Are you a Harry Potter fan? Well, good for you. But for those who are alien to the Harry Potter stories…
This is for y’all out there who:
- Do not, for some apparent reason, know about Harry Potter. (cough manvslonelineess cough)
- Want to know about Harry Potter but need an extra push. Hey, I understand. It’s only 7 books, right? *shrugs off my shoulders*
This is just something I conjured up at the last minute, though. So don’t be expecting anything grand or anything. And if you have already read the series, I hope you understand why I wrote this.
To educate squibs. Haha!
I have also only stuck with the books for my comments, reviews and insights.
And if you aren’t any of those previously mentioned; you are still welcome to read through.
SOME VERY IMPORTANT HARRY POTTER TERMS AND CHARACTERS:
HARRY POTTER – The Boy Who Lived, aka The Chosen One
RONALD WEASLEY – Sixth son of Arthur and Molly Weasley, Harry’s best friend
HERMIONE GRANGER – Muggleborn, Harry’s bestfriend
DURSLEYS – Harry’s muggle family
ALBUS DUMBLEDORE – Hogwarts Headmaster
DRACO MALFOY – Son of Lucius Malfoy, a devoted death eater
DEATH EATER – The bad guys, followers of The Dark Lord
LORD VOLDEMORT – The Dark Lord
HOGWARTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY – The school for wizards
QUIDDITCH – A popular game in the wizarding world
MUGGLEBORN/MUGGLE/MUDBLOOD – Nonmagic folk
THE FOUR HOUSES:
Founder: Godric Gryffindor
HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, is a story about a young wizard most notably known for the scar on his forehead shaped like lightning, and his adventures at Hogwarts; the school of witchcraft and wizardry. Harry, The Boy Who Lived, is a miserable 11-year old orphan who one day, learns that he is actually a wizard. He goes to school (Hogwarts) and make friends with Hermione, who negotiates the stress of being a Type-A overachiever from a muggle (non-magic folk) family, and Ron, one of seven children (including five boys ahead of him), all of whom have met great success while studying in Hogwarts – be it as head boy, Quidditch players, house prefect, or wildly popular pranksters. He also meets enemies; like Draco Malfoy, son of Lucius Malfoy, a very devoted follower of the story’s main antagonist, Lord Voldemort. It is this better place, and the magic world in general, that inspires Harry to become what he is meant to be. Not long, Harry becomes a star player at the game Quidditch and quickly becomes the campus heartthrob (as if being ‘The Boy Who Lived’ is not enough). Harry’s adventure suitably involves the quest to find, to recover, and keep Lord Voldemort from having the Sorcerer’s stone by which the elixir of life can be manufactured from and immortality may be achieved. Harry, along with his friends, risks his own life in order to ensure this does not happen.
HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS
Heritage, love, loyalty, and betrayal are the dominant themes in this novel. Harry focuses on avenging his parents’ murders and learning more about his family’s magical past. Meanwhile, in the muggle world, the twins Fred and George Weasley help Harry escape from his room at the Dursleys’ (his relatives) house by driving a flying car and repulsing Vernon Dursley’s (Harry’s uncle) attempts to control Harry. Back at the wizarding world, Harry encounters Draco’s father – an extremely elitist and pretentious man. Several characters have prominent roles in this installment. Some characters seem stereotypical and derivative but their predictability aids readers in understanding their purpose to the story. The readers meet the youngest of the Weasley, Ginny, who apparently, has a crush on Harry, and lo and behold! She becomes the damsel in distress as she gets kidnapped by Voldemort’s pet basilisk, and trapped in Chamber of Secrets. The chamber is one made by one of the founding members of the school, Salazar Slytherin, after a disagreement between all four founders about admitting muggleborns into a school supposedly only for pure blooded wizards. Salazar’s plan was for his true heir to release the basilisk (a large and deadly snake that kills you if look into its eyes) and slay future students he considers inferior and threatening for his ideals. Here, the readers meet a new character. Gilderoy Lockhart, the narcissistic and new Defense against the Dark Arts professor.
Also, Draco’s insecurities as a Malfoy, is also somehow revealed in the novel.
Our hero, vows to find Slytherin’s heir to save Hogwarts and Ginny. And with the help of some of the castle’s ghosts, he does find his way inside the chamber. Many of the character in the Harry Potter series are polar opposites yet they paradoxically share some traits; and the like the settings, experience opposing characteristics within themselves presenting an amalgam of good and bad and equally amusing characters.
HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, is my most favorite book in the series.
Manipulation and redemption are the two prominent themes in this installment. The Dursley’s are as loathsome as ever. Severus Snape, the mysteriously strict and downright rude professor, is further seen in the spotlight through this novel. The golden trio (as there are often called) go about their lives as students of the wizarding world and as friends, in general. In for a very pleasant read, in the third book of the series, we see how deep their friendship has developed despite all that they have experienced together (e.g. near-death scenes in the past two years). And this same friendship will then again be put to test when a madman has breaks out of Azkaban, and rumored to be a very loyal servant to the Dark Lord. Harry was advised not to listen to anything pertaining to this madman as it should all be a load of bollocks and that there is no doubt that this man is after Harry himself. A new Defense against the Dark Arts teacher is introduced and as events would later turn out, is a werewolf. This book tells a tale of friendship that goes over the moon, what happens beyond betrayal and how deeply rooted Ron and Harry’s friendship (fine, Hermione’s too) is. Full of mischief and wittily crafted scenarios, I can only say, and I know every Potterhead will do too, “Mischief Managed.”
HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE
As the characters mature throughout, they become savvy and more aware of the very complex society and political nature of their world. Voldemort’s return to power is unfortunately realized (Finally!) and his subjects return to service as the dark mark clouds the sky. The fourth book is very much a novel about good, evil, loyalty and we are given to understand that however black-hearted, abused or bewitched, evil, too, has its loyal and sentimental members. Some of the evil ones do not come as a surprise, such as the Malfoys. But just as the bad ones, the good team also has their loyal followers. Similarly, the golden trio find themselves in need of negotiating to the increasingly complicated sociopolitical world and likewise, to establish their own parallel loyalties. Ron and Harry’s friensdship take a turn when Ron gets jealous of Harry’s fame and recognition after being able to join a game neither he nor his friend was supposed to enter and be a part of. But after the first task, they make amends and Ron understands that harry needs – deserves – his friendship. In this installment, tests of loyalty and allegiance and friendships are dire and extremely significant.
HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX
This is the longest novel in all the series, even longer than the last book! And I have to say, this one, though very depressing, is necessary for the plot to thicken and for things to get worse than it is. In response to Voldemort’s reappearance back from the dead, Dumbledore, the school’s headmaster, (and the wisest man there is because he is also Gandalf! HAHA!) re-activated the Order of the Phoenix, a secret society whose job is to defeat and stop Voldemort’s recent activities, the Ministry of Magic and many others in the magical world refuse to believe that He has returned, and are causing a smear campaign against Harry and Dumbledore. In an attempt to enforce its version of the school’s curriculum, the Ministry appoints Dolores Umbridge as the new Defense against the Dark Arts teacher, a cat-loving and very much annoying plump woman. She transforms the school into a quasi-dictatorial regime and lays down rules, her style. Harry, on the other hand, forms a group known as Dumbledore’s Army, and they secretly practice their spells with Harry as their teacher. A very depressing book, yet altogether necessary, I would say, for readers to fully comprehend just how high the game has leveled.
HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE
A personal favorite, this book is the best written book in the series. The trio goes back to Hogwarts for their sixth year of magical education. Before returning, they find out that some of their fellow students get murdered by Voldemort. Another Defense against the Dark Arts teacher is assigned to them, Professor Severus Snape (My second most favorite character in the series). A new Potions teacher is also welcomed to the school and as Harry struggles with his studies, he finds himself in possession with an old book, marked, “the possession of the Haf-Blood Prince” and this helps him in his Potions class. Harry finally recognizes his attraction to Ginny Weasley, but fears that acting on it will harm his friendship with Ron. Ron and Hermione’s love story gets tested as Ron begins dating Lavender Brown. The story, crafted beautifully, was about evil – and evil alone. Here we see that sometimes, evil’s roots do not come from hatred nor does it come from the lack of affection. Sometimes, we are just left no other choice. A story that will show who those with pure evil hearts are, and those who seem evil truly are. I especially like this installment, not only because this was the very first book I have read of the series, it showed one of the very nicest themes a story can possibly portray and it portrayed it well. Courage.
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS
The last book.
Do or die, as they say.
