Oh crap oh crap oh crap.
That was my initial recorded reaction when I finished reading.
SNAPE IS EVIL OH GOD SNAPE IS EVIL. He isn't really a good guy hidden beneath an angsty bitter Potter-hating exterior. He is bad and evil and killed Dumbledore. I feel like my world has literally been up ended. Perhaps by the levicorpus spell he invented.
As I was reading the chapter, I kept holding out hope that it was all some elaborate hoax, and that it wasn't Snape and in fact another Death Eater who had taken polyjuice potion, and Snape was tied up somewhere or something like that. But IT'S NOT. Oh, WOE. Though it perhaps proves the point that Dumbledore wasn't the wise all-knowing figure that some have taken him for. He too is capable of trusting the wrong people, like the rest of us.
On the upside, there may be substantially less Snape!Sues in the HP fandom now. *crosses fingers* Or maybe not. His evilness probably won't stop the fangirls. It certainly doesn't stop me from fancying him. -_-;
I am still convinced however, that there has to be more to this than meets the eye beyond the 'OMGSnape is teh evil!'. There are some theories that I've seen on this so far, most of them relating to Snape and Narcissa's unbreakable vow. If Snape hadn't taken that vow, would he have acted differently? It's just....Rowling spent five books building up the image of Snape as a wizard who was looking for redemption. Why dispel it?
Ok, that was a stupid question. I should never have underestimated Rowling's talent for shock value. And perhaps much of the image of Snape looking for redemption stems from fanfiction. *shrugs*
And there was so much more Snape background in this that I loved. We know who his mother is, and that he isn't actually a pureblood. And the coward thing. I could spend ages on it
Ok, more about other characters.
Draco's unfortunate plight actually elicited some sympathy from me (which is quite an achievement). ;p I wonder whether he'll regret the choices he made in the next book? Somehow I doubt it, his desire to avenge Lucius could probably overrule his nagging doubts. Or it could be the other way around.
I quite liked Slughorn. If he'd been born in the first century BC, he would've been one of those guys in Rome that had auctoritas and hob nobbed with the patricians. He was sneaky, a little foolish and very well-connected. I actually want to write an essay on the comparison between the pureblood families in the HPverse and Patricians in the Roman republic. Anyway, I look forward to seeing him in the next book.
The new minister of magic quite fascinated me as well, and I spent much time trying to think of an actor who has that leonine look. I hope we see more of him too, and get greater insight into his character.
Haha, Blaise Zabini is a boy! The mystery of the Zabini gender is solved! And he is a pretty boy at that. With a gold-digging mum. Heehee!
Oh, the WEASLEY ANGST. For Bill and Percy. I was hoping so much that Percy would return to the family fold in this one, but alas! And Bill. I knew Fleur loved him. I did. Mainly because I liked Fleur, even though as the reader I was positioned not to, because Ginny, Hermione, Ron, Harry and the other Weasleys found her irritating.
And that brings me onto....OTPs.
I liked the way the Hermione/Ron story played out. There was background, and it had been building over the past five books. The tension worked, it was all set up. Nicely done.
The Harry/Ginny however, seemed really rushed and I think that was because there wasn't much detail about Harry's summer at the Burrow aside from a summarised version of it. But that aside, it still seemed kind of unconvincing for me.
While I was prepared for the R/Hr (and to some degree, the H/G because it's a popular pairing in this fandom), Lupin/Tonks just hit me out of the blue. Um. Not that I particularly mind, because they're both great characters, but....just....ah, I'm just lamenting the Remus/Sirius OTP.
Madam Pince/Filch = best unconventional pairing EVER. See, even JKR is capable of writing such an unlikely ship!
Um, what else....
Dumbledore's funeral was beautifully written. I was listening to 'Uide Cor Meum' from the Kingdom of Heaven soundtrack (also on the Hannibal soundtrack for you music geeks out there) when I read it, and the image of Dumbledore's tomb building itself with the flames just sat really well. And I liked the image of all these people turning up, even those that might not have known him in the closest capacity.
Ollivander's disappearance saddened me greatly. I don't have great hopes for hearing anymore about him in book 7, but I keep my fingers crossed nontheless.
I spent most of the evening putting together these thoughts, so I should summarise a little, since I can't think of much else to say. I'm not distraught or upset by these new developments as such, more, I applaud JKR for keeping us on the edge of our seats. It's the books I love first, not the fandom.