The Potter Perceptions: The Half-Blood Prince (2009)

harry potter and the half blood prince

Progress is being made. Slowly but surely, progress is being made here. Eric and I set out for the sixth movie in the Harry Potter collection and it carried on as usual. We shall soldier on and complete this and then just be done! I was not looking forward to this one, Eric I am sure understands, but we progressed. The cast is getting older which is helping a lot in terms of their acting and all but I don’t know… I still feel that the essence of Potter was missed by these movies.


This movie is 2:30 hours long. I actually think they all have been but the first two hours of this felt like seven. It starts off with some guy hiding in some house as a chair and Dumbledore going off to take a shit (I presume – because he comes out of there with a stitching magazine) and then a bunch of teen melodrama about people falling for each other and doing a lot of “slogging” – is that right? Did I use that right? When I was a teen we called it “Making Out”. I suppose it’s time though, I mean, two movies ago the boys were SCARED of girls. Where I come from we started Making It a few years before these kids but what do I know.

During this epic two hours, Harry and his chums practice making potions and playing that damned flying game and sneaking around in the shadows and flirting with each other and they go to another formal party and there’s an extended scene involving the carcass of a giant, dead TARANTULA!!!! I THOUGHT YOU WERE MY FRIENDS!!!! WHY DIDN’T YOU WARN ME??!???!!!! I almost crapped myself in disgust!!! Anyway – even though these first two hours were extremely boring and lame, I did think to myself 1) this is easily the most well done movie of the bunch from a cinematography, set, effects and props position and 2) this may sound pervy but Weasely’s sister is getting awful hot.

Then, while I was griping to Zoë and friends on Twitter about the shitty spider, suddenly this thing got really good when Harry and Dumbledore go down into that cave. When those things started crawling out of the water and Dumbledore was waving that fire all around the place – I really liked that part. Then something really tense and unexpected happen up in that clock tower (??) and I was all – HOLY SHIT and it left me feeling good about the whole thing, although most of it was yawnsville.

Overall, I think this sits as “satisfactory” in my gullet and I would probably say this is the second best one of the bunch. On a sour note though, when I got my mail yesterday and opened my Netflix envelope, I was dismayed to see that inside of it was a movie called DEMONS 2. for those of you who also read my site – do you remember when I talked about DEMONS? This makes me very sad and I don’t even remember ordering it : (

harry potter and the half blood prince duel

The good:

  • Dumbledore’s hand. Was blackened and dead-looking. Good job.
  • The Unbreakable Vow. It was excellent.
  • Snape’s attire. He always looks like the billowing bat. I love it.
  • Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes was well done, the shop looked great.
  • Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood. That was such a stroke of brilliance on behalf of casting.
  • Advanced Potion Making book was pretty accurate, as well as the handwriting in it.
  • The Riddle memories that Dumbledore procured. They were all good, though a vital one was missing.
  • The barrier around the school.
  • Harry and Ron discussing Ginny and Hermione – funny stuff. Also, Harry suddenly becoming the perfect gentleman around Ginny.
  • Hermione’s heartbreak over Ron and Lavender. It was very accurate, as well as how she dealt with it, and the way Harry finally admits to his feelings for Ginny.
  • Slughorn’s Christmas party – some funny stuff there.
  • Ron on love potion. That gave me a giggle.
  • Sectumsempra. Amazing.
  • Felix Felicis. I laughed.
  • Retrieval of Horcrux was pretty decent.
  • Dumbledore’s death was pretty good, though the way it led up to that was so weak.
  • Harry and Snape duelling. Almost got it right, close, but no cigar, but fun nonetheless.

The bad:

