For the longest time, I resisted reading the Harry Potter books. One of the reasons was that when they first came out, I was too old to read a children’s book, and later, when the books started maturing, I simply wanted to be different and not become a part of the mania. I’m often a causeless rebel like that. But this past December, when I finished my doctoral degree, I was so exhausted, that I wished to read something easy, entertaining, and non-academic. Since so many people seem to own the Harry Potter books, I didn’t even have to spend money on buying the books. Having stayed away from the movies and from Harry Potter discussions in general, I was also safe from spoilers… so reading the books was really like entering into a new, unexplored world. I started the first book sometime in late January, and I finished in late April. This should explain the long absence from this blog.
At least a short review of each book is due:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: A good enough start to the series. Reads more like a children’s book; but manages to endear you to the three protagonist characters – Harry, Hermione, and Ron.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Don’t remember much about the book, except that we learn an important thing about Harry in this book. Also important for the introduction of the character of Dobby.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Arguably, my favorite book of the series, simply because of the character of Sirius Black. That, for me, he went from interesting to annoying as the books progressed, is a sad and unavoidable truth.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Wonder why it was not called Harry Potter and the Triwizard Tournament, which is a better fit of a title; but a turning point of a book in the series. Since it is so many people’s favorite, I didn’t think it was all that. (Causeless rebel, remember?) The series definitely “grows up” with this book.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Easy enough to finish, especially after the previous tome. But, nothing else to report here, oh except, Umbridge is so darn annoying. Moving on…
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Secretly tells you a lot about an important, yet ignored character. Gets rather dark towards to end, and things start to get serious.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: One complex scene after another. Rowling becomes that good cook that serves you food until you wish to throw it up. A good enough end to the series, but seems needlessly convoluted and unending. I did get teary-eyed at the epilogue.
Overall, I was impressed with Rowling’s story-telling abilities. Her greatest strength, by far, besides her ability to weave the books together, is her creation of three very wonderful central characters, and a list of great supporting characters: Neville, Luna, Snape, and of course, Dumbledore. I might not like her desire to do one too many things in one book, or her sub-plots, but the three friends at the heart of this book will always stay with me. If you, like me, haven’t read the books for some reason, I’d wonder why not. Because really there’s no good reason to not read these books.