Monday, 20 June 2011

Book #29

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Harry has been burdened with a dark, dangerous and seemingly impossible task: that of locating and destroying Voldemort's remaining Horcruxes. Never has Harry felt so alone, or faced a future so full of shadows. But Harry must somehow find within himself the strength to complete the task he has been given. He must leave the warmth, safety and companionship of The Burrow and follow without fear or hesitation the inexorable path laid out for him.

I can't even begin to describe how much my opinion of this book has changed since I read it last year. Although I cannot pretend that it's my favourite of the seven, it held a lot more sway for me this time than any other time I have read it (which is only twice before this time, fact fans).

Many of the elements which I had distaste for on my previous read throughs have been redeemed in my eyes. I see the reason behind these now, the symbolism, and the meaning. For example, I didn't like Rowling's stories of Dumbledore's past, how she told of him dabbling in lowly, and ignoble acts. But, why not? Our heroes can't all be shiny, golden idols. I think Rowling is trying to make a point of the fact that Dumbledore made mistakes, he was imperfect, but what a man!

I think my opinions on the novel have probably changed due to the excessive amount of fangirling I have been doing since my reading of the novel last year, and now. I had extreme doubts about the epilogue last year, but after just finishing reading it the tears are still drying on my face. Maybe I'm growing up.

When the book came out in 2007, I was almost upon my 20th birthday (which is, incidentally, on the 31st of July, the same as Harry's, and JK's). I tried my best to be immovable, invincible, and impassive. I was of the opinion that Harry's death should have been inevitable. Rowling, however, felt the need to give Harry a loophole; a chance. And Harry deserved this, because good people deserve good things. This is what I've come to realise.

So, again, my opinion has changed. Yes, I am a massive fangirl, but these books mean so much more to me than light entertainment. This series has taught me, over a fourteen year span, the merits of friendship, bravery, honesty, and love. This will all sound horribly cheesy and unlike me, but there are only a bare minimum of you who I will expect to understand. No saga has made such an impression on me as this one. A different burst of emotion is experienced on every page. It is nothing less than wonderful, and I'd like to thank J.K. Rowling for giving me something that can be cherished as much as this can.

29 / 72 books. 40% done!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Book #28

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

'In a brief statement on Friday night, Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge confirmed that He Who Must Not Be Named has returned to this country and is once more active. "It is with great regret that I must confirm that the wizard styling himself Lord - well, you know who I mean - is alive and among us again," said Fudge.'

I often wonder whether this installment is my favourite, rather than Goblet of Fire. I have never made up my mind. They are both two very different novels, but I think this one has climbed to the #1 spot this time.

It's just wonderful; anguish, heartache, adventure, mystery, love, family, BETRAYAL. I could go on and on.

The best thing about this novel is the insight we are given into Voldemort's past life. It is incredible to learn about him as a young boy, and how he became the most powerful Dark wizard of all. I loved learning of what made him tick, what sort of things he was attached to, how he used people, and how he used his power. And we saw all of this through the Pensieve. I have such a high opinion of this plot device; I could talk about its merits forever. I have never come across something so effective in conveying past events - it allows us to witness events first hand rather than through the jumbled words of someone else, and it allows us to witness them more than once if need be. I love it.

Of course the heartbreak comes in the final few chapters when we lose Professor Albus Dumbledore, the heart and soul of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It is an unbelievably emotional moment; a great loss. I believe the lament of the phoenix spoke for everyone at this point.

The novel ends and opens a wonderful, tantalising path for the final novel to go down, and although it doesn't end with a cliffhanger as such, it makes you desperate to read more, to make sure everyone will be okay, but with a dreadful feeling in your stomach because you know what's coming.

Time for Book 7.