Episode 150 – HBP Movie Watch: Harry Potter and the Half-Snogged Kiss (LIVE)

It’s been one rollercoaster of a ride discussing our way through Harry’s sixth and final year at Hogwarts, but we did finally reached our global movie watch of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince! Hosts Michael, Eric, Kat, Kristen, Rosie, and Alison are joined by you, the listeners, in our live call in show! Join us as we say goodbye to Half-Blood Prince, but first, remind us of what happened? We cannot recall…

On Episode 150 we discuss…

→ Filming facts and figures
→ Assessing the New Cast Members
→ All Important Background Moments
→ Relationships vs Horcruxes
→ Would TechniColor have been better?
→ Alternative Titles
→ Siriusly Lacking
→ WHY did they burn The Burrow?
→ Dumbledore, Harry, and the Ladies
→ Check out the Alohomora! Store

To listen to the show, simply click the player below or direct download the episode. You can also subscribe to us on iTunes. For more information about the podcast and to find out how to be on the show, check out our Be On The Show! page.

Don’t forget to leave us a voicemail at our phone number: 1-206-GO-ALBUS (462-5287). Skype users can also send us a message to username AlohomoraMN. And as always, be sure to continue the discussion below or on our Forums!

Listen Now: | Download (Right Click, Save As)

  • SlytheriNZ

    Wow, I’m glad I went to bed when I did, because that would’ve been a late night/very early morning for me! 😀
    I really must work on a few thoughts to call in with on the next movie watch, or actually get around to sending in my application to be on the show, the show is just missing another Antipodean accent! 😀

  • FatOldFart

    Hi all. Just thought i’d give an older persons perspective about Dumbledore’s conversation with Harry. Someone of Dumbledore’s generation would never have “come out” because from the mid ’80s back you would ruin your career, ruin your reputation and basically end your life as you knew it. That being said, if someone in those days were sizing up potential partners you would ask obscure questions like “I’ve noticed you spend quite a bit of time with Hermione Granger? or Do you have any girlfriends.” Had J.K. not come out with the Dumbledore is gay pronouncement these questions would have never been inserted into the movie.

    • Mypatronusisadoberman

      Great point! I know this was right after JKR announced Dumbledore was gay, so it makes sense that Michael Gambon portrayed the character this way. Still, I don’t understand why he couldn’t have played the character the same way as the previous year when he was just a regular person. We already had a change of actors, we didn’t need a change of acting style as well. Besides, who says gay people can’t act the same as everyone else?

  • DisKid

    I remember laughing at the excuse that Warner Bros gave for why they suddenly changed the release date of Harry Potter even after spending money distributing the trailer to theaters saying it would be out in November (I remember seeing the trailer in theaters advertising it in November then yelling in my head “not anymore!”). It wasn’t exactly difficult to figure out that the real reason was Daniel Radcliffe was going to be in the play Equus, which was going to be on Broadway at the same time as the original release date, so it would be advertised everywhere right next to Half-Blood. Talk about public relations nightmare! Releasing it months after that was over allowed for the press to basically forget about it. Can you imagine Daniel Radcliffe at the New York premiere being interviewed by reporters who are more interested in his controversial play posters up everywhere? I don’t think Harry Potter PR wanted to.

    • SocksAreImportant

      I did not know that his play might have been a contributing factor in the release date change. I was always under the impression that Warner Bros saw how much the Dark Knight film made in July 2008 and wanted to take advantage of releasing the movie in the summer. I remember having a countdown on myspace and then having to grudgingly change it.

      • DisKid

        Yeah financial reasons were the excuse they gave, but it didn’t add up. Sorcerer’s Stone, Chamber, and Goblet were all released in the fall and they had made more than than Prisoner of Azkaban which was released in the summer. Sure Order was released in the summer and made more than all but 1 of those movies, but point is they knew that it didn’t matter what time of year they released it. Just as many people would come to see it any time of the year. It was too big of a movie, they weren’t worried about it. It had always done well in November anyway.

