it'll still take ALOT of explaining to do. Harry will also need to b

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Michael Politakis - Jun 21, 2006 6:53 am (#209 of 264)


continuing on......

need to be moved around alot. What with all the ac tiong, hunting and revelations. Book seven looks to be the most SATISFYING and longest HP read yet. Remember, JK has had the last 16 years to perfect this series. She knows what is going to be answered. She knows there is alot. She tells us so in her interviews. I have faith in her story telling ability. It's her biggest strenght as a writer. Revealing alot of it in book six would be rev ealing far too much.
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Madam Pince - Jun 21, 2006 7:01 am (#210 of 264)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
Edited Jun 21, 2006 7:50 am
Also good points, Michael! I agree with your assessment that Book 6 is just the first half of a whole -- as I said, I'm really hoping/betting that JKR will pull it all together!

I disagree, though, that Book 7 will not be at school or that Harry will not be at school. I just think she's set it up since the beginning -- seven books in the series, seven years to complete a Hogwarts education. Plus, too many people (me included) would think it inappropriate for a person whose writing is basically directed at younger readers to have her main character drop out of school. It's not setting a very good example. I agree that it will be interesting to see how she handles Harry searching for Horcruxes while attending school, but I think she will manage to do it.

Edit: Just found this quote that is sort of pertinent:

I have another question on that. How many more books are there? I had this discussion with my step daughter yesterday. Will there be 7 books for the 7 years of school? JKR: Exactly, there will be 7 books.

Oh, there is 7. All right!! JKR: Yeah, one for each of his years at Hogwarts, yeah

She said something in the same interview (1999 interview with The Connection) about choosing 7 books because her secondary school covered 7 years.

I agree with you that the Ron/Hermione relationship was handled very well in HBP -- very believeable. The Harry/Ginny one -- well, maybe could've done a little better there. But I think she was sort of trying to "surprise" us or keep us in suspense. She's been building the Ron/Hermione one since Day One.

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Michael Politakis - Jun 21, 2006 9:46 am (#211 of 264)

Aw thanks for your comments. That was my first ever post, so thanks. Smile

I agree that yes it could be seven years at Hogwarts, but how can Harry sustain the search for the Horcruxes as well as staying in school? I think the school will be closed which will make Harry's decision easier. I say that even in light of the JK comments you gave me. Yes there will be seven books for each year, but I feel when she answers her interview questions, she does so in the mind of Harry. She doesn't act or anything, but she would answer her questions as though Harry would answer alot of them. No I don't mean the ones she answers about her personal life or writing style, or the ones where she says no comment, I'm talking about the questions like the one above, that she gives an answer to. It makes sense. Harry would deffinately see that there would BE seven years at Hogwarts when that question was asked, hence JK made it sound so.

Having said that, I would love to see how she write, making Harry at Hogwarts and showing him chasing down the Horcruxs.

But alas the school, I feel will be closed. Even if it's only the begining of the school year. That way Harry would start his quest and then it'd be too late. I also feel the Ministry would close it down. With such a 'death' happepning at the school itself, the governors would have no choice. They wanted to shut it when the Chamber attavks were happening, so I can see it being shut now. It will only open, I feel, when Voldemort and his reign are over.

Book six is the white 'phase'. If you believe as I do, the last three HP books are based on an alchemal structure, then book six is the calm before the storm. Book five was the black phase (most depressing time for Harry, very gloomy, and incidently Sirius BLACK, yet another miserable soul, dies,) Book six is the white phase (there is alot of carnage, but we don't see it, the book is a little more light hearted, and even though deaths are going down everywhere, Hogwarts life is OK and it is basically the calm before the storm, and Dumbledore, the white hat, dies,) and book seven will be the red phase (most casualties, blood, anger, and Hagrid who represents the red phase in the series could very well perish...)

You see book six wasn't a time for all the blood and guts. It was a time for distraction. Being at Hogwarts itself, in my opinion, was a distraction for Harry. He SAW none of what was happening, just the clips from the Daily Prophet, in which only Hermione managed to bring up. He needs to know all that's going down, and being out of Hogwarts could help him.

But no, look at book six the right way and it won't dissapoint. It is a grower, and it was bound to be so very different. Little life at Hogwarts is just an example of how so...

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Choices - Jun 21, 2006 10:04 am (#212 of 264)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
I think Harry will be at Hogwarts because I believe that at least one or two of the Horcruxes are at Hogwarts, one possibly at 12 Grimmauld Place, one possibly with Voldemort (Nagini). That's all he needs to find, as the ring and the diary are already destroyed and possibly the locket has been destroyed (if the theory that it was around Dumbledore's neck is correct - that would eleminate Grimmauld Place). Nagini will be with Voldemort and perhaps Harry will kill her just before he vanquishes Voldemort - whatever that entails.

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nthdavid - Jun 21, 2006 1:22 pm (#213 of 264)

I think HBP is the second best (the first is still the best) book. I liked the build up to Harry admitting he was in love with Ginny - there were lots of clues. Like when he first went to Potions in chapter 9. He smelled treacle tarts, broomstick handle, and 'something flowery he might have smelled at the burrow'. Hermoine later says that Amortentia is supposed to smell differently for everyone according to what attracts them. So treacle tarts smell would remind Harry of what he likes most about the magic world, Hogwart's express, the great hall, the Gryffindor common room, and Hagrid's hut. The broomstick smell would remind him of flying, and the flowery smell would be Ginny. Again he gets horribly jealous - in chapter 14 - "Hot blood seemed to flood his brain, so that all thought was extinguished, replaced by a savage urge to jinx Dean into a jelly." And then again in chapter 16 where he gets goose bumps when Ginny pulls the maggot out of his hair. There are more hints.

I also like the private lessons with DD, ending with the conversation at the end of chapter 23. It is at this point that DD has taught Harry what he needs to know - he has passed the oral exam. All that is left is the practical exam - the cave. The first part of the venture DD was showing Harry how to do it, and then in the second part Harry did what he had to in order for them to survive. (He did forget to use fire against the inferi, so he didn't get 100%.Smile All that is left is for DD to step aside - either by dying or faking his death.

He still needs to go back to Hogwarts, for many reasons. But the main one Snape showed him when Harry was unable to jinx him. He still needs to learn more control, of his thoughts, emotions, and magic.

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rambkowalczyk - Jun 21, 2006 2:20 pm (#214 of 264)

Just some points on Vulture's essay.

I'm not sure how Dumbledore's death is a mistake. Just because this technique was used in Lord of the Rings and Star Wars doesn't make this over used. This technique was also used in Eragon and that story didn't suffer from it being used. In this story the fact that Dumbledore is willing to die for Draco says alot about his character.

Those who like book 5, tend not to like book 4 and 6. I liked them all. But I will agree that book 5 had more character development whereas book 4 and 6 were about a mystery to be solved. Unlike Vulture I think JKR's strength is plot not character.

I will admit that Harry and Ginny seem contrived although other people have noted how in earlier books there are hints of Ginny's feelings towards Harry.

One thing that is brought up but not defended well is the idea that there is a clear code of right and wrong that is made clear in books 1-5 but seem violated in book 6. In Book 6, we start to see all sorts of inadequacies and weaknesses. in Dumbledore's behavior that undermine how we previously saw his character.

No examples are given. Is it because Dumbledore begged for his life on the tower? That he might have ordered Snape to kill him? Because he insisted to Harry that he get Slughorn's memory? In the case of the first 2 examples we do not yet know what really happened in those scenes and have to wait until book 7. In the last example we see an example of Dumbledore as a leader who expects to be obeyed.

Yes this is a major change of Dumbledore's character, but I think it is a change on how Harry sees Dumbledore. It is also a change on how Harry sees the world. In the early years Dumbledore can be counted on the save the day or at the very least provide the guidance that Harry needs to do the saving thing. There is the implicit assumption that if you follow the right rules than good will win.

Dumbledore tells him that he was right to spare Wormtail (even though at this point it looks as though Wormtail will not bother to repay that debt). He tells Harry that by being loyal to Dumbledore will mean he will always be present. (hence he was able to get the Sword to defeat the basilisk). He advises Harry and Hermione about rules of the timeturner and that more than one life can be saved in book 3.

But starting with book 4, it begins to show that following the rules does not guarantee that good will win. Because if it did how is it that Voldemort was able to return? Harry did no magic when he was home after Cedric's death, yet Dementors were sent to hurt him. In book 5 both Dumbledore and Harry were unjustly accused of being liars.

It is around this time that questionable things are being done. (Here I will borrow ideas that were in the Harry thread). Crouch JR as Moody bounces Draco up and down on the floor clearly causing Draco pain. Although McGonagall stops it, both Harry and Ron think this is a funny thing. None of the trio thinks that Marietta's sneak curse is excessive. (I concede it's possible that JKR may agree with the Trio's assessment but I will argue differently). No one in authority questioned this punishment although Cho did stand by her friend. Fred and George did serious harm to Montague by stuffing him in the Vanishing Cabinet. Not only were Ron and Harry unconcerned, we saw no evidence of Dumbledore saying anything about it--only Hermione's brief concern when she saw Montague's parents.

So what are the moral lapses in book 6? Ginny accusing her brother of being inexperienced at kissing making it sound like a terrible crime. Dumbledore ordering Harry to get Slughorn's memory? Or was it just the way that Harry did it? Is it Dumbledore all of a sudden expecting unquestionable obedience even when what he asks for seems wrong? The excess drinking and snogging?

I think Vulture's point is not about the moral lapses but that there is no one there to say that this is wrong or more important that this action must be done if you wish to be a good person. This might be the point of book 6. Harry must make his own decisions and not depend on Dumbledore or Hermione always being there to advise him. At this point Harry has to depend on his own conscience to kick in and tell him that to do good he must fight the inertia to do nothing or give into his anger.

I believe in book 7, this is one of the things that Harry must learn. The moral compass that was in the previous books has been deliberately left out.

It is possible that the DA was left out and that both Luna and Neville were minimized in this book because logically they would have provided the moral compass that Harry would need. Hermione didn't because she was over involved with the Ron/Lavender drama.

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Choices - Jun 21, 2006 5:49 pm (#215 of 264)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
I never met a Harry Potter book I didn't like. :-)

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Michael Politakis - Jun 21, 2006 8:15 pm (#216 of 264)

rambkowalczyk, your last comment was AWESOME! Imagine that, Luna and neville, making Harry more humble, more aware of right and wring. I knew there was a reason JK neglected them in this book. Nicetheory.

I also loved in book six how JK used Luna as the commentator. That was one of, if not the funniest moments inthe HP series. LOVED IT!

I want to know, as Ron mentioned at the end of the book, Draco managed to get hold of Fred and George's shop products... but how?

Overall, I think the HBP will fit more into place as time also goes on,. If you look at the comments now, as apose to the oens made after the release by the same memebers, thei dislike for the book is slowly diminishing or at least beocmming less and less. It really was the hardest book to write for JK. I think all the eevn numbered one were. She did say she likes CoS and GoFthe most, partly because they were the most difficult to write.

