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YMMV / Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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  • Accidental Innuendo: Harry tries to say to the Room of Requirement - "I need to see what Draco Malfoy is doing inside you".
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • In the film, when Harry jumps through the wall of fire to pursue Bellatrix, Lupin is the first of the adults to run forward. Is he concerned for Harry's safety, or is he going after the woman who killed his best friend? Probably both.
    • Merope dying after her son is born. Harry wonders why she didn't try to stay alive for the sake of her child. Perhaps she came to resent the baby growing in her womb? As a remnant of the man she had loved who rejected her, perhaps she had no plans to raise the child at all since she actively went into an orphanage to give birth.
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    • Film-only; when Draco kills the bird in his failed experiment with the Vanishing Cabinet, does he cry because he killed it? Or because he fears what will happen to him if the Cabinet continues to fail? Or both?
  • Ass Pull: Apart from people hypnotised by the Imperius curse being released when Voldemort was defeated, the concept of spells no longer working when their caster dies isn't mentioned anywhere else in the series. There are countless examples of spells still being in effect for years after their caster died.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • This book contains two subplots where Love Potions are used in situations that are definitely not Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male, in a possible response to criticism that said Potions are basically G-rated date rape drugs marketed to Potterverse witches (for added contrast, Fred and George do exactly that in this book and it's just as creepy as it sounds). In the present day, Romilda Vane is seen as a disturbed stalker after she tries to send Harry a box of chocolates that were spiked with Love Potion; and in the backstory, Merope Gaunt, Voldemort's mother, kept Tom Riddle under various enchantments, including Love Potion, so he wouldn't leave her.
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    • The scene where Hermione attacks Ron with the birds is not very popular, due to Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male (had Ron attacked Hermione like that, it'd be a Moral Event Horizon). In the film, Ron is not hurt when the birds attack.
    • A big complaint about Harry falling for Ginny is that her Character Development happens mainly offscreen. The film shows Ginny to be a supportive presence to Harry, featuring her a lot more in scenes and giving them a chance to develop a relationship on screen (especially after barely interacting in previous films).
    • A major complaint for the book series is that the Slytherins are uniformly underhanded cheaters, opportunistic bullies, and snobby Alpha Bitches, while the Gryffindors are all brave, virtuous champions. Many readers and even casual fans have joked why Hogwarts has a house specifically for the evil students. The book attempted to reverse this by introducing Horace Slughorn, who while still ambitious and opportunistic is also friendly and jovial. The Gryffindors got Cormac MacLaggen and Romilda Vane, who embody their house's virtue of bravery but are also a selfish Jerk Jock and creepy Stalker with a Crush respectively, with Vane also being a bit of an Alpha Bitch in the book (inviting Harry to come sit with her friends by saying he won't have to sit with them, meaning Neville and Luna).
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    • The film leaves out Harry trying various spells from the book on other people, showing only the Sectumsempra scene which in-universe is meant to be horrifying.
    • A minor one, but some fans felt that Helena Bonham Carter was far too hammy in the previous film. Here she is much more subtly menacing and restrained, while still being evil and crazy.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The Burrow-burning and Bellatrix's appearance in The Movie; Word of God says The Burrow attack was to bring the threat of the Death Eaters more close to home to the characters than Hermione reading about it in the papers, but it still arrives and leaves without another word in true BLAM fashion.
  • Broken Base:
    • The book that ignited the greatest quantity of flame wars on forums. Especially over the Ship Sinking of Harry and Hermione (a ship which had never been alluded to in the books). The film reignited the debate, especially given Steve Kloves preference towards Harry/Hermione over Official Couple Ron/Hermione.
    • Minor one but Hermione's crying after Ron kisses Lavender. Some found it Narm, while others had a She Really Can Act reaction towards Emma Watson.
    • Lavender being played by a white actress was another one, mostly since she'd been entirely in the background with no lines in the previous films. Some felt it was pointless to change her back to white, while others felt it was more in line with the booknote .
    • The Burrow burning scene. Some invoke They Changed It, Now It Sucks!, while others argue that it's necessary for the narrative.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal: Snape being the Half-Blood Prince surprised nobody. The first clue was Snape getting promoted to Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, which is a dead giveaway that a character is going to be important in a Harry Potter book. The second, more glaring hint was that the HBP was good at potions. The last one is that he knows how to cure Sectumsempra despite it seemingly being an unknown spell made up by a student decades ago.
