Why I Loved Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

HP6I love all the Harry Potter movies, but usually they have to grow on me before I feel this way.  I remember after I saw the fifth movie I sat in shock, staring at the screen shouting “What the *#%& was that?  How could they leave out EVERYTHING!!”  Luckily I was in an empty theater with my sister at a special screening, so it was okay to shout those things.  But after I saw it a second time I was able to approach it with more of an open mind and enjoy myself.

I assumed it would be the same way with movie 6, but I was so, so wrong.  I loved it!  I truly truly loved it!!!  It was the best movie of the series by far and has worked its way into my top ten favorite movies.  I can’t quite figure out  why my reaction was so dramatically different than normal, but I have tried to come up with a few reasons.  My thoughts that follow contain spoilers for the movie and the book.

I already knew the Gaunts and Dumbledore’s funeral were cut out of the movie.  If I had been blindsided by this while watching the movie, I would have been very upset.

After I thought about it, I was really happy they didn’t include Dumbledore’s funeral in the movie.  It is one of my favorite scenes in any of the books.  I can recall it more vividly in my mind than just about any other part.  I remember Hagrid being comforted by Grawp, all of the characters from previous books showing up to pay their respects, Hermione silently crying while Ron comforted her.  It is so special and perfect that no amount of skillful moviemaking could capture it.  Let’s face it, if they had done it, they wouldn’t have done it right.  It would never have lived up to my expectations and so I am happy that I still have the pure form of his funeral from the books without a pale imitation movie version.  I feel like Dumbledore’s funeral is something that the fans of the books can cherish as their own without having to share it with the “movie fans” who would never have appreciated it the way we do.

Also, the Dumbledore from the films is not the same as OUR Dumbledore from the books.  He is Harry’s mentor and professor, but not his friend.  This is not due to any particular writing, acting, or directing…….there is just not enough time to establish the grandfather/friendly Dumbledore that we know from the books.  The impact of his death is not felt the same way in the movie as it was for the characters in the books.

One thing that I loved about the movie that hasn’t really been present in any of the other movies is kind of hard to describe.  Some of my favorite moments in the Harry Potter books are the “walking in between classes/conversations in the halls/discussions during class/hanging in they Gryffindor common room” scenes.  The only time the other movies include these scenes is when they involve PLOT PLOT PLOT (oh things are getting bad, Voldy is getting stronger, blah blah blah).  There are hints of it in movie 5 (the trio laughing in front of the fire after Harry kisses Cho), but movie 6 has so many great scenes like that!!!!!!  After 5 movies of nothing but action, battles, and climactic scenes, I was willing to lose some big stuff in order to gain these fun little glimpses into Hogwarts.  I thought all three actors did an excellent job of portraying the trio and I truly bought that they were best friends.  This was definitely worth losing the battle at Hogwarts.

Speaking of the Battle of Hogwarts, yes it’s too bad that it wasn’t included, but in the book we didn’t even get to see it.  We only saw the aftermath, and the only really important thing was Bill’s condition, and oh yeah, that’s right, Bill isn’t in the movies (grrrrr) so it was kind of unnecessary.  Plus, it sounds like they are really going to do the Battle of Hogwarts justice in movie 7 so I am okay with that.

I am to the point of just rambling now, but I just wanted to quickly point out some things that I loved!

1.  Young Tom Riddles you were awesome!!!  Totally gave me the heebie-jeebies.

2.  Oh Rupert, you were amazing…..hilarious and clueless and wonderful!

3.  I liked the way Harry protected Ginny at the attack on the Burrow.  He really stepped up and looked like a grown up.

4.  I loved the hospital scene with Ron and Hermione……….pitch perfect!  Bravo Emma!!!

5.  I adored how they played the scene with Harry touching the Ring/Horcrux.  There is a moment when you can tell that Dumbledore realizes Harry is a Horcrux.  Nice foreshadowing.  Bravo Mr. Gambon!  I tip my hat to you!

6.  Thanks for not cutting out Fred and George!!!!!!!!!!

7.  Felix Felicis was phenomenal!  Oh Dan, you make me laugh!

Phew!  That post really exhausted me!  I hope everybody else liked the movie, or will grow to like it in time.



