So... anyone else read it yet?
I bought my copy late Saturday morning, there were loads of copies available, and a rather miserable looking witch handing them out. I bought my copy in Bexleyheath, which is fairly close to where I live, and Alan Rickman was due to make an appearance and sign copies of the book. I couldn't be bothered to wait around (he was already late when I decided to go home) but I must admit, having now read it, there are a few questions I would like to ask him.
Before we meet up with Harry (chapter 3) there are a couple of chapters that fill in gaps and refresh you on events that have happened in the previous books, it's certainly a very different start to any of the other stories in the series. Considering the fear surrounding the return of Voldemort and the Death Eaters (sounds like a goth band) I felt things seemed a lot lighter than the miserable darkness that enveloped the previous book, things seem better in Harrys world anyway. Harry has stopped shouting at everyone and is starting to enjoy life again, his joy is short-lived though and once you finish the book you will realise that the final book will be very different to anything that has come before.
Everyone knows that someone is going to die in this book, it's been well publicised, and before I started I was convinced I knew who it would be. Unfortunately my suspicions were proven correct. In fact more than one person is killed but, with the Death Eaters on the rampage, that's to be expected. The main death is a lot sadder and more final than Sirius death in the Order of The Phoenix (OOTP). To tell the truth I thought the way Black was killed in OOTP was a bit of an anti climax and didn't seem very final at all. The death in HBP is anything but and you know this person won't be coming back; at least not in a physical way...
The Half Blood Prince is something (someone) else entirely, I entertained a lot of thoughts about the identity of this character including the person it turned out to be, but it was still a little surprising to find out who it was. I think the reveal, like Blacks death, was a bit rushed though and more of an after thought than anything.
There are plenty of other questions still to be answered, although a lot of the things mentioned in past books have now been resolved. The big one though concerns 3 initials, R.A.B, who could this be? I'm pretty sure I know, although it could be considered a spoiler, so I'm going to blank out my brain farts below (highlight if you want to know what I'm thinking)
R.A.B = Regulus Black - we know he was killed by Voldermort/ his supporters and I can't see R.A.B being someone we haven't had any mention of before, there is no way a new character would be used for something as important as this. Of course this is my gut feeling and I'm probably way off the mark, only a year or three to wait and see if I'm right... sigh.
I didn't think about it until I had finished the book but I can now see what Rowling meant when she said that some of the themes in HBP were originally going to be in Chamber of Secrets. I think she made the right decision keeping these things until now, the overall story would have been very different if they had been revealed earlier.
Feel free to comment away but be warned that I will remove any spoilers posted, I don't want to ruin other peoples enjoyment - at least not yet. Ok - I give up - anyone who didn't hilight the content above, DON'T read the comments, it seems like lots of people agree with me