by J.K. Rowling (2005).
I come really late to the Harry Potter fandom, mostly due to the fact that the books and movies became wildly popular while I was in college, and I didn't allow myself time to get hooked. But between the new movie, the last book of the series, and all my friends who adore HP, I wanted to jump on the bandwagon, for once, so as not to miss out.
12:01 am Saturday morning saw the release of the 7th book, but I had to read the 6th (the only story I knew nothing about), while waiting for Jenny to finish with her copy of the 7th. I plowed through book 6's 650-odd pages in less than a day.
I had been spoiled on one major thing back in 2005, but it didn't ruin any of my enjoyment--and that's a testament to how good these books are. Also compulsively readable, which I had forgotten in the 6 or so years since I read 1 through 3.
The story of the Half-Blood Prince works, in some ways, like part one of a two-part tv episode. Thinking back on it, there's not a huge amount of separate plot (as opposed to the first book, for instance). But it didn't read like that at the time. I guess it is also the story of the old guard imparting vital knowledge to the younger set, then stepping back and leaving them to the do the real work on their own. It's also about deception, double-crossing, and how maybe everyone is just as terrible as you had hoped they weren't (and I mean that all across the board, from Malfoy to Snape to Hermione and Ron)--much in the same way the story of book 5 is about how everyone is an orphan.
I said in my entry about the 5th movie that it had to be the loneliest sustained place in the plot; that prediction definitely bore out here. Everyone gets to have someone, even if they don't know it yet, even if they have to end it before taking the next step on the journey. Thank goodness for Rowling and her believable 16-year-olds. Thank goodness, also, for the quiet maturity and determination of Harry himself. I think he's earned that hero title a million times more than Frodo ever did.
And now I'm resuming my complete media lockdown, so I can finish book 7 without being spoiled.