So my initial guesses about the Half Blood Prince prior to reading the book were all way off, but my semi-educated guess at page 200 was mostly right on. Yay me :)
Of course one question remaining is, has Voldemort ever expressed an opinion about half bloods and muggle-bloods (presumably in book 2) or has it only been his followers that have been rabid about the subject? As Morna pointed out to me there's a history of insane dictators making exceptions to their notions of "purity" for themselves but not for any of their subordinates, in which case my theory about the reasons for Voldemort's and Snape's theoretical camaraderie falls apart. However if it would be ironic if Voldemort despises his followers for their views (at least in part) and has come to consider Snape as his only friend, and it turns out that Snape _is_ still loyal to Dumbledore :)
Which of course brings up the question of Snape's loyalty. It's certainly possible that Dumbledore thought sacrificing himself was worth the opportunity to "prove" the loyalty of their plant in Voldemort's camp. It's also possible he was dying anyways and figured what the hell, might as well get some use out of it. And Morna said that in the first book during the first potions class with Snape some kind of "Life in Death" potion was mentioned, so there's a slim possibility that Dumbledore isn't really dead.
I'm also curious if Snape's comment to Harry during their final battle about keeping his mouth shut and mind closed was just a taunt, or advice disguised as a taunt.
So why was Hermoine upset about Harry's use of the recipes in the book? Was it just because she thought they might be evil? Or was it because she felt Harry was cheating somehow? I can't see any really good justification to the later claim. Harry was following recipes out of a book, just like Hermoine, and he even offered to share the info with her. If Hermoine had gone to the library and researched better ways to make the potions she certainly wouldn't have viewed it as cheating. Harry stumbling across that particular book was certainly due to some really amazing luck rather than hard work, but that doesn't make it cheating.
You know, the whole deal with the Half Blood Prince's potions book really makes Harry Hermoine and Ron look rather incompetent. By his sixth year Snape was already improving on the standard recipes and inventing his own spells. Have any of the protagonists down _anything_ original? Harry unconsciously made a few spells at the beginning of book one, but since he came to Hogwarts nothing. Hermoine has done great in all her classes and looked up lots of stuff in the library, but still nothing creative that we've been shown as far as i can remember. The only current students we've been shown so far who have done _anything_ creative have been... Fred and George =P
In fact, not only have they not created anything, that can't even figure out the results of the creative process. They don't know _why_ anything works. Every skill they have is by rote. They can't even look at Snape's recipes and come up with a supposition as to why the changes he made improves them. Did Snape come up with the improvements purely through trial and error, or is there a knowledge of magical theory that Harry Ron and Hermoine are completely missing out on? Snape is either a genius or incredibly persistent at trial and error, or the protagonists are complete slackers =P
So what _does_ Harry plan to do against Voldemort by skipping his seventh year? He can't even defeat Snape, and Voldemort is supposed to be much stronger and more skilled. Not that completing his seventh year would narrow the gap that much, but having all the fundamentals covered would be at least a start. As it is he's going to have to get damn lucky, or the Order of the Phoenix is going to have to hold Voldemort down while yelling "Now! Quick! Stab'em! Stab'em!" to Harry.