And good observation there rambkowalczyk. Those who do like book 5, generally don't always like book 6. And vis versa.

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journeymom - Jun 23, 2006 3:13 pm (#217 of 264)

"I want to know, as Ron mentioned at the end of the book, Draco managed to get hold of Fred and George's shop products... but how? " He walked in and bought it! Fred and George might think he's a complete jerk but that won't stop them from taking his money. (They of course didn't know how he was going to use the black out powder, whatever it's called.)

Between Harry/Ginny and Ron/Hermione, I actually have an easier time believing Harry/Ginny than Ron/Hermione. I decided Harry would get together with Ginny before HBP came out. I liked Harry's jealous dragon in his chest, I thought it was humorous and sweet.

I love Ron, I adore Hermione. And I don't see them with anybody else other than each other. But I don't see what Hermione sees in Ron. Maybe I've been distracted by the movies and the way Ron is portrayed. (And I have serious fan fiction contamination where the both are concerned.) I'm glad they're getting together but it doesn't seem natural. I'm just accepting it because Jo says that's the way it's going to be.

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Vulture - Jun 27, 2006 9:18 pm (#218 of 264)

It's just my opinion, but I like it !!
Edited Jun 27, 2006 10:01 pm
I first discovered the books as controversy; I had to read them since they were being burned by certain groups in protest of their content---the "Delores Umbridge" pathway to enlightenment. (Hollywand - Jun 15, 2006 11:18 am (#190))

_ I'm guessing here, but I've a hunch that these "certain groups" don't realise that the moral code of Books 1 to 5 is in much the same tradition as that of C.S. Lewis's "Narnia" series. (The main difference is that Lewis wrote as if his moral code was still widely accepted in society.) If they stopped emphasising the witch/wizard/magic aspect (which is simply there for fun) and focussed on what is said by the good side (especially Dumbledore) about moral choice, and right and wrong, they might feel differently. Putting it another way, they should realise that it is the things which JKR's wizards and witches have in common with us "Muggles", not the differences, which she means us to take seriously.

I think book one gives us a blueprint of the progression of the series, and book five gives us a greater ending to the final two books. The battle in the Ministry for Magic, I submit, is a kind of rebus for the resolution of book seven. There's a more detailed description on the Alchemy thread if you are interested. (Hollywand - Jun 15, 2006 11:18 am (#190))

_ Excellent points, Hollywand: I'll check out the Alchemy thread when I can get a decently fast Net connection !!

You bring up something I've felt ever since reading Book 5 (and long before Book 6 had come out or been advertised) _ whether by accident or not, Book 5 had such a "conclusive" feel to it on several issues that this was bound to cause problems for (a) any book coming after it, and (b) the real ending. I identified (what felt like) conclusions in several episodes:

(1) The Minsitry battle _ obvious one, I suppose. Two conclusions here _ (a) the fight between Dumbledore and Voldemort _ this is, as it were, a big boxing final between the respective champions of the good and Dark sides; (b) Voldemort's attempt to possess Harry, which is the culmination of the whole mind-connection theme throughout Book 5 _ this theme, in turn, was a more open treatment of a subconscious theme in Books 1 to 4, which I cover below in point 2.

(2) The prophecy: this could be said to be the conclusion of the question at the back of our (and his) minds ever since Harry, in Book 1, asked "why should he (Voldemort) want to kill me in the first place ?"

(3) Showdown with the Dursleys: At the very end of Book 5, Moody, Lupin, Tonks, the Weasleys and of course, Hermione, all band together to stand up to the Dursleys and sort out the question of Harry's treatment by them once and for all. Whose idea was this, and was it prompted by the death of Harry's "guardian" ? _ we're never told. But in any case, this major change in the Dursley-Harry saga would seem final enough no matter where it occurred in Book 5. Coming at the book's actual end, it seems doubly so.

Of course these three things are very strong elements of Book 5, and I wouldn't have done without them for the world. But they definitely leave a feeling of "THE END" (with lots of fanfares), which sets up problems for whatever follows.

I think the problem was added to by the fact that JKR discarded certain elements which could have provided strong sources of continuity after Book 5 to offset the "ending" themes. I'm thinking particularly of:

(1) the D.A. _ obvious one: I've already explained at length in posts #182 to #187 about how this could have helped Book 6.

(2) "Snape's Worst Memory" and its effect on Harry. This makes us view Snape's grudges differently. Even those of us who aren't Snape fans identify with him at that moment _ because Harry does. From this incident to the end of Book 5, the focus on Snape seems to move beyond the "which side is he on" business into deeper stuff about his character (even though he and Harry continue to dislike each other). But this is not continued in Book 6 _ on the character level (not on plot), JKR simply switches back to pre-Book 5 Snape.

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Vulture - Jun 27, 2006 9:19 pm (#219 of 264)

It's just my opinion, but I like it !!
Edited Jun 27, 2006 9:58 pm
"...his rages, etc., were all about his body and soul being attacked at all levels by the influence of Voldemort." _ You did it again -- I would never have thought of that! Excellent observation, and a strong possibility. ***bangs head against computer screen for being dense*** (Madam Pince - Jun 16, 2006 12:47 pm (#197))

Stop banging your head !! I remember, especially while Book 5 was the latest, whole threads of people arguing over Harry's rages in Book 5 _ and all missing the Voldemort aspect. Their debates came down to one side arguing that Harry's outbursts were way over the top and irritating, and the other defending him on the grounds that this was all part of adolescence. In fact, when I used to intervene with the Voldemort angle, many people couldn't see it or accept it.

In a way, of course, they were right _ Harry is a fifteen-year-old dealing with things familiar to any fifteen-year-old: the reluctance of adults to fully realise that he's not simply a child anymore, and irritation almost to boiling point at having adults keeping secrets from him. It's just that most fifteen-year-olds don't have Voldemort to cope with on top of everything else !!

"And James is toast. " And the proof is in Voldemort's wand, when James' shade came out during the prior incantato scene. (journeymom - Jun 17, 2006 11:38 am (#201))

You're quite right, on a logical level, and I hadn't forgotten about Lord V's wand. The problem is that I can just see _ I really can _ how some cynical Hollywood producer would love to wallow in all the emotional mileage they could get out of a Snape/James swap _ especially if (the one Harry knows as) Snape dies bravely defending Harry before he has a chance to be with Harry as father and son. So I hope JKR is (a) ready for a few boardroom arguments and (b) good at sticking to her guns.

I do not agree with Vulture about Dumbledore. I think his character might be undermined now, but I am actually pretty sure, that this will have changed after book 7, and that Dumble will have been proven right all along. I mean, a Dumbledore, who begs for his life is simply inacceptable and JKR knows this. Therefore it seems logical to me, that he indeed asked Snape to do it and that most of it was part of a plan. (Neville Longbottom - Jun 18, 2006 2:49 am (#202))

Are you sure you disagree with me ? I ask because you seem to be focussing on (a) Dumbledore's pleading, and (b) the question of whether he was right about Snape _ i.e. was his death as it appeared.

But when I said in posts #182 to #187 that I felt Dumbledore's character was "undermined" in Book 6, I meant his moral character, not his intelligence or planning ability. Whether or not the murder by Snape really was all that it appeared, and whether or not Dumbledore was right to trust Snape, does not affect our view of his moral character _ just as whether or not Voldemort would be right to trust Snape does not affect our view of his moral character. (Mind you, I agree that we've always seen Dumbledore as far braver than the pleading would seem to imply.) The moral part of every one of us is the part that chooses between right and wrong in any course of action. That's a different thing from intelligence or foolishness. I know that for some people, more bruised by life, choosing right, or even understanding what is right, may be harder than for others. But that does not alter our duty to do our best _ morally _ with the cards we've been dealt.

Now, my point about Dumbledore in Book 6 was that, in two fairly trivial incidents between himself and Harry, he shows slight imperfections of character _ imprefections, that is, by the Books-1-to-5 standard. In any other character, this would pass almost unnoticed, but Dumbledore is not simply a character _ he is both a character and The Voice Of Right in the HP books. It's not simply that he's the best at obeying the moral standard _ it's that, up to the end of Book 5, his words have been used by JKR to set the moral standard.

What makes the problem worse is that neither by comment nor by subtle hint (which was very much Book 5's style) does JKR show any awareness of these moral imperfections: if she had _ if, say, Harry or someone, or the text itself, had made some comment about it, the old moral code of Books 1 to 5 would remain intact. But in fact, all the evidence is that JKR considers the Dumbledore of Book 6 to be the same as he has always been _ i.e. that all he does (including the two incidents I referred to) is morally right. By accepting that, Book 6 changes the definition of what is moral. More accurately _ because the two incidents are so small _ it does not overthrow the old standard, but it does undermine it.

In posts #182 to #187 I go on to explain how others in Book 6, including Harry, do wrong (again, trivial bits of wrong) without any awareness expressed by them or the writer that they are wrong. This contrasts with all previous Books, but is in particularly sharp contrast to Book 5: there, we saw characters acting badly right left and centre, both on trivial and very serious levels _ but always there was a word, phrase or sentence, whether in the narrative or the mouth of a character (often Hermione) indicating awareness (JKR's, I mean) of where a given action fitted in relation to the moral standard. The moral standard itself , however, was non-negotiable _ and Dumbledore was its authoritative voice.

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Vulture - Jun 27, 2006 9:21 pm (#220 of 264)

It's just my opinion, but I like it !!
Edited Jun 27, 2006 9:53 pm
I disagree, though, that Book 7 will not be at school or that Harry will not be at school. I just think she's set it up since the beginning -- seven books in the series, seven years to complete a Hogwarts education. (Madam Pince - Jun 21, 2006 7:01 am (#210))

I agree with you, Madam Pince, though I can see this "will he, won't he" issue being fuel for several Web debates, given Harry's statement at the end of Book 6 that he won't return. I'm not saying I'm sure that he'll attend Year 7, but I feel that the following are clues:

(1) Harry himself thinks it likely that at least one of the Horcruxes may be in Hogwarts. Even if not, he will surely want to know what on earth is at Hogwarts that made Voldemort want to ask Dumbledore, of all people, for a job.

(2) It seems likely to me that he'll want to grill Dumbledore's portrait over various questions about what happened in Book 6. In fact, I think the feeling will be mutual _ the portrait will want to give him instructions, and get McGonagall to ask him up there.

(3) In Book 5, JKR made the OWL exams, and what went on in them, a very big deal _ a sort of landmark in Harry's progress. From the very first book, when she said that Harry found that "there was a lot more to magic than just waving a wand", JKR emphasised the necessity of training and self-control in magic _ in other words, the role of Hogwarts. Dumbledore repeated this point to young Tom Riddle in Book 6. I also can't see how a Harry who has dropped out of school a year early is somehow more of a threat to Voldemort than a Harry who has done his NEWTs.

