Time has not softened me on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This movie has so many WTF moments that it makes my head spin. You have over 600 pages of material to work with and you’re going to drop random, pointless scenes into the middle of the movie? I strongly object.
The Harry Potter movie franchise is a hot mess of different directors and producers all trying to leave their own creative flare on the series, which I can respect, but it makes for an incohesive viewing. Ironically, it’s always been the last four movies, all of which were directed by David Yates, that I’ve found the most incongruent from the books and the rest of the series as a whole (though I’ll grant leniency by acknowledging the last three books are bricks).
But Half-Blood Prince takes the cake, and I have receipts to prove it.
There are tons of strange, non-book mentions of Harry’s sexuality. From the film opening where Harry is catching trains to flirt with random girls, to Dumbledore’s intrusive questioning about any kindlings between Harry and Hermione, all of these odd add-ins feel forced and out of place. In general, I’m not a fan of the way the trio is portrayed romantically in the final movies because…
Ron disappears into the background for most of the last few movies. I love Hermione. She’s the OG feminist book hero. But Ron’s character just vanishes in Half-Blood Prince, to the point where he doesn’t have a single line in the final scene on the astronomy tower where Harry and Hermione are literally discussing skipping their last year of Hogwarts to go fight Voldemort. That’s a big deal! Maybe check with Ron to see if that’s cool, guys?! Ron is the comic relief of the series, but he’s so much more than that. With him basically out of the picture, David Yates and David Heyman play on this weird Harry x Hermione pairing that I’ve never been invested in and will never support. (No matter what JK Rowling says!)
Ginny and Harry. Their kiss in this movie isn’t nearly as cringworthy as the one in Deathly Hallows, but every other romantic interaction between them is awful. She feeds him a cookie. She ties his unlaced shoe. Gag me. Movie Ginny is the most disappointing character and Bonnie Wright and Daniel Radcliffe’s chemistry is blustery at best.
The second most irksome scene in the movie is the Burrow catching fire. This is one of those things that makes me so irrationally angry, and I am actually glad that I slept through it this weekend because it never fails to enrage me. I’ve always understood this scene to be a substitute for the battle that takes place later at Hogwarts after Dumbledore is killed, but why? Why lightly graze over a pivotal scene just to smash in an extra, unnecessary one. Why not stick to the original flow? WHY?!
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Plus, no one ever mentions the fact that the Burrow is just alive and well during the next movie. Which is fine, I guess, because I try to pretend it never happened too.
Dumbledore remarking that Harry needs to shave before they leave to go find the locket. I guess I get what they’re going for here, some nostalgic, paternal moment from an old man who knows he’s on his way out, but it still leaves me with resting-wtf-face. (Same, girl.)
I might have been able to live with all of this. I might have been able to overlook a few blunders and say, “hey, not bad Half-Blood Prince team.”
But I will never be able to forgive the scene when Harry and Dumbledore return to the astronomy tower with the horcrux locket and Dumbledore tells Harry Potter to go hide instead of petrifying him. No. No no no no NO! Harry James Potter, who has never trusted Snape or Malfoy a day in his young life, would never, ever stand silently and watch Dumbledore get murdered. That goes against everything that Harry is. This is the part where I throw the remote at the TV and never pick up this damned movie again.
Just kidding. You’ll find me posted up in front of a Freeform marathon next weekend, Half-Blood Prince and all.