Harry Potter Re-Read: The Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6)Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As I re-read the Harry Potter series for my Mythgard class, “Taking Harry Seriously,” reading The Half-Blood Prince is particularly bittersweet. (NOTE: I don’t think there are major spoilers in the following discussion, but if you’re extremely sensitive to being spoiled, play it safe and don’t read further.)

This one has so many “lasts.” Last time the kids get to be just kids, just Hogwarts students. Last time to worry about getting a girlfriend or passing an exam or winning a Quidditch match before the life, death, and soul struggles of The Deathly Hallows. One of my favorites in this vein: the kids learning to Apparate and struggling to get their Apparition licenses, similar to the way we Muggle kids had to pass our driving tests. Only we worried about getting into fender-benders during driver training, whereas they have to worry about getting splinched and leaving parts of their bodies behind! It’s this kind of detail of everyday life in the Wizarding World that makes the books such treasures, so much richer than the movies (which I do enjoy, also).

It’s also interesting to me how this book is connected to Book 2, Chamber of Secrets. So many things that were introduced in Chamber of Secrets (and possibly not mentioned since) become important again in Half-Blood Prince: several items that were casually seen in Borgin and Burkes when Harry ended up there by accident; Dobby the House Elf; Tom Riddle’s Diary; Aragog the giant spider–and probably a host of other things I’m not remembering at the moment. This is another reason the books are so powerful to me–Rowling obviously had such a detailed plan in her head from the beginning that this book series reads, to me, like one cohesive story. NOT a series of Harry Potter adventures she threw together after the success of the first book.

A co-worker recently asked that common question–if you had to choose one book to take with you if you were stranded on a desert island, which one would you take. Before I could speak (because she knows me well), she said, “You have to choose ONE Harry Potter book.” This is absurdly unfair to me, because that’s like telling me I could only take a few chapters of some other book!

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My Multi-Fandom Quilt

Multi-fandom quilt.
My multi-fandom quilt.

My grandmother–an amazing quilter, among other things–taught me a little about quilting when I was a little girl, but I hadn’t done any in years.

A couple of years ago, I stumbled across a site called Fandom in Stitches, with patterns for making paper-pieced quilt blocks for a variety of fandoms. These patterns got me so excited that I actually taught myself paper piecing. I made these blocks from their paper-pieced patterns:

Mockingjay
Mockingjay from The Hunger Games.
Gandalf from Lord of the Rings.
Gandalf from Lord of the Rings.
Hedwig from Harry Potter.
Hedwig from Harry Potter.
Aslan from Narnia.
Aslan from Narnia.

This one of Aslan, alone, took me WEEKS to piece together. Lots and lots of teeny tiny parts.

I even requested a design of my favorite Return of the Jedi poster from the Fandom in Stitches site, and someone whipped one up from me. Of course, it was pretty complicated and took me weeks, too:

 

Star Wars/Return of the Jedi
Star Wars/Return of the Jedi.

I have to make a confession. After doing all this, I started to decide I really didn’t like paper piecing. It’s a little tedious for me. I was learning to do machine applique during this time, so I used a couple of the paper-piecing patterns for applique, instead. Otherwise, I wasn’t sure I’d manage to finish the quilt before I was too old to be able to see it!

The One Ring
Lord of the Rings
Harry Potter.
Harry Potter.

 

Millennium Falcon from Star Wars
Millennium Falcom from Star Wars.

And then, there were two blocks I made up out of my head and appliqued. The Pirates of the Caribbean block was great fun. Just free-form and fussy-cutting.

Pirates of the Caribbean.
Pirates of the Caribbean.

And this last one is one of the simplest, and yet, one of my favorites. I did the lily from a Fandom in Stitches paper piecing pattern that I appliqued instead, but I just winged the silver doe.

The Silver Doe from Harry Potter.
The Silver Doe from Harry Potter.

Hope you enjoyed my quilt.

It’s now hanging on my wall at work, and it certainly helps me through long work days!

 

 

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