Reading-wise, I’m still ploughing through The Luminaries. I haven’t learned enough new to warrant a full blog post so I think it’s time to revisit an old favourite. That’s right! A list of my favourite things in each of the Harry Potter books. Yeah!
I love Harry Potter. I started reading them when I was fifteen. I don’t know if that is young enough to appease the haters of adults that read kids books and obviously I don’t care. I still reread them from time to time and I think they are the finest books I have ever read. The plot is fantastic. Every detail has been thought of, not just for the magic world but also of the story itself. Nothing is left loose. Everything fits together beautifully. It’s a perfect series.
I have tried to pick a favourite many times, but I can’t. Too hard! There are bits I love in each of them. See if you agree with me!
This is lovely because it sets up the whole world. I love bits like buying everything in Diagon Alley and all the explanations. Also, I love the puzzles Harry, Ron and Hermione have to go through to reach the stone towards the end. The massive wizard’s chess set, the potions riddle. Fantastic!
Everything I love in this book can be summed up in one word: Professor Gilderoy Lockhart. I was so happy that Kenneth Branagh played him in the film, and was so disappointed that we didn’t see more of his silliness, although of course I understand that films can’t put everything in. This is why Harry Potter should be made into a full television series lasting seven years and leaving NOTHING out! He is the most hilarious character ever. I love that he is the only one based solely on a real person. I wish I knew who it was. I wish that one day, J.K. Rowling will write Magical Me! and all of Lockhart’s other books. I would definitely read them.
This is the one where it starts to get a bit darker. We start to learn a bit more about Harry’s parents, particularly James, and his friendship group. Not for the first time, we become aware that there is a lot that Harry doesn’t know that everyone else does (which is such a clever authorial device). There is a sense of real peril for a lot of the book, plus we are introduced to Hogsmeade and butterbeer, which I honestly can’t wait to go to Florida and try. Finally, there is the timeturning, Dementors, and the character of Sirius himself. So much fun!
The Quidditch world cup! What an opening! Quidditch is a brilliant feature of the Harry Potter world and this gathering of wizards and the VERY dark turn it suddenly takes is our first real introduction to international wizardry. The Triwizard Tournament, needless to say, is the highlight of these books, although the romantic attempts of Harry and Ron are hilarious, especially when Ron ‘asks’ Fleur Delacour to the ball. It’s also the first time we get any hint of the blossoming feelings between Ron and Hermione.
The main thing I love about this book though, is the return of Voldemort. There is a hint of darkness in The Prisoner of Azkaban¸ but this is where it really gets hardcore. I cannot watch the bit in the film where Harry brings Cedric back without shedding several tears.
Again, much more history. We learn a bit of Sirius’s family history and there is a lot of hush hush secrecy. There are two major plus points to this book though. First, is the Order itself and the prophecy. This is uncovered so delicately and gradually that I found myself on tenterhooks the whole way through.
The second, inevitably, is Dolores Umbridge. She is Hitler, if Hitler loved kittens and coughed delicately to get attention. Harry Potter has clear Nazi parallels, especially in the final book, but Umbridge is a brilliant forerunner. Her endless decrees, her torturous punishments and her increasingly oppressive regime are so irritating. The moment when Fred and George leave Hogwarts is the peak.
Sometimes I think if I had to pick a favourite, it would be this one. Then, of course, I immediately remember everything I love about the others. This book is largely concerned with Voldemort’s history and the discovery of the Horcruxes, which fills in a lot of gaps and also sets up the final book very nicely. There are also some fantastic comedy bits too, not least Ron and Lavender’s relationship, and the romance of Harry and Ginny which is ultra sweet. My favourite bit, though, is when Harry takes the felix potion. Wunderbar.
This is a worthy climax, all killer and no filler. I completely understood why it was necessary to split it into two films, although it did set an unfortunate precedent for the future (see Twilight). The wedding, the hallows, the deaths, the battles, there is so much. I have so many highlights. To pick a top three… when Ron comes back, when Harry and Hermione go to Godric’s Hollow, when Harry finally goes into the Dark Forest. Oh, and Harry at King’s Cross! I’ve got to go and read it now!