(4) There has, naturally, been a lot of attention paid to Harry saying "I'm not going back even if it does re-open". I think there has been less focus on Hermione answering "I was afraid you'd say that". My feeling is that, knowing Hermione, Harry will never hear the end of it if he drops out of school.

Lastly, may I draw everyone's attention to the scene in Book 6 when McGonagall, as new Head, asked for opinions on whether Hogwarts should close. I think that that is a very important scene (one passage I can pass as well-written !!), and possibly deserves a thread of its own. She asks the Heads of Houses, and also asks Hagrid on the basis that both Dumbledore and she have always valued his opinion. In fact _ though it is not openly stated _ this means that, with the former Head of Gryffindor now Headmistress of Hogwarts, Hagrid becomes the Gryffindor representative in the discussion.

Taking the discussion that ensues as a vote on closing the school, we get the following result:

For closing: 2 (McGonagall the Head, and Slughorn for Slytherin)

Against: 2 (Hagrid for Gryffindor, and Sprout for Hufflepuff)

Abstention: 1 (Flitwick for Ravenclaw)

Now, this is not as simple as it first appears. It's not just a numbers game _ I believe JKR is very careful about who votes for what. For example, if McGonagall had abstained and Flitwick had voted against, it would still be 2-2 and one abstention, but the subconscious message to the reader would be very different. (It would, in fact, incline the reader towards keeping the school open _ whereas the vote distribution as it actually happens above is carefully weighted, in my opinion, to be 100% neutral and give no clue to JKR's intentions.)

Why do I read so much into who votes for what ? Well, JKR has always been clear that the reader is to weigh the different Houses _ well _ differently. Gryffindor has always been the main bulwark of the good side, and Hufflepuff has always been a loyal follower. We're told in Book 4 that the two have always had good relations.

Ravenclaw has always been on the good side, too, of course (and I'm not saying differently !!), but it goes its own way, and JKR is inclined to throw in tiny hints that depending on logic (Ravenclaw's strong point) is not the surest route for the good side. (There's a very tantalising bit in Book 5 where Hermione says that the Sorting Hat considered putting her in Ravenclaw, but "it decided on Gryffindor in the end". Why ?)

I think it's safe to say that we take McGonagall more seriously than Slughorn, and that, in any case, we expect a Gryffindor to consider the school's interests more than Slytherin. McGonagall's vote is the strongest card for those who think JKR will close Hogwarts.

On the other hand, Hagrid makes a strong speech against closing, even insisting that, if it closes, he'll teach any who want him to (admittedly, with Hagrid's classes, this won't be many !!) Sprout backs him up strongly. It's worth noting that the Againsts are more united in their speeches and their thinking than the Fors, and both (if I recall correctly) base their case on it being what Dumbledore would want.

I also feel the Ministry would close it down. With such a 'death' happepning at the school itself, the governors would have no choice. They wanted to shut it when the Chamber attavks were happening, so I can see it being shut now. It will only open, I feel, when Voldemort and his reign are over. (Michael Politakis - Jun 21, 2006 9:46 am (#211))

Firstly, the governors in Book 2 were acting under intimidation by Lucius. When Dumbledore contacted them, it became clear that they wanted Hogwarts to stay open. As for Voldemort's reign, there's a case for saying that, if Hogwarts closes, it may never end.

... how can Harry sustain the search for the Horcruxes as well as staying in school? ... That way Harry would start his quest and then it'd be too late. (Michael Politakis - Jun 21, 2006 9:46 am (#211))

Well, your point seems to depend on the "quest" having a time limit of a year or less, but the last paragraph of Book 6 leaves open the possibility that it'll take longer _ even ten years. Yes, I realise that there are all sorts of obvious problems with that, but the words are there.

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Was anyone disappointed in Book 6? (Post 221 to 250)

Post  Elanor on Sun Jun 12, 2011 1:28 am

Vulture - Jun 27, 2006 9:24 pm (#221 of 264)
It's just my opinion, but I like it !!
... incidently Sirius BLACK, yet another miserable soul, dies ... (Michael Politakis - Jun 21, 2006 9:46 am (#211))

I utterly reject the description of Sirius as a "miserable soul". In fact, he almost literally died laughing, in combat. I agree that in Book 5 (like Harry), he was attacked on various levels and had fits of gloom as a result, but that does not make a "miserable soul". His natural character was brave, clever, impetuous and hot-tempered, with strong likes and dislikes. Being marked by suffering, as he was, is not the same as being "miserable". If you want to label someone "miserable soul", I think Wormtail is probably the main candidate.

... That's all he needs to find, as the ring and the diary are already destroyed and possibly the locket has been destroyed (if the theory that it was around Dumbledore's neck is correct - that would eleminate Grimmauld Place). (Choices - Jun 21, 2006 10:04 am (#212))

Sorry, I don't get any of this. I've no particular reason to say yes or no to Grimmauld Place, but where do you get all this about the Locket around Dumbledore's neck, and if it was, why would that eliminate Grimmauld Place ?

I'm not sure how Dumbledore's death is a mistake. Just because this technique was used in Lord of the Rings and Star Wars doesn't make this over used. This technique was also used in Eragon and that story didn't suffer from it being used. In this story the fact that Dumbledore is willing to die for Draco says alot about his character. (rambkowalczyk - Jun 21, 2006 2:20 pm (#214))

Well, I can only recommend that people re-read carefully what I said about Dumbledore's death in posts #182 to #187 (near the beginning). The only thing I'll add (and I'm afraid it's going to be very unpopular with some people) is that, in Star Wars, Obi-Wan's character and death were already a blatant rip-off of Gandalf (with Darth Vadar as Nazgul Lord _ and yes, I know Gandalf's death was with the Balrog and not in his stand-off with the Nazgul Lord) _ so much so that I met loads of people below a certain age who were all convinced that the "Lord Of The Rings" films were a rip-off of Star Wars, not realising that all that the LOTR films were doing was reflecting their own books which Star Wars had ripped off !! In short, Dumbledore had to avoid becoming Copycat Version 3. And for 5 books, JKR added enough original qualities to the borrowed stuff to make a good job of doing so. I'm not against borrowing when it's done carefully, like that.

(I don't know the Eragon story, I'm afraid, so can't comment on that.)

About Dumbledore being "willing to die for Draco" _ well, Dumbledore being Dumbledore, he was probably willing to die for anybody, but in fact he didn't die for Draco _ he had absolutely no choice in the matter. If he died for anyone, it was for Harry, because it was while immobilising Harry that he was disarmed by Draco. I suppose you can say that Snape killed for Draco.

"In Book 6, we start to see all sorts of inadequacies and weaknesses in Dumbledore's behavior that undermine how we previously saw his character". No examples are given. Is it because Dumbledore begged for his life on the tower? That he might have ordered Snape to kill him? Because he insisted to Harry that he get Slughorn's memory? (rambkowalczyk - Jun 21, 2006 2:20 pm (#214))

Wrong. I gave two in post #185, neither of which you mention or deal with. I can accept that my two examples can be seen as nit-picky, but I made clear that "It's not that he does anything hugely wrong _ but cracks appear". I quite agree that the cases you mention are not examples of changes in Dumbledore's moral character _ I never said they were. I deliberately confined myself to the only examples where Dumbledore made choices which, according to the moral standard of Books 1 to 5, were clearly wrong _ no matter how small or trivial.

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Vulture - Jun 27, 2006 9:27 pm (#222 of 264)

It's just my opinion, but I like it !!
It is around this time that questionable things are being done. (Here I will borrow ideas that were in the Harry thread). Crouch JR as Moody bounces Draco up and down on the floor clearly causing Draco pain. Although McGonagall stops it, both Harry and Ron think this is a funny thing. (rambkowalczyk - Jun 21, 2006 2:20 pm (#214))

I think the key points to remember here are that Crouch Jr. is clearly evil and that McGonagall is the one who intervenes with a strict interpretation of the moral law. In short, it's from McGonagall we're supposed to take our moral verdict on this one, not from anyone else. I agree that Ron finds it funny, but does Harry ? _ as I recall, more is said about Ron's reactions than his. Also bear in mind that Harry would have not felt too fussy about someone who _ as fake Moody pointed out _ had tried to attack him with a wand from behind.

None of the trio thinks that Marietta's sneak curse is excessive. (I concede it's possible that JKR may agree with the Trio's assessment but I will argue differently). No one in authority questioned this punishment although Cho did stand by her friend. (rambkowalczyk - Jun 21, 2006 2:20 pm (#214))

Firstly, "no one in authority questioned this punishment" because no one in authority knew about it. Secondly, it's quite clear to me that JKR signals to us that Cho's "fierce" loyalty to her friend is admirable, while equally clearly signalling that the friend herself is not. Thirdly, "none of the trio thinks that Marietta's sneak curse is excessive" _ and I agree with them _ because a traitor is a traitor.

Let's have no soft soap here: they're in the middle of a war, Umbridge is a fiend who is prepared to kill, torture and set Dementors on the innocent, and even if Marietta doesn't know everything about Umbridge, she can see enough of her cruelty at Hogwarts _ and see the Slytherins who are flocking to her banner. Traitors are lethal _ not simply in themselves, but in the suspicion and fear of treachery they leave behind them, setting true friend against true friend. The rage and sorrow in Lupin and Sirius when they unmasked the traitor in Book 3 was absolutely spot on in its portrayal.

By joining the D.A. Marietta accepted that Voldemort was back _ thus, condemning her friends to expulsion meant putting them in danger. Harry is quite right _ "She sold everyone out _ including you ", he says to Cho. Marietta was prepared to sell out her best friend, a friend who then gave her loyalty she does not deserve. We can admire _ indeed, we are meant to admire _ Cho's loyalty to Marietta, but we are not meant to admire Cho's good sense about her, or to agree that she's "a lovely person who made a mistake". This, by the way, goes to the heart of why I love Books 1 to 5 _ its moral standard is far tougher than the moral ambivalence (well represented by Marietta) of our own world. It's very common in our world to hear wrongdoers call their actions "mistakes". The answer is simply: NO. "2 + 2 = 3" is a mistake _ moral wrong is a choice.

Harry lives in a world where wrongdoing is punished _ to teach: this has been true since Book 1. In a conflict such as Book 5, punishment also has the role of defeating the enemy _ and a traitor is one of the worst forms of enemy. You think the spots excessive ? They are necessary. If Marietta had been let off with soft soap, she would betray again _ maybe worse next time. This is her best chance not to end up as a Wormtail. Besides, the D.A. has the right and responsibility to defend itself from traitors.

Fred and George did serious harm to Montague by stuffing him in the Vanishing Cabinet. Not only were Ron and Harry unconcerned, we saw no evidence of Dumbledore saying anything about it--only Hermione's brief concern when she saw Montague's parents. (rambkowalczyk - Jun 21, 2006 2:20 pm (#214))

Firstly, I didn't get the impression that Montague suffered "serious harm". Secondly, Fred and George are never promoted as the voice of moral right in the books. Thirdly, I don't think it's right or valid to bring Dumbledore into the situation _ JKR doesn't go around giving quotes from him or other major characters on every last issue, as if they were Tony Blair or George W. Bush. Fourthly, Montague deserved what he got _ he was acting as sneak and tale-bearer to Umbridge. It's quite clear from the final scene in her office that the Slytherins are prepared to happily serve a Headmistress who uses torture, and I don't believe that Montague was any different. Finally, by joining the Inquisitorial Squad, Montague, like Malfoy, knew that he was setting himself against the legitimate authorities (i.e. Dumbledore, the House Heads and the Prefects) in Hogwarts. In short, an enemy in war.

