Harry Potter series
by J.K. Rowling
Until now (September of 2006) I have resisted posting a review of the Harry Potter
books on The Book Trolley. Why? No big reason. It just seemed that I, and others on MuggleNet, have said plenty to express our feelings about JKRs great work. And the whole rationale for The Book Trolley is to offer other books to enjoy, after and between many re-reads of Harry
However, I think the time has come to admit that a very fine thing to do, after reading through the Harry Potter books, is to read the Harry Potter books again. Ive gone through them quite a few times myself. I even listened to them on tape in my car for a while. So yes, if you liked reading Harry Potter, you may like reading him again.
For myself, I cant honestly say that I owe my love of reading to Harry Potter. Some of my younger, fellow fans might do so, which is why I hope and believe The Book Trolley is helpful. But the truth is, Ive been a bookworm since my age was in single digits, while I turned 30 the week I first read Harry Potter. In fact, I was already writing book reviews when Harry Potter came into my life. Many of the earliest reviews on The Book Trolley are adapted from e-mails to my friends Heather and Shawn during the year or two leading up to my Great Discovery of JKR.
Back up a year or two. When the first "Harry Potter" movie came out, my friend Tom asked me about it. Tom and I were both movie buffs, and we liked to talk about good flicks. Tom had heard that "Harry Potter" was very good, but he had also heard concerns about it. He wondered if it was safe to take his young children to the movie. Heroically, I went to see the first movie for him. My overall impression, which I passed on to Tom, was that there was nothing evil about the movie. I thought it was a neat little story, though I didnt think much of the special effects. I judged it OK and put it out of my mind.
Then came September of 2002. I had recently moved to Arizona. In my spare time, I was reading a lot of books and sending reviews of them to Shawn and Heather. For a couple of months, I had been on a Charles Dickens jag. I was in the middle of reading Little Dorrit, and enjoying it, when I happened across a half-priced set of the four Harry Potter books that were then in print, all paperback, on the shelf of a grocery store. I had lost count of the number of times I had walked past displays of Harry Potter books and not bought them, but this time I decided there was no excuse. Half price! What a deal!
I took the books home and was instantly hooked. And now, for posterity, I give you my first-impression reviews of the Harry Potter story, which I e-mailed to my friends before The Book Trolley was a gleam in my eye.
Books 3 and 4
Books 5 and 6
Finally, here is what I wrote to my father on 9/10/02, titled Harry Potter:
On a lark I bought all 4 of the current Harry Potter books in paperback and read them over the weekend and during time off. I had heard you were reading them, or had bought them, and wanted to compare notes a bit.
I dont see any reason people should be upset about these books. They are not occult at all, they dont even teach new age spirituality. The witchcraft and wizardry of Harry Potter is like that on Bewitched. Not something just anybody can do, but like a whole different society that doesnt mix with ordinary human beings. Total fantasy, great fun, and with rewardingly rich characters and adventures, and a very clear line between good and evil. There are spells and transfigurations, potions and divinations, but theres no reference to life forces or spiritual activity (other than the ghosts and poltergeists, which are included along with magical beasts like unicorns, elves and hippogriffs for either exotic or comic effect). And the consequences of evil, even in the lives of the good people that battle it, are clearly shown, particularly in the tragedy that marks the fourth book.
I really enjoyed the depiction of the main characters and their friendship. They interacted like convincingly real teenagers and all the characters very much came to life. Theres stuff in here to make you laugh until youre out of breath, and stuff to make you cry. And lots of scary stuff too. I dont think these books are going to lead kids to take an interest in becoming witches or warlocks in the real world. Obviously all this is pure imagination. And its very well imagined too. I would actually recommend it for family entertainment, the most risque thing I saw in all four books was a couple of damns and a depiction of the rule-breaking and pranks that normal kids take part in. If you took away the magic you would still have the same people doing essentially the same things, only in a more mundane manner, and it would be just like real life except a little more interesting.
I actually look forward to seeing the next book in the series!
Recommended Age: 10+
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