Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - JK Rowling

Clearly the Harry Potter bug bit me harder than I thought, and just a few days after finishing the Chamber of Secrets I found myself curled up on the sofa deep in the world of the Prisoner of Azkaban.  And I wasn't disappointed.

The third installment of the series is full of little gems, so many of which it's easy to forget amongst the main storyline that sweeps you away.  And reading with hindsight is even better.  The little remarks, such as it being the second real prophecy that Professor Trelawney has made, are so blatant when you know what they mean.

This book contains my favourite Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher in Professor Lupin.  Clearly he's a favourite amongst the pupils too, but his watchfulness over his friend's son is touching.  I also like his carefully placed quips about the makers of the Marauder's Map and similar incidents.

Sometimes I think the proof that you've enjoyed a book is after you finished reading.  Sure, I was completely immersed in the story at the time and didn't want to be distracted at all.  However, the fact that since finishing I've been running through parts of Harry Potter books in my head must surely mean more.  I've been smiling as I remembered the elation of the house Quidditch Cup, and feeling pensive about some of the less happy moments.  And most of all I've been feeling annoyed at myself that I remember barely more than a few details of the later books.  Time to put that right soon I feel!

I'll finish with the end of the book, and a conversation snippet that I had completely forgotten but made me smile broadly (and has done so now just thinking about it).
'It's a letter from my godfather.'
'Godfather?'  spluttered Uncle Vernon.  'You haven't got a godfather!'
'Yes, I have,' said Harry brightly. 'He was my mum and dad's best friend.  He's a convicted murderer, but he's broken out of prison and he's on the run.  He likes to keep in touch with me, though... keep up with my news... check I'm happy...'
And it that didn't make you smile, you need to re-read the book.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - JK Rowling

Once again I've been through a non-reading patch, and am behind on where I should be for the year.  Still, there's plenty of time left to rectify that and yesterday I managed to read almost all of the Chamber of Secrets in one sitting.

Continuing my Harry Potter re-read journey, I started reading the second book a few weeks ago but for some reason never settled in.  Slightly unusual as I have always regarded this as my favourite in the series.  I guess that the opening scenes aren't what draw me in though.

I find Tom Marvolo Riddle to be an absolutely fascinating character, particularly with the parallels drawn between his and Harry's upbringing.  The complete self-assurance of being popular and brilliant is hard to ignore.  But I think what I find most interesting is that he is a half-blood, which always puts the reactions of 'faithful' families like the Malfoys into a different context.

Part of me has now got the Harry Potter bug back, and I can't wait to read more.  But part of me thinks it might be time to return to Poirot or Holmes for some good old-fashioned detective work.  Not sure which will win, I just hope I read something!