Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince – Review

Pre-Blog Statement: Ok… it’s not like I really want to do this. It’s the first time I’m writing a review for anything at all. Furthermore, it’s really hard writing a review on a book that’s breaking publishing records.
But… well, I finished reading the book two days ago. Obviously, writing this at that point would have made my words go out of control, just because the ending was a little shocking and emotional, and as the wise ones always say… Decisions made out of emotion can go terribly wrong. Ok ok… maybe this is a little too much, but you get what I’m trying to say, aren’t u?
🙂 I would have probably been unable to put up a fair enough review earlier. So, I’m finally writing it now.
I’ve done my best to avoid spoilers, for the benefit of those who have not read the book as yet. But if you are one of them, I recommend you don’t read any further. And those who did read the book, proceed at your own risk
:p

Lord Voldemort, the most Evil Wizard of all time, has returned to power. Though he did so an year ago, the truth has been widely acknowledged only now. And strange things are happening all around the Muggle world. A number of unexplained murders, and the Dementors joining the Dark Side (as mentioned in OOTP), signifies the rise of evil, or rather the rise of Voldemort, and it spelles doom to the wizarding world. Voldemort’s followers, the Death Eaters, whom Harry fought at the Ministry just weeks ago to protect his prophecy (and losing his godfather Sirius Black in the process) are in Azkaban. Among them is Lucius Malfoy, the father of Harry’s nemesis Draco. Draco has been chosen by the Dark Lord for a purpose, which is revealed in the first few chapters. Harry strongly belives, throughout the book, that Draco is a Death Eater now, which is met with a lot of skepticism from his best friends, Ron and Hermione.

The initial days at Hogwarts shows us frightened students and equally scared parents, who are doubtful about lettin their wards return to the school in the aftermath of Voldemort coming back to power. But the extra security put up all round by Dumbledore does give some sort of relief to the inmates of the castle. But is it enough?

When Harry starts his NEWT (6th year) at Hogwarts, he finds himself captaining the new Quidditch team, and taking private lessons with Dumbledore.

He also finds he has a new Potions master (obviously relieved it’s not Snape anymore…), and indirectly as a result of that, another unseen friend – The Half-Blood Prince. The knowledge of the Prince teaches Harry a number of new magical techniques and shortcuts, that make him almost a model student at the very class he used to dread all these years – much to the disappointment of Hermione, who always believes in the ‘Strictly By Rules’ procedure. She warns Harry against trusting the Prince too much. Is she just jealous or is there reason for her caution?

Romance is given much priority, but I guess it must because most of the characters are nearly adults now. Yet, too many lines seen to have been devoted to this aspect of the story. In the end, we get a clear enough picture as to who ends up with whom, but not before a rush of emotions among the characters, especially Harry, mixed with Jealousy, Possessiveness, Betrayal and not to mention a great deal of confusion. 🙂

Being Quidditch captain makes things worse for Harry, who now has to take up extra responsibility to lead the team to victory, rather, prevent them from crashing to their worst position in two centuries. Bearing some accusation of favouring his friends, Harry does his best to show that his team is more than just a bunch of people he likes. But right at the point of his dream coming true, an unexpected obstacle comes up, and it leaves us all wondering what would happen to the Championship.

Amid all this, Harry’s lessons with Dumbledore reveal to us a lot more than we know. Dumbledore intends to show Harry many truths which he feels would help him in his final battle with Voldemort (which undoubtedly we will witness in Book 7, considering it’s the last book in the series). The most important concept of Horcruxes is explained in this book, which is the key point that Harry will have to remember in his battle in the next book.

Yet another character close to Harry passes away in this book. Some see it as betrayal, but a little more thinking would show that there are many other possible explanations. The shock and helplessness that Harry felt the year before when his godfather Sirius Black was killed by a Death Eater, return to haunt him. It only makes Harry more determined than ever to find and kill Voldemort, to the extent that he tells Ron and Herminone that he would not return to Hogwarts again. So, if Harry’s words are to be taken seriously, we would not hear much of Hogwarts in Book 7, and instead, read more about the ‘Final Battle’.

