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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

2016-standout-award-badge-smallIn the Half-Blood Prince, Voldemort is on the rise and though the world may be aware that he’s back in power, that doesn’t mean they’re ready for him. People are disappearing, being magically controlled, or dying. Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore must learn the history behind Voldemort’s immortality to figure out how to destroy him once and for all . . .

half-blood-princeTitleHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
AuthorJ.K. Rowling
SeriesHarry Potter Book 06
Publish Date: July 16, 2005
Genre: Children’s/YA Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionThe war against Voldemort is not going well: even Muggle governments are noticing. Ron scans the obituary pages of The Daily Prophet looking for familiar names. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses. And yet . . .

As in all wars, life goes on. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate, and lose a few eyebrows in the process. The Weasley twins expand their business. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Classes are never straightforward, though Harry receives some extraordinary help from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.

So it’s the home front that takes center stage in the multilayered sixth installment of the story of Harry Potter. Harry struggles to uncover the identity of the Half-Blood Prince, the past owner of a potions textbook he now possesses that is filled with ingenious, potentially deadly, spells. But Harry’s life is suddenly changed forever when someone close to him is heinously murdered right before his eyes.

With Dumbledore’s guidance, he seeks out the full, complex story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort, and thereby attempts to find what may be his only vulnerability.

Possible spoilers beyond this point. If you haven’t yet read this series, STOP READING THIS REVIEW RIGHT NOW!


Kat_Mandu_100Kat Mandu says…

This is my second favorite book in the series. I’m pretty sure that J.K. Rowling was trying to sample out some humor before everything gets super dark and she starts killing everyone off; which is why you have the whole situation between Hermione and Ron and Lavender, plus the silliness of Ron’s determination on the Quidditch pitch, and the luck-inducing potion that Harry takes. All of those scenes were both my favorites in the book and in the movie.

Despite all these comical references, that doesn’t mean this book doesn’t have its dark twists. Harry himself figures out that he can’t trust the people he looks up to and Dumbledore, the greatest wizard the magical world has ever known, is . . .

*spoiler alert (I’m saying this just in case, but if you haven’t read this series, what on earth have you been doing your whole life???)*

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. . . murdered at the end.

As usual, here are some of my favorites:

Favorite character – Harry wins this one for me; he’s figured himself out at this point (well, almost) and although he can certainly have a temper, he’s a lot easier to bear in this book. I like that he seems smarter and more intuitive, more aware of people’s feelings more than Ron (small favors), and that even when he makes a really bad mistake, he’s willing to make up for it. He’s a lot braver than I could ever be.

Favorite scene – Well, the funny ones make it for me here. I really love the scene where Ron is under the love spell (especially when you see it in the movie). I loved learning about Voldemort’s history as well. I find it incredibly strange that Voldemort tries so hard to deny that he isn’t pure-blood.

Favorite creatures – House elves! Even though Kreature isn’t very…well, pleasant, he and Dobby get to team up and sneak on Draco. They get to do a lot more in the next one but I won’t let on too much now since we haven’t gotten there yet.

Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

Possible spoilers ahead – although, if you aren’t familiar with this series yet, I must ask if you have been living under a rock! 😉

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This particular Harry Potter novel is incredibly dark! I love that the series keeps getting darker, but there is always the underlying tone of friendship, love and heroism. I also think it is really clever of Rowling to paint Professor Snape the way she did. Readers feel utterly betrayed, just like Harry, but also hold out hope that Snape is still playing the game. I, personally, believe Dumbledore was ten steps ahead of everyone and knew how this was going to play out. Of course that didn’t stop me from once again crying my eyes out at his death.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

Half-Blood Prince has always felt, to me, like the bleakest of all seven Harry Potter books, meaning that this is the point in the whole story where I feel the most hopeless, as the reader. Harry is made Captain of the Quiddich team, but Snape gives him detention often enough to keep him from the game. Ron and Hermione are fighting and the romantic tension is stressful. Slughorn is smarmy. The book Harry is obsessed with is a product of his most hated teacher. The conflict between Harry and Dumbledore over Snape continues the series-wide theme of not sharing enough information (which is much more frustrating to me as an adult now than when I first read the books). Even Harry’s adventures with Dumbledore to explore Voldemort’s origins are informative, but their usefulness is somewhat ambiguous to Harry.