  • Harry not guarded and protected. Just picking up chicks? After almost being butchered by Voldemort? I highly doubt that.
  • Magic outside of school. Again. Dammit, I cannot understand this. It was such a bloody important thing in the books – to come of age before using magic. I mean… in Order of the Phoenix he was in trouble for using it (did they sell it as just because it was used before a Muggle or what? Can’t remember – either way, still not on.). I can have heart attacks about this.
  • The Vanishing Cabinets. That was shown so early that Malfoy was working on mending the one and all that. SO EARLY. Though I could have dealt with it except that Harry saw them, too.
  • The Gaunt memories. The memories that Dumbledore garnered did not show Riddle’s heir of Slytherin roots or the ring and locket of Slytherin, and they were rather important.
  • Tonk’s and Lupin’s relationship. Already on the go? What the hell is that all about?
  • Harry chasing Bellatrix down. On Christmas vacation? Since when?
  • Fenrir Greyback. He does not look great and he attacked Ginny and Harry!
  • The Burrow burning. I have no idea when/where this was supposed to have happened.
  • The disposal of the textbook was not right.
  • Harry and Ginny. That relationship was all wrong. No proper start, no proper continuation and so exceptionally awkward!
  • Weepy Malfoy. All the freaking time.
  • Dumbledore’s ignorance. Oki, this really ticked me off. Dumbledore never suspected Horcruxes or that Riddle did anything so extreme, and in the next breath he has been collecting Horcruxes because he suspected? What the fuck?!
  • Apparating in and out of Hogwarts. Again, something was stated as a fact and messed with later simply because it suited some tool.
  • Harry seeing Snape prior to Dumbledore’s death. What the hell was that all about? It makes Harry’s anger toward him after Dumbledore’s execution illogical.
  • Dumbledore’s Army not fighting. They were supposed to have been called to aid and been fighting with the Death Eaters when Harry and Dumbledore returned.
  • Fenrir Greyback didn’t maul Bill Weasley, Luna and Neville weren’t fighting, etc.
  • Harry didn’t break up with Ginny. I mean, there was no relationship anyway.
  • Dumbledore’s “funeral”. Where was that? It was important dammit!

As many flaws as there were in here, there were things to laugh at, considering how much drama was actually taking place. However, there were so many things that were just screwed with. Got very iffy with how select Riddle memories made it in and others just not. Oh well… But there are only two more to go, so let’s see if splitting the final part of the story will be worth the effort that went into it! Eric does have a point though, Half-Blood Prince was a very good looking film, even though it fell flat elsewhere.

Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – JK Rowling

7 - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Adult's Cover

Harry Potter #7

Harry Potter is a wizard who has made a very serious and difficult decision: dropping out of school to bring the most vile wizard of the age down – Lord Voldemort needs to be stopped, and Sybil Trelawney’s prediction tells that one of them will have to cease to exist. Harry begins to make preparations for that which he needs to do. His best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger insist that they will accompany Harry on his mission that their deceased headmaster Albus Dumbledore set him on – find the Horcuxes that Voldemort stored sections of his soul in and destroy them. Ex-Auror Mad-Eye Moody perishes in Harry’s escape plan from his aunt and uncle’s home, and many more people are injured. The Horcrux journey is hastened phenomenally after the new Minister for Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour, brings Harry, Ron and Hermione the things that Dumbledore bequeathed them in his will, but is murdered by Voldemort’s Death Eaters soon after and launch an attack on Ron’s family home, The Burrow. Professor Severus Snape, Dumbledore’s vanquisher, has now taken up post of headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and there are now Death Eaters on staff. Rumours about the type of man that Dumbledore was run rampant, and Harry realizes that he didn’t really know anything about his hero, and is afraid the vile rumours may be true.

Harry, Ron and Hermione make it out of the Death Eater attack by the skin of their teeth and Hermione has been packed and ready to go for days. They go back to Harry’s deceased godfather’s house, which now belongs to him. Within Grimmauld Place, they make their plans to get into the Ministry of Magic to gain access to a locket, the real Horcrux that Regulus Black stole from Voldemort’s hiding place and sent home with the house elf Kreacher, who is now serving Harry. Mundungus Fletcher stole the locket and the horrifyingly terrible Dolores Umbridge got her hands onto it. Harry needs it to weaken Voldemort, but their break in at the Ministry of Magic hardly goes smoothly, and the three make a run for it the moment they have the Horcrux, but lose Grimmauld Place as their hideout, and so they end up trekking cross country, hunting for more Horcruxes. They soon become dispirited when it seems the gifts that Dumbledore left Harry, Ron and Hermione are useless, and they are not getting anywhere in terms of discovering new Horcruxes or how to even get rid of the one that they have, seeing as they have nothing to destroy it with.

Ron eventually deserts Harry and Hermione, and Hermione is particularly crushed by this. The two make way to Godric’s Hollow, where Harry’s family was murdered when he was a child, and where Albus Dumbledore, too, suffered atrocities. However, in Godric’s Hollow they are attacked by Voldemort’s snake, Nagini, and barely make it out, seconds before Voldemort himself arrived to kill Harry. Before arriving at Godric’s Hollow, Hermione finds a symbol written into the book that Dumbledore left to her, and in the town they find the same symbol on a tombstone, and Harry recalls seeing it on Xenophelius Lovegood’s necklace earlier in the year. Setting up camp, Ron returns, led by a Patronus doe, and Harry discovers the sword of Godric Gryffindor, which they immediately use to destroy the locket.

