We actually saw HBP: The Movie last Saturday, but I didn't manage to finish the book before we saw it, mostly because I was also trying to finish and return The Little Stranger to the library. Then the week got entirely away from me, so I finished Half-Blood Prince yesterday. And I immediately read 200 or so pages of Deathly Hallows, which may have been why I was late to a party. But I digress.

I really like Half-Blood Prince. This was only the third time I'd read it, which is a very low number for me and a Harry Potter book, and it's fun to read one that I don't know backwards and forwards. And this has the fun of watching Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny as teenagers with less of the angst of Order of the Phoenix (which, don't get me wrong, I love as well), so good times abound, for most of the book, at least. Then comes the crying.

So, the movie. I guess I should start out by saying that I'm generally very wary of movies made from books I love. Peter Jackson got LOTR right, but I was so dismayed by the casting of The Golden Compass that I didn't even see it. Unless I'm pretty confident in the vision of the folks involved, I don't want to risk messing up the story I see in my head. With the Harry Potter series, although I have issues with a few of the movies (primarily Goblet of Fire), I think they got things right overall. That being the case, it's actually sort of fun to nitpick.

Though my friend jzom declared the HBP movie dead to him, I mostly enjoyed it. Jim Broadbent was excellent as Slughorn, and I'm glad Bonnie Wright had more of a role the time around, though I still think there should have been more Ginny in this movie. And Luna, whose real name I'm too lazy to look up, continues to be fabulous.

For the most part, I understand that it's necessary to cut parts out of these very long books, and some changes really worked: Luna finding Harry on the Hogwarts Express instead of Tonks, for example. But there were three or four bothersome changes about this movie that have stuck with me over the last week, though, so I'll stick with those complaints here.

1) They took the word "horcrux" out of Slughorn's false memory, which left Harry asking Slughorn about some mysterious and undefined thing from the restricted section. And then when he got the real memory, Dumbledore said he hadn't known the diary and the ring were horcruxes. Seriously? Then why had he spent months searching for Voldemort artifacts? That made absolutely no sense, and I can't even see why they would have done it.

2) There were no consequences whatsoever when Harry used sectumsempra on Malfoy. I guess that was to save time, but it was just weird.

3 and 4) As I said, I accept that some things from the books need to be cut. But it bugs the crap out of me when they make up long scenes at the expense of really important parts of the books. In this case, I refer to the addition of the Death Eaters burning the Weasleys' house at Christmas and the deletion of the battle at Hogwarts. If there was no battle, why did Malfoy spend nine months trying to fix the vanishing cabinet? So the Death Eaters could stand around and watch? I understand that they wanted Bellatrix in the movie, and I'm all for that, but why not at the ending battle? And, regarding the Christmas attack, I'm still bothered by the Death Eaters turning into smoke and flying around during duels. It's just kind of silly.

All in all, though, I enjoyed the movie. It doesn't hold a candle to The Prisoner of Azkaban, my favorite of the books and movies, but definitely worth seeing.

EDIT: one more nitpicky thing about the movie: When they showed the Half-Blood Prince's inscription on the potion book, "Half-Blood" wasn't hyphenated, though it was, correctly, in the movie title. Considering the budget that these movies must have, you'd think they might do a better job checking the props.


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