halfbaked thoughts on HBP. late & spoilery.
I was really, really happy when I got on LJ yesterday afternoon and saw that I was not insane for my brainflash earlier in the day that R.A.B. is, most likely, Regulus. If Sirius can't come back, at least *some* non-totally-evil Black (and how *great* was that?) might. Or at least there might be some more MWPP-era info.
I might, however, be insane for this next bit. I've read as much as I can of various reaction/spec posts, including cordelia_v's great stuff on POV. But I haven't found anyone talking about what's been preoccupying me ever since Saturday evening.
This is a story about interpretation and the trickeries of consciousness. It's unreliable to its very heart.
Chapter I has the PM unable to read the report in front of him. Chapter II has Snape debating with Bellatrix the different interpretations of his behavior for the last 15 years. The prince's book is a reservoir of emotion and knowledge, to which Harry cleaves, just as much as anything in the Pensieve. And what about the Pensieve scenes, huh? Dumbledore shows Harry stuff, then Harry has to digest and interpret it.
Then we've got lots of overheard fragments of conversations whose fragmentary & second/third-hand nature makes interpretation much more difficult. Hagrid overhears Dumbledore and Snape, Harry overhears Snape and Draco, Harry reports to Remus about Snape and the prophecy and Remus is surprised at Dumbledore's interpretation of Snape's remorse.
We've got what Snape says about the dark forces (an exact quotation would be welcome) -- basically, that it's mercurial, ever-shifting, formless and beautiful. And, as Hermione points out, this is what Harry himself has said. Then there's all the potions Slughorn introduces, all of which are...dude. They're *mind-altering*. They change your consciousness and perceptions. Felix induces euphoria, Polyjuice changes your appearance. Draco's machinations involve an opal necklace -- opals are "living stones", formed in geothermal springs, that can *dry out* (and when they do, they're subject to *crazing*[!]) -- and wine.
Fluids are all over the place, and it's more than just this being the second Slytherin book.
Many have noted just how often people are drinking in this book -- from the first chapter onward, from the wine at Snape's to poor Trelawney hiding her empties. Along with the potions and the interpretive instability, I think something's going on.
Then there's the fact that Chapter III opens with Harry, usually our POV-character, *asleep*. He keeps "slipping" down the fogged window, just as in the Tower, Dumbledore keeps "slipping" down the parapet[?] while talking to Draco.
If Harry's asleep, can we trust anything that comes next?
I'm not fanwanking this into zomg, it wuz all a DREAM, believe me. But something's *off*. Dumbledore mentions twice over the course of the book how *smart* he is -- that sounded weird. The only portrait that talks to him is Phineas Nigellus -- where are the other headmasters? And, um. Ring. Dead hand. *flails*
That the book ends with the wrong locket and a mysterious note just makes (frustrating) sense. Things aren't what they seem. We're drunk, or fogged, or cursed, or...*something*.
Thoughts? Please note, I've never liked Snape (okay, sometimes. *grudgingly*. Or when written by cesario) or Draco, so this is *not* a redemptionist wank. This is me flailing and impressed all at once.
Grayback bites kids. He's on the loose in 1996-1997.
Cousin Jordy -- definitely a child, he "just got his grownup teeth in" -- bites Oz in February, 1998.
YES! Dance with me. Finally, the HP and BtVS canons can make sense together.
Where is Neville?
And if the book's all about how choices and relationships make us who we are, why are Neville and Luna sidelined? On the train, Harry names them as "my friends", but then...hardly anything. *sigh*