Thursday, July 28, 2005

A funny car and a sad ending

I finally went to see Herbie: Fully Loaded today. Even though I never saw the original Herbie, I still enjoyed it (they do give you a sort of recap of Herbie's past in the beginning credits, though). The movie was really funny, especially when Trip, the champion racer and sort of the bad guy, got some kind of fluid sprayed in his face by Herbie. Pretty funny. And the demolition derby scene reminded me of a game my brother once rented called Demolition Derby 64 or something like that. It was quite realistic.

I also read a sad ending today, as I finally finished Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The ending was as surprising as it was sad. Actually the whole book was. Here's a rundown of the plot, with an appropriate spoiler warning.


The book, unusually, does not begin with Harry. In the first and second chapters, we get a peek into the activities of the Death Eaters, and learn that Snape is in league with them (which of course we knew already from previous books, but here he says it himself). We also learn that Draco's dad is in Azkaban, that Voldemort is definitely back, and that a foul plan is afoot which Draco is supposed to help with. Snape makes an Unbreakable Vow to Draco's mother, Narissa Malfoy, to protect Draco.

We finally return to Harry, as he anxiously awaits the arrival of Dumbledore, who has sent word that he is coming to fetch Harry to take him to the Burrow (the Weasley's house) for the rest of the summer. He also says he needs Harry's help for a stop they're making on the way.

Dumbledore finally shows up, and tells Harry and the Dursleys a few things. He tells the Dursleys that Harry is free to leave when he comes of age (at 17) and they should not stop him from doing so (which seems like a strange contradiction of Dumbledore's insistence in The Order of the Phoenix that Harry remain with the Dursleys because remaining with his mother's sister keeps the special power of his mother's love for him alive...but Dumbledore also says that they have not been treating Harry like family, so I guess that sort of nullifies the first thing). He tells Harry that Sirius has bequeathed all he owns to Harry, which includes Kreacher, the house-elf, who is not too happy about having Harry for a master.

Before reaching the Burrow, Harry and Dumbledore pay a visit to Horace Slughorn, an old friend of Dumbledore's and a former Hogwarts teacher. Harry persuades him to teach again.

Finally, after a stay at the Burrow, where we learn Fleur Delacour is marrying Bill Weasley, and Harry tracks Malfoy into Knockturn Alley and begins to suspect he's joined the Death Eaters in his father's place, we arrive at Hogwarts, where extra security has been implemented thanks to Voldemort's return.

A surprise comes during the welcome dinner, for which Harry is late cause he gets petrified by Malfoy after sneaking into his compartment using the Invisibility Cloak and left alone on the train until he is rescued by Tonks, an Auror who was a close friend of Sirius and who is currently assigned to monitor Hogsmeade. Slughorn, who Harry and co. expected would be taking over Defense Against the Dark Arts (since that position is ever vacant), is instead taking over Potions, which slides Snape into the Defense Against the Dark Arts job he's coveted for years!! Obviously, this is not good for Harry and co.

A weird thing happens in potions...Harry is given an old book that is all written in, supposedly belonging to the "Half-Blood Prince." With this he excels in Potions, much to Slughorn's joy and Hermione's dismay.

The bulk of the book deals with various hookups and breakups among couples, like Ron and Lavender Brown, Ginny and Dean Thomas, etc. Harry begins to fancy Ginny (and since Ron and Hermione are such a good pair, I say, take her!), but then decides not to go out with her so as not to anger Ron. There are also problems with the Gryffindor Quidditch team, of which Harry is now captain, because first his Chaser, Katie Bell, gets ill from a cursed necklace she picked up in Hogsmeade, and then Ron gets poisoned from mead meant for Dumbledore. Both recover, but the team is forced to replace them during the absence, leading to rivalries.

Harry ever endeavors to find out what Malfoy is doing, and figures out (with help from Dobby and Kreacher, who he tells to spy on Malfoy) he must be using the Room of Requirement, the same room Harry and co. used for D.A. meetings in The Order of the Phoenix. He keeps trying to trail him, without success.

Meanwhile, Harry is taking private "lessons" with Dumbledore, which are not really lessons. They spend each "lesson" delving into Dumbledore's Pensieve in order to learn more about Voldemort. Lots of Voldemort's backstory comes out in this, like that he split his soul into seven Horcruxes in order to try to make himself immortal.

When trying to retrieve one Horcrux (which turns out to not be one -- the one they find is a fake, and the real one has been taken from the spot already), Dumbledore is forced to drink a potion, which weakens him almost to the point of death. Harry hastily Apparates them both back to Hogsmeade, and they both fly on brooms to Hogwarts when they spy the Dark Mark above the Astronomy Tower. In the corridor, they face Malfoy, who disarms Dumbledore with Expelliarmus, while Harry, frozen by some sort of charm cast by Dumbledore nonverbally, watches. Malfoy reveals that he is indeed in league with the Death Eaters, and they are at this moment ravaging and fighting in Hogwarts. Snape then appears, and it is revealed that he is too is in league with Voldemort. He then does a really, really surprising thing: he turns on the teacher who trusted him all these years. He turns to Dumbledore, wand out, and incants,


Yes, the Killing Curse!! The same one that Voldemort used to kill Harry's parents, and no doubt, countless others!!

I couldn't believe it. DUMBLEDORE IS DEAD!!!

Oh, and guess what. Snape is the Half-Blood Prince. The old Potions book was his. The "Prince" title came from his witch mother, who last name was Prince.

The book ends with Dumbledore's funeral and looks towards the seventh and final book, with Harry vowing to go out and try to find and destroy all the Horcruxes so that he can finally kill Voldemort. Ron and Hermione tell him that they will go with him. We don't know what becomes of Malfoy, though. It sounded like he wasn't going to go back to Hogwarts for his seventh year, and if he doesn't, I say good riddance. I'm not sure about our heroes either...Harry said he wouldn't go back but instead search for the Horcruxes, but I think somehow he'll end up there. You can't just drop out of Hogwarts, after all. Or can you? I don't know.


Well, I'm going to go home now.

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