(PeterTaylor's initial thoughts) I detect some pandering to the fans - Rowling gives away Blaise Zabini's sex (although not before carefully teasing the reader), and the romantic combinations are not entirely distinguishable from those of many fanfic authors. I must say, though, that I was surprised at Dumbledore's death: I'd expected it in book 7. Felix Felicitus seems a bit of a rubbish plot device, although maybe that's because I've seen it used better in RedDwarf?. Draco showing initiative was a bit of a surprise: his character developed significantly.
My problem with the Felix thing was the same as my problem with the truth potion thing - why was it not widely used the numerous times before where it would have saved a vast amount of trouble? --Edwin
There is a partial answer to that in the book - it's hideously complicated, and takes weeks to stew. --CH
A slightly different reason is its dangerous side effects when used too frequently. Slughorn says he's only used it once in his life, although I find this a bit hard to credit, considering the character. --FR
Does make you wonder why/how Slugworth (sorry, wrong book...) had it bubbling in a cauldron since he couldn't possibly have brewed it since arriving at Hogwarts. About the romantic combinations thing though... I'm pretty sure every combination, including the ones we never wanted to hear about, has been fanfic'ed so Rowling really couldn't avoid that. In summary, I enjoyed the book a lot (more than the previous one, certainly), but I'm rather wondering what sort of format the last book is going to have without Hogwarts and exams to hold the thing together. --K
Angoel's initial thoughts are that the story seems to be lacking a plot. The entire book seems to read as a 'this happened and then that happened' setup for the final book. Sure, the half-blood prince subplots, Quidditch subplots, stalking Malfoy subplots and relationship subplots were sweet, but they didn't actually accomplish anything. The only plot which caused a relevant change in the world was the use of the luck potion to get the memories off Sluggy, and even getting those memories only led on to more exposition.
I think I disagree. Draco's task was the main plot, because it led to the book's climactic battle and resulted in significant changes for Hogwarts (loss of a headmaster, a DADA teacher again, at least one head of house and perhaps two if McGonagall? becomes Headmistress and isn't allowed to stay as Gryffindor head). --AC
You're all missing the point. Everything came together to produce copious amounts of ANGST! ;) - MoonShadow
Actually, I rather liked it. In fact, my two largest complaints are that Harry and Ginny only got 5 chapter to be going out - at least one of which had Harry in a cave - which is patently far too few and an oversight that hopefully will be corrected at some point in book 7; and that there is a point where an idea has been "fermenting" in Harry's brain... --ChrisHowlett
(PeterTaylor) Interested in people's opinions on Snape. I'm of the opinion that he was sitting on the fence until the first chapter of this book.
Snape is one of the good guys; killing Dumbledore is necessary to get him into a position to stop Voldie. --Angoel
I guess I still think he is a 'good guy', just a remarkably stupid one for having cornered himself into performing Draco's "task" with the unbreakable vow. --K
Oh no, he wasn't forced into it. He would have died if he hadn't, but that's a huge difference. I was suspecting he might choose to die rather than go through with it. Angoel's suggestion is an extremely interesting one. I went through most of the book convinced that despite appearances he was still on the Order's side, and expecting a reminder at some point of why Dumbledore trusted him (or disclosure of some new information about why he did). --AC
One of my friends at work reckon Dumbledore guessed this might happen and gave Snape orders about it - hence the argument - so that when Dumbledore pleaded with Snape at the end, he was pleading not for mercy but for Snape to do the deed, in order that Harry might be protected and Snape's cover not blown - SunKitten
I agree with this: just before Snape kills him, Dumbledore says, 'Severus, please...' A large number of my acquaintances, or at least those who are interested, wonder what that really meant. Personally, I think Snape was created to be the 'grey' character, in the manner of Golem, and will therefore have an instrumental role towards the end of the series. --FR