The Half-Blood Prince, Chapters 3-4: Slughorn’s Pokewizards: Gotta Collect ’em All

I’ve got to go back read and comment on everyone’s post that I have missed. Participating in the comments section makes me feel like a part of the awesomest conversation ever and I’ve been missing out! My husband and I decided to move all of our belongings ourselves, with just a u-haul trailer, over the course of 2 weekends and any spare time we had. This, as you might expect, was a terrible idea, and the reason why I have not been very active on the website as of late. Also, I have no internet at home, so I’m writing this from my office, and without the benefit of wine. Just know that I still like you guys, and Harry Potter, and this re-read. You guys rock. Everything rocks. Except moving.

I can’t believe we are on Book 6. That’s insane. Just awesome, guys.


This is our first chapter back with Harry, but when it starts out, he is asleep, so we are basically floating around his room, judging the mess, picking through his belongings, reading his newspaper, that sort of thing. We can’t even read the entire article about Rufus Scrimgeour’s plans for Hogwarts’ student safety because it is obscured by Hedwig’s cage. The gist is clear. There’s a new sherriff in town, and he’s not a complete idiot like his predecessor. Bill Nighy, who plays Scrimgeour in the movies, will always be this guy to me, which is unfortunate when it comes to his role as stern-faced Scrimgeour:

If you really love Christmas... come on and let it snow

If you really love Christmas… c’mon and let it snow

I can never quite take him seriously. He is, however, taking the Voldemort threat seriously with his pamphlets and such. CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

Anyway, Dumbledore sent a note saying that he was coming to pick up Harry and take him to the Burrow, which seems a little odd, but is perhaps his most straightforward communication ever. Harry daren’t get his hopes up, however, so he doesn’t even clean his room or pack anything. Harry is never ready to go when people come to pick him up. Ever. Except for the time his trunk was all packed because it had been locked in the cupboard for months.

Dumbledore does show up, whacks the Dursleys upside their heads with glasses of mead, contributes to underage drinking, and drops the news that Sirius left 12 Grimmauld Place to Harry. He calls Kreacher to test out the theory, Kreacher mutters some prejudiced crap about Harry’s blood and Harry sends him away. He is, understandably, quite pissed about that whole mortal betrayal of Sirius thing. Is the phrase “mortal betrayal” a thing? If not, it should be.

Dumbledore seems to inherently “get” Harry, understands why he does things that are irrational (like not pack for the departure), and can reasonably predict his next move. Maybe it’s not wisdom, but he is actually reading Harry’s mind and passing it off as this “wise old man” routine. Hmmmmmmmmm. I’m on to you, pointy nose.

And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.

That’s sort of how I feel every time I start a HP book.


Dumbledore squires Harry away to perform a task that he does not explain, so Harry gets to walk into a situation completely clueless, as usual. Oh no, we wouldn’t want to give Harry too much information up front. Who knows what might happen if he is well-informed. Heaven forbid Dumbledore shares more than one small tidbit of his plan at a time, so that Harry might figure things out faster, or if *AHEM* something were to happen to Dumbledore and everything doesn’t work out exactly as he planned, someone else might actually know what is going on inside his head. It is noteworthy that once they accomplish the task at hand, Dumbledore still doesn’t explain much, but instead vaguely hints at some things before ditching Harry at the burrow.*

By the way, Dumbledore, why is your hand all busted up? I’m sure that won’t be REALLY important later. Better skirt the question.

In the meantime, we get to experience side-along apparition (or any sort of apparition) for the first time, and we meet Slughorn, who I can never decide if I actually like. I do, however, adore the actor who plays him, Jim Broadbent, one of the greatest chameleons of all time. I mean, come on, he can play anything, so well that you might not recognize him right away, even if he is not currently an armchair.


Apparition apparently totally sucks. It’s not just disappearing and appearing in another place like we have always suspected, but it’s more like Douglas Adams’ hyperspace travel.** Harry is not a fan, and basically dismisses it forever. It sucks. I’m never doing that again.

Budleigh Babberton is sort of an amalgamation of other British villages. You could never get away with naming a place something like that in the U.S. It’s just so incredibly British. Here we find Slughorn, disguised as a squishy armchair, having invaded a muggle house. Dumbledore doesn’t really question that he is basically a hobo, moving from house to house with his piano. No big deal. Slughorn is a bit of a git, who seems to have occupied his time at Hogwarts collecting students of note and bragging about them rather than teaching. He spends a few pages bragging about members of his collection who are now in high places and neglecting to mention those who are now in rather low places, or who may be the mortal enemy of the guys he is conversing with. No need for that sort of unpleasantness.

After Dumbledore is done using Harry to get Slughorn to come back to Hogwarts, he drops him off at “home” aka the Burrow after hinting at some interesting lessons he has in store for him, and admitting that the occlumency lessons with Snape were a disaster. Hahaha. He hates you. He invaded your mind. He probably made the problem worse. Hahahaha.

* I love Dumbledore, I’m just making with the funnies. 

**”It’s unpleasantly like being drunk”

“What’s so unpleasant about being drunk?”

“You ask a glass of water.”

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7 thoughts on “The Half-Blood Prince, Chapters 3-4: Slughorn’s Pokewizards: Gotta Collect ’em All

  1. Gretchen Alice says:

    I’m finally caught up with the reading, but I’m so far behind on my post-reading and commenting. Blerg!

    • Jennie says:

      Same! It’s hard to keep up with so many superbly written posts along with reading all the books again (and, you know, watching two seasons of JUSTIFIED and going to work and junk).

  2. Dan says:

    I never really trusted Slughorn until The Battle of Hogwarts. I didn’t think he was evil or anything…slimy, maybe? Obsequious? No. No! Unctuous. Yes. Yes, I found him to be too unctuous. I was unable to handle his unctuosity.

    And don’t even get me started on how icky his fondness for Lily is. *shudder*

  3. Jennie says:

    I love Jim Broadbent! The first things I saw him in were Bridget Jones’s Diary and Moulin Rouge and, though the characters were completely different, I loved them both. Anyway, this is in no way Harry Potter-related, why am I still talking about it?

    I love the moment when Dumbledore tells the Dursleys off for being total jackholes to Harry his whole life.


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