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Second Guessing:

This piece is a bit of an exception since the whole point of it was NOT to update the entire thing in recognition of the final volume of the series.

So while it has been added to, little of the original material has been changed. Apart from correcting tenses and catching typos. Maybe.

And it looks like Rowling decided to bail out of the pattern she appeared to be working up to, in any case, so the whole premise is shot full of holes.

In fact, I was VERY late to make the jump onto this particular bandwagon. The idea was certainly not original with me. Like I say; I think I’m reasonably sharp, but I’m not always particularly swift.

In the run-up to the release of HBP there was a great deal of discussion and speculation over there being some connection between Chamber of Secrets and the impending Half-Blood Prince. Despite Rowling’s assurance that nothing of HBP’s story remained in the final version of CoS.

And yet she did apparently have both books in mind when she wrote CoS; she claims that even the HBP title was once considered for Book 2.

Well, it eventually began to look like quite a few of the fans had managed to figure out the solution to that particular puzzle. Particularly given that JKR had been waving a possible answer under our noses for the previous two years.

You don’t follow me? Okay, here is a list of some of the main plot elements from an existing book. Some of these elements, like the fact that the final run-up to the ending always involves an underground passage, chamber, or some form of maze or labyrinth has shown up in every single book so far. But the ones listed here are all from one particular book. And they take place more or less in this order.

1. There is a memorable incident concerning magic that involves Dudley.

2. Soon afterward the Dursleys are being inundated with owls. Harry ends up locked in his room.

3. Harry is removed from the Dursleys’ custody in the middle of the night. They apparently have nothing to say about the matter. Harry is ultimately introduced to a “whole new world” for which nothing he knows has really prepared him. Some weeks later he boards the Hogwarts Express.

4. The DADA teacher is utterly useless. No one is ever stated as having learnt anything in the class.

5. Off in the background, Dumbledore is running an elaborate scam trying to lure Voldemort out of hiding.

6. The scam is wrapped around an artifact of great significance (or at least of great significance to Voldemort).

7. The artifact, under guard, has been carefully placed below ground in a maze/puzzle/labyrinth. There is a trick to getting hold of it. Harry ends up being about the only person who qualifies to do so.

8. Harry and his friends have no idea what is really going on regarding Dumbledore’s scam, apart from the fact that something is going on. They are being purposely kept in the dark and repeatedly told to leave it alone.

9. Snape gets into a heavy confrontation with a person who dies in the final show-down.

10. Harry is inadvertently given a piece of critical information a bit before Christmas.

11. Around Christmas Harry makes a crucial discovery (Ron is also involved in this) and Dumbledore, who to this point has been rather a distant figure, steps forward and he and Harry have a significant encounter in which vital information is transmitted.

12. Hagrid turns up with a dangerous creature that he can’t really control, and which puts him, personally, in an unnecessary state of risk.

13. He dumps the final dealing with the creature on Harry and his friends. This entails the breaking of school rules.

14. At the last moment, at the end of the year, Harry, who has hold of the wrong end of the stick, is convinced that he has to mount a rescue effort.

15. He doesn’t do it alone. His friends accompany him.

16. The artifact that Dumbledore’s current scam is wrapped around is at the destination point of this effort.

17. Obstacles which Harry must traverse before he can get to the “rescue” site include monsters from Greek mythology, tangled plant life, flying, a dangerously oversized humanoid (who is not actually a threat by that point), and problems requiring strategy and logic.

18. Ron is taken out of the equation in an attack involving the head/brain.

19. Hermione performs well to a point and after that point is simply unavailable.

20. When Harry gets to the “rescue” rendezvous, he comes face to face with Voldemort’s agent.

21. Harry gets possession of the artifact anyway, right under the enemy’s nose, and refuses to give it up. (The whole exercise was probably a mistake, since it was safer where it was.)

22. Voldemort reveals himself, reads Harry’s mind.

23. Harry is attacked. Somebody is killed in the fracas, Harry has reason to feel some responsibility for the death, although he did not do the killing.

24. Dumbledore manages to rescue Harry, Voldemort escapes.

25. General debriefing between Dumbledore and Harry. The question of why Voldemort wants Harry dead is raised.

Order of the Phoenix, right?

Well, yes. But like I said, Rowling reuses elements. These elements were all used, every one of them, in that order, in a particular book. Not a collection drawn from several, even though some of these elements have been reused in several.