Set on ending it all, they visit Xeno Lovegood, who sells them out to Death Eaters, and they make a narrow escape, though they have learned of the Deathly Hallows now – they are there to master death. Hermione’s logical brain will not accept anything of the sort, though Harry wonders if that is what Voldemort is hunting, and why he has kidnapped two wandmakers, to learn more of the Elder Wand. Irrespective as to what is happening, Harry needs to start working faster to protect the wizarding community that is supporting him, and to stop the death toll rising anymore. Everything that can go wrong seems to start going wrong the moment that Harry has discovered what he needs to do and how he will go about doing it, and the trio’s plans constantly need to be readjusted. The Horcruxes need to be extinguished so that Harry can meet Voldemort on the battlefield as an equal.

Will Harry be able to recover and destroy all the Horcruxes before he faces Voldemort? Will Harry be adequately prepared when he faces Voldemort, or will he be captured by other means, and die without fulfilling his destiny? Will Snape continue to torture the students of Hogwarts? Will Harry ever see Ginny, the love of his life, again? Can Harry end the pain, suffering and terror that has wrought the wizarding community, bring it all to an end?

GRADE 9.5It all ends here, and what a damn spectacular ending it was, too. This book is three distinct different parts for me: the decision, the travel, the war. The first third and last third are great, but that whole section in the middle got a bit long at times, but never really boring. It helped a lot in the sense of bringing everyone in to the desolate feeling that Harry, Ron and Hermione must have been feeling. Everything about this book had that feeling of finality to it, a distinctly defiant hope, but at the same time a massive amount of certainty. Voldemort finally taking the Ministry was long awaited and well received, and Dolores Umbridge still remains one of the most evil literary characters of all time – such a foul woman. The death toll was high in The Deathly Hallows, and though I understand the concept of there being casualties of war, this had so many places where I wondered if I could bear another person dying. I really enjoyed how J.K. Rowling wrote about a romance with Harry and Ginny, spilling over from the previous book, but never making the romance an obsession or the central point. Neville Longbottom made me so damn proud in this book, I loved it. Discovering things about the mysterious Dumbledore’s past was very rewarding yet very shocking at the same time. Kreacher provided me unknowable amounts of laughter in this book what with his drastic attitude change. The danger that was imminent was ever present in the book, and I enjoyed the way this book was written. Rowling was writing again, not the confused start she gave The Half-Blood Prince. This story was filled with joy, pain, suffering, heartache, hope and love it was just incredible. Rowling finds a way to reel you in, no matter what. This was the best way to have wrapped up a series, and is well worth going through the entire collection to get to. It was a fantastic journey to make again, and something that I most certainly will embark upon time and time again in the future.

SPOILER: Snape’s death was a horrible thing to experience, and his memories in the pensieve were heart-wrenching and painful. I thought the significance was brushed over a little bit, but at the same time the emotional charge behind Snape is just beautiful. He really grew to be one of my most favourite characters, who also had a death that made me pine. Fred’s death, too, was a damn shame, and was not on. The final war that raged by the end was amazing, and while it had moments that made you smile, it was overall a very dramatic affair, something we had been waiting years to finally encounter.

Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – JK Rowling

5 - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix  Adult's Cover

Harry Potter #5

Harry Potter, a young wizard, has survived the Triwizard Tournament in which he saw a fellow student named Cedric Diggory die before watching the most feared Dark wizard of recent times return to power: Lord Voldemort. However, soon after that, Harry is back at his Muggle relatives, Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia Dursley. The wizarding world has refused to acknowledge Voldemort’s return, and are as such living in the dark. While on holiday with not a useful word from anyone, Harry and his cousin Dudley are attacked by what seems to be rogue Dementors, the guards of the wizard prison Azkaban. Forced to use magic, Harry is ultimately expelled from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His headmaster, Professor Albus Dumbledore, rushes to the Ministry of Magic to have it sorted out, and Harry needs to attend a full-fledged trial to oppose the decision to expel him.

Harry is whisked off to the Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, a band of witches and wizards that are intent on opposing the Dark Lord, and ensuring his return to power is short lived. Headquarters are set up at Sirius Black’s family home, and his godfather is thrilled to have him around. Harry is soon brought up to speed with what has been happening since Harry sounded the alarm that Voldemort was back to his old self. The Daily Prophet, the wizarding newspaper, has been discrediting him and making him sound like a crazy lunatic since he told the truth. Dumbledore has been kicked off of numerous wizarding boards, etc. Percy Weasley, the brother of Harry’s best friend Ron, has written the Weasley family off. Harry, of course, does not get expelled from Hogwarts, and Ron is made prefect for Gryffindor House. Before they know it they are out of Headquarters and on the way to school again.

