Blog Your Blessings: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
"That was the best one yet," my daughter said before the credits started to roll at the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on Wednesday night.
"Yeah? But there wasn't as much action. You really think so?" Me. I don't speak Potterese. For years, I just didn't get it--and it never helped that I only half watched the videos from the comfort of home. In the theatre, I usually benefit from the commentary of my 10-year-old nephew Alex, who remembers exactly everything he reads and defines the terms and summarizes the plot as we go.
This time he sat next to Adella, and every time he filled in the gaps for her she'd say, "I know." Two seats away, I thought, "Yeah, but I don't!"
Except that I did this time. Once I got used to the idea I was not on a fantasy roller-coaster through the lands of Wizards or Muggles, I was in. It's a story about doing the right thing, about putting your own interest aside for the benefit of others, of making sacrifices. Of keeping on. The action takes place inside the characters, and they take us there, even with the special effects.
Talking about Half-Blood Prince with my daughter, she was able to talk about Snape the traitor; Dumbledore the firm but kind taskmaster; Malfoy the confused and cruel coward; Ginny, Harry's love. The death-eaters? Awful bullies.
As the death-eaters pull the pins out of both the Muggles' and the Wizards' worlds, the aged, wise, and benevolent Dumbledore guides the adolescent Harry on the right road. He's got a job to do, and he must do it. The well-being of his world and ours is at stake.
Before embarking on their mission, Dumbledore tells Harry he must stay the course even if he, Dumbledore, should suffer as a result. Even if he, Dumbledore, should suffer in such a way that his own judgment is impaired. In short, you know what you have to do, Harry. You know what is right. So do it. At all costs.
Harry pulls through even if he doesn't exactly vanquish evil this time around. It's a tough ending. Harry's closing lines acknowledge that his challenges are no less, his work is not done. Hermoine reminds him that he can't go it alone; his friends, because they are friends, will be with him.
"Best one ever," the young girl said. It's about doing the right thing.