I think we're all aware of my feelings about Sirius at this point, so I shan't labour them now, but I will just say that... I'm not happy that he's dead or anything. I'm not going to dance on his grave or cheer or whatever, because I understand what he means to Harry, and I understand that, on the most basic level, he wasn't an evil character. But I also didn't cry when he died, and there were a few things around it that made me sadder- Neville's courage when he stands up to Bellatrix ('I DOE YOU HAB!'), Lupin's sadness ('It sounded as though every word was causing him pain.') and Dumbledore's solitary tear at Harry's fate.
I know there are Umbridge things to discuss (she'll get a bullet point, don't worry) and also McGONAGALLLLL, but for me this part really just boils down to the bit in the Ministry of Magic, and the bit in Dumbledore's office. For excitement (and HORROR) the MoM scenes can't really be matched, but in terms of setting things up for the last two books, I feel like the chapter in Dumbledore's office is really the MOST IMPORTANT EVER. A lot of things are resolved, a full scale character analysis of Sirius goes on, and so many things are set up for the end point of everything.
- Things that are resolved: Dumbledore has been ignoring and avoiding Harry to protect him (awww), Everyone should always listen to Hermione about everything, especially being nice to house elves, Dumbledore is a massive badass (actually, that's in the chapter before, but isn't it awesome?!)
- Sirius's character: He was headstrong and brave and not willing to sit around when there might be DANGER, and so he shouldn't have been kept caged up, but ALSO he should have shown respect to those lower than him like he told H+R+H to do in GoF. It's mostly interesting in that, Dumbles says a lot of nice things about Sirius that Harry barely responds to, but the slightest hint of a criticism makes him START THE SHOUTING AGAIN. Which, I guess, is something we already know about Harry since he can't take any criticism of Hagrid and his teaching skills, and it's nice that he doesn't see any faults at all in the people he loves, but also it makes him seem kind of naive and, well, stupid.
- Setting up for the end point of everything: Well. Surely I don't have to explain this bit. But basically, I remember that reading about the prophecy for the first time made me go 'OMG WHUT?!' Mind. Blown. But also, Dumbledore going through the reasons he kept putting off telling Harry made me WEEP. "'I have watched you struggling under more burdens than any student who has ever passed through this school, and I couldn't bring myself to add another.'"
Bullet points? Yes.
- All the exam stuff (remember that? That was totally in this section!) was really well done, I think- as they were waiting for them to start, I could completely remember what it was like waiting to go into an exam, so nice evoking memories work, JK!
- "No more pretending we care what happens when Jupiter and Uranus get too friendly." heh heh heh.
- OH MY GOD, how annoying was Harry, running round after his vision and then going 'I don't have anyone to tell!' Literally the WHOLE TIME I was just like 'JUST FUCKING TELL SNAPE YOU IDIOT!'
- DOES Harry have a hero complex? I feel like he does want to save people because of some underlying guilt that he couldn't save his parents (or something) but mostly he wants to save Sirius because he loves Sirius, and also how is he supposed to know about the putting fake images in his head thing? COULDN'T SOMEONE HAVE MENTIONED THAT?! (I am actually really pissed off about this)
- Does Umbridge really get raped by centaurs? Cause... I don't really support that. Even if it is Umbridge.
- I love that Dumbles calls Voldy 'Tom'. That seems like the right thing to do. Deflating-y.
- "'I- don't- well-' blustered Fudge, looking around as though hoping somebody was going to tell him what to do." I think this pretty much tells us all we need to know about Fudge.
- You know how Harry is all like 'I'll never forgive Snape!'? Um... Why? For... doing all he could to try and stop things and locate Sirius and also save the children? All whilst not blowing his cover? Harry is stupid (some more).
And finally- (look out, because I'm about to compliment Sirius here. Ish.) I enjoy Harry's seeking out of Nearly Headless Nick to ask him if Sirius might be a ghost, and Nick telling him that he clearly won't be. It seems to me that being a ghost, and choosing to not move on to whatever's next, and choosing to be a mere shadow is kind of the cowardly thing to do, and whatever else I might say of Sirius, he definitely wasn't a coward. I figure that, choosing to be a ghost would be like staying inside the house, only forever, and that just wouldn't be Sirius's choice. Not ever. I feel like Harry understands that, and if not then he should.
Is there anything happy at all in the Half Blood Prince?! I really hope so. I think we all need it!