Decent Films Mail > Mailbag #15

Re: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

I saw Harry Potter today, and thought your review was accurate. But there is a moral problem with the movie (and the underlying book) that’s not evident until you’ve read the final book.

Dumbledore says to Snape, “Severus, please,” right before Snape kills him. It’s ambiguous at the time, but I’ll spoil the last book for you by telling you that [spoiler warning] Dumbledore is asking Snape to kill him so that Draco will survive. And I don’t see any way at all to justify that action on the part of either one. Any way I slice it, Dumbledore is asking Snape to kill him — an innocent party in the dispute. Even to save a third party, one may not choose the death of an innocent person as the means.

Perhaps I’m making too much of this, but the other lesser moral violations (telling of untruths, etc.) in the series don’t bother me nearly as much as this one.

A priest

Your analysis exactly coincides with my own, Father. I haven’t read the latter books, but I have read the plot summaries at Wikipedia.)

If I understand correctly [spoiler warning], Rowling tries to mitigate the moral issue by (a) revealing that Dumbledore was dying anyway and (b) having Snape’s act insinuate Snape further into Voldemort’s confidence. However, (a) from a Catholic perspective Dumbledore’s impending death doesn’t make Snape’s act other than murder, and (b) dramatically Snape’s moral self-sacrifice is wasted anyway since, I understand, he doesn’t accomplish anything and is eventually discovered and killed by Voldemort.

Because of this, I contemplated giving The Half-Blood Prince a minus-2 moral rating rather than a minus-1, but ultimately decided that the explanation belongs to the next film(s) and so the moral weight falls there rather than here.

So, yes, it is a significant moral problem in the story.

Link to this entry

Coming Soon

Recently Added

In Theaters – Latest

In Theaters – All