        It also didn’t make sense for that to be the only reason to pull this last minute after already setting everything up. That would be changing their distribution contract, pulling back their advertisements they had already sent out, even changing a small thing such as the date in the trailer and their marketing posters would costs them quite a bit of money. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if changing the date after already booking is one of the reasons why this film budget was so much more than the others.

        Unless something went terribly wrong with the film editing, only thing that made sense was the play. I don’t think they put two and two together until they’d already set a date. They’re never going to admit that though if that was the reason. I sure wouldn’t but…I don’t work for Warner Bros haha!

        They upset so many fans with the release date change. I remember being upset about that too. I go to see a movie in theaters and I see Harry Potter advertised for November…boo! Almost ruined my movie date.

      • NettleScarlet

        …I remember this crap…on myspace…and we had to take it down and it took forever to get an updated one!

        • SocksAreImportant

          Yes it was a dark time in this fandom. Thank goodness Jo never pulled that kind of crap. Imagine her saying the release for book 7 would be in July and then in May be like nope let’s make it next March.

  • SlytherinKnight

    THANK YOU ALLISON and caller Haley for calling out how Warner Bros tricked us about what this film was about!!!! When I first watched the film and read the books, I really didn’t care about the romantic relationships but I really wanted to see the memories and Harry grow into the hero that he would become in Deathly Hallows. But as I’ve said on this site before, the Half-Blood Prince film is pretty much ‘a romantic comedy with ten minutes of dark action’, and it really turned me off to the relationships in the series because of that. The Half-Blood Prince book was arguably the darkest of the books, with it diving into Riddle’s backstory, the reveal of the Horcruxes and the Half-Blood Prince story but the film went to the opposite side of the spectrum with its focus on teenage drama and relationships.

    • Alison

      You are very welcome. As much as I love the romantic stuff (Ron and Hermione, and Ginny and Harry all finally getting together, squeee!) but the memories are so much more important (could you tell by my exhaustion fueled rants how I felt? haha). I also think it helps us see the humanity in Voldemort (or the humanity he came from) which makes both his evilness even worse and makes Harry’s final triumph, and the line about standing over his enemy’s human shell, even more profound. It makes Voldemort almost scarier to know he was once a man, and it makes Harry’s triumph better to know that he could overcome that evil and not succumb to it.

  • DoraNympha

    Yates did a better job on this than on Order BUT imagine HBP with Alfonso Cuarón’s handiwork. Forever crying over the film that never was.

    • Michael Harle

      I try not to. ‘Cause then I gets the sads.

      But as I said, it’s pretty evident to me that Yates was heavily inspired by Cuarón’s work. Yates actually described the film as “a cross between the chills of ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’ and the fantastical adventure of ‘Goblet of Fire.'” So Cuarón certainly left his mark.

      • DoraNympha

        Thanks, I’ll console myself with this from now on! And hey, didn’t Cuarón say he wanted to include the Marauders’ story in Order of the Phoenix, which he had woefully left out of PoA? Maybe he would have done it, had he directed HBP?

      • MartinMiggs

        Oh he left his mark alright like a tick bite or a dog taking care of its business on your lawn

  • RoseLumos

    I remember walking out of this movie and calling it the “Sparknotes” version of HBP. It’s like those Sparknotes guides you can get if you need help studying literature – it tells you the main plot points but it never really gives you the full experience of reading the actual novel.

  • SocksAreImportant

    By the time this movie came out, I had learned to not trust my initial reaction. Seeing it the first time, I was at the midnight release and I was beyond excited. Sitting there watching it, I just appreciate every single moment. You want to love it because you love the series. I walk out of it saying it is the best movie ever. Then seeing it a couple times again, I realize it really doesn’t measure up. It is not my least favorite movie but it is definitely in the bottom of the pile.