School is no easier, either. The students have taken it upon themselves to discredit Harry at each and every turn. As if things are not bad enough, Dolores Umbridge takes up post as the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, and was Senior Undersecretary to Corenelius Fudge, the Minister for Magic. It seems that Dumbledore is public enemy number one alongside Harry, and the Ministry is intent on interfering with the goings on at Hogwarts. First off, the students learn that they will not be practicing defensive magic at all. The year is progressively getting worse and worse, and Harry no longer feels too optimistic about Hogwarts as his home anymore. Umbridge makes it her mission to degrade and break Harry when he stands up to her about Ministry interference and the fact that nobody will admit that Cedric Diggory was murdered. Hermione Granger brings up a great idea about Harry teaching some student defensive magic and telling them how it is to be up against Dark wizards and witches. Harry consents, and the idea is wildly popular. The group bands together and calls themselves Dumbledore’s Army.

Umbridge begins investigating teachers and questioning their abilities. The Weasley twins, Fred and George, have firmly taken it upon themselves to make as much trouble as possible. Soon, however, Umbridge gets Dumbledore thrown from the school, and panic floods throughout the student body. Hermione gets in contact with disgraced ex-Daily Prophet reporter Rita Skeeter and has her tell Harry’s story, which finally needs to be heard. Things are going from bad to worse in the wizarding world, and Umbridge is steadily depriving Harry of each and every thing she can, making his life miserable. Dumbledore wants Harry to take Occlumency lessons from Professor Severus Snape, who is working as a double agent for the Order of the Phoenix against the Dark Lord. Harry continually dreams of a long, dark corridor which he later figures out is the Department of Mysteries, and informs the Order when he sees Arthur Weasley attacked and damn near killed by a giant snake. It is of utmost importance that Harry learn the art of closing off his mind to Voldemort, before Voldemort realizes that there is a connection. Harry has started up an exceptionally wobbly relationship with Cho Chang, and it is rapidly losing its appeal. Umbridge, however, has finally succeeded in removing Dumbledore from Hogwarts, and assumes the role of Headmistress immediately. Dumbledore’s prediction about the Dementors joining ranks with Voldemort seem to be realised when ten top ranking Death Eaters escape from Azkaban, causing people to wonder if Harry really is losing his marbles. The Ministry of Magic, however, refuses to admit that there is anything wrong.

Will Harry master blocking his mind from Voldemort? Will the magical community ever admit that the Dark Lord has in actual fact returned? Will Umbridge continue her reign of terror on the school? Will the students in the DA be better off learning their defensive magic, and will the Ministry ever leave Howarts and their business to themselves, or will they continue to interfere? Will anything come of the relationship with Cho Chang? Will Cedric’s death ever be commemorated for what it was, or continually be labelled an accident, not a murder? When will Voldemort step back into the public eye?

GRADE 10This is by far my most favourite of the whole series, no questions asked, as well as one of my favourite books of all time. I had a debate with my very best friend in the world about it. Natasha always thought this to be her least favourite. I have to contend with why I feel that this was the greatest one of them all. None of the other books manage to capture all the emotions as astutely as this one. Pity, anger, happiness, hate, pain, sadness, loneliness, everything. You discover more in this book about the characters and fear than any of the others. You also learn so much more about the pasts of people and how their suffering ties into the story, and why Harry’s past had to be the way that it was. This was the first book to demonstrate Snape as more than just some terrible snake, the very first time I started liking him, even if he was still dreadful towards Harry. The characters aren’t little kids anymore. Sirius gets a massive part in it all, and it is great to learn more about him as a person and how he manages certain situations. So much planning and scheming was going on at any given moment in this book. Umbridge will remain the most loathed book character I have probably ever encountered. She was the embodiment of evil. The more you read about her, the less that you liked her. There was some fantastic humour in this book. I must say, I was not particularly enamoured with the relationship between Cho and Harry (not how it was written, just the match that they were), but I can understand the necessity in terms of character growth. The DA was awesome, and the injustice that people suffered throughout this book smarts. The flight of the Weasleys was simply amazing, and will remain a favourite of mine forever. This book was a solid and strong entry to a wonderful series, and I will always regard this as my favourite book no matter what. The pacing was also perfect, and nothing rambled or took too long, and nothing was rushed, either. Truly worth the read, each and every time it just gets me.

I can go on forever about what is right with this book.

Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – JK Rowling

harry potter and the goblet of fire adult edition

Harry Potter #4

Harry Potter is a wizard who was having quite the raw summer with his Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon and their horrible son, Dudley Dursley. He is having an even worse summer than usual seeing as he almost got to live with his godfather, Sirius Black, though his name was not cleared before the summer vacation. He was still labelled a mass murdered and Dark wizard. Harry is only too thrilled when his best friend in the world, Ron Weasley, invites him to stay and go to the Quidditch World Cup. Harry is elated, and soon the remainder of his holiday is spent in the company of the Weasleys and Hermione Granger, another close friend. Excited about the Quidditch World Cup, the friends have an absolute blast. However, all good things come to an end, and Voldemort, the most evil Dark Wizard of their time, seems never to be forgotten. His followers terrorize a Muggle family, and finally the Dark Mark is sent into the air, causing massive panic.

Barty Crouch, a member of the Ministry of Magic, sacks his house elf, Winky, when she is discovered near the Dark Mark, carrying Harry’s wand. This spurs Hermione on to start SPEW, an organization intent on helping the house elves in the world. The Dark Mark marred the Quidditch World Cup a little bit, and Harry starts to wonder. His scar was prickling during the summer, but he is sure Voldemort is nowhere near him. Returning to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the students are elated to hear that the Triwizard Tournament has been reinstated, and will be hosted at Hogwarts this year. However, no student under the age of seventeen may enter, and there are many disappointed students, including Ron’s twin brothers, Fred and George, who are intent on finding a way to enter, anyhow. Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody starts at Hogwarts as the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, and soon the students are in awe of him. As an ex-Auror, Moody has caught many Dark wizards and Death Eaters, and is training the students intensely to defend themselves.

Students from Beauxbatons Academy and Durmstrang Institute arrive to submit the names to have their champions chosen, and Durmstrang comes with a highly notable guest: Viktor Krum, the Bulgarian Seeker that they saw play at the Quidditch World Cup. The night the Goblet of Fire chooses the champions is a wonderful one, and everyone is thrilled when Cedric Diggory of Hufflepuff is chosen as the Hogwarts champion, while Fleur Delacour is the representative for Beauxbatons and Viktor Krum for Durmstrang. In confusion, Harry is also chosen as a champion, and Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore is furious. It is a magically binding contract, and Harry will have to compete, whether he likes it or not.

Incredibly popular among the Gryffindor students and loathed by the remainder of the school, Harry has an incredibly hard time dealing with it all seeing as his best friend, Ron, the person he was counting on the most to stand by him, refuses to believe that Harry had nothing to do with entering the tournament. Their friendship suffers heavily. Draco Malfoy, Harry’s ultimate nemesis, is having a ball with Harry’s suffering. However, Harry has the issue of the three tasks coming up, and not knowing how he would be dealing with it. His first task is set, which happens to be retrieving a golden egg from a dragon, and he needs to figure out how to do that, soon. As though Harry was not having enough issues as was, Daily Prophet reporter Rita Skeeter publishes exceptionally demeaning stories about Harry. Sirius meets with Harry to warn him about the Durmstrang headmaster, Igor Karkaroff. He was a convicted Death Eater. It seems Moody’s assessment that someone may be trying to use the tournament to harm Harry isn’t so crazy after all.

When their fight blows over, Harry and Ron finally have much to talk about again, and so many things were missed. Harry needs all the help he can get, and is pleased to find that Dobby the house elf, whom he had once freed from the employ of Lucius Malfoy, is working at Hogwarts. Harry has two more tasks to complete, and a crowd to win over. However, strange occurrences seem to be taking place, and nobody seems to be taking note of them aside from Dumbledore and Sirius, as well as the three friends.

What do all the omens mean? Do the dreams that Harry is having have anything to do with what is going on outside of the walls of Hogwarts? Did Peter “Wormtail” Pettigrew return to Lord Voldemort when he escaped from Sirius’s clutches at the end of last term, snatching Harry’s future away from him entirely? What is going on at Hogwarts, and is Mad-Eye Moody just crazy, or is something more sinister going on than meets the eye?

