I'm still stupidly tired, and this is more reactionary than contemplative, but that's okay, I'll have time to thoroughly think about it later.
First and foremost: I am unbelievably pissed about Snape. Seriously. Fucking. Pissed. What a great, shades of gray character, now reduced to a stereotype, and that pisses me right the fuck off. And I knew, of course, when he made that Unbreakable Vow, but... ugh.
I'm going to choose to believe that Snape was on the side of Dumbledore until it came to Draco, because he is fond of him. Or something. I don't care, and I know that I must be wrong, but this inability to have anyone on the side of good without fucking loving Harry Potter is a complete weakness in JKR's writing. That is, of course, entirely my opinion, but it's always been something that irritates me about her books, but Snape was always one shining exception, and now he's not and I am not going to get over that anytime soon, because it's fucking bullshit.
Still. Even if he was actually on Dumbledore's side, he quite clearly isn't any longer, and there's no coming back from that.
That said, Draco was a lot more interesting in this book than he has been since I first read the books. He's still such a prat, but I liked the way he operated here. Doing it because his family was threatened -- and then not being able to actually do anything, once he had Dumbledore cornered. Draco's turning out to be evil, yeah, just like we always expected; but at least this book showed that he is still 16, after all, and not entirely sure of himself. Though I don't hold any hope for his redemption by the end of the books, I was at least happy about that.
I'll be honest -- I didn't expect Dumbledore to die until sometime in the middle of HP7. So that was something of a shock. And of course, Snape killing him wasn't as much of a shock as it could have been, thanks to chapter 2, but it still surprised me in some way. I'm not sad to see Dumbledore go, though. He was a manipulative bastard, right down to the end, and he was far too trusting of people [as evidenced in Snape] and I know he's not really evil in canon, but my Dumbledore will always be evil, and I'm glad I won't have to put up with him in HP7.
Harry... Harry. His emo-ness has always gotten on my nerves in the past, but I was surprised, and a little disappointed, that there wasn't more of a reaction about Sirius. I guess now that people believe him he doesn't have to be grouchy anymore, or something. Whatever. ...still, I liked him a lot more in this book than I have in books previous, so I suppose it's okay.
Remus, of course, did not get used nearly enough. But he also didn't die, so I'm not complaining too much. My Remus is irrevocably gay, but I like Tonks quite a lot, actually, so I'm perfectly okay with that relationship. In fact, I even thought it was sort of cute. I really, really, really hope that Remus doesn't die in the next book, but I'm not banking on it. :(
Anyone who argues now that JKR isn't going for a R/H pairing is an idiot. Heh. If you like H/Hr better, then jolly good for you, but it's quite canon at this point for R/H, so whatever. I was more meh about it than I thought I would be, though. I mean, I like R/H, but it was just sort of like... okay? And Ron with Lavender was so incredibly annoying. Which I know was the point, but it got on my nerves and I was beyond glad when that was finally over.
I've never been against H/G, but I've never been for it, either, so I was also like "okay..." with them. It was cuter than it could have been, but it was also seriously contrived, which doesn't surprise me, but eh. It makes me a little sad, though, because even though we never really saw them, I quite liked the idea of Ginny being with Dean, and I felt so bad for him when Harry kissed her in the common room.
I like Bill and Fleur, too. I was quite happy at the end, when Bill is all banged up, and she doesn't care. [If she had left him or something over that, I would have been pissed.] So, yeah, okay, my happy Bill/Remus lovin' has been ruined by canon, but I don't really care, because I like what's happening with both of them.
Besides, Remus/Sirius has still not been ruined, so what else can I ask for? heh.
The new Minister of Magic is an ass, but at least he isn't a cowardly fool. I suppose it's a step up.
So is Slughorn supposed to be our new "token good Slytherin"? Ugh. What-the-fuck-ever. He's not nearly as interesting as Snape was, he's irritating as hell, and his stupid game of playing favorites is... well, stupid. I found nothing likeable about him at all.
Snape as the DADA teacher at last, and we barely saw anything of lessons. I was quite disappointed with that.
Okay. Okay. So, Half-Blood Prince. I had to come to that eventually, right? The thing with the book didn't have nearly as much to do with the plot as I thought it would, considering it was the name of the book and all. I didn't ever suspect Snape before the book was released, but once it was a potions book, I figured it had to be him. That spell Harry used on Draco was supremely nasty. Oh, oh! Right, I just thought of it when I said that -- I really liked that scene in the bathroom between them, too. Everything from when Harry walks in, to the point when Draco notices him, to Moaning Myrtle screaming, to Snape taking Draco away... I just liked it a lot.
I'm surprised that Harry won't be going back to Hogwarts for his seventh year, but I guess that's not too surprising, really... I mean, he has to find four Horcrux's and take out Voldemort......
I'm glad, now, that I didn't finish that pensieve essay before HBP came out. So much more material to work with... and some things that don't exactly prove what I was thinking, but certainly help it along... I'll have to go back through those chapters and take new notes and everything. [I'm excited about doing it, too. I'm such a loser.]
The Horcrux's are neat. Scary, but neat. I'm batting ideas around in my head involving them, too. Hmm.
Oh, and? The H/D pairing definitely got a boost in this book. Oh yes it did. I'm eagerly awaiting some of the fanfic this is sure to produce.
I loved getting all the information about Tom Riddle. Some of it was stuff that fandom had already pieced together, of course, but now it's canon, and there was some stuff I didn't expect, and... I find Voldemort to be incredibly interesting, so that made me happy.
I also really enjoyed the little insight into the Black sisters at the beginning.
I wish there had been more Neville. And more Luna. I missed them both.
So, RAB. ... RAB = Regulus Black? Maybe, maybe? I would be stupidly happy if that was the case.
I'm sure there's things I'm forgetting, but those are my disjointed thoughts for the moment, and I can sort it all out to make clearer sense in my head later. Feel free to discuss! :)