School is finally out. Boy, have I missed reading what I want to read.
I recently restarted the Harry Potter series. I read books 1-3 in high school, but put down book 4 after a few chapters because it was quidditch-heavy, and I hated quidditch. Everyone and their mom seems to have read all seven books, however, including my middle schoolers who give me a hard time for having not finished, so I decided to amend my ways. I have, I guess, reread Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets so far. I am not going to review these books or summarize the plot for anyone because they are so commonly read, but I do want to share some of my thoughts on each. You probably won’t care about a spoiler warning for these old books, but here it is anyway: read with caution if you haven’t read the books yet.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
- My favorite character is Ron Weasley. I identify with his socioeconomic status (haha), but in all seriousness, he seemed genuine and funny. His lines made me laugh the most.
- I hated Hermione at the beginning, but she grew on me, I think after the troll attack when she starts breaking rules with Harry and Ron.
- The ending is awesome. It felt like a mini Saw film where characters are left behind as others advance on to see what torture awaits them next. Ron’s sacrifice made me love him more.
- I like how every single thing introduced in the novel came back at the end — little things like instructor lectures that seemed like background noise when they were introduced. JKR is kind of a genius.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- My favorite character is still Ron. His interactions with and around Gilderoy Lockhart are hilarious.
- I like Hermione significantly more in this book. I actually teared up reading the scene where she was found petrified. Ron’s reaction to Hermione is especially touching.
- I think I care about Harry Potter least in the trio.
- This book was more exciting than the first one. I enjoyed characters being knocked off one by one, as demented as that sounds.
There are these plants called mandrakes and they grow like men, basically. They create ruckus and Professor Sprout says you can tell they are mature when they sneak into each other’s pots . . . at which they will be . . . cut up and stewed. I found this more disturbing than the Chamber.
- I thought that the ending employed deus ex machina when I first read it, but thinking on it more, I think JKR employs Chekhov’s Gun. Chekhov famously wrote, “If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.” Fawkes the Phoenix and the Sorting Hat are the gun in this book. What annoyed me about this technique is they were introduced very quickly together in the same chapter and came back up at the end. I guess, just after having read the first book and having seen how everything got used, I expected these two things to show back up, especially since JKR made a point to list Fawkes’ abilities, so it wasn’t as satisfying as it was when the first book did this. A friend of mine told me to remember these books are written for children, though. I’m sure Fawkes and the Sorting Hat showing up would feel like an exciting, surprising event to adolescent readers.
- Tom Riddle is a great character. I love that a memory is the antagonist of the novel. His quote, “Dumbledore’s been driven out of this castle by the mere memory of me,” is chilling and awesome. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Voldemort, as well.