But the book I had in mind was Philosopher’s Stone/Sorcerer’s Stone.

OotP was a retread of the same underlying story as Book 1.

And, for that matter, I think if someone did a reread of OotP specifically with this kind of thing in mind, they might find a few more examples of adaptive reuse that I have missed. Rowling appears to have definitely and quite deliberately used recycled elements from PS/SS in OotP. She’s certainly reused the basic situation, hell, she has reused the whole damned plotline!

And yes, quite a few of these elements have been used more than once over the course of the series. But once you give the matter any kind of serious examination, Book 5 is definitely “The Return of the Scam”.

Which first led me to wonder whether the suspected connection between CoS and HBP was that HBP would turn out to be a similar CoS redux, rerunning the underlying plot, even though it retains none of CoS’s basic story. And for that matter, it led me to go on to wonder whether Book 7 would be a replay of PoA.

****

And it turned out that insofar as my suspicions about HBP went, in the main, I was right. But I was wrong, as well. HBP does not reuse the plotline of CoS.

I thought that perhaps the things to watch for in Book 6 were going to be things like;

Book 2: The Original Speculations

In CoS Harry had difficulties getting to Hogwarts at all. He did not travel there by the Hogwarts Express. Someone was determined to “help” him by getting in the way.

By the middle of the Autumn term (i.e., Halloween) there was an unidentified enemy known to be inside the castle picking victims off one by one, or two by two, and the fact that Harry was a Parselmouth turned out be relevant. There was yet another case of “possession” involved. The person actually conducting the attacks — a person solidly in the least likely suspect category — was not attacking people of their own volition. The people attacked were, in some of the cases, people who stood between the person conducting the attacks, and Harry.

Hermione was taken out of the equation immediately after she solved the puzzle, and Harry was cut off from Ron’s help at the last minute by a cave-in. Draco Malfoy was in possession of some useful information but was irrelevant in himself.

His father, on the other hand, instigated the whole plot. In Book 2, Lucius Malfoy’s plot was brought to ruin by subversive action behind the enemy lines, orchestrated by a servant whose own agenda Lucius Malfoy neither knew nor cared about, and who, moreover Malfoy had a history of subjecting to abuse of the variety that demands self-mutilation in the line of obedience, and a victim who, despite being highly magical in his own right, Malfoy had consistently underestimated. (Query: who have we been consistently led to underestimate from the moment his name first came up in the series? No, I don’t mean Lily. Although that’s true, too.)

Hagrid sent Harry and Co. off on a dangerous wild goose chase through the Forbidden Forest. Although at least some useful information came out of the adventure. A charmed, at least partially-sentient, object was instrumental in getting them out of that situation. Critical information was provided at the last moment by a ghost.

Lightweight Lockhart turned out to be unexpectedly dangerous, although he was not the primary villain of the piece. And he was only neutralized by chance, by his own actions, in a classic bit of poetic justice.

And, furthermore, both Hagrid and Dumbledore had already been removed from the school by the time the climax was upon us.

Harry mounted a rescue attempt at the last moment, this time one that was both necessary and successful. It was the person responsible for the attacks who was in need of rescue. Fawkes was instrumental in the resolution of the climax.

The underlying puzzle was grounded in a legend dating from the Founders’ days and an ancient artifact also of some significance to the earliest days of the Founders abruptly resurfaced when required. Another at least partially-sentient object; history’s only largely "disinterested witness" of the entire period of the School’s existence, took an active part in the resolution.

The servant is liberated, the chief plotter is forced out his established position of power, and removed from his sphere of influence. His traditional “allies” were glad to see him go, since he had made the mistake of threatening to curse their families.

Dumbledore was forced to go back on his word in the interest of fairness and we ended up learning a bit about Tom Riddle’s background.

Not a whiole lot of which actually was carried over to HBP. Or not in that form.

Book 2: Actual List Elements

And yet, when you go over HBP invoking metaphor and parallels, quite a few of the observed elements and incidents from CoS did manage to produce apparent echoes in Book 6.

But, like I say, I was right, AND I was wrong. HBP was not a simple CoS redux. Rowling did not simply replay the plotline of CoS in the telling of HBP.

She did however, reuse an amazing number of the same "decorative elements" that were deployed as set dressing, or individual plot points in CoS over the course of HBP. In fact quite a startling number of them. Even if just about none of them ended up meaning quite the same thing as they had before they were redeployed. We also got at least one “ringer” among them as well. Possibly more than one.