5 Responses to “Why I Loved Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”

  1. 1 ngtlindsay July 20, 2009 at 1:06 am

    Leave it to Jen to make me change my mind! Very well argued for. I agree that I did like the movie, there were just the few things that niggled at me and made me feel uncomfortable with it.
    Although I did like the great character development, I just felt like I needed a bit more plot.
    And at the end of the movie I was kind of like….that’s …that’s it? ….There’s no more?
    I felt a little let down.
    I did blurt some things out during the movie (not during a special fancy pants screening, but during a regular one with a full theater); I was PISSED when Harry took all of his lucky potion. Also I think I was like, NO WAY when they burned down the Burrow. And then when Ginny kissed Harry….well…I did LIKE that because I was all like, You go girl Ginny! But at the same time I was like….no! What are you doing in the room of requirement, get out! And also how Harry didn’t get punished for his fight with Malfoy – WTF!
    But I absolutely LOVED Tom Felton’s performance.
    Although I was PISSED when Harry and Dumbledore were talking about the Horcruxes and Dumbledore was like, they could be anything! Trash, etc. I was like, FUCK NO!
    And …what was up with Harry being a jackass? And playing the field during the summer?? And reading the Daily Prophet in the muggle world? WTF??
    I just don’t know…..

  2. 2 ngtjennifer July 20, 2009 at 8:33 am

    Yeah, I knew they were going to burn down the burrow and I remember I was furious when I first heard that, but I think it worked. It was the only time in the movie when I cried (Molly’s face totally got me). In the book there are all these little hints of how horrible things are with kids parents taking them out of school and Amelia Bones’ death at the beginning, but you can’t really work those into a movie.

    I agree that Harry should have been punished for cursing Malfoy, and I could have done without all the Harry/Ginny stuff, but that’s because I don’t like them together.

    And YES, Tom Felton was great!!! I honestly didn’t think he could pull it off, but he did a great job.

    I think they are going to to go into much more detail about the Horcruxes in movie 7. I think they wanted to keep all of that stuff together and since they are doing two movies, they will have plenty of time. The movie-going public can be quite forgetful and if they had discussed horcruxes at length, they would just have to do a refresher course in the next movie.

    I actually loved the scene with Harry and the girl in the beginning. I thought it was cute, and he doesn’t start to like Ginny until he sees her with Dean in the book, so I thought it was fine for him to be enjoying himself in the muggle world. But yeah, he should have kept the Daily Prophet under wraps.

  3. 3 ngtjill August 2, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    After seeing the movie for the 2nd time, I have more mixed feelings than before. It’s still my favorite (though this could be bc it’s the newest) but I’m REALLY upset about the horcruxes. I completely agree with Lindsay, they are NOT just anything, and everyone needs to understand the significance of them. I feel like that’s a huge part of the story since it’s a huge part of Voldemort. It does make perfect sense from a screenwriting aspect to wait to explain that in the next movies, like you say Jen, so maybe I’ll save my ultimate wrath about it until after those. But even if they do explain it in the next movies, I’m not sure how they will since Dumbledore can’t really come back to explain it to Harry. Hmm.

    My other major problem the 2nd time around was that I finally remembered that they left out Harry realizing Snape was the one who overheard the prophesy. This is another HUGE plot point in the series since it essentially leads to Snape becoming who he is. Maybe they’ll cover this in the next movies too. I really hope so, but I would have preferred it in this movie. The placement of it in the books is perfect since it gives us another reason to hate Snape in 6.

    All that said, I also loved your 7 (ah! 7 is a magical number!) favorite parts. I didn’t even catch the part with Dumbledore, Harry, & the ring/horcrux until you mentioned it & I saw the movie again. That part was great! Also, I just want to state for the record: Bellatrix and Luna are the two best cast actresses in the whole series! Those two perfectly match my images of the book characters, which is amazing!

    Ooh, and I absolutely loved the Astronomy tower scene. I know some people have a problem with how it’s different from the book and Harry’s not under the body-bind spell, but I think I’m ok with that because of the quick scene between Harry and Snape. Alan Rickman plays a double-agent so well!

  4. 4 ngtjennifer August 2, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    I am worried about how they are going to explain away everything in the 7th movie. Especially since they spend the whole time looking for Horcruxes, which are barely mentioned in the 6th film.

    I guess I just feel like it’s not that big of a deal because we won’t be confused by what is going on. If they leave stuff out, I will ultimately still know what is happening. I just feel bad for people who only have the movies to go on.

    I’m becoming more mellow towards the movies in my old age. 🙂

    Also, I know what you mean about it being your favorite because it is the newest. I like every movie better than the ones that came before.

  5. 5 ngtjill August 2, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Yeah, I think I was more aware of the confusing parts for people who only watch the movies because my younger sister stopped reading the books after the 3rd one. She’s not much of a reader and just wants to wait for the movies (it makes me want to pull my hair out!). After we saw the movie I explained what horcruxes are, about inferi, and more of Tom Riddle’s past. I guess she didn’t necessarily need to know all of it, but knowing some of it may have helped.

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