Last month the Harry Potter books came out with new covers for the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter books. I couldn’t afford the whole series but I did get the third book and the sixth book, my two favorites of the series. I recently re-read the third book so I decided to re-read the sixth book this time.
The reason the sixth book is my second favorite is because of the back story given to Voldemort. I am the kind of person who likes the villain of the story to have a story. I have a problem when the antagonist is just there to cause trouble but we never find out why. I believe a story gets stronger when we can understand why a person makes the choices they make.
The look into Voldemort’s past is fascinating to me. I loved seeing when he was as a child to the moment when he started figuring out how to become immortal. It is interesting because we see that he had several opportunities to turn around. We also got to see the resentment and anger that resided in him since he was a child.
When I first read the series I just saw him as this evil man who had no morals and no reason for doing what he was doing. In this book we got to see the reason. We got to see why he might have turned that direction. He was raised without any love or affection. He was forced to grow up quickly and take care of himself.
Now not every person who grows up parentless turns into a murderer (i.e. Harry) but this book gave us a way to understand the man behind the evil actions. Part of me felt bad for him. I remember reading the first time feeling upset that he was left with this route. But then you look at Harry and see what choices he could have made.
Harry grew up without parents too and yet he was the complete opposite of Voldemort. Which then raises the question of nature versus nurture. Harry’s parents died protecting him, Voldemort’s abandoned him. Does that change things? Some very fascinating questions are raised throughout this story.
One of my favorite scenes is in this book. After Harry and Dumbledore look at the memory about the Horcruxes we get a speech that is very significant for this series. Harry doesn’t understand how love can be the power he has that will win him the final battle. He can’t see past what the prophecy says. He is stuck until Dumbledore makes him understand.
This whole speech is so interesting and important, not only for this story. Seeing Harry come to realize that his heart is what he has that has kept him whole his entire life. His heart and his love for those around him is what matters. Voldemort never allowed himself the ability to love. He closed that door when he was a child. Harry never gave up trying to find that comfort and love. He didn’t turn to the darkness for comfort. Instead he allowed people in, allowed them to take care of him when he needed it. We see what happens when you don’t give up, no matter the darkness that seems to surround you.
This book was also the first time I read a book where a main character died. Sirius’s death was tragic for me because I loved his character, but Dumbledore’s death was traumatizing in a sense. He seemed so important, so significant that I thought there was no way he would die. I had never read a book where someone like that died. That didn’t happen in younger books.
Dumbledore dying was the moment you realized that anything can happen. No one is immune and anyone can be gone tomorrow. I already knew this but this book hit that point home. The end makes you realize how important it is to say what you need to say to those around you.
Lastly I loved the very end of this book where Harry is trying to convince Ron and Hermione to allow him to search for the Horcruxes alone. Hermione reminds him that when they were in their first year he gave them the chance to turn back, to leave him. They decided to stay. Throughout five years they stayed by his side and they were not going to abandon him now.
The true power of friendship shown through this book. You see in this moment that those people who have stood at your side for years, through it all, are not going to disappear at the tough moments. If they had chances to turn back in the past and didn’t, then trust them to be there throughout it all.
What lessons have you learned from you favorite books?
I saw Never Not Reading posting some special Harry Potter posts a few weeks back. Weird Zeal created a list of Harry Potter related posts in celebration 20th U.S. anniversary of Harry Potter. I wasn’t able to do posts during that time because of a work event but I thought I would do some now. I liked the idea of talking about my favorite character in the series.
(These aren’t ranked in any specific order. They are just my top 7 favorite characters)
1.Sirius – I adore Sirius. I think I attached myself to him because he was the first real parent figure that Harry got throughout the series. When he comes in in the third book we go on this emotional journey with Harry. He think he has no true family left to him, thinks that someone is out to get him then learns the lengths that Sirius has gone to to protect him. I loved the connection they develop throughout the story.
I was devasted when Sirius died. I felt the ache that Harry felt. It was like a hole had been left. A true family and happy life was ripped away from Harry yet again. I hoped there was going to be a twist for Sirius to come back. I loved the way he helped Harry learn strength and the power of true and devoted love for a family member.
2. Dobby– Dobby was so weird when he first showed up in Chamber of Secrets. I thought he was this little odd ball. Then we learned how devoted and selfless Dobby was. He was goofy but he had a heart of gold. He was pure innocence. I wanted him to get everything and the fact that he was able to use his last moments to save Harry ripped my heart out.
