I’m re-reading the Harry Potter books with a good friend this year. This month is was time for the sixth book. I do have to put up a little disclaimer, I read it in Dutch. Commence the nostalgia!
Lately there have been a lot of new Harry Potter spinoffs, from a play to a movie based on a textbook. But what I’d like to see most (not including the marauders movie) is a TV series by the BBC. Especially the sixth book is the perfect source material for television. It has suspense, political messages that will ring a bell for any generation, a good hearted nature, the feeling of loss of innocence and compelling characters.
There’s not a lot of stories that handle flashbacks as well as this one. It’s not just Harry and Dumbledore that take a look in the past. It feels as if you are right there with them learning all about He Who Must Not Be Named came to be. The memories only add to the mystery of the man. You want to unravel his secrets, but at the same time you’re afaid of what you might find.
But it’s not Voldemort that scares me the most. One scene that really struck a core is one where Harry sees the man that everyone believes in crumble. The boy must be brave enough to keep his promise, to guide the one everyone seeks out for guidance. Maybe it’s this scene that is more heartbreaking than the ones that follow. Knowing he is the one inflicting pain, having to believe it’s for the greater good. Only to come to a different conclusion in the end. Although the book doesn’t linger on it, my mind wanders. It makes me think of the depressed, alzheimer or ill patients that can’t move at all. Where do you draw the line? This is just me reading into the novel way too much, but I love it when a book makes me do that.
In a way this is the perfect set-up for the finale. Malfoy and Snape’s storylines are phenomenal. It makes you see that people are not what you thought. Reading it again it surprises me how many times there is foreshadowing to such an extent that you are basically already read what happened, just without the information. During the second book you feel as if Dumbledore already knew about the Horcruxes and he admits he did always have his suspisions. But almost like a scientist he had to test his theory. The same can be said for Snape and why Dumbledore believes in him. It’s there, but not really. It’s so subtle that you wouldn’t pick it up if you didn’t know. Brilliant.
Jo is brilliant when she’s writing her action, her suspence, her foreshadowing and her worldbuidling. But her romance? Not even a little bit. There’s a romance in this that’s completely shoehorned in. While one couple gradually turns from friends to lovers, the other one goes from nothing to I don’t even know what in one second. All of a sudden Harry feels as if a beast awakens in him. This isn’t due to his connection to Voldemort or any other evil magic. No, it’s how Rowling describes the teenage desire. It’s so awkward that I really do have to say: Twilight is a better love story. There’s no buildup, no sweet moments beforehand. Not even a single butterfly floating around as you’re reading the blossoming romance. I’ve said before that as a reader I want to fall in love while the characters do. In this I was only disgusted. I forgot the romance was this bad, because I really didn’t want to think about it. I’ve never been a fan of this couple. It’s weird how Rowling can write such believable friendship but completely fails at love. Especially since her greatest message seems to be: love conquers all. I hope this wasn’t what Dumbledore meant when he said Harry possessed the greatest power of all – love. Because of he did.. Harry’d be screwed.