Decemeber 2011 a beautiful friend of mine gave me all the Harry Potter films 1-8 as the box set. There was nothing fancy about this gift…it wasn’t the deluxe edition with special features on every disc. It was simply all the films on dvds – some extras included on film 7 and 8. That’s it.
To me the perfect gift for my 23rd birthday.
I told her as she handed me the gift that I was going to go back to the beginning of Harry Potter and not just watch all the films but read all the books too.
I never have liked the idea of reading books the second time round because I when I read things again I get irrirated at having knowing what it already says.
But as it had been more than 10 years since I started reading them the first time – I thought – might as well give it a go… maybe it will feel like I had only just started to read them.
Today at 1pm I had finished film 8. Finished reading and watching Harry Potter for the second time.
I can tell you now altough I knew the story it did in some ways feel as though I had only just read and watched Harry Potter. It felt like it was all new to me. I was making discoveries as though I was a kid again.
I could go on and tell you more about where my “journey” began with Harry but I wanted to focus more on small reviews of each book and each film.
This maybe quite long so I’m warning you now if you haven’t got all day… then you might want to think about bowing out. Also this is solely my opinion and I’m not asking anyone to agree – there are millions and billions and trillions of Harry Potter fans, it’s not possible to make all of those fellow fans happy. Important to note – if you haven’t read the books or watched the films then I cannot possibly guarantee that parts of the story won’t be “leaked” through these reviews.
So here goes
“Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone” The Book -
This book is probably one of my favourite books of all time not just because it is the start of the series that follows but because of what reading it means to me. I was given this book by uncle. We were on the way to visit his parents. He gave me the book and I said “What’s this for?” his reply was “It’s a present” I looked at him oddly and responded with “But it’s not my birthday, it’s not christmas, you can’t just give it to me” he simply stated “It’s a car present for the journey” I was still confused and gave him a very similar look as before. He was the one who started reading it to me. I believe to have been about 9 years old which meant that it was the year 1998 about one year after it had been published. It was in a time where most people hadn’t yet heard of it. Mum was the one who finished reading it to me. Two years after it was our class book. I told my teacher that I had already read it. He was so proud that he gave me an award for finishing the first Harry Potter book. That’s right I have an award for reading Harry Potter simply because I had done so before anyone else in my class. Through this second reading I was surprised by how much I had forgotten. How much detail there was. It was a wonderful experience to be taken to a world full of magic, wizards, witches – good and bad, to friendship made strong and to Harry defeating Voldermort. Although I knew the ending I was still on the edge of my seat as he faced Professor Quirrell and as he clasped the Philospher’s Stone.
J.K.Rowling had created the books with so much detail it’s incredible, mind-boggling and almost over-whelming. I know a lot of people including myself when they went to see the movie were disappointed. Still to this day it bothers me that Hermione’s scene where she solves the potions obstacle as described and set out in the books misses out in being in the film. I feel like it is one of the most important part of the story. “How dare they miss that part out!” it something that I have may have exclaimed once upon a time. It also botherered me that instead of that scene Harry got a scene with himself and Hedwig… However I can now understand (sort of) why they included that in… Watching it the second time actually felt pretty special. It set the scene for what was to come. It captured the story. It showed people who Harry, Ron and Hermione were, etc. It introduced the audience to Harry Potter.
“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” The Book –
I remember as a child thinking that this book was really scary. I’m pretty sure I even had nightmares about it. I also remember my Mum buying this as an “impulse” buy from a small bookstore that no longer exisits. This reminds me that times have really changed since then. Not only do I no longer have nightmares about this book but there aren’t many bookstores anymore. So many of my favourite things have gone with my childhood. The story really is just a little bit creepy. We dwelve into how Ginny Weasley gets possessed. We learn about Tom Riddle and who he is. We gain an appreciation for the true character of Harry. Once again we are reminded that although he is a wizard and a part of a magical world. There are other characteristics of him that come from who is that make him more powerful than the dark wizard he faces. I really like this story because more twists and secrets get revealed. We start to question the story… is it as simple as facing good vs evil?
The Film –
I believe that the movie does a good job of showing and telling us the story. I remember that I went to see this for my forteenth birthday with a whole bunch of friends. We were all so excited. I was scared too just like with the book. The second time round I was not as scared. I sort of knew what to expect. In this film I really liked the special effects. How we got introduced to house-elves with Dobby, the flying car, how they did the voice of the Basilisk through the wall, how they made Mrs Norris, Nearly Headless Nick, Collin Creevy and Hermione peterfied. I loved Rupert Grint’s acting when he was showing Ron’s (and his) fear of spiders. The scenes where they take us through the diary, etc. It’s all very clever. As a film alone on itself I think they’ve done a great job.