3. Dumbledore – Dumbledore was such a complex and interesting character throughout the novels. I liked that throughout the series we saw him develop from a mentor to this man who was trying to make things from from his past. I thought he was just a teacher but we learn quickly that he was much more than that.
I also liked that he was seriously flawed. Having him make poor decisions made him human. I could relate to him. I saw his heart and saw what could happen when you only listen to your heart and not your head as well.
4. Hermione – Hermione was the character I related to most throughout the series. She was a bookworm. She had inner strength that took her sometime to find. She attached herself to a few true and devoted friends. I admired the way she was unashamed of her knowledge. Without her the boys would have been dead back in book one. She was the true power of the trio and I loved that.
5. Hagrid – Hagrid was a gentle giant. He was another character that was just pure happiness and innocence. He loved Harry so much. I liked that he was a bit off beat and yet was resistant. He didn’t back down. He didn’t let his failures destroy him. He made some decisions that weren’t the best but he never did it with a hard heart. His heart was always pure and in the right place.
6. Hedwig- As someone who has always been attached to animals I instantly loved that Harry had a pet of his own. Hedwig was his best friend and companion. She was there for him when he needed comfort. She was there to protect him when he needed help. Hedwig was the heart of the books for the entire series. Her death took my by surprise and I was so close to crying at that moment.
7. Snape – I know that Snape’s character is a very controversial. Snape is one of those people who made all the wrong choices. He is just plain cruel to Harry for most of the series and I can see how that makes people avoid him. But I think he is one of the best written characters in any book I have ever read.
He started off as a character that just seems like a plain villain. We think he is going to be a cookie cutter antagonist. Slowly we see that his character is so much more than just someone who is a obstacle for Harry. He teaches Harry how to stand up against authority. He lets Harry see that someone people get lost and destroyed by their pasts. He is an example to Harry of what happens when you are not strong and don’t fight for what you want.
I loved his journey throughout the books. As a writer I learned so much from his character. I leaned how important it is to know your characters and to write them as they are even if they end up having some distasteful and harsh sides to them.
Who are your favorite Harry Potter characters?
April was a decent month for me. I read give books and a short story. I also made some progress on a short story I am working on. I want to push myself writing more in the month of May.
April was a super busy time at work for me, we have three huge events between April and the first week of May so I have been coming home quite tired and with no drive to do much but relax. After the first week of May though work life should calm a little which will allow me to have more energy to do more work when I come home.
I am still 5 books ahead of my Goodreads challenge which is exciting. I am currently at 18 books read for the year. I also went only a small book buying binge this month.
The Raven King – Maggie Stiefvater- This was the final book in the Raven Cycle series and I enjoyed it. I found the ending a bit odd and vague which left me a bit indifferent to it. I did enjoy the way the character wrapped up but the story itself left me feeling a bit up in the air.
Opal – Maggie Stiefvater – This was a short story about Opal. I enjoyed this one a lot. I think it provided some answers I was missing form The Raven King. I also really enjoyed the deeper look at Ronan and provided a bit of an idea of what his series is going to look like.
Origin – Dan Brown – I had high hopes for this one. In the end it let me down in a lot of ways. I missed the ties to the historical aspects of his previous novels. I also missed the sense of adventure and the ‘”twist” at the end was predictable.
A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness – This was a somber read. I liked it and thought the way it deal with a very heavy subject was great. I think it gave real humanity to situation that can feel so uncontrollable.
Scythe – Neil Shusterman – This was so much fun to read. I loved the concept of the reapers and exploring what it truly means to be immortal. I also loved the look at the moral dilemma of taking lives and what that means for the people who have to do it.
Thunderhead – Neil Shusterman – This was a ride of a book. That ending left me dying to know what happens next. I don’t know how I am going to be able to wait until the last book gets published!
Love Simon – Movie Review
Reading Helped Shape Who I am
Down the TBR Hole #4
Blue Lily, Lily Blue – Maggie Stiefvater
Origin – Dan Brown
The Raven King – Maggie Stiefvater
Book tag: How deep is your book addiction?
How Well Does Goodreads Know Me?
Leah and the Offbeat – Becky Albertelli – This is a sort of sequel to Simon and The Homo-Sapiens Agenda and I am super excited to read it.
Dread Nation– Justine Ireland – I have been hearing fantastic things about this one and I am eager to see how it holds up to the reviews and recommendations I have read.
