Ok. My feelings on the new book...
In a nutshell - too short. I felt like we got the heavily abridged version. Before OotP I was a fan of HP, but turned obsessed after. I've heard folks complain that OotP was too long, that she should have edited loads out, but I really truly LOVED it. I loved every skerrick of info, and that we were able to really get to know characters. (Neville for example.) GoF was similar. Both felt like wonderfully juicy stories. I think if she wrote GoF now, the entire SPEW thing would be edited out and, while I can accept that in the movie version, I'm certainly grateful I got it in the book! Does it advance the major plot line? No, but it gives the reader a wonderful insight into the Wizarding world and its various predjudices; something she expanded on with Umbridge.
Did I like The Half-Blood Prince? I have to say yes, but am going to wait until I've read it again and digested it properly before I can say how much. I guess my initial reaction is disappointment - simply because I felt we missed out on SO much. It was a bit like watching the movie version of PoA. (I loved it to bits cos it was visually stunning and the kids were wonderful, but it left a LOT out.) But in the case of that film, I have the book to go back to for the full story. With HBP... this is all we get.
Chapter One was interesting, if a little camp. If I was the muggle PM I'd want to know the whole story thankyouverymuch! And holyfuck the Dementors are breeding?! And a spooky Mist? I couldn't wait to see where JK was taking us with this but, sadly, this was the last we heard of this intreguing tidbit.
Chapter Two - OMG! Snape's house! And Narcissa and Bella! And Wormtail!! And the Unbreakable Vow! Draco has become a DE and Voldie has given him an impossible task which, I'll admit I thought was to kill Harry. But this chapter seriously ROCKED.
Chapter Three - Dumbledore comes to get Harry... This is where my disquiet set in; I would really have liked more of Harry first. The fallout from Sirius's death and how he was coping. He was so deeply (and understandably) depressed at the end of OotP, I really would have liked to see how he got from that to the young man we found waiting for Dumbledore. Some letters from Ron and Hermione would have been good too: explaining how they were getting over their wounds from the DoM, because, sadly, they were never mentioned either. (I really thought she was going to do something with those brain scars!) The Dursleys got a slap on the wrist from Dumbledore, but then they were always kind of the comedy appetiser at the start of each book, so I could overlook that.
Was Dumbledore's dying hand ever explained? I need to go back and reread - have just started reading it to the kids, so maybe I'll pick it up then, but it seemed to me a story that Dumbledore kept promising to tell but never did.
New character - Slughorn. Suitably oily character who reminded me an awful lot of Lockhart. A sleazy Lockhart. And it was cool having a non-evil Slytherin for a change. And I laughed when he called Ron 'Rupert' LOL!
Interesting to find out about tag-along Apparition.
I'm sure you're all aware of my love for everything Weasley, so suffice to say, I really enjoyed being back at the Burrow. "Mollywobbles"! Seriously, had a major squeee over that one! The angst over Fleur was amusing and not surprising; prospective daughters-in-law are rarely good enough for sons. I thought it exceptionally brave of Fleur to live with her in-laws. And I adored her reaction to Bill's disfigurement! (poor Bill! But just think- he'll be rugged, hairy Bill now! Mmmmm. )
The first incident where I felt really gypped - Harry's 16th birthday party! It's the first he's ever had in his LIFE! We deserved to see it! Had this been written like GoF or OotP we would have. *sigh* I also think it would have been nice if she'd started working in Harry getting to know Ginny at this stage. See her becoming a friend in her own right, rather than just Ron's little sister. All that time over summer to talk and muck around...and notice that she's pretty... A mention of Ginny's birthday even, now that we know when it is.
Meeting Draco in Madam Malkins harked back to book 1 of course and was quite delicious. "Who blacked your eye, Granger? I want to send them flowers." Hahahahahaa! Draco finally grew a pair! I really liked that his character had more depth in this book; he's not just a bully anymore. And Harry's obsession with Malfoy was really amusing at times. (I could hear the H/D fangirls squeeeing all over the world!) When he kicks Harry in the face and breaks his nose, and leaves him on the train...! Very impressive. And it might have been nice if Harry noticed some other things while looking for Malfoy on the map - like how many couples were holed up in empty classrooms. Heh. To fit with the new 'coupling' theme. The whole Draco/Moaning Myrtle thing was intreguing to say the least!
Fred and George's shop - Joy! U-NO-POO. Edible Dark Marks. *cackles* The Daydream charms (a fanfickers DREAM if ever I've seen one!) - especially with Hermione so interested (not to mention the fact that F&G gave her one for free!) I felt sure we were going to get to see her using this in a later chapter! But no... *sniff* And I just read in the JK interviews at the BBC site that this was Jo's favourite Twin product! So I'm completely mystified that we didn't get to see one used. :~(
It was nice to meet Blaise at last! Had a chuckle at that. (and squeeed at the fact that he's black cos I drew him as black in that Slytherin swimsuit pic I did ages ago and have yet to finish! Ha!) I have to admit, the whole thing with Harry being called 'the Chosen One' irked me somewhat. I really wish she'd chosen a different name for this - right on the tail of Star Wars it...I dunno...made me think of SW! [ObiWan]You were the Chosen One![/ObiWan] And, yeah, the early Tom bits made me think of Anakin too. :~\ Not that I didn't like them though. In fact they made me think that I'd rather Lucas had made Anakin a bit more like that as a child. But that's a whole other topic!
McGonagall discussing course choices with Neville - wonderful! I found the new rule of re-chosing Quidditch teams a little confusing; in the past it seemed they only ever replaced the players they lost. Harry certainly never had to try out for Seeker again.
First lesson with Sluggy and there's a mention of Malfoy looking like he'd done when Hermione punched him in the face... I thought she'd slapped him in PoA. The punch was in the film... Actually there were several moments in this book that took me back to the film versions; bits of dialogue and stuff. I could hear Rupert, Dan and Emma's voices as I read, and that's a first. Usually when I read the books my own interpretation of the characters kicks in; this time it didn't. Interesting.
I loved Ginny's alarm that Harry might have been taking direction from a book. A few people have asked how Harry did not recognise Snape's handwriting - Hermione points out that the handwriting is female. I suspect alot of it was Snape's mother's handwriting.
Why was Harry getting Dumbledore's messages delivered from different random people all the time? I wasn't sure if that was supposed to be funny, or a convoluted security system or what? I would have liked to see Dumbledore do more with Harry than just the Pensieve stuff. What about Occlumency? Did Dumbledore understand the Parseltongue in the Pensieve scenes? That wasn't made clear (which was, I guess, deliberate.)
Why was Tonks appearing out of nowhere at regular intervals in the halls? I really thought someone was polyjuicing her. And I'll admit the twist at the end with her and Lupin really tickled my fancy. I thought it was sweet.
Snape was deliciously horrible and it was very interesting to find out that one's Patronus can change. And finding out Snape was now the DADA teacher...very cool! And yet...DADA with Snape and we only got to see one (or was it 2?) lesson???! "There is no need to call me 'sir', Professor" HAHAHAHAHAHA! And him being the Half-Blood Prince - AWESOME!! And killing Dumbledore!! I SO didn't see that one coming! I suspected Dumbledore would die in this book, but having Snape do it... My initial reaction was 'OMG! He really WAS evil all this time!' but, a couple of days on...not so sure.
damn! It's after 1am. More tomorrow I hope... on the Shippy stuff. Heh.