The Return of Old Lady Movie Night: “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”

Well, look who the cat dragged in. Me. Me, who is referring to herself in third person because I’ve had a lot of time to think over the last couple of weeks, and among those thoughts include the idea that maybe sometimes I try referring to myself in third person. And just see how it goes. (How’s it going?) (I’ll never do it again.)

But most importantly, hello! I’m back! I’m back after December and the first half of this month taught me a thing or two about what it means to really rely on a planner. But now I’ve colour coded, to-do list’d, and gotten my act together, so I’m ready. Ready to return to you, to Harry Potter, and to the bevy of other films we’ll watch this year.

Though there may be a few changes in 2014, only because I want to introduce a couple of changes. The first: we’re opening this up to hip, new, and modern movies because I think there is only so many times I’m allowed to write about Now & Then. The second: no, that was it. Just that one change. I think we handled it pretty well.

So to anyone new who’s joining us: hello! I am the resident Old Lady of this column because I am the type of person who sits on porches and yells about things. Think of the Cat Lady on The Simpsons. Are you thinking of her? I am her. Only instead of yelling at cats, I yell common sense at characters who lack it. (Like the guy in Ghost who takes his shirt off and ISN’T Patrick Swayze. Seriously, who even are you.)

Now onto the motion picture. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. AKA the movie where things take a real turn for the worst.

1. I hate that a part of me would really love a Snape/Narcissa affair

Is that weird to say? Absolutely it is. But you can cut that chemistry with a knife. Also, Narcissa Malfory is played by the beyond talented Helen McCrory who is also married to Damien Lewis from Homeland, so, much like Alan Rickman, to me she can do no wrong, and their acting would be off! the! hook! Also, shout-out to Snape for having Draco’s back. Aside from being the person he was in elementary school and a Death Eater, he’s aaaaaalright. Unlike Mr. Malfoy, who is the literal antichrist. (And who would just be the worst husband/dad/boyfriend/life partner/movie theatre attendant/server/garbage man ON EARTH see THIS is why I’d support an affair.)

2. Honestly though we know Voldemort is messed up, but he really trumps himself with his new Draco task

I hope Lucius feels incredibly terrible by this point because IMAGINE you made your boss so angry he was like “okay, that’s fine — but in retribution, your son must kill the most powerful wizard on earth. Cheers!” First, you’d be like, “You are a psychopath.” Second, you’d be like, “Why did I decide to join the mafia, is this Goodfellas.” Third, you’d flee? But how can you when this guy’s the most powerful wizard’s nemesis? This is when I suggest living under the sea. As Homer Simpson once imagined, it could help us all circumvent a lot of problems.

Also, though, what is your problem Voldemort — a CHILD to kill Dumbledore, REALLY. Hashtag lazy, hashtag worst boss.

3. Love textbooks with the answers written in, still probably wouldn’t use one after the whole “Ginny got possessed the last time we tried that” thing

Did Hermione invent “SMH”? Because by this point if I were her and was watching the nonsense happening around me, that’d be my signature move. ARE YOU  BASIC, HARRY POTTER. Why wouldn’t you light that book on fire, and cast it into the night? He’s like the guy who buys a Ouija board, then when the Ouija board does something messed up, he’s like “Oh no! Man. That was horrible. Yikes. …Let’s try it again!” And then his house attacks him in retribution. (Like, his actual home.) But now we’re all hooked and need to know who the Half Blood Prince is, thanks a lot, Potter. (Said in Snape’s voice.)

4. I feel bad for Lavender Brown?

Mostly because we have all been Lavender Brown at some point. We like this super cool, cute person, and he kind of uses us, and the whole time we’re with him, we know he likes somebody else. It’s the worst. And of course, yes, she is actually a really annoying character to read, BUT! At some point in life, we are all annoying characters. And frankly, she knows he loves Hermione. She has to! EVERYBODY DOES! So imagine feeling like you’re in competition with Hermione Granger because Ron’s too afraid to be honest. Ugh. WE DON’T HAVE TO IMAGINE IT BECAUSE WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE. So it’s okay, Lavender Brown. You’ll grow up to be some kick-ass woman who can forget about this time in your life. (Or not, because the next book is very traumatizing, and I doubt anyone will ever forget this time in their lives.)

