Half Blood Prince Discussion; chapters 11-15

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Half Blood Prince Discussion; chapters 11-15

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1biblioholic29
Maio 26, 2008, 9:13am

Weird to be doing this at home! This week our chapters are:

Chapter 11: Hermione's Helping Hand
Chapter 12: Silver & Opals
Chapter 13: The Secret Riddle
Chapter 14: Felix Felicis
Chapter 15: The Unbreakable Vow

I didn't take an over abundance of notes this week. I don't know if my brain just wasn't working the same as usual or what. However, I did have an overall observation on the book. As we discussed many times in past weeks, in OotP JKR writes emotion very well. The more I read HBP the more I thik this is her best told story. The way she unfolds each element and ultimately brings them all together is brilliantly done. I'm talking not just about the classic mystery elements of the Malfoy thing, but who the HBP is and of course, each of the lessons with DD. I think this might be her best book (but OotP is still my favorite.)

I'll be in and out during the day.

2compskibook
Maio 26, 2008, 9:27am

The way she unfolds each element and ultimately brings them all together is brilliantly done.

I agree, Bib, and one of the things I think this refers well to is Harry's feelings about Ginny. First he smells something from the Burrow in the love potion. Later he feels bad when she leaves. The monster inside him when he sees her with Dean. It is brilliant!

I will have more to say later, too :)

3biblioholic29
Maio 26, 2008, 10:38am

All caught up on what I missed over the weekend, so I'll post my Chapter 11 notes and then I'll go read for a bit.

1. Non-verbal spells are expected in most of their classes now, but not all wizards can do non-verbal spells. This doesn't really seem fair.

2. Oh poor Ron! (I think this had something to do with Hermione.)

3. I still don't understand the change in Quiddich tryouts. Why are we suddenly trying out the whole team?

4. Of course all the books make me laugh, but this one has me chuckling more than usual. Jo really knows how to turn a phrase. In this chapter in particular I enjoyed:

"He would have quite liked to have hidden his face in his hands, as she (Lavendar) did a moment later, but thought that as the Captain he ought to show slightly more grit, and so turned to watch Ron do his trial"

"After that, the atmosphere lightened considerably, for although neither Harry nor Ron had shown any inclination to go and feed giant grubs to a murderous, gargantuan spider, Hagrid seemed to take it for granted that they would have liked to have done and became his usual self once more."

4biblioholic29
Maio 26, 2008, 1:51pm

I guess I'm not too surprised that there isn't much discussion since most of us are off and I think we usually check in throughout the work day! Here's what I have to say about Chapter 12:

1. I don't have any notes. The whole chapter gets explained later in the book. I guess it was kinda nice to have Katie Bell with a bigger role. And of course it contributes to the Quiddich and relationship drama.

5pollysmith
Maio 26, 2008, 3:08pm

Maybe they had to have a whole team tryout since it had been two years since they had actually had a full season of Quidditch?

6compskibook
Maio 26, 2008, 4:06pm

Chapter 11: Hermione’s Helping Hand

a. Do you think Hermione nonverbally confunded MacLaggen? Also, sometime people can “see” the spells shoot out, there is a light or something. I guess not here.

b. I feel sorry for Ron with his goalkeeping, but it is time for him to get over it. You’re good Ron! I missed Quidditch in book 7, but at least we didn’t have to go through Ron’s insecurities again (at least as far as it concerned quidditch :).

c. Not sure why here there is a full tryout, but not before. Maybe we can assume it was just left out before. It wouldn't have been too big of a deal without "The Choosen One" as captain.

7compskibook
Maio 26, 2008, 4:09pm

Chapter 12: Silver and Opals

a. I don’t remember if I guessed Snape was the HBP when I first read this, but it seems really obvious now. The book was in his old classroom. He was one of Slughorn’s best students. I think I at first thought it was maybe Lily, but not when the spells started getting nasty.

b. Harry’s run-in with Mundungus sure seemed inconsequential, didn’t it? I wonder if the locket was in the bag. Why was Aberforth there? Wasn’t Mundungus banned from the Hog’s Head? Why would they be talking? Is this where he got the mirror?

c. I love how Hermione and Ron act whenever Harry talks about his “Malfoy-is-a-deatheater” theory.
On one side of him Ron rubbed his nose in apparent embarrassment; on the other, Hermione shuffled her feet as though quite keen to put a bit of distance between herself and Harry.

The amazing thing is that Harry turns out to be right!