So what are the moral lapses in book 6? Ginny accusing her brother of being inexperienced at kissing making it sound like a terrible crime. Dumbledore ordering Harry to get Slughorn's memory? Or was it just the way that Harry did it? Is it Dumbledore all of a sudden expecting unquestionable obedience even when what he asks for seems wrong? The excess drinking and snogging? (rambkowalczyk - Jun 21, 2006 2:20 pm (#214))

Well, I think I explained my points about Ginny in posts posts #182 to #187, so I won't repeat them here. I personally don't have a problem with Dumbledore ordering Harry to get Slughorn's memory. You're right, however, in implying that I've misgivings about the way that Harry did it _ again, I explain these in posts #182 to #187. As for "Dumbledore all of a sudden expecting unquestionable obedience even when what he asks for seems wrong", I assume you mean the promise of this nature he makes Harry give before they set off for the Cave _ my answer is that, no, that doesn't undermine the moral standard of Books 1 to 5; I don't recall saying anything that would give the impression it did. All it does is give the impression that Dumbledore has information which Harry doesn't _ that isn't a question of moral choice.

I think Vulture's point is not about the moral lapses but that there is no one there to say that this is wrong or more important that this action must be done if you wish to be a good person ... (rambkowalczyk - Jun 21, 2006 2:20 pm (#214))

_ Well said. Pretty much my point. Or more exactly, there was someone there to say such things or give a moral lead _ i.e. Dumbledore _ but he occasionally (i.e. in the two examples I gave in #185) didn't do so.

... This might be the point of book 6. Harry must make his own decisions and not depend on Dumbledore or Hermione always being there to advise him. At this point Harry has to depend on his own conscience to kick in and tell him that to do good he must fight the inertia to do nothing or give into his anger. (rambkowalczyk - Jun 21, 2006 2:20 pm (#214))

Oh dear. And there was me thinking we could agree on something.

The problem with what you say here is that I see no evidence that JKR is aware of the moral change. It's not just about giving Harry a moral lead _ it's also about signalling to us a clear moral verdict. In previous books, the text did so when characters' words didn't. In Book 6, cracks appear, as I've said, in the standard of right and wrong, but JKR writes as if they hadn't. That's the key point. If you were right _ about Harry suddenly having to make his own moral decisons (although I thought he often had anyway) and so on _ we ought to see bewilderment and indecision on his part with moral choices. In fact, we don't. Morally, he largely behaves with certainty _ even when (by Books 1 to 5's standard) his choices are questionable. We do see his bewilderment over strategic matters _ what is going on with Malfoy and Snape, etc., but this is not about moral choice.

(Continued in next post ...)

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Vulture - Jun 27, 2006 9:29 pm (#223 of 264)

It's just my opinion, but I like it !!
(... Continued from last post.)

It is possible that the DA was left out and that both Luna and Neville were minimized in this book because logically they would have provided the moral compass that Harry would need. Hermione didn't because she was over involved with the Ron/Lavender drama. (rambkowalczyk - Jun 21, 2006 2:20 pm (#214))

You make a very good case in the points above and in the last post. We'll have to differ, because you assume a sense of purpose on JKR's part which just doesn't come across to me from Book 6.

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Michael Politakis - Jun 28, 2006 9:02 am (#224 of 264)

The fact that I saw Sirius as an unhappy person in book five does not make me wrong. Also, those many fns who saw alot in book six, saw it as a multi layered, wonderful book, are not wrong, but readers who do not hate a book, but will look deeper into it's layers to try and uncover the bombshells it will set up for us in book seven. It's job was to miss-direct us. JK has done that in every book, but with HBP, IT WAS ONE MASSIVE PIECE OF MISS-DIRECTION!

I have read many theories that show why JK could have possibly made Dumbledore appear to be off, none of which I will discuss here as you seem so hell bent on hating the HBP.

Harry has never really felt the rath of his consequences. He got punished in the HBP, but he needed to feel more to the inncident. The slashing of Malfoy was the only real other blur of good and right that I saw in this book. And I feel JK will have Harry realise this and know has to take RESPONSIBILITY for his a ctions and grow up in the next book. But again, you seem to want to hate book six so discussing any of the wonderful hints it was hiding, and the fact JK has said in her recent interview that she KNOWS all of the plot points she has brought up, and will have to answer them all in book seven,tells me the last book will answer most of our questions, and will be an amazing shocker!

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Vulture - Jun 28, 2006 9:53 am (#225 of 264)

It's just my opinion, but I like it !!
I totally agree that the odd numbered ones are better for the most part than the even numbered ones. After HBP, my least favorite is the CoS, because of the horrible way Harry was treated in it by nearly everyone at the school. The fact that he had to take the blame for the petrification of the other students for so long was upsetting to me.

Plus it was the least logical in many ways until HBP came along. Come on, Slytherin lived a thousand years ago and he hid his chamber in a modern girls bathroom? Ginny was raised by a father who handled magical artifacts, and she and Ron learned all about them (Ron did warn Harry, who was new to the wizarding world about enchanted books) but she still gets sucked into using that? I saw someone on Ficiton Alley Park say it's like a fireman's kid burning down the house playing with matches, and I agree. And the best place to destroy a book is not a toilet KNOWN to be haunted by a nosey ghost, in my opinion. I could go on, but what's the point in bringing up more things I consider mistakes?

HBP was the same way. You have Sybill not knowing what she's doing when she makes a prophecy, but then she knows Snape overheard her in the Hog's Head. Draco says Montague apparated into the toilet, and Dumbledore lets the kids practice apparation in the Great Hall, but we were told for ages you couldn't apparate in Hogwarts. Same here...why go on about it, but the two books both have the same sort of problems a nitpicker like me can't stand.

GoF was okay, but not my favorite. I think it could have used some heavy duty editing. I liked OotP best, and PoA next, and then PS/SS. This might relate to what was said earlier about things (situations and themes) repeating themselves from book to book. HBP and CoS didn't seem very original to me.

(Die Zimtzicke - Jun 18, 2006 6:37 pm (#205))

I'd probably better declare my bias up front !! _ Book 2 is my favourite of the whole lot, so you know where I'm coming from. (My point about odds and evens was only meant for the ones after Book 3 !!)

On your first paragraph, isn't the fact that you feel so strongly for Harry, in what he goes through, a sign of an extremely well-written book ? But if it helps, I would point out that Harry is tougher than you may think: in Book 4, it's mentioned that he feels better about all the hostility he's getting when he realises that he still prefers that to his life before Hagrid turned up on his 11th birthday, and I think that goes for Book 2 also.

In Book 1, we're told that Harry endured "ten miserable years" before Hogwarts, and was quite used to cruelty at home and at school _ and being totally without friends. Yes, in Book 2, he's not happy at people imagining him to be Slytherin's heir, but he has friends who give him great support. Fred and George, in particular, are of great help, because (a) they make him laugh, and (b) they use the most effective possible weapon against all the people who are giving him grief _ i.e. ridicule. In some ways, it's good to go through such times, because one finds out (as Harry does) who one's friends are.

On the points in your second paragraph: your point about Slytherin and the bathroom isn't really possible to deal with logically because we're dealing with magic _ could the Chamber concealment spell act like some sort of living thing, evolving with the times ? (Before you dismiss that as ridiculous, remember that Book 1 told us that Harry and Ron got lost all the time when they were new because rooms, staircases and passages kept disappearing and moving around.) Your point about Ginny and the book is a good one, but perhaps she was a bit off her guard because (a) she had a lonely crush on Harry, and (b) she was dealing with Voldemort, who _ as Dumbledore said _ had beguiled better wizards and witches than her.

I won't go through all you said, but _ you say that "we were told for ages you couldn't apparate in Hogwarts". Are you sure ? I thought that we were told that you couldn't apparate in to or out of Hogwarts _ in other words, Voldemort couldn't just turn up on the lawn.

But broadly speaking, I would agree with you _ on the level of pure logic, JKR'S plots make a wet paper bag look like Fort Knox. Her characters, on the other hand, are absolutely brilliantly done. (She's in good company _ another whose works had creaking plots and great characters was William Shakespeare.) Book 2 was my absolute favourite because:

(a) it had the toughest job of all the books _ i.e. following JKR's first big hit _ and it did well;

(b) it was the one book where Fred & George made me laugh _ I've always liked them as characters, and accept that they make their friends laugh, but in Book 2 (and small bits of Book 5) they were funny to the reader ;

(c) Book 2, like Book 5, had funny lines in general (e.g. " 'I wouldn't bet on that' said Harry, watching Snape baring his teeth." or " 'A boa constrictor told you it had never been to Brazil ?' said Ron faintly.");

(d) new characters like Tom Riddle, Lucius Malfoy and Lockhart were very effective, and characters whom we already knew developed, were tested and expanded in new directions (e.g. cold nasty Snape suddenly speaking for the wrath and grief of the teachers, the school, and _ by the way _ us, in his words to Lockhart when Ginny disappears); Harry discovering new powers that set him apart; Hermione helping Ron and Harry to break, as McGonagall says, about a hundred school rules _ pride of place going to her part in theft from a teacher;

(e) Book 2, after the relatively "adventure story" feel of Book 1, was very emotionally involving _ not to say harrowing, at times _ and this is all about character. Am I alone in feeling this ? Too sentimental, perhaps ? But anyway, I felt very moved by much of the writing from the point where McGonagall says that Ginny Weasley has been taken by the monster, to Harry's final talk with Dumbledore. I suppose an obvious example is Harry's rage and sorrow as the evil Riddle jeers at eleven-year-old Ginny's vulnerability. Less obvious is the moment when Dumbledore says "Only a true Gryffindor could have pulled that out of the Sorting Hat" _ I still don't know why on earth that brought up such strong feelings, but it did, and still does.

In fact, I think Book 2 is the most harrowing of the books _ this may surprise some, who'll no doubt quote what Harry endures in Book 5, his torture in the graveyard in Book 4, or possibly the scene in Book 3 where Sirius and Lupin vent years of bitterness at the friend who betrayed them. But no, I think Book 2 is the toughest. There are probably lots of reasons, but the one I would pick is the non-stop tension of that chilling voice which is potentially everywhere where Harry lives. I think it's very effective of JKR to remove that fear of the unknown only to replace it with Ginny being taken by the monster. It may be just me, but there's a very Stephen King feel to Book 2 _ the only other place I feel that is "The Riddle House", Chapter 1 of Book 4.