5. But for the record, I also feel bad for Hermione Granger

Because we’ve also all been there, too. Harry Potter, though, I do NOT feel bad for, because yes, he likes Ginny, but BOYFRIEND IS DOING NOTHING TO EARN THAT LIKE. They had that like, one-off kiss for a minute . . . ? Cool? Talk to each other, kids! Mingle! I feel like a mom hosting a boy-girl party. “Sit around a circle, kids! Spin the bottle! It’ll be fun! Promise!” (I am a cool mom.) (I am Linda Belcher.)

6. The part where the Burrow burns down is actually the worst for a million reasons

But here is the biggest: THEIR STUFF IS GONE. Clothes and everything. I love Helena Bonham-Carter because she is a terrific human being, but even the magnificent way she plays Bellatrix is lost when she burns down the Weasley house. What is your DAMAGE, lady? I mean, yes, you are evil and instigating a type of wizard race war, but that is where somebody lives. That is their home. Where do you live, Bellatrix? Do you even have a home? Do you live in the Fight Club house? Probably. She would love it there. And don’t even get me started on Greyback because nobody likes him, and he’s not worth the energy it would take to type his name more than once. Grey– see? Not worth it.

7. Okay what if Harry had killed Draco with that curse, though?

So Snape comes in JUST IN THE NICK OF TIME when Draco’s been hurt by the curse Harry tossed his way during their confrontation. (Which only would’ve been better if they’d been singing the Valjean/Javert parts from Les Miserables.) But say . . . things got out of hand. Say Snape didn’t come in, or Harry took the curse too far. Would that have changed things? Because up until this point, Harry hasn’t gotten in a wizard’s face and killed anyone. Does anybody ever think about that? (Um, no, Anne, we all have very fulfilled lives.) What if Harry had killed Draco? WHAT IF. Or more importantly, what if they had become friends at the beginning of book one.


When Hermione and Ron finally kiss. RIP Lavender. RIP childhood. RIP Half Blood Prince book (for now). RIP our hearts. RIP reasonable expectations for other gentlemen in our own lives. RIP to it all.

9. Then I start to get irritated at Dumbledore a bit

Because here’s the thing: dude is really making Harry Potter run around for him a lot. Like, a lot. Like, Harry Potter is actually doing a lot for this adult man, while he, a teenage boy, is just trying to pass finals and forget about seeing Voldemort a million times and nearly dying an equal amount. But no. No, now he has to go to fancy dinner at the dad from Bridget Jones‘ place, and retrieve a memory about Tom Riddle because life is hard for everybody in this series. I would be too overwhelmed by all of this. I’d choose to be a muggle, and bid adieu to this world that requires far too much, and embrace our normalness in a big way.

10. But okay, true: good call hiding the Horcrux thing, Slughorn

That’s some embarrassing revelations right there, guy. You got manipulated by an evil entity, yes, BUT he was also a teenager, and even I could see through his crap. “Oh . . . I . . . uh, just want to know more about Horcruxes . . . ?” LIES! You want to BE a Horcrux, son! And now I will show you EXACTLY how useful Horcruxes can be! [CUT TO: Me, calling somebody to pick him up because he’s been expelled.] [Probably Ralph Fiennes, because he plays adult Voldemort, and this is still teen Voldemort, and the similarities would be uncanny.]

11. Another thing: Horcruxes would be exhausting

They would be exhausting TO DO (though as I was making them, I would absolutely be singing, “I wanna live forever”!), and then they would be exhausting TO FIND. Why would anybody even WANT to live forever? That sounds terrible! I’m living until I’m 100, absolutely, but forever? Forever? No. No, because . . . no. For starters, all his friends would be dead. It could be the sequel to that kids’ book: “All My Friends Are Dead 2: Because I Divided My Soul Up 7 Ways, And I Outlived Everyone and Clearly Did Not Think This Through.”

Voldemort with friends. Like, eating a meal. What a strange mental image I’ve planted in all of our minds.

12. But FINDING the Horcruxes, UGH

See, this is where I’d have to step back and just tell Dumbledore, “Dude. I’m sorry, but this is awful. I don’t want to do this.” I’m sure he’d understand! Everyone would understand! It’s easy to understand. This is like having a thing to write or a thing to work on, and you’d rather just read or see American Hustle again. Like, “Ahh . . . I would love to help, but I actually have this thing.” Or am I just proving myself unworthy of being a wizard? For sure I am. But I am a human woman, not a wizard boy, so I will accept my embracement of normalcy and keeping tasks to things like “do laundry” and “write thing.” Not “destroy pieces of a monster’s soul” and “force my professor to drink torture water.”

