sâmbătă, 7 martie 2015

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The last Harry Potter book is all that everyone imagined it would be and much more. After seeing the characters develop and gaining magical powers, now we see them taking their own path in fighting Voldermort. In the magical world, being 17 allows zoung witches and wizards to use their power to the best of their abilities. Achieving this age also means that the magical enchantment which protected Harry from Voldermort will end. In order to protect Harry, Mad Eye Moody, the Weasleys, Ron, Hermione, Lupin, Thonks all come to assure that Harry goes into a secret hiding place. Unfortunately the Death Eaters attack them on the night when Harry turns 17 and kill Mad Eye Moody and injure George.

Hermione, Ron, and Harry reach the safe house, which in the first stage is the Weasley residence. There they attend Fleur and Bill’s wedding, a last opportunity to enjoy a pleasant company. On the same night with the wedding, the Ministry of Magic is overthrown and Death Eaters attack the Weasley’s.

Barely managing to escape alive, Ron, Hermione and Harry flee to London, and hide into 12 Grimauld Place.  There, with the help of Kreacher find out that the Slytherin Locket is under the possession of Dolores Umbridge. Using a polijuice potion and concocting a plan to infiltrate the Ministry of Magic, they manage to retrieve the locket, but are unable to go back into the house, because one of their attackers saw the location of their hiding. As a consequence, they chose to go into hiding, never staying in one place too long. Unable to destroy the locket, they must carry it on them in turns, and under the dark influence of the locket, Ron starts believing that Harry and Hermione are laughing about him and in a fit of fury decides to abandon them. Both Harry and Hermione are devastated, but they continue the quest for the remaining Horcruxes.

During their quest to find the Horcruxes, they also discover more about Dumbledore’s personal life. Along with new findings, Harry is tormented by thoughts of being used by Dumbledore, but is aware that he must trust Dumbledore’s decision of how and with whom he shared information. Also with the help of Hermione they uncover that Voldermort is after the Deathly Hallows- three magical objects that have the power to make one invincible. The Elder Wand- which was in Dumbledore’s possession, the Resurection Stone- that has the ability to bring back the memory of the dead ones and the Invisibility Cloak. Harry realizes that the Hallows must be real and that he is the happy possessor of the Cloak. He chooses to continue the quest set by Dumbledore: find and destroy the Horcruxes.
Ron returns to his friends, just in time to save Harry from drowning. One night, a Patronus, a silver doe appears and leads Harry to discover the Sword of Griffindor on the bottom of a frozen lake. As he dives to recover the sword, the ice starts forming above and he is trapped. Ron appears, saves him, and also destroys the locket with the Sword. United, the three friends resume their quest. Together the friends piece together the information that one of the remaining Horcruxes is the cup of the House of Huffelpuf, the other one must have something to do with the House of Ravenclaw and one of them is Nagini, Voldermort’s precious snake.

One night, as they attempt to set up camp they are captured and taken to Malfoy residence. Hermione manages to put a transforming charm on Harry’s face, making it unrecognizable. They are imprisoned in the Malfoy’s cellar and Hermione is being tortured. Among the prisoners Harry and Ron find their friends Luna Lovegood and Dean Thomas, Olivander - the wand maker, and Griphook - a goblin working at Gringotts. From Griphook they found out that the cup is held in the Lestranges Vault at Gringotts. With the help of Dobby- the former Malfoy house elf, now a free elf, the group manages a close escape to Fleur and Bill’s Cottage. Unfortunately Bellatrix manages to mortally attack Dobby with a knife. After they arrive at the cottage the little elf dies. Harry is full of sadness as he loses one more friend and after providing Dobby with a proper funeral, he negotiates with Griphook the price to break into Gringotts. Griphook asks for the Sword of Griphindor, and helps the trio get into the vault. After they manage to take the cup, Griphook gets the sword, and they manage to escape using the trapped dragon. Flying on the back of the dragon they exit London and return into hiding. Realizing that the Ravenclaw Diadem might be one of the Horcruxes they plan to return to Hogwarts.

