Monthly Archives: October 2012

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

This is a review of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” by J.K. Rowling. It is the sixth book in the Harry Potter Series and follows on from “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix“.

Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for his sixth year. He is still raw over the events that occurred at the Ministry the year before, and he’s unsure if he will ever get over it.

He is taken from Privet Drive this year by Dumbledore himself. On the way to The Burrow, they stop over to employ the services of a teacher. He is a retired Hogwarts employee, but Hogwarts is in need of a new staff member, and Dumbledore wants Horace Slughorn for the job. Exactly why, Harry does not yet know, but Dumbledore has his reasons.

Harry spends the remainder of his holidays with the Weasley family and Hermione and then it’s back to school for everyone, and this year Harry is Quidditch captain for Gryffindor.

The school year passes. Harry gets a couple of detentions with his Hogwarts nemesis Professor Snape, attends a few “Slug Club” meetings with Professor Slughorn and other students and attends some very intriguing lessons with Professor Dumbledore himself. Romance is in the air this year at Hogwarts too. And Harry finds himself suffering from an awkward crush, not to mention developments in Ron and Hermione’s love lives.

This book reveals a lot more about Lord Voldemort and his past as Tom Riddle. By delving into the past, Dumbledore and Harry find themselves better equipped to deal with Voldemort in the future.

This book is intriguing, chilling, funny, warming and terribly sad. It is one of my favourites in the series, and one I love to re-read.

I first read this book when I was in high school, I purchased it the day after its release. I had almost finished it a few days later, when my friends, having listened to a radio program dedicated to reading the Harry Potter novel and giving a review and giving away spoilers, decided to ruin the ending for me. I was livid. Never have I been so upset before. I was devastated. Considering I was only about ten pages away from the event they spoiled, it was a very low blow. I don’t think I spoke to them for a while.

I don’t think I ever got over it fully. Imagine loving something so much, and then having it ruined. And not because you were too slow at reading, but because your friends had listened to someone who got paid to lock themself in a room to read the book cover to cover and then spoil it for everyone on air, and then your friends thought you’d see the funny side if they playfully yelled out what they knew? Believe me. I would have loved to cloister myself away until the book was read. But it was impossible. I had school to attend.

Definitely not over that spoiler. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that one.

And this was by far, the movie I got most frustrated with when I went to see it at the cinema. What the heck is that scene at the train station? And the house burning? Erm :/ was not very happy.

But I did like Jim Broadbent’s portrayal of Slughorn. And Jessie Cave as Lavender Brown is very entertaining.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

This is a review of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” by J.K. Rowling. It is the fifth book in the Harry Potter Series and follows on from “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”.

Harry is back in the Muggle world and he’s in a pretty foul mood. And no wonder. He is isolated from the wizarding world, from his friends (whom aren’t even writing him useful letters about what’s going on) and from his godfather, infamous fugitive Sirius Black. His relatives, the Dursleys are just as awful as ever.

Harry finds himself in a bizarre and extremely dangerous situation and escapes, saving his cousin Dudley’s life in the process. Soon after, he is contacted via owl by the Ministry of Magic and removed from the Privet Drive residence by a group of Aurors.

He makes his way not to The Burrow (home of the Weasleys) but to number twelve Grimmauld Place, headquarters of the highly secretive Order of the Phoenix. Here he is updated a little more of goings on, but to his chagrin, he is still not told everything as he is not yet of age.

It’s on to a disciplinary hearing for Harry (in regards to the events that occurred back in Privet Drive) where to his relief he escapes expulsion from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But Hogwarts won’t be the same this year. There’s a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, and she’s a real piece of work…

Harry’s dreams of Lord Voldemort are stronger than ever, and they’re very intriguing. Harry has to attend Occlumency lessons with Professor Snape to close his mind to Voldemort and his influence.

This is the longest novel in the Harry Potter Series, and it covers a lot. It is one of my favourites, and the movie adaptation for this one was quite good. They did leave a lot out, but of course they did! Harry is older and seems to be going through puberty. He’s moody, angry, hormonal and into girls. No one in the Ministry believes his story of Voldemort’s return, and he and Dumbledore are slandered and made fun of in the wizarding paper. Poor Harry is doing it tough in this one, but he has his friends. And he’s grateful for that.

I really enjoyed this one.

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

This is a review of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” by J.K. Rowling. It is the fourth book in the Harry Potter Series and follows on from “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry visits The Weasley Family over the summer. Not only does he get time away from The Dursleys, but he gets to attend the Quidditch World Cup. But the World Cup is not all fun and games…

Harry returns to Hogwarts where another surprise is in store for him and the other students. Hogwarts is to host an event that has not been held for centuries. It is an inter-school event, open only to students over the age of seventeen (of age for wizards).

Harry is as excited as every other student about what is to come. But never did he think for a moment that he would be as close to the action as he inevitably ends up.

And why has Harry’s scar been hurting more frequently? What of the vivid dreams he’s been having about Voldemort? And why has Dumbledore hired an Auror to teach as the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher?

This book is longer and much darker than the first three. I enjoyed it, and I remember being shocked a little when I first read it so long ago as a young teen. Reading it as an adult I found that is was not as polished as the third novel. I still really liked it, and it’s full of more character development, new characters, plot thickeners and teasers for future novels.

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

This is a review of “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” by J. K. Rowling. It is the 3rd book in the Harry Potter Series. It follows “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets“.