8biblioholic29
Maio 26, 2008, 5:35pm

#5 There was a full season of Quiddich in number five. Ron won the Cup. Also we found that there were Keeper tryouts, but Angelina just wanted to make sure that they fit in with the rest of the team, didn't make the team tryout again.

#6 c. If that were the case though, Harry would have had to tryout every year and he never did. He didn't even have to tryout in year one!

906nwingert
Maio 26, 2008, 5:38pm

Chapter 13 was probably my favorite in the entire book and one of my top 5 favorites in the enitre series.

10biblioholic29
Maio 26, 2008, 5:40pm

Here's my Chapter 13 notes:

1. I must remember to begin using the phrase "That's better than a whack on the nose with a rusty poker." in everyday life.

2. Dude! How great would it be to have a band called Harry and the Dumbledores?!

3. Do you suppose Tom was already doing rudimentary legilimency? I ask because of the following:

He spoke the last three words with a ringing force thatwas almost shocking. It was a command, and it sounded as though he had given it many times before. His eyes had widened and he was glaring at Dumbledore...pg 269-270 US


4. 11-year-old Tom is creepy!

(I was obviously feeling very shallow while reading this week!)

11pollysmith
Maio 26, 2008, 6:44pm

It could have been legilimency, i believe that anyone he spoke too like that "Tell the Truth" probably felt that weird 'he knows what I'm thinking!' feeling...except good old DD

12biblioholic29
Maio 26, 2008, 6:52pm

#11 That's what I thought too. I thought the eyes widening thing was very indicative of legilimancy, since we're constantly told that eye contact is important to legilimancy and occlumancy (I wish we had a nickname for those, they take forever to write!)

I'm going to go ahead with my chapter 14 notes, I want to finish all my notes tonight and not have to bring them to work with me!

1. My favorite Herbology class ever, for both the Snargaluff Stump, which I think is really cool, and the conversation that takes place there.

2. I love Harry's inner turmoil. A small amount of normal teen angst. (Both in his worries about the burgeoning Ron and Hermione relationship and his feelings for Ginny).

3. Not to disturb anyone, but the descriptions of Harry's monster ("The monster in his chest purred.") remind me of Jeff Lindsay's Dexter books.

4. Not sure how I feel about Hermione's attack on Ron. On the one hand I can totally understand it, on the other hand, it was really mean!

13pollysmith
Maio 26, 2008, 8:10pm

We could nickname them legi and occy

14biblioholic29
Maio 26, 2008, 8:34pm

Works for me! We just have to make sure we differentiate legi from Leggy! (Legolas). Chapter 15:

1. It's a mark of how much Harry's matured that he keeps his mouth shut and doesn't take sides between Ron and Hermione.

2. I'm never sure about the Hermione/Pavarti conversation. It almost sounds planned. This might just be one of those girl things I never experienced and therefore don't understand.

3. The Rotfang Conspiracy is one of the best insane ideas of the Lovegoods. Gum disease taking down the Ministry?! Hilarious!

15compskibook
Maio 26, 2008, 8:49pm

Chapter 13: The Secret Riddle

a. I am still mad about the idea of Merope just giving up and dying because of a broken heart. Maybe it should be more like she had no formal schooling and would never be able to get a job and couldn’t face going back to the hovel where her father probably had returned to after prison.

b. This kind of goes with the previous thought. The orphanage may not have been a “cheery” place to grow up, but a lot better than the Gaunt house. Of course, the Riddle house would have been nice, but who knows how he would have been treated.

c. I second the thought that young Riddle was creepy. The dead rabbit, the kids in the cave, using occy and legi. The stolen items seem mild, but who knows how he stole them.

d. Back to Merope, Tom even says “My mother can’t have been magic, or she wouldn’t have died.”

e. Thank goodness Dumbledore was the one who went to notify Tom Riddle of his acceptance to Hogwarts. He knew to keep an eye on him. What if it was someone less observant or if they just sent a letter. He would have gotten away with murder! Wait, I guess he did, but it would have been a lot worse.

16compskibook
Maio 26, 2008, 9:04pm

Chapter 14: Felix Felicis

a. Neville got a pod out before everyone else. I love it that he is starting to do so well in herbology.

b. I love when Hermione tells Ron she was going to ask him to go to the Christmas party. Poor Harry.

c. I do think it is awful of Ron to be mad at Hermione for snogging Krum. It happened two years ago!

d. More of Ron and his low confidence. I guess he really bugs me so far in this book. I guess it is better than Harry’s angst.

e. Ginny running into Zacharias Smith! She rocks!

f. Ron was awful to Hermione, but I agree with above: the birds were a little too cruel.

