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Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince SPOILER Thread


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I enjoyed it. I liked the fact it was almost entirely character and back story driven which is going to make for a difficult film to make in a few years given nothing of any great excitement happens until the climax, but on the page and in the context of the whole series of books it proves a worthy expansion into revealing aspects of so many characters be it their past or their evolving relationships.

 

I do admire Rowling for just writing what she pleases. Some might say 607 pages is a bit long given how this book’s plot evolves, but part of me wants to agree, and the other part admits I wouldn’t know what material isn’t worth knowing in there.

With this one, she certainly isn’t afraid to constantly refer to the kids swearing or making obscene hand gestures (they’re middle aged teens after all), though I was surprised to see her get away with the use of the word ‘slut’ in one particular scene.

 

*some spoiler thoughts*

 

 

 

Nothing shocked me about the ending, although Snape’s actions did leave somewhat of a curious impression on me, but Dumbledore’s passing felt inevitable from the beginning, though remained said to read nevertheless (the final chapter is especially charming).

 

I do still wonder about Snape. The argument Hagrid overheard between Snape and Dumbledore would lead me to believe Snape was objecting to Dumbledore’s own request that he end his life, but quite why Dumbledore would seek to plot such a thing I am still unsure about (what use is his dead?). Given Dumbledore knew a lot about Malfoy’s plotting but knew springing him would lead to more harm than good for the child, this could perhaps lend itself to my theory in that it would be disastrous for the boy to do the deed of the dark lord and kill Dumbledore, which is why Snape steps in and does it instead.

 

To me it is almost as if Snape is torn, he had sworn to protect Draco, and he did (or he’d face penalty of death), and he warded off the Death Eaters from killing Harry when he’s left completely venerable at the end. I’d like to think Snape is certainly more than what the kids always thought him to bee since book one at least, be my assumptions correct or there being another truth behind it all.

 

There is also Snape’s rage at being deemed a coward by Potter at the end. Something related to his past, or again was he so devastated at having to do the will of Dumbledore that killing him, and placing himself against his will back within the order of the Death Eaters can be considered a move that is anything but cowardly?

 

What’s more, Malfoy would face death had he not killed Dumbledore himself. Those were the orders, so what now is his fate given that Snape ended up doing the job?

 

 

I can see book seven ending up eight-hundred odd pages or so. :)

 

Daniel

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I can't say I share the general opinion of how great the book is. It's much better than Order of The Phoenix, but I still feel like they are fluffing a 300 page book out to 600. I think the one thing that made it hard for me is how the last two books focused so much on the emotions of a teenager growing up. The underlying theme of five was teenage angst, and in this one it is teenage love. Don't get me wrong, I think that stuff has to be in there, but the number of pages devoted to it in the first half of the book when they virtually ignored the main plotline of the entire series was aggravating.

 

I did predict pretty much every major event as it happened along the way. I have no problems with predictability, as long as it is well written. And in the key spots of the book, it was actually well written.

 

I expected them to tie up more loose ends in this book, seeing as how we are heading into the last one and all. That bad boy is going to be long

 

I don't know, maybe we should start a spoiler filled thread on this book. I have lots of questions, but none of them come spoiler free.

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It's much better than Order of The Phoenix, but I still feel like they are fluffing a 300 page book out to 600.

 

That's interesting. I still like Order of the Phoenix more. Book six is one that really can't stand alone as a genuinely enthralling instalment without what is to come in seven. That's the sense I got reading it as it feels like half the pieces of a puzzle. I could happily go as far as saying I've no final opinion on six until I've read seven as I think much of what there is to appreciate with this one, and indeed much of what reads like fluff will be better justified in the final book.

 

Half Blood Prince lacks a strong plot of its own, but made up for it in character development, which for a running series of novels I can forgive. Were I not interested in these characters lives I’d be signing a different tune of course, but fortunately I still found it a pager turner.

 

Daniel

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I don't know' date=' maybe we should start a spoiler filled thread on this book. I have lots of questions, but none of them come spoiler free.[/quote']

 

Agreed. I'm much more interested ins spoiler filled discussion of what went on i hte book, especially since my gf is still reading it and i can't talk to her about it.

