Quarantine Readings: "Harry Potter" Series
Ever since I was a child, I was a big fan of fantasy literature. It was one of the first genres I read, and a reason why I fell in love with reading.
I have already written about my love for the Harry Potter universe on other occasions. It is one of the few book series that I like to re-read once in a while.
Being now a young adult, I still felt strongly attached to the characters, the places, and the energy of the story. I have had the chance to feel that same energy through the Fantastic Beasts series.
From April to June, the first few months of quarantine kept me at home, I made myself the time for a good re-reading of this magical series, the first one being in my twenties.
I wanted to write this little article to share with you my discoveries and observations about the books, and my current opinion about which of them is the best.
Some things have changed...
The first thing that I found striking was the fact that all the books seem way shorter than the last time I read them, even though this time it took me much longer to read the whole series that in the past. As a child, I would read the longest books in two or three days each. Now, my mind is crowded with university exams and it is not possible to spend many days entirely devoted to reading, as I used to.
My relationship with the characters has also changed. I do not mean to say that it is a bad change, I just feel that I perceived many things that escaped me as a child, and also, that some of my judgments surrounding their actions are not the same anymore. Growing up you begin to understand how complex human relationships are, in literature and life, and my own experience in both gave the characters a new depth.
Dumbledore is one of those I am beginning to see under a new light. This might be caused by all the new details given by the Fantastic Beasts movies, but I do not consider him to be the sweet and wise old man I always thought. Now I can also see his manipulative nature. This is good. I think that when one becomes capable of noticing the dark side of a person, all the things that are not admirable, is when one really starts to know him/her.
My favorite character of the series as a child was Hermione. I felt identified with her in some way because I was the smart child in my class, the one that got good grades and had the best relationship with most of the teachers. Those facts were a big part of my identity back then, but as time went by, I realized that it is not what defines me. Challenges of the recent years (mostly college) made me discover that I have other much more important qualities that go past just being the "smart child". And it also made me realize, that Hermione was not only the smart child either. Even though her intelligence was something that always stands out, and plays a big part in the story, Hermione is brave, loyal to her friends, and has a very distinctive sensibility regarding social matters and injustice.
My favorite character right now is Severus Snape. Not only is he the biggest plot twist of the series (and one of the biggest I have read) but the character with one of the most complex backstories in it. Never would we guess reading Philosopher's Stone that the disagreeable and odious potions teacher would end up being one of the key persons in the war against the dark side. Nobody could have imagined that the reason that moved all his actions during his adult life was the memory of the love of his life. It does not attenuate all his mistreatments to Harry and the other students, but it explains his behavior somehow, and it makes the reader feel compassion and appreciate all his good qualities as well.
In this reading, I noticed a curious detail: In the first book, it is said that Harry sometimes had the strange sensation that Snape could read minds. And he kind of could, right? Snape would probably call me an ignorant and narrow-minded for trying to simplify occlumency skills to simply "read minds", but you know what I mean.
Another very random thing that I noticed is that Professor McGonagall's Patronus is a cat. I know it was an obvious one. I was reading chapter thirty of Deathly Hallows and all of sudden, there it was! I have never seen it before.
Which one is better?
Being Half-blood Prince and Deathly Hallows the first books of the series I read, I have always had a soft spot for them. They were also the ones that closed the story, where all the questions were answered. Those two were my childhood favorites.
But this time I tried to be more objective and to think more about the quality of the plot and the writing, just as I would with a book I am reading for the first time. It is difficult though. These books feel so much like home, and it tastes like childhood in such a distinctive way!
Still, I think that my emotional side does not deceive me this time.
The best book is, no doubt, Goblet of fire.
Just when you open it, on the very first page, you can see that something is different.
All the previous books start with Harry in Privet Drive, having an awful summer, and it gives us a little resume of his life.
This is the first book when it does not seem important to explain to the reader everything that happened previously. Why? Because at this point the series is established, and if we got there, we are expected to know all the details.
In previous books, the plot was easier to follow, more child-oriented. From the fourth book on, it becomes more complex, and twists and turns start to be more and more intriguing.
We start to see how real the danger is, and to understand that some of the characters we love may not live to see the happy ending. Cedric Diggory's death is the first of all the heartbreaking losses we will face before good triumphs over evil.
It is also the first time that Harry faces Voldemort. For real. Not him possessing a person, not a memory, not a supposed follower, but the actual Voldemort. We met the villain for the first time.
Him coming back is the episode that initiates the war that will drive the story until the very end. It takes off from there.
I enjoyed this re-reading a great deal. The first months being indoors were hard, and I needed something to cheer me up. Books provided a warm and familiar place to go, to escape from all the anxiety and negative thoughts.
This is a series that grows with the reader, and it makes it possible for a person of any age to enjoy it.
So, if you are looking for something to read (Or why not? Re-reading) this quarantine times, Harry Potter can be an excellent choice for you.
Which is the best book of the series?
If you are interested in purchasing these books, you can do so at the link below
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