(Not Quite) Ten Things Tuesday – July 12

12 Jul

I’m breaking tradition a bit today. Instead of a list of ten things, it’s only seven. And in keeping with this week’s Harry Potter theme, I thought I’d list all the books in the order that they are my favorite. If asked, I can rattle off this list like I’m reciting a phone number: 3761542. 

1. Prisoner of Azkaban (3). I can’t even begin to explain how much I love PoA. It might have something to do with the fact that I have a very fond spot for Remus Lupin, or that I so want to get my hands on the Marauder’s Map. Whatever the reason, this book has always, always been my favorite since it came out. The fascinating concept of time-travel and the unbelievable revelations about Harry’s past and his family make this the absolute best of the series. Even if there were seven more books written, I think PoA would always be #1 in my heart.  

2. Deathly Hallows (4). There’s probably more than one of you that would disagree with me about putting DH so high on a list of favorite HP books. I’ve heard many a person describe the book as “bad fanfiction.” And while, stylistically, it isn’t the best, it’s not meant to be like any other book. Harry and his friends are older now, considered adults in the wizard world. I missed Hogwarts, of course, but there are bigger things to deal with now. The school makes a triumphant return in the end, of course, but, as we all know, it isn’t the main setting of the finale. The safest place for Harry is on the run, looking for the things that will ultimately bring down Voldemort. So why do I love this book so much? I love the Tale of the Three Brothers. I love the complexity of the Horcrux treasure hunt. I love that, in Harry absence, underground rebellion has taken firm hold under the leadership of Neville Longbottom. I love that we finally understand the dichotomy of Snape’s nature. And I love that it ends just as it should.

3. Half-Blood Prince (6). The first time I read HBP, I didn’t like it so much. I think I just read through it too quickly and missed so much of what was actually in it. Maybe it had something to do with the misunderstood and loathsome actions of Severus Snape. A few summers ago, when I went back and read all seven books in a row for the first time, I fell in love with HBP for the first time, the second time around. There isn’t as much action in this one, of course, but the backstory behind Voldemort (and some of Snape, as well), makes this one of the most heartbreaking and fascinating chapters in the series. I cannot say enough good things about HBP. I don’t know how I didn’t see it all before, but I’m glad that I finally realized what I was missing.

4. Sorcerer’s Stone (1). One of my favorite things about our introduction to the wizarding world is that we see it alongside Harry for the first time. Growing up in a Muggle home, he discovers the wonders of Hogwarts and his new life with us. It just seems that much more magical, to see it all for the first time, and you can’t see it all for the first time except in SS. This book, more than any other, was impressive for the creativity of the magic invented (transfigured chess sets, the Mirror of Erised, a cloak of invisibility, Quidditch).

5. Order of the Phoenix (5). Phoenix stands at this point in the list because of Dolores Umbridge, the single-most evil, vicious character I have ever read within the pages of a book. Yes, even more than Voldemort, I think. While Voldemort is the embodiment of evil and hatred, Umbridge is a special kind of mean: the kind that will kill you with that sticky-sweet, well-meaning, all-controlling power. I have never, ever in my life hated anyone so much (until I met the dean of students at my college, who is Umbridge in the flesh). In addition, the teenage moodiness that was so prevalent in this book got to be a little much at times. Granted, that’s normal for 15-year-olds, especially ones who have witnessed terrible things recently. I did appreciate learning more about the Order and Harry’s parents and friends in the old days, but the death of a beloved character makes this an emotional installment.

6. Goblet of Fire (4). GoF is kind of like the middle child, forgotten and left out. Which is funny because it’s right in the middle of the series, too. While the Triwizard Tournament and the saga of Barty Crouch/Mad Eye Moody are epic and fascinating, and despite the fact that Voldemort finally regains his body and power in this book, to me, it was sort of just a blip on the radar, waiting to get us to year 5.

7. Chamber of Secrets (2). It’s not that I dislike CoS, I just like it the least of all the books. Maybe it was all the creepy snakes and spiders all the time. Maybe it was the traditional sophomore slump. Whatever the case, it’s just not my favorite in the series. Of course, it is important to the whole story, otherwise it wouldn’t have been included (think: Horcruxes). But in the grand scheme of things, it ranks at the bottom of my list.

So there you have it. A concise, and hopefully clear, summation of my feelings about each book. Although I don’t think I’ll ever be able to put into words exactly what I feel about Harry Potter, this is at least a small attempt. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must get back to my movie-watching.

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