There was also a pronounced level of spider imagery and spider references throughout the narrative of HBP; from “Spinners’ End”, to the image of Slughorn sitting like a spider in the middle of his web, the return and final departure of Aragog and any number of other passing references to spiders or webs. This seemed greatly in excess of the references to spiders in CoS. (Although Book 2 is where Ron’s phobia of spiders was first introduced.)

And, as promised, herein is a list of some of them. As in the above list, rather a lot of these have been used in other installments of the series as well. I also suspect that with more time and less pressure I’d be finding a few more of these that I missed.

1. In both Book 2 and Book 6 it is beginning to look very much as if the whole central issue was precipitated by Lucius Malfoy’s foolish and self-serving decision to deploy the Riddle Diary, without permission.

2. A House Elf who despises his Master shows up and pitches a fit in #4 Privet Drive.

3. Harry is removed from Privet Drive in the middle of the night, to an unfamiliar destination. He ends up spending the rest of the summer with the Weasleys.

4. Harry meets this year’s new teacher before the school year starts. New teacher is determined to strike up an association with Harry.

5. New teacher is a celebrity hound with a flair for the dramatic, an ostentatious wardrobe, a weakness for boasting, and keeps drawing attention to Harry in his class throughout the year.

6. Hagrid meets Harry in Diagon Alley.

7. Malfoy is in Diagon Alley the same day as the trio, in company with one of his parents.

8. An altercation with the Malfoys occurs in a Diagon Alley shop. One of the Malfoys provokes it by making nasty, uncalled-for comments related to Hermione’s parentage. Ill-breeding is displayed by all parties in the confrontation.

9. We pay another visit to Borkin & Burke’s. The same black lacquer cabinet that Harry hid in in CoS is a centerpiece. The same cursed opal necklace is again pointed out to our attention.

10. We spy on the Slytherins in their own territory. Malfoy drops heavy hints about helping the Dark Lord.

11. Harry is prevented from getting into Hogwarts on his own. This time we know Malfoy is responsible.

12. Harry arrives at Hogwarts late, and the first staff member to meet him is Snape, who is characteristically unpleasant.

13. One of the first new student characters we meet is a member of the “upper crust”, with comments regarding the new teacher.

14. Someone is presented with a used book, and develops an emotional attachment to the previous owner. (“A friend that I can carry in my pocket!”) Neither the book nor the previous owner are what anyone could call harmless.

15. The book dates from something in the neighborhood of 50 years ago. This is the aforementioned “ringer”. We are supposed to recognize the echo. But the book’s date doesn’t actually relate to anything actively deployed in the text and certainly does not relate to Riddle, or the Riddle era at Hogwarts. (Close, but no cigar!)

16. Someone spends the whole year pulling a Lockhart (taking credit for someone else’s work).

17. Hermione blatantly breaks rules to advance a personal agenda.

18. Hermione attracts the attention of the new teacher. She is very pleased to have it.

19. The new teacher sets up a club. Everyone in Gryffindor seems to be interested in it.

20. Much attention gets focused upon a complex Potion. This Potion is later used to acquire crucial information.

21. How many people remember that our very first introduction to how a Pensieve works was in CoS? Yes, that’s right. Riddle incorporated the function of a Pensieve into the Diary.

22. Harry accesses some valuable information through the unconscious use of Parseltongue.

23. Partway through the first term of the year we are introduced to a complete sad sack of a girl who is bullied, put-upon, and fundamental to the underlying problem du jour. This “born victim’s” own conduct is anything but exemplary.

24. A member of the Slytherin family is described as elderly and “monkey-like”. (His son spends his spare time in trees. Query: are we supposed to now be wondering whether “Slytherin” is some highfalutin attempt at a variant on “simian”? [“We are DEVO!”])

25. Mysterious attacks are made upon students. With more good luck than good management these attacks are non-fatal, but the victims spend a variously extended time out of commission. (The earlier the attack, the longer the time out of commission.)

26. Molly and Arthur Weasley rush to the school in response to an attack on one of their children.

27. We first encounter Tom Riddle himself in chapter 13. The two chapter titles are deliberate echoes of one another.

28. We spend quality time in Herbology wrangling with dangerous plants.

29. The newest teacher on Staff throws a Holiday party.

30. A correctly brewed Potion goes badly wrong, leading to long term adverse effects upon one of the trio.

31. Harry is injured at Quidditch and spends the night in the Hospital Wing. Dobby shows up in the night, unexpectedly.

32. Somewhere in the Castle there is a room that no one can find. Or, if find, open. In the climax of the story a monster gains access to the school through this uncharted space.