By now, the editors must be preparing to blast this post to perdition for irrelevancy. Well, what I would say is that (a) for me, Book 2 sets the standard for strong character work, and Book 6 doesn't measure up as much as the rest; and (b) it's relevant because so much of Book 6 is ripped off from Book 2 _ without, unfortunately, reproducing Book 2's effect.

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haymoni - Jun 28, 2006 11:25 am (#226 of 264)

We won't know if JKR misdirected us until Book 7.

Perhaps Dumbledore really is dead.

Perhaps Snape really is evil.

We just won't know for sure until we can look over the whole series.

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Vulture - Jun 28, 2006 2:06 pm (#227 of 264)

It's just my opinion, but I like it !!
My overall reaction to post #224 is that you were quite clearly writing in a rage _ this comes across in the misspellings, mixed-up grammar, vehemence of language, and accusations of saying things I didn't say, that make clear that you simply haven't read my posts carefully enough. I've no problems with strong opinions or disagreement, but leaving out logic will actually do the opposite of what you intend _ it makes my opinions look more convincing !!

The fact that I saw Sirius as an unhappy person in book five does not make me wrong. In post #221, I did not say that seeing Sirius as an unhappy person in Book 5 makes you wrong. I did not say anything about you at all. What I said was: "I utterly reject the description of Sirius as a 'miserable soul' ". I've a perfect right to say it, whether you agree or not, and I go on to defend my opinion in that post _ I notice that you didn't answer any of the points I made about Sirius.

Also, those many fns who saw alot in book six, saw it as a multi layered, wonderful book, are not wrong, but readers who do not hate a book ...

Well, firstly, if "those many fns who saw alot in book six" are not wrong, I'm equally entitled to say that I'm not _ and I seem able to defend my opinions more coherently than you.

Secondly, if you think I "hate" Book 6 (I don't recall using the word "hate"), you should ask yourself what my motive for such hatred might be, if it's not based on what's in the book itself.

In fact, of course, if you actually read my posts (particularly #182 to #187 and #218 to #223), the parts of Book 6 which I like should become clear. I liked its opening chapter (which, oddly enough, a lot of the book's biggest fans don't seem to have done). I thoroughly enjoyed "Spinner's End", which, with hindsight, turned out to be one of the best chapters, if not the best of the lot. The chapters where Dumbledore collected Harry and recruited Slughorn were enough to whet the appetite _ indeed, I thought the book was going to be great at that early point. The classes about young Voldemort were written in a quieter style than I've been used to with JKR, but there's nothing wrong with that.

It seems odd to have to explain things I've already said in posts #182 to #187, given that I actually said them, but there we go. I should also mention that I cut Book 6 a lot of slack before I read it, expecting _ rightly _ that Book 5 would be a very hard act to follow. Despite my deliberately lowered expectations, however, Book 6 _ taken as a whole _ fell below them.

... but will look deeper into it's layers to try and uncover the bombshells it will set up for us in book seven. It's job was to miss-direct us. JK has done that in every book, but with HBP, IT WAS ONE MASSIVE PIECE OF MISS-DIRECTION!

No need to shout. Obviously, I don't know what will be in Book 7 (and neither do you), so all I can say about these "bombshells" and "mis-directions" is that I hope Book 7 keeps fine for you.

However, let me point out that any debate about mis-direction is largely, if not totally, a debate about plot _ not about characterisation. I've never made any secret of the fact that I read JKR for her great characters, and character development, not her plots. (In post #225 I point out that this can also be said of Shakespeare, so she's in good company.) I'm not forcing anyone to agree with me, but this is my opinion. If I have to sum up my criticisms of Book 6 in a sentence, it's that the overall characterisation in Book 6 is weaker than in other books.

I have read many theories that show why JK could have possibly made Dumbledore appear to be off, none of which I will discuss here as you seem so hell bent on hating the HBP.

Well, while reading these "many theories", it's a pity that you didn't read mine. I also appreciate that it must be far easier to label me as "hell bent on hating the HBP" (see also what I said above about "hate") than to put these "many theories" up for logical criticism _ assuming there really are that many.

What I myself have read about JKR deliberately making "Dumbledore appear to be off" can be summed up in two basic theories, broadly speaking. (I welcome any others.) Interestingly, one is about plot and the other about character.

The best version of the character one I've seen is post #214, by rambkowalczyk, on this thread. I don't agree with everything it says, as I explain in later posts, but it raises good points about the "moral compass" in Books 1 to 5 as compared to Book 6. Where I part company with rambkowalczyk is that he/she believes that the weakening of the moral code was deliberate on JKR's part, whereas I don't. But for details, you need to read posts #214, #222 and #223.

The plot one seems to be that all the things I find inconsistent or out of character in Book 6's Dumbledore are all, along with his death, part of a cunning plan to be revealed in Book 7. If the other characters had been portrayed effectively, I would have had no problem in believing this, but they weren't.

Now, in Book 5, lots of people were acting unusually (but they were still being portrayed effectively), and we didn't know why, but we accepted that there WAS a reason. Why ? _ because we could feel a sense of purpose in the writing, through characters and imagery, even if and when we couldn't understand various mysteries of plot. In Book 6, that sense of purpose doesn't last beyond the early chapters.

JK has said in her recent interview that she KNOWS all of the plot points she has brought up, and will have to answer them all in book seven

That's all very well, but in the end, any book _ even when it's the first part of a two-part story _ has to stand on its own feet. By all means, let various plot points remain unexplained until Book 7 _ that's not the part that makes Book 6 weak, for me. In any case, I don't regard plot as JKR's greatest strength _ as I keep saying, I regard her as better (usually) at characterisation.

I think you and others are mixing up weaknesses which Harry sees in Dumbledore during Book 6, with weaknesses I see in JKR's portrayal of his character. For example, I keep trying to discuss things like the moral standard the characters live by (or don't live by), or the effectiveness in portraying them so that they seem alive and convincing, and getting back endless stuff about Snape being innocent and Dumbledore being right to trust him. I don't give a damn whether Snape is innocent (as it happens _ given what fans want _ the big surprise by now would be if he turned out to be guilty !!) or whether Dumbledore is right _ Harry does, but I don't. None of that affects whether I think a book is a strong or weak piece of writing.

(Continued in next post ...)

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Vulture - Jun 28, 2006 2:09 pm (#228 of 264)

It's just my opinion, but I like it !!
(... Continued from last post)

A strongly-written piece of fiction creates a world that is so believable that it comes alive for us and gets us to suspend disbelief (where necessary) without realising it. However, a problem for any writer is that, while in early chapters (or _ if the story lasts across several books _ even early books) he/she can largely do what he/she likes, in later writing he/she is somewhat constrained by the world and characters he/she has created. This is not to say that there can be no changes, even quite disruptive ones, but there needs to be a broad consistency with the world the writer has built. If there isn't, the writing will cease to convince. To give extreme examples, if Wuthering Heights's Heathcliff joined a ballet class, or Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes joined a reggae band, we just wouldn't buy it. And it wouldn't matter how many Net discussions kept shouting about how Heathcliff and Holmes, or their authors, knew better than us.

Now I'm not saying that JKR has done anything that ludicrous with her characters. But in Book 6, inconsistencies creep into most of them which make them less alive, less convincing. Snape is the exception whose portrayal proves the rule for the others: I've already said in another post that it was a bad idea, in portraying his personality, to switch back to pre-Book 5 Snape, as JKR does, but apart from that, I found Snape a convincing character until after the Tower scene. I realised later that this was because Snape is one of the few characters in Book 6 whom JKR only brings in when he's absolutely necessary. With almost all the others apart from Harry, Dumbledore and young Voldemort, there seems to be a lot of hanging around to no purpose, and inconsistencies of character _ again, to no purpose. It's all very well to shout about mis-direction, and that may be true for the plot, but on character, I don't believe that, for example, Ginny's cheesy lines at the end have any deep purpose or that their cheesiness was deliberately planned.

Harry has never really felt the rath of his consequences. I assume you mean "the consequences of his wrath".

He got punished in the HBP, but he needed to feel more to the inncident. The slashing of Malfoy was the only real other blur of good and right that I saw in this book. And I feel JK will have Harry realise this and know has to take RESPONSIBILITY for his a ctions and grow up in the next book.

I'm not too clear what you're on about, but I don't regard the "slashing of Malfoy" as a blur of right and wrong. Essentially, Harry was about to be hit with the Cruciatus curse (of which he has first-hand, appalling, memories) so, in self-defence, he reacted in a split second with the first thing that came into his head _ which was a spell he didn't know. No blur there.

I think it's a tribute to how well JKR did her character work in Book 5 that we're still getting people so wound up by Harry that they're lecturing him on growing up and managing anger, a whole book after I realised that they've missed the whole point !! (See #196)

But again, you seem to want to hate book six ... Again, I can only suggest that you read my posts, or at least read what I said in the last post about this "hate" stuff.

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Choices - Jun 28, 2006 5:45 pm (#229 of 264)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
That's all he needs to find, as the ring and the diary are already destroyed and possibly the locket has been destroyed (if the theory that it was around Dumbledore's neck is correct - that would eleminate Grimmauld Place). (Choices - Jun 21, 2006 10:04 am (#212))

Vulture - "Sorry, I don't get any of this. I've no particular reason to say yes or no to Grimmauld Place, but where do you get all this about the Locket around Dumbledore's neck, and if it was, why would that eliminate Grimmauld Place ?"

After your previous post, I am almost afraid to respond to this, but..... The comment about the locket being around Dumbledore's neck is from a theory being bandied around on some of the threads. It basically says that Dumbledore had the Slytherin locket around his neck and when Snape appeared to AK him, what he actually hit (when he hit Dumbledore squarely in the chest with the AK) was the Horcrux locket. Wouldn't the trip to Grimmauld Place be to search for the locket that R.A.B. (if it was Regulus Black) had hidden there? Well, logically, if Snape destroyed the locket Horcrux with the AK, there would be no need to go to Grimmauld Place to search for it. I'm not sure I buy into this theory, but I do find it very interesting. **tip-toes away to hide**

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Michael Politakis - Jun 28, 2006 8:36 pm (#230 of 264)

Vulture, my appologies. It was lake, I was tired. I was certainly in no rage. I will admit that unill these set of posts you made, I did not read your previous ones, as I could not be bothered. I am reading your new ones though.

To any allert any reader, it's obvious books 1 and 5, 2 and 6 and 3 and 7 will closely mirror one another. The themes, the feel, etc.

I actually smiled when you said book 2 was your favourite. Can I just say that CoS is VERY underated. Many harp on about how they loved the last four books, but in essence book 2 will become one of the most important when the series ends. Look at it now. I see it in a new light with the release of book six.

If you think that alot of the kids felt different, moraly off in book 6, well I feel they are now sixteen. Slight changes in their character, growing pains so to speak, to me are expected. I but I now respect why you though book six was weaker. You just used very harsh language to express yourself when telling us your opinion, I felt I had to sy something in the books defence.

