A LOOK INTO EVIL'S PAST
I read the book before I went to watch the movie because all I remembered in the book was how it ended and that Ron and Hermione had romantic troubles. Honestly, I don't really like this book that much, though it ranks above its predecessor on my scale.
Harry starts his sixth year at Hogwarts with the Dark forces growing stronger. Dumbledore enlists his help in bringing a old teacher Slughorn out of retirement, who turns out to, surprise, surprise, replace the Potions Master, making Snape the Professor of Defence Against Dark Arts. This discomfort aside, Harry has to persuade Slughorn to give up something he is hiding, deal with love pangs for Ginny and learn more about Voldemort's past, so that he can defeat him.
I didn't like the book much. I thought there was too much of fluff, it read more like some teen romance, you know, girl and boy like each other and are separated by misunderstandings. The Ron-Lavender track was quite irritating to me. Granted that the trio is growing, and hormones are stronger than ever, but this story is about good vs evil, Harry vs Voldemort, not Hermione vs Lavender. It seemed like Rowling was writing a young adult romance, then would remember what the story was about and come back on track.
But I really like the insights into Voldemort's past, the sneak peeks at the man before he became the mask. The concept of Horcruxes was elegant, inspired in part, I think, by those olden folk tales which talk about removing the soul from the body and keeping it in another being for safekeeping, but with darker undertones. However, I was disappointed by the lack of coverage given to the half blood prince subplot. I mean, when I heard the story, I figured that the Half-Blood Prince would be like a central plot element, connected with a challenge Harry has to face (like Goblet of Fire or Prisoner of Azkaban), but apart from being a mysterious author, not much coverage was given to his story. The book, I believe, could have been a good 200 pages shorter with no loss whatsoever.
A word about the movie. It takes a lot of cinematic liberties with the book. Now, I don't expect the movie to be a xerox of the book, but HBP has, in the words of one of my friends, 30% of the story with 130% of the romance. It's not a bad movie, its cinematography is great, the sets and locations wonderful. If you watch it forgetting that it's an adaptation of the book, you'll love it; in fact I liked it too.
Have you watched the movie? How did it compare with the book?