Literary Inspiration: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

HP Collage

Being one of maybe only half a dozen people in the entire world who had not yet read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the second last book of the Harry Potter series, I thought the theme of magic and fantasy in my friend Julie’s reading challenge was the perfect time to rectify this literary shortcoming.  And then, as always, I did some thematically-appropriate nails, this time a swirly, twirly, free-handed mani inspired by Felix Felicis, the good luck libation Harry wins for his extracurricular activities in Potions class (which just might include whipping up this delightful Every Flavoured Bean sudser from Dreaming Tree Soapworks.  That or, you know, accidentally flaying Malfoy alive in the girls’ toilets.)

HP Nails Again

So what did I think?  I actually found it VERY slow going.  Until things really began to take off in the final 100 pages, much of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince felt as though it was treading (Inferi-logged) water – Ron’s got lady troubles, Harry’s got friend troubles, Dumbledore’s got Horcrux troubles, Malfoy’s screwing around in the Room of Requirement and Slughorn’s being obstructionist.  Lather (with this fun soap?), rinse, repeat.

HP Soap Collage

Yet despite believing that the story could have used a bit of trimming, I ultimately find no fault with its fans for wanting to spend as much time as possible in Harry’s bewitchingly magical world.  It’s such a special place; I don’t mind treading water for that (just not that skanky lake water filled with dead bodies; damn, Rowling, things got real dark real fast! Thank goodness for that glowing green light out in the middle of the lake.  Let’s just grab this invisible chain and haul ‘er up and see what we’re dea– oh.  Holy hell, Rowling, why the nightmares?!)

14 thoughts on “Literary Inspiration: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

  1. You know I love everything about this post. Half-Blood Prince was my favorite of the whole series. I felt like the kids were growing up and the darkness was coming to the school (and Harry- I am still appalled at him for almost killing Draco) and he got to learn about Voldemort’s past. But I totally get what you are talking about too… the plot was slow moving, it was more about building the characters maybe? Is this a British version of the book? So sad we can’t buy those here in the US. One day. I have my Bertie Bott’s soap ready for cutting soon. Probably this summer. And your manicure is… dare I say it? Magical. I love the blue and stars. It reminds me of the fabric pattern I used on my Harry Potter quilt border. Are you going to keep reading the rest?

    • Weirdly (or maybe not) I think the movie got right what the book did not in that scene between Harry and Malfoy in the bathroom – in the movie, Harry’s devastated and confused and genuinely distraught (and probably seconds from being hauled off to Azkaban by Snape himself.) But in the book, he’s kind of upset…until he gets back to the Gryffindor common room and starts smooching Ginny in the middle of a big post-quidditch party. I thought it took all the sweetness out of their first kiss and took all the urgency out of the fact that he nearly killed Malfoy. Sometimes I think J.K. Rowling was just a bit too in love with the idea of scampy Harry to allow him to naturally grow out of that too-much-like-his-father phase (listen to me, talking about these people like they’re real! But that’s Harry Potterdom, I guess.) 🙂

      And I actually really loved that this book slowed down for a moment before the big finish and allowed these kids to just be kids – I thought all their romantic squabbles were quite cute. It just went on FOREVER!

      I am totally going to continue on and finish up the last book – not sure when I’ll slot that one into the challenge, though. These versions (they’re Canadian, but we probably share a similar look to the UK books) are all my husband’s – he’s the real Harry Potter nut in this household.

  2. Listen spoiler, you know I’m one of those six people. I’m on page 140, so I gotta haul ass so I can get through the 7th by the mid-summer anniversary!
    (Kidding about the spoiler, I’ve seen all the movies of course) Half-Blood Prince is my husband’s favorite, he loves the Dumbledore-Harry quality time. I love a dark, tortured Harry, so I’m expecting great things.
    P.S. Could you quickly pop into the states around Julyish when I should complete the series and recreate this manicure for me? Kind of a celebratory, we did it! nail art house call?

    • Ack, spoiler! Although, pretty sure the statute of limitations on spoilage has long since passed on the Harry Potter series (for real, could you imagine someone getting pissy after all this time? Particularly after watching the movies!)

      Nail art on the fly, sure – like a travelling minstrel, only with a lot more acetone! 🙂

      • Someone should create a statute of limitations guide, but I guess 8 years surpasses it. We could be called the “HP 6” and be shielded from all plot details by society.

      • And there will be satellite branches for the dozen or so people who haven’t seen The Crying Game, and everyone who doesn’t know that Glenn bit it at the beginning of the last season of TWD. Oh crap, shoulda tagged that one with a spoiler – here I go, already breaking the rules of the HP6 (that sounds *almost* as cool as being a member of Dumbledore’s Army, though, no?) 🙂

      • Haha, The Crying Game!!!
        P.S. I was a big “Lost” fan so I substituted HP6 for “The Oceanic 6”, but Dumbledore’s Army is way cooler.

      • I loved Lost so much for about the first season and a half, and then it started sprawling out all over the place and I couldn’t keep up/didn’t feel like keeping up. I know how everything shook down in the end, but yeah, kind of drifted on that one. Solid reference, though – my bad for not getting it.

      • Considering the reference concerned events from 8 years ago, you are forgiven. I understand leaving the show around that time, because that’s when it became a completely different being. Although, that’s when it captured me because it became a cool time-travel/conspiracy story, also my fave character Desmond, didn’t appear till Season 3. He was the lovesick, heavy-drinking Scot from the wrong side of the tracks, but the only one ‘in the know’ about the time warp of the island. The episode in which he was “unstuck” in time in Season 4, called, The Constant, was really powerful tv story telling, loved it, a favorite.
        It’s on Netflix if you ever wanna revisit;p

      • NOT PENNY’S BOAT! I did see that, because Charlie was a fave – *sniff.* I liked the Desmond and Penny stuff – in total agreement there. And Boone was a prat, but his death – whoops, spoilers again – was pretty devastating. Then it was like a murder free-for-all!

  3. See that is my problem with picking up the books again to finish them as sadly I am one of those people.. I’ve watched them all a million times to where I can quote many many lines and when I am reading, my mind is in constant battle of what happens in the movie vs. whats happening in the book. I still kick myself for not picking up the books sooner and starting them before the movies started coming out.
    Lovely, Lovely nails!

    • Thank you! And I know exactly what you mean about that disconnect between a movie and its source material, although I have found that the two are more closely linked now (probably because every book is now made into a movie.) Plus you’ve got the occasional (ha) rabid fan that demands total adherence to the book. It’s not like it was in the ’90s when you’d hear that some book you loved was getting turned into a movie or a TV show and think, “Well, that’s nice, but it’ll probably have nothing to do with the book that I know and love.” And you’d be right!

      Having said all that, in the case of Harry Potter, I prefer the movies to the books. That world is just so spectacularly imagined – better than in my head, unfortunately!

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