Under the new dark regime, Hogwarts is managed by Snape and is heavily defended by Death Eaters. They manage to get inside Hogwarts through a passage that connects Leaky Cauldron, a place in Hogsmead managed by Aberforth Dumbledore, Albus’s brother, to the secret chamber in Hogwarts. As they enter Hogwarts they find out a couple of Dumbledor´s Army fellows are there in hiding and more return as they prepare to destroy Voldermort. Memebers of the Order of the Phoenix also come and a battle ensues. Trying to find the diadem is hard work, and with the help of the ghost in the Ravenclaw tower Harry manages to find the diadem. Unfortunately he is surrounded by Draco, Crabbe and Goyle, and one of them uses a dark spell sending a consuming fire. The fire destroys the diadem and kills Crabbe. Draco and Goyle are saved by Harry and Ron and Hermione return after destroying the cup using the basilik fang located in the Chambers of Secret. Voldermort puts a siege on Hogwarts, and Harry is called to face him in a face to face duel. Before he goes into the Forbidden Forrest, Harry tells Neville to kill Nagini, and he sets of alone, under the cover of his invisibility cloak.

Harry realizes that he must die in order to defeat Voldermort, and being at peace with this decision uses the Resurrection Stone to see his family and dead friends one last time. Faced with Voldermort, Harry refuses to use any killing curse, and although Voldermort holds the Elder Wand, and casts a killing curse, Harry is not entirely dead; he only visits a temporary link between the dead and the living. In this temporary voyage he encounters Dumbledore, who lets Harry know the secret of the Elder Wand and the fact that Voldermort has simply destroyed the Horcrux that resided in Harry. Harry returns to the living, and resumes the fight against Voldermort. He is the true owner of the wand, and although Snape killed Dumbledore, Draco disarmed him first. Voldermort kills Snape, but Snape manages to give Harry a last memory that forever changed the way in which he sees Snape (he was his protector, due to the deep feelings of love felt towards his mother).  Due to the fact that Harry disarmed Draco he had in turn become the master of the Wand. A consequence of wand’s alliance to a true master is that any spells cast won’t hurt the rightful owner, and so the curse sent by Voldermort backfires and kills him. Neville manages to kill Nagini, and the other members of the Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore’s Army defeat the remaining Death Eaters. Unfortunately in the battle Fred, Nymphadora, Lupin and other students are killed, but the world returns to a peaceful state.

In the prologue we find Harry having a happy family with Ginny, together having three children: James Sirius, Albus Severus and Lily Luna, and setting his middle child to Hogwarts with words of comfort regarding the allocation of a particular house by the Sorting Hat. Ron and Hermione also have a lovely family with two chidren: Rose and Hugo. All friends meet on the platform of 93/4 to see their children off to Hogwarts. So end the book.

The last book of the series is a complex book that deals with the issue of trust, love, death, while managing your emotions. One of my favourite scenes is when Ron rescues Harry. For me this is the embodiment of friendship and it shows the necessary path Ron had to take in order to redeem his moment of weakness. After he chooses to abandon them in a fit of fury, he had to find them again by trying to predict where they will end up. It was an arduous task, but with the help of Snape’s Patronus he manages to find them just in time.  Also the epilogue is beautiful and leaves you with a sense that all is good in the world.

I can only advise you all to read the books for yourself and discover the magic of J.K. Rowling’s writing and the fascination of reading about the transformation of the main characters.

joi, 26 februarie 2015

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

In this book, Harry and his friends are almost grown-up while their fight against Voldermort intensifies. 

After receiving their results on the examinations following their 6th year at Hogwarts, they choose their own subjects according to the path that they want to pursue after graduation. Harry further take Potions, but on the directional instruction of Horace Slughorn, a professor obsessed with tutoring bright students and creating a web of connection with the most powerful wizards. During his first Potions lesson, Harry is given and old book to practice the day’s lesson and it turns out to be a highly commented book, which belonged to the Half Blood Prince. Following the directions in the book allowed Harry to create a wonderful potion and win a bottle of Felix Felicis- a potion designed to give luck to the one that consumes it. Too much of Hermione’s anger, Harry follows the comments on the book and outshines her in Potions, in the following lessons. Another development of the year is that finally Snape receives the post of Professor of the Dark Arts, alongside with Harry receiving regular lessons with Dumbledore.

