Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, July 22, 2005

Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince-Rowling's Empire Strikes Back

I'm surpised that I'm actually alert at this hour of the morning-stayed up until 1:30 finishing the new Harry Potter(my copy arrived on Tuesday morning,about a half hour before I had to be at work)and all I call say is,wow.

First off,I'm not revealing any spoilers(saw the online Time magazine article while reading HP&HBP but it fortunately didn't give any certain plot points)but any longtime fan of this series will seriously want to bitchslap a certain someone by the time you finish this book. Yes, my dear Virginia,there is a major death that rocks the wizarding world but it gets you(and poor Harry) ready to throwdown for the finale.

I call this "Rowling's Empire Strikes Back" due not only to the dark nature of the story-alot is revealed about Voldemort's past(no,he is NOT Harry's father!),several romances brew to the surface with jealousy tactics initiated(a very memorable kissing scene,not exactly Luke & Leia style but quite surpising)and of course,big fat hairy betrayal. Some critics have mentioned the current SW"Revenge of the Sith" in comparison but that film is much too hollow and at times,obvious to the power of ten. Both Empire and Half Blood Prince end with sorrow and resolve by the survivors to carry on(which we certainly need these days).

To slightly sidetrack,one of the main reasons I dislike the new SW trilogy(besides Hayden Christenson's Mall Goth performance)is that they break down one of the best elements about the original films: mystery. You didn't know how the Empire came into power or who Darth Vader was under the mask or why this Obi-Wan guy seemed to be so important but part of the fun was that you didn't need to-just enough was set up so that you could dive into the characters and find out with them. Making the prequels is like explaining a joke-if you have to explain,it's not funny (or mysterious)anymore. My father always said mystery was a key to art and ROTS proves him right in the worst sense.

Back to the Half Blood Prince:my Bloomsbury edition has some interesting differences from the US copy-the cover art is not only different but printed on the book itself when you remove the jacket(I've only seen that for picture books over here),no chapter illustrations(and I have the kids copy!) and no table of contents. The chapter headings are the same but the page count is different(607 UK to 653 US)and the back flap info on the author mentions the story she wrote as a child about a rabbit named Rabbit.

Also,HBP is smaller in size-held it up to my copy of Order of the Phoenix and OOTP is Hagridlike. I plan to reread the HP books in reverse order now to stave off any pangs for the finale-now that's going to be as sweet as Return of the Jedi(hopefully Ewok-free).

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