JK has built an amazing world wigth her characters. But as I saiid above, the boudaries of right and wrong, I feel are still intact in book six. Please just make a small list of WHAT these moral breaches are. I'll comment on each of the ones you listed then.

I do want to just apologise though for any anger I had last night. As I said I was very tired. I am intruiged about your opinion though as you're the first to say this about the book. Most people I speak to actually feel that her characters are very consistent.

And again with the younger kids, I t hink JK tried to show us their gorwing up, but probably took it alittle too far perhaps? Making them seem amoral perhaps? Who are the other characters who you feel have slightly changed in this book?

Again, sorry. I'm lookg forward to hearing your response. Very Happy

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Vulture - Jun 29, 2006 10:46 am (#231 of 264)

It's just my opinion, but I like it !!

*tip-toes away to hide** (Choices - Jun 28, 2006 5:45 pm (#229)) LOL, Choices !! _ I'm not really that scary, am I ?

The comment about the locket being around Dumbledore's neck is from a theory being bandied around on some of the threads. It basically says that Dumbledore had the Slytherin locket around his neck and when Snape appeared to AK him, what he actually hit (when he hit Dumbledore squarely in the chest with the AK) was the Horcrux locket. Wouldn't the trip to Grimmauld Place be to search for the locket that R.A.B. (if it was Regulus Black) had hidden there? Well, logically, if Snape destroyed the locket Horcrux with the AK, there would be no need to go to Grimmauld Place to search for it. I'm not sure I buy into this theory, but I do find it very interesting. (Choices - Jun 28, 2006 5:45 pm (#229))

Anyway, yes, this is an interesting set of hunches. Basically comes down to two things _ the horcrux locket around his neck, and R.A.B. being Regulus Black.

Only problem I see with the locket part is that, when Harry examined the body, he was quite sure that the locket he found was not the locket he had seen in the Pensieve memory.

Was there an actual trip to Grimmauld Place mentioned in Book 6, or is this a theory ?

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Hi, Michael Politakis: No worries; happens to all of us !! Actually, I can sympathise with people not being able to read through everything in the threads _ I always find that my own posts end up being longer than intended. (I keep thinking of arguments against everything I write, and trying to forestall them !!)

But anyway, do have a look through my posts #182 to #187 if you have time. Somewhere in there is an account of (what I see as) two moral imperfections (I wouldn't call them 'breaches', myself, because they're so small) by Dumbledore. As you and others have noticed, there are lots of moral issues that turn up, but it's those two I focus on, because it was Dumbledore who did them. The reason I see them as important for the general HP moral standard (even though _ in themselves _ they're so small and nit-picky) is that Dumbledore has become "the voice of moral right" in the world JKR has created _ and she has made moral right a central plank in her magical world.

Being logged out here; more next time !! Cheers.
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Choices - Jun 29, 2006 5:54 pm (#232 of 264)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
Vulture - "Was there an actual trip to Grimmauld Place mentioned in Book 6, or is this a theory ?"

No, I meant there would be no need to go to Grimmauld Place in book 7 if the Slytherin locket Horcrux did turn out to be around Dumbledore's neck. Harry would not have to go to Grimmauld Place to look for it, although I do think he will go there for other reasons.

Vulture - "Only problem I see with the locket part is that, when Harry examined the body, he was quite sure that the locket he found was not the locket he had seen in the Pensieve memory."

That was part of the theory, too - seems Dumbledore may have had the fake locket in his pocket also. There are people who think that perhaps Dumbledore wrote the note in the fake locket. I am certainly not an expert on this theory, but I do remember reading it and liking the idea.

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Hollywand - Jun 29, 2006 8:25 pm (#233 of 264)

Gryffindor
Hollywand ***waves to Choices**** I would like to extend the theory Choices mentions above. In the barriers that the faculty set up for Harry to access the Stone in book one, the last barrier is Snape's barrier, based on potions, logic and a note. Now, Hermione is able to decipher the note, and send Harry forward to Dumbledore's barrier, which is the Mirror of Erised. I suggest that there is a metaphorical parallel here inthat, Book Six was all about potions, in effect Snape's barrier, and we are left with a mysterious note. My galleons are on Miss Hermione Granger to decipher the author of the note, and it will turn out, methinks, to be Albus Dumbledore.

In Book One, Hermione drinks the potion that sends her backward; there are many metaphorical parallel between Hermione and Dumbledore thoughout the series. In book one, Hermione's journey backward, through the purple flame, refers to Dumbledore's consumption of the potion that will kill him in book six. His act is deliberate in that his death carries great strategic meaning, and allows Harry to progress forward.

My latest theory on the note, it that is is coded by letter or number; this is why Hermione is studying Runes and Arithmancy, as they will be used to decipher the note. Since Voldemort's basin is encircled with Runes, this is our clue, methinks, that perhaps the letters in the note have Rune parallels. In fact, Rowling gave us a bunch of Runes and clues on her website just a few weeks ago.

Wow, now I am going to look up Runes. Choices, thank you for your input---that's what's so great about the Lex--another person's comments can open up whole universes that one could not stumble upon alone.

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Choices - Jun 30, 2006 10:36 am (#234 of 264)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*

*waves to Hollywand** - Thanks for expounding on the theory. When I read it, I really liked it - it made sense to me. You, Hollywand, are one of the people on this forum whose opinions and ideas I respect tremendously. I always take the time to read your posts because they always contain interesting ideas and are well thought out and researched. Keep up the good work!! :-)
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haymoni - Jun 30, 2006 10:41 am (#235 of 264)

Hollywand - I understand what you are saying but I still think the note is from Regulus. I think Hermione will be the one to guess who it is, however.

There were runes on the Pensieve - perhaps Hermione will be able to tell Harry how it works - or at least how to get out of it by himself!

I still think Ginny will be the one to remember the locket at #12.

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Vulture - Jun 30, 2006 1:18 pm (#236 of 264)

It's just my opinion, but I like it !!
That was part of the theory, too - seems Dumbledore may have had the fake locket in his pocket also. There are people who think that perhaps Dumbledore wrote the note in the fake locket. I am certainly not an expert on this theory, but I do remember reading it and liking the idea. (Choices - Jun 29, 2006 5:54 pm (#232))

Hi, Choices: So are you saying that Dumbledore had both lockets (the real and the fake) when he died ? In that case, where did the true one go ? _ is the theory saying that Snape's spell made it vanish ?

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Hollywand - Jun 30, 2006 2:49 pm (#237 of 264)

Gryffindor
Thanks for the compliment, Choices, you made my holiday weekend bright!

Haymoni, we will have to bet a plate of stoat sandwiches on the author of the note. Most of the arguments I have seen do not explain how Regulus could access the cave, why he would be trusted with a Horcrux; if he was killed for leaving, don't you think Voldemort would have done reconnaisance to discover if his Horcrux was safe? I think Regulus is a red herring; Jo just said that Regulus would be a good guess, so I think she was having a game with Emerson and Melissa. We will find out in due course.

However, consider the pivotal nature of the note and locket. If Regulus did write the note, and provided a decoy, Dumbledore's death is a tragic mistake and waste of his very precious life.

On the other hand, if the decoy locket contained a note written in code by Albus Dumbledore, and stashed in his pocket in case of need, if the real Slytherin Locket was retrieved by Dumbledore, and placed around his neck the moment Harry looks away (the text states that Dumbledore is clutching his chest). This possiblilty completely changes the meaning of Snape's act, and Dumbledore's death.

If "Avada Kedavra" is taken literally (let this thing be destroyed), and Dumbledore has the real locket around his neck, Snape is destroying the third Horcrux (actually, Dumbledore and Snape in concert), right before the very eyes of a group of Death Eaters. Significantly, we are given Dumbledore and Snape destroying the Peverell Ring together; I think this is Rowling giving us a pattern to follow. Also, Snape, then, is not murdering Dumbledore at all, and Dumbledore is not pleading for his life, but for destruction of the Slytherin Locket.

I think Dumbledore will have left memories behind to explain this to Harry, and Harry might end up regretting having been so hostile to Severus (understandably so with the knowledge he had). I like this angle since the act recasts the actions and psychology of all the characters in a different light, rather than the Horcruxes being reduced to a simple hunt for trophies.

If you also look at Dumbledore's remarks to Draco, he is extremely ambiguous about his actual physical presence, and Draco's successes. Dumbledore is clearly between worlds from the moment he ingests the potion.

At any rate, I feel I am digressing from the spirit of literary critique of Book Six, so I will stop here. There's a progression of the discussion on the Alchemy thread for anyone who wants to read the theory, just do a dedicated search under Locket or Horcrux and they should pop upl

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Choices - Jun 30, 2006 5:40 pm (#238 of 264)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
Hollywand, I am in awe. Such a brilliant theory. It is so logical (and I am into logic), and it just plain makes sense to me. Great work!!

Hollywand - "...if the decoy locket contained a note written in code by Albus Dumbledore, and stashed in his pocket in case of need..."

Could it be that Dumbledore thought he might need to leave the fake locket with the note, but after getting the real locket out of the potion/basin in the cave, he realized that he and Harry would be able to get away without Voldemort suspecting they had been there, so there was no need to leave the fake? Therefore, he still had it in his pocket when he fell from the tower (the real locket around his neck).

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Hollywand - Jun 30, 2006 6:50 pm (#239 of 264)

Gryffindor
Exactly, Choices. Dumbledore has planned for possible exposure of his mission with the decoy; he also cannot directly say to Harry---"This mission will cost me my life, but I want to do it, I want to take this obstacle from your path". It would be impossible for Harry to bear. Dumbledore is carefully storing his memories just before they leave on the cave mission. He also plans to tell Harry in due course about the destruction of the Peverell ring. Bet my set of Golden Gobstones Harry finds out crucial information about Severus' support of Dumbledore's mission.

I am sure Rowling will have Dumbledore's death mean much more than a tragic miscalculation, or even a sacrifice on Draco's behalf. I think Dumbledore's after something much larger than that, which is to win the war.

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Choices - Jul 1, 2006 10:18 am (#240 of 264)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
Thanks Hollywand. What a brilliantly clever plan, and I'm sure we don't know the half of what the entire plan entails.

BTW - Have you ever noticed the page at the very end of HBP (Scholastic hardcover edition) where the credits are given for the jacket art and the font style, etc. - it is written in the same diamond design as the note in the fake Horcrux?

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Ginerva Potter - Jul 1, 2006 12:50 pm (#241 of 264)

On the treasure hunt thread, there has been talk of the hanged man tarot card. The hanged man card represents appearing to lose in order to win... or something of that nature. In my opinion, the theory you are talking about is in line with that tarot card. I think you have a good theory!! You might want to check out the Treasure hunt thread, there is a lot of good stuff there, too.

Ginny

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deletedaccount - Jul 1, 2006 2:05 pm (#242 of 264)

I didn't like that Dumbledore's Army wasn't still going on. With Voldemort back, it's needed. Why wouldn't they want to keep practicing?

I am depressed about Dumbledore's death. I cried while reading it and I still get upset over it. He felt so real.

