I remember reading this book when it was published...it must have been the summer of 2005, because I was living in Lynchburg. I read it in something like two days, and when I got to the last few chapters - most specifically, the end of the chapter entitled "The Lightning-Struck Tower" - I couldn't believe what Rowling had written. I started crying on the last page of that chapter, and I didn't stop until some time after I'd finished reading. I'm not afraid to admit it. I was lying on my couch, facing the back of it with the book propped up against the cushions, trying to read with tears literally streaming down my cheeks. I was shocked, appalled, but I also knew that what happened at the end of Half-Blood Prince had to happen. If not in this book, then in the next one.
A lot of HBP frustrated/annoyed me. I feel like there was some dragging out of the story itself, crap that could and should have been cut out. This is probably the first time I felt this strongly that Rowling was adding drivel in just to make the book longer. But I'm not a published author whose books have made every best seller list in the world and won God knows how many awards, so who am I to talk? And I actually did like HBP. Not as much as Order of the Phoenix, Sorcerer's Stone, or Goblet of Fire...but HBP did make me feel like we were finally getting somewhere - with what was going to happen to the [main] characters, to Harry, to the whole "Voldemort problem". I think I liked it a bit less reading it last year, which was, I don't know, my fourth or fifth time doing so...but the respect is still there.
"'...people find it far easier to forgive others for being wrong than being right.'"
"'...as I have already proven to you, I make mistakes like the next man. In fact, being--forgive me--rather cleverer than most men, my mistakes tend to be correspondingly huger.'"
"'Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back!'"