hogwarts

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Author:J. K. Rowling (Bio) | Publication: August 1, 2000 by: Scholastic Press | Series: Harry Potter Series #4 | Length: 752 pages | Genre: Young Adult/Teen, Fiction, Magic, | ISBN:9780439139595 |Source: Amazon | Book: Amazon (here)

Harry Potter is midway through his training as a wizard and his coming of age. Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup. He wants to find out about the mysterious event that’s supposed to take place at Hogwarts this year, an event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn’t happened for a hundred years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. But unfortunately for Harry Potter, he’s not normal – even by wizarding standards. And in his case, different can be deadly.

For most school age children the summer holidays mean freedom and ample amounts of relaxation. For Harry Potter it is a means another miserable summer with the Dursleys, who for all intensive purposes treat Harry as if he is a plague on their family for even existing. After getting their permission to go to the Qudditch World Cup and witnessing first hand the first sighting of the Dark Lord’s mark for the first time in 14 years Harry knows that his school year will be anything but normal. Upon returning to school the Tri-Wizard Tournament is announced and Harry is mysteriously chosen to compete with representatives from other sounds in spite of the rules put in place to forbid this. Somehow Harry barely scapes through the first two tasks and makes it to the third with very little effort put in on his part. Even the third task appears to be a breeze until he tries to share the fame of winning with Cedric Diggory. He and Cedric are taken to the grave of Voldemort’s father where Cedric is murdered and Harry watches Voldemort come back from his shell of an existence since his defeat at Harry’ hands. Harry is forced to duel with Lord Voldemort and is able to escape with Cedric’s body thanks to his and Voldemort’s wands being derived from Fawkes’s tail feather. After arriving back at school Mad Eye Moody escorts Harry back to his office to find out exactly what happened in the graveyard. It is here that Moody admits to fixing the entire tournament so that Harry would win to meet the Dark Lord. Dumbledore bursts in and with a bit of veritaserum the Moody in front of them is revealed to be Barty Crouch Jr. who was indeed a faithful servant of Voldemort. After Harry is forced to rest and heads back home to the Dursleys knowing that nothing will be the same.

I appreciated this book in the series for multiple different reasons, but I’ll start with the fact that is shows how much Harry really relies on his friends. Harry is really just a plain jane wizard if you away the Voldemort attack. His is without a doubt an extremely exceptional Qudditch player and can outrun hell on a broom, but that’s it. Moody basically held his hand completely through the first task that he was completely unprepared for. Only Hermione helping him practice got him through that. Again the second task goes to Moody and the third task I suppose Moody and Hermione must share the cake. This fact of Harry’s lack of care for his education and preparedness is more evident in this book than any of it’s predecessors. The second thing this book did that I really enjoyed was that it called attention to the fact of how crappy being Harry’s best friend had to be for Ron. I imagine it’s like living in the shadow of a celebrity or in Ron’s case a famous brother. I did not once fault Ron for being upset with Harry and was surprised that it took this long for J.K. to address that elephant in the room. The last thing I want to call attention to is the resurrection of the Dark Lord. J.K., well done milady. It was classy and such a well thought out ritual. I was floured that after all this time I had forgotten how much thought and effort had to go into the entire graveyard scene and setup to make it work the way it did. My only complaint was the length. I think this was dragged out a tiny bit.

As with the previous three reviews this was my first time listening to the Stephen Fry version of this book. In my opinion I feel as if he reads the story exactly as J.K. hears it in her head. Although this may seem trivial to some understanding how the book sounds from the author’s point of view is pretty cool.

Harry again finds himself in over his head and worst than he’s ever seen before. If you thought the first three books in the series were good, just want until you dig into this one.

A link to the author’s bio is listed above as well a link to purchase the book. The fourth was riveting and of course exciting. Moving on to the next in the battle between good and evil and what that means for Harry.

I rated this book a 5/5.

