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Harry Potter (the series) - A review

Well hello!

It's been a bloody minute hasn't it?

I would apologise for the lack of posting but I have a feeling those who read my blog weren't too frazzled.

Anyway, I'm back! To fill you in I've been pretty busy. I just finished another semester at uni - this time with three subjects (FYI this is a full-time load apparently? yikes!) and my first crack at Chemistry so it's safe to say I'm exhausted. I'm about to start back for trimester three next week, with another three subjects, including Chemistry and Statistics. So just to be safe, I hope you all have a lovely Christmas!

In other news, I started a new job in the APS (ie. the big leagues) and I've been settling in and finding a new rhythm. This includes being back on the tram to and from work after a six-month COVID stint of driving.

Whilst commuting I've been reading. A lot. Like a book a week.

I've read the following in the past three months:

  1. 'The shape of three' - Lilith Norman

  2. 'The Chrysalids' - John Wyndham

  3. 'Truly, madly, guiltily' - Liane Moriarty

  4. 'Home fires' - Fiona Lowe

Oh, and the entire seven book Harry Potter series.

Because why the hell not!

So I thought it might be time for another book review and seeing as I just smashed out the series I may as well write a review for the whole thing.

So, here we go! Here is my comprehensive review of the Harry Potter series.

Book 1 - The Philosopher's Stone

Ah, the classic. When I first opened this baby back up for the first time since I was little I immediately got blasted by nostalgia. The memories did not end there. This book is a lovely little masterpiece. Granted, if you've never read the series you may have to get past the writing level as it is intended for Children but as the books progress the style of writing matures as if it was written by Harry himself as he ages (which is super nifty).

This book begins Harry's tale of adventure and daring as he learns about the wizarding world, the good and the bad and Voldemort (the baddie he faces at every turn). In this book we are also introduced to his two closest friends, Ron and Hermione and to Dumbledore, Snape and McGonagall. All characters who shape the action and hidden depth of the story as it progresses.

I found myself fawning over the little tidbits of info from the books that aren't transferred to the film and those little snippets are what makes this book so beautiful. I would be a bit silly to reveal any spoilers just in case there is someone who hasn't (what are you?!) read or seen the films but I think the books, as should be expected, make you love each of the characters a bit more as you're given more information about them than you are in the films. And more is always better.

Logline: small GREEN-EYED wizard learns a hell of a lot in very little time and steps into battle with his two closest rule-breaking friends against a lifelong foe for the very first time.

Rating: 8/10 - the perfect introductory book that just sucks you right up into the Harry Potter world.

Book 2 - The Chamber of Secrets

This book is to be completely real with you, my least favourite. Everyone has a least favourite and this just happens to be mine. It just doesn't give me the vibes I'm after.

Overall, it serves to add depth to some already well-loved characters. It further emphasises the importance of Harry's friendship with Ron and Hermione and their abilities to work together to solve problems. It also gives us the first real hint that Dumbledore may not be as open and honest as we thought he was in the first book. His interest in the diary and refusal to answer some of Harry's questions towards the end of the book are perfect examples of what is later revealed to be Dumbledore's "omnipotence" to the story of Harry and his future with Voldemort.

The book, as always, gives more to the story than the films and for those who like me were bugged by the film revealing that "the crowing of a rooster will kill it" on the parchment without acknowledging it will be pleased to know the book explains this - as well as many other important details.

Logline: The trio of friends can't catch a break and spend another year solving a mystery and being the only ones aware of the bad juju while everyone else panics, the twelve year old's save the day!

Rating: 4/10 - overall not much reallllly happens, kind of a repeat of book one with the solving a new mystery/battling Voldemort - felt like a filler book (don't hurt me if this is your fave!)

Book 3 - The Prisoner of Azkaban

SIRIUS! LUPIN! The introductions of important characters is endless and so very very awesome. Some of my faves get the limelight in this book. It also happens to be one of my favourite films as the actors/actresses just POP so much more in this film compared to the previous two.

But I digress, this review is about the book - and what a book it is.

Important things are revealed in the life of Harry, we learn more about the magical world, Harry learns more about his past and the death of his parents. We discover who exactly made the Marauder's Map! We learn about Animagus' and werewolves. We learn about time-turner's, Hogsmeade, the history of the Shrieking Shack! Buckbeak! Hagrid becomes a teacher. Harry continues to fight with Draco and Hermione is a badass. SCABBERS!

The learning and revelations in this book are continuous, each chapter seems to reveal something new and we learn that some mysteries aren't so literal and built towards a tangible goal as they have been for the past two books. They can be discovered and resolved in a few hours ;)

Logline: Fake news is taking over the wizarding world, Azkaban ain't as secure as everyone thought, Hermione is a massive nerd - shocks! Twists and turns and a satisfactory ending, what more can you want?

Rating: 9/10 - this book is just *mwah*, its finger-linking good and just so well structured its to die for. So much knowledge, so many reveals, perfection!

