Oh the feelings. Oh I have them. I was reading the end of this book on one end of the couch while Miniature Roommate was reading Good Omens on the other hand, and every time she laughed at something in Good Omens, I would think she was laughing at me for crying. And in my mind I’d be all, THIS BOOK IS SAD OKAY? But I didn’t say it out loud because I recognize that would be irrational. But this book is hella sad.
I forgot how Harry-Dumbledore-heavy the last part of this book is. All my notes on rereading it are about Harry and Dumbledore, although this could reflect my own bias, because I love those two hanging out. They’re my fave. Y’all should be prepared for smoke to come out of my ears when Rita Skeeter tries to make insinuations about Dumbledore’s affection for Harry.
I just with Harry and Dumbledore and they’re friends and they hang out and with the feelings–
Ahem. I’ll try that again.
How pleased and proud are Harry and Dumbledore at each other when Harry finally gets that memory from Slughorn? I love how Dumbledore is all tired when Harry walks in, and then when he finds out about the memory he just lights up at Harry and is so proud, and — this is huge to me — he tells Harry he can come destroy the next Horcrux they find. I’ve said before that I love for people to be respectful of what Harry’s capable of (he’s capable of a damn lot), and Harry getting this respect from Dumbledore of all people just means everything.
When they actually do go get the Horcrux, I love that we get to see Dumbledore in action as the Best and Cleverest Wizard of them all. For most of the series, we only hear about what Dumbledore can do, long after he’s already done it. We know he is definitely the Best and Cleverest Wizard, but I like seeing him prove it. It was awesome watching Dumbledore fight Voldemort in the fifth book. The Horcrux hunt is a different kind of awesome, more methodical, like watching a pro chef recreate a recipe for a dessert he’s only had one bite of. It’s extra great because Dumbledore acts about as chill as if the stakes in all of this were whether the dessert was going to come out delicious. That is how Dumbledore rolls.
Greatest thing Dumbledore ever says in this entire series:
“No, Draco,” said Dumbledore quietly. “It is my mercy, and not yours, that matters now.”
Damn. Just about to die and he knows it, and this is what he has to say. I mean, you would name your kid after this man, wouldn’t you? This is the man you name your kids after.
I am realizing belatedly that I should have had a feature in this readalong called “Oh Neville”. Because, Neville.
“We were in trouble, we were losing,” said Tonks in a low voice. “Gibbon was down, but the rest of the Death Eaters seemed ready to fight to the death. Neville had been hurt, Bill had been savaged by Greyback…It was all dark…curses flying everywhere…The Malfoy boy had vanished, he must have slipped past, up the stairs…then more of them ran after him, but one of them blocked the stair behind them with some kind of curse…Neville ran at it and got thrown up into the air–“
Of course he did. Of course he got hurt but still ran after a huge group of Death Eaters alone. Oh Neville.
I know nobody in this readalong likes the Harry-Ginny pairing, but I actually do. Ginny is widely agreed to be awesome, and unlike some of y’all, I love Harry a lot as well. They are both clever and resourceful and they have shared interests like Quidditch and fighting evil. Seems reasonable to me. I was okay with them breaking up (I see the narrative usefulness of that), but this?:
“It’s been like…like something out of someone else’s life, these last few weeks with you.”
This tears at my heart. “Someone else’s life” = “everything doesn’t all the time suck”. On the other hand:
“We’ll be there, Harry,” said Ron… “At your aunt and uncle’s house, and then we’ll go with you wherever you’re going.”
“No–” said Harry quickly; he had not counted on this, he had meant them to understand that he was undertaking this most dangerous journey alone.
“You said to us once before,” said Hermione quietly, “that there was time to turn back if we wanted to. We’ve had time, haven’t we?”
“We’re with you whatever happens,” said Ron.
The Adulting of Harry Potter
But he understood at last what Dumbledore had been trying to tell him. It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high. Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew — and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents — that there was all the difference in the world.
This. Just, this. You kids these days and your heroism.
I LOVED watching Dumbles in action, both when he’s fighting Voldie and here when he’s working out Voldie’s spells. He is the baddest of asses. And the fact that he’s so calm about the whole thing makes the fact that he’s gone that much more painful. He was the rock in Harry’s world and now he’s gone
What’s not to like about Harry and Ginny? I think they’re great. Ron and Hermione, I do not get. They pine at each other, but it always seemed to me that they wind up together because they are both in Harry’s inner circle and YA novel custom says they should, not because they are actually perfect for each other.
AHH that last line gives me shivers. So many of the lines in this part give me shivers. I just love them all so much. Also, I am not doing the readalong with you guys, but I stalk you all EVERY SINGLE FRIDAY because I love these posts so much. And I seriously need to reread.
I think the reason I like HBP so very much is all the hanging out Harry and Dumbledore do. And it’s kind of a thing that makes all my other HP memories confused, because in the first five books, I was always like ‘so when are Harry and Dumbles going to hang out? Why isn’t Dumbles there? WHAT IS HAPPENING?!’
Awwww, Harry, Ron and Hermione. *happy siiiiiiigh*
And plus, Dumbledore freezing Harry without a sound, even in his weakened state. Becasue he isthe best and most clever wizard of all time.
I actually rather like HArry and Ginny. They make sense to me. It’s mostly the Epilogue version of both couples that drives me up the wall.
Your’re right, though, that we collectively don’t give Harry all the props he deserves, which is one reason I always love reading your posts since we approach these books so differently. Harry IS an amazing kid, and it’s hard to remember that at 16, he still IS just a kid when this book ends.
Oh, and I just LOVE your dessert analogy with the horcrux hunt. Perfecto!
Ugh – you had me tearing up with the title of the post! After listening to the series constantly for two years as if physically addicted, I took a break for a few months to form a Twilight addiction (shudder of embarrassment here – there’s no comparison in my mind, I just needed something easy and different to listen to). I think I’m just about ready to return to the HP series in order to savor its wonderfulness.
Damnit, just the quote you used in your title made me tear up…
” Of course he got hurt but still ran after a huge group of Death Eaters alone. Oh Neville.” Neville is literally perfect. I mean, besides his interest in squirting fungi.
Dumbledore’s powers in the lake scene are on-point. I mean, he figures out the super-random blood answer to the entrance and then finds an invisible boat rope by moving his hands through the air? What a BAMF.
I am just *so* proud of these kids. Like my heart actually swells every time they do something brave or grown-up or they acknowledge the danger or each other’s love for one another. Damn, I would be so proud of my kids if they were nearly as awesome as these guys.
I sometimes get a Lord of the Rings vibe from these books, and it’s increasing with this whole idea of a journey to hunt for Horcruxes and his faithful companions and the fact that his ability to love uniquely protects him from being contaminated by the evil he faces. Is this crazy? AM I CRAZY?
TOTALLY NOT CRAZY. But the worst part is that nobody pulls a Gandalf. I was waiting for it so hard during books 6 & 7. Well, *SPOILER* maybe Dumbledore sort of does for a second at the end there. Just a little.