Reviewing the Pages: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

49852

The war against Voldemort is not going well: even Muggle governments are noticing. Ron scans the obituary pages of The Daily Prophet looking for familiar names. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses. And yet …

As in all wars, life goes on. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate, and lose a few eyebrows in the process. The Weasley twins expand their business. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Classes are never straightforward, though Harry receives some extraordinary help from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.

So it’s the home front that takes center stage in the multilayered sixth installment of the story of Harry Potter. Harry struggles to uncover the identity of the Half-Blood Prince, the past owner of a potions textbook he now possesses that is filled with ingenious, potentially deadly, spells. But Harry’s life is suddenly changed forever when someone close to him is heinously murdered right before his eyes.

With Dumbledore’s guidance, he seeks out the full, complex story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort, and thereby attempts to find what may be his only vulnerability.

Probably the darkest entry in the series, Half-Blood Prince is a gritty look into the darkest times of the Wizarding world. With Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters finally out and wreaking havoc again in this edition, the now sixteen year old Harry struggles with balancing post-OWLs schooling with Quiddich, friends, extra lessons and his own blossoming internal feelings. The description of the “monster” within Harry in terms of his feeling for Ginny is accurate.

This book will pull at your heartstrings, as it caused me to tear up at the very end, even after having read this book at least once or twice. That’s how you know that a book is good. It gets deep inside of your soul, and never lets go. Rowling is a masterful storyteller, and while there are some moments that will irritate you, it works to get you invested in the story.

If you haven’t gotten into this series by now, this would be a BAD book to jump into. Go read the others first before coming back to this one. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

For those of you who haven’t read this yet, than this ENTIRE review series has been a spoiler, and with that, I’m sorry.  That being said, the actual death of Dumbledore didn’t move me to tear up.  What did was Fawkes’ lament afterwards.  The sorrowful song that I imagined in my head would have probably caused me to cry if I would have heard it in person.

Also, the end of this book sets the stage for the final book.  Throughout the entire thing, we keep getting mentions that Harry is the ‘Chosen One’ to take down Voldemort, once and for all, or fail trying.  We also get an incredible amount of backstory through moments in the Pensieve along with corresponding tales from Dumbledore.  It makes the inhuman monster human, almost.

Harry continues to frustrate me with his single-track mind once he finally sets his mind to it.  This time, it’s trying to catch Malfoy in the act of doing something…Dark.  Yes, I did just use the term “dark” in that way.   ‘Cause that’s what Harry keeps going on and on about.  That Malfoy is up to no good and Harry REALLY wants to catch Malfoy in the act, to prove himself right to others for a change.

However, the other major story here is love, and how it does take awhile to blossom.  In this case, it’s both Ron and Hermione going on their separate journeys in possibly finding love.  While it’s clear to the reader that Hermione does like Ron in more than just a friend way, Ron’s a bit more thick-headed about it.  Then again, when hasn’t he been thick headed about Hermione? Then, there’s Harry and Ginny finally getting together.  While Ginny has always been infatuated with Harry, Harry has only now found feelings for Ginny.  As I said in my Goodreads review, the description of Harry’s monster within is surprisingly accurate.  Love feels that way sometimes.

I hope that you have continued to enjoy these books well after you have read them the first time.  I’m loving the dive back into the series, and I’m anxiously awaiting diving into Deathly Hallows.  If you’re reading through the series folks, and are starting this book, then you might want some tissues…you’re gonna need them.

Advertisements

Reading List #4

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another edition of my reading list! Now, I skipped over one book in the process of going through my last read, and I’m ok with that.  As much as I do like sticking to lists and following a set plan from time to time, there are just some times where I’m like “alright, I can skip that one”.  And it’s not like the book isn’t on my reading list as it is, I just didn’t have the book to read it.  I’m sure it’ll show up on here again.  And speaking of, here is a very long list of books to come.  This should take me to that magical 50 books read this year.  Wish me luck!

Reminder: all covers come from Goodreads.

66625634208294

4985232329693

127842424811104

45127613167056

74861013541612

2778041217167579

3108200739030

31131847183187

101591234225

26819448

Reviewing the Pages: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

2

Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected…

Suspense, secrets and thrilling action from the pen of J.K. Rowling ensure an electrifying adventure that is impossible to put down.

