OK, so I got home from Boston at approximately 10 PM. Brian was halfway through the book, and I wasn't allowed to read it first. I was content to wait until Sunday afternoon to read it, until he fell asleep and I stole the book. I read from 2 until 8:30 AM. I got up to page 510. I went to church, waited for Brian to finish and then finished the book. These are my initial thoughts: I immediately noticed how mature Harry acted. He spoke the truth. He told Dumbledore everything he thought was important for him to know (granted, the Prince probably should have been mentioned). He was Dumbledore's man through and through, and I loved him. He was right about everyone, Snape & Malfoy. And then, Malfoy is a person. He's scared for his life and the life of his mother. His mother is so scared for him. That makes me think of the way Mrs. Black must have reacted when Regulus joined the Death Eaters. Snape was a Death Eater the whole time. As soon as he said that Voldemort personally interviewed him and found him acceptable, I knew. It had to be; no one can fool Voldemort. I didn't want to believe it. I like the idea of a bad person truly coming to the good side and helping trounce their former allies (although, perhaps, REGULUS is that person). Every time Snape saved his life, it was only because he was saving him for Voldemort. Snape hated James and Sirius that much. That Prank with Remus in sixth year really must have shaken him. Technically, it was attempted murder, so Snape accomplished murder. He was weakening Harry's mind to Voldemort fifth year. He knew that he was getting James and Lily killed (well, there's know way to know that, but maybe he gave Voldemort the idea that the Potter's child fit the bill). And then there's that both Snape and Lily were ace at potions and in the Slug Club. And how creepy is Slughorn? His little club. And his memory with Riddle felt so molestor-ish. He was surrounded by teenage boys and gorging on wine and sweets. But I like him, kind of. I didn't at first because he was trying so hard to weasel out of helping Dumbledore. And then there was Snape the DADA teacher. I was shocked. I felt it showed the weakness of Dumbledore that led to his death. Snape is the half-blood prince. That wasn't entirely surprising, because he was so good at potions. The betrayal still stings. Dumbledore trusted him so thoroughly; he wouldn't hear of it. And then, unarmed and weak, he was killed. RAB could be Regulus Black. He wasn't my first thought. I actually kind of overlooked it with everything else pressing on. But Brian and I talked and maybe Reg was smarter than I've realized, smarter than Dumbledore thought. But how could Reg help now? He's dead, been dead for 15 years. Sirius' death is accepted now. I was really hoping for some answers about that. And I really loved the Lupin background, but I hate Remus/Tonks. But, I know I'm harping on about S/R, which is now canonically impossible, but I like to think that Remus wants something to be happy about after the 12 year gap without Sirius originally and now his death. The Christmas scene kind of proved their relationship to me. That song was so apt toward the two of them, and Remus was always mentioned right before lyrics were written. I know it could be Remus/Tonks, but it's just not. Harry/Ginny felt just as forced. It felt like Rowling went "who could fit in with the trio?" and Ginny worked so well. She's always been there, and everyone in the trio knew and liked her. But it was just too random, although I'm glad Harry got some good, young person's happiness. Ron/Hermione, finally! And trio love. I love the trio. Hermione and Ron will follow Harry toward their deaths, and I love them so much for it (I don't doubt that Sirius and Remus would have done that for James, I just feel like he would have needed to ask or something). The Riddle background was awesome. He's a textbook sociopath, which is awesome. I love the idea of his 6 horcruxes, which is why he no longer resembles a human. I can now understand Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort, because Riddle was wicked handsome. And I love the Riddle/Voldemort and Snape/Prince parallel. It proves how wicked Snape is. I honestly am still reeling over the world she's created. I don't want to believe it. I really like Fleur now. Well, not really, but she's at least a decent person. Bill is as cool as ever. Greyback was an animal; he was very, very interesting.
Those are all the thoughts I can think of right now. Comment and we can talk. A BRC meeting should be called to discuss all these developments.