Following Harry Potter's defeat of Tom Riddle when the latter was a Hogwarts student, it's now time to expl"I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."
Following Harry Potter's defeat of Tom Riddle when the latter was a Hogwarts student, it's now time to explore other magical implements abundant in Harry's world. One prime example is the triple-decker, violently purple Knight Bus (the equivalent of taxis for lost Muggles perhaps?), magic mirrors that talk back (first introduced in Harry's room within the Leaky Cauldron), more fascinating shops in Diagon Alley, the Time-Turner (very tempting magical item indeed) and of course the now famous Marauders'Map. "Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs Purveyors of Aids to Magical Mischief-Makers are proud to present The Marauders Map"
Add to this the enticement presented by Hogsmeade Village (the only entirely non-Muggle settlement in all of Britain) located nearby Hogwarts. Here you can visit the post office, Zonko's (where Fred & George routinely refresh their supplies), the Three Broomsticks (serving the most delicious hot butterbeer) and of course, Honeydukes: "It's this sweetshop," said Ron, a dreamy look coming over his face, "where they've got everything...Pepper Imps -- they make you smoke at the mouth -- and great fat Chocoballs full of strawberry mousse and clotted cream, and really excellent sugar quills, which you can suck in class and just look like you're thinking what to write next --" "-- and massive sherbert balls that make you levitate a few inches off the ground while you're sucking them," said Ron.
I was never really a sports-fan but I thoroughly enjoyed the emotional high experienced by the Gryffindor team when they played against Ravenlaw (ahem, Harry meeting Cho Chang and experiencing the first pangs of teenage crush) to finally win the much-coveted Quidditch Cup: Then Wood was speeding toward him, half-blinded by tears; he seized Harry around the neck and sobbed unrestrainedly into his shoulder. Harry felt two large thumps as Fred and George hit them; then Angelina's, Alicia's, and Katie's voices, "We've won the Cup! We've won the Cup!" Tangled together in a many-armed hug, the Gryffindor team sank, yelling hoarsely, back to earth. Plus I think Lee Jordan's the best Hogwarts commentator during the Quidditch games (yes, better than Luna Lovegood in my opinion). Remember when Harry received his Firebolt from Sirius Black as thirteen years' worth of birthdays? "Jordan! Are you being paid to advertise Firebolts? Get on with the commentary!" Highly entertaining; makes you feel like you're watching the game alongside him.
Of course, an additional book to the Harry Potter series wouldn't be complete without the introduction of new and interesting characters. If anyone loathed Lockhart in the previous book for being such an obvious fraud, one is made to hold judgment in the case of Professor Sybill Trelawney, the Divination teacher. I guess it's because of Headmaster Dumbledore's comment later in the book when he mentioned that she already gave two authentic predictions so far. But I'm grateful for her presence due to the comedic additions such as: Harry, at last, felt extremely foolish, staring blankly at the crystal ball, trying to keep his mind empty when thoughts such as "this is stupid" kept drifting across it. "I don't need help," Ron whispered. "It's obvious what this means. There's going to be loads of fog tonight." Both Harry and Hermione burst out laughing. Kudos to Hermione for dismissing Divination as a worthy subject to study, but I wouldn't say the same thing if it was a True Seer who's conducting the lessons.
If Hagrid openly expressed his suspicion of Lockhart's lack of authenticity, Professor McGonagall is more tactful with hers regarding Trelawney: "You look in excellent health to me, Potter, so you will excuse me if I don't let you off homework today. I assure you that if you die, you need not hand it in."
A more important character, Professor Remus Lupin was introduced early on, riding the Hogwarts Express train car with Harry, Hermione and Ron. Without his introduction, we wouldn't have known how to best keep Dementors at bay with the highly advanced Patronus Charm. Concentrate on a very happy memory of yours, everyone! Wonder what my own Patronus Charm would be like?
It was just a disappointment when he was forced to resign owing to him being a werewolf. I guess he's the "tamest" and most academically-inclined werewolf one'll ever meet. I laughed out loud during his introductory lessons with the boggart in the wardrobe, using Neville's fear of Professor Snape: There was a noise like whip crack. Snape stumbled; he was wearing a long, lace-trimmed dress and a towering hat topped with a moth-eaten vulture, and he was swinging a huge crimson handbag.
And of course, during the dreaded finals, did anyone ever doubted what Hermione's greatest fear would be? He seems like a very good teacher," said Hermione approvingly. "But I wish I could have had a turn with the boggart --" "What would it have been for you?" said Ron, sniggering. "A piece of homework that only got a nine out of ten?"
"Hermione!" said Lupin, startled. "What's the matter?" "P--P--Professor McGonagall!" Hermione gasped, pointing into the trunk. "Sh--she said I'd failed everything!"
