Harry Potter: Years 1-4

Harry Potter. It is difficult to truly explain how these books make me feel. I read them as they were coming out and went to the cinema to watch the latest films when released. I would like to thank J.K. Rowling for everything; her words have been brought to light by Warner Brothers, which have boosted the books popularity more than ever imaginable. Of course being a bibliophile I think that the book is superior to the film in all circumstances except maybe the Philosopher’s Stone. I realise that maybe this is my death sentence. However after re-reading the first 4 books and watching the first 4 films I have come to this conclusion. I love Harry Potter.

I will start with the Philosopher’s Stone (Sorcerer’s Stone) the book that started it all with the boy who lived. The mystery and magical atmosphere that Rowling creates in this novel is sublime. She wants to introduce people to the world she has foreseen however she doesn’t want it to be overwhelming and as a result it is perfect. It took me a matter of 3 days (nights) after work to re-read and it was very enjoyable. I felt a strong urge to then watch the film. Something Sophie had to put up with. We decided to wait until our new tradition of Movie Adaptation Monday and watch them all as I was re-reading them. Our aim being that we would end on watching the final part of The Deathly Hallows on Harry Potter book night (4th February). The film in my opinion is marginally better than the book. Of course the production value for the first film was very low and the effects were not brilliant, but that is part of its charm. The first film is the only one that tries to keep as much content from the book as possible, partly because it is the smallest book.  Regardless of that it is the film that started the worlds obsession with this franchise, which in turn boosted J.K. Rowling and encouraged her to keep writing and gave Warner Brothers a bigger budget for the following films. This is the main reason as to why I think the film is better, however it is only marginally and that is only because of my love for the franchise as a whole.

The Chamber of Secrets is my least favourite of the series, partly because I feel that Rowling was a bit over the top with the creatures she used as if to try and scare more and more. The story idea however is brilliant and the book is much better than the film, but for me there was something that would always put me off this book/film. I am not afraid of spiders or snakes but as J.K Rowling knows many people are, it is evident that she tries a little too hard to scare everybody and tries to use the reader/viewers fear to demonstrate how the character’s feel. I am not a fan of this but I still like watching the film and reading the book, primarily for the story/plot which is the best part of The Chamber of Secrets. I was however more than happy to move onto the Prisoner of Azkaban.

I have not yet gathered enough information (re-read all of the books and re-watched all of the film) to be able to say conclusively which is my favourite book and my favourite film but I definitely enjoyed this. I don’t know whether it is that I am just a bit of a sucker for time travelling stories and the Sci-Fi element or whether it is the fact that I love how Rowling hides so well the true identity of Sirius Black. Sirius Black is one of my favourite characters, he has had a very rough time and it is understandable that he wishes he was back at Hogwarts with James and Remus where he wasn’t in such a state and that is partly why I think he is a bit nasty to Harry (in that he wishes he was James) as he misses his best friend. Of course he has, back at Hogwarts, been very horrible, especially to Severus, which is NOT COOL. I feel that Gary Oldman’s portrayal of the character is perfect (and probably why I like Sirius’ character so much) and the partnership with Remus is exactly how it should be though Remus is the nicer of the two. Sirius did have to spend 12 years of his life in Azkaban with the dementors and in the knowledge that his so called friend was the real culprit who was still running free; anybody would be a bit crazy, wouldn’t they?

Finally onto the Goblet of Fire, the tasks, the Quidditch world cup, the competing schools. This book took the wizarding world to the next level, like Harry I never even thought about how the wizarding world would translate across the seas and Rowling has made it seem so obvious that even I feel a bit stupid for not reading more. Being a bibliophile I wish that we were able to read the massive amounts of books that Hermione goes through and I plead JK Rowling to write Hogwarts – A History. Me and Sophie would also like there to be a spinoff for Mad-Eye Moody, as we feel the exploits of his younger days would be a very interesting read. However back to the actual book that is written, the first task is just truly brilliant. I love the way in which Harry uses the Firebolt to escape the dragon’s clutches and to proceed to the next level. (A broomstick being the most sought after magical item I would wish to possess) . The names of the breeds of dragons and how the characters are interlinked (Charlie the dragon keeper being Ron’s brother) is also a very nice touch. The ending has to be the best of those I have re-read thus far and was definitely portrayed well by Ralph Fiennes, one of the best Actors in the whole Harry Potter series. The suspense that gradually builds in the book/film and sets it up for this huge climactic ending which is far from happy. Granted Harry escapes unharmed but Cedric dies and the return of the Dark Lord is confirmed. This is the perfect ending to set up the next 3 books of which get gradually darker until the end; I cannot wait to continue re-reading.

To all you fellow wizards, I hope you enjoyed reading my musings on how much I love these books/films, and for all those who feel negative toward the series or me for that matter then I hope you enjoy your family reunion with the Dursleys, be careful you don’t get blown up you muggle.

Danny

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