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Dumbledore's insistence that his faith in Snape had not been misplaced, combined with him calling for Snape when he and Harry returned to Hogwarts, makes me think he is pulling an Obi-Wan here for some reason. A "Strike me down and I shall only return stronger" kind of thing. As Dan alluded to, it would be somewhat of a letdown if Snape really was the stinker we have been hearing about all along. I would hope that his killing Dumbledore was part of a grander plan, because it just doesn't fit Dumbledore's character to be so badly hoodwinked by the likes of Snape, especially in the face of the mounting evidence that Harry provided him through the course of the novels.

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I laughed at "pulling an Obi Wan," but that's quite a wonderful way of summing it up. It's too much to believe Snape could have killed him willingly. Dumbledore, next to Harry, is the only wizard Voldermort fears and I find it hard to believe anyone other than Voldermort himself stood a chance of actively wanting to murder him.

 

If Book 7 shows Dumbledore pulling a Gandalf I'll be very, very pissed off. But not particularly surprised.

 

You really shouldn't be in here, young man... but book six already alludes to an army of the dead so who knows? :) I think what is clear is that we’re getting a bloody great war in seven either way.

 

Rowling did say in an interview recently that she isn’t one for changing the fate of characters. She was speaking specifically of the final chapter of book seven which has been written and locked away for years as many fans know, and did stress that as hard as it is to accept when characters are gone, they are gone…. So hopefully book seven wont end with the house elves throwing a big yub yub party and the spirits of Sirius, Lilly, James and Dumbledore smiling knowingly at Harry. “Celebrate the looooovvvvveee”

 

In all seriousness I don’t think he will come back, but it is a thought that is somewhat difficult to write off completely if we consider Lilly appears at the end of Goblet, and we know Rowling’s invented a world full of many ghosts who interact with the living. I’d rather she didn’t go this route and just leave them dead (its nice Sirius does not appear in any form in book six)… Apparitions of his parents I think are a different matter since they’re as much a mystery to us as they are to Harry.

 

Daniel

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Dumbledore's insistence that his faith in Snape had not been misplaced, combined with him calling for Snape when he and Harry returned to Hogwarts, makes me think he is pulling an Obi-Wan here for some reason. A "Strike me down and I shall only return stronger" kind of thing. As Dan alluded to, it would be somewhat of a letdown if Snape really was the stinker we have been hearing about all along. I would hope that his killing Dumbledore was part of a grander plan, because it just doesn't fit Dumbledore's character to be so badly hoodwinked by the likes of Snape, especially in the face of the mounting evidence that Harry provided him through the course of the novels.

 

Now I need to go and reread the exchange between Dumbledore and Malfoy at the end. Dumbledore makes references to death not being final and how they could even more effectively hide and help malfoy and his parents. There's probably some clue in there somewhere...

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Now that I'm not constrained by the threat or ruining the book for others, time to get some things off my chest.

 

As for my 300 page in 600 comment, I say that because the first 125 pages are fluff before they get to school. Besides the little trip to Diagon and the run-in with Malfoy, they serve little purpose to the book IMO. It hits winter break around page 330ish, and the first half of the school year is devoted to talking about the school year and nothing of the actual destruction and devastation that is happening with the Death Eaters and Voldemort on the loose. I mean, that's the stuff I want to read about! Rather than talking about the cool stuff, they focus on character development, as has been said. When you are two books away from the end of the series, you should not need to do 300 pages of character development, even if you're Stephen King.

 

As for Dumbledore's death, I can't understand why he made Harry vulnerable like that. If they discovered him under the Invisibility cloak he was toast, and despite him being a sub-par wizard, they always seem to make him Mr. All Star when the going gets tough. He could have just toasted Malfoy, which would have added an interesting dimension to his character. We all know he'd probably destroy Snape, Voldemort or Malfoy if he was given the chance so why not let it happen? As well, there was no good reason for knocking off Dumbledore, let alone having an inept 16 year old kid ordered to do it. At the very least, I hope Malfoy bites it for not being able to complete his mission and having Snape do it for him.

 

And on that topic, since it alludes to Snape, why is that in every book Harry comes up with some idea about what's happening, nobody believes him, and he turns out to be right in the end?

 

Why is it Harry is mowing down Death Eaters like crazy, but Snape can effortlessly block everything he throws at him? Is Snape really that good of a wizard compared to all these other Death Eaters.