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Author:J. K. Rowling (Bio) | Publication:July 8 1999 by Scholastic Inc | Series: Harry Potter Series #3 | Length: 435 pages | Genre: Young Adult/Teen, Fiction, Magic, | ISBN:9780439655484 |Source: Barnes and Noble | Book: Amazon (here)

Harry Potter’s third year at Hogwarts is full of new dangers. A convicted murderer, Sirius Black, has broken out of Azkaban prison, and it seems he’s after Harry. Now Hogwarts is being patrolled by the dementors, the Azkaban guards who are hunting Sirius. But Harry can’t imagine that Sirius or, for that matter, the evil Lord Voldemort could be more frightening than the dementors themselves, who have the terrible power to fill anyone they come across with aching loneliness and despair. Meanwhile, life continues as usual at Hogwarts. A top-of-the-line broom takes Harry’s success at Quidditch, the sport of the Wizarding world, to new heights. A cute fourth-year student catches his eye. And he becomes close with the new Defense of the Dark Arts teacher, who was a childhood friend of his father. Yet despite the relative safety of life at Hogwarts and the best efforts of the dementors, the threat of Sirius Black grows ever closer. But if Harry has learned anything from his education in wizardry, it is that things are often not what they seem. Tragic revelations, heartwarming surprises, and high-stakes magical adventures await the boy wizard in this funny and poignant third installment of the beloved series.

Harry is once again barely managing to get by when home for the summer holidays with the Dursleys. After a nasty run in with Vernon’s sister Marge and a rash choice to run away from home, Harry finds himself in front of the Minister for Magic who is just happy to see Harry safe and in one piece. On his own for the rest of the holidays and confined to Diagon Alley, Harry is for once blissfully happy until finding out that a dangerous convict by the name of Sirius Black is after him for defeating Lord Voldemort 12 years prior. Harry finds out that Black is his godfather and was his parents best friend before handing them over to Lord Voldemort. Harry operates under the intention to make Black pay until he learns the truth for himself. Ron’s rat is really Peter Pettigrew the Potter’s secret keeper who betrayed them to the Dark Lord. While Harry did manage to prevent Sirius from being executed by the Dementors of Azkaban, Pettigrew was allowed to escape.

This is without a doubt my favorite book in the Harry Potter series. First and foremost it’s the only book in the series that does not complete revolve around a plot to kill Harry. It also gives the first glimpse into the deep rooted lack of trust between even friends that the presence of Voldemort had cultivated. This book definitely has a darker tone at times than it’s predecessors due to it revolving completely around the betrayal of Harry’s parents and the cause of his miserable life with the Dursleys. Personally I love Sirius! His mysterious introduction is perfect and although he’s not your conventional parenting figure, he is still presented to deeply care about Harry. I am also a huge Lupin fan! He’s gentle, yet prepared to protect Harry while avenging his best friend. I was rather displeased that J.K. chose to have his condition revealed forcing him to resign from his post. I completely understand the necessity of the choice, but Lupin is one of the best characters introduced thus far.

As with the previous two reviews this was my first time listening to the Stephen Fry version of this book and he makes the story not only engaging, but too thrilling to even put down. I listened to this particular book twice because I love every moment of it especially when Sirius finally is on the scene.

Harry’s back, back again, tell a friend…okay terrible joke, but he really is back in another adventure that as with any Harry Potter book leaves more questions than answers. As if you need anyone more reason to go out and pick up the third book in this enticing series.

As I’ve mentioned a few times and feel no remorse in doing so again, this is definitely my favorite Harry Potter book in the series.  There is a link to the author’s bio account at the top of the page. Thank you J.K for the third book in the series. On to the fourth.

I rated this book a 5/5.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Author:J. K. Rowling (Bio) | Publication:July 2 1998 byA. Levine Books | Series: Harry Potter Series #2 | Length: 341 pages | Genre: Young Adult/Teen, Fiction, Magic, | ISBN:9780439064866 |Source: Barnes and Noble | Book: Amazon (here)

The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he’s packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.

The scene opens to Harry getting yelled at as usual by his Uncle Vernon. This time over the awful racket Hedwig is making due to being locked up since Harry returned from Hogwarts. After excusing himself from breakfast he goes outside to dwell on the fact that he has not heard from any of his Hogwarts friends since the end of last term. As the Durley’s prepare to host a new client for Uncle Vernon’s company Harry finds himself being remanded to his room and told to act as if he doesn’t exist. During the visit a house elf shows up and gives Harry a cryptic warning not to return to Hogwarts. After ruining the deal for Harry’s uncle and with the arrival of an official warning from the Ministry of Magic, Harry is placed on a prison like sentence until he is rescued by the Wesley’s. Harry spends the rest of his summer holiday with them completely carefree until they leave for Diagon Alley. Harry gets lost and overhears Mr. Malfoy selling some items that he does not want discovered in a Ministry raid. After a harrowing ride where the Wesley’s flying car is destroyed and Harry barely escapes getting expelled he starts to hear voices around the school as students are attacked. Harry and Ron have to solve the mystery of the attacks on their own after Hermione is also attacked. Harry comes faces to face with Voldemort’s memory preserved in a diary that was draining the life out of Ginny Wesley. Harry defeats the Basilisk and destroy the diary of Voldemort ending the attacks and keeping Hogwarts open.