Book 4 - The Goblet of Fire

Lord does this book take you somewhere else. This is a big one. This book is what I like to call a turning-point. The story is no longer just about Harry. He's still the protagonist and we still love him and all that jazz but for the majority of the book he's in the dark. The reader is given unique superior knowledge about the story, Voldemort's history and a number of other character's lives and how everything intertwines.

If you've seen the movie but haven't read the book then I recommend you read this one at the very least. I am still frustrated they didn't split the film for this book into two as so much detail was missed or changed completely.

Winky, S.P.E.W, Barty Crouch Snr and Jnr, Rita Skeeter and Dobby all missed out on the spotlight in the film. They were all intriguing and valuable plot points and help the story as a whole flow better. Things just make more sense when you read this book. It truly is fantastic.

One comment - moody teenage Harry is a little annoying + moody teenage Ron + moody teenage everyone.

Logline: The tournament to end all tournaments - big plot twists, another battle, the first heart-breaking death and the first proper dive into the effect Voldemort has on the entire wizarding world, not just Harry.

Rating: 8/10 - lovely book! Really starts to tie the series together, 10x better than the film, you will feel all the emotions.

Book 5 - The Order of the Phoenix

I didn't realise how hard it would be to review these books without giving spoilers... I also love this book - more depth about Harry and Voldy's relationship + all the teenage Harry emotions (this gets a little annoying as Harry gets seriously moody for a chunk of it - not to mention the Ron/Hermione drama.)

UMBRIDGE - that's it. You'll hate her more than Voldemort.

It feels overall like a more advanced filler book? Like number 2 but better. Basically this book serves to add depth, showcase the building resistance - inside and outside the school - and allow Harry to grow up a bit.

Another battle at the end - but SO much better in the book than the film. The Department of Mysteries makes so much more sense in the book than the film, do yourselves a favour and read it OK. Also, some Snape action - more depth into Harry's dreams/visions and why he having them and a really good look at the Pensive! All the memories :)

The death of a big character. Very sad.

Logline: Harry has to do actual schoolwork - O.W.L's stress - Umbridge is a cow (literally... crazy lady), teenagers prove yet again they should know what's going on because they keep doing more than the adults, Dumbledore is mean to Harry - the prophecy????? tea is spilled on all fronts.

Rating: 6/10 - good book, you'll get so frustrated reading it you'll have to pause and take deep breaths - mainly the fault of Umbridge, but also Dumbledore and at times everyone else. Most commonly I found myself screaming "JUST COMMUNICATE" in my head to no avail.

Book 6 - The Half-Blood Prince

My faveeeeee! This is easily my favourite in the series for a few reasons:

1) This is the hype book - its the blend of Harry's schooling with the looming big battle;

2) Dumbledore and Harry adventures?! Yes please;

3) Horcruxes!;

4) All the memories - Voldemort's history, Dumbledore's memories, its all in here! Like a book of flashbacks that build up the story;

5) The end... literally the entire latter half of the book is one big cry/tense moment as you realise - they ain't coming back next year, this shit show is bigger than all of them and its time to buckle the frick down and get prepped for the war

6) Snape. I love Snape.

Also I think the friendship between Harry, Ron and Hermione peaks in this book (it goes a bit to shit next book but then regains at the end) but this book is just optimal friendship. They have each other's backs, they care, they want to help, I just love it.

Logline: Harry helps Dumbledore for the entire thing only to get shafted and left in the dark for most of it - lots of hints in this book, basically all the clues that get put together in the final book. Harry and Ginny love too. Cute but sad but also cute.

Rating: 10/10 - this is my favourite so I'm biased but I think it should be everyone's favourite. It's the calm before the storm - no big battle scene just emotional battles. Way deeper shiz going on.

Book 7 - The Deathly Hallows

Ah, the finale.

This book was clever, witty, wildly different and fun. While the rest of the series focus' around Harry's time at Hogwarts and can be traced chronologically this book steps out onto a new path. The goal is horcruxes and the trio has to find and destroy them before the battle that is looming can even occur. Only the three know and so they are left to scramble and struggle on their own at the most dangerous time for the wizarding world.

I love how smoothly everything is wrapped up in this book. Every question that has been asked across the series is answered. Every missing piece to the story, the history and the motivations of each of the characters is succinctly answered without being too much of a "here's all the answers, I'm done" moment. The best way I can describe it is each something is resolved there's no "right, random but ok" moment - instead it all makes sense and flows perfectly.

The big battle happens, the one we've been patiently waiting for and then all too suddenly the book is over.

Logline: A thousand little "aha!" moments that are oh so sweet. The ending will leave you feeling just that little bit hollow but also pleased, one of the best conclusions to a series in history.

Rating: 10/10 - the perfect finish to a brilliant series.

Overall, the Harry Potter series is one of my absolute favorites. I found myself noticing small clues that I hadn't picked up the first time I read the series when I was younger and it was like re-imagining a world I had already formed in my mind.

The only negative I would have about this series is that when you finish you genuinely miss the characters and the story and its kind of sad letting them go... but as my housemate Cami and I agreed, we can always just re-read them next year!

Till next time,

Rhi xx

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