33. Polyjuice espionage with Crabbe and Goyle. ’Nuff said.

34. We finally acquire the key to the mystery du jour immediately following an encounter involving Aragog. This key leads us directly to information concerning pivotal actions of young Tom Riddle’s when he was still a student at the school.

35. A significant discovery takes place in a bathroom. Myrtle is present.

36. Harry and Draco get into a duel which is brought to a shattering end by one of them using a spell which originally came from Severus Snape. There are publicly unpleasant consequences from this conflict for Harry.

37. We first encountered the Vanishing Cabinet in CoS. Peeves broke it at that point, at Nearly Headless Nick’s urging, in order to keep Harry from getting a detention from Filch for tracking mud into the Castle. Someone had put it physically back together again, although it seems to have taken Malfoy some months to repair the spells on it.

38. Snape himself gets surprisingly little page time during most of the year. We see him at the beginning and the end of the book, but only get a glimpse or two in the middle, mostly through report.

39. He does contribute his efforts to at least one medical crisis, however.

40. Dumbledore leaves the school before the climax of the story, this absence is connected with the actions of one of the Malfoys. He returns only when the final confrontation is upon everyone.

41. Leading to a confrontation between the Malfoy involved and Albus.

42. The climax of the tale involves a visit to a grand, perilous, ancient chamber, underground, which cannot be accessed except by complying to specific conditions, and is associated with a Slytherin.

43. Someone significant to Harry nearly dies there. [In CoS, Harry was forced to kill something there.]

44. An artifact of some significance is brought out of this chamber. Upon examination, there turns out to be either something more, or something different to the artifact than was first assumed.

45. A decent person is discovered to have been acting under an enemy’s control over the past year.

46. A Malfoy’s close connection with the school is brought to an end.

47. Somebody gets thrown off a staircase.

48. The climax and/or its aftermath is accompanied by Phoenix Song.

49. The school Governors are invoked.

50. Exams are cancelled.

I rather suspect that there are more of these, but I will leave those to someone else to dig out.

****

Well that’s enough to confirm the hypothesis for me. I think I have ample reason to feel justified in my confidence of expecting Book 7 to reflect and echo elements of Book 3. We just do not know which elements.

So long as we are at it, let’s consider Book 7, and think back to Book 3:

Book 3: Looking Ahead

Things that actually happened, or elements that were present in PoA:

The Weasleys were out of the country for the summer to spend time with Bill.

Harry leaves the Dursleys under his own steam and strikes out on his own. This takes place after a family confrontation in which Harry states that he’s had enough. His departure is witnessed by an Animagus who has a major role in the following year’s action.

Much of the characters’ attention throughout the year is concentrated upon the whereabouts and motivations of a convicted murderer. (Although it later turns out that the criminal wasn’t ever brought to trial and was convicted primarily by official Ministry spin on public opinion.)

Everybody is absolutely sure that they already know who this enemy is, where his loyalties lay, and what he wants (and they are wrong on all counts).

This supposed enemy was a fugitive from page 1.

The enemy had abilities known only to a few, one of whom was present in the school that year and who continued to suppress the information until it was dragged out of him at the last minute. Snape was at loggerheads with this person from the outset.

The Dementors were an overriding factor throughout the entire book and it was made clear that they absolutely could not be trusted to restrain themselves around Harry.

The trio was at odds with each other for three-quarters of the year. Hagrid’s monumental fecklessness provided cause for yet another major distraction from the central issue throughout much of the school year.

Harry was sent an anonymous gift which could have been dangerously hexed. Hermione’s guess as to who had sent it was absolutely correct.

Crookshanks had a paw in most of the proceedings related to the fugitive.

Harry’s physical resemblance to James served a major plot point(!)

Ron was taken out of the equation fairly early in the climax and Hermione’s assistance and guidance was necessary to actually pull the final mission off.

Dumbledore set the final mission up, but took no active part in it.

Much of the situation hinged upon the fact that the roots for most of the motivations of everyone involved’s actions were buried 20 years in the past.