Oh Harry. Angsty, teenage Harry. I forgot how bad your mood swings get in this book. Order of the Phoenix is the book that really sets the stage for the rest of the series. We now know that there is an end game for the fight for good versus evil, and that there is nothing that will stop evil from conquering good.

There are some scenes in this that could have greatly enhanced the film more, as good as the film is. Mainly scenes involving McGonagall. Her interactions involving Umbridge, particularly the one in her office as she is trying to advise Harry about his future schooling plans. In fact, McGonagall was quite sassy when it came to her inactions with Umbridge, which made me adore her much more than any other point in the story.

There are a lot of themes here that this installment touches upon, from loss to puberty; politics in schools to discrimination. All are handled well, and some topics are so deep that this book only scratches the surface. I can’t tell you to jump into a series while we’re this deep into it, but if you haven’t made it this far into the series, I highly recommend it. Just make sure you can put up with a lot of teenage angst.

Ok.  Not much to spoil here.  All things considered.  If you haven’t read this book, either you aren’t into this series, or you’re getting to this point.

Harry was quite a loathsome character in this book, going rapidly from angry to not in a matter of a paragraph; the constant lashing out at those who are the closest to him was rather irritating.  Not nearly as infuriating as Umbridge.  Her character’s devolvement from one who is willing to do the Ministry’s bidding to flat our psychopath (or is it sociopath, I can never remember the distinction).  Either way, it’s the little things here and there that really make Umbridge stand out as a character here.

One scene that I really want to point out is the very end, as Dumbledore is talking to a grief-stricken Harry.  As Harry’s rage increases, not only at Dumbledore, but the entire world, Dumbledore seems to slowly, and quietly break down.  And that speaks volumes.  A man, who tried to help Harry as best as he could, could only watch as the boy that he had been watching over since he was really little go through this heart-breaking event.  The tear that Harry notices at the very end speaks volumes.

Really, I could go on and on about this book, but if you haven’t done so, or haven’t visited this year in a long while, should do so.  Dive back into the magic.

Reading List #3

Hello everyone! Welcome to another reading list! I’ve polished off two book lists, and have successfully met my original goal of 20 books read in 2017.  So, I’ve bumped it up.  Currently sitting at 25, I have a feeling that I’m going to be bumping it up even further.  Probably to 30, or even 35.  Just so I have something to shoot for.  That being said, here’s my next list of books, in order that I will read them in, just for you to peruse.  Remember, all covers are taken from Goodreads.

31572175

34226713

1429235

31129777

17802439

2

11836538

28220806

24623820

67035

24059516

There, that should knock down some of my TBR list, right?

Yeah right.  There’s no such thing as getting rid of a TBR list.  It’s like laundry.  Everytime you think you’re done with it, there’s just another pile that springs up, ready to be done.

Did you find any book that you might like on this list? Do you have any recommendations for me to check out? Until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.

Reviewing the Pages: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

49130

Lord Voldemort, the dark wizard responsible for the deaths of Harry’s parents, is growing stronger. At the Quidditch World Cup, Voldemort’s signature Dark Mark appears in the sky over the stadium, causing pandemonium. The lightning-bolt-shaped scar on Harry’s forehead is sporadically causing him agonizing pain, and he is also hearing disturbing voices. Harry realizes that all this is the result of a strong connection between himself and the Dark Lord, one that is putting him in grave danger.

Back at Hogwarts, the students are getting ready for the upcoming Triwizard Tournament. Witches and wizards from two other schools are coming to Hogwarts for the year to compete in a series of grueling contests. The tournament is open only to students age 17 and above, but when someone secretly enters Harry’s name, he is forced to compete. How can a 14-year-old possibly pass tests that might be fatal to an advanced wizard? And with the threat of Lord Voldemort looming, will he be able to focus on the tournament at all?

For Harry, his friends, and everyone in the Wizarding world, the stakes are about to become much higher. This fourth installment, with a heart-pounding and emotional climax, serves as a turning point in the series, for the reader and for Harry himself.