17pollysmith
Maio 26, 2008, 9:09pm

#15 d remember that tom was only eleven

#16 c ron should have realized a long time ago what was up!

18compskibook
Maio 26, 2008, 9:18pm

Chapter 15: The Unbreakable Vow

a. What do our HE librarians think of Madame Pince and her reaction to Harry’s “Despoiled! Desecrated! Befouled!” book?

b. Harry asking Luna to the party is just wonderfully nice. I am still debating if Hermione going with Cormac was worse than the bird attack or not. Zacharias Smith would have been worse, but easier for Ron to see through.

c. I love the Rotfang conspiracy too, Bib! Tooth decay! The “fang” part must come because the Quibbler wanted to publish that Scrimgeour was a vampire.

19biblioholic29
Maio 27, 2008, 8:29am

#18a: I wondered that myself! Obviously if it was a library book, that would not be good. Personally, if you're looking at my library (my physical library, not the one on LT) a good way to tell how much I like a book is to open it up and see how many notes and underlined passages there are. I have a few "special" books that I keep nice, but I think books are meant to be studied and loved in that way! IMHO of course!

#18b: Agreed about Luna. I suppose I think the bird thing is worse. Hermione quickly discovered how dumb the Cormac thing was. I don't know that Ron would have seen through Zacharias either though, he's not that bright about women, I mean, he gets jealous of Harry when it comes to Hermione!

#16d: I love Ron as much as the next guy, but he is particularly annoying in the last two books.

20littlegeek
Maio 27, 2008, 10:15am

I really think the Ron/Hermione thing is done exceedingly well. Kids at that age are often sabataging themselves in relationships. Feelings like that are hard to handle.

I love the birds. He deserved it. And I have known boys to behave all judgmental exactly the way Ron does. It's totally annoying!

21Espeon200
Maio 27, 2008, 10:30am

Well you're jut saying that because you are a silly little woman... :P

*braces for abuse*

22littlegeek
Maio 27, 2008, 10:45am

I didn't say all boys espy. Why do you feel the need to personally insult me?

23kirbyowns
Maio 27, 2008, 10:45am

And what's wrong with being a silly little woman, I ask?

24kirbyowns
Maio 27, 2008, 10:46am

We need to be silly sometimes.
It helps us put the deeds of some boys out of our heads.

25foggidawn
Maio 27, 2008, 11:01am

#21 -- *snork* Is that the best you can come up with, Espy? Your sense of sarcasm must be slipping!

No time to post my thoughts on these chapters right this minute, but I did want to address the point about Madame Pince in #18-a. First of all, I want her job. Secondly, I wish that the Hogwarts librarian could have been cool. Why did Rowling have to go with a stereotype? With all of the time that Hermione spends in the library, I think that the librarian should have been helpful -- that would have been a great way to get needed information to the trio. Maybe that was just too easy? But I think the original question had to do with Pince's reaction to the HBP's textbook -- which I thought was just ridiculous. It's not a library book, so she has no reason to complain about how it's been treated. Maybe I'm atypical in this, but I don't have any problems with people doing whatever they want to the books they purchase. If you buy a book, it's yours, and if you want to highlight and underline and make notes in the margin, go right ahead. If you want to tear out each of the pages after you read them and fold them into origami swans, go right ahead. It's your book. (If you do this with a library book, that's another story, of course.) But Madame Pince is a little unhinged, anyway.

26compskibook
Maio 27, 2008, 9:08pm

25 foggi: I was thinking that Madame Pince was too stereotypical. I think Rowling could have had a little more fun with her without knocking librarians.

27ellevee
Maio 27, 2008, 9:11pm

#25 I do tend to get upset when people are mean to books... but some of mine look like they've been abused, so I probably shouldn't talk.

Pince is a stereotype, and it's surprising because generally Rowling avoids them, or uses them to surprise people. Maybe she had a bad experience with a librarian...

28foggidawn
Maio 27, 2008, 9:15pm

Espy and I were talking the other day, and realized that neither of us got a break from Rowling -- both the librarian and the journalist portrayed in HP were unflatteringly stereotypical!

29compskibook
Maio 27, 2008, 9:26pm

I guess I am lucky to be a teacher in that respect (or unlucky). I think (and hope) that I am mostly like McGonagal.

30ellevee
Maio 27, 2008, 9:36pm

Yeah, but Rita Skeeter was so delightfully trashy! That was at least a fun stereotype.