 

I don't know. When I first finished the book I felt satisfied with it. The more I think about the plot and details, the more questions that pop up.

 

It doesn't make me think less of the book, but the fact that Dumbledore kept telling Harry he'd tell him the cool story of how his hand got messed up and stuff and then goes and dies bugged me. I wanted to hear those stories. :) Surely they'd be more interesting than a description of two teenagers making out.

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Dumbledore makes references to death not being final and how they could even more effectively hide and help malfoy and his parents.

 

Are you quite sure about the "death not being final" bit? You may be channelling Sir Ian McKellen there. Although that's blatantly obvious to anyone at Hogwarts given ghosts roam the grounds, I only remember him stressing to Malfoy how they could hide him, his mother and protect Lucius. The line I distinctly remember however is that his (Dumbledore's) is mercy that matters in this confrontation, and not Draco's.

 

 

If they discovered him under the Invisibility cloak he was toast, and despite him being a sub-par wizard, they always seem to make him Mr. All Star when the going gets tough. He could have just toasted Malfoy, which would have added an interesting dimension to his character.

 

I'm not sure about that. To turn a character children revere into a cold blooded killer I think would be rather sloppy. I think it's good enough that in the past two books especially she's dealt with Harry's raging temper, but one of the strongest points made in book six is how compassionate a being Harry is, and how this is his greatest weapon against Voldermort. Least we also forget during a visit into one of Dumbledore's memories he did feel slight remorse for the young Tom Riddle, as uncomfortable as it made him feel. Study also his reaction after unleashing that awful spell on Draco.

 

Sure everything seems pretty clear in pointing toward the fact book seven is going to end with a 'love conquers all' motif, but the important thing is how we get to that and so far I think Harry is as multi-dimensional as he need be.

 

 

...why is that in every book Harry comes up with some idea about what's happening, nobody believes him, and he turns out to be right in the end?

 

Well the reality is that it's the snooty famous five factor. The last two books, Phoenix most notably, certainly were the turning point in people believing Harry (I like that Prince references the singed indent on his hand about telling lies) and I do still believe he is wrong about Snape. With Malfoy, had Dumledore agreed with Harry about him earlier it could have again put Draco in more jeopardy which is precisely why Dumbledore never confronted Draco himself earlier.

 

 

It doesn't make me think less of the book, but the fact that Dumbledore kept telling Harry he'd tell him the cool story of how his hand got messed up and stuff and then goes and dies bugged me.

 

In fairness, though he doesn't tell a story about it, he did reveal how his hand got burnt (breaking the curse on the Marvolo ring), and that it was Snape who healed him in time before it could take his life.

 

I felt as you do with the above about another story point entirely, that of the Half Blood Prince himself. There's no real story there, not enough in my opinion for the novel to bear it as a title at least. It's an anti climax when Snape tells Harry that it's him before fleeing (especially when you kind of get a hunch after Snape interrogates Harry after attacking Malfoy, which admittedly I felt was a great part of the book). Again, later it is so fleeting when Hermione mentions Snape's mother's maiden name is Prince as well.

 

I'm going off on a tangent here, but there's quite a disappointingly feeble Simpsons episode about how Homer and Marge actually came to cross paths at childhood summer camp and never knew it. All of Homer's friends from adult life are there with him including Moe and there's a scene where a young Moe is on the phone shouting down a prank caller. He hangs up, pauses and says to himself "well, I guess that’s the origin of dat".... I couldn't shake that line after the eleventh hour discoveries about Snape's nickname.

 

Daniel

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This appears to be a bookstore drive by of someone revealing the ending to fans buying the book. It's incredibly cruel and moronic, but the 'noooooo' pretty much puts this up there with the now infamous Darth Vader 'nooooooo' soundbite webpage.

 

Be wary of anyone around you who might not want to hear this:

http://pottercrash.ytmnd.com/

 

Daniel

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As for my 300 page in 600 comment, I say that because the first 125 pages are fluff before they get to school. Besides the little trip to Diagon and the run-in with Malfoy, they serve little purpose to the book IMO.