Harry is back with the Dursleys for his summer holidays. It is by far Harry’s least favourite time of year. And this summer is even worse because his cousin Dudley’s Aunt Marge is coming to stay. She is a horror. She forces Harry to all her Aunt (even though they are not related) and delights in pointing out all of his faults and insulting his parents. Harry snaps, and decides to make a run for it, as he has broken the Wizarding Decree which forbids underage wizards from performing acts of magic outside of Hogwarts: School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

He catches The Knight Bus (quite by accident) to Diagon Alley, planning to withdraw his wealth from the wizard bank Gringotts, and live on the run. He fears if he is caught by the Ministry of Magic, he will be sent to the wizard prison, Azkaban. But he is met at The Leaky Cauldron (a wizarding pub) by none other than the Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge himself. Far from being imprisoned, Harry is not punished for his transgressions but let off rather lightly.

Harry is bewildered by this, having expected that he would be expelled immediately from Hogwarts, until he inadvertently overhears an argument between Mr and Mrs Weasley (parents of his friend Ron) about whether or not Harry should be told that he is in danger from a high profile wizard and escaped convict Sirius Black. Harry knows that he would be safest at Hogwarts, and this is no doubt the reason why he was treated with such lenience.

So Harry returns for another year at Hogwarts. But is he truly safe from Sirius Black at Hogwarts? And what of the terrible Azkaban guards that affect Harry so strongly? And who is the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher?

This is probably my most favourite book of the series. It was the first one I had to wait for to be published, and I read it over and over and over again as a young teen. Characters are fleshed out a little more, and they mature and grow a little. You find out more about Harry’s dead parents and the events leading to their deaths, and new and exciting characters are introduced. J. K Rowling manages to write another seamless novel, even better than her first two.

I have just watched the film also, and it was really not so bad. Apart from the (in my opinion of course) poor casting (purely aesthetic reasons) of Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. It was quite good and fairly true to the novel. I didn’t like the way “the beast” at the end (don’t want to give anything away) looked either. Ugh not very scary at all. Too skinny.

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

This is a review of “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” by J. K. Rowling. It is the second novel in The Harry Potter Series. It follows “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry has had to go home to the Dursley’s house and the Muggle world for his summer holidays. And they’ve been the most miserable lot of holidays he’s ever experienced. He’s had no word from his friends. It’s almost as if his first year at Hogwarts never happened at all.

The Dursley’s are worse than ever. And when Harry inadvertently ruins a very important dinner of his Uncle Vernon’s, he is punished severely and confined to his small bedroom for the duration of the summer, with threats of being kept home from Hogwarts.

Luckily his best friend Ron comes to his rescue. He spends the remainder of the summer at The Weasley’s home, and returns to Hogwarts. When he and Ron try to get on to Platform 9 and 3/4 to catch the Hogwarts Express they find they can’t. So they devise their own way of getting to school.

It seems that strange things are happening at Hogwarts this year. Frightening things. Mysterious things. Things that are linked to things that happened at Hogwarts 50 years ago…

As I have said before: don’t think you’ve experienced all the Harry Potter Series has to offer you if you’ve only ever watched the films. The books are so much better.

A humorous, creepy, suspenseful mystery.

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

This is a review of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” by J. K. Rowling. It is the 1st novel in The Harry Potter Series.

I had a nostalgic notion to re-read all of the Harry Potter novels again. No doubt it was brought on by my recent read of Rowling’s new novel for adults: “The Casual Vacancy“. They hardly need reviewing, but this is my blog and I will review whatever I please. Plus I purchased a box set of the whole lot last year, and have yet to read all of my new unblemished set cover to cover from book 1 to 7 all in a row.

Yes I like to re-read my novels. What of it?

As I have mentioned before, I first read this novel when I was in primary school, not long after it had been published. I have re-read it many times since then. Over and over as I grew older. I will never tire of it. I love it. I love all of them.

If you haven’t read them because you have a silly notion that they’re no good because they were so popular, or that you won’t enjoy them because you’re a “grown-up”. I seriously urge you to reconsider.

And even worse, if you haven’t read them because you suffer from the absolutely incorrect notion that because you’ve watched the movies, you have basically read the books too, please re-think your decision!

I actually hated going to see the movies.

While the first two were quite good, from movie number three, they really started making a mess of things (in my opinion). I always went to watch to see if I’d be happily surprised, but so many times I was left disappointed. And I would have moments of distress (yes, utter distress) and indignation: why change that? Why leave this out? Why add something that never happened?! The frustration!

A few major gripes of mine: why cast Sirius Black so poorly? In my head he was something akin to Viggo Mortenson.

My Dream Sirius:

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Why burn the Weasley’s house down?! That never happened. Why weren’t books 4, 5 and 6 split into two movies too? So much was lost. What the hell was that train station scene in the 6th movie? Wtf? Where was Peeves? Or Piers Polkiss? Or Winky?

Anyway, I digress.

Harry Potter lives with his horrible Aunt and Uncle and his despicable cousin Dudley. He sleeps in the cupboard under the stairs, and is neglected, treated with disdain and resentment. He wishes he had somewhere else to go. But he doesn’t. All the rest of his family are dead. Including his parents, who died when he was just a baby.

And odd things seem to happen to him, things that he can’t quite believe or explain away. His Aunt and Uncle have no trouble attributing the blame to him regardless.

Shortly before his eleventh birthday, a letter arrives for him. It’s an odd letter, precise enough to mention the cupboard he sleeps in in the address, there can be no doubt that the letter is meant for Harry. But his Uncle Vernon forbids Harry from opening it.

When more arrive, getting increasingly persistent and numerous, he decides to remove Harry and the others from the house in order to escape the letters.

When someone finally comes knocking, Harry is pleasantly surprised by the news imparted to him. He’s a wizard. And the letters are from Hogwarts: School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

But with this exciting news comes other information, and Harry discovers what truly happened to his parents.

Full of wonder, hope, friendship, courage and written expertly, this novel is a treasure for both children AND adults. Read it. You won’t regret it.

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