****

Some possible expectations based upon PoA:

Well everybody seems to be debating who is most likely to die. I seriously doubt that the final book is going to be the bloodbath that all the fans seem to be panting for. But there are certainly going to be deaths. Tom Riddle’s at the very least.

Leaving aside the two “bonus deaths” that Rowling claims slipped in when she wasn't looking, my own top candidates (on Harry's side) for at least a couple of the deaths that she already planned are as follows. Not all of them, certainly, but there is a decent argument to be made for each of them:

Sybill Trelawney — who I fairly confidently expect to blunder across the plotline again, spout a third Prophecy, and finally get taken out of the equation.

Horace Slughorn — killed for what he knows. Maybe he will have arranged for his information to get to the proper place in the event of his death. If not, something associated with him (another vial of Felix?) may turn up later in the course of the story and have everyone very antsy as to whether to trust it.

Aberforth Dumbledore — who by then we will know rather better and will probably regret at least as much as we do Cedric Diggory.

A “Creature”, preferably magical. Probably either Crookshanks or Buckbeak — we got closure on Aragog in HBP, I think we may get closure on one of these in DHs. Ferenze is also a candidate who applies here, actually. We first encountered him going against the herd on Harry's behalf in PS/SS. It is not a great stretch to suspect that something in Book 7 may echo back to Book 1, even if most of the pattern is repeating Book 3.

I don’t have any clear expectations about those two unplanned “bonus deaths”, but another Order member seems likely (Moody?). Since I doubt that the school will be open, or that Harry will be attending classes, I don’t think the bonus deaths will be any of the current students, but it is always a possibility. There is also the possibility that these deaths, or at least one of them may be on the opposing side. Or in the Ministry.

As to other matters:

A correspondent brought this one up; I had missed it. The Weasleys will be out of the country for part of the summer to be with Bill. Wedding arrangements are traditionally the bride’s family’s responsibility. The Delacours live in France.

While on this subject: we will almost certainly get some kind of incident at Bill and Fleur’s wedding. It may or may not seem important at the time. There will probably be no Weasley family fatalities, but we may get another confrontation between the twins and Percy. Someone may get blown up á la Aunt Marge. Or there may be a DE attack on the event if Rowling decides to play it for action/drama rather than comedy.

And, speaking of Aunt Marge, somebody in the Dursley household — probably Petunia — will finally tell us something about Harry’s parents. Or at least his mother. Harry won’t like what he hears a bit. It may constitute the last straw and he will storm out earlier than scheduled.

The Deluxe edition cover design (U.S.) of the trio flying dragon-back may be their return from the continent. The Deluxe edition covers so far have depicted incidents that take place very early in the story.

Over the course of the book, we’re going to hear (or overhear) a lot of information about the Snape backstory and every bit of it will sound perfectly dreadful. Until the end of the book, that is, when we will look back and wonder why we ever thought that sounded so suspicious.

Animagi may turn out to be an issue again. Or some other form of shape-shifter. (Tonks? Will we finally find out why Rowling felt Metamorphmagi were important enough that she had to introduce one?)

Oh. Yes. Somebody will lose much if not all of their ability to do magic due to grief or depression.

Somebody will turn out to have a new Patronus.

The Knight Bus will show up in the course of the story. Without Stan Shunpike. Or maybe the Ministry will finally release Stan Shunpike. Maybe Harry will have something to do with that.

I do think Harry might reasonably tell Scrimgeour that there is a sea cave full of Inferi somewhere along the coast, and let the Ministry do something legitimately worthwhile for a change, scouring it out. (If Fudge or the Ministry really does have a private army of heliopaths, they could come in quite useful, in fact.)

Harry and his friends may end up staying at the Leakey Cauldron for a while. Or possibly the Three Broomsticks. We will hope they are not forced to put up at the Hog’s Head.

We’ll encounter another Boggart?

Lupin will turn out to have some important information. Possibly regarding Lily. Harry will probably have to pry it out of him. Lupin may teach Harry a useful skill. Possibly the basic principles of Occlumency. Finally.

Neville may make an appearance. But he won’t be along for the whole show.

Something, either a creature, or a person, or a piece of information will keep crossing Harry’s path. it will have a sinister reputation but not do anyone any direct harm.

If you squint around the edges of the narrative someone may appear to keep showing up in two places at once. The characters may eventually notice this as well. I doubt that every Tine-Turner in the world was smashed at the DoM.