For anybody who has read the first 5 books, this book would be most interesting. It has drawn upon plots and even some little, seemingly insignifiant things from the other books, and has presented us a clear picture of what has happened, why it happened and how it happened. There are still some questions left unanswered, but one doesn’t realize it in the process of reading. There are some chapters which tend to drag, but sheer curiosity keeps readers from feeling bored.

Personally, I feel this is the best book after Prisoner of Azkaban. The final book, no doubt, will be filled with loads of action. Well, we all pretty much know that Harry will not die at the hands of Voldemort, because of the prophecy only one of the two can live, and the last thing anybody wants to see is the death of the Hero. But even then, Harry Potter has a knack of drawing out feelings of suspense and curiosity even during the most predictable situations.

A great book. Definitely worth the wait of 2 years.

Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince – Review

Pre-Blog Statement: Ok… it’s not like I really want to do this. It’s the first time I’m writing a review for anything at all. Furthermore, it’s really hard writing a review on a book that’s breaking publishing records.
But… well, I finished reading the book two days ago. Obviously, writing this at that point would have made my words go out of control, just because the ending was a little shocking and emotional, and as the wise ones always say… Decisions made out of emotion can go terribly wrong. Ok ok… maybe this is a little too much, but you get what I’m trying to say, aren’t u?
🙂 I would have probably been unable to put up a fair enough review earlier. So, I’m finally writing it now.
I’ve done my best to avoid spoilers, for the benefit of those who have not read the book as yet. But if you are one of them, I recommend you don’t read any further. And those who did read the book, proceed at your own risk
:p

Lord Voldemort, the most Evil Wizard of all time, has returned to power. Though he did so an year ago, the truth has been widely acknowledged only now. And strange things are happening all around the Muggle world. A number of unexplained murders, and the Dementors joining the Dark Side (as mentioned in OOTP), signifies the rise of evil, or rather the rise of Voldemort, and it spelles doom to the wizarding world. Voldemort’s followers, the Death Eaters, whom Harry fought at the Ministry just weeks ago to protect his prophecy (and losing his godfather Sirius Black in the process) are in Azkaban. Among them is Lucius Malfoy, the father of Harry’s nemesis Draco. Draco has been chosen by the Dark Lord for a purpose, which is revealed in the first few chapters. Harry strongly belives, throughout the book, that Draco is a Death Eater now, which is met with a lot of skepticism from his best friends, Ron and Hermione.

The initial days at Hogwarts shows us frightened students and equally scared parents, who are doubtful about lettin their wards return to the school in the aftermath of Voldemort coming back to power. But the extra security put up all round by Dumbledore does give some sort of relief to the inmates of the castle. But is it enough?

When Harry starts his NEWT (6th year) at Hogwarts, he finds himself captaining the new Quidditch team, and taking private lessons with Dumbledore.

He also finds he has a new Potions master (obviously relieved it’s not Snape anymore…), and indirectly as a result of that, another unseen friend – The Half-Blood Prince. The knowledge of the Prince teaches Harry a number of new magical techniques and shortcuts, that make him almost a model student at the very class he used to dread all these years – much to the disappointment of Hermione, who always believes in the ‘Strictly By Rules’ procedure. She warns Harry against trusting the Prince too much. Is she just jealous or is there reason for her caution?

Romance is given much priority, but I guess it must because most of the characters are nearly adults now. Yet, too many lines seen to have been devoted to this aspect of the story. In the end, we get a clear enough picture as to who ends up with whom, but not before a rush of emotions among the characters, especially Harry, mixed with Jealousy, Possessiveness, Betrayal and not to mention a great deal of confusion. 🙂

Being Quidditch captain makes things worse for Harry, who now has to take up extra responsibility to lead the team to victory, rather, prevent them from crashing to their worst position in two centuries. Bearing some accusation of favouring his friends, Harry does his best to show that his team is more than just a bunch of people he likes. But right at the point of his dream coming true, an unexpected obstacle comes up, and it leaves us all wondering what would happen to the Championship.

