HARRY POTTER 6 SPOILERS BELOW
QUIT READING NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT TO HAVE MAJOR PLOT POINTS REVEALED.
I WARNED YOU.
I really enjoyed Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Having Dumbledore die was moving and sad, but definitely didn’t catch me by surprise when it finally happened. To J.K. Rowling’s credit I still wanted to believe Snape might not be evil despite his unbreakable oath early in the book (which did surprise me at the time), but clearly we know that’s not the case now. The only thing I was really dissatisfied by was the last half of chapter 30. It seriously irritated me when Dumbledore’s funeral scene morphed into the ending of the first Spiderman movie. Breaking up with Ginny “to protect her” is just so cliche on J.K. Rowling’s part and idiotic on Harry’s. Malfoy (and possibly Snape) had to know about their relationship (not to mention his ongoing relationship with the Weaseley family in general ) so that mean’s Voldemort does now as well. Whether they’re together or not Voldemort can use Ginny (or her family) to hurt Harry at anytime he chooses. Harry’s just hurting himself and giving Voldemort yet another victory by ending things with her when he doesn’t really want to. Still, Ginny’s holds her own and I can see her pointing out the holes in his “noble” logic at Bill’s wedding and setting things straight early in Book 7.
Book 7 is apparently going to be a pretty far cry from the first six in the series since Harry won’t be returning to Hogwarts and will instead be searching for Voldemort’s remaining Horcruxes. Although initially Harry seemed to think he was going to go off and do this all on his own (conveniently forgetting all the help he’s needed along the way in the past 5+ books) at least Ron and Hermione quickly jumped in and said they were going with him. Harry’s definitely going to need all the assistance he can get to deal with Voldemort and company; the way Snape toyed with him while escaping made that all too clear.
Update: I read a couple interesting discussion threads today (Tuesday) over at leakylounge.com that made credible arguments for Dumbledore’s death being planned in advance (by himself and Snape) as a means to put Snape back in good standing with Voldemort and give Harry the help he will ultimately need to defeat the Dark Lord. I like this theory a lot, but I suppose we’ve got another couple years to wait to see how it all plays out.