With the penultimate novel in the saga—Half-Blood Prince—we know that things must become much worse before they can become better and reach resolution in the seventh and last novel. We should thus expect that it will be chilling in unmatched fashion, and I shall argue that it’s the scariest of them all! Let’s take an eerie walk through the dark corners of Half-Blood Prince, to places seemingly devoid of light or hope . . . .
Literally! Throughout Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince, Cho Chang and Ginny Weasley have been juxtaposed—both in the air of the Quidditch field and on the ground—as Harry’s possible love interests:
“Yeah,” said Ron slowly, savoring the words, “we won. Did you see the look on Chang’s face when Ginny got the Snitch right out from under her nose?” (OotP, chap. 31, p. 704)
Boy, did Ginny ever get “the Snitch right out from under” Cho’s nose! As we see yet again, when “Ginny play[s] Seeker against Cho” in Half-Blood Prince and Gryffindor beats Ravenclaw 450 points to 140, the other Snitch that Ginny was “Seeking” enters the Gryffindor Common Room and stumbles upon the big celebration of the Quidditch win:
“Harry looked around; there was Ginny running toward him; she had a hard, blazing look in her face as she threw her arms around him. And without thinking, without planning it, without worrying about the fact that fifty people were watching, Harry kissed her.” (HBP, chap. 24, pp. 532-33)
Advanced Potions / Sixth Year N.E.W.T. Potions class
buy viagrastyle=”font-size: medium”>Professor Horace Slughorn
Lesson 1- Draught of Living Death – Preparation and brewing.
I– Using your herbology text book, One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi by Phyllida Spore, read, become familiar with, and pay special attention to the cautionary remarks for the following herbs:
Herb # 124 – Asphodel
Herb # 722 – Sopophorus Bean
Herb # 836 – Valerian Root
Herb # 874 – Wormwood
II– Read the instructions for brewing the potion The Draught of Living Death in Advanced Potion-Making by Libatius Borage beginning on page 10.
III Ponder these questions for class discussion:
1– Under what circumstances would it be acceptable or unacceptable to give this potion to someone?
2– What are the rights of the person who is given a dose of this potion?
3– What are the responsibilities of the person who makes this potion in order for another to use it?
4– What are the responsibilities of the person who gives a dose to someone?
5– Consider the following, unsubstantiated, times the Draught of Living Death was used & the results.
Juliet Capulet used this potion, brewed by Friar Laurence, in order to convince her family she was dead. The plan was to run off with her new husband, Romeo Montague. Alas, the plan backfired. Romeo received news of his brides death before a messenger arrived to inform him of the plan. Romeo raced to Juliet’s tomb and committed suicide. When Juliet awoke from the potion, she found her husband dead. Juliet was so grief struck she killed herself using the same knife Romeo had used to end his own life. Friar Laurence was never punished for the parts he played in this tragic story
As the DVD and Blu Ray for Half-Blood Prince comes out this week, some of the extra features have sprung up on the web and it blew up the #harrypotter stream in my Twitter feed! Below is a roughly two minute video from Daily Motion with a quick look at some of the scenes and settings for Deathly Hallows. You won’t find anything terribly revelatory, but you will see a few quick glimpses of the tent, Olivander, Griphook, and a couple of scenes I didn’t quite recognize.
Half-Blood Prince‘s final chapter opens with a favorite device of Ernest Hemingway, the simple declarative sentence:
“All lessons were suspended, all examinations postponed.”
It really is one of Rowling’s finer moments as a writer, poignant and rich with subtlety. In this one statement, she wipes away all the carefree wonderment of childhood with pointed irony. Hogwarts shifts in symbolism from a place of comfort and safety where the worst worry was two parchments on werewolves for horrible Professor Snape, to a place in which parents are spiriting their children away as fast as possible because Snape has murdered the headmaster.
We see the Centaurs and Merfolk gather and pay their respects in ways I believe would have left Dumbledore deeply honored. His entombment is rich with symbolism, as Harry thinks “for one heart-stopping moment, that he [sees] a phoenix fly joyfully ino the blue.” Yet, the “next second the fire had vanished,” and a brilliant “white marble tomb” sits in its place.
In Dumbledore’s death, Voldemort has seemingly gained a devastating victory. Harry and Hogwarts no longer have their protector. The last bastion of paradise is now vulnerable — very vulnerable. Hogwarts has become, in one sense, a graveyard. Continue reading
Chapter 29 of our Half-Blood Prince Read-Through is brought to you by Arabella Figg!
Shock and grief define this chapter’s mood. In addition, we have three betrayals that took place before Dumbledore’s death on the tower.
We don’t get a Dumbledore denouement in Half-Blood Prince, but we still get a book-ending data dump in the hospital ward and Headmaster’s office, as the characters deconstruct the evening’s events.
As we move alchemically from white to red, moisture continuously flows—tears, blood, sweating, and ointment. Silver-haired Phlegm’s frozen expression upon seeing Bill melts in a red-hot passion as choleric as that of any Weasley. Rubedo elements abound: a lot of Hagrid, the Weasleys, Gryffindor rubies, bloody Bill, Gryffindor’s sword, Rufus Scrimgeour, battle blazes, and recounted wounds. In the heard but unseen presence of red and gold Fawkes throughout, and Dumbledore snoozing in a golden frame in the Headmaster’s office, there is promise. Continue reading
Another guest post by Lily Luna! Chapter 28 of our Half-Blood Prince Read-Through.
Tonight has been one adrenaline-pumping moment after another for Harry. He learns it was Snape who relayed the prophecy to Voldemort. Dumbledore gives him a ludicrous explanation of Snape’s remorse. He experiences Gothic horror upon Gothic horror in the cave. He is forced to torture and nearly kill Dumbledore by force-feeding him poison. They are nearly killed by Inferi. They return to see the Dark Mark over the Tower. Harry is forced to watch helplessly as Draco and Dumbledore confront each other, the other Death Eaters taunt Dumbledore and lust for his death, and finally, the ultimate horror: Snape blasts Dumbledore off the Tower with the killing curse. Harry then almost has his throat ripped out by Greyback, fears his friends are dead, duels Death Eaters, engages in a long tortuous foot race through the castle and grounds, ineffectually duels Snape who sneers at him while Hagrid’s hut is set on fire and Fang howls, and is tortured by Rowle. Is it any wonder that by this point Harry is crazed beyond reason or fear and tries to kill Snape? Continue reading