Jul 30, 2011

The Magic of Harry Potter

A decade has come and gone. Well, duh you say, that's what tends to happen as years continue to go by. But why do I bring it up now? Well, for one simple reason. Harry Potter is finally over. For some it's a happy day, for others it's a little sad, and for others they could care less about Harry Potter and are trying to figure out who Harry Potter even is.

For those of you who know Harry Potter and have come to love this world then you know what I'm talking about. I feel in love with Harry Potter (sorry Rob) about four years ago. I was in my freshmen year in college and the first movie was on tv and I just happened to sit and watch some of it. I remember thinking how cute that little boy was with his friend then decided that maybe I would give Harry Potter a shot. So I borrowed the books from my sister and started reading.

This book introduces you into the world of Harry Potter. You learn about the eleven-year-old boy who was forced to live with his horrible aunt, uncle, and cousin after his parents died and how he lived under the stairs and that there was nothing special about him. Until there was something special about him. He learns he's a wizard. And as he learns about the wizardry world so do we. We meet his friends. We go to classes with him. We discover secrets of Hogwarts. We learn about how Harry got that mysterious lightening bolt shape scar on his forehead. We learn about Lord Voldemort who tried to kill Harry when he was just a baby and how he is still trying to return even now. We learn everything as Harry learns, We meet Hermione Granger who is a muggle-born know-it-all. The smartest witch of her age. And we meet Ron Weasley, who is from a big family of ginger-heads and definitely adds some humor. We go on the big adventure to get the sorcerer's stone before one of the professors who is acting for Lord Voldemort.

The movie came out ten years ago and the parts of Harry, Hermione, and Ron went to three little kids who played those roles perfectly. They brought the characters to life at such a young age and did it so well. The movie brought the whole world to life and transformed our imaginations before our very eyes.

I fell in love with the first book. I loved the world as it was opened up to me but the second was certainly no different. Although personally it wasn't my favorite (but in all fairness as we also learn it wasn't my least favorite either). In the Chamber of Secrets, Harry goes on another adventure. He continues to learn more about himself and his powers. He continues to learn how much alike he is with Lord Voldemort, and he starts to worry that perhaps he is too much like him and maybe he is truly bad. He worries about who he really is, before learning we are who we chose to be. A horrible monster is unleashed in Hogwarts and only Harry seems to be able to hear it. So now after finding out Ron's sister has been taken by the monster to the chamber of secrets that is only merely myth and finding out that Hermione has been petrified (basically frozen) by the monster, Harry and Ron seek out the chamber of secrets to defeat the monster and whoever is behind these horrible attacks.

 The book nor the movie were my favorite. I have seen it quite a bit but I have never really fully gotten into it the way I thought it would. The series was just beginning but I just never really was fond of the movie. Luckily for me that lack of interest in the second movie did not turn me off from the series but just made me more curious about the rest of the books/movies.

The third book of the series brings us back to Hogwarts for Harry's third year at Hogwarts. He learns that this prisoner escaped from wizard prison (Azkaban) who is out to get Harry. We learn that that man supposedly killed a lot of muggles and gave up where the Potters were living to Lord Voldemort that led to Harry's parents' death. We also learn that this same man is also Harry's godfather. But everything we think we know, we really don't know after all. Truths get revealed and more about where Harry came from and what kind of people Harry's parents were come out.

 Up until I saw some of the later ones, this was my favorite. This is still one of my very favorites of the series. I enjoyed the book and movie both very much. They were more about where Harry came from and who his parents were and Harry just learning that he's growing up and things aren't always how they seem. There is, obviously, some mention of Lord Voldemort because that is the looming danger in Harry's life that he will have to face one day. But this one really brought more of the characters to life and gave them all, including his dead parents, more personality and more realness.

 The fourth book takes us on a whole different journey. The Triwizard Tournament comes to Hogwarts! With it comes two different schools to compete against Hogwarts. One champion is chosen from the Goblet of Fire from each school to compete in the tournament. But something goes wrong and a fourth name comes out of the goblet of fire - Harry Potter. Even being much younger and less experienced, he is forced to compete against dragons, underwater challenges and a dark maze. Plus the worst of the worse, has to dance at a ball! By the end all is revealed - who put Harry's name in the cup? Who is out to get Harry? But what is more, Lord Voldemort makes his return in this book. He uses the blood from Harry, bones of his father, and hand from his loyal servant to come back and take human form again. Harry is just barely able to escape with the body of a fellow contender from death and Lord Voldemort.

