What is the strongest image or emotion that I take away from this reading experience? The answer: Indignation.
What I find most disturbing is J.K. Rowling's portrayal of adolescent behaviour. What we saw in the Half-Blood Prince is the reinforcement of adolescent stereotypes. Boys are hormone-crazed to the point of abandoning all reason in favour of satisfying that primal urge. Girls are no smarter than setting up schemes to make these boys jealous, in the hopes that the boys will take notice of the girls, and finally appreciate them.
I have worked in both high schools and junior high schools, and I can say that yes, such adolescents do exist. But, are they the majority? Certainly not. There is a large group of adolescents who do know what it means to respect their peers, to work hard and earn good grades, to uphold their principals and their honour against the ever-intensifying onslaught of peer pressure. What J.K. Rowling has done in Half-Blood Prince is to perpetuate all the negative stereotypes. Not only that, she romanticizes these stereotypes. Instead of showing what is wrong with this type of behaviour, she turns it into a comedic sequence to evoke amusement rather than disapproval.
J.K. Rowling has garnered so much respect over the years, and her voice is one of the most revered and idolized in our modern literary culture. She could have made a statement and taught a few lessons, set up some positive examples and role models. Instead, Rowling chose to sumbit to the degenerating stereotypes of juvenile pop culture. What a shame.