Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Have yourself a very Harry Christmas

Merry Christmas, Gryffindorks!

I'm happy to see that wizards spend Christmas the same way muggles do. I'm especially happy that Harry finally gets Christmases that every kid deserves. It says a lot about the Dursleys that Harry considers the empty walls of Hogwarts at Christmas more of a home than the one he grew up in. It also says a lot about the level of loyalty of Harry's friends that they're willing to stay behind to be with Harry for Christmas.

Props to J.K. Rowling to not make religion an issue with Christmas. After reading the books, we assume everyone in the wizarding world celebrates Christmas. Rowling simply tells her story without having any kind of social or political agenda, although many social issues of the times are reflected in the story, Rowling doesn't use Harry to push her views on her readers.

Where do the teachers go during the holidays? Don't they have families to go home to? I guess for Dumbledore, Hogwarts is home. For most of the teachers, it seems they have no lives outside the one they know at Hogwarts.

Lastly, this Christmas, let's take a leaf out of Rowling's books and show a little more love this season. Happy Christmas!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Prisoner of Azkaban Chapters 1 - 2

Merry Christmas, Gryffindorks! As one blog reader pointed out, it's been a while since my last post. Well Diane, you can Huffle-shove-it. Here's your bloody post! :)


Each Harry Potter book has its own plot and unique storyline, but each book contributes to a large, overarching plot about Harry. The first two books do very little to move the "big" plot forward. Rather, their role is to introduce us to the wizarding world and give some background on the "big" story. On their own, they're probably geared toward the 9-12 year-old age group. In Prisoner of Azkaban, we see a jump in the level of maturity of the story. I really enjoy that as Harry gets older, so does his target audience. This book is also the first book to really further the "big" plot. I like that in this book, we move away form the formulaic plot of the first two. This is also apparent in the movies, helped by the change in directors from Chris Columbus to Alfonzo Cuaron.

I forgot to give my ranking of Chamber of Secrets in my last post. Here's a recap.
My Rankings:
Of my favorite books in this series, I rank Sorcerer's Stone 6th out of 7.
I rank Chamber of Secrets 7th out of 7. Ha.
I rank Prisoner of Azkaban 4th out of 7.

The Return of the Beefeaters

The Fat-porkers have reached new levels of nastiness in this story, especially with the addition of Vernon's sister, Aunt Hairy Jowles McGruff. Uncle Saltporker and Aunt Dunglips have not changed in their attitudes toward Harry since we last saw them; in fact, if anything, they loathe him even more. The only thing that has changed is that little Roastbeefy is now roughly the size of a baby elephant seal.

Like Wicked

A few months ago, I saw a production of the musical, Wicked. For those of you who don't know what Wicked is, it is the Wizard of Oz told from the perpective of The Wicked Witch of the West (Elpheba) and Glinda. In that musical, we get to see the same story we've known for years, but we get a completely different side of it. The reason I bring this up is because I can liken it to Harry's world. It is a story about wizards, but it is not told from a human perspective as you might expect. It is told from a wizard point of view and things from the muggle world must be explained to the reader. Anyway, that's just something I was thinking about while I was reading this chapter. Random, I know.

For New Readers... or Just People Like My Mom

If this book is the first book from the Harry Potter series you read or if you haven't read the first two books in a long time, J.K. Rowling does a fantastic job of getting the reader caught up on background information from the first two books without taking too much of the reader's attention. She carefully weaves it into the first two chapters without slowing the story down. Takes a special talent to do that.