  • Designated Hero:
    • Hermione, carrying over from the last book, at least in the film version, which cuts out much of Cormac and Ron's nastiness. She messes up a student's chance on the Quidditch team over a few insults and physically attacks Ron out of jealousy. She is however called out for these actions, and her attempted defence of "that was different" is shown to be shallow.
    • Some of Harry's actions qualify, such as using spells on random targets (including Filch's cat), even if he has no idea what they actually do (as when he unleashes Sectumsempra on Draco). It's likely this could be the Intended Audience Reaction - judging by Harry's Heel Realization after using Sectumsempra. Ginny likewise draws comparisons between the book and Tom Riddle's diary.
  • Designated Villain: Cormac. He may be a jerk, but he suffers through a lot of Disproportionate Retribution, like having his Quidditch try-out rigged or having a month of detention for accidentally vomiting on Snape. Though, in the book, he's even worse, Hermione is called out on rigging his tryouts by Harry, and the match against Hufflepuff proves that the team is much better off with Ron as Keeper.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Hey Draco, that's a nice suit you got there. Of course, it helps that Draco starts to become a lot more pitiable by the end of the book, what with it being revealed that he's terrified of dying and/or causing the death of his family.
  • Epileptic Trees: When the film came out, some fans had a theory that making Lavender a white girl was done to avoid Unfortunate Implications - as Harry's relationship with the Asian Cho Chang ended badly, and he'd also have a potential hook-up with a black waitress that would go nowhere. Likewise Ginny's relationship with the black Dean Thomas would end - with all the Romantic False Leads being non-white, while the true pairings were white. Having Lavender as white would therefore avoid this.
  • Fan Nickname: Disappointment in the movie caused some fans to nickname it "Harry Potter and the Half-Baked Script".
  • Foe Yay: Thank God Harry's obvious obsession with Draco was eaten by the giant chest monster, who decided to save the appearances just in time. Note that the word 'obsessed' is used in-story by both the narrator and a rather-concerned Ron.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • After Lavender runs out of the infirmary in tears, Dumbledore muses "Ah, to be young and feel love's keen sting." Rowling later mentioned that Dumbledore had a crush on Grindelwald and that a fight where Grindelwald was trying to torture Aberforth eventually led to their sister's death. Dumbledore also held off going after Grindelwald due to his lingering feelings for him until it was obvious he was too powerful for Dumbledore to ignore.
    • Harry's behavior under the effects of Felix Felices were often compared by fans and commentators to intoxication from alcohol or other drugs, which became a lot less funny when Daniel Radcliffe admitted to having an drinking problem that resulted in him being drunk for the entire production of one of the Harry Potter films.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The film hijinks involving Ron and Lavender lose luster in retrospect as Lavender gets a surprising, startling, and horrifying Death by Adaptation in the last film, which Word of God later stated to be canon.
    • Dumbledore's "Oh, to be young and to feel love's keen sting" line in the infirmary upon Lavender hearing a bedridden, unconscious Ron call out to Hermione. In the backstory provided by Rowling, Dumbledore was in love with Grindelwald, who left the country after a fight Grindelwald had with Dumbledore's brother led to the death of their sister. It was also Dumbledore who had to put an end to Grindelwald's reign of terror. It doesn't help that Snape is present at the same time, given his love for Lily.
    • Snape rather amusingly is shown mistreating Wormtail when he lives with him, presumably due to still being sore over his role in his bullying as a teen (though also likely due to Wormtail's personality in general, but after the last book, it takes a darker turn when it's revealed that Snape was in love with Lily, and now knows that Wormtail was the one who betrayed her to Voldemort. It likely took all he had not to kill him.
  • He Really Can Act:
    • This film is the point where Michael Gambon is acknowledged to finally set aside his angry take on Dumbledore for a Truer to the Text portrayal. It helps that by this point Dumbledore in the books has gotten grumpier because he's running out of time and Harry isn't always as devoted to the task at hand as Dumbledore demands.
    • Tom Felton was viewed as rather weak beforehand - mainly due to Malfoy's status as a Jerk Jock who says a few mean things per film. Now with a full arc and chance to show his talents, he was met with lots of praise.