Dumbledore gives Harry private lessons in the hope of finding out more about Voldermort’s past and understand how he became obsessed with power. They also find out that in Voldermort’s pursuit of eternal life he had split his soul in seven Horcruxes (objects designed to encapsulate one’s piece of soul). Two of the Horcruxes were destroyed – the Riddle Diary, which allowed the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets, and a ring, of the heirloom of Slythering House. The ring was destroyed by Dumbledore and left him with a slowly progressing dark spell that will ultimately kill him.
The quest to discover the past and understand how Voldermort can be destroyed progresses with the help of Dumbledore’s memories of young Riddle. Harry finds out more about the boy and young man that will become the greatest dark wizard of all time. He is both amazed and shock to find out some similarities between him and the Dark Lord, while also finding out the one important thing that distinguishes him from Voldermort: his power to love and maintain a true friendship with Ron and Hermione. Ron and Hermione help him make sense of all that Harry finds out during the private discussions with Dumbledore, though they don’t agree with Harry’s intensive use of the Half Blood Prince’s Potion Book. Furthermore, Ron and Hermione develop feelings for each other, but Ron is jealous of the friendship between Hermione and Krum and he ends up dating Lavander Brown, which totally impedes the friendship between him and Hermione. Luckily Harry maintains contact with both and somehow manages to go through the year and his own love life, mostly in one piece. Harry starts fancying Ginny, but fears Ron’s disapproval, so he keeps it a secret.

Upon following Draco Malfoy into the Dark Alley, Harry is convinced that Draco plans to kill Dumbledore, and after couple of attempts to smuggle dark art objects into the school, he starts using his Marauder’s Map and Invisibility Cloak to follow him through the school. Unfortunately this disturbs his ability to recollect a last piece of information vital to finding out how Voldermort can be destroyed. Pressed by time and Dumbledore, one night Harry drinks a portion of his Felix potion and manages to retrieve a vital memory from Slughorn. With this piece of information he and Dumbledore manage to deduce the number and the identity of the last Horcruxes.

In one night, almost at the end of term, Dumbledore asks Harry to accompany him in the journey to destroy one of the Horcruxes (the Slytherin locket). They go to one remote place where the young Riddle was on holiday and there they manage to pass all the charms, only to find out that the locket was a replica, the real one being in the possession of R.A.B.  When they return to Hogwarts, they find the school being attacked by Death Eaters, and in the feath of the Battle, they go up in the Astronomy Tower, where cornered by Draco, Bellatrix, and other Death Eathers, Dumbledore is being attacked. Harry cannot defend his mentor, being immobilized by a spell under his Invisibility Cloak. Then his worst fears come to life: Draco tries to kill Dumbledore, revealing a pact made with Voldermort, but is unable to kill and so Snape kills Dumbledore. Paralysed with pain, Harry tries to scream and fight back, but only when Dumbledore dies the spell is lifted and he can pursue the attackers. The whole school is fighting the Death Eaters, and after Snape and the others escape the premises the whole school turns to Dumbledore’s dead body and mourns the loss of one of the greatest wizards of their time.

In the aftermath of the fight, Ron and Hermione forget their dispute and rekindle their friendship and also Harry enters a relationship with Ginny, having Ron’s blessing. Without major events, the school-year ends. The friends decide to continue Dumbledore’s quest, to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes.  

