Friday, December 31, 2010

Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince

As we began our trip to see family two weeks ago, I was unsure of how much reading time I would get.  While I love to have my nose in a book, I also know how important it is to spend time with family and friends.  Lucky for me, and for my goal, I was able to find just enough time to finish The Half-Blood Prince.  My friend Amy was totally right about this series getting better as it goes along.  This installment in Harry Potter's story was much more interesting to me. 

I had a few guesses about the identity for the Half-Blood Prince, but of course, I was no where close.  Rowling is a master of plot twists, at least from my perspective.  Maybe you had it figured out long before I did.  I've admitted before that I tend to become absorbed in the story and not see what is coming up around the corner. 

I really enjoyed the scene at the beginning of the book when Dumbledore arrived at Privet Drive and attempted to teach the Dursleys some manners.  I loved when he said "I don't mean to be rude- yet, sadly, accidental rudeness occurs alarmingly often."  I also find this to be the case, though I try hard to avoid it in myself.  And then, "Shall we assume that you have invited me into your sitting room?"  The Dursleys have been horrible to Harry all his life and I rather enjoyed seeing them bested.  "You did not do as I asked.  You have never treated Harry as a son.  He has known nothing buy neglect and often cruelty at your hands.  The best that can be said is that he has at least escaped the appalling damage you have inflicted upon the unfortunate boy sitting between you."  Love it!

I loved when Harry pretended to give the Felix Felicis potion to Ron so that he would play well in the Quidditch match.  If he hadn't made sure that Hermione saw him slip (or pretend to slip) something into Ron's drink, it wouldn't have been nearly as effective.  Or as fun!

I like that Rowling uses the Pensive as an interesting way to convey information that Harry otherwise would not have known.  It is much more engaging than having Dumbledore just tell one story after another. 

And I know that it's not integral to the story, but I loved when Seamus was assigned to write the lines: "I am a wizard, not a baboon brandishing a stick."  It really made me laugh.

And of course, girl that I am, I enjoyed watching Harry realize that he is in love with Ginny.  Ron and Hermione were a little frustrating, but isn't that how young love is?  Poor Harry, constantly worried that Ron would hate him for fancying his sister.  I've loved all the new words that Harry Potter has brought into my vocabulary:  Fancy, Snogging, Blimey, Bloody, Bloke, and I was sure to wish everyone a "Happy Christmas" this year. 

The scene in the cave was horrible for Harry and for Dumbledore, but I loved at the end, when Harry was trying to get Dumbledore back to Hogwarts.  Harry says, "We're nearly there....I can Apparate us both back....Don't worry...."  And Dumbledore's response is "I am not worried Harry.  I am with you."  All this time Harry has been depending on Dumbledore to take care of him, to fix whatever might break and to know the right things to do.  Suddenly Dumbledore is needing to depend upon Harry and Harry finds that he is up to the task.  At the top of the tower, when everything is about to go wrong, Dumbledore protects Harry one last time by freezing him under his invisibility cloak so that he won't be hurt trying to save Dumbledore.  I was so sad to see Dumbledore killed and shocked to see that it was Snape who pronounced the final curse just as Dumbledore appeared to be pleading with him. 

As I finished this book very late at night, I couldn't wait to get up the next morning and start the final adventure.  And that's just what I did. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Wow!  Book 5 was a long one!  Lucky for me, it was also a good one.  A dear friend told me as I started this journey that the books do get better as they progress, and I will have to say that now I agree with her.  I still think maybe it could have been cut down a little, but last night I read for 3 hours without realizing how late it was getting. 

I think one of my favorite parts is when Hermione is trying to explain Cho's behavior to Harry who is utterly bewildered by the female thought process:

"That's what they should teach us here, he thought, turning over onto his side, how girls' brains'd be more useful than Divination anyway..."

What teenage boy (or grown man for that matter) doesn't wish for (and rightly so) a little better understanding of "The Feminine Mystique"?  And I love how very patient Hermione is in explaining to her very oblivious male friends what the girls around them are feeling.  I can't wait to see how it progresses.  I have been very carefully avoiding the trailers for "The Deathly Hallows", but I do have a hint that there is some pairing up at some point soon. 

I am enjoying these books, but I'm getting a little worried that I may have bitten off more than I can chew.  I have two more books to go and only a few weeks.  Normally that would be no problem for me.  The only problem is that the next few weeks will be filled with traveling to see family.  I'm pretty sure said family will be expecting some form of conversation and interaction.  Certainly there are times I would prefer to have my face hidden behind my book, but I don't know how often I'll be able to make that happen.  Wish me luck and quick reading! 

And before I go pick up Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I will leave you with one more quote I enjoyed: 

"There were still deep welts on [Ron's] forearms where the brain's tentacles had wrapped around him.  According to Madam Pomfrey, thoughts could leave deeper scarring than almost anything else..."

Now on to Book 6!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Book 4: DONE!

I am just tearing through these books!  And I have to admit, that makes me feel a little relieved.  I was a little worried I wouldn't be able to make my deadline, but I just might make it!  The Goblet of Fire was a good one, but it sure seemed long.  There was a lot going on and every time I thought we were nearing the end, I would look at all the pages remaining and realize there was more story coming. 

I know I've mentioned this before, but Rowling's plot twists seem to get me every time!  I kept thinking the bad guy, the false friend was one guy all through the story.  I thought, "Oh, I've got your number this time, Joanne.  You're not going to pull the rug out from under me."  But wouldn't you know it, I was way off.  I'm sure she set it up just that way and I walked right into her trap.  Then, I really enjoyed when she twisted the twist.  That was kind of fun.  And of course, I didn't see that one coming either. 

I can't wait to see what happens next...