Everything that needs to be tied up needs to be tied up.
No loose end.
All you have to know, is that,
And the story will never be over.
What I like about the Harry Potter series, go beyond the physical and the technicalities good storytelling does. I like it because I think no other book has ever told a story so ordinary, and yet so to extraordinary at the same time. J.K. Rowling has managed to create a world not unlike the world we are living in right now, obviously, minus the wizards and the fantastic creatures. Haha! Here there are the politicians, the overprotective parents, the great students, the rude teachers, and yes, friends and adventure. My favorite book is The Little Prince by Antoine de-Saint Exupery and this was somewhat like it. If you were to look into it closely, you will know that each character depicts every kind of person there is, in our lives – good, bad, weird, and wise alike.
A true Potterhead, Harry Potter will always be a part of me. Growing up, I never did have friends. I had ‘friends’. At an early age, I learned that:
- There are those that are there only when you need them.
- Those that are there when they need you.
- And there are those that stick around you to make themselves look cool.
I was introduced to labels. As early as third grade, I was exposed to bullying, but mind you, I fought back. Ha! They deserved their black-eyes and swollen foreheads. *smirk* And when I was in fourth grade up until sixth grade, I experienced being ridiculed not only by my fellow classmates and seemingly nice friends but also by my teachers. To say it blatantly, I never did find great friends in my early years that were from my age range. Most of my friends were my mother’s and father’s coworkers. I never talked about books to my classmates that do not involve prince charmings or cute little bunnies but would instead feature true to life stories like Anne Frank’s diary and I’d talk about how amazing the Black Beauty and Little Women is. They’d shun me.
However, I wasn’t entirely an outcast. I could fit in. I excel in Math, English, quiz bees and other extra-curricular activities – but I was not “them”. Back then, I was alone.
All I had was Ronald Billius Weasley.
The guy who never cared who Harry Potter was.
The boy who welcomed Harry into his life and made him part of his family.
The boy willing to put his life at risk for someone he’s only known for a year.
Someone who went through hell to rescue his friend trapped inside his muggle home.
The very boy who said, “If you want Harry, you’re going to have to go over my dead body!” even when he himself needed help to stand up.
And yeah, if you happen to have read the books and watched the films, you’d know he might have abandoned him once or twice, but that’s just how it is.
Friends have their own fights. Things like that are bound to happen.
Nothing really is perfect. Nobody is. That’s what I like about it.
The story’s perfection, comes from its predictability and its imperfection.
The lead guy, wins. The bestfriend gets the ‘other’ bestfriend.
And the bad guy, loses.
But hey, we do not read just because the film is great, or just because the books are popular in this point in time. We read because we want to escape reality, and be someplace else.
We read because we want to explore a whole other world. Be it a fanatical one, conjured by a brilliant author, or a real place and/or event from the past.
That is why I love the series.
Not only was it instrumental in my liking for the game of chess, but it has shown me that relationships are not perfect. It has shown me that bad guys have their own story too.
I was in high school when I read the last book and I couldn’t stop crying after every death.
I saw myself in every character, good or bad. And for better or worse, the quotes that will forever be contributory to my beliefs in life are from these books. They have made me believe in the power of love and have been the reason why I no longer find myself bothered by other’s judgments.
Back then, and even now, I read Harry Potter to remind me that I have been lucky to find such great friends.
And yes, they came years later after all the ridicule and the hardships but I am happy they did come.
What’s funny is, all my high school classmates have read the book! For a time, only 3 of us were familiar with the story, but with much convincing, soon all of us were hooked. The series, was once my escape in days that I had nobody to lean on (because duh! My pen and notebook can sometimes be such dull company!). Now, it reminds me of how I found true friends. Friends that would never leave me like how Ronald never did leave Harry. The series are my testament to a great story about friendship withstanding the test of time.
Now, even after 13 years of being a fan, I am still in awe by how great the series is after every reread.
I still find myself wanting to kill Lord Voldemort, still laughing at Fred and George’s pranks. I still curse at the Order of the Phoenix whenever Dolores gets mentioned in a page! And I still “wow” at every wise counsel said. It always seems like the very first time, every single time.
And this year, marking its twentieth anniversary, I am proud to say I will always go back to Hogwarts, The Burrow, Diagon Alley, The Forbidden Forest, et al.
I know Ronald Weasley is there, waiting.