Even though this is a re-read of the series I find myself with a childlike emotion listening to the book from start to finish. While I know that Harry is going to win out, I still find my heart racing at certain parts of the story. This book really increased my appreciation for the emotion that Hagrid adds to the overall tale. His reaction to being sent to Azkaban was one the most heart wrenching sections of the book. Even more so finding out the lengths that Voldemort will go through to get what he wants just increased my dislike for a character who is intentionally written not to be liked. Hagrid on the other hand has a very lovable nature and reminds me of a close friend of mine who is quite famous being bringing stray animals in off the street. He expresses a pure love for those around him and for the creatures he takes care of. This is evident in the way that he still takes care of Aragog even after all the trouble owning the creature caused him. It was my favorite thing about this book. The story itself outside of that I felt was dull in many areas and drawn out when it didn’t need to be. I also was not fully committed to the plot.

This was my first time listening to this on audiobook and Stephen Fry made this a reading exciting read. While the Chamber of Secrets is my least favorite Harry Potter book it still provides the amazing story that I have come to expect from the series.

If you could not get enough of the wizarding world then book two in the series is for you. Harry and the gang returns with even more to investigate and discover than the first book. And Harry once again is fighting to save his life.

Although this is not one of my favorite books in the series it’s still wonderful to read this book again. There is a link to the author’s bio account at the top of the page. Thank you J.K for the second book in the series. On to the third.

I rated this book a 4/5.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Author:J. K. Rowling (Bio) | Expected Publication:June 30 1997 by Bloomsbury Publishing | Series: Harry Potter Series #1 | Length: 223 pages | Genre: Young Adult/Teen, Fiction, Magic, | ISBN:9780747532743 |Source: Barnes and Noble | Book: Amazon (here)

Turning the envelope over, his hand trembling, Harry saw a purple wax seal bearing a coat of arms; a lion, an eagle, a badger and a snake surrounding a large letter “H”.
Harry Potter has never heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry’s eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The book opens to the most boring, perfectly normal family in all of Great Britain. Quickly their world is turned upside down when Petunia Dursley’s baby nephew shows up on their doorstep after the murder of his parents in what Harry is lead to believe a car crash. After multiple attempts to deliver letters to Harry which are destroyed by Uncle Vernon, Hagrid personally comes to inform Harry about his acceptance into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He tells Harry that he is really a wizard and takes him off to Diagon Alley where Harry is introduced to the wizarding world. Over dinner Hargid tells Harry about Lord Voldemort, what really happened to his parents, and the origin of his scar. The rest of the holiday passes and Harry boards the Hogwarts Express and eventually makes his way to Hogwarts where he is sorted into Gryffindor House and embarks on the first year of his Hogwarts journey. Through all his classes and making the quidditch team, Harry finds himself working to uncover the plot behind a mysterious stone that someone seems to be after. With the help of his friends Harry uncovers the plan to steal the stone and confronts one the teachers who is trying to steal it in order to bring Lord Voldemort back to life. Harry barely defeats the Dark Lord again and keeps the stone from falling into his hands. At the end of term because of their bravery Gryffindor is awarded extra points to win the house cup. Harry heads off with his uncle back to the plain house on Privet Drive.

I love Harry Potter! Now that it’s out of the bag I can get on with this review. This is probably my 9th or 10th time reading the book and each time reminds me of my first. Barely 6 years old I remember trying to read this completely struggling and it taking me forever to get through it. Each page more captivating than the last allowing you to put yourself right along Harry each step of the way. What I find most enthralling about this book is the the level of depth each character possess, even the ones with less impact on the story. The detail and development of the plot and wizarding world is easy to absorb and swallow while reading this story.

This was my second time listening to this on audiobook and I really enjoy the Stephen Fry version better in my opinion. Such a wonderful and captivating story and the series only goes up from here.

If you are a fan of traveling to other worlds, adventure, magic, and wonderfully described feasts this is your book.

This book is literally one of the best selling books of all time. There is a link to the author’s bio account at the top of the page. I humbly thank J.K. for gifting me with the world of Harry Potter and hope that everyone takes the time to read this at least once.

I rated this book a 5/5.