    • Bonnie Wright too, though this was more to do with her being Out of Focus in the other films. She won many people over with Ginny's expanded screen time.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In the first book, Ron sees in the Mirror of Erised himself as Head Boy and holding the Quidditch Cup. He manages both (almost, as he became a Prefect) in this book and film. Also a little harsh considering that Ron never attends his last year at Hogwarts, meaning that there's a chance that he could have qualified for Head Boy but still couldn't take the position.
    • In the book, Luna non-chalantly claims that Rufus Scrimgeour the new Minister for Magic is a vampire. In the seventh movie, Scrimgeour is portrayed by Bill Nighy, who portrayed a vampire once.
    • Helena Bonham-Carter was pregnant during filming of the movie. Come Cursed Child, it's revealed that her character, Bellatrix, is in fact the mother of Voldemort's child.
      • In a related line from the books, Bellatrix tells her sister Narcissa that if Bella ever had sons, she would gladly give them up in service to the Dark Lord. Bellatrix and Voldemort's daughter Delphi ends up with roughly the same fate.
    • At the end of the book, Bill Weasley is described as bearing "a distinct resemblance to Mad-Eye Moody" after being attacked by Fenir Greyback. In the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movie, Brendan Gleeson's son Domhnall Gleeson played Bill Weasley.
    • Lavender writing "R+L" on a foggy train window is hilarious to fans of another fantasy series where this love equation appears. One would think that Lavender spoiling this is the real reason Hermione glares when she sees it...
  • It Was His Sled: Snape kills Dumbledore. This spoiler is so well known, Marvel even used it in an issue of Deadpool.[1]
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Morfin Gaunt. While he is established to be a fairly nasty wizard, it becomes hard not to feel sorry for him after he loses his father to Azkaban and Voldemort frames him for three of the murders he committed. Dumbledore himself lampshades it.
    • Tom Riddle Sr. was a bit of a pompous snob but that's hardly enough to deserve being raped and then murdered by his rape-baby years later.
    • Merope Gaunt too is a rapist but she was put through the Trauma Conga Line at the hands of her abusive father. She's physically attacked for even looking at Tom Riddle Sr, plus it's implied she is beaten and possibly worse by her father.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    Snape kills Dumbledore!
    Nooo! You bitch! You bitch!
    • Similarly, "SNAPE KILLS DUMBLEDORE ON PAGE 606/596." (page 606 is commonly used as it has Harry explicitly saying "Snape killed Dumbledore," but the actual death occurs on 596. Or 566/556, depending on which edition you're reading.)
    • Amusingly, someone changed the Wikipedia page for the book to spoiler the ending. The IP address traced back to the HQ of the Minnesota Republican Party.
    • "Snape!" ejaculated Slughorn.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Some fans tend to sympathize with Merope too much claiming her using a Love Potion on Tom Riddle was justified; even going so far as to claim Tom Riddle was the bad one, pointing to a few scenes where he's described as a snob, and him leaving a pregnant Merope and never even bothering to find out what happened to his child, never mind the fact that he was mind-controlled and magically raped, and didn't consent to the relationship in the first place. This would not exist if it were Tom who did this to Merope, mind you. They are helped by the fact that both Harry and Dumbledore raise no concerns about Merope's use of the potion, more keen on her abandoning Riddle Jr. to the orphanage and refusing to live for her child's sake. This was actually more widespread when the book came out, but after sexual consent became a hot button issue and society began to recognize the double standard of how men being raped by women were treated, Riddle has garnered more sympathy.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Draco nearly crosses it when he tries to use the Cruciatus Curse on Harry in the bathroom. Subverted when he tries to kill Dumbledore because he doesn't have the nerve to do it and is only trying out of fear of Voldemort killing him or his parents.
  • Narm:
    • Everyone's reaction to Harry suddenly coming to The Burrow sounds uncharacteristically wooden and scripted.
    • At the Burrow, Hermione's laugh when Ron says Dumbledore must be 150 sounds really fake for a joke that wasn't that funny.