The bridging of the ways, as it were. While Prisoner of Azkaban seemed to keep itself apart from the story, minus a few intersecting plot lines to keep the book tied into saga of Harry Potter, Goblet of Fire does the exact opposite. Goblet is our bridge between the first third of the series, with Harry learning about the magical world he suddenly finds himself in, and the second, and much darker half, in which fights to save the world. Characters come and go, grow in positive ways, and decline in spectacular fashion. Rowling does a phenomenal job of strengthening our core trio’s relationships with more fights and arguments than meets the eye, but those only serve to strengthen the bond with the other character more. If you’ve stuck around with the series up to this point, it is in your best interest to read this book, to give yourself a small case of dread as the book wraps up, and prepare yourself for much darker portions to come.

First off, if you haven’t read the series yet, OR read the books in the first place…then why in the heck are you here?

[grump]

Anyway, as I said in my Goodreads review, this is a book that serves as a bridge.  The book tests the darker waters for just a moment with the death of Cedric Diggory, and the subsequence aftermath with the duel against Voldemort.  I do feel like, for the most part, J.K. Rowling captures the shock afterwards with Harry pretty well, using a bit of magic to get Harry through the worst of it; watching someone that you know, at least somewhat well, get killed right in front of your eyes…so to speak anyway.

Another thing that Rowling did well here is strengthen the bonds of the trio by testing that very strength.  With the fight with Ron over how Harry (didn’t) put his name into the Goblet of Fire, thus seeking more attention, the boys manage to make up in a quick fashion and get back to being good friends again.  Which, kinda works that way in real life sometimes.  I can relate to striking out and testing the strength of a bond, only to look back at it again and find it stronger than it was when I tested it.  And for Harry, at 14, having this sort of complex and unbreakable bond with his two closest friends will serve him well.

Goblet of Fire is definitely not lacking in action, from each of the three tasks to the events of the Quiddich World Cup, and these tie into nicely with Harry trying to figure out what the heck to do with his clues to complete the tasks, as well as the ever increasing (re)introduction of Voldemort into the Wizarding World.  Though, while I wasn’t too keen on Fudge, I outright loathed him as a character at the very end, with his denial of the return of Voldemort.  One could liken it to a scandal-involved politician.  Or those too blinded with power to see, or want to acknowledge, the very problem that threatens them.

There’s one thing that bugs me…did they ever retrieve Barty Crouch Sr.’s body from under Hagrid’s yard? One can only assume that they did.  After all, perish the thought that Crouch Sr. could possibly be a chew toy for one very large dog.

I know I plan on continuing the series rather soon, and looking forward to continuing the saga of Harry Potter, right to it’s very end.

Reading List #2

Hello, and welcome back to another round of my reading list.  I finished the first one, so I figured, why not come at you guys with a second one.  So, without further delay, here’s my second list of reading.  Remember to click on the covers to go to their Goodreads page.

31135723

437133

49130

26859071

17167578

23439383

10587120

28074333

6065215

There.  That should be a satisfactory list this time round and should keep me going up until May at the latest.  What do you think? Find any books that spark your fancy? Any book you think I should add to a future list? Comment below! Until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.

Reviewing the Pages: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

5

Harry Potter is lucky to reach the age of thirteen, since he has already survived the murderous attacks of the feared Dark Lord on more than one occasion. But his hopes for a quiet term concentrating on Quidditch are dashed when a maniacal mass-murderer escapes from Azkaban, pursued by the soul-sucking Dementors who guard the prison. It’s assumed that Hogwarts is the safest place for Harry to be. But is it a coincidence that he can feel eyes watching him in the dark, and should he be taking Professor Trelawney’s ghoulish predictions seriously?

Prisoner of Azkaban is a wonderful entry into the Harry Potter series, and very well can act as a standalone novel. Yes, there are references to previous events in the last two books, but they are explained well enough that one could take away the gist of the situation, if they are even covered at all. Past, current and future relationships are all given at least a little bit of time to develop and flesh out, for both good and bad. Friendships are strengthened after a bit of conflict; rivalries and hatred deepen, and new bonds are revealed.

As I said before, it works well as a standalone novel. It brings depth to the brief mentions of certain aspects that get brought up in Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets. For example, the description of what Azkaban is and what happens within the deep recesses of the structure. Also, the introduction of both Sirius, and Lupin; both who are attached to Harry in one way or another, and how their backstory as Moony and Padfoot, along with Wormtail and Prongs as the Marauders gives us a taste of why Snape really hates Harry.

It has been a long time since I read this book, but it kept me enthralled just as it had when I first read it. Everyone should read this book, and this series in general.