  • MartinMiggs

    Nearly 4 hours of Alohomora from last weekend wow that was fun! Also I hope Noah could possibly be a guest host for at least 1 of the DH chapters?

  • Yo Rufus On Fire

    Happy 150th Episode Alohomora!

    What a wonderful movie watch!! I had a wonderful time getting to chat with everyone! Thank you so much for talking my phone call! I just can’t stop thanking you guys. I really appreciate it!

    I didn’t get to listen and join in the chat for the whole live show, and I just wanted to add my comment in about the man talking to the wall. I heard a theory about him. I think that he has some kind of addiction, my guess is gambling and there is a door in that hallway that appears for all gamblers that is guarded by a password. This guy went in and gambled and lost and couldn’t pay his debt. They kicked him out and concealed the door so he couldn’t enter again. When the trio walk by him we can hear his whispering to the way and begging please. I think he is trying to use a password for the door to show again and he is begging to let him in so he can bet again. That’s just an example, but I think it’s something like that.

  • WhoDoYouKnowWho’sLostAButtock?

    I personally always loved that little moment between Dumbledore and Harry where Dumbledore asks about Hermione. To me, it meshed very well with Dumbledore’s admitting in Book 5 that he cared for Harry too much. At this point, Dumbledore knows he’s dying, and they are about to go attempt to get a Horcrux. His own mortality must be very much on his mind. And I thought it was such a natural little moment for Dumbledore to think about Harry, in an almost paternal way, wondering if Harry had someone special in his life. It felt a little wistful on Dumbledore’s part, a little melancholy and a little hopeful all at the same time. He’s seeing Harry grow into a man. I wonder if he was having one of those moments that we have when we see someone constantly and are so used to how they look, and then suddenly you really look at them and they’re so different, usually so much older than we ever realized. We do this with adults and kids — a sort of surprised moment when you notice that this person is their own person who is growing and changing right before your eyes.

    Dumbledore knows he won’t see Harry grow up, and for a moment, I think it hits him naturally that he hopes that Harry has something in his future that Dumbledore himself never did. And as much as Dumbledore knows Harry, he doesn’t know him well enough to know who Harry might love, and I’m sure he’s seen how outstanding Hermione is. It’s natural for him to think, well, maybe…?

    I also think the filmmakers made sure to include it because they knew that DH was coming, and they wanted to make it clear that Harry and Hermione weren’t going to end up together — it was going to be Ron and Hermione, and so much of the drama and the great moments in the DH movies needs you to be invested in Ron and Hermione and really accept that the emotions Emma Watson is putting out there aren’t divided between Harry and Ron. Perhaps they were trying to cut off a romantic triangle insinuation before it really started. What better way than to have Harry come right out and say that he’s never thought of Hermione romantically? (They needed that, to be honest. Goodness knows the Harry-Ginny relationship in the movies wasn’t so much spelled out as telegraphed with smoke signals on a windy day.)

    • Harry/Hermione is definitely one of the stronger dynamics in the movies. The chemistry was off the charts. Ron/Hermione could be better, I just never saw them that way in the movies. I always keep the movies separate from the books because they truly are very different. I mean in the books I full on ship Harry/Ginny with all my being but in the movies, I low-key ship Harry/Hermione. It’s realistic in the movies for that to happen. Given of course that Ron didn’t have much of an important roles in the movies anyway which pissed me off.

      • SocksAreImportant

        I completely agree with separating the books from the movies. When I don’t think about the books while watching the movies, I find I enjoy them a lot more. I agree the Harry/Hermione dynamic is done very well in the movies, It also pisses me off how little Ron gets to do in the movies. A lot of his book lines are given to other characters in the movies.

    • MartinMiggs

      The first time I saw the movie and watched this scene I thought wow Dumbledore you haven’t been paying attention. He cares for Harry and watches over him yet doesn’t even know that he is just friends with Hermione.

      • WhoDoYouKnowWho’sLostAButtock?