The feelings I associate with this book are sad, depressed, and a mourning for the childhood that Rowling still managed to capture in the previous books. This kind of uncomfortable tension is appropriate for the penultimate book in a series, actually. It’s expertly done. The book ends at what seems like the lowest part of the series, leaving the reader ready for the resolution of the final book.

Agent_Annie_100Agent Annie says…

I really enjoyed Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. My favorite part was Harry using Snape’s old text book and then discovering it belonged to his least favorite teacher. Knowing what I do about the ending and Snape’s role in Harry’s life, I am particularly pleased with JK Rowling’s ability to heighten the hatred between the two characters.

When the books first came out and #6 ended with such a cliff hanger and the death of Dumbledore, a former English professor and I discussed this story choice. The comment he made that stuck with me, was that the nature of Harry as a protagonist was that he was an orphan thus necessitating the death of all adults, particularly males, who he became close to. I think about that a lot since I read many young adult/middle reader books. Many times the kids either have disinterested, distracted or simply no parents at all. It’s obvious to me that Rowling has done her research in the nature of families and storytelling, which is why this book series is timeless and rates high scores.

Our reviews in this series…

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Review of All Harry Potter Companion Books by J.K. Rowling

Welcome to Saturday Shorts, where we review short stories, novellas, and middle-grade book. Today we are wrapping up both the year and our Harry Potter read-along with a review of all the short Harry Potter books written by Rowling.


Kat_Mandu_100Kat Mandu says…

Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them: 5 stars

fantastic-beastsI can’t help but giggle every time I read this, especially that intro page. “Write in your own book, Hermione,” Ron says as if he’s not doing the same exact thing while using Harry’s books.

Besides the humorous comments tossed here and there, plus the comical drawings, this is wonderful all on its own.

I really adore JK Rowling’s imagination as she comes up with unique creatures based on myths and her own brilliant mind. Read this book before you go see the movie, I’m betting it’ll help you identify some of the creatures Newt Scamander comes into contact with.

quiddich-through-the-agesQuidditch Through The Ages: 3 stars

Though this is a lovely addition to the Hogwarts library trio and full of good information on Quidditch, I find I’m more of Hermione’s mind on this book. It just didn’t interest me like the others did.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it and you won’t either. The history behind how the sport was created is fabulous and it’s nice to see how it has changed throughout time. JK Rowling never ceases to amaze me on what she creates.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard: 5 stars

tales-of-beedle-the-bardWe all know JK Rowling is an excellent storyteller – all seven original Harry Potter books are filled with fascinating creatures, remarkable world-building, characters we learn to both treasure and loathe, and pure, enjoyable magic at its finest. Now she provides us with a short book full of wizarding-world fairy tales that are all extraordinary in their own rights.

I loved the childlike feel of each of these stories, especially as a lot of them feature princesses and kings, reminiscent of our own fairy tales. My personal favorite is Babbity Rabbity because it not only teaches a moral but it makes for great fun. I feel like I’d tell these to my own children later. I also love the Three Brothers because it was the one mentioned in the last book and therefore, connected with me the most because of the references.

I did enjoy the commentary by Dumbledore, as it offered unique insights into how he felt and brought up some things fans would recognize (like the name Brutus Malfoy). However, I enjoyed the stories themselves a lot more.

Regardless, it is clear that JK Rowling is an absolute genius and we could all learn something from her and her tales.

pottermore-presents-1Pottermore Presents: Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship, and Dangerous Hobbies – 5 stars

I enjoyed this set of background information a lot more than the other two because it divulged things I didn’t already know.

Hearing about the short histories behind Lupin, McGonagall, Trelawney, and even Kettleburn is fascinating. Who knew that the transfiguration teacher had a history of heartbreak? Or that poor Kettleburn retired from Hogwarts with only a couple limbs? When I first read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, especially the scene where Hagrid is introduced as the new Care of Magical Creatures teacher, I was under the impression that when Dumbledore said, “he wishes to spend time with his remaining limbs” he actually meant his family. I don’t know why I assumed that but I did. Now I get it.

Anyway, this is a short, entertaining read with some sadness mixed in. But still good of course!

pottermore-presents-2Pottermore Presents: Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics, and Pesky Poltergeists – 4 stars

Lots of fun facts regarding the Ministry in this set of background information. I’m wondering if it has anything to do with the Fantastic Beasts and Where to find them film (which by the way, I can’t wait to see).

I wish there would have been more info on the pre-life of Peeves. He’s such a funny character who causes lots of trouble for Harry and well, everyone really.

This is enjoyable