Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Re-Reading Harry Potter Series

I'm already on book three, The Prisoner of Azkeban, and I have to say that I love this series even better the third time around. I'm taking my time and really soaking up the small bits of description that escaped my attention the first two reads.

I remember the first time I read the series. It was after the fourth book, The Goblet of Fire, had been released and I had already threw out my daughter's paperbacks (because I hadn't read them and was told by the religious community they were evil and taught children witchcraft). I couldn't believe I did such a thing. Here I was - a parent who tried to teach their children to think and make judgements for themselves - banning them because of heretical hearsay.

Well, it bothered me so much, I went out and bought the first book, The Sorcerer's Stone, read it - and loved it. Yes, Harry Potter's a wizard. Yes, he uses a magic wand and Yes, he casts spells like lumos and expelleramus. However, he uses no more real witchcraft than the fairy godmother who placed glass slippers on Cinderella's feet. It isn't true witchcraft - it's fantasy, and well-written one at that. If anything, I find Harry Potter and his friends, very moralistic and a good role model for children, and I completely understand why kids and adults alike have fallen in love with this character.

I learned the proverbial lesson - never to judge a book by it's cover, title and especially hearsay. I don't even read books listed on the NYTimes best seller list, because I find most of them are terrible. Some of the best stories I've ever read have never made the list. Some aren't even published, yet.

The second time I read through the series, I rushed through them trying to refresh the story in anticipation for the sixth book, The Half-Blood Prince. I wanted to make sure I was up-to-date on the story when this book came out. Well, that's sort of what I'm doing now, only I'm taking my time and enjoying the story (besides, I'm saving money because while I'm reading the series I'm not out buying new books to add to my library).

After reading The Prisoner of Azekban, The Goblet of Fire, The Order of the Phoenix and The Half-Blood Prince, I had the impression that The Sorcerer's Stone and The Chamber of Secrets was not as exciting. But, having just re-read them - I find that not true. I really enjoyed them and found that were perhaps the most magical of them all. It's the fun adventure in these two books that set up all the excitement in the last four. It was here that we first heard about Quidditch, Dobby the House Elf, learned to despise the Dursley's, discovered Diagon Alley and Hogwarts, met Albus Dumbledore, rolled our eyes at Draco Malfoy and shook our heads at Neville Longbottom. It was in these two stories that introduced us to Tom Riddle and started filling in the past of Lord Voldemort. We befriended the half-giant Hagrid and longed to live at the Burrow with the Weasley's. Ron became our best friend and Hermoine showed her true genius.

Rowling put so much heart and humor into these first two stories that my opinion has changed - and I find these two the best of the series so far. However, just starting on The Prisoner of Azekeban - I may change my opinion next week. LOL!

J.K. Rowling may not be the best writer in the world (she uses a passive/telling voice), she's at least one of the most entertaining and creative. I've never wanted so much to be a kid again. To that, I take my hat off for her.

Well, I need to get back to my book.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

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