 

Oh, I disagree with that completely. The first chapter in which Fudge tells the Prime Minister of England that the recent disasters were wizard-produced was a neat and unexpected way of getting us up to date on the few weeks from the end of Phoenix and the beginning of Half-Blood. The second chapter where Draco's mother and aunt (?) confront Snape about being a double agent was tremendously important. All along we have been wondering where Snape's loyalty lies, and this chapter gives us some very credible evidence that Snape is not the good Order of the Phoenix soldier that Dumbledore seems to think; after all, whom do you think would be easier to fool about one's loyalties, Voldemort or Dumbledore? And then when Snape takes that unbreakable oath to carry out Draco's task should Draco fail, that comes thundering back in the final chapter when you see that Draco is faltering about killing Dumbledore and then Snape comes bursting in. That was the first thing I thought of, that Snape had taken an oath to complete Draco's task (of which, at the time Snape took it we didn't know the nature) and that Ron's further explanation of the consequences of breaking the oath (death to the oath-taker) meant that Snape HAD to kill Dumbledore. That added to the power of the scene, although I was still shocked when he actually did so.

 

The only real levity in the book also came early on, when Dumbledore confronted the Dursleys (I laughed out loud at the brandy glasses pelting them on the head in a desperate attempt to offer themselves). As dark as the book gets, I think that bit of hilarity balances things out nicely. All in all, I don't think any part of the book was needless or wasted. But then I am rather tolerant of the entire series having so much affection for each of the volumes, and I can readily understand someone with a more critical eye having some of the complaints that you voiced.

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If Book 7 shows Dumbledore pulling a Gandalf I'll be very, very pissed off. But not particularly surprised.

 

I'd be surprised if he makes a full on return, but his portrait does appear in his office after his death. I thought something would be made of this in the book; however, I imagine it's going to be significant in 7.

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Angry: As far as the title goes, don't you think that calling the book "The half Blood Prince" was a better title than "Snape the Potion Master and dumbledore Killer"? In my opinion, it was a good title since so much of the story is driven by Snape. The second chapter is all about him and his Unbreakable Vow. His potion work helps Harry get closer to Slughorn as well as adds tension to his relationships with Hermione and Ron. Much of Harry's obsession with Malfoy is built upon the foundation of dislike that Harry has for Snape and conversations he overhears between Snape and others. Finally, it's Snape that kills Dumbledore and turns out to be the ultimate traitor (for now). In many ways, Snape is the reocurring thread through the entire book.

 

As far as Dumbledore goes, what's up with the replacement locket and why are none of you discussing that? Who's initials are R.A.B., and doesn't their note about facing death in hopes of defeating Voldemort later point to some hope that we might see Dumbledore again? On the flip side, Dumbledore makes the list of people Harry has truly loved and lost(his mom, his dad, Sirius). Is it possible that the loss of Dumbledore gives Harry even more power in that department?

 

All in all I enjoyed HBP, but not as much as Goblet of Fire which remains my favorite of the series so far. I agree with those who said that Rowling has a HUGE amount of work ahead of her, as that last book has a *lot* of things to wrap up.

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The fact Harry had Snape's potions book really had little to do with anything though. It just was always there, and the fact it taught Harry a few new spells and how to get top marks in a class seems very useless with the whole, "Voldemort is alive and terrorising the world" thing. The only time it became useful in the plot is when Snape figured it out very near the end of the book, but they didn't really do anything with it then either. It's not like the book taught Harry anything useful that helped him save Dumbledore or stop the Death Eaters. So when Snape blurts out that it was his book, it really seemed so unimportant to the rest of the storyline. The Half Blood Prince, for the time being, means nothing to me.

 

As for R.A.B, I hadn't really given it much thought. But didn't Sirius Black have a brother named Regulus that was a Death Eater. And didn't Regulus get killed for trying to stop being a Death Eater? That was in this book, but was such a brief mention that I likely forgot all the details or got something wrong on my first reading.

 

Oh, I just thought of something else. How much money do you want to place on the lightning scar on Harry's forehead being the last Horcrux and when Harry kills Voldemort he has to die as well in order to save the world. How Shakespearean...

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As for R.A.B' date=' I hadn't really given it much thought. But didn't Sirius Black have a brother named Regulus that was a Death Eater. And didn't Regulus get killed for trying to stop being a Death Eater? That was in this book, but was such a brief mention that I likely forgot all the details or got something wrong on my first reading.[/quote']

 

It only gets mentioned in passing in this book. In Order of the Phoenix, Sirius and Harry talk about him briefly while looking the family tree tapestry I believe.