Amid all this, Harry’s lessons with Dumbledore reveal to us a lot more than we know. Dumbledore intends to show Harry many truths which he feels would help him in his final battle with Voldemort (which undoubtedly we will witness in Book 7, considering it’s the last book in the series). The most important concept of Horcruxes is explained in this book, which is the key point that Harry will have to remember in his battle in the next book.

Yet another character close to Harry passes away in this book. Some see it as betrayal, but a little more thinking would show that there are many other possible explanations. The shock and helplessness that Harry felt the year before when his godfather Sirius Black was killed by a Death Eater, return to haunt him. It only makes Harry more determined than ever to find and kill Voldemort, to the extent that he tells Ron and Herminone that he would not return to Hogwarts again. So, if Harry’s words are to be taken seriously, we would not hear much of Hogwarts in Book 7, and instead, read more about the ‘Final Battle’.

For anybody who has read the first 5 books, this book would be most interesting. It has drawn upon plots and even some little, seemingly insignifiant things from the other books, and has presented us a clear picture of what has happened, why it happened and how it happened. There are still some questions left unanswered, but one doesn’t realize it in the process of reading. There are some chapters which tend to drag, but sheer curiosity keeps readers from feeling bored.

Personally, I feel this is the best book after Prisoner of Azkaban. The final book, no doubt, will be filled with loads of action. Well, we all pretty much know that Harry will not die at the hands of Voldemort, because of the prophecy only one of the two can live, and the last thing anybody wants to see is the death of the Hero. But even then, Harry Potter has a knack of drawing out feelings of suspense and curiosity even during the most predictable situations.

A great book. Definitely worth the wait of 2 years.

Life Cycle of an Average Indian Student…

After Birth:
Parents dream of what ‘he(she) will become one day…’.

Three Years (sometimes this process may start at age 2):

Parents browse through various lists of schools, hoping to get the best (and affordable) one for their child.

After Joining School:

Ah… Fear, Excitement, Joy, Shock… the great mix of feelings when setting foot on a New World.

Standard 1 to 5:

Among friends. School is as much fun as Home! Learning many new things from friendly teachers and colourful textbooks.

Standard 6 to 9:

More studying to do. Must get best marks in class. Else face a conversation with parents as follows –
“Why didn’t you get good marks?”

“I studied mom(or dad)…”

“How can I know you studied? Look at [the name of a better performing child in same class, a sibling, among friends or relatives, or in neighbourhood]. How does he(she) study? Why can’t you get marks like him(her)?”

“But he(she)… I… uh…”

“Stop talking back to me! Next time I want you to score above 80!” (this figure usually crops up regardless of student’s ability)”

“…”

* * * END OF CONVERSATION * * *

Standard 10:

The toughest phase in the student’s life. Facing the board exams for the first time. Confusion, Fear, even for the best performers.

Standard 11:

Initially, glad that the 10th board is done with. But almost immediately after, teachers start finishing current syllabus at jet speed, so that they can start teaching for Standard 12 board, which is a good 18 months away. Entrance training is also arranged for some.

Standard 12:

Arguably a very perilous period, especially for students who did not perform well in Standard 10. The board exam is seen as the greatest challenge ever, and people around them do their best to make that feeling stay.

College First Year:

The sense of competition and hard work experienced in Standard 12 stays as a residue (also as an effort of trying to make up for effort wasted the previous year), forcing student to study very very hard.

Second to Pre-Final Year:

Special Skills and Activities include –
  1. Cutting Classes
  2. Mastering Proxy Attendance
  3. Performing Brave Deeds like Handing Out Blank Answer Sheets
  4. Mastering the Art of Manual Copy-Paste in Tests and Assignments
  5. Forgetting Location of Classroom (sometimes College)
During the process, a sense of wisdom dawns into student, who is often found uttering “Marks are not that important!”

Final Year:

Even more wisdom is gained, student now says “Marks are nothing!!!”

