Avast! Spoiler Warning
If you’re of the sort who gets all pissy about cats being let out of bags.
Um, also, we should point out that the author, Ms. Verlizzo, did not forewarn the noble Y.P.R. editors and thus ruined the book for us before we cracked its spine. If anyone would like to purchase an unopened copy of H.P.A.T.H.B.P., please send a nickel.
652 pages. Six hundred and fifty-two. After Order of the Phoenix’s 870 pages, I suppose this is light reading. Then I remember that I forgot the entire content of the blue-covered book having whipped through it two long summers ago. I can’t go back to it, yet I’m having problems moving forward. Harry is no longer my sweet little boy wizard and I cannot deal with this. He is captain of the Quidditch team and discussing his future as Auror. He is starting to have very teenage daydreams about witches. This isn’t happening. One day he is innocently scarfing Chocolate Frogs, the next he must battle evil incarnate or die. And then, 596 pages later, as I’ve slowly moved towards acceptance of our Harry on the cusp of adult wizardhood, THE death occurs. My eyes repeatedly scan the words “Avada Kedavra!,” the death curse uttered by Snape to Dumbledore. Surely, it is a mirage. Ms. Rowling is playing tricks with my mind. Those words only appear because I’ve been reading for seventeen straight hours and my mind can no longer process the English language. Our beloved headmaster isn’t dead; he’s just sleeping.
Our beloved headmaster is dead. Now I’m pissed. Regardless of Snape’s hateful attitude toward Harry and preference for that snot-nosed, bleached-blond pretty boy Malfoy, Dumbledore trusted him. I TRUSTED HIM. How, for the past sixteen years, has Snape followed Dumbledore’s gentle yet firm orders, only to ruthlessly murder this most loyal and highly skilled wizard? A wizard that gave him a job and a home at Hogwarts when he could have, should have turned him away? Snape infuriates me: I always thought he was way too creepy cute in the movies not to do his part in eliminating evil. This seriously screws with my view of controlling, sullen, slightly disturbing, deep-voiced men. I start to question everyone who has ever promised me anything and snap at anyone who asks if I’ve finished the book yet.
If anyone can bring Dumbledore back it’s you, Harry, our hero. Didn’t you learn some anti-jinxes in Defense against the Dark Arts? Can’t you get that brainiac Hermione to mix up a potion? Conjure a Patronus, channel your dead dad, do whatever it takes for five more minutes with Dumbledore! Go get Fawkes, the beautiful phoenix with the healing tears! He can blubber all over Dumbledore until he rises again, stronger than ever. Dumbledore’s silvery beard will glisten in the moonlight; his eyes will shine behind his half-moon spectacles. With boundless authority he will impart on us his wizardly wisdom so we can rest easy, knowing full well Hogwarts is safe under his watch.
I am never reading again. Harry has nobody. First, his parents are killed and he is left in the negligent care of the Dursleys. Had Harry lived in America, Child Protective Services would have most definitely removed him from that household. Then Sirius, Harry’s godfather and the only parental figure he has ever known, was knocked off. Dumbledore is gone, and before long Ron and Hermione will give in to their adolescent desires and catch up on six lost years of snogging. All Harry has left is to single-handedly save the entire world without getting himself killed. This reminds me of how dreary our non-magical universe is and how we face mostly grim prospects by trying to help our fellow man. Damn you, Rowling.
Dumbledore did not die in vain; we can seek comfort in our memories and well-worn copies of the first six books. Dumbledore coached Harry through some of the darkest periods of his young life. Perhaps Snape will even prove himself good somewhere in his seemingly blackened heart. After all, he had ample opportunity to kill Harry and never did. Maybe Snape will even penetrate the circle of dark wizards and use this knowledge to help defeat them. I accept that J. K. Rowling wants to put us, faithful readers, in her trusting embrace of Harry’s future, where there is always hope. I accept that even though this is the only series of sci-fi/fantasy books I have ever read, I became somewhat of a sci-fi/fantasy dork because of it. I accept that Book Seven may be the answer to our questions. I don’t know if I can accept that I may have to wait three years to find out.
is a teacher recovering from an injury, about which she writes lots of angst-ridden journal entries. She has never been published, except for a poem about monkeys in her sixth-grade literary journal and a heartwrenching letter to the editor in the November 1, 2004, edition of New York
Memo: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Guy.
.K., O.K., O.K., I know it’s five o’clock, but seriously, they needed this yesterday. This will take less than a minute, I swear to you, so let’s bang this out real quick right now, O.K.? Great—hold on—(Into cellphone:) Jimmy! Hi! I was just going to call you! Yeah, she’s faxing it to you right now, right this second. Of course I’m sure. O.K. (hangs up) O.K., so what do we have so far? Right, O.K., so. Ahhhhhhhhm. Ahhhhhhh, O.K., so we got Voldemort, right, the Death Eaters, you got that part already, right? What do you mean? Haven’t you been listening? O.K., fine, so Voldemort and the death eaters and the Dementors, terrorizing London, yada yada. Make it sound really good, really creepy. Everyone’s scared, you know, make it scary. O.K. Ahhhhhhhhhhm. Uhhhhhhhhhh. O.K., then, or, first, before that, Ralph Scrimihumma, right, Rufus, that’s what I said, becomes the Minister of Magic—Oh, and you got the thing with Weasley and What’sherface, Hillary? Right, Hermione, that’s what I said. We’ve got to make this good, so do you think you could please try to pay attention? Oh, but first, we gotta get in the thing about Harry’s textbook, all the special spells, the Half-Blood Prince thingy, right, transcription, fine. See, at the end of this, it’s going to be great, there’s the Dark Mark over Hogwarts, and What’shisface gets killed, ooh, you’ll love it, very scary, it’s great. O.K., O.K. You know, you really should have had this to Jimmy already, like, yesterday. Ahhhhhhhhh, oh you got the thing about schmeckle, right, you know, whaddycallit, Snape, Severus Snape, right? Jesus, Shirley, are you even listening? Could you try to get this down? (Into cellphone:) Jimmy! You didn’t? I’ll have Shirley fax it again—she’s useless! (Hangs up.) I’m kidding, you’re great. O.K., where were we, ahhhhhhhhhhm, O.K., do a chart here. Can we do it Excel? O.K., so it’s Voldemort’s four horcruxes that must be destroyed, and then like a chart and pie chart or something. Fine, O.K. Ahhhhhhhhhhh. Ahhhhhhhh. Then, it turns out that Fleineyfloo, Whatshisname, Alan Rickman, he’s the Half-Blood Prince. Brilliant, isn’t it? And then, wait, you got the part with the Malfoy kid and how he’s in cahoots with, you know, Schmuterbub, Whathisname, right? That’s crucial, Shirley, please try to pay attention. O.K., get Jimmy on the phone right now. O.K., and you’re getting this, right, so Hogwart’s all messed up, it’s perfect, we leave room for another sequel. I’m good, right? Good enough, fine, O.K., so read that back to me.