What makes "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" so interesting is you really get to learn about the relationships between James Potter, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew, and Severus Snape. You wonder what were they like during their student days in Hogwarts? It was impressive how they were able to transform themselves into Animagi, explore all the hidden passageways and the entire grounds of Hogwarts castle and get into all sorts of mischief in between while excelling in class at the same time.
The biggest shocker was of course the real reason why Sirius Black ended up in Azkaban in the first place and how he was able to escape. It sheds light on Scabbers's real identity, the friendship of the Marauders, the switch made regarding the Potters' Secret-Keeper involving the complicated Fidelius Charm (the magical concealment of a secret inside a single, living soul). It must've crushed Harry knowing that there was a hastily snatched glimmer of hope he's going to live with Sirius instead of going back to the Dursleys's for the summer.
These five characters, and their relationships with one another, are huge portions of the foundation on which Rowling built her series. As though an invisible hand were writing upon it, words appeared on the smooth surface of the map. "Mr. Moony presents his compliments to Professor Snape, and begs him to keep his abnormally large nose out of other people's business." "Mr. Prongs agrees with Mr. Moony, and would like to add that Professor Snape is an ugly git." "Mr. Padfoot would like to register his astonishment that an idiot like that ever became a professor." "Mr. Wormtail bids Professor Snape good day, and advises him to wash his hair, the slimeball."
Title Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Author J.K. Rowling Reviewed By Purplycookie...more
In the sequel following "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone", we are no longer taken by the hand to explore the world beyond the barrier of PlatforIn the sequel following "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone", we are no longer taken by the hand to explore the world beyond the barrier of Platform 9 and 3/4. Now is the time for Rowling to leave clues and innuendos to a lot of secrets and revelations that'll be sprinkled in the book series onwards. Now we can enjoy it along with a richer plot and more developed narrative and characters.
We get to meet Dobby, the house-elf (and little did I know of the sacrifices he'll make for Harry's sake later on in the series). It was hard to suspect Dobby of any maliciousness or that he make be taking orders from the wizarding family he serves, given his utmost sincerity in protecting Harry from the monster within the Chamber of Secrets. And yes, I cheered when he was finally given his freedom.
And finally, we get a glimpse of what a "normal" wizarding house must be like, in this case it is the Weasleys' house: The Burrow. It was interesting how the magical community live their daily lives and us, as Muggles, can only be in wonder of what would be deemed normal to them: magic cookbooks to whip up a scrumptious dish using your wand, a magical clock that's useful in knowing where your loved ones are, and that it's actually possible for a house to be architecturally sound since being held up, well, by magic.
I was delighted to know that wizards and witches can choose to travel by Floo Powder if they can't Apparate yet (since they won't be allowed to be traveling everywhere on their flying brooms either).
There was a glimpse of the reason why Filtch hates Hogwarts students that much (and why he'd side up with Umbridge later on), well, it's because he's a Squib owing to the damning evidence of a Kwikspell: A Correspondence Course in Beginners' Magic" manual on his office desk.
We get to meet possibly one of the worst caricatures of a teacher, the pompous know-it-all fraud who in reality just coasts by with just his looks: Gilderoy Lockhart. I guess this one's a reflection of the mundane world as any, since most would judge everything on appearances alone. Of course, most witches were seen to be under the spell of Lockhart's good looks: "Oh, come on," said Ron, wrenching it from her grasp and thrusting it at Madam Pince. "We'll get you another autograph. Lockhart'll sign anything if it stands long enough."
Amidst the excitement of driving Mr. Weasley's flying Ford Anglia and crashing it into the Whomping Willow, mumbling words while using Floo Powder and ending up in Knockturn Alley, encountering ghosts in the bathrooms and attending a Deathday Party on Halloween night, and the trip to an even more dangerous part of the Forbidden Forest and facing Aragog and his children, none can compare to the pureblood mania spawned by Salazar Slytherin when he built the Chamber of Secrets.
One couldn't help but wonder at the reason why Harry, like Slytherin, could be a Parseltongue and also share the same physical appearance of Tom Riddle. Of course, all answers are had by the end of the Harry Potter series and credit to Rowling for letting things build up and not give everything away as the series progress.
On a lighter note, giggles are from readers are not missing, although at the expense of Harry himself: "Harry," said Hagrid abruptly as though struck by a sudden thought. "Gotta bone to pick with yeh. I've heard you've bin givin' out signed photos. How come I haven't got one?" "I have not been giving out signed photos."
Fred and George, however, found all this very funny. They went out of their way to march ahead of Harry down the corridors, shouting, "Make way for the Heir of Slytherin, seriously evil wizard coming through..." "Oh, get out of the way, Percy," said Fred. "Harry's in a hurry." "Yeah, he's off to the Chamber of Secrets for a cup of tea with his fanged servant," said George, chortling.
Noticeable is the change in the characters of the trio, as they stand by their friendship and are willing to adjust in order to see things through. An example is Hermione's idea of using a Polyjuice Potion: "I never thought I'd see the day you'd be persuading us to break the rules," said Ron.
