Clearly I'm just not very good at the daily-blog thing.
So what's it been, a year?
I s'pose this had just degenerated into movie reviews and the occasional political rant, but you, the reader (should you exist) certainly deserve better.
As far as movies, the last year hasn't really done it for me, anyway, so you haven't missed much. See my main page for my faves from last year (Eternal Sunshine was the year's best, despite the lone writing Oscar).
I just want to put ink to screen after finishing the most recent Harry Potter tome. I was trying to read HP and the Half-Blood Prince at a leisurely pace...100 to 150 page chunks every night. (I got a late start since my copy of the British version didn't arrive until Monday afternoon.) That plan failed last night as I was up till 4am finishing up the last 500 or so pages.
Worth it, though. J.K.'s a fine writer. Not great literature, mind you, but popcorn reading of the highest order. Having said that, I'd put Volume 6 as no better than 4th best in the series after 5, 4, and 3.
My favorite parts from the books have been watching Harry's friends do great, heroic things. I'm not sure why that is, but I can guess it's because Harry's the main guy -- he won't get killed off, but when Neville and Luna and Hermione and all the Weasleys (among several others) start kicking ass and taking names, I know they might not actually survive the encounter.
This book, unfortunately, really didn't have much of that until the very end, and it was heavily glossed over. I needed a chapter or two of Ron and Hermione and Ginny drinking the luck potion and going out against the Death Eaters. I wanted to see Neville and Luna back-to-back fighting for their lives. (Can you tell I like Luna and Neville best of all the characters? I'm not sure what JK has planned for Luna, but she's been slowly preparing Neville for greatness since Book 1. He may be the character upon whom the outcome of the whole war will rest.)
But, alas, there was none of that.
So I'm left with this whole Half-Blood Prince mystery. I won't say I figured it out, 'cause I didn't, but the resolution -- just a play on words, really -- was lame, especially in a country where there actually is royalty.
And then the climax. JK has spent too much time trying to make us doubt Snape for me to think he's anything but totally loyal to Dumbledore. And that includes killing him, when it needed to happen. Dumbledore asked him to do it to spare Draco from becoming a murderer, to protect Harry, and, ultimately, to make sure that Snape is at the right hand of Voldemort when the series comes to a close. Read the death scene again if you have any doubts, but JK's not particularly subtle with plot points.
Having said that, Snape's got a lot of guilt in his life, and this, killing the only person who truly trusted him, will destroy him. Snape will die, probably saving Harry and Neville, perhaps killing Voldemort. Hopefully JK's got the chops to make it a noble end.
Overall, though, a heck of a read. I suppose I was most worried that the Weasley parents would die in this book, and that didn't happen. That would've been far more emotionally troubling, though, especially for younger readers (not to mention me).
I hope JK will be able to come up with an equally good series to follow up this one. I won't begrudge her if she wants to stay in the same universe, though. It's a fine starting point.
Oh, and as for the hanging mystery at the end: the identity of R.A.B. The only R.B. mentioned in the series thus far is Sirius' brother Regulus Black, theoretically dead ex-Death Eater.