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Hm. Just finished HBP, and...


... well, that wasn't quite what I expected, even though I did accidentally read the 'Snape kills Dumbledore' spoiler, in an entirely unexpected place, I might add. Still, I wasn't sure whether to believe it, because i certainly didn't linger & investigate, and even then I'd have imagined the circumstances would be different...

Generally speaking I think it's a well written book, more disciplined than OOTP, without the edge of near-hysteria and over-use of caps-lock key. Come to think of it, though, I kind of liked the messiness.This is all so orderly & mature...

* Snape. Oh, ::sigh::. I still tend to give him a certain benefit of doubt, because why build up a complex, ambiguous character, only to to reveal that he wasn't all that complex and ambiguous, merely an accomplished actor? Then again JKR might just be very good at messing with fans' expectations... I haven't read anyone else's opinion on the scene yet, but personally I'd like to believe he hasn't really switched sides.

If Snape hadn't killed Dumbledore he'd have died because he broke the Unbreakable Vow. I'd like to think that perhaps he made the split-second decision that if he died on that tower it'd be a lovely sentiment, but quite useless, and Dumbledore would most likely still end up dead, weakened and disarmed as he was. On the other hand, if he didn't blow his cover, but firmly establish his loyalty to Voldemort, once and for all, he might remain in a position of trust (and judging from the what Narcissa and Bellatrix said he's managed to get in the innermost circle already) enabling him (e.g.) to finally take out Voldemort once the horcruxes are destroyed. A way to guarantee that Harry would have inside help when it came to the final battle.

Was there more? Dumbledore knew about the Unbreakble Vow, Harry wouldn't have neglected this detail. Dumbledore knew Draco had been ordered to kill him. He must have at the very least considered that Snape's Vow would involve him in this attempt, yet he brushes off Harry's concern, in fact cuts him short quite impatiently.

What is the reason Dumbledore trusted Snape so absolutely? Why was he so adamantly refusing to discuss this with anyone at all, or to at least give Harry a reason to trust Snape? This is one of the few mysteries constantly hinted at, but still unsolved, so I'd like to think it will be important in the last volume.

What did Snape 'not want to do anymore', what did Dumbledore take 'too much for granted'? Since leaving the Death Eaters was hardly an option at this point, he'd hardly give Dumbledore a warning if he was questioning his allegiances? Did Dumbledore in fact ask/order Snape to kill him on that tower, was this an eventuality they'd planned for? Did he use Snape just as ruthlessly as he was using Harry making him swear to force him to drink that potion? Did Dumbledore know he was going to die, taking extreme care to give Harry all the information necessary to kill Voldemort?

Whatever Harry might think, the potions book is no evidence for Snape's potential evilness, because obviously it belonged to his (pre-)Death Eater days. We already knew he was involved in Dark arts, so a couple of dark spells more are not exactly a surprise.

Snape does not kill Harry, again, and again, and again. Voldemort's orders? Does it matter at this point? Wouldn't Harry's mere death have been enough?

Why did Snape finally get the DADA this year?

Why did Snape take that stupid vow in the first place? Did he think it was the only way to convince Bellatrix, to finally establish his loyalty beyond doubt?

After OOTP I believed that Snape and Harry would finally come to some kind of grudging understanding, but now I think Snape (unless of course he truly chose the Death Eater side) will probably get himself killed taking out Voldemort, or protecting Harry, because nothing less will make Harry reconsider.


* Dumbledore and Harry. I've never believed in the evil! manipulative! Dumbledore theory, but for long stretches of this volume he seemed a little weird even to me, the way he was blatantly using Harry, the way he was emotionally blackmailing him to get Slughorn's memory. Perhaps it was the whole 'Snape kills Dumbledore' thing lingering in the back of my mind, but I actually considered whether he might not acidentally have become possessed by one of the pieces of Voldemorts soul, and the whole very secret trip to a very remote cave made me rather uneasy. This Dumbeldore is much harsher, more impatient; the insecurity from the end of OOTP is gone, maybe because he realised that he's running out of time, fast. In the way he's preparing Harry, giving him all the information he needs, there's a certain awareness that Harry might eventually, perhaps sooner than later, have to fight on his own. I think at this point he's almost stopped seeing Harry as a person, but is turning him into a weapon to continue fighting in the event of his own death; into someone who isn't going to kill because some prophecy says so, but because he wants to.

It's rather ironic, Dumbledore telling Draco that he isn't a killer, when at the same time he's teaching Harry to be one, even if it's out of necessity, because Voldemort after all has to be defeated by someone, and even if he does try to balance this as far as possible, reminding him to trust in his friends, of the importance of love.. And yet he's still teaching Harry that everything is secondary to achieving the goal. IMO the scariest scene in the whole book is Harry being able to go through with forcing a delirious Dumbledore to drink that potion, telling him it would help him, and finally, that it would kill him. Or, again, the way he coldly uses his parents' deaths to get the memory from Slughorn. One wonders what Harry will be like once he's killed Voldemort.


* Could RAB be Regulus (no middle name known) Black?


* What's with all the relationships? The incessant angsty teenage romance thing? Does everyone have to be paired off in the end? Still, I liked Fleur's reaction to Bill's injuries, and Remus/Tonks is kind of nice, too. Hermione/Ron is ok, or would be, if Ron ever got over his neuroses & complexes. Harry/Ginny I'm not so fond of, even if I like the new and improved Ginny a lot.


* Do these kids learn Latin at all? Because then it'd have been rather obvious that one might want to be careful with a spell called Sectumsempra that comes with the remark 'for enemies'...


[Good thing, though, I stopped reading HP fanfic some time ago, because I shudder at the (further) amount of redeemed! (crying! angsty!) Draco fic that will spring up between now and the next volume, now that it's (almost) canon... OTOH perhpas it'll finally make the fangirls stop with the incessant whining about how JKR mistreats & misunderstands poor Draco.]


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