31littlegeek
Maio 28, 2008, 12:35pm

In defense of Mde Pince, I think it's ok to trash your own book, but if it's a library book you ought to be considerate of whoever will read it after you. Kind of like cleaning up after yourself in your breakroom at work. When I was a kid, the textbooks didn't belong to you, you used them for the year and gave them back to the school. Since Harry is using a borrowed book, perhaps this actually does apply.

32pollysmith
Maio 28, 2008, 12:38pm

Is he? I thought by now he had his own book ( I mean the one he ordered and then traded covers with)

33foggidawn
Maio 28, 2008, 1:37pm

Apparently Hogwarts students buy all of their textbooks, rather than borrowing -- they get those shopping lists at the beginning of the year. (My experience in elementary school and high school was like yours, LG -- you gave the books back at the end of the year. Hogwarts seems to run on a system more like what I experienced in college, where you purchase your own texts.) Like Polly said, though the book was initially borrowed, Harry did buy a copy. I can see that perhaps Madam Pince thought that the book Harry was holding was a library book, which might partially justify her outrage. I certainly agree with LG that library books should be treated carefully!

34foggidawn
Maio 28, 2008, 1:45pm

While we're on the subject of the textbook, did anyone else wonder why the Advanced Potionmaking class was using a 30+ year-old text? Surely there have been advances in potionmaking since Snape's schooldays? Didn't anyone think to come out with a new edition? (Seems like muggle textbooks come out with a new edition practically every year, in my experience!) Or perhaps the new copy Harry bought as a replacement was a new edition? It doesn't seem like it was a very good text in the first place, since young Snape made so many corrections, and if it was a new edition, they couldn't have improved it much, since even Hermione was having trouble getting good results going by the book.

35littlegeek
Maio 28, 2008, 1:56pm

Maybe they just put in revisions via magic.

Then again, if everyone is buying their books anyway, then it doesn't matter.

36Espeon200
Maio 28, 2008, 4:38pm

Maybe the reason for the new book is that potionmaking is a very secretive art. I've always thought of potionmaking as the sort of thing that is passed from family member to family member meaning that it's very secretive. I think that getting that many potions in one place was something unheard of until the book was printed.

The fly in the ointment of this theory is that most of the books in the restricted section seem to be about potionmaking, but my argument to this is that most of the books in the restricted section were not mass printed, rather they were diaries and commonplace books of dark witches and wizards.

Hw often are new editions of student books available anyway (in HP). Are any of the books on the school lists appended with a "3rd edition" or other such qualifier. My books are all packed away, and I don't feel like looking at the lexicon right now.

37biblioholic29
Maio 30, 2008, 8:54am

There are no modifiers as to edition that I can remember. I've had similar thoughts in regards to Advanced Potion Making except I had always assumed that it would be a new edition that came by owl. Just my Muggleness.

Oh and it wouldn't be 30 years, it would be more like twenty. Harry's parents and Snape are the same age. Harry's parents were 21 when they died and Harry was 1. Therefore Snape is twenty years older than Harry. We don't know if the book existed before that, do we? I can't remember. Was it Snape's mom's before him? Then it would be more like 40 years old I guess. I couldn't possibly be overthinking this, could I?

38foggidawn
Maio 30, 2008, 9:20am

#37 -- True. I thought, after I posted my comment, that 30 years sounded like too long, but let it stand. For some reason, I thought the book might have belonged to Snape's mother before it belonged to him, but I don't really have any basis for that argument.

I like Espy's theory about the secrecy involved in potionmaking, and about the "restricted" books in the library. This might also explain why the recipes in the Advanced Potionmaking text seemed to be often flawed -- I know that muggles often write a recipe one way, but they make improvements on it and don't bother to jot them down, they just know to increase that ingredient by so much or lower the oven temperature so many degrees or whatever.

39biblioholic29
Maio 30, 2008, 9:35am

Interesting, we both have some brain tickling about the book maybe having been Eileen's first.

I must admit, I didn't really understand what Espy was saying, but now that you put it in terms of Muggle cooking (I hate when people ask me for recipes, I don't measure anything!) I think I get it and concur.

40foggidawn
Editado: Maio 30, 2008, 9:53am

#35 -- Maybe they do! If the author or publisher had a "master copy" of the book, they could use a Protean Charm (like Hermione did with the coins for the DA) and all corrections or additions made to that text would be replicated in every copy of the text. While this sounds like a complicated way of doing things for normal books, I can see how it would be useful for things like textbooks, that are expected to see a number of revisions over the years.

(Edited for clarity)

41rissa
Jun 13, 2008, 5:12am

it would be really nice if muggle textbooks could be done like that. you would always be able to sell your textbooks back at the end of the term.

