One of the things I keep hearing is how hard a time some people are having with the romance in the book. There are also a lot of complaints about how the boys and the girls are portrayed and how mean they can be to each other, in amongst all the snogging. I chalked the treachery issues up to puberty, I know me and my friends could be some real evil people at that age. I think some people are forgetting how puberty works, there's a lot of changes in personality and priorities at that age. I think this book was about seeing both sides of people, not that Draco isn't human and in over in his head (and thus deserving of some pity), but that Draco is still Draco. Ron is not just a sidekick, he's a person in his own right with his own issues, including the fact that he's not always a nice guy. He's definitely insecure, but with that many successful older brothers, really, who wouldn't be? Hermione is more than a brain, she's a young woman with all the attendant hormones and issues of puberty. Harry is going through some of the same issues, but his life is not his own, and he has to stop relying on others to cover his ass when he leaps. He's got to be cold and calculating to a certain degree or he won't make it. While all the kissing gets annoying at points, it seems like the romantic entanglements are a key part of the character development. Plus, lets be honest at that age, hormones were a major part of most people's lives.
I was glad Rowling finally acknowledged how lonely it is to be an outcast like Neville or Luna. They are good kids with some social issues, but Neville is brave and in his own way he'll play a huge role in defeating Voldemort. The same could be said for the other kids like Seamus, who haven't played a major role thus far are still going to be on the front lines. This is a full scale war, and the "kids" are going to be the ones doing the fighting. For some of them, the random kissing is the closest they're going to get to an adult sex life, as the death toll mounts, their parents may go first, but they won't go alone. I wonder about Hermione's parents, they've been minor parts of the storyline thus far, but the theme seems to be the losses of war, and Hermione hasn't lost anyone yet. I'm also thinking the Weasley's won't escape unscathed, as I think Percy will be lost in more ways than one. Okay, enough musing, what do you think?
All I can say is the book really reminded me of when I was in high school - lots of catty girls, stupid girls, all googly-eyed over some silly boy... So it seems to me like the actual nature of teenagers is finally coming out in the kids. I've actually been wondering when they would all start acting "normal" - I know when I was in high school, we saw all this activity when we were 14 or so, and everyone in the book is 15/16/17 - so I'm guessing that they are just less shallow than the people I knew, because life is a little more serious for them.
I think Percy will be lost in more ways than one
I agree. His middle name gives a lot away, as St. Ignacious (I know I'm spelling it wrong) only repented after he'd fallen in the enemy. Percy has also shown, in GoF when Ron was the thing Harry would sorely miss, that he will do stupid, nonMinistry approved things that make him look bad when a sibling appears to be in danger.
I for one thought the cattiness and the attendant behavior was...well, pretty spot-on for kids their age, to be honest. Yeah, it has been a few years since I was 16, *coughs and shuffles feet* but I still remember what it was like to be that age. You're...well, 'selfish' might be a harsh word, but it's accurate, and it's really not an insult. Teenagers are very self-centered because most of them are busy just starting out on discovering who they are and who they're meant to be, meanwhile trying to figure out where they rank with everybody else. There's going to be some snappish behavior, and people are going to do foolish things and make themselves look like idiots in front of their peers. That's normal; we've all been there (or we're getting there, as it were ^^).
I think a lot of people might have been thrown because for the first several novels, the kids--Harry, Ron and Hermione in particular--almost seemed like the 'golden children' who could do no wrong, and any misbehavior they exhibited was because they were acting noble and trying to save the world. Now we see them acting like typical teenagers, and it can be difficult to divorce the perception from the actual characterization. Add a healthy dose of self-doubt and insecurity to what I mentioned above, and I think the characters are acting quite normal, all things considered.
I'm actually almost grateful to see the characters acting like normal teenagers. So much of their lives is not normal, and to me, it's this self-centered and downright bad behavior that grounds them and makes the reader be able to relate to the characters. For instance, for every time that I cringe when Harry mouths off to Snape, at the same time I'm thinking, "Oh, good! He's NOT perfect! In fact, he's something of a brat!"
As for the kissing, something that keeps occurring to me is something that is mentioned in the beginning of the book, when we are introduced to the relationship between Bill and Fleur. It's commented by...I believe Mrs. Weasley that they're too young and are rushing into it, and one of the kids comments that she and Mr. Weasley married young, too, and allude that it had to do with Voldemort being at the height of his power, and you just had to act now or miss the chance because you never knew if you'd be targeted next. It struck me that perhaps, overlaying the normal teenage hormones and that occasional desperation to be with "someone, anyone", if there isn't a little bit of that floating around at Hogwart's, too. Though I doubt that's the main drive--they are at the age where one's social status can be determined by whether or not they've got a beau or a belle on their arm, and so the gratuitous snogging didn't stick out to me as being odd in the least. ^^