GRADE 9.5Another stellar input from J.K. Rowling. The sheer excitement you get caught up in at the Quidditch World Cup was amazing, and Fred and George with their tricky little jokes and inventions was great. It was intense to have Harry and Ron fighting the way that they did, it was very difficult to bear through. Harry’s loneliness was palpable, as was the shock of his name having come out of the Goblet. It was a little disappointing that Snape featured so little in this book; he has always been a very central part of the Harry Potter world, in my opinion. It is not that he was not a part of this book, but it seems very little that he cropped up. Mad-Eye was also a great character, and he incites that necessity for constant vigilance, even with the readers. It was through him that you started to wonder if more was going on than the average wizard was aware of.  The events were awesome to follow in this book, and there was much fun to be had, as well as a lot to make you nervous and wonder. Dobby played another important role in Goblet of Fire for Harry, and he always brings something extra to the table. For the first time, a little pubescent nervousness is brought to the fore what with the Yule Ball, and we have a look at Harry developing some type of inexplicable (at that age) feelings towards Cho Chang. This book was magical, and did not become boring or dragged out at any point. The twins provided humour, as always, and a little bit more of Cedric Diggory’s personality was explored. Rita Skeeter brought in the frustrating element of this book, and even had me just taken a little aback by how nasty and cruel she was. The story behind Neville’s living with his grandmother broke my heart. He lost so much, yet never says anything. I would highly recommend this book, as it was in my top few. Definitely worth the read.

SPOILER: The rise of Voldemort has long since been anticipated, and I thought that it was exceptionally well done in this book. He was terrifying, cruel and mean, nothing short of what you would have expected him to be when he regained his strength. The graveyard duel was intense, and Diggory’s death was terrible to have been brought into play. The Death Eaters’ cowardly return was awful to behold.

Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – JK Rowling

3 - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Adult's Cover

Harry Potter #3

Harry Potter starts his summer awfully – owl post irritates his aunt and uncle, and Uncle Vernon’s sister, Aunt Marge, is coming to stay. Harry has no idea what to do. He is a young wizard that has survived another year at Hogwarts, again interrupted by the greatest enemy of the wizarding world: Lord Voldemort. A madman has broken out and is roaming the streets of London. Sirius Black is at large. However, striking up a deal, Harry agrees to toe the line for Uncle Vernon if he signs Harry’s permission slip to visit Hogsmeade Village at certain weekends. Instead, Harry blows his aunt up when she becomes far too rude about Harry’s deceased parents, and he makes a run for it. While out there, he sees a huge dog, which he later discovers is called a Grim, and considered a death omen. Sure that he will be expelled, Harry makes his way towards the magical Diagon Alley, where he is directly headed off by the Minister for Magic himself, Cornelius Fudge. Instead of being labelled an outcast, Harry is told the rest of his summer he is permitted to stay at the Leaky Cauldron, and that he must be dreadfully careful. Sirius Black is a wizard, and an awfully powerful one at that. He was Voldemort’s right hand man, and he has escaped from Azkaban, something no wizard has ever done before.

Before boarding the Hogwarts Express, Harry discovers that Sirius Black is after him, and that he must be careful. Harry is intent on being careful. His best friends, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley are fighting endlessly. Hermione purchased a huge ginger cat named Crookshanks that is intent on making Ron’s rat, Scabbers, a divine meal. The two argue incessantly, and on the train they meet their new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Remus Lupin. The Azkaban guards, the Dementors, have been posted around Hogwarts until Black’s capture, but they have a terrible effect on Harry, who passes out around them every time. Before long, he has his studies to deal with, and some intense mockery from his archenemy, Draco Malfoy.

Harry’s friend, a giant of a man named Rubeus Hagrid, is now teaching Care of Magical Creatures, and starts well enough with Hippogriffs for the class. Draco Malfoy taunts one by the name of Buckbeak, and ends up in the hospital wing. He milks the injury for all that it is worth. Using his injury, he has the Slytherin team’s match against Gryffindor postponed, and Harry is damn near killed by dementors flooding onto the pitch. His trusty Nimbus Two Thousand broomstick gets blown away and ripped to shreds by the incredibly violent Whomping Willow. After receiving the latest broomstick on the market, the Firebolt, Harry, Ron and Hermione get into a little tiff when Hermione runs to Professor Minerva McGonagall, head of the Gryffindor House, about the broomstick. They are positive Sirius Black has sent it to Harry.

Professor Lupin starts anti-dementor lessons with Harry, intent on teaching him the Patronus Charm to ward them off, and Harry wishes to learn it. However, the Grim continually turns up, and Harry is worried. Hermione’s and Ron’s relationship deteriorates worse than ever when Ron’s bedsheets are covered in blood and ginger hair, and Scabbers is missing. The three attempt to help Hagrid with Buckbeak’s upcoming hearing, trying not to get the poor thing killer. Sirius Black launches an array of break-ins and attacks against Hogwarts, and the students are fearful. Harry receives the Marauder’s Map from Fred and George, and the beautiful map shows him all of Hogwarts and the grounds. Harry uses it to sneak off to Hogsmeade, where on a certain trip he learns of a terrible history concerning Sirius Black and his father, James Potter. They were the very best of friends, and Black sold James out to Voldemort.

