Books #1-4: Harry Potter

Fast Facts:

Book Title: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Author: J.K. Rowling

Genre/Audience: YA fantasy, drama, fiction

Rating: The entire series is a 10/10, book-by-book ratings below

Worth the read?: YES!

I’d been thinking about Harry Potter for weeks when I finally decided to pull them off the dusty shelf one-by-one and tackle the series for a second time. I had been watching Harry Potter theory videos on YouTube (because yeah, I’m that person) and really just pondering all of the hidden details I surely missed when I read the books in high school. And so, on December 29, I picked up Sorcerer’s Stone and proceeded on the journey to protect and save the world, wizards and muggles alike.

I started 2018 by reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Admittedly, this is my least favorite book in the series. I have never really been able to give a clear answer as to why, but I imagine that part of the problem is that I watched all of the movies before reading the books, and I have never enjoyed the fourth movie. It carried over to the book, sadly.

Upon this reading of Goblet of Fire, I enjoyed it much, much more than the first time. When I read the book in high school, it took me an entire month to trudge through the book. This time, I read it in a little over a day.

Goblet of Fire, although still my least favorite, is perhaps one of the best-written books in the series. It is incredibly long and arduous, but Rowling is an amazingly gifted writer, so even though the book lasted for what seemed like ages, I can respect that every page was necessary and even enjoyable, even though I have a natural distaste for four.

That being said, this book is absolutely foundational and necessary for the last three books of the series. I give Goblet of Fire a 8/10. It’s a great book, but my biases are simply too strong.

Next came Order of the Phoenix. Oddly enough, this book, which many people claim is their least favorite, has always been one of my favorites of the series (Prisoner of Azkaban takes the cake for me).

Now, if the movie is why people dislike this one, I understand. Umbridge as a person you can see and hear is dreadful. She’s so awful that you can’t even love to hate her; you just hate her. However, in the books, her hate-ability is much more bearable. You definitely still hate her, but at least she isn’t making you physically want to crawl out of your skin and take a plunge in the lake with the giant squid.

More than anything else, Harry is a little annoying in Order of the Phoenix. I understand that he is certainly suffering from some PTSD from the last book, but still, he spends a large portion of the book being pretty whiny; that is, at least until DA begins.

By the end of the book, we really see the friendships that are going to save Harry and the rest of the wizarding world begin to formulate and strengthen. We also get a little bit more foreshadowing into You-Know-Who and Harry’s relationship.

Also, a moment of silence for our loss.

Order of the Phoenix is solid 9.5/10 for me. (-.5 for death and Umbridge, of course.)

Half-Blood Prince

Oh, my heart. There is so much pain here.

After I finished reading Half-Blood Prince this time around, I was pretty much inconsolable. I cried, actually cried, for an hour. Tears trickled down my face as I sat beside my mom on the couch and said, “It’s all so dark, it’s just not fair. Why is there no light?”

And that’s when the depth of the series really struck me for the first time. I always knew that Harry Potter carried real-world meaning about love and hate, life and death, right versus wrong, and so many other dichotomies, but I’d never really felt it as applicable to life right now.

Oh, my heart.

Rowling is a genius. I love this book. 10/10.

And finally, the fourth book I read in 2018: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

It’s amazing that Rowling accomplishes so much in relatively few pages. By comparison, Deathly Hallows isn’t even the longest in the series; it’s 100 pages shorter than Order of the Phoenix!

I remember feeling like the book was action-packed all the way through when I read it the first time, but there definitely were a lot more lulls in the book than previously thought. I think it was a good pace to set, though, because the rising and falling action definitely kept me more on my toes this time. It’d been long enough since the last time I read it that I kept wondering when something was going to happen, only to discover that I was remembering things out of order. She takes us everywhere we need to go, and she doesn’t rush it. For that, I am thankful.

It’s hard to read this book and not be an emotional mess. After devoting so much time and heart space to each and every character, it’s nearly impossible to watch them suffer. But it’s so necessary, and it’s so, so good in the end.

My favorite part of this entire book is Kreacher. I’ve always connected to him in a special way. The scene where he comes out, leading the Hogwarts house elves, and fights for his master…oh, my heart. I love Kreacher. (I could write a whole post about Kreacher alone and how he helped me get a hefty chunk of scholarship money, but I’ll save you the trouble of the ‘you-had-to-be-there’ story.)

This book, this whole series, is about way more than good wizards fighting bad ones. It’s about life and love and how important it is that we do all we can to make the world a better place right now in our small spaces.

Deathly Hallows is another 10/10.

Harry Potter has consumed my thoughts for weeks and weeks now, and now I’m on the hunt to purchase my own copies of all the books (because mom won’t let me have hers). I’m one down, six to go on purchasing them.

As for books, I’m 4 down, 46 to go.

I’ll update again this week; I’m almost done with book #5 for the year!