What I enjoyed the most in this book is finding the characters developing insights into their own personal life and personal development. You can feel that the characters are growing-up, as they become more aware of others and their feelings alongside with discovering a purpose for their own abilities, and how to use them in their fight against evil.

marți, 17 februarie 2015

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The fifth book in the Harry Potter series begins with Harry being attacked by Dementors as Dudley and he return home one late summer evening. Forced to use magic in order to ward off the attack, Harry receives a letter from the Ministry of Magic and is accused of underage magic and expulsion from Hogwarts. He is even subjected to a hearing at the Ministry of Magic and only after a witness testifies in his favour he is free to attend to Hogwarts and continue his schooling. At the Hearing, Harry meets the under-secretary, Dolores Umbridge, which will play an important negative role in the new school year.

As a consequence of the dark activity and the Dementor attack, Harry goes to a safe hiding place, the house of his godfather - Sirius Black. There, he meets his friends and is introduced to members of the Order of the Phoenix, a group of witches and wizards led by Dumbledore in attempt to fight Voldermort. At the headquarter, Harry finds out about the extensive campaign to discredit his name and claim that Voldermort is back. His emotions intensify as he experiences more dreams and scar pains related to Dark Lord’s activity. He demands more information from Dumbledore, but is denied in an uncharacteristically cold fashion by the Headmaster. Feeling more and more misunderstood and left out from the Order, Harry’s emotions grow and he finds himself experiencing more and more scar pains, dreams and also Voldermort’s emotions. Sirius becomes his confident and friend and helps Harry to understand the importance of training his mind and restraining from acting impulsively. Sirius is also bound to remain into hiding after Malfoy recognizes him, when disguised as a black dog. On this note of secrecy, Hermione, Ron and Harry begin their fifth year at Hogwarts.

The magical world seems oblivious to Voldermort’s return, and the Ministry of Magic interferes with Hogwarts educational politics, by instating Umbridge as Defence against the Dark Arts teacher. Umbridge is an avid power seeker and doesn’t miss any opportunity to gain power in Hogwarts, by forcing stupid decrees and laws. She even bans the use of courses in her class and uses barbaric methods on students that receive detention. Needless to say, she hates Harry and tries to force him to remain silent by having him in a long detention period and ultimately banning him from Quidditch and locking away his broom. As a reaction to all the restrictions set by Umbridge, Hermione, Ron and Harry create a secret group, Dumbledore’s Army, in order to practice Defence against Dark Arts. The group has members from different houses, and they meet in secrecy.

After Harry experiences a dream in which he sees Voldermort attacking Mr. Weasley, Dumbledore urges him to start training Oclumency with Professor Snape in order to close his mind from Voldermort’s influence. Harry ignores the practice of closing his mind and is constantly haunted by nightmares in which he goes in the Department of Mysteries and searches for a weapon. In one of the meetings with Snape he breaks into one of Snape’s early memories, and sees the young professor being tormented by James Potter (Harry’s father) and his group of friends. Feeling the urge to better understand his father’s behaviour he contacts Sirius in order to hear the story from him. Slowly he realises that everyone makes mistakes and nobody is perfect, and he too must try to contain his anger, frustration and negative emotions.

Without the practice of controlling his mind and emotions, Harry believes one nightmare in which he sees Sirius being held captive in the Department of Mysteries. Unable to contact Sirius he decides to go and save him. He is accompanied by Hermione, Ron, Ginny Weasley, Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom in their attempt to break into the Ministry of Magic and rescue Sirius. Only after the group succeeds in retrieving a prophecy concerning Voldermort and Harry, did they realize that they have been lured into a trap. Death Eaters appear and try to steal the prophecy and in the fight Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Neville and Luna are injured, and the prophecy is destroyed. Coming to Harry’s help Sirius, Lupin and Mad Eye Moody alongside a group of Aurors appear. Unfortunately, by the time Dumbledore appears Sirius is killed, but he is successful in withholding Voldermort and catching the group of Death Eaters.  Following this battle in the Ministry of Magic, the officials, led by the Minister – Cornelius Fudge, are forced to recognize the return of the Dark Lord and take action.