The information is crushing for Harry, who now hates Black more than ever. He was left orphaned due to a best friend’s betrayal? What will Harry do now that he knows about Black’s connection to his family? What will they do about Buckbeak’s upcoming trial? Will Ron and Hermione ever be able to get over their issues concerning their pets? Will Harry be able to stay under Black’s radar, escape the man or exact vengeance, whichever option presents itself first?

GRADE 9This is one of those books that I absolutely adore. I loved Buckbeak, I loved Sirius Black and his infamous escape, I loved the introduction of the Dementors and the Firebolt gift. This book is just special, and so great. I love how J.K. Rowling has the ability to ensnare both children and adults in her magical world of Harry Potter. The writing style was again excellent, and the story for this was so in depth and complicated. It was wonderful to meet Lupin, and have Harry get his hands on the very cool Marauder’s Map, as well as the anger, bitterness and fear that was conveyed in the pages of this novel. Exploring more in depth into the Potters’ past was so awesome to get into, no matter how deadly depressing the story is. Snape was extremely amusing to me in this book seeing as he truly was totally horrible, and was intent on making that immensely known to Harry. Losing his cool was entertaining, but he was cruel and horrible in this story. The Weasleys will always remain a fantastic family to me. This was definitely a  great entry to a phenomenal series.

Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – JK Rowling

2 - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Adult's Cover

Harry Potter #2

Harry Potter is a wizard – a young wizard living with his insufferable aunt, uncle and major bully cousin. But never fear – he will be returning to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry soon. If he doesn’t starve during the summer, that is. After an incident where a house elf named Dobby paid Harry a visit and begged him not to return to school, Harry is imprisoned by his relatives. The Ministry of Magic is convinced that Harry performed magic in front of the muggles, though it is not the case. However, his best friend Ron Weasley and his mischievous twin brothers Fred and George turn up in a flying car to rescue him, and Harry’s summer went from being the worst ever to one of the best ever. However, when Harry and Ron attempt to board the Hogwarts Express, they cannot get through the barrier. In the midst of their panic, they steal Mr Weasley’s Ford Anglia and fly to school, and end up in a ton of trouble. The glorious entrance that they envisioned is crushed by the car crash into the violent Whomping Willow. They are fortunate enough not to be expelled.

Soon all the students return to Hogwarts, and Harry is having a hard time with his celebrity status amongst some of the new students who have arrived, and it causes him immense frustration. As though that was not enough, their new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher is famous, and convinced that he can help young Harry along the way to greatness. Strange things start to happen at Hogwarts, and Harry is grievously injured at a Quidditch match, which resulted in a broken arm due to a rogue Bludger in play. Naturally everyone assumes the worst. As though he does not have enough issues on his plate, he hears a cold, disembodied voice floating around the castle that nobody else seems to hear. Vicious attacks start within the grounds, resulting in some people being Petrified, and everyone is terrified. A warning tells them that the Chamber of Secrets has been opened, and that enemies of the Heir should be wary.

Harry, Ron and their close friend Hermione Granger start to look into the attacks. They are desperate to find out more about the history of the Chamber of Secrets, and Harry needs it more than anyone. At a duelling club it was discovered that he is a Parselmouth, something that Hogwarts founder Salazar Slytherin was renowned for, and something that is considered to be a trait of a Dark Wizard. He can communicate with snakes. Harry is right up at the top of everyone’s suspect list, and his innocence is not looking very good. Harry becomes immensely unpopular and avoided. The three are intent that if they could just speak to Harry’s nemesis Draco Malfoy, they would be able to figure out in an instant who the heir of Slytherin is, and who opened the Chamber fifty years ago. However, the answers that they uncover might not be the ones that they are looking for. The attacks increase and intensify, and terror grips the castle and all its inhabitants, no one is safe. What will they do if Lucius Malfoy is pushing for the removal of the headmaster, Albus Dumbledore? He is their keeper, he maintains their safety.

Will the three be able to figure out just exactly what is going on within Hogwarts, and what the dreaded monster is that has been unleashed from within the bowels of an undiscovered Chamber? What will happen if Albus Dumbledore is removed from Hogwarts? Will anyone be safe? Harry has never been more desperate to figure out what is going on, but what will he do once he uncovers the truth?

