While we fully understand the growing excitement, and even share it to some degree, we are nonetheless becoming a little concerned. You see, we enjoy a literary launch party as much as the next drunken B-list celebrity hanger-on, but we certainly don't view it as an excuse for letting semantic standards slip. We'd even go so far as to say that HBP (the Half-Blood Prince) is not an excuse for HBP (Half-Baked Prose).
With this in mind, here is a handy three-stage checklist for the coming week, to make sure that you're able to discuss all the relevant issues in a mature and literate manner, and so set a sparkling standard for the whole fandom to follow. (And goodness only knows, they need one.)
The EMPIRE Guide To Things To Say When HBP Comes Out
STAGE 1: Anticipation – Preparing for the Big Day
Don't say: SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Do say: I am excited by this forthcoming literary event.
Don't say: I'm liek gonna KULL JK if she KULLS Remus/Draco/Snape she will be SO ToTaLLy DED 4EVAH!!!
Do say: I'm certain that the author has clear intentions for her oeuvre, and that she has fully thought through the consequences of all plot developments.
Don't say: i liek totally KNO who'z gonna be teh half-blood prince liek woah because liek my neighbor's cousin's half-sister's dog stole 17 pages of the book from teh bookstore and it liek totally ATE THEM and then threw them back up again all over my front lawn (rotflmao!!!1111) and I liek sat down on the grass and READ TEH VOMIT!!! and that'z how i knoes that Dobby is TEH HBP!!!!!!!1111
Do say: Of course I have my own theories. But I couldn't possibly comment.
STAGE 2: Acquisition – At the Bookstore
Don't say: Teh store is full of squeeing fangurls liek woah!!1111 Suxin LOOZERZZZZZ!!!!!1111
Do say: What a refreshing change to socialize with people from a wide range of social backgrounds.
Don't say: Get those SUXIN little brats out of my way, grandma!!
Do say: Isn't it nice to see all age groups coming together to promote literacy?
Don't say: WTF? WHY iz this book so FREAXIN HUGE?? Is it becoz JK's ego is liek the size of JuPiTeR and her editor liek totally SUXX0rs???"
Do say: Do you have an extra-strong carrier bag, please?
STAGE 3: Appreciation – Literary Criticism
Don't say: OMG!!!!!!! She killed [Whoever Dies]!!!!!!!!!!! *sobs* *wails* *slits wrists*
Do say: Goodness, this will certainly create a crisis point in Harry's ongoing emotional journey.
If Dumbledore is the one who dies, a suitable alternative would be: Well, the old boy had a good innings.
Don't say:OMG! OMG! Harry can't kiss HER. SHE TOTALY SUXXES!!! SQUICCKKKKKYYYYY!!!
Do say: Isn't young love charming?
Don't say: WHERE IZ DA HOT SLASHY 2-BOY ACTION????? JK you SUXIN repressed BITCH!!!111
Do say: Marcel Proust, wouldst that thou were living in this hour!
Don't say: It's liek totally NOT as good as my friend's 279-chapter Blaise Zabini/Crookshanks bestiality fic!!!111 OMGTHEIRFURRYLURVEISSOCANON
Do say: "....." (We feel a discreet silence might be the most appropriate response here.)
Don't say: FREAXIN HELL!! WHY is this BLOODY FANDOM full of such STOOPID frigging IDIOTS???? DUHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Do say: Put the kettle on, please. I do believe I feel one of my turns coming on....