OK, here’s the situation: My boyfriend and I went away on a two-weeks’ vacation and I left my copy of HBP at home. Actually, I haven’t even started re-reading HBP yet. In fact, it appears I haven’t re-read HBP since some time BEFORE I joined Goodreads, which Goodreads so very helpfully tells me was in February 2008. Which means–holy shit–I’ve been on Goodreads for SIX GODDAMNED YEARS. Time is CRAZY. What is also crazy: Me, for trying to write this review from memory, because time is not only crazy, it does weird things to one’s brain, and by “weird things” I mean “I am an old lady with a horrible old lady memory” so let’s do this thing, I ain’t gettin’ any younger.
CHAPTER 18: BIRTHDAY SURPRISES
On your mark ready set let’s go.
Based on title alone, I have no idea what this chapter is about. Were I to make an educated guess, I’d say it probably has something to do with Harry’s birthday, since this book is called HARRY POTTER and the Half-Blood Prince, but this is Chapter 18 already; can we really have spent what I can only assume is the previous 400 pages at Privet Drive? Let’s find out.
Apparently Ron and Hermione are fighting. AGAIN. I’m assuming this is Ron’s fault, because when it comes to all things Hermione, the man is whack, good for nothing but flack; if I were her I’d tell him to pack and hit the road Jack. And so would Rowling, it seems (I was out of the country at the time so I’m a little fuzzy on the details, but I guess she made the Internet blow up while I was away? It was nice knowing you, Internet).
Oh, ha! Won-Won. I guess this is Lavender-related. Well in that case, sorry Hermione, this one’s on you. And Ron, I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but girls of the world ain’t nothing but trouble.
It appears that everyone heads to Potions class next, and we get this nice bit of coincidence/foreshadowing:
And there it was, scrawled right across a long list of antidotes:
Just shove a bezoar down their throats.
Harry stared at these words for a moment. Hadn’t he once, long ago, heard of bezoars? Hadn’t Snape mentioned them in their first-ever Potions class?
This will be important later, kids. And then important again even later than that. So, uh, just remember. After class Harry asks Slughorn about Horcruxes for the first time, and it goes as well as could be expected. And then suddenly it’s February, so I guess this chapter isn’t about Harry’s birthday after all. Go figure.
It’s time for Apparition lessons, though, and let me tell you, you will never wish Apparition was real more than after sitting through a 14-hour flight. Just, ugh. ANYWHO, Harry uses this as an opportunity to spy on Malfoy some more, and afterwards uses the Maurader’s Map to do likewise, and now I’m wondering, did we ever find out how Harry got the Map back from Fake Moody? Or was that explained in the part of this book I didn’t read? Oh well.
Now it’s March, and I finally learn whose birthday this chapter is about. Surprise! It’s Ron. His Hogsmeade trip has been cancelled 😦 But he did eat half a box of Chocolate Cauldrons so 🙂 Except, oh shit, those Chocolate Cauldrons were totally love-potioned by Romilda Vane 😮 And they were meant for Harry 😕 So Harry takes Ron to Slughorn, where’s he’s poisoned for real this time 👿 With oak-matured mead that was originally intended for Dumbledore 😥 But Harry saves the day 😛 With a bezoar 😎 BOOM! Shake, shake, shake the room!
CHAPTER 19: ELF TAILS
Elf tails? ELF TAILS? What the what? No seriously, I have no idea what this chapter is about. Let’s find out!
It starts off with Ron in the hospital wing, what with all that being repeatedly poisoned on his birthday. Then there’s a lot of talk about whether or not Slughorn is a Death Eater, and if he’s not a Death Eater, who the heck is trying to poison… whom exactly, and why is Dumbledore all mad at Snape all of a sudden. Then that Irish bloke tries to worm his way onto the Quidditch team in Ron’s absence, which Harry can’t even give a fuck about because he’s so obsessed with Malfoy, which is a groove slightly transformed to give us just a bit of a break from the norm. I mean Harry? Not caring about Quidditch? Shit just got real.
Then the Quidditch happens I guess (it’s Quidditch, and I’m not even really reading this chapter to begin with), but apparently that Irish bloke cracked Harry’s skull open? Yikes, he gets in one little fight and Madame Pomfrey gets scared. So instead of beating up that Irish bloke Harry’s confined with Ron in the hospital wing, still stewing about Malfoy. And he has the brilliant idea of summoning Kreacher and ordering him to spy on the little rotter, and the chapter ends without my ever finding out what the hell ELF TAILS have to do with anything.