GRADE 8.5It was definitely a fantastic sequel to its successful predecessor. This book had a lovely story, again, and you learn more about the magical world with each and every endeavour you take to explore it more. Fred and George Weasley provided a great deal of humour when dealing with Harry’s heir of Slytherin rumours, and this book had plenty to make you smile. Dumbledore was again so mysterious, and I thought Harry’s and Ron’s arrival at the school was not nearly as dashing as they were holding out for. That Ford Anglia going wild in the Forest was also terribly amusing. Good timing, too. All the magical elements of this world are amazing, and I must be honest when I say that we do not have things like Howlers. I thought it was really well done how J.K. Rowling brought in discrimination like she did (Mudbloods and pure-bloods), it makes that world almost a little more… real. The entire concept of preserving oneself in a diary was also great, and Lord Voldemort’s name was also good, to see how he evolved, where he came from and a little bit of who he was before the total rise to the Dark Lord was good. I thought this was a fun book, entertaining, though it also had some body to it, what with the issues that were dealt with due to supposition and silly things like rumours.

Review: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – JK Rowling

1 - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Adult's Cover

Harry Potter #1

Harry Potter is a young orphan who was dropped with his wretched family, the Dursleys, when he was a year old.  Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon hate Harry to death, and their son, Dudley, is a world class and seriously overweight bully. Harry dreams of escaping. Many strange things have happened to and around Harry over the years, completely inexplicable things, but odd nonetheless. Just before Harry’s eleventh birthday, he begins to receive letters addressed to him, right down to his living space under the stairs. These letters send his aunt and uncle into hysterics, and they refuse to let Harry read a single one. When the letters do not cease, but if anything, become more consistent, the Dursleys take him and run. He is discovered on their useless little island by Rubeus Hagrid, a massive giant of a man who hand delivers Harry’s letter to him himself. Harry is a wizard, set to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Harry sets off to start a new life in a new world with a whole new culture, and it is still a shock to his system. He meets a whole underground community of witches and wizards, and finds that he is somewhat of a celebrity. When Harry was a year old, Lord Voldemort entered his parents’ home to exterminate them, and when he turned to kill Harry, the curse rebounded on him, and he died. The reign of terror ended with his demise, and Harry is largely to thank for that. Harry needs to adapt, and is surprised and pleased all the time. On the Hogwarts Express, the school train, he meets his best friend, Ronald Weasley, and instantly finds his ultimate nemesis, Draco Malfoy.

Harry becomes a part of Gryffindor House, and is jubilant to not have fallen in with Slytherin, a house which turned out the most evil witches and wizards. The adventures keep coming when Harry is chosen for the Gryffindor Quidditch team, and he is elated, especially after receiving the superior Nimbus Two Thousand broomstick. No longer is Harry a nobody and someone to be bullied – in the magical realm, he is a hero. Their first year at Hogwarts will be filled with action and adventure. The students are informed that the third floor is off limits, and then start to notice very strange things – suspicious things are starting to happen at Hogwarts. Gringotts, the Wizarding Bank, was robbed the day Harry met his fortune in the bowels of it, and their Potions teacher, Professor Severus Snape, happens to have a dark past.

Whilst investigating a troll break-in, Harry and Ron need to rescue Hermione Granger, a know-it-all that they were not getting along with. After her rescue, the three become great friends. Snape is definitely up to something, and something is hidden within Hogwarts that is guarded by a massive three-headed dog named Fluffy, though what that may be, they do not know. Albus Dumbledore is an enigma, and he is there for Harry throughout – he rapidly becomes Harry’s mentor, and a man he respects immensely. As though the three did not have enough to worry about, Hagrid suddenly has a dragon that he won off of a stranger in a pub, whom he shared sensitive information with. Harry knows instinctively that Snape is going to make a play for whatever is hidden within the castle – he has all that he requires, and just needs to break the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Quirinus Quirrell, and then he will have all the answers.

Will the three friends figure out soon enough what is hidden within the school and find out why Snape wants it so desperately? What with slain unicorns in the Forbidden Forest and whispers of an elixir of life hidden deep within the walls, is someone attempting to assist the Dark Lord back into his former place of power? Will Quirrell be able to stand up to Snape?

GRADE 8This was such a massive part of my childhood. I have read this book so many times I almost know it word for word! This was fantastic for me. It was my adventure, my escape from reality, and it was a phenomenal one! J.K. Rowling knew what she was on about, and knew how to present it. The greatest thing about Potter is it is absolutely not reserved only for kids. Anyone can read it, and anyone can enjoy it (adults might battle a little bit through the first three, though, but after that – you are home free). The Invisibility Cloak that Dumbledore gave Harry was great, as it is such a big thing to do with so many things that are happening in the book as well as future stories. The story is tight, well written and wonderfully paced. The characters are excellent, the humour that Fred and George Weasley bring to the table is unforgettable, and the magical world that is laid out at your feet is breath-taking. Overall, the Potter series is one of my all time favourites, and there is not a single bad entry to it.