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Hollywand - Jul 1, 2006 2:19 pm (#243 of 264)

Gryffindor
Choices, it's a great connection to make on the lettering parallels. I have checked every hand written note in the books, and can't find anything that matches the writing, which I expected not to, actually. I am intrigued, however, that Francis Bacon, for example, invented a dual code of letters where, to simplify, the plain text/ornate text is written into the same note. When the ornate letter orders are filtered out and positioned correctly, they emerge to be an entirely different code. I saw this recently in the papers---one of Los Angeles' gangs used the code to communicate in prison. I don't have the patience to crack codes; for example, I always wait until others have deciphered Rowlings web site codes ---but her pattern here suggests that the note has a parallel coding.

By the way, the note is also written in a "Chaistic" style, which means it makes a large X formation. The chiastic style of writing was popular amongst archaic scholars, so here's another clue that the person who wrote it was extremely well read. The X clue could also have an alchemical reference, as the triangle and v inverted have strong alchemical associations.

**************************************************
Ginerva, If you do a dedicated search on the Alchemy thread under "Hanged Man", this association on the Alchemy thread precedes the "Treasure Hunt" thread by about a year, and there are a lot more text based associations with the Hanged man and the hanging position noted on the Alchemy thread. Rowling uses the Hanged man idea many, many times throughout the series; we think it's a pivotal metaphor for the series.

*************************** Mesuzas, I completely agree with you, I was sick for about three months after reading HBP; I felt I had lost one of my best mentors in Albus Dumbledore.....

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TheSaint - Jul 1, 2006 6:13 pm (#244 of 264)

Choices...

Perhaps Plato's Diamond Theory?

Throughout history mystics and philosophers have sought a compact key to universal wisdom, a finite formula or text which, when known and understood, would provide the answer to every question. The use of the Bible, the Koran and the I Ching for divination and the tradition of the secret books of Hermes Trismegistus, and the medieval Jewish Cabala exemplify this belief or hope. Such sources of universal wisdom are traditionally protected from casual use by being hard to find, hard to understand when found, and dangerous to use, tending to answer more questions and deeper ones than the searcher wishes to ask.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] Some links are most interesting

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Choices - Jul 1, 2006 6:25 pm (#245 of 264)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
Saint - thanks for the link. I will check it out.

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TheSaint - Jul 1, 2006 8:55 pm (#246 of 264)

So I am really bored.... I read the secret note in the Horcrux from DD's stance. A fake Horcrux to replace the one he takes, taunting Voldemort..only problem is I cannot get the letters to work out right.

So, I started playing with R.A.B. Notice the R...the curved part does not so much cross the line as it circles it. I decided to see what it looked like if you took out the lines to the left. 2, weird thing and 3. but if you take off the curved part of the straight in the middle..2,4,3. So of course, I had to go to Arithmancy...

2 = B, K, T 4 = D, M, V 3 = C, L, U

tried looking it up..but to no avail.

So then I tried Runes (celtic of course). Well RAB in runes is...RAB...lol.

but... RAIDHO - R: Journey

You're about to embark on a journey - either in the physical world or a journey of your soul to heal something that needs healing.

Reversed: Unexpected, unpleasant journey, transit problems, upsetting plans, lost tickets, communication

ANSUZ - A: references the ancestral god, Odin.

Message from within (listen to your 'little vioce'), advice from others, chance encounter, careful thought so you will know what to do from this point in time

Reversed: Watch out for trickery, the dark side of yourself when others interferring with your plans, or there is failed communication

BERKANA - B: Birch-goddess

To be prepared, cautious in what you do. Also references your family and home.

Reversed: An unfortuante domestic situation - so use caution.

or course the middle one could also be:

LAGUZ - L: Water - Emotions

The moon, the flow of emotions and all things into the collective unconscious - all bodies of water - Aquarius - feminine energies - higher mind, spirituality, health and healing - a time of cleansing.

Reversed: Not listening to your inner voice, tackling something you know you should not do - or are not capable of doing.

Kind of like the Sun and the Moon.

So I have reversed it, shined a light on it..through it..used my lamp base to reflect it basically doubling it over (which looks kind of cool by the way) You name it. Sometimes HP is a scary thing..lol.

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TheSaint - Jul 2, 2006 6:49 am (#247 of 264)

And in the light of day...

As to Dumbledore being the author of the note...after reading it I just don't think bragging like that is DD's style. Would he really care if Voldemort knew it was him? Just deosn't seem like DD would care about bragging from the beyond. I guess I shall have to think about it some more.

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Ken Brennan - Jul 2, 2006 12:10 pm (#248 of 264)

Saint, i agree with your comment about the note. I don't think DD would have written it because i don't think he would have left a note to begin with. If he really wanted to keep the missions a secret, he would not have left any trace of what he was up to, if not to hide his intent, but to help Harry in the future by not giving up their mission and Making Voldemort set guards out to the locations of the Horacruxes or simply re -hiding them.

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Magic Words - Jul 3, 2006 12:34 pm (#249 of 264)

That's a good point. It's almost more likely for the note to come from someone you wouldn't expect to have managed the feat. Some of us are saying Regulus wouldn't have been able to do it, so Dumbledore must have... and if Voldemort had discovered the decoy, I'm sure he would have thought the same thing. But if it was Regulus, and his life was forfeit anyway, he would have had good reason to brag.

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Mattew Bates - Jul 6, 2006 2:04 pm (#250 of 264)

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” Kahlil Gibran
This is kind of a cross-post, as Choices drew my attention here from a post in the RAB thread, but I thought I'd share a thought. Even if Regulus didn't take the locket or leave the note, whoever left the note could wanted Voldemort to think it was Regulus. By putting the blame on a dead man, the note's author limits LV's ability to confirm the message in the note, and they draw his attention away from the real culprits. Now, if this is the case, the note is hardly misdirecting Voldemort at this point.

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Was anyone disappointed in Book 6? (Post 251 to 264)

Post  Elanor on Sun Jun 12, 2011 1:30 am

Vulture - Jul 9, 2006 9:34 pm (#251 of 264)
It's just my opinion, but I like it !!
If "Avada Kedavra" is taken literally (let this thing be destroyed), and Dumbledore has the real locket around his neck, Snape is destroying the third Horcrux (actually, Dumbledore and Snape in concert), right before the very eyes of a group of Death Eaters. Significantly, we are given Dumbledore and Snape destroying the Peverell Ring together; I think this is Rowling giving us a pattern to follow. Also, Snape, then, is not murdering Dumbledore at all, and Dumbledore is not pleading for his life, but for destruction of the Slytherin Locket. (Hollywand - Jun 30, 2006 2:49 pm (#237))

The problem I would have with this would be the Avada Kedavra itself, as defined for us by two Death Eaters _ fake Moody in his Unforgiveable Curses class in Book 4, and Bellatrix after Sirius's death in Book 5. Sorry to be boring, because this is dredging up an issue I went into in huge detail elsewhere (if interested, do a search on "Vulture + Avada Kedavra" or "Vulture + Bellatrix", both on the Snape thread and on the general Lexicon). But anyway, without getting into huge detail, my feeling is that the Avada Kedavra requires the user to hate and to enjoy hating. We know that anyone's choices can lead them down that path _ but the amount of evil commitment needed to make Avada Kedavra work would be at the end of that path, not the beginning _ as Harry finds out any time he tries an Unforgiveable out of momentary "righteous anger".

Wizard/witch attitudes towards the AK should be read against a background of constant affirmations in the books that "killing" is the worst possible crime _ Slughorn describes it in Book 6 as "the supreme act of evil". As Slughorn is not usually known for his rigorous attention to doing good (he is not evil or even bad, but morally, as in so many other ways, he is lazy), this remark, coming from him , is perhaps more noticeable than it would be coming from Dumbledore.

A big problem with all this is that JKR has never given any clear signal about what forms of killing are legitimate in the wizard world. Harry's views would probably be close enough to our own _ whether he himself could kill when it came to the point, he would probably not condemn a person who had no choice but to kill to defend themselves. I personally (and not everyone would agree) would also not condemn soldiers who have to kill in a clearly just war _ but within very very strict rules, admirably summed up (if I can be self-indulgently and irrelevantly patriotic for a minute !!) in this phrase from Ireland's 1916 Proclamation: "We pray that no-one who follows this cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine".

But the thing is, neither Harry's views nor my views are those of the magical world. JKR hasn't spelt out the magical world's official view, but has made clear its horror of killing - even in self-defence. In Book 4, Sirius mentions how Crouch Sr., to win the war against Voldemort, authorised the use of the Avada Kedavra _ and it's very clear from the way he expresses himself that not only he, but many others, regarded this as a departure from the norm.

I'm not sure what JKR is up to here, and I'm not saying that she hasn't left this vague for a reason _ one of the best things about her books is how she, like any good writer, gets us to think twice about our world _ and I think she knows what she's ultimately doing on the killing issue. Nevertheless, I must point out that, in our world, there is a distinction between what is "killing" and what is "murder" _ this distinction hasn't _ yet _ been defined in the world of the HP books.

(I might start a thread on ethics of killing in JKR's books _ unless there already is one.)

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To go back to the locket-around-his-neck debate, I have a couple of questions (sorry if I'm being thick):

(1) If Dumbledore had the fake in his pocket and the real one around his neck, why did Harry find only one locket on his body ? Are ye all saying that when Snape AK-ed the real locket, it vanished ?

(2) If the real locket is what Snape was aiming at, why did Dumbledore have to die along with it ? Assuming that Snape is on the good side, why couldn't they fight their way out of the situation (on the Snape thread I mention how, yes, it's a tight situation, but not impossible _ remember how Lupin Expelliarmus'd three wands in Book 3 ?) ?

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Hollywand - Jul 10, 2006 1:31 am (#252 of 264)

Gryffindor
Vulture, I posted theories on the locket and Dumbledore on the RAB thread and the Dumbledore thread recently, so a dedicated search under my screen name will give you some of the comments. I don't want to type it out again, this thread isn't about that topic.

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Choices - Jul 10, 2006 9:33 am (#253 of 264)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
Yes, sometimes it takes real hatred to AK someone, and then sometimes we see an almost careless attitude when AKing - like when Bellatrix AK's the fox on the way to Spinner's End. Sometimes when Voldemort AK's, it seems he doesn't have the hatred so much as just an enjoyment of killing.

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Vulture - Jul 10, 2006 10:50 am (#254 of 264)

It's just my opinion, but I like it !!
Yes, sometimes it takes real hatred to AK someone, and then sometimes we see an almost careless attitude when AKing - like when Bellatrix AK's the fox on the way to Spinner's End. Sometimes when Voldemort AK's, it seems he doesn't have the hatred so much as just an enjoyment of killing. (Choices - Jul 10, 2006 9:33 am (#253))

Well, my feeling, from what I've seen, is that it always takes real hatred to AK someone, but that the near-carelessness of Voldemort or Bellatrix comes from the fact that hatred, of everyone and everything, has become so routine for them. Remember how, in Book 1, Dumbledore said that Voldemort shows as little mercy to his servants as to his enemies ?

