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The Ten: Updated Wednesdays-Fridays-Sundays

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

So... Harry Potter. (Part 1: Books)

So let's talk for real. This is not a love note to Harry Potter, nor is it a rage/rant. It is merely my opinion, and I stand by it, but I'd like to explain my case.

So I consider myself a pretty avid fan of Harry Potter. I started reading back when I was in fourth grade- I kind of grew up with the character. When I started reading, the first three were at my disposal. Sorceror's Stone was, you know- kind of amazing. The way it threw all of the Wizarding World concepts at you and you just had to go with the flow and see where it lead- that's a great read. Chamber of Secrets was my favorite, at that time. I thought the dark atmosphere in comparison with the first was fantastic- plus, the trip through the Chamber itself was thrilling- instead of being a set of trials with a maybe-maybe-not goal at the end, there was Ginny waiting in the final room- STAKES RAISED. Prisoner of Azkaban was also great, of course, but without some form of Voldemort lignering inthe background, I felt no real risk for Harry. I figured, if this damn Black Dog hadn't killed Harry after the first four times he was around, then the signs obviously weren't right.

Goblet of Fire. It's now my favorite Harry Potter book, simply because the trials were terrifying and fantastic. The story arc is great, and it had that atmosphere of throwing new ideas at the reader. The fact that it is the "turning point" of the series, when Voldemort comes back, is important, as well.

And for a while, all was well.

Then, Order of the Phoenix came out.

While I do like this book very much, I have problems with it, as well. I just feel that, after four books, Rowling continued to throw creatures and concepts at us, when I felt that the world that was established in the first four books was solid and needed little more. Now, the trip to the Ministry of Magic was necessary- not only for the tone of the book, but also because we hadn't really seen how the government aspect of the Wizarding World worked. However, I mean... this is a long ass book. Harry is a very ugly character in this- it's almost like Rowling looked at the past four books and said "this kid gets off too easily. Fuck him." and proceeded to make his life a living hell. Also, while I liked Dumbledore's Army... they were a bucnh of idiots for thinking that name up, especially if they had the risk of being caught. I suppose Phoneix is so mixed for me because it has a lot of "teenage angst" in it. Harry is constantly yelling. CONSTANTLY. THE MAJORITY OF HIS SENTENCES ARE IN ALL CAPS. He finally balls up and asks Cho out and then gets angry at her for being upset that her BOYFRIEND DIED? It's kind of a friggin' touchy subject, you should know! Also, the prophecy. I would have been perfectly okay with divination being a completely bullshit form of magic- hell, for the past four books, it had seemed that way. Only in Phoenix is it actually taken seriously. I mean, yeah. They also needed an explanation for why Voldemort went for Harry's parents- but the whole prophecy idea kind of lost me. It just goes beyond that- and I can't believe I'm saying this- tangible, logical magical universe that Rowling had established and says, "You know what? Bad guys need to lose because MAGIC SAYS SO." Had there ever been an example of prophecies made before? No. And apparently it's an imprecise type of magic, what with how there was the whole confusion with Neville and Harry. But I digress. I have many issues with Phoenix, but that might be because it tries to hard to go heel-face-turn and get SERIOUS with us. Or should I say SIRIUS LOL. God, someone shoot me for that. But it has such a drastic change in the character of Harry, really- he goes from being this adventurous, upbeat kid who sucks at Potions sometimes and has a fucked up past that he'd rather not live with you this angsty, angry kid with way too many girl problems and a suicidally adventurous knack. It's like everything was turned up to eleven.

