Category: "Harry Potter"

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling

June 19th, 2007

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. RowlingEver since Harry Potter had come home for the summer, the Dursleys had been so mean and hideous that all Harry wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he's packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature who says that if Harry returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.

And strike it does. For in Harry's second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor and a spirit who hants the girls' bathroom. But then the real trouble begins -- someone is turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects...Harry Potter himself!

With a book written about magic, especially one so centered on a world full of magic, the author could easily abuse his or her creativity. One thing for which I applaud Ms. Rowling is how well she maintains her focus in this series. While it is easy for us to get lost in her world, she never seems to miss a beat.

I love one of the minor themes addressed in these books: magic is everywhere, but as long as you believe it does not exist, you will never see it.

The Chamber of Secrets is the second book and thus Harry's second adventure. The main characters, who will comprise the nucleus of the plot going forward, are back. There are also enough new names and faces to keep the story fresh.

I like Book 2 more than Book 1. I surely give credit where it is due, so I appreciate Book 1 introducing Harry Potter, but I feel that Book 2 is more exciting. In Book 2 Ms. Rowling was able to delve more deeply into the magical world rather than spend time building up to it like she did in Book 1.

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling

May 3rd, 2007

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He's never worn a cloak of invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry's room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in eleven years.

But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that's been waiting for him...if Harry can survive the encounter.

There are probably not many people who list this as their favorite Harry Potter book, but it still deserves a lot of credit. While, without book 1, the rest could never happen, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone deserves more credit than that.

The later books will focus on Harry and the others learning and performing magic, this one IS magic. One thing that I wish Ms. Rowling had not gotten away from was the feverish excitement of the magical environment of Hogwarts. I am sure it was a difficult thing to sustain when the details had already been given in the early book(s), but I would argue that some of the fun has been lost over the series. Here everything is new to Harry and each time I reread Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone it is new to me all over again.

I am continually amazed at how many things were foreshadowed by this book. So many times things were mentioned, seemingly in passing, which are brought up later in the series. To be able to think that far ahead has been one of the great strengths shown by Ms. Rowling as she has given this series life.

I know many people avoid these books for any number of reasons. If you are included I hope none of your reasons has anything to do with the fact that these were branded as "children's books." The books do seem to age as Harry does. The story line grows up, but maybe not enough. I can, however, understand that the magic of these books (pun intended) is in their youthful energy, which may be a deal breaker for many readers.

If you have not yet squashed your inner child and you have not yet read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, frankly I am not sure what you are waiting for...

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