The most important character in the sixth Harry Potter film series is Professor Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent), a former ‘potions’ teacher, now retired and living in London. Dumbledore calls him back to Hogwarts, one because he is a good alchemist and two because he may know something about his former student Voldemort.
Anyone who thinks JK Rowling is an original writer must be daft. So much of her material is from the supernatural in Shakespeare’s plays, principally A Midsummer Nights Dream, but also Macbeth (the castles and the witches) and Hamlet (the father’s ghost and the play within the play), it is no longer funny. Now, if you think about it, the professor of ‘potions’ is clearly the ‘Apothecary’ in Romeo and Juliet.
Watch the movie and you will get more interesting references. Potter, while taking Slughorn’s classes, does exceedingly well because he gets to read a book on ‘potions’, apparently the property of the Half-Blood Prince, a book about mind-bending concoctions. Hermione warns Harry that the book is dangerous. But he is full of teenage angst and doesn’t listen to her.
This is the thing. The ‘kids’ from the early films are in their late teens now. Experimentation in ‘snogging’ (whoever invented this slang for kissing should be shot) is in the air. The boys and girls are pairing off, and jealousy, rivalry and hormonal imbalance wreck havoc. Even Harry does not have his eye on the ball, which is why a tragedy ends this film.
It has to be said that any Harry Potter film is eminently watchable. This sixth edition is slower and more ponderous, but the visual creation of Elizabethan England, as soon as you take the magic train out of London, is, as always, out of this world!