Definitely feels like JK Rowling let her hair down a bit more with this one, Harry, Ron and Hermione are more adult, mature, confident and reckless as they pass into their later teenage years. I felt their interactions are far closer to the reality of kids in secondary/high school. To put it simply, she nails it. Nothing feels forced, the budding relationships between the teenage characters are more real than any trash you’d find in the romance section of a bookstore.
The book starts off well and the summery of recent events between the Minster of Magic and the Muggle Prime Minister only takes up a mere chapter before we get down to the good stuff.
I was delighted that Dumbledore shows up so early in the book and is in so much more of it. For the first time he’s on the ropes, you see him get angry, lose his patience, become emotional. He’s not just a wise, motherly wizard, this time he is a human one. The change in character is not only because of the events he is involved in but I think he’s is pushed into being a bit harder with the teenage Potter who wants to make his opinions heard. I could no longer imagine the voice of Dumbledore as Michael Gambon or Richard Harris. There was another voice in between because this is the book where Dumbledore comes into his own.
As for Voldermort, he’s not really in this beyond memories of him but this book blows the doors open on the character. If you want to read a good story about a dude who goes way over to the Dark side then read this. The character is bad ass in his desire to go all dark. He and Emperor Palpatine would be best buds for sure.
JK Rowling has said that this was the book she had most well planned out after encountering problems with TGOF and TOOTP. Overall ‘The Half Blood Prince’ is the most satisfying book for it provides so many answers to questions fans had had over the year. It’s also a book that never lets up on the pace and of all the HP I have read up until this point I think this was the one that was most difficult to stop reading. It’s a real page turner.
I’m not sure if it’s the best though. I say that half begrudgingly. I think because of where The Order of the Phoenix leaves Harry at the end of it’s book. Half Blood Prince is the pay off to the books that came before and sets up the adventure and quest for the final book. I feel slightly manipulated. As a standalone book I can’t put it above ‘The Order of the Phoenix‘ or ‘The Philosopher’s Stone‘. But when and if you reach this far in the books it’s a f’ing awesome read.
Favorite Quote: “I am not worried, Harry,” said Dumbledore, his voice a little stronger despite the freezing water. “I am with you.” – Dumberldore