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Magic Words - Jul 10, 2006 10:50 am (#255 of 264)

My theory on Avada Kedavra is that you have to truly want to kill the person. But this is more complicated than it sounds. In Harry's case, for example, he couldn't kill Sirius Black in PoA (leave aside for the moment the detail that he didn't know the spell). Even though he was angry at Black and even wanted him dead, subconsciously he didn't want to be a murderer. So he didn't have the "want" necessary to pull off an AK. Bellatrix can AK a fox because she doesn't have any kind of subconscious inhibition to overcome, so the casual "want" involved in raising her wand and saying the words is enough.

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Steve Newton - Jul 10, 2006 10:54 am (#256 of 264)

Librarian
I don't think that hatred enters into it. Just a real desire to kill. Enjoy killing?

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Vulture - Oct 10, 2006 6:39 pm (#257 of 264)

It's just my opinion, but I like it !!
Edited Oct 10, 2006 8:07 pm
I'm posting this mainly because I finally went back and read Book 6 for a second time (it's been ages, and lots of thought, since the first), am near the end, and this is my verdict:

If I have to sum up in two sentences: I've always felt that (with the possible exception of Book 4) ANY of the HP books could turn a new reader into a HP fan, if they'd read none before _ but that is not true of Book 6. If Books 1 to 5 had never existed, Book 6 would sink like a stone.

If I had to sum up in one: I can open ANY PAGE in Books 1 to 5, and be GRABBED _ in Book 6 I have to pick and choose.

Welcome to the "We-Hate-The-First-Chapter" Club, Archangel. We meet every Wednesday down the pub. (Madam Pince - Aug 17, 2005 6:45 pm (#80))

_ I liked the first chapter !! It continued and developed the mood of the opening paragraphs of "The Second War Begins" in Book 5. I felt it opened a window onto a theme hinted at in Book 3 _ direct official contact between the magical and Muggle governments for emergency purposes. I liked the character of the Prime Minister (reminded me of Jim Hacker in the BBC comedy "Yes Minister"), I liked the slightly different view of Fudge, and the way it portrayed Scrimgeour whetted the appetite _ a more forceful and purposeful personality than Fudge. The reporting of the murders of Amelia Bones and Emmeline Vance also heightened the tension, given how they were portrayed in Book 5. Kingsley Shacklebolt turning up as the Prime Minister's new secretary promised all sorts of intrigue _ spying for the Order while balancing between the Ministry Of Magic and No. 10 Downing St. I liked the odd little puns, like "he had quite enough on his plate already without any extra helpings from Fudge".

Well, anyway, I notice that virtually everyone except me hated "The Other Minister". My feeling is that, though people may not realise it, the reason they do so is that this chapter, in effect, made a lot of promises which were simply not fulfilled. Scrimgeour made no difference to the Ministry, or the story _ unless you count Harry's "Dumbledore's man through and through" moment. Kingsley Shacklebolt was never referred to again until a brief mention at the funeral. Same for Fudge. The Prime Minister never re-appeared, which needn't have been a problem in itself, but there was no follow-up of any sort. The chapter created a "prologue" feeling of war being "introduced" before the full-blown thing would appear on-stage _ but it never in fact appeared until Dumbledore's death, long after that early atmosphere had worn off.

What disappointed me about HBP was how Harry was once again cast as a mediocre wizard with a lot of help and a bit of luck. (Amilia Smith - Aug 2, 2005 7:31 pm (#6)) _ I agree, and it raises a lot of questions about how him being the one to defeat Voldemort can possibly seem a credible scenario.

One of the problems I think is that JKR has seen and heard too much of what the fans (like us) have been saying and wanting to know on these sites. (Sticky Glue - Aug 5, 2005 6:03 pm (#50)) _ Spot on. That's exactly how it felt to me.

I think I always realized that Dumbledore was it, because in this genre, the old guy who's mentoring the young hero always has to be killed or lost or something before the hero does his thing. It's just got to be that way, or else the hero wouldn't have to act in the first place.

Loads of people say this (so I haven't named a person). I just don't see it. Why does a writer HAVE to do what all the others do, anyway ? ================================================================================================================

Just quickly (while I can still edit !!): Here's roughly what I liked and disliked, chapter by chapter _

I liked the first 4 chapters _ each of the first 3 would have been a fine intro on its own, and Ch.4 ("Horace Slughorn") kept the pace going. "Spinner's End" was the best in the book _ I was grinning along Snape-ishly with Our Anti-Hero during his baiting of Bellatrix.

From "Excess of Phlegm" to "Slug Club" could have been ruthlessly compressed, largely around "Draco's Detour".

"Snape Victorious" to "House Of Gaunt" _ O.K.

"Hermione's Helping Hand" and "Silver and Opals" _ lose about 80% of it.

"Secret Riddle" _ good. "Felix Felicis" chapter _ jury still out.

Liked "Unbreakable Vow" chapter. Slughorn-Snape interaction amusing, though link to Book 3 Dumbledore-Snape Christmas moment a bit obvious.

"Frosty Christmas" _ lose the first half. Harry-Scrimgeour a good personality clash, but little long-term purpose, because little long-term purpose in Scrimgeour as a character.

"Sluggish Memory", "Birthday Surprises" _ OK.

"Elf Tails" to "Unknowable Room" _ large wastes of time.

"After The Burial" _ jury still out.

"Horcruxes" _ OK-ish.

"Sectumsempra" _ not up to much apart from the episode itself. Mr. Roaring-Chest Kisses Ms. Blazing-Face _ Yawn Moment of all time (apart from Ron being "clubbed over the head").

"Seer Overheard" _ WEAKEST EVER H.P. chapter. Implausible, contrived, uses Book 5 as a crutch _ and diminishes it.

From "The Cave" to just before the end _ largely O.K., because of atmospheric Cave and hugely-signalled Big Gandalf/Obi-Wan Death Moment. Lose the more hysterical parts of Severus in demon-Snape mode.

Funeral: bombastic, overblown, left me cold. Everything that Sirius's death and aftermath was not.

Book's end _ pathetic, thanks to Ginny's cringe- making final lines, and the book's limp final sentence.

The above list mightn't look too bad _ but bear in mind that every page of Books 1 to 3, and Book 5, was rivetting, and Book 4 had great character stuff.

============================================================================

Anyway, I've just read through this whole thread, and I have to say that I pretty much stand by what I wrote in #182 (which mainly contrasts Book 6 with Book 5), #183 (on weakness of character portrayal in Book 6), #184 (on D.A.'s absence; re-hashes; what JKR may have wanted), #185 (on subtle suggestion versus in-yer-face; moral code and how Dumbledore personifies it), #186 (Dumbledore's moral statements; more on moral code; the never-starting war), and #187 (Book 6's good points !!).

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Die Zimtzicke - Oct 11, 2006 7:33 am (#258 of 264)

I think a lot of people dislike the first two chapters because those fans base a lot of their theories on their firm belief that EVERYTHING is from Harry's point of view. They don't like to be reminded that's not so.

I argued for days on another board with someone who insisted that the first chapters of GoF were from Harry's point of view, that he was seeing everything in his dreams. I contended that the part about the Riddles dying and Frank getting arrested were not in Harry's head. So I have a good reason for having that suspicion. Personally, I also liked the chapters like that.

What irritated me about Sectumsempra was that Harry almost killing another student got brushed aside when the whole school apparently would rather get into the gossip about the two snog happy jocks. You'd think Harry at some point would have realized that Snape saved his butt when he saved Draco's life. When I say that, though, I get called a disgruntled shipper, in spite of the fact that I don't do much shipping at all, and never did.

The cave and horcruxes to me were just so unoriginal that they bored me. I agree that the end was a let down. A huge let down.

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S.E. Jones - Oct 11, 2006 2:36 pm (#259 of 264)

Let it snow!
I think a lot of people don't like the first two chapters simply because it's not from Harry's point of view, not because their theories are based on the idea that that's the only point of view we ever get. You get a certain something when you are given the vantage point of one particular character, it allows you to grow in knowledge about the writers world as that characters does, it allows you to really feel like you are one of the characters in the story yourself as you get to see, hear, feel, etc. everything that character does. A lot of people don't like the first scene of PS as well because it has a very disconnected feeling in comparison to the rest of the books. I think it's a matter of preference to a certain point of view taken by the writer.

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Mrs Brisbee - Oct 12, 2006 10:59 am (#260 of 264)

Sorry if I have rambled on too long, but for me, a lot of the things that were my favorite things were completely absent from this book. I hope they are back in Book 7.

One thing that really worries me is the idea that Book 6 and Book 7 are really two parts of one big book. I don't want the last book to be HBP Part II; I want it to be the Harry Potter Series Finale, that picks up the plot lines from all the previous books, and gives us a really satisfactory conclusion to everything that's been laid out before. But there are so many things that weren't in HBP, that now I just can't see Rowling having room to cover everything in just that one final book.

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juliebug - Oct 12, 2006 11:07 am (#261 of 264)

You're right, Mrs. Brisbee. She can't wrap-up all 6 books worth of loose ends in one book. I guess that means she just needs to write more books.

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Madam Pince - Oct 16, 2006 2:10 pm (#262 of 264)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
The "point-of-view" of Chapter One wasn't what bothered me -- that was fine and actually kind of a clever change. It was just such a disappointment because I was expecting something really "juicy" and it was totally a let-down in that regard. JKR had promised us that Chapter One was years in the making, and my mis-interpretation of that promise really whetted my appetite and made me expect some outstanding backstory from it, but alas, earwax... Yes, it had lots of amusing parts, but to me it was a waste of space that could've been used better elsewhere. I think Denise said last year that the crucial information in that chapter could've been compressed into one paragraph, easily. And as Vulture said earlier, the promises that might've come from this chapter (Scrimgeour, Kingsley Shacklebolt, etc.) did go unfulfilled. So to me it was largely a waste of paper, ink, and expectation.

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Laura W - Oct 16, 2006 11:38 pm (#263 of 264)

For what it's worth, I largely agree with you Madam Pince. I was more than a little disappointed with Chapter One and it even sort of bored me. I didn't think the information contained in it deserved a whole chapter. I think what Jo was doing there was definatively bridging the gap between the Muggle world and the magical world, which I gather is very important to her. I could have done without it, however. Perhaps Chapter One was included in the form it took because it will be important in Book Seven. (shrug)

(On the other hand, for some reason, Spinner's End is one of my favourite chapters in all six books.)

Laura

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Thom Matheson - Oct 17, 2006 1:21 am (#264 of 264)

To me it was written to formally set the stage for the state of the Wizarding World. Voldemort is out of the closet, bridges are collapsing, and dementors are doing what all good dementors do. The whole Fudge is out and meet the new Minister deal was slow, but the meet your new assistant who is a plant by us was cool. All I could think of was Shacklebolt punching out at the end of his shift and then going to Arthur and Molly's for dinner. What a hoot.

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