"I seem to remember telling you both that I would have to expel you if you broke any more school rules," said Dumbledore. "Which goes to show that the best of us must sometimes eat our words," Dumbledore went on, smiling. "You will both receive Special Awards for Services to the School and -- let me see -- yes, I think two hundred points apiece for Gryffindor."
Title Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Author J.K. Rowling Reviewed By Purplycookie...more
"There were a hundred and forty-two staircases at Hogwarts: wide, sweeping ones; narrow, rickety ones; some that led somewhere different on a Friday;"There were a hundred and forty-two staircases at Hogwarts: wide, sweeping ones; narrow, rickety ones; some that led somewhere different on a Friday; some with a vanishing step halfway up that you had to remember to jump. Then there were doors that wouldn't open unless you asked politely, or tickled them in exactly the right places, and doors that weren't really doors at all, but solid walls just pretending. It was also very hard to remember where anything was, because it all seemed to move around a lot. The people in the portraits kept going to visit each other, and Harry was sure the coats of armor could walk."
Honestly, I don't know anybody who'd refuse to even entertain the thought of attending a school for wizards. Yes, the experience itself may be daunting and scary but really, most of us would welcome an opportunity to escape the mundane world and enter one of the fantastical. And such is what "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" is: an introduction to world that you could never have imagine may possibly exist.
I've already lost count as to how many times I've re-read the Harry Potter series. The plot and characters are well known and described in many reviews, so I will not address them. I don't even think I need to convince anybody to read these books and/or watch the movies. Harry Potter and the magical world that J.K. Rowling has creating (Leaky Cauldron, Diagon Alley, Hogwarts) in the first book alone have already become household names the world over that you have to be living under a rock if you haven't been aware of this phenomenon. "Welcome," said Hagrid, "to Diagon Alley." Harry wished he had eight more eyes. He turned his head in every direction as they walked up the street., trying to look at everything at once: the shops, the things outside them, the people doing their shopping. There were shops selling robes, shops selling telescopes and strange silver instruments Harry had never seen before, tottering piles of spell books, quills, and rolls of parchment, potion bottles, globes of the moon...
I believe that I maybe counted as one of the millions of readers worldwide who wished something better for Harry Potter, especially being made aware of the miserable treatment done to him by his Muggle relatives. I too wish to know the contents of the mysterious letters which were detailedly addressed to the exact location of Harry. I cheered when Hagrid finally got a hold of Harry and conveyed to him the message that he'll be attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry that coming term. "Harry had never even imagined such a strange and splendid place. It was lit by thousands and thousands of candles that were floating in midair over four long tables, where the rest of the students were sitting."
I was looking forward as well to the process of selecting a wizard's wand and what exactly it is that aids magic: "Every Ollivander wand has a core of a powerful magical substance, Mr. Potter. We use unicorn hairs, phoenix tail feathers, and the heartstrings of dragons. No two Ollivander wans are the same, just as no two unicorns, dragons, or phoenixes are quite the same. And of course, you will never get such good results with another wizard's wand."
Instead of retelling the plot of which most people are already familiar with, I'd like to post here my favorite scenes and quotes from the book itself. One treat was finding out the type of delicious treats available to those who travel aboard the Hogwarts Express: "What she did have were Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, Droobles Best Blowing Gum, Chocolate Frogs, Pumpkin Pasties, Cauldron Cakes, Licorice Wands, and a number of other strange things Harry had never seen in his life."
I didn't expect the fast and true friendship that would form between Harry, Hermione and Ron. Early on we've managed to catch glimpses of the personalities of the two boys but of Hermione, I snickered: "I hope you're pleased with yourselves. We could all have been killed -- or worse, expelled."
One item (aside from a witch's wand) that I'd like to have is most probably Harry's Invisibility Cloak. Just think of the possibilities! And yes, I wouldn't pass up the chance to stand in front of the Mirror of Erised: "I show not your face but your heart's desire." No matter what Dumbledore may say that: "It shows us nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts."
The best laugh out loud moment of the entire book would be: "Devil's Snare, Devil's Snare...what did Professor Sprout say? -- it likes the dark and the damp --" "So light sa fire!" Harry choked. "Yes -- of course -- but there's no wood!" Hermione cried, wringing her hands. "Have you done mad?" Ron bellowed. "Are you a witch or not?"
But what would make one continue reading and ultimately finishing the Harry Potter series? It's because, like Harry and the rest of the magical world, we all want to know what exactly happened that night when Voldemort tried to kill the Potter family. How was it possible that Harry, as a mere baby at the time, survived? Would the friendship between Harry, Ron & Hermione survive the test of being constantly thrust into the limelight fraught with dangers? Why does Prof. Snape hate Harry so much, that you couldn't help tagging him as the one trying to steal the Sorcerer's Stone all this time? "The truth." Dumbledore sighed. "It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should be treated with great caution."
Title Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Author J.K. Rowling Reviewed By Purplycookie...more