When I was asked to do this review I felt a little intimidated by the caliber at which I had to raise myself in order to reach the literary standards of this site. Hopefully I have achieved this, otherwise you people wouldn’t see it, because I’m sure Elena wouldn’t post a crappy review (nor would I want her to, even if it is my own). I’m also happy to write this review, considering that, to this day, Harry Potter remains one of my favourite book series. Perhaps one day I might talk about each book individually, but for now I’ll write a few words about the whole series.
The first book was published in 1997 and for ten years, J. K. Rowling’s story kept us all enchanted and in dire anticipation for the next piece of adventure that made us curious as to what happened to Harry and his friends. The series presents us with very strong characters, that we can relate to, presented in an unique and imaginative way, easier for kids and adults alike to believe in. After all, who hasn’t met an Umbridge or a Malfoy in their lives and didn’t wish that something embarasingly funny happened to them? Or a Fudge that refused to see what was under his very nose? Or even a Tom Riddle, that charmed his way up the social ladder?
Even though the world presented is full of magic and fantasy elements, somehow we can understand it. J. K. Rowling really wanted to explain her world thoroughly in order to actually make sense and to become somehow a parallel universe of the Muggle world. It’s not just a plain story with one complex character and some flying broomsticks, it’s so much more than that. Every character is well built and with a solid backround and even the magical elements have even the slightest little detail described so that the readers can use their imagination and visualize it in their own minds. Before this story came into my life, I didn’t enjoy reading very much, but after reading all the vivid descriptions and discovered so many loveable characters, I started to enjoy reading more. J. K. Rowling has immense talent and the way she builds up a story makes me, personally, consider her one of the best writers out there.
In the series we see Harry and his friends grow up and we grow up with them (over and over again) as we see the world through Harry’s eyes. At first it is the journey of discovering a new and exciting world and we, as readers, are just as amazed by it; then it’s seeing Harry in the position of a true hero, always making the right choices in order to save his friends. We see this ostracized orphan grow into a man and become a hero in his own right, justly deserving his name as “The Chosen One”. But this is just one of the layers of the story, the fairy tale side of it.
There’s also the story of friendship, which I believe to be the most important theme throughout the series. Ron and Hermione are his best friends and also they bring to the story different types of heroes. Hermione Granger brings the brains and the knowledge that gets the trio out of trouble pretty much most of the time. Ron Weasley, who is considered by some as a useless character – a misconception designed by the way he’s presented in the movies – is loyal and funny. Most of the jokes are said by him, rather than the Weasley twins, not to mention that Ron keeps the trio together. Ron Weasley is the most important person to Harry, as proven in the second challenge of the Triwizard Tournament. Without him, Harry would be bored around Hermione (as presented in the books, not the movies). And don’t get me started on Hermione. She is one of the strongest female characters in literature, which proves that women aren’t just pretty and helpless creatures. Hermione constantly proves herself as the most intelligent out of the three, knowing advanced spells from an early age and being able to concoct complicated potions as early as her second year. She is always prepared for any situation and willing to fight for the rights of the oppressed. Hermione is a perfect role model, proving that girls can be smart and always prepared for any situation that comes in their way.
I’ve also noticed a really interesting correlation among the books. The Philosopher’s Stone goes perfectly with The Deathly Hallows, because Harry goes through major transformations which lead him to a different outcome of his life. The Chamber of Secrets goes with The Half Blood Prince, due to the fact that a glimpse of Voldemort’s past is presented in both of them. The Prisoner of Azkaban goes with The Order of the Phoenix because of two reasons: Sirius Black appears in both of them and there’s a twist of events that lead to an unexpected outcome. The Goblet of Fire stands alone due to the fact that the transition from light to dark is done in the course of the same book. I would like to mention that this is just a personal opinion and I don’t know if this is what the author intended or it’s just in my imagination.
What I find really fascinating about these books is the amazing fandom that still loves them to this day (myself included). The sheer devotion and love for this series is astounding. But why? So many other fantasy series have been released after it and none have surpassed the committed fandom of Harry Potter, who – no matter how much time goes by – still keeps the series in their hearts. The answer could be that because it was the first successful fantasy series, people consider it the best. Personally, I think it’s because it gives people hope. Whenever things go bad in the real world, I simply pick up a Harry Potter book and I feel comforted and safe, because Hogwarts will always be there to welcome me home.
by Mihaela Axinte