 

Sirius:"From what I found out after he died, he got in so far, then panicked about what he was being asked to do, and tried to back out. Well, you don't just hand in your resignation to Voldemort. It's a lifetime of service or death."

 

Are you quite sure about the "death not being final" bit? You may be channelling Sir Ian McKellen there. Although that's blatantly obvious to anyone at Hogwarts given ghosts roam the grounds, I only remember him stressing to Malfoy how they could hide him, his mother and protect Lucius. The line I distinctly remember however is that his (Dumbledore's) is mercy that matters in this confrontation, and not Draco's.

 

Ok this was in the Lightning Struck Tower right before the rest of the death eaters joined Malfoy.

 

Malfoy: "He told me to kill you or He'd Kill me. I've got no choice."

Dumbledore: "He cannot kill you if you are already dead. Come over to the right side , Draco, and we can hide you more completely than you can possibly imagine."

 

Rereading that full section, it appears Dumbledore would fake Malfoy's death and then hide him and his family. No Star Wars-ian life after death thing going on here, just a little misinterperetation going on reading at 4am. :)

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As for R.A.B, I hadn't really given it much thought. But didn't Sirius Black have a brother named Regulus that was a Death Eater. And didn't Regulus get killed for trying to stop being a Death Eater? That was in this book, but was such a brief mention that I likely forgot all the details or got something wrong on my first reading.

 

Oh, well done. I had forgotten all about Sirius' brother. I think you called it!

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Makes me wonder if Harry's new ownership of Kreacher and the Black estate might become involved in finding the missing Horcrux.

 

Also, while I kinda like the idea of Harry's scar being the final Horcrux, it wouldn't work. In order to destroy Voldemort then, that would imply they both would have to die at the exact same time instrance, otehrwise a bit of VOldemort would have survived. Plus, when Voldemort posessed Harry for those brief moment in Order of The Phoenix, he was in absolute agony. I just don't think Voldemort could store a fragment of his soul in such an unsuitable vessel.

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Hey folks, finished it today.

 

Some thoughts:

 

1) Harry would be a GREAT Horcrux. The hero would essentially have to kill himself to be rid of evil. Brilliant evil plan. And if LV kills Harry...well, what's a small chunk of your soul in exchange for defying the prophecy that would kill you (unless he's the last piece...). I don't think Harry is the Horcrux...but he could be.

 

2) Regarding Snape. I posted this at HTF, and I'll share it here. I consider it spoiler material, not because I am a genius or particularly good at this...but because this is something I am *CERTAIN* is a big reveal in Book 7. It regards why Dumbledore implicitly trusted Snape (and rightly so).

 

This is all speculation, but I'd honestly bet all of my earthly possessions on it.

 

What is Snape's motivation throughout this whole thing? Why would Snape oppose Voldemort with all that he knows? Why would Dumbledore trust him implicitly?

 

The same reason Dumbledore trusts Harry.

 

Why does Snape dislike Harry so much? He reminds him of James, his father. Why does Snape detest his father? Because he teased him? That's partially it.

 

Here it is: straight up. Looking at it logically, this is going to be one of the big secrets of Book 7.

 

Spoiler:

One word. Lily.

 

Severus Snape loved Lily. And James taunted him in front of her. And then married her. And then Voldemort killed her. Dumbledore knew that Snape loved her. Snape revealed this to D when he revealed his involvement with the prophecy. For all we know, Snape joined the DE to save her, to woo her, etc. But Snape loved her, and resents (and feels protective of) Harry for that very reason. Clearly Snape is a capital "G" great wizard. Who else was good at potions, just like Harry? Lily. Who helped Harry (though not intentionally)? Severus. Who loved Lily enough to help her? Snape. Who loved Lily enough to NEVER serve LV, still not like Harry, but be beholden to him? Severus Snape.

 

So that's it.

 

Have at me,

Chuck

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Angry: As far as the title goes, don't you think that calling the book "The half Blood Prince" was a better title than "Snape the Potion Master and dumbledore Killer"?

 

Well quite, but my complaint really lies with how in a 607 page novel she so quickly fills in the blank as to who it is and why he took such a name. When you compare it to how enthralling the unravelling of Riddle’s diary was, the potion book is a somewhat poor second given what we know about it by the end of the novel.