        I adore your user name. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

  • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

    Thanks for picking my comment from the chat, about the actress of the muggle girl in the café, who could have been cast as Lavender. I believe she could have played a different Lavender, more like I pictured her from the books: giggling, but confident. She approaches the boy she finds interesting and does her part to start the conversation, anticipates what he wants and makes sure that she gets what she wants.

  • Silverdoe25

    I’m so sad I couldn’t stick around for the live show! I loved the conversation about things going on in the background. Michael, thanks for comparing HBP to PoA. My favorite background scene in all the movies is in PoA, at the point where everyone comes out of the willow and just before Lupin goes werewolf. Ron and Hermione have a great conversation, with Ron playing up his leg injury to the hilt to garner sympathy from Hermione. Moments before Ron tells Harry to go and be with Sirius. Then he tells Hermione his leg is “so painful” and that Madame Pomfrey will probably “have to chop it”. It is so damn brilliant! Cuaron did a fantastic job of building the Ron/Hermione relationship this early and with with subtlety so it would make such sense later.

  • daveybjones999 .

    Incoming long comment reviewing the movie.

    Half Blood Prince, for me, is the oddest movie in the series. I actually think it’s both the worst and best movie in the series but in different ways. It’s the worst adaptation wise. They focus a lot less on the memories and the horcruxes, which were the crux of the plot in the books and focused instead on the what’s Malfoy up to and teen drama aspect of the plot. Although both of these things are in the book but to a much lesser extent than what was in the movies. But I also think this is the strongest and most entertaining film in the entire series.

    The character drama was ramped up but I feel this is more in the films favor rather than to it’s detriment mostly because I feel like ever since Prisoner, my second favorite film in the series, the movies have been neglecting giving other characters development by focusing solely on Harry, which is one of the reasons Goblet and Order are my second and third least favorite movies in the series. Also I actually prefer the romance in the movies to the romance in the books. Except Harry and Ginny, that was the one thing in the movies that was absolutely atrocious they barely have any chemistry together whatsoever and every time they’re in a romantic moment I just want to scream in anger.

    Now that that’s off my chest, most of the stuff that people usually point to as the reason why it’s their least favorite are pretty much why I like the film so much. I don’t mind the removal of the Gaunt memories as I don’t think it’s actually all that important to the plot despite it being my favorite memory. Also the memory with Hepzibah Smith being removed actually lead to a really interesting decision in the last movie that I’m a huge fan of but that’s for another time. I didn’t mind the Burrow catching on fire or the removal of the final battle at Hogwarts and actually quite like those changes. I’m also surprised that I don’t miss Dumbledore’s funeral at all despite it being my favorite chapter in the book, maybe even the entire series but I’d need to think about that more. Everything else from the score to the cinematography and acting, plus the addition of Francis the fish, are near perfect. I think, and a few people I’ve talked to who have only ever seen the movies agree, that this is the best film in the series.

    Now that the huge wall of text is over I really enjoyed listening to the movie watch and I can’t wait till Saturday to start Deathly Hallows, which is currently tied for my favorite book in the series.

  • Hufflepug

    I just went back and looked at a few of the trailers and it’s so true that there was a tug-of-war situation going on about whether this was a serious movie or a funny movie. One trailer is totally focused on the memories while another one mentions them a few times while mostly relying on those teenage rom-com style clips. Did anyone else feel like we were so bombarded with some of those funnier clips before the movie started that it took away from it? One of them in particular – the scene in the library where Hermione bonks Harry on the head after he says “but I am the Chosen One” – was kind of just shoved in our faces before the movie

  • FullFlamelAlchemist

    Had to make a mad dash through the HBP episodes to catch up, so I can listen to the DH eps week-to-week. I probably missed half of what you said but it was worth 🙂 Looking forward to the next year of eps. 2 questions though:

    1. Aren’t there 44 more episodes of Alohomora, rather than 38? 37 books eps(36 chapters and the epilogue), 2 movie episodes, a book wrap-up, a goodbye episode and I assume you’ll do an ep for each Fantastic Beasts movie?

