:::this is the way the world ends:::

The Half-Blood Prince

harry-potter-half-blood-prince Peters suggested a discussion on the latest Harry Potter movie installment, so I thought I’d get that thread moving forward, now that I have seen it. I liked the movie a lot, as a summer popcorn adventure and also because the sixth book is one of the two best of the series (the best being the third book).

I did miss Voldemort as Voldemort (and Ralph Fiennes’ incarnation of him), and the movie is rushed (though not nearly so much as the last one), but overall it produced the eerie feeling I was hoping for, given the dark lake sequence where Harry must feed Dumbledore the weakening potion, the lake’s undead beings, and then the rush to the end and Dumbledore’s death. But it wasn’t so eerie or dark that you couldn’t enjoy the adventure of it, which was perhaps some of the problem with the movie of The Order of the Phoenix.

I thought the great addition was Jim Broadbent as Slughorn, and the memory sequences with the younger and teenaged Tom Riddle (I wish these could have been lingered on). I wanted more of the Order involved throughout, and I wanted more Snape in the movie, but I take those wantings more to be sign that I liked what was there.

The third movie remains clearly the best in the series, and given that I didn’t think the seventh book was as strong and Warner Bros.’ decision to make it into two installments, I am assuming that will remain the case. Still, I admit I enjoyed getting back into the Harry Potter world more than I thought I would.


  1. Shotts

    I also note that the paperback of The Deathly Hallows is now out, so I will purchase that and round out my collection of all seven in paperback edition. I guess if Beckett goes crazy for the books in the future, maybe we’ll splurge sometime and get the hardcovers. What do you think is the appropriate age for young people to read the books or have them read to them? I’m thinking around eight or nine?

    And will poor Daniel Radcliffe have a chance at making a continuing career as an actor, or is he destined to be a sort of Mark Hamill?

  2. Pete

    Thanks for starting this, Shotts, old pal. I agree with your assessment. I found parts of the movie to be particularly disturbing- the scene with the peer who was hexed was hair-raising. Very dark stuff. I like the treatment of this movie better than the previous ones, and consider it the best book of the series. I, like you, am left wanting more lines and scenes with Snape. He is one of the few characters that I envision differently when reading than viewing, though his voice is now forever linked with the version I hear in my head while reading. Admittedly, sometimes I enjoy rereading his lines aloud with Alan Rickman’s disconcerting pauses. I do wonder, I think we’ve maybe brought this to the table before, but I do wonder how much the movies being made simultaneously have influenced the writing of the tales. I have to imagine that Rowland saw Alan Rickman, too, when crafting Snapes lines. Ralphe Fiennes does rock, but unfortunately, Danielle Radcliffe will forever be Potter. Could be Bilbo I suppose, but that is another conversation…..

  3. Shotts

    Good to see your comments, Peters. Rickman’s Snape is probably the most defining thing about the movies. Since I read the books only after the first four movies had come out, it was hard to read the books without the movie imagery and actors in mind. But having read the books first has made movies five and six more interesting.

  4. Ned

    I’m not reading anything here until I see the movie, which I am looking forward to. I have not read book 6 so I will offer little as far as comparisons go.

  5. Shotts

    Let us know when you’ve seen it, Ned.

  6. Ned

    Okay, I have seen it. Here’s my feeling. First of all, the third movie is far and away the best so far, and the thrid book was the best of the first five (which is as far as I’ve read).

    I agree that Rickman’s Snape is one of the best elements and that is because in him the series has an actor capable of the nuances that the complexity of the character demands. I also miss Feinnes, but interestingly enough, his nephew appears as Tom Riddle in the flashbacks.

    Also adding to the acting weight are Broadbent and Gambon (who I think really makes the tension happen in some of the scenes).

    I liked Order of the Phoenix next after the Prisoner because I felt as though the darkness was appropriate to the action there. I also felt the time travel and other plot twists in Prisoner were some of the more ingenious that Rowling came up with.

    In this film, we have an oppressive atmosphere for an entire film while we are wisked around on teenage romances and quiditch matches. I realize this may be necessary to the books to convince readers of the maturation of the characters, but it was almost boring to watch and would have seemed ridiculous without the darkness of Voldemort hanging over. The plot twists here are entirely predictable (Sara and I both called the “luck potion” in terms of when it wasn’t used and when it would be used).

    For the most part, I find the teenage actors to be stiff as cardboard. Hermione is probably the best, but even some of her charming grins seemed contrived. I hope that the finale(s) are spectacular, but I have to admit that I’m not going to hold my breath considering I know that Snape is some kind of double agent and Voldemort will be defeated. Do I really need to read all 700 pages? Yes, I know the books are always better than the movie, and yes, I will read them with Eliot some day.

    But in the meantime, I will hold my breath for the Hobbit.

  7. Shotts

    Ned, good assessment here. My problem with the sixth/new movie is that it kind of strikes that one “dark” note (and even in the absence of Fiennes). I miss some of the whimsy and fun, frankly, of the first three. Prisoner of Azkaban has a dark overlay but still manages moments of magic and whimsy and humor, and those three things seem almost completely absent from The Order of the Phoenix and The Half-Blood Prince. More of those things are in the books, to be sure, and I do suggest you, Ned, read the sixth book, The Half-Blood Prince, because it is the second-best book in the series. The book is much more interesting than the movie–in large part because Voldemort past and present is more of the focus.

    Still, overall, I enjoyed the movie for what it was, and I agree completely with Ned’s assessment of the acting. I think the two films of The Deathly Hallows will be full of really bad stuff between Ron and Hermione, and it may very likely expose the real inadequacies of those three actors. I think the seventh book, in retrospect, may be my least favorite of the series, so I’m not expecting a great deal from the movies except for good action and effects. And hopefully some closure to all of this.

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