42MellieT
Jun 18, 2008, 6:17am

I really think Ron deserved the birds... And i also thing that it was wonderful for Harry to ask Luna to the party... the birds was one of my favorite parts tho..

43foggidawn
Jun 21, 2008, 1:33pm

I'm catching up! Here are my notes for these chapters:

Chapter 11

1) This whole bit about Stan Shunpike's arrest feels superfluous to me. I know that, plot-wise, it gives Harry a beef with Scrimgeour, but it feels like a plot point that never goes anywhere.

2) Harry's relationship with Hagrid is well-done -- a nice counterpoint to Harry's relationship with Snape.

Chapter 12

1) Like Hermione, I can't believe that Harry tried "Levicorpus" on Ron, without knowing what it did or how to reverse it. What if it had been something like "Septumsempra?"

2) The description of what happens to Katie is eerie. In its own little way, it's one of the scariest scenes in the series, partly because it's so well-described. I can see it so clearly in my mind, and if I had been Katie's friend, I would have been freaking out.

Chapter 13

1) The Pensieve works two different ways for different memories -- I wonder how it differentiates? Does it know, from the memory you put in, or is it some sort of nonverbal command or control that differentiates between whether the memory will come out (in the form of a talking head) or you will go in? I love the Pensieve.

2) Another hint about Tonks here: unrequited love and despair can sap a witch or wizard's powers.

3) Dumbledore's plum velvet suit . . . this was, when, late 20's? Early 30's? He was way ahead of his time -- in the 60's or 70's, nobody would have batted an eyelash! The question is, was he wearing a paisley shirt? ;-)

4) "Better than a whack on the nose with a rusty poker" -- the matron's turn of phrase is so colorful!

5) Dumbledore says, "As we know, there are Parselmouths among the great and the good, too . . ." Who? Harry? Salazar Slytherin (who wasn't necessarily "bad," I guess)? Who else?

Chapter 14

1) Did Hermione snog Krum? I just always got the impression that he liked her, but she just wanted to be friends. Maybe it did get to the kissing stage, though. Since it's Ginny who says she did . . . well, who knows what Ginny and Hermione talk about when they're sharing a room at the Burrow when Hermione visits.

2) When Ron gets hormonal, he really gets hormonal. Angst! (Aren't we all glad this didn't happen during OotP? I don't think I could take both Harry and Ron being angsty and unreasonable together.)

Chapter 15

1) Harry should have chucked those chocolate cauldrons in the bin as soon as he got up to his dorm. He pretty much knew they were spiked.

2) Luna is wonderful.

3) It's interesting that the Ministry suppressed Xeno's article about Scrimgeour being a vampire. I guess that, with the credibility that they got from publishing Harry's interview, the Ministry didn't want people actually believing the Scrimgeour article. I also think that Scrimgeour probably keeps even tighter control of the press than Fudge did.

4) Can anybody think of a good reason why JKR introduces vampires this late in the series? It's not like she does anything interesting with them -- no major character is a vampire, the characters don't witness any mass vampire attacks, there's not big concern about vampires the way there is about werewolfs, giants, or inferi (which seem to be the JKR equivalent of zombies) . . . just this random vampire at a party for no apparent reason.

44biblioholic29
Jun 21, 2008, 7:19pm

In response to post 43:

12.1 To be fair, he wasn't aiming at anything in particular. Not that I think it was a good thing, but he didn't do it on purpose, he didn't even think it would work!

13.3 Just to show my extreme nerdiness it would have been about 1936 (I think CoS says Voldy is a 6th year during his CoS opening, I could be wrong though, it might be 5th year in which case it would be 1937.)

13.5 I think he was just referring to Harry.

15.4 A good reason? No. I wonder if maybe she thought she should slip an actual one in there somewhere just to show that they do actually exist in the world. It also lets her have that biographer at the party, not that he's all that important either. Really though, she keeps herself in check pretty well in this book, so I'm willing to overlook this little bit of superfluity.

45jjwilson61
Jun 21, 2008, 11:12pm

12.1 Harry is starting to trust this half-blood prince almost as a friend so he doesn't believe there can be any really bad spells there. The effects of sectumsempra were a real shock to Harry.

15.4 I believe the fraud DADA teacher, I can't remember his name, in CoS claims to have saved some village from vampires or some such. I get the impression that they mostly exist in Eastern Europe.

46rissa
Jun 22, 2008, 9:46pm

#45 yes, Lockheart does claim to have defeated a(some?) vampires.

47VMG
Fev 17, 2017, 5:59pm

but is it true/not true answer now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!