Half-Blood Prince was crap (shame, too. The prologue of this book is awesome). There's very little of that book that I actually like. I like every Pensive sequence. I like Snape. I like Dumbledore, and his funeral (D: Gone but not forgotten). But most of that book is useless filler that tries too hard to make a character that we all trust- Snape- into a bad guy. We trust him because Dumbledore trusts him. Hell, even when he killed Dumbledore, I kind of said "okay, this is either staged, or there's a damn good reason for it." The attack on Hogwarts just seemed so... dull. Especially when there was very little hinting towards it aside from random events that didn't mesh well and the fact that Harry and Dumbledore had just come back from doing something actually cool and showed up at a lame, half-fought battle. Another note- spells in your head only becomes important in this book? WHY. WHAT? I... ugh. Apparently, the Death Eater's from the last book were just retarded, since they got their asses kicked by a bunch of kids who shouted their spells out. Oh, and Voldemort pretty much always says his spells. Also, NOTHING HAPPENS IN THIS BOOK. Harry finds a weird book. Slughorn. That Necklace thing. Really long will-they-or-won't-they with Ginny and Harry (sadly, this is the romance I feel that Rowling wanted to write, considering Ron/Hermione was created by the movies BUT THAT'S ANOTHER STORY FOR ANOTHER TIME.). Pensive. That's all! There are very few thrilling scenes in this book, like the Deathday party, or the Weasley Twins leaving. It's all pretty boring. But, I love Horcruxes. Awesome explanation for why Voldemort doesn't die.

And then there's Deathly Hallows. I don't know how I feel about this one, really. Ridiculous amount of deaths? Yep. Dobby had me pretty damn upset. But when they just randomly say "oh, and this person died too. It was sad." at the end of the damn book, its a little annoying. It's a damn good note to end on, though. The hectic Battle at Hogwarts is very impressive, and the final sequence with Harry's talk down of Voldemort is epic. However, I don't believe Harry is smart enough to have traced that all together by himself- even with the weird Dumbledore hallucination. ALSO WHAT THE HELL STUPID BABY SYMBOLISM MAKES NO SENSE. The problem with the book, though ,is that it does this thing that Rowling likes to do when she INTRODUCES SHIT IN A SINGLE BOOK. Seriously? I don't even believe that Rowling had the Hallows planned out, because she took an element from the SIXTH book, as well as an element that was kind of bullshit (Dumbledore's Wand. What the hell? So he wasn't actually the best Wizard ever, he was just and old guy with an epic wand? That demotes his ability so much.), and then an actually good idea (Invisibility Cloak tee hee) and mashes them together to make Harry cheat death in the end. Really, wouldn't it have been so much better if Harry had ghostied and watched as the prophecy became complete when NEVILLE struck down Voldemort? Yes. It would have. But since the book series is called Harry Potter we can't have any twists that involve ANYTHING BAD HAPPENING TO HARRY POTTER.

But the fact that Rowling introduces something to us this late in the game and has Harry bank on it so hard because he trusts Dumbledore even after his reputation is soiled isn't the crime. It's that we also have the entirety of the book spent killing Horcruxes ON TOP OF THAT. There's so much going on in this story that it hurt to read. And really, devoting one chapter to Snape's redemption? AND MAKING IT BE ONLY ABOUT HARRY HAVING THE SAME EYES AS HIS MOM. I know that the power of love is crucial and all, but damn. That's hardcore love, right there. Maes you think that James Potter was an irredeemable asshole. OH WAIT HE WAS.

That, atop the worst epilogue/fanfiction ever, makes Deathly Hallows an awkward read, for me at least. I might also just dislike it because I love harry Potter so much that I didn't want to see him go like that, but I can't really be sure. And yes, I love Harry Potter. I do. I like certain Harry Potter BOOKS more than others, but I love the series as a whole. It's a damn good story about love, friendship, and Hagrid. God, I fucking love Hagrid. I don't unconditionally love the first four books, mind you, I just have more intense gripes with the last three. But I went to the midnight release of books four through seven. I read books five through seven the night they came out. I really like this book series- and, like all series, it has its flaws. It is not the most amazing thing ever, and those who flipped their shit about it are weird and potentially obsessed. I mean, I grew up with the damn character, I should be perfect example of becoming obsessed with it, but I'm not. I just think that it's a great read, though, and that's what matters. If people can fall in love with a character through reading a book, than all is not lost in this world.

I miss you, Harry Potter. I wish you went to Hogwarts for eight years. :(

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