Losing the closest person he had to a father is proving very painful to Harry and he feels like he needs to avenge him and also to punish Dumbledore for not helping him earlier. Dumbledore finally tells Harry the truth about why he was left in the custody of his aunt and why he wanted Harry to learn Occlumency. Apparently the great spell that enabled Harry to live after his parents were killed is due to the immense love that his mother had for him. This tie of blood must be renewed constantly, thus the need to return and live with his aunt and uncle every summer. Understanding this, but reluctant to the idea of a fun less summer, he goes on to spend his summer holiday in the company of the Dursleys.

In this book, we see the maturation process of emotions and also the need to contain impulses whilst listening to the advice of other. We are forced to trust our loved ones even when they don’t share the full information. Without this trust we are bound to make mistakes, possibly costing us more than just our pride. In Harry’s case his mistake of failing to listen to the advice of his mentor and friends led to Sirius’s death. This left him with a feeling of emptiness and the realisation that he contributed to his godfather’s demise.

A moral idea of the book is that we need to contain our impulses and also listen to the advice of others even if we think we are misunderstood or nobody feels the way we feel about a particular experience. We are not alone and the greatest power that we have in overcoming any challenge is to love, trust and listen wholeheartedly to our friends and mentors. I believe everyone (myself included) needs to remind her/himself that s/he is not alone and that we can ask for help or receive advice even if we think we don’t need it. Extra knowledge and advice from others are signs that people care about us and our well-being.   

joi, 22 ianuarie 2015

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

In the fourth Harry Potter book, as Harry grows he attends the Quidditch World Cup and is a participant of the Triwizard Cup, which is held at Hogwarts. Both events are deemed to foster cooperation between wizards and witches from around the world. Even though in the magical world the returning of Voldermort is kept secret, signs of his return appear.

At the Quidditch World Cup, at which Hermione, Ron, Harry and the Weasley Family are all present, the Dark Mark of Voldermort appears after a group of Death Eaters start killing half-blood wizards and witches. The resulting wave of panic is blamed upon a house-elf belonging to Barty Crouch’s family (an official of the Ministry of Magic) and an unofficial investigation concerning the identity of the Death Eaters begins.

Harry is convinced of the importance of this dark activity, as he experiences pains in his scar and strange dreams about Voldermort’s activity. Dumbledore sets put extra precautions, and he even bans students under the age of 18 years to compete in Triwizard challenge. In order to compete at Triwizard Tournament, participats from two other prestigious schools: Durmstrang and Beauxbatons arrive at Hogwarts, alongside Ministry of Magic officials. The guests are received with curiosity and enthusiasm. As a mean of selecting suitable champions from the schools the Goblet of Fire (an ancient magical sorting device) is used. It comes as a surprise that after the election of Cedric Diggory, from Huffelpuff House – Hogwarts, Viktor Krum from Durmstrang and Fleur Delacour from Beauxbatons, Harry´s name is also selected, without him entering in the competition. With suspicions over the person which entered Harry´s name is trying to kill him, his friends and close professors seem to help him figure out clues on how to overcome the three challenges. As he finds out the nature of the first task he also shares information with Cedric, managing thus to get the golden egg protected by a fierce dragon. In the second task, Cedric repays the help by giving Harry a clue on how to open the egg and understand what the second task will be. Between the first and the second task a great Yule Ball is given, and Hermione attends it with Viktor, leaving Ron to feel for the first time a surge of jealousy and to notice that he has certain feelings for Hermione. Harry and Ron attend the party with the Patil sisters (Padma and Parvati), but end up talking to each other the whole time, as neither really fancies the girls. In the second task they must recue the loved ones from the lake, where they are guarded by Meerpeople. Harry’s need to be assured that all the captives are rescued almost cost him the points, but in the end the judges decide he showed moral fibre and award him points nonetheless, sending him in the second place for the Cup. The last task is a Maze completion and as he and Cedric decide to reach the cup at the same moment they are transported to Voldermort´s whereabouts. The cup was a portkey, bewitched to bring Harry to the Dark Lord.