After getting a Job:
If (Opinion = “Pay Not Sufficent” or “No Recognition” or “Its Just a Boring Job!”)

If (Bond = TRUE)
wait until Bond = FALSE
Else If(Bond = FALSE)
Resign immediately
Find Another Job

Else If(Opinion = “It’s a Great Job!”)

Marry
Settle

Else

Redo Loop until Opinion = “It’s a Great Job!”

End If

After Birth of First Child:
Dreams of what ‘he(she) will become one day…’.

(and so, the cycle continues…)

Life Cycle of an Average Indian Student…

After Birth:

Parents dream of what ‘he(she) will become one day…’.Three Years (sometimes this process may start at age 2):

Parents browse through various lists of schools, hoping to get the best (and affordable) one for their child.After Joining School:

Ah… Fear, Excitement, Joy, Shock… the great mix of feelings when setting foot on a New World.Standard 1 to 5:

Among friends. School is as much fun as Home! Learning many new things from friendly teachers and colourful textbooks.Standard 6 to 9:

More studying to do. Must get best marks in class. Else face a conversation with parents as follows –

“Why didn’t you get good marks?”

“I studied mom(or dad)…”

“How can I know you studied? Look at [the name of a better performing child in same class, a sibling, among friends or relatives, or in neighbourhood]. How does he(she) study? Why can’t you get marks like him(her)?”“But he(she)… I… uh…”

“Stop talking back to me! Next time I want you to score above 80!” (this figure usually crops up regardless of student’s ability)”

“…”

* * * END OF CONVERSATION * * *

Standard 10:

The toughest phase in the student’s life. Facing the board exams for the first time. Confusion, Fear, even for the best performers.Standard 11:

Initially, glad that the 10th board is done with. But almost immediately after, teachers start finishing current syllabus at jet speed, so that they can start teaching for Standard 12 board, which is a good 18 months away. Entrance training is also arranged for some.Standard 12:

Arguably a very perilous period, especially for students who did not perform well in Standard 10. The board exam is seen as the greatest challenge ever, and people around them do their best to make that feeling stay.College First Year:

The sense of competition and hard work experienced in Standard 12 stays as a residue (also as an effort of trying to make up for effort wasted the previous year), forcing student to study very very hard.Second to Pre-Final Year:

Special Skills and Activities include –

  1. Cutting Classes

  2. Mastering Proxy Attendance

  3. Performing Brave Deeds like Handing Out Blank Answer Sheets

  4. Mastering the Art of Manual Copy-Paste in Tests and Assignments

  5. Forgetting Location of Classroom (sometimes College)

During the process, a sense of wisdom dawns into student, who is often found uttering “Marks are not that important!”Final Year:

Even more wisdom is gained, student now says “Marks are nothing!!!”After getting a Job:
If (Opinion = “Pay Not Sufficent” or “No Recognition” or “Its Just a Boring Job!”)

If (Bond = TRUE)
wait until Bond = FALSE
Else If(Bond = FALSE)
Resign immediately
Find Another Job

Else If(Opinion = “It’s a Great Job!”)

Marry
Settle

Else

Redo Loop until Opinion = “It’s a Great Job!”

End If

After Birth of First Child:
Dreams of what ‘he(she) will become one day…’.

(and so, the cycle continues…)

Care

Pre-Blog Statement: This poem didn’t turn up as good as I wanted it to… but I do hope what it conveys is well understood… anyway there’s a little message at the end 🙂

Walking on a Road
I Trip and am Hurt
A Kind Person helps me up
Though glad, I feel
O God! Why didn’t You help me?
Why did I Trip?
Maybe You don’t care

When I suffer
In the Hands of a Cruel World
A Friend brightens me up
Though glad, I feel
O God! Why didn’t You help me?
Why did I Suffer?
Maybe You don’t care

Confused in Life with
The Games of Fate
Mother consoles me
Though glad, I feel
O God! Why didn’t You help me?
Why was I Confused?
Maybe You don’t care

