Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.
The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
Prisoners of Azkaban
Saturday, July 23, 2005
And Speaking of Voldemort
The new Harry Potter is looking so far like a mild disappointment. Not that it's actually bad by any means, but it does seem to be a step down from Rowling's extremely high standards. The start was quite slow and, if I weren't already committed to the series, I would probably have given up on it. In general it's been quite easy to put the book aside for a few hours and focus on something else, a feat that required absolutely heroic efforts for the last few volumes.
Although I've only read about 1/2 so far, I've already figured out (over 100 pages ago) the pretty obvious answer to what Rowling presumably intends to be a major mystery: [almost certainly correct spoiler alert] the 'Half Blood Prince' must be Voldemort. A brilliant sorcerer, a half blood obsessed with pure blood lines, an expert in hexes and jinxes, plus Harry's father, who is already known to have known Voldemort at Hogwarts, used the spell he invented - it all fits. And since Hermoine is supposed to be very smart, she already suspects the Prince, and Harry is telling her about his sessions with Dumbledore, why doesn't she have at least an inkling of this? Has obsessing over Ron knocked down her IQ by that much? [/spoiler alert]
The rumor line has it that Dumbledore will be killed off in this book, and that is looking plausible. Harry has identified himself so much with Dumbledore that to follow the classic arc of a hero's development, he has to lose his mentor so he can face Voldemort alone in the final battle of volume 7. The other plausible candidate for the big sleep is Snape. An early chapter gives the appearance that he has gone back to the Death Eaters and is secretly working against Dumbledore. I think that's a red herring and Snape will give final proof of his loyalty, either in this book or the next, with a heroic death. But if Rowling is following the pattern from the last book, she'll have Harry go through a loss that will be genuinely painful for him, and that could hardly be Snape.
Read the book anyway, not that the 20 million or so who read the last one need me to tell them that. A below average book by Rowling is still better than most fantasy writers can manage at their very best.