Another one my correspondents mentioned that Harry might lose (as in have destroyed) one of the valued items which he has been given earlier in the series and replace it with something better.

If this is the case and he is limited to something he got two books ago that would bring us back to the 2-way mirror, which is already broken. He may find James’s mirror, miraculously undamaged at Godric’s Hollow.

However, I think if he merely loses a valued item which he was given some years earlier, I think there is a good chance he will lose the Firebolt.

— And perhaps replace it with Sirius’s motorcycle. Which could certainly come in handy. Hermione might agree to ride pillion on that. And Ron now has a broom of his own and can keep up. Hermione doesn't look to be particularly happy riding that dragon. Neither does Ron.

Harry may even be sent another valuable anonymous gift á la the Firebolt, one that is highly significant, and even more highly suspect. This time it really might be booby-trapped. (But not necessarily.) The Hufflepuff Cup is a possibility. But I wouldn’t get my hopes up that it will be that simple.

It has recently occurred to me that another prime candidate for “playing Firebolt” would be a vial of Felix Felicis. Suspicions of tampering will be particularly high if it should show up after Slughorn is presumed dead and his lab and possessions believed to have been ransacked by Death Eaters.

(I really do think that poor old Sluggy is a good candidate to be one of the “major characters” that now won’t be making it through to the end of the series. But he is also an awfully good candidate for any sort of faked death, such as the one that many of us feel primed to expect in Book 7.)

Snape will probably make at least one very brief, surprise appearance, in person, in the middle of the book, and will be assumed to be threatening Harry. He will get away almost at once. May do some damage to the area. Harry will be unharmed.

There may be an ongoing quarrel between at least two of the Trio. The third may get roped into it. Hagrid may end up playing peacemaker again.

The trio will sneak into the school (rather than out of it). Possibly by way of the Honeydukes passage. The lacquer cabinet is another possibility.

The Marauders Map will either reveal, or spectacularly fail to reveal some critical information of just who is with them in the castle.

Crookshanks may do something notable (for a cat, or a Kneezle anyway).

There Will Be a redux of the Shrieking Shack confrontation. At least in essence. It may not actually take place in the Shack. (Possible scenarios for this confrontation are explored in other essays of this collection.)

Wall-to-wall Dementors.

Unlike in PoA, I suspect that the school will remain closed for at least one term. It may also be under guard on the Ministry’s authority. Necessitating the trio having to sneak in.

Hagrid may join Harry and his friends in their quest at some point. (They could certainly do worse for defenders.)

Conversely: Hagrid may get himself into some kind of a legal pickle, and will add that to the kids’ responsibilities. Buckbeak is recognized?

Conversely, Snape may survive the final confrontation and escape, riding Buckbeak into the sunset, to pass into legend and neither of them ever be seen in wizarding Britain again.

Book 7: Looking Back

Well.

Um.

Er... not really up to my usual 1 out of 3 standard, was I?

We did get the Shrieking Shack.

Unfortunately.

We even got the 3 Broomsticks eavesdropping scene. And in it were told something of Snape’s presumably dastardly deeds, which were anything but. (Sending three naughty students off to serve a detention in the Forest with Hagrid, for goodness sake. Are you serious?) Followed almost immediately by one of the trio either peeling off from, or being ejected by, the other two — essentially for being right about the situation they were in. And, ultimately, returning to the team with information. Or bad news, at least.

There were a few other points which sort of made an appearance. Harry did lose the Firebolt. He did ride the motorcycle, we did lose a magical creature, there was a disruption at the wedding, a piece of information with a sinister reputation did keep crossing our path, and no, it didn't do anyone any direct harm. Frankly, the fact that Albus Dumbledore unwisely struck up a 2-month friendship with Gellert Grindelwald nearly 100 years earlier had no impact whatsoever upon the situation with Tom Riddle. The trio snuck into the school, and the Dementors were back.

But I really cannot say that DHs bore much resemblance to PoA.

If anything, it bore a strong family resemblance to GoF. A long dreary slog punctuated by three prepared-for action sequences (Ministry break-in, Gringotts heist, and last stand at Hogwarts). With Ron bailing out again and an unexpected blow-up between the first two planned excursions. Although having to escape from Godric’s Hollow and Malfoy Manor were much harder unexpected tasks than having to ask a girl to the Yule Ball.

Well. Okay. I have egg on my face.

I’m told it’s good for the complexion.