In the fight to save their lives, Cedric is killed and Harry manages to escape. Harry shows incredible strength when duelling with Voldermort and realizes that his wand and Voldermort’s are sister wands, having been made with magical feathers from the same phoenix bird (Fawks - Dumbledor´s phoenix). After Harry returns with Cedric’s dead body, nobody believes him that he had to duel Voldermort, and the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, goes to great lengths to publicly discredit this claim. Only Dumbledore makes the information known to students in the end of the year feast and sends cautionary messages to all witches and wizards who believe him. In this note, the school year finishes and Harry is left to return once again to his uncle and aunt at Privet Drive.

The book follows the same themes such as death, friendship and bravery as the previous ones. It is enchantingly well-written and makes you think twice about the important decisions and trials in one’s life. I am reading it from an adult perspective and I am always amazed at the meanings which appear in the book. For example, how to deal with challenges set ahead of you and also how we tend to regard everything that has come to pass as something that was bound to happen. It seems he have a certain need to think that once we overcome something we were always meant to live it, and how we tend to forget the anxiety and stress that accompanies our struggles. 

miercuri, 14 ianuarie 2015

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The third book in the series opens with the story of a dangerous criminal wizard (Sirius Black) escaping the maximum security prison called Azkaban and going after Harry Potter. The action thickens with the arrival of new security measures at Hogwarts, Dementors -creatures that thrive on any sad and traumatic memory. Dementors are the keepers of Azkaban, ferocious creatures that can kill by sucking the soul out of a person.

Harry enters his third year at Hogwarts and finds himself highly protected against the threat of the escaping criminal, rumoured to be after him. Unfortunately he is very sensitive to the presence of Dementors that keep making him re-experience the night in which his parents were killed by Voldermort. Due to an accident when playing Quidditch (the most popular sport played in wizard world, and one at which Harry is extremely good) theyr professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts, Pr. Lupin, decides to help Harry conjure a Patronus, a charm that works against Dementors. Everyone in the school seems to have their watchful eyes on him, as he is considered Sirius target. Because the students are allowed to visit a nearby town of witches and wizards, Hogsmead,  Harry resorts to his Invisibility Cloak and a gift from the Weasley twin, a Marauders Map, to join his friends there. Using this Map unveils to him the story of how his father was a close friend of Sirius, and how betrayal leads to the death of Harrys parents. With a surge of revenge, he wants to avenge his parent’s death.

The theme of this book seems to be overcoming the sadness of losing your loved ones and also finding resources to go through the sorrow and become optimistic about the present and the future. The lesson for me was that one should never let him/herself be stuck in the past, because only remembering the suffering and negative experiences will send you to your own personal prison. It is a powerful analogy that is spot on with how depression evolves and is maintained. Whenever we find ourselves stuck on our failures we are doomed to relive them and in doing so we experience the same level of sorrow and negative effect. Only when we focus on a positive experience we escape the sorrow of the past and live the present in peace, without any shadow of regret lurking upon us.

With the obvious help and courage of his friends, Hermione and Ron, Harry discovers the truth about Sirius Black, how he was his father’s best friend, and in fact didn’t betray them. He found out that his father, Black, Lupin, and Wormtail have created the Marauders Map, because they wanted to be all the time with their friend. Lupin is a werewolf and when studying at Hogwarts he had to go every month in a safe place to transform, and be secluded for the safety of other students. The other three friends wanting to show support for their friend decided that they would transform into animals and continue they adventure into different forms. So they became illegal Animagus, and roamed the school grounds in peace. But as they grew older, it was obvious that while James Potter, Sirius and Lupin were much more gifted at witchcraft than Wormtail, and the latter joined forces with Voldermort in order to achieve power and influence. It was him who had betrayed Harry’s parents, and upon killing about 20 wizards and framing Sirius for the murders he continued to live as Ron’s pet rat. Discovering this and seeing Wormtail transform into human form allows Harry to see his godfather in a new light and hopes of visiting him and living with him, instead of the Dursleys bright up his future.  Unfortunately, even if they discover Sirius innocence they cannot prove it to the Ministry of Magic and Sirius is forced to flee into exile. Harry manages to conjure a beautiful powerful Patronus Charm that saves Sirius life and allows Harry to realize that he can be happy again and that he can indeed experience great happiness, not only sorrow.