    • Harry's romantic interest in Ginny is generally fraught with silliness, like his fears that her brothers will suddenly hate him, but it's the monster living inside his chest that takes the cake, especially when it starts roaring.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Poor, poor Ginny. There's no evidence that she goes further than kissing with anyone, and with a grand total of two boys before Harry, and yet the bashers are all too happy to label her the "Hogwarts whore". Especially amusing as Ginny has to put up with the same accusations from her brothers in the very same book. She swiftly shuts them up.
    • Draco's No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of Harry on the train.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor:
    • Thankfully avoided. Although the book takes a greater focus on adolescent romantic histrionics than the others in the series, it doesn't dominate the main plot.
    • This was the film's main problem. The screenplay excised or downplayed many of Harry and Dumbledore's adventures into Voldemort's past (the A plot) in favor of Harry's teenage woes (the B plot).
    • Those who opposed the franchise's official pairings of Ron and Hermione and Harry and Ginny (as opposed to the Fan-Preferred Couple of Harry and Hermione) began to see the two romances as this from this film onwards.
  • Strangled by the Red String:
    • Whether or not the books did this with the Harry/Ginny pairing is a major point of debate for fans of the series, and that's all that should be said about that, but it's at least important to remember that they're still hormonal teenagers, even if they are magical heroes, and that it isn't too unbelievable an occurrence in Real Life. As noted above, the film tried to give them a more obvious attraction.
    • Lupin and Tonks. Harry sees Tonks upset several times and thinks it's over Sirius dying, and that maybe she was even in love with him. Then the climax reveals that Tonks is deeply in love with and wants to marry Lupin. They proceed to do so despite having no interaction on camera before this (although eagle eyed readers will notice that they tend to work together a lot in Order of the Phoenix). As the books are primarily written from Harry's perspective, it's somewhat understandable that plenty of major events can happen off-camera simply because Harry can't be present for every single storyline. At the same time, the reader can still feel left out as the key parts of the Romance Arc never actually happen in front of them either.
    • Also happens In-Universe in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when Ron consumes a love potion from Romilda Vane, who he has never met, that was intended for Harry.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Dumbledore coldly confronting the Dursleys for all the abuse they put Harry through over the years, and telling them that the best thing they ever did for their nephew was to guarantee that he didn't become the horrifically Spoiled Brat their son was.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Lupin was read by some fans as Ambiguously Gay (social outcast, strongest bond is with another unmarried man, has a condition analogous to AIDS) and Tonks was similarly read as having an Ambiguous Gender Identity or being a Butch Lesbian (tomboyish and punky, a Voluntary Shapeshifter so gender identity is flexible, favors her neutral surname over her outrageously girly given name). Then the book and its followups has them get together, deconfirms any possibility that Lupin was in love beforehand, has Tonks become considerably less gender-ambiguous, and then they have a kid, all with almost no development. As one Vox article put it, "many fans believed Rowling had taken the two queerest characters in the series, de-gayed them, and stuck them together in a child-producing heteronormative union."
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Lavender is meant to come across as a Clingy Jealous Girl, but you can't help but feel a little sorry for her. Ron only gets with her to make Hermione jealous, and she only behaves so nauseatingly romantic towards him because he never tells her he doesn't like being treated that way.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Hermione during her feud with Ron. While what Ron did may have been a low blow, Hermione reacts to it with complete immaturity by assaulting Ron with birds. Her inability to take the high road was only Hand Waved. Harry likewise seems to lose any sympathy for her when she invites Cormac MacLaggen to the Christmas party solely to annoy Ron (though Cormac is so arrogant and infuriating it's hard not to view it as Hermoine's Laser-Guided Karma).
  • Values Resonance: Merope Gaunt using Love Potions to brainwash Tom Riddle Sr. and rape him is portrayed as a horrible act, and Harry and Dumbledore don't blame Riddle for running away from her once he was freed from the potion's influence. With sexual consent becoming a hot-button issue in The New '10s and with society slowly-but-surely realizing how wrong the the double standard of males being raped by females is, many readers have agreed.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?: Narcissa's choice of hairstyle in the movie was met with scratched heads. She's blonde in the books but the film chooses to give her half black hair and half blonde. Cue a few comments about her having 'skunk hair'.
    • It may have been done to show that she was born to the Black family (all of whom have black hair), but married into the Malfoy family (all of whom have blonde hair).


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