    2. When will you do the Deathly Hallows Part 1 movie watch? Personally, I think you should do it in between Chapters 24 & 25, as Chapter 24 is the final chapter that’s included in the 1st movie.

  • My Patronus is Leslie Knope

    *Playing my own Phoenix lament song for all the wonderful Ginny moments portrayed in the book that didn’t make it into the film*

    Also, time to obnoxiously critique dragon’s blood continuity problems! The blood on the wall of the house Slughorn borrows in Budleigh Babberton is described and portrayed on film as deep scarlet, but in OoTP, the steak Hagrid uses on his face is dragon meat, and the blood trickling down is definitely described as green.

    Also, it’s always bothered me that movie Dumbledore has to TASTE the blood on the wall to recognize it as dragon blood. Even the guy who helped discover twelve different uses for dragon’s blood has to TASTE it to recognize it?? And he can sense the walls of the cave require a blood offering just by muttering incantations, but when unfamiliar blood is already spattered, he decides to TASTE it?!

    Apparently there’s no equivalent to mad cow disease/salmonella in the wizarding world and people just go around tasting blood like it’s nothin’.

    • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

      Dumbledore at this point is already dying, so tasting blood can’t do any harm to him. Maybe tasting it was on his bucket list, so why not go for it when it’s already dripping from the ceiling?

      Aren’t there different types of dragon who could have different colours of blood?

      • My Patronus is Leslie Knope

        Probably very true. I guess the greatest wizard of them all has bigger things to worry about than bloodborn pathogens. Haha I know that gripe was dumb, but it’s just always irked me so much!

  • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

    We didn’t talk about the deleted scenes, did we? I watched them yesterday and most were like the ones in the book that are Harry obsessing about Draco.
    But the scene with the choir practice is awesome and the one when Harry calls BOTH Hermione and Ron brilliant.

  • NettleScarlet

    I wanted to post up the myspace post I made when I got home from watching this movie. But I deleted the account….way back in 2010.
    I only remember that the opening line of the post was “I confess myself….disappointed”.
    I hated that Dumbledore’s funeral was left out. This chapter was the most emotional for me in this book, going through the same emotions Harry felt, so I was really looking forward to seeing it on screen. I don’t know – healing reasons? There are so many ways that they could have put something in as a scene…they should’ve called me – or you – and we could’ve helped. This includes Rufus Scrimgeour talking with Harry by the lake, which would have, in turn, made the Will reading/argument more meaningful in 7…
    The Burrow scene – with the fire – disgusting. I understand the climatic reasoning behind the scene, but I was almost screaming in the theater “What about Bill and Fleur’s wedding? It’s coming up soon! You can’t burn down the Burrow! How dare they! Shenanigans!”
    I do get that the movie adaptation will not be identical to the movie, but I feel this movie deviated from the book points the most, which is why it’s not my favorite. The memory scenes left out were too important in my opinion – BUTTT – the movie flows properly through to the end without the memories. I think it would have been far more interesting for the movie-only Potter people to see a bit more of Voldy-history. I enjoyed reading it, imagining the Gaunt House with the swinging adder and Hepzibah Smith wearing her bad make-up.
    I could keep going, but I see a lot of my thoughts in the posts already.

  • frank maguire

    Jessie Cave is doing some hillarious comedy, check out Chop Logic 😀

  • Tabularasa

    I’m a big Deathly Hallows movie defender, as I felt the movies did a great job adapting my least favorite book in the series. In this case, I think the problem with the movie is the book. As much as I like the book, most of the story is either romances or mysteries that you already know the answer to (Draco’s mission) or ones that don’t really matter (Snape being Half-Blood Prince) I think the added memories could have helped, yes, but it wouldn’t have totally changed the movie from what is essentially a filler story until the last few chapters, or last 15 minutes of the movie.