As with the previous books, this one is superbly written and it is a pleasure to read it and reflect upon the fantastic adventures that the characters go through. I have presented a very short summary of the action, deciding to focus on only those aspects that I find important. One of which was the constant training on beeing aware of positive experiences when you are faced with recollections of bad events. This is an important ability to master, as it protects you from being enslaved in your own prison of sorrow and despair. 

miercuri, 7 ianuarie 2015

Harry Potter and the Chambers of Secrets

In the second book, the action grows as the characters grow older. I like the book and how it’s written. Prior to starting the Harry Potter series I haven’t read any books that follow the character as s/he grows older. This type of "Bildungsroman" is really enjoyable. Along the narrative lines of the novel you can almost feel some parts which are suitable for any stage in life. For example, I find myself now on the edge of learning German, building my life in Germany and all these seems to take me in a stage where I did attend school and did have some nice adventures with friends. Of course, for me right now it is much more similar since I do have to go every morning to school and learn German and afterwards do my homework and practice speaking. But, I should return to the novel and present a bit of my opinion on it.

The theme of the second book seems to be overcoming fear. Fear of not being good enough and finding courage through the unconditional acceptance given in a friendship relationship. Treating the problem of lineage, from which background the characters come, Rowling beautifully discusses the issue of friendship and how this can overcome any superficial and semantic barriers put by the society. Harry is a pure wizard, descending from both wizard parents; Ron comes also from a long line of wizards with only Hermione being of Muggle (non-wizard parentage). This mixture of background isn’t a problem for the trio, but in the face of Dark Magic it becomes problematic, as Voldermort and his followers try to exterminate all non-wizards. With Hogwarts being attacked from inside by a dark magical creature, the time is ticking for Harry, Ron and Hermione. They must find remedies to stop this creature from killing students. Following their attempts to discover who and what lurks inside the school, Hermione gets petrified and the two boys discover an important clue about the identity of the monster. It is a Basilisk and can kill only with a stare. This strange and powerful monster was summoned through a manipulation of Ron’s sister Ginny, which used an old diary of Voldermort, and in doing so transferred her energy to the Dark Lord. By this strange mixture of events, the identity of the Dark Lord is revealed as the young-bright Muggle born wizard Tom Riddle.

Of course Ron and Harry manage to find the entrance to the secret chamber, by using logic and the clues put together by their brilliant, but petrified, friend Hermione. Killing the Basilisk with its own venom and destroying the diary in the process, Harry rids the school of danger and can enjoy the rest of the school year with his friends.

It was an enjoyable second book, and I am glad that I could start right away to read the third book. 

miercuri, 31 decembrie 2014

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Finally, I have read the first book in the Harry Potter series. I have fallen in love with the way in which it is written. It is simply captivating. You would think that after seeing the movie series one wouldn’t be so captivated about reading the actual book, but this is one example of those cases in which the book is so entertaining that you simply cannot stop reading it. A wonderful adventure of Harry Potter and his friends Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger is unveiled before your eyes. I have to admit that all the faces of the characters for me where those of the actors in the movies. I just couldn’t imagine any other face to the name.  

This is one piece of literary craftsmanship that you have to read for yourself. I am now bewitched by it and will continue to read through the series. It is just beautiful! more delightful than I have imagined it to be. The way in which Rowling presents the characters and their reactions to the events is just simply natural and it seems to come with an ease that makes you wonder at points whether she has seen the persons in action. I particularly liked the way in which she described Prof. McGonogall’s stern look and her reactions.

There are many other examples in which the book is astonishing but that is left for other readers to discover.

Even though this is not exactly a book review and it is my opinion on it, I still though it is worth mentioning. There are other great reviews of the book and one must not invent the wheel in order to enjoy the movement (a bit of artificial paraphrasing ;)).