Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Book 40 of 2014: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

I love rereading the Harry Potter books. I had them set up on my ‘children’s bookcase’ for so long that after rearranging it the other week I still keep looking at it wondering where they have all gone (answer: in the cupboard in Tara’s bedroom). Although I’ve replaced the books on that shelf with another three sets of books, it still looks kind of bare because they’re not at brightly coloured as the Harry Potter books they’ve replaced.

I used to reread them each time a new book came out and then got into the habit of trying to reread them each year. Now I’ve slipped back to once every couple of years and I take longer between each book to make the series reread last that little bit longer. Having finished my last reread last year I’m taking a year off rereading them this year and that makes me feel kind of sad (I realise I could just read the books if I felt like it, but there are so many other books to read and so little time).

This book is the one where Harry suspects that Draco is up to something in Hogwarts and no one really believes him, except he is. Harry also gets some special lessons with Dumbledore to help get inside Voldemort’s head as we learn about the creation of Horcruxes. Then Dumbledore dies at the hand of Snape and everything is very sad.

This edition of the book happened to be the American hardback version which a friend gave to me. It’s a massive book and not at all practical to take out of the house so I carried on taking the British edition to work with me. It’s still a pretty hefty book but just slightly more portable.

I have to say, the American editions look a lot fancier than the British ones. There were some nice little touches, like Hagrid’s letter being in a different font and with actual tear stains on it. I would like to get American editions of the rest of the series so that I can compare all of them.

I pictures were also a nice touch, though some of them did kind of give away bits in the story if you were reading it for the first time. They also helped to add to the bulk of the book as well, but like I said above, it’s such a pretty edition that I can’t complain at all. I just had to keep it by my bed to read because taking it out in my bag gave me backache!

It was good fun trying to spot all the differences between the UK and US editions. Most of the time I forgot to look until some appeared that was glaringly obvious to me (like whiskey, Sorcerer's Stone and pants). I suspect that were I to get Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone I might be driven slightly crazy by the Philosopher’s Stone being referred to by its Americanised name throughout the book, but I’d still like to get my hands on a copy to give it a go.

I realise that I’ve mainly talked about the book in this review, rather than the actual story, but I’ve read it so many times now that there’s really more to be said for reading a different edition. It’s still one of my favourites of the series and I can’t help but remember reading it for the first time. The bit where Dumbledore dies makes me think of bagpipes because that was what was playing outside as I read it, quite fitting for the great wizard.

I look forward to reading it again in the future is seeing what I pick up from it next time.


  1. I can't read the American editions, I get too annoyed at all the changes! I got myself a new set last year* and they are quite different from my old (very battered) set. Like you said above, they use different fonts for letters and newspaper articles, which is quite fun. Also I remember from reading Half Blood Prince last week that there are tear marks on Hagrid's letter!

    *(these ones, I love the covers! : http://www.amazon.co.uk/Harry-Potter-Box-Set-Collection/dp/1408856786/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1425397364&sr=8-2&keywords=harry+potter+box+set)

    1. That is a pretty set of books. I don't really have any excuse to buy another set of the books, but wow! Pretty!

      I love it when books have little touches like different fonts and marks from the characters, it makes what you're reading seem more real somehow. :-)


Let me know what you think. :-)