 

From what is set up in book six, I get the feeling book seven will be more revealing about Snape than this instalment has been (and is hopefully to cross reference how precisely Snape came up with such spells in the first place)….but then I do feel six and seven are essentially going to be one book given I don’t feel six has a strong story element of its own, at least one as strong as the others do.

 

 

Severus Snape loved Lily. And James taunted him in front of her. And then married her. And then Voldemort killed her. Dumbledore knew that Snape loved her. Snape revealed this to D when he revealed his involvement with the prophecy. For all we know, Snape joined the DE to save her, to woo her, etc. But Snape loved her, and resents (and feels protective of) Harry for that very reason. Clearly Snape is a capital "G" great wizard. Who else was good at potions, just like Harry? Lily. Who helped Harry (though not intentionally)? Severus. Who loved Lily enough to help her? Snape. Who loved Lily enough to NEVER serve LV, still not like Harry, but be beholden to him? Severus Snape.

 

 

I think it kind of goes without saying. I've had the same feeling for the last few books, Chuck, at least in as much as believing Snape to have had feelings for Lilly. As you say, it fits in rather logically. Mere teasing is too little for Snape to carry the contempt he does for Harry and would be a simple reason that is frankly beneath Rowling's imagination if that's all there was to it. Is it in Phoenix with the flashback to them teasing the younger Snape? That was a scene I was incredibly fond of and kind of cemented my feelings about this very issue upon reading it.

 

Daniel

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Dan,

Based on other threads I've visited, that's not a common opinion (that you and I share). Like you, I remember that scene distinctly (from Phoenix, the weakest of the books for me) as it's my favorite in the book - it was my first clue as well to this piece of information. Anyways, I've read a lot of sturm and drang regarding Snape and "is he or isn't he". In short, this clue clearly indicates why Dumbledore trusted him implicitly. And why whatever happened, happened for Harry's benefit.

 

That said, I have no doubt Voldemort knows all of this and is using Snape anyways. Keep your enemies close and your "friends" closer and all that.

 

But clearly, JKR is saving that as the revelation (of several I am sure) of Book 7 that explains why Snape was trusted, and why Snape treats Harry the way he does.

 

Where that goes from here, who knows.

 

I was just happy to figure *something* out,

Chuck

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I have not been able to make up my mind about Snape yet. I do recall a scene where Dumbledore says something about being a great wizard only makes his mistakes huger. ( quote as I recall it ) I am wondering if it's possible that trusting Snape is one of those " huger " mistakes ?

 

It amazes me that Snape was able to kill the only wizard MoldyVoldy is afraid of. If Dumbledore is the be all/end all in wizard power, I would think it would have to be someone very very powerful to take him out. Although the curse Snape threw is one of the unblockable curses.

 

I have also wondered about Fawkes. I would think that so many references to Phoenix's all over the books something similar to Fawkes being reborn could happen to Dumbledore.

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Based on the writings and themes of JK Rowling, I do not believe she will let one of Dumbledore's mistakes be seeing the good in another person. I do recall that quote, but I think it's a herring for the Snape bit.

 

As for Snape killing Dumbledore, Dumbledore was VERY weak at the time, and the book established that Snape was a very, VERY skilled wizard (the Half-Blood Prince). That said, much like Harry before him, Snape would have to do what Dumbledore wanted...including kill him.

 

Dumbledore was NOT pleading with Snape to spare him. Dumbledore wouldn't plead. He had previously told Harry that he was not afraid of death...that others things were far worse. No doubt he knew that Snape HAD to do it to save Malfoy's life (one of Dumbledore's students).

 

The clues are all there. You just have to take a hard look at everything Dumbledore has said throughout the story, especially in this book.

 

Take care,

Chuck

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That's an intriguing theory, and one which makes a lot of sense. I'm not sure it explains Snape's bone-deep loathing of Harry, though. If the woman I loved married another, seemed relatively happy, had an offspring, and then died tragically, I think I would feel closer to her offspring, rather than hating it with all of my soul. Especially since Harry has "Lily's eyes", and is the only living reminder of what would have been the object of Snape's lifelong desire.

 

Not saying I disagree with you, but if that's the genesis of Snape's hatred towards Harry that Rowling uses, I'm not sure I will buy it completely.

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