Circe – Madeline Miller – I am a sucker for anything related to mythology. I think is going to be a fun and different read.
“Hogwarts Mystery” – I downloaded this on my phone and have been playing it off and on all week. It is fun though I do see it starting to get a bit repetitive. I am interested though where the story goes. It is one that requires “energy” to do things so you have to wait for it to recharge before you can continue with the game. This is a great feature for me because it forces me to put the phone down and accomplish something while waiting.
How was your April? Any new books you recommend? New TV show? New movies? New games?
The Wizarding World Book Club has moved onto Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets. The questions for the rest of book one were alright but none of them sparked any discussion post ideas for me.
From the week of August 4th there were two questions that interested me. Both of them centered around the concept of home and how it is defined. Home is one of those words that has numerous definitions. For most it is a house but it does not always have to be. A lot of the times people talk about the difference between a house and a home. The house is the building you go to at the end of the day whereas a home is where you feel safe and loved. Both of the questions from this week center around how Harry and Ron define home.
The first question was pretty simple to answer; “Why is The Burrow so appealing to Harry?” The Burrow is appealing to Harry because it contains what the Dursley’s house does not, love. The crooked structure contains a family that adores and loves one another.
Harry grew up with nothing but anger and disdain thrown his way. No one wanted him around, no one gave him a second thought, no one cared about him. He had no purpose and no power in the Dursley household. He just made it day to day. Privet Drive was just house to Harry, somewhere for him to sleep and eat.
Harry meets the Weasley and realized that life could be better. He is welcomed into their home and their family with a smile and a hug. Mrs. Weasley treats him as one of her own. He is treated as someone who matters, someone who has a life that matters.
The Burrow itself is falling apart, it is crooked and nowhere near perfect, but it is what is on the inside that matters. Ron is ashamed of his house, not realizing what it means for Harry.
The way Ron talks about The Burrow reminds me of the way my parents talk about my childhood home. It is too cramped, dirty and broken. To me and Harry all those marks and scars are what make the building a home. It represents a family, a safe place and love. When I go home I am content and happy no matter what dishes are in the sink or what holes are in a door. It is somewhere where I am wanted and loved and I think it is the same for Harry. For Harry The Burrow is the definition of what a home means, it contains love and comfort and makes Harry feel safe and wanted.
The second question was a little tricker and required a bit more thought. “Where do you think Ron feels most at home?” I don’t think there is a particular place where Ron feels at home. I think it is more about the people that around Ron and what they make him feel. For him most of the time he is at home when he is with Harry and Hermione.
Ron grew up overshadowed by his siblings. He never got a real chance to stand out. We see in the first book that when he looks into The Mirror of Erised he sees himself the best of all his brothers and sister. On top of that he has a piece of himself that feels ashamed for his family’s status.
Unlike Harry The Burrow isn’t Ron’s favorite place. It isn’t a bad place to him, he loves his family and he knows that he is safe at The Burrow. When he is at The Burrow he is reminded of the people that overshadowed him. It is a safe place but it isn’t a place where he can find who he truly is.
When Ron is with Hermione and Harry he is able to stand out. Ron has a place and a purpose inside their group. He is not just a name in the middle of a giant family. He is an essential part of the group. I think for him that is where he feels most a home, a place and time where he feels like he matters, is wanted and needed and can make a difference.
In the end Harry and Ron were able to provide homes to each other. Both of them felt loss and powerless at the time when they met and in the end they gave each other places where to they could feel safe, wanted, cared for and needed.
My obsession with Harry Potter is not a secret. When Pottermore announced that they were going to start a Harry Potter book club a few months ago I was excited. One of my friends saw the announcement and passed it on to me. It sounded like a perfect place for me to geek out about Harry Potter with fellows Potterheads.
The bookclub officially started in mid-June, unfortunately for me it is limited to a Twitter chat (as of right now). The chat takes place on Friday at 11am which is when I am at work (damn bills needing to be paid!). So I can’t take part in the official chat. I glanced through the feed though and saw that some of the questions they asked were interesting.
After looking through the chat I decided that, once in a while, I am going to do blog posts on the questions that I really like or have a strong opinion about. It won’t be something I do every week, just when I like the questions asked. I figured this would be a fun way for me to still take part in the idea of the bookclub in some way.
The way it appears to be working is that they are going to break the books down into small sections. Last Friday was the first few chapter of the first book. They had three questions that they asked and the question that I found the most interesting was “Why do you think the Dursleys are so afraid of magic?”
