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5:57pm on Saturday, 18th July, 2009:



We went to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince today. I haven't read any of the books and I didn't see the last film (my wife has a habit of watching them when they first come out irrespective of whether I'm away at a conference or not — I lost two Star Wars movies that way, too). Actually, this time I wouldn't have minded missing the Harry Potter, either, because I'd heard that there were angsty teenage lurve scenes in it. I am particularly susceptible to squirming at these, and sure enough spent several scenes cringing behind my jacket (which I had removed at the beginning expressly so I would have something with which to obscure the screen). Shudder.

As it turned out, the film was much better for my not having seen the one in the series before it. It meant I could put down every gaping plot hole to "oh, that must have been explained in the previous film". At the beginning, these swoopy black dust things did a number on London. Why? Oh, that must have been explained in the previous film. Ron was being hit on by some girl whose name was never given beyond the fact that it started with L. Oh, that must have been explained in the previous film. Dumbledore, who has been trying to protect Harry all this time, decides to take him on a dangerous mission instead of getting someone else to come along with him. Why? Oh, that must have been explained in the previous film. This ready place to put all my questions greatly enhanced my viewing experience.

At the end, I found there wetre two spooky connections between the film and me.

Firstly, there was a cryptic notes written by a character with the initials RAB, which I'm sure my brother would have found as amusing as I did (we both have the initials RAB). Additionally, one of the black dusty swooshy things was played by an actress with the unusual name of Suzanne Toase — my mother's maiden name was Anne Toase. Er, unless you're looking to break into my bank account, in which case it was Jane Smith.

Why is Harry Potter the same height as Hermione Granger? Shouldn't he be taller, like Ron is? Oh, that must have been explained in the previous film.

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Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).