It’s the silence before the storm. It’s the eye of the tornado. It’s that one moment where you’re safe, but you know you’re in the middle of something big, something that’s going to explode soon. So what do you do, as a normal human being? You try to enjoy those little moments you have left. That’s the feeling I get when reading The Half-Blood Prince: enjoy the jokes, while they last.
For me, The Half-Blood Prince is the height of the series: it’s the last time you can honestly say you’re reading a Harry Potter book without thinking a “but” after it. This book is wonderful, it’s funny and witty – but it’s also the last time a Harry Potter book is going to be that way, and that is something that makes my heart tear apart time and again.
At the centre of attention in this book is Dumbledore (but then again, you could argue he is the center of the attention of the Deathly Hallows… and every book in the series): he is finally opening up to Harry – albeit partially – and showing all there is to show about the nemesis, Voldemort: his youth, his character, his fortes and weaknesses. These chapters are very, very exciting, but also introduce something else: Dumbledore’s death.
It was certain that Harry, in order to truly become an adult, has to face Voldemort by himself, without the help of Dumbledore. Dumbledore’s sort of been the Merlin character of the series, and obviously has to die before it is all over. The whole buildup to this is nice, but still a bit shrouded in mystery. It will make for the finer moments of Deathly Hallows.
The Half-Blood Prince is a book centered around the here and now: because Rowling knew the jokes would be over soon, she focused every bit of her energy on making this book witty. For me, it worked. It’s nice to have grown with these characters and then watch them all when they start fooling around with each-other. Because, hey, even if the world will end tomorrow, you wouldn’t mind a shag today, right?
It’s a bit of a bitter experience, when it boils down to it. It’s the last stop in happytown, and we’re moving to the domain of tragically depressing. Harry’s now grown up, and the series will be aswell. Whoop-tee-doo.