I have finally finished reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
And I would like to ask you, who have also finished this book, how inspired was the casting of Alan Rickman?
Stop reading if you have not finished the book.
Lots has already been said about the book. Snape on this side, Snape on that side. Dumbledore meant him to do it. He didn’t. Etc. I fall into the camp that Snape had to do it, because of the Unbreakable Vow. In addition, I think Dumbledore meant him to do it. (It has been said that Dumbledore would never have pleaded for something so transient as his life.) I think they knew it had to come to this. I think Dumbledore delayed Draco so that Snape could do the deed (remember, Draco has not yet killed, so he is still redeemable). I think he incapacitated Harry so that he would not prevent Snape from doing it. I think that Harry is wrong when he says that while there have been a long line of people standing before him to protect him (James, Lily, Sirius, Dumbledore) that he is now alone. I think Snape is there, too.
Furthermore, I think that the final conflict, the final emotional conflict in the series will not be between Harry and Voldemort, but rather between Harry and Severus Snape. I’m sure Harry’s clash with Voldemort will be the last thing that happens, but I think it will not be the emotional center of the last book. But the moment when Harry learns that love is in fact the strongest power, blah blah blah, will be when he confronts Snape. Good or bad, Snape is the crux of Harry’s finally becoming the wizard he needs to be to defeat Voldemort.
Or at least, that’s how I would write it.
Now if Ms. Rowling would just get a move on.