13. And speaking of which I HATE THAT PART

I remember seeing this movie in theatres, and LOSING IT during this scene. I’m sorry, but my human heart can’t watch Dumbledore drinking torture water and begging not to drink anymore while Harry forces him to drink it. It is fundamentally upsetting. Like, legitimately, it is very, very hard to watch. And good! It should be! We need to understand how evil Voldemort is.  (Very.) But it got too real, everyone. It got too real, and I was bawling in a movie theatre, and I can’t even think about it too much now, because I will become a tiny puddle of tears again. ILY DUMBLEDORE.

14. Do NOT love the corpses rising from the sea, though

I will take a pass on that, thank you. (Though if you imagine Voldemort planning this, it makes him a lot less menacing: “Okay, and in THIS part of the lake, I’ll plant CORPSES.” – “Sir? You think that’s a good idea?” – “Do you want to BE one of the corpses?” – “Great idea, sir. Great idea!” They laugh, cheers their coffee, and Voldemort takes off his construction hat and leaves.)

15. Meanwhile, in the most unfair scene of all, after Dumbledore NEARLY DIES, the Death Eaters show up to kill him

I think my patience would be gone at this point. I just don’t think I’d have it in me to put up with their nonsense. I think I’d put my wand down, and instead of spells, I’d just begin trying to unravel them emotionally and mentally. Really prey on their weak points until they were just standing there mumbling things like, “I just . . . I was just really lonely, so I joined this group . . . I didn’t know, man. I just wanted to paint, and all of a sudden this . . .” And then they would all shuffle out. And when Voldemort showed up, I’d look at him like “Ha, okay, pal.” And he’d also begin opening up about his life, and boom. We’ve solved everything, I am a hero.

16. But who is actually a hero is SNAPE

Which, hello, we all know. But at the time! Remember getting to this part in the book? Just like, “WHAAAAAT?!” and being COMPLETELY devastated that he killed Dumbledore, but also knowing that there was a reason (aka Dumbledore told him to/was dying anyway because of that ring), and oh my GOD the emotions. [Cue: Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now.”] And he’s the Half Blood Prince! Thus making me much more attracted to him, somehow, I don’t get it, JUST GO WITH IT DON’T QUESTION ME.

17. Something I did not want to go with: the locket Dumbledore and Harry went to retrieve was fake

After all that. AFTER ALL THAT. I mean, we’ve all had those days where we need that ONE THING at the mall, and you forget, so you have to go back, and it’s snowing, and you almost got in an accident, and you have to be at this other place soon, but you need to pick up your top from the tailor because it’s part of the thing you’re wearing, and then you get there and they’re closed early because life is cruel. So you just want to sit on a bench and cry. Now times that by about a million, and I’m sure that’s how Harry felt after his last memory of Dumbledore got to be him being killed, but before that, drinking the torture water. That’s it. I’d be done. This wizarding school could burn as far as I was concerned. I’d get every actor who played a cop to investigate all of this. Oh, and I would never, ever forgive Draco.

18. So much responsibility at age . . . what? 17? How old are these guys now?

I could look, but I’ll assume. They are 17. Sure. Around that age, anyway. Do you know what I was doing at age 17? Nothing appropriate enough to include in this piece, I’ll tell you that much. I pulled a butter knife on some guy at a party. I was not going to save the world.

19. But they DO save the world!

Eventually! But I do love so much how JK Rowling essentially tells teens they can achieve anything. Think about it: teens are underestimated constantly, and now here’s a whole franchise built on what they can and did do. It’s this book and the next that are the most important in terms of proving that point. I mean, I’m not going to give anything away, but absolutely I cried a river of tears when Hermione erases the memories of her parents to SAVE THEM. Even though it DESTROYED HER. This is the greatest series of life.

20. And we’re going to end on Dumbledore’s funeral because that’s what has to happen

The most beautiful funeral of life. But instead of being sad, allow me to tell you that the actor who plays Dumbledore is in the Sleepy Hollow movie with Johnny Depp. So watch this, and then watch that, and take solace in knowing it’s fine. We’re all fine. We’re weeping yes, but it’s okay.


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