“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” – The Book
This is one of favourite books in the series. In this book Harry becomes more connected with his parents. It is to me a turning point in the story. He learns more about his strengths, weaknesses and ultimately who he is. I believe that this creates an intregral aspect to how and why he fights Voldermort. In meeting Remus Lupin on the Hogwarts Express he finds not only a great Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor but a friend of his father’s and in turn a friend of his. In teaching Harry privately Harry soon learns not just how to conjur a patronus but also more to do with James and Lily Potter – his parents. I love when Harry discovers that Sirius Black is his Godfather. It tells Harry and the readers not to judge what’s on the surface. Because someone is on a wanted poster for comitting murder we cannot asume that what we see is ultimately what we get. Harry starts to feel protected, loved and safe. He never receives this from the Dursleys.
The Film –
I remember the first time I saw the film version of a dementor I was really spooked out… my imagimation in reading it hadn’t quite taken me that far for reasons I’m unsure of now. The scene with the Boggart in Lupin’s class was great – so funny when Snape came out of the closet dressed as Neville’s Grandmother. My favourite but most heart-wrenching scene was when Hermione and Harry go back in time and save Buckbeak the Hippogriff and Sirius. The way the film depicts Harry casting his patronus is breathtaking, a truly moving moment.
Harry and the Goblet of Fire – The Book
I have to be honest in saying that this is my least favourite in the series. I remember the day I got it. My Mum’s friend decided to buy it for me. We were at her house and I remember the wait that I had along with many fans for the realise of the book. A lot of my reads had already either read it or were reading it. After being at Mum’s friend’s house for a while. She surprised me with the book. I took it in my hands and stood there completely gobsmacked, shocked. My jaw dropped as though I had just been given a huge sum of money. Receiving and being able to read the fourth Harry Potter book felt like that. I was so happy. From memory after my mouth eventually closed I was jumping up and down and practically screaming thank-you. I think that reading the first time I enjoyed it – how can I not after waiting that long. The second time round however… I don’t know what it was but I just didn’t really enjoy it as much as the others. While reading it I decided to take a bit of a break… read something else. After the break I got stuck back into to it. But I felt as though the tri-wizard tournament was almost like torturing you while waiting for Voldermort to rise again… It was a push to get through. A necessary story to tell. Just not as enjoyed as the others.
The Film –
The film was actually more enjoyable than the book… oh man I might get slaughted for this by those who read and choose to comment. But I’m sorry I thought that it brought the story alive – just a little bit. There are so many moments that I liked. The first though would be the Quidditch World Cup. The tent, the stand, the players, when the game started… it was Quidditch like never before. After the match the scramble to get out of the campsite was also exciting, the threat and doom and gloom of the death eaters was gripping and hard not to watch. The scenes leading up to who was chosen for the Triwizard Tournament including of course when Fred and George Weasley’s ageing potion got rebounded was hilarious. I loved the scene where Harry had to fight the dragon, that really was incredible to watch. But of course I cannot forget the moment where Hermione is revealed when wearing “that dress” as she presents herself for the Yule Ball. Just amazing. If I didn’t have three more books and four more films to get through I would totally write more, but I think you got my point.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
I love this book. I know that a lot of people don’t. I think that the first time I read it I didn’t really much. But the second time changed my perspective. I think that this book is quite possibly the most integral part of the Harry Potter story. Without this book people in Harry Potter land would not have understood that Voldermort was back. The formation of Dumbledore’s Army that becomes quite important in the end may not have happened. Presenting Umbridge as a professor at this time is great timing for the series. Well done to J.K.Rowling for this. I believe that this story was perfectly timed and utterly necessary. Without it we wouldn’t have had a lot of things occur that was important in “Harry Potter”.
The Film -
The film although a little ordinary if compared against the others is still in itself a good film. My favourite scenes would have to be in the Room of Requirement. The lessons that Harry gives to Dumbledore’s Army. The way in which the room reveals itself and gives the members of the DA the necessary tools to practice Defence Against the Dark Arts. Once again those patronuses were excellent – I loved how all the character’s own patronus was presented. I also loved Umbridge not the woman herself but the acting of Imelda Staunton – she played her wicked sweetness so well. That kind of sweet and nice persona that’s actually evil. When she was vanished from the Forbidden Forrest – even better. The realisation that Voldermort was at large again towards the end of the movie was like a “FINALLY!” moment.
Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince – The Book
I found this book to be somewhat tedius. Finding out about Tom Riddle, his life, the Horcruxes, seeping into other character’s memories, people attempting to kill Dumbledore, Harry being captain of the Quidittch team, parents believing that Hogwarts was no longer safe, Draco plotting Dumbledore’s death, etc was both thrilling but almost frustrating. There was a thick tension in the air through-out this story and I believe that Harry was feeling the same. He was awaiting lessons from Dumbledore while at the same time getting sucked into the Half Blood Prince and his potions book. As well as all this “love was in the air” as romantic relationships were forming and causing friction… It was exciting to read but also at some points challenging because of the strength in the writing as sometimes the readers felt what Harry and the others started to feel the impedig arrival and attack of Voldermort himself.
The Film –
In contary to the book being a part of someone else’s memory as shown in this and previous films before was actually quite enjoyable and some of my favourite scenes in the film. This was due to the feeling of being inside a new world. Being in a place that felt both strange but fascinating. It was as though we were actually in that place in real life. The film special or visual effects whatever they are called have done a good job once again. The scenes that were hard to watch but also well done were when Harry cast that horrible spell on Malfoy that made him continulously bleed and when Dumbledore drank the potion was screaming out to be saved. It is hard for the audience to see that Harry has played a part in both of these actions. The first due to being obsessed with the Half Blood Prince… the second something he has done through orders of Dumbledore and to obtain the Horcrux.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – The Book
I commenced my final year of school and there everyone was in there hands a copy of this book. I walked into our year level common room on most days and people were reading the last Harry Potter. The thing that I felt most enjoyable about reading this the first time was doing so in my last year of school. Although I knew Harry wasn’t going back to school it didn’t matter it felt as though at that point in time Harry, myself and the rest of the class of 2007 were in our last years of school – last year of the books. I felt this to be pretty cool. However as this was the case I think a lot of the book was missed and not enjoyed…
There is so much detail through-out this book that I simply don’t know where to begin. Great finish to the series. Sad finish to the series. I love that so many unanswered burning questions finally get answered in this book. A lot of detail that gets revealed. The sad moments are through death. The horrific moments are through torture. There is a magical world fairy-tale intertwined in the story as well as many other subplots. If I were to continue writing about the different parts of the book then I would need another post. All in all a great read – much more enjoyed the second time.
The Film- Part 1:
It starts with farewells and a beautiful wedding – interupted by death eaters as Harry, Ron and Hermione set of on the almost impossible task. To find Horcruxes. The first few scenes or really the whole movie you are on the edge of your seat… Thinking, what is going to happen?? As there is so much over-whelming detail in the book adapting it to film is pretty much a impossible task. Like the book and this isn’t to be lazy I don’t know where to begin… I love the “Seven Harry’s”… was disappointed they went to the burrows instead of going to the safe houses… loved the bit where they went to the ministry of magic in particular when they snatch the Horcrux off Umbridge’s neck…moving right on I loved Xenophillus Lovegood’s house – that was quirky and cool. Even though in terms of not liking that Hermione was getting tortured I thought that the scene at Malfoy’s Manor was well presented… and Dobby – oh that was sad!! makes me cry… of course the final bit where Voldermort has the Elder Wand although on the verge of cheesy I thought it was a good place to finish.
The war to end all wars. I have to say that although I know and alot of people who are avid fans of the books and say he didn’t get his shining moment – I think that considering everything I’ve said about detail, etc… Neville Longbottom and his moments in this movie were great and quite possibly my favourite. I also love, love when McGonagall says “I’ve always wanted to do that spell” as she casts protection spells over the castle – makes me laugh. The moments she as, as she defends the school, students and Harry are great. I don’t however like how they forget to send the underaged students back through Ariana’s portrait via Room of Requirement… I don’t understand the need to change that to thave Slytherine’s be sent to the dungeons. Nevertheless the other key moment is when Mrs Weasley says to Bellatrix Lesstrange “Nobody toches my daughter you b***h!” – great! There are of course other great key moments but there are just so many it’s hard to pin point them all.
I’ve stayed up way past my bedtime and no I haven’t been working on this all day… but wow, what an effort… I know it’s long but I do hope people read this. I also hope that my grammar and spelling don’t get picked at – there are well and truly over 3,000 words so I’m being slack and not true to myself in not proofreading this. I hope whoever reads this enjoys and gets something out of it. Once again it’s my opinion… you are welcome to your own opionion but do tread carefully and if you disagree then say “I disagree because…” instead of “You’re wrong”. I could have been cautious in what I wrote due to being about the subject I chose. But I will say that I was honest every step of the way.
Goodnight… I need to sleep.