Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Re-reading and Re-watching: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Resuming my quest to re-read and re-watch each of the Harry Potter books and movies, years later as a full-grown adult, I have come to the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Now my copy of the fifth book is the Bloombury edition, which was printed and sold in the U.K.  At the time of the book’s release, I was in London as part of the Radio/TV/Film overseas summer course in British Broadcasting co-hosted by my school, the University of North Texas, and the University of London.  My classmates and I stayed with host families for two months in the Muswell Hill area.   I had spied the local bookstore, Muswell Hill Bookshop, and on the night of the fifth book’s release went to stand in line to buy a copy.

Went I got to the bookshop I couldn’t help but grin in amazement.  I stood behind a long line of young local kids standing with their parents, chatting excitedly in British accents and dressed in long black robes and pointed witch hats.  I SWEAR to God, it was like being dropped off at the 9¾ platform in person.  It was like stepping into the books themselves, and I’ll never forget that treasured memory.

The book itself, on the other hand, is my least favorite book, so far.  I say so far, because maybe in re-reading the last two, I may turn out not to like them as much as I previously thought but I highly, highly doubt it.  It starts sad and slow, remains at a somewhat sluggish pace and then ends in an incredibly sad manner but I’ll get to that more below.

Spoilers to follow.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Re-reading and Re-watching: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Continuing on to the fourth book in the series, I have been re-reading and re-watching the Harry Potter series, after more than a decade, from a different perspective.  I’m much older and one would hope, wiser.  I also wanted to re-read the series for more details of the much overshadowed Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff houses.

I first came across the Harry Potter series right as the Book Four was coming out.  My younger cousin had the first two books with him, the weekend my dad and stepmom got married.  I finished both in no time, found the third book and was all set when the fourth book came out later that year.  Interestingly, the beginning of Book Four does a good job of describing the past plot-lines in the first few chapters, making it seem as though it was designed to bring in new readers right away, setting them up to understand the story, and letting them read the first three books at another time, if they chose to do so.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire gets right into the trio’s growing pains and we experience Ron, Harry and Hermione going through the ugly emotions of jealousy, fear, isolation, awkwardness, and unrequited love.  This book also established the pattern of a heart-breaking death for each of the remaining books in the series.  Book Four launches head-long into puberty and emerges on the other side more mature due to darker themes.

As always, spoilers ahead.