Feeling thus
Searching for you, and
Wanting your help…
I walk far
I can’t find you
Tired, I turn around

Suddenly, I can see
I can feel, and know
You were there, you did help
You did care for me, through
The Heart of a Mother, a Friend, and a Kind Person

Now,
I will not want You to care anymore
For I already have
The Greatest Gifts from You
I have, Hearts that Care

Though we have many people around – from your mother and father to your best friend – to care for us, we still look upto God and expect him to show us affection. What we need to realize is, that God is, infact, helping us and caring for us through the people who care. And such people are the most precious gifts one can get in life. So, don’t ever ignore the affection of those around you.

Care

Pre-Blog Statement: This poem didn’t turn up as good as I wanted it to… but I do hope what it conveys is well understood… anyway there’s a little message at the end 🙂

Walking on a Road
I Trip and am Hurt
A Kind Person helps me up
Though glad, I feel
O God! Why didn’t You help me?
Why did I Trip?
Maybe You don’t care

When I suffer
In the Hands of a Cruel World
A Friend brightens me up
Though glad, I feel
O God! Why didn’t You help me?
Why did I Suffer?
Maybe You don’t care

Confused in Life with
The Games of Fate
Mother consoles me
Though glad, I feel
O God! Why didn’t You help me?
Why was I Confused?
Maybe You don’t care

Feeling thus
Searching for you, and
Wanting your help…
I walk far
I can’t find you
Tired, I turn around

Suddenly, I can see
I can feel, and know
You were there, you did help
You did care for me, through
The Heart of a Mother, a Friend, and a Kind Person

Now,
I will not want You to care anymore
For I already have
The Greatest Gifts from You
I have, Hearts that Care

Though we have many people around – from your mother and father to your best friend – to care for us, we still look upto God and expect him to show us affection. What we need to realize is, that God is, infact, helping us and caring for us through the people who care. And such people are the most precious gifts one can get in life. So, don’t ever ignore the affection of those around you.

Pre-Blog Statement: Due to certain unpleasant events in the last week, I’ve been unable to bring myself to normalcy (if there is such a thing in me that is…), and now I’m finally getting the flow of words again. Ok… maybe its somewhat boring (I myself admit it sounds so terribly like one of those self-help books)… but do remember that I’m not normal yet ;). I’m holding back this post by a couple of days for some internal feedback…

In this Great Nation of ours, there seems to be a large crowd of dreamers, who often find themselves uttering scentences ‘If I…’. The ‘Then..’ part of the scentences may be anything ranging from personal to social hopes, for oneself or for the country. But few realize the ‘If’ and go on to work for the ‘Then’. Those who do are the oes we call as Achievers (which varies greatly on what they ‘achieve’)!

Though many of us would like to join the league of Dreamers-turned-Achievers, we find something standing in our way, something we cannot change, something that flashes a big ‘No’ on our faces as we look toward our goal. The Achievers are the ones highly skilled at recognizing this something and getting rid of it. So how does one do it?

  • Clarity: Just as we expect others to be good communicators and say their points clearly, we ought to be good at communicating with ourselves. Sketching out our goal with a mix of optimism and realism, a strong picture of what we really want to accomplish will form in our mind. This makes planning our steps easier.
  • The Way: While clarity may help improve the situation, having a solid plan will make it better. It will be helpful if we know how each event outside us affects the plan we have in hand. Re-planning will then be made quicker.
  • Observe: We need to have an eye for detail. Seeing and realizing little things will make one realize the complexity of our surroundings. One can start from simple things like books, newspapers, television, and practice seeing and absorbing the contents completely… (some people tend to forget what they read in a few minutes). That way our brain is trained to understand and experience everything.
  • Think: This does not mean you sit in your chair, stare at the ceiling and think over each and everything that happened that day, and relate it to your goal. Nor can one be so paranoid that they are thinking about their ‘goal’ all the time! But if you grow your observation to be strong enough, your brain will start comparing each event to your goal, without your knowledge. This is the point where ideas will strike you.
  • Do It: This is where a lot of people falter. They know what they need, what to do, everything on paper. But the implementation part just seems too hard at times. One needs only to muster all mental strength and start the process. Though there may be rough patches, if we keep in mind how badly we want it done, and the effort put in for it upto that moment, it is motivating enough to take us to the end.