 Now this is my least favorite book and movie. It always takes me the longest to get through this book and when I'm watching the whole series I just don't really enjoy watching this movie. There's nothing really wrong with it (other than Harry and Ron's really bad haircuts), but I just don't like it for some reason. But in all fairness that was bound to happen in a series as big as this one.

This is probably my favorite book in the series. I loved this one. It was also one of the longest, but I thought every page was good. The threat is real, but everyone is trying to make Harry and Professor Dumbledore look like they are crazy because the Ministry of Magic wants everyone is believe that everything is fine. But things aren't fine. Especially when the Ministry of Magic makes its presence known at Hogwarts by bringing in a teacher to "teach" defense against the dark arts. But things go from bad to worse as she takes over the school, trying to mask all that is going on outside the world of Hogwarts. Harry also learns about a prophecy that is made about himself and Lord Voldemort. Him and several others (from a group they started to practice defense against the dark arts called Dumbledore's Army) from the school make a trip to the Ministry of the Magic late after Harry sees Voldemort torturing Sirius for the prophecy. They come face-to-face with Death Eaters and find themselves trapped in the Ministry of Magic. Harry watches as Dumbledore faces off against Voldemort for the first time and all the aftermath of the decision to come retrieve the prophecy for himself.

 Now I loved loved loved the book. The movie I still was a great fan of but I was a little disappointed. The Ministry of Magic action wasn't as intense and exciting as it was in the book. They shortened it and I was very disappointed in that. But overall this is one of my favorite movies as well. It was much darker, but the characters are definitely growing and you can start to see and feel the weight of the world on them.

 Well this book, honestly I kind of felt like it had nothing to do with anything that was going on in the world. Lord Voldemort was the focus throughout the whole book even though the threat was very real. The focus for Harry was this potions book that he got that once belonged to the Half-blood Prince which was making him very good at potions. But because the threat of Voldemort was still there, Harry learned about horcruxes and what they are and what they mean in terms of killing Voldemort. And after an adventure with Dumbledore to find one of the horcruxes, they return to Hogwarts and the Death Eaters are there. I won't actually tell you, but hint hint someone dies.

 Despite the extremely dark poster, this was actually a really funny movie. This was definitely the funniest one. There was a lot of humor in this movie despite the dark that is looming in this movie. I was surprised I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. But extremely sad ending, just a fair warning for all.

 The seventh and final book. It finally came out. The story was finally ending. After some 500-600 pages. In this book, Harry doesn't return to Hogwarts. Harry, Hermione, and Ron set out on a journey to find all the horcruxes and destroy them so that in the end Lord Voldemort can actually be killed. But there is struggle along the way. The world around them is growing dark. People are being caught and killed. Hogwarts is no longer safe for anyone. The three friends finally find themselves back at Hogwarts. The war comes to ahead at Hogwarts. Quite a few beloved characters don't make it through. Others, less beloved characters, leave without a scratch. But what happens? Well, I'm not telling...

 Part one of the two part movie is less action than I would have thought, which in all fairness makes sense because they spend quite a bit of time hiding out and trying to figure out where the pieces of the puzzles are. There is action - don't get me wrong about that - but the war doesn't happen until part two. I enjoyed this movie. It showed the breaking point of each character and how they aren't prefect, they don't have all the answers. They are just doing the best they can. The dynamic of the three friends are more apparent and stronger than before.

 The final movie of this series I just saw today. And let's just say that it was worth the wait. It was heartbreaking, suspenseful, exciting, beautiful, sad. It was so many things. **Warning Warning: About to reveal something about the movie** Honestly I was a little disappointed in how Harry ended up defeating Voldemort. In the book it came to it that Harry sacrificed himself for everyone else just like his mom did for him therefore Voldemort couldn't touch him in the beginning, well now he couldn't touch anyone else. In the movie it seems a little anticlimactic. So let's just say that was disappointing. Oh and the 19 years later part was just a little weird. If you see it, you'll understand.  **Continue reading now, you're safe** Otherwise this movie was just good. It was the closest to the book and it just had so much heart in it.

It's been a long time coming with the movies. And even longer for the books. I would always recommend reading the books because there is so much more to them than the movies can show. But the movies have been apart of our lives for so long. They have been something to look forward to and it has been a wonderful world to escape to. I will definitely go on reading the books and watching the movies many many more times. And one day, my kids will have the same excitement about meeting Harry and discovering a world outside their own. So I think we all need to thank J.K. Rowling for bring the boy with the lightening scar into our lives.

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