Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
In the early ’90s there was this awesome TV show on Nickelodeon called The Adventures of Pete and Pete. Nickelodeon is, of course, the kids network and I was in my mid-twenties then, but this was a really hip kids show that had cameos from indie rock stars, like Michael Stipe, Kate Pierson, Juliana Hatfield and Iggy Pop, and had a cool indie film sensibility.
The series was filmed in New Jersey and was about two brothers who are both named Pete. Older Pete, who was a teenager, also had a platonic female friend named Ellen Hickle. For the first two seasons, that’s all Older Pete and Ellen were: Friends. But in the second season finale, Pete realizes he’s in love with his best friend and tries to work up the nerve to ask her out. The season ended with the two of them finally making out in the middle of marching band practice.
It seemed, at the time, the only logical conclusion and I was interested in seeing how the series would evolve with two of its main characters as lovers. I would never find out. When season three started, there was no mention of Pete and Ellen ever having a relationship. I don’t know if the show’s producers changed their minds about the relationship or if Nickelodeon put the kibosh on it since that development would take the show into areas outside the network’s demographics.
The next two seasons of Pete & Pete were still good, but the coolness factor went perceptibly down. Yes, the show had jumped the shark, particularly by becoming more obviously geared towards younger kids. In this new style, older Pete was doomed to have only one-episode romances (e.g. Selma Blair guest-starred on an episode before she became famous) and I don’t even remember what ever happened to Ellen.
In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the characters have entered that age, like on Pete & Pete, where romances are likely to blossom and in the book they do. Harry did struggle with his crush on Cho Chang in The Order of the Phoenix and Hermione dated a foreign Quidditch player in The Goblet of Fire, but this is definitely the “love” book.
“Love” as a concept becomes really crucial to the series now beyond just the soap opera element of who’s snogging who. (By the way: I know “snogging” is slang for just making out, but to my American ears it also sounds so much more dirtier.) It’s nice that Rowling has taken the idea that her characters would be showing interest in the opposite sex about now and weaved it into a critical element of the overall storyline involving the war with Lord Voldemort.
The only really disappointing thing about The Half-Blood Prince is that until now I’ve been able to read the entire series so far in just a few short months. But now, I have to sit and wait like every other fan until the next book is released. It kinda sucks.Buy this book on Amazon.com!