The points above are not ‘Steps’. They are well-interleaved with each other. Each point may require the service of the other four stages. Using them wisely (instinctively also helps), will ensure proper results.

And above all, you really have to want it bad enough. If you are not serious about it, you might as well forget realizing it.

Pre-Blog Statement: Due to certain unpleasant even…

Pre-Blog Statement: Due to certain unpleasant events in the last week, I’ve been unable to bring myself to normalcy (if there is such a thing in me that is…), and now I’m finally getting the flow of words again. Ok… maybe its somewhat boring (I myself admit it sounds so terribly like one of those self-help books)… but do remember that I’m not normal yet ;). I’m holding back this post by a couple of days for some internal feedback…

In this Great Nation of ours, there seems to be a large crowd of dreamers, who often find themselves uttering scentences ‘If I…’. The ‘Then..’ part of the scentences may be anything ranging from personal to social hopes, for oneself or for the country. But few realize the ‘If’ and go on to work for the ‘Then’. Those who do are the oes we call as Achievers (which varies greatly on what they ‘achieve’)!

Though many of us would like to join the league of Dreamers-turned-Achievers, we find something standing in our way, something we cannot change, something that flashes a big ‘No’ on our faces as we look toward our goal. The Achievers are the ones highly skilled at recognizing this something and getting rid of it. So how does one do it?

  • Clarity: Just as we expect others to be good communicators and say their points clearly, we ought to be good at communicating with ourselves. Sketching out our goal with a mix of optimism and realism, a strong picture of what we really want to accomplish will form in our mind. This makes planning our steps easier.
  • The Way: While clarity may help improve the situation, having a solid plan will make it better. It will be helpful if we know how each event outside us affects the plan we have in hand. Re-planning will then be made quicker.
  • Observe: We need to have an eye for detail. Seeing and realizing little things will make one realize the complexity of our surroundings. One can start from simple things like books, newspapers, television, and practice seeing and absorbing the contents completely… (some people tend to forget what they read in a few minutes). That way our brain is trained to understand and experience everything.
  • Think: This does not mean you sit in your chair, stare at the ceiling and think over each and everything that happened that day, and relate it to your goal. Nor can one be so paranoid that they are thinking about their ‘goal’ all the time! But if you grow your observation to be strong enough, your brain will start comparing each event to your goal, without your knowledge. This is the point where ideas will strike you.
  • Do It: This is where a lot of people falter. They know what they need, what to do, everything on paper. But the implementation part just seems too hard at times. One needs only to muster all mental strength and start the process. Though there may be rough patches, if we keep in mind how badly we want it done, and the effort put in for it upto that moment, it is motivating enough to take us to the end.

The points above are not ‘Steps’. They are well-interleaved with each other. Each point may require the service of the other four stages. Using them wisely (instinctively also helps), will ensure proper results.

And above all, you really have to want it bad enough. If you are not serious about it, you might as well forget realizing it.

The Last Moment

A Word, I heard
I could have
Heard your Voice one more time
But know I did not
It would be your Last Word

A Smile, I saw
I could have
Made you Smile one more time
But know I did not
It would be your Last Smile

Out to you, I called
I could have
Called you Daddy one more time
But know I did not
It would be your Last Moment

Forever I cherish
The Last Voice
The Last Smile
The Last Moment
That will never be…

The Last Moment

A Word, I heard
I could have
Heard your Voice one more time
But know I did not
It would be your Last Word

A Smile, I saw
I could have
Made you Smile one more time
But know I did not
It would be your Last Smile

Out to you, I called
I could have
Called you Daddy one more time
But know I did not
It would be your Last Moment

Forever I cherish
The Last Voice
The Last Smile
The Last Moment
That will never be…