From the first chapter I knew that the Dursleys were going to be people who feared and detested anything that was different or unexplainable to them. I knew that they were going to be people who liked life one way and one way only. Vernon came off as the worst of the three of them.
They are the kind of people who believe the world should run in a way that they can define and understand. If something different happens or comes up that is beyond their comprehension they want it gone. The last thing they want to do is learn a new way of life. For Vernon, especially if he can’t define it, it is dangerous.
The Dursleys are the type of people who don’t want to learn anything new. They don’t want to find out that their way of thinking may be wrong. To them the “other” is wrong and thus dangerous. Unfortunately today this attitude is all too prevalent.
I feel like Vernon was always this type of person from when he was a child. I feel like he grew up thinking he was superior and looking down on anyone different than him. Whereas Petunia was more open-minded at one time but jealously and resentment clouded that aspect of her personality. She was so hurt to not be a witch and to be rejected by Hogwarts that she internalized that anger and turned it into fear.
She met Vernon who thought in that narrow minded way and it fit in with her anger. He allowed her to build this wall and then hide behind it. She didn’t have to deal with why she was upset and angry, instead she made it so that the wizarding world and magic were to blame. She fell into this blackhole of fear and anger. It became so deep that it took having to hide and leave Harry behind to even begin to crack that exterior.
Dudley is his parents son and we know he inherited their narrow-mind set and fear of the “other.” Though his parting words with Harry showed that redemption is possible; if he wanted it.
Why do you think that the Dursleys fear magic?
I was excited when I heard that there was going to be another Harry Potter movie. When we first learned about it all I knew was that it was going to be written by J.K. Rowling and it was going to center around Newt Scamander the author of the book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, (which is a school book of Harry’s). I had no idea what a movie about that book could actually be about.
Over the months before the movie came out I still had no idea what the movie was going to be about. I knew that the creatures got out and seemed to be wreak havoc on New York. I wondered if that was going to be it. Was it just going to be a fun novelty movie but not much more to it? I wondered how it was going to tie into what we already know about the Harry Potter world, if it was going to tie in at all.
To be honest I was a little worried that it was going to feel like a whole separate world and story. I adore the Harry Potter series, as I have stated before in a number of reviews. I knew this story took place years before Harry was even born, it was even before his parents. I wondered if it would feel like a Harry Potter story or just a fun fantasy adventure. But I had my trust in J.K. Rowling and she did not disappoint me.
The movie is about Newt coming to New York in order to release one of his creatures back to the wild. While there his case, full of all the creatures he has collected over the years, gets mixed up with a No-Mag (or what Americans call non-magical people). Three of the creatures get out and start running around the city.
Newt runs into a wannabe Aurora, Porpentina Goldstein (though everyone calls her Goldstein), and her sister Queenie. They join together with the No-Maj, Jacob Kowalski to find the missing creatures. Through their adventures they stumble upon more important mysteries and twists.
I won’t reveal too much more about the plot because I don’t want to ruin the experience of the movie for anyone. It is so much fun to watch it, not knowing how things tie together and finding the easter eggs about the Harry Potter world we already know.
The reason I loved the movie so much is because it sets up a story for the rest of the films. If the films continue down the road they are heading we are going to get a very interesting story. The main arc connects in with a pretty big part of the later part of the Harry Potter series. It sets up a history for a character we know slightly and seems to be furthering a story of a character we all love. There is so much potential in place.
I cannot wait to see where this series goes. I am excited because it feels like I am right back in the world that I have loved for ages. We are getting history without it feeling forced. She is setting up a fun story, with an expanded world and tying it right back into what we already know. This movie is giving us a way to enter back into this world and explore the history of it even further.
If you enjoy fantasy movies, with action, comedy and some fun animals you will enjoy this movie. You don’t have to be a Potterhead to appreciate this story. You don’t have to know much more than the very basics of Harry Potter appreciate the fun that is this movie.
If you are a Harry Potter fanatic like me you will love this movie. You will pick up on little things that other people won’t know. And after seeing it once you will want to see it again to see how subtle things change when you know everything that is going on. You will enjoy the way it builds on the stories and characters we already know while creating a new world for us to explore.
I am hoping to see the movie again sometime soon. After I see it again I may end up writing a theory piece about what I think is going to happen in the future movies. I already have an idea of where the story may go and if I am anywhere close to right, it will be a great series.