The penultimate installment of Harry Potter has always been high on my list of favourites. I love learning about Voldemort's backstory, and there is just character development galore. I always felt that the movie didn't do it justice - a lot of the smaller details had to be cut out either due to time constraints (it would have made the movie lag if there was a lot of exposition) or because previous films skimmed over plot points that became relevant this time around.
Consider this your monthly SPOILER ALERT.
Best Character: As far as new characters go, Slughorn is an okay addition, but I think some of the returning cast really shine in this book. Ron gets a little more action (literally and figuratively), Dumbledore’s humanity (and ability to make mistakes) is showing, and Voldemort (and Snape, to a certain extent) get some backstory.
Worst Character: Fenrir Greyback is (literally) a monster. But you also can’t forget the lecherous Cormac McLaggen.
Best Moment: Harry’s relationship with Dumbledore is such a huge part of this book (which makes the ending THAT MUCH sadder), and it’s really touching to see that friendship progress.
Funniest Moment: BRB, writing "Roonil Wazlib" inside all of my favourite books.
"This is the copy of Advanced Potion-Making that you purchased from Florish and Blotts?"
"Yes," said Harry firmly.
"Then why," asked Snape, "does it have the name 'Roonil Wazlib' written inside the front cover?"
Harry’s heart missed a beat.
"That’s my nickname," he said.
"Your nickname," repeated Snape.
"Yeah … that’s what my friends call me," said Harry.
"I understand what a nickname is," said Snape.
Most Heartbreaking Moment: From the scene in the cave to the very end, it's an emotional roller-coaster, but I really felt for Draco this time around. Yeah, he was a dick for most of the series, but you can see how much he's struggling to fulfill his task (i.e. killing Dumbledore) even though he doesn't want to. Draco may be a foul, loathsome, evil little cockroach, but he does have a conscience and even Harry pities Draco and the situation he finds himself in.
"If you were going to kill me, you would have done it when you first Disarmed me, you would not have stopped for this pleasant chat about ways and means. " "I haven't got any options!" said Malfoy..."I've got to do it! He'll kill me! He'll kill my whole family!".
Most Romantic Moment: Obviously I’ve been waiting FOREVER for Harry/Ginny to kiss, so that was definitely a highlight for me. But the moment that destroys my heart is right near the end, after Bill is attacked by Fenrir Greyback. Molly assumes Fleur won’t want to marry him now that he’s disfigured, she’s indignant and defiant...and then Tonks turns to Lupin and is all “SEE, IT DOESN’T MATTER” and I cry. They were so perfect together and I just cannot deal with what happens to them in the seventh book.
Best Quotation: From Dumbledore to Harry when they're living the cave (like this if you cry every time):
Most Shocking Plot Twist: SNAPE KILLS DUMBLEDORE.
Pay Attention To This Bit, It Will Come Back Later: The horcruxes. I already mentioned this last month, but I remember the fandom losing their minds trying to figure out who R.A.B. could be (I was always pretty convinced it would be Regulus Black), plus Harry literally picks up Ravenclaw's diadem in the Room of Requirement but doesn't even realize it!
Best Casting Decision: Jessie Cave as Lavender Brown. In the first couple of movies, they billed a random black girl as "Lavender", so it was a little odd that they chose to completely recast her, but she's so funny as Lav-Lav so I guess it's okay?
Best Moment: Slughorn's Christmas party is always good for a lark. I love that Harry asks Luna to go with him, and it's funny to see Hermione losing her cool as she tries to escape Cormac.
Funniest Moment: Harry loopy on Felix Felicis is comedic gold.
Best Movie-Only Moment: Showing Malfoy's struggles with the Vanishing Cabinet. It was a good way to introduce that particular plot point and it was beautifully handled (using the birds). You could really feel Malfoy's desperation as the movie progresses.
Worst Movie-Only Moment: The attack on the Burrow. I genuinely don’t understand what the point was, especially since it didn’t even include some of the key points from the battle at the end of the book (i.e. Bill was nowhere to be seen and thus was not attacked).
Biggest Upset: This is a two-and-a-half hour long movie, but they basically made up their own story; it should have been "inspired by Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince", not "based on". The first twenty minutes are completely different, Voldemort's history is reduced to two memories (with no mention of his mother, so Harry doesn't feel that twinge of empathy for his mortal enemy), and don't even get me started on how awkward and flat movie-Ginny is compared to she of the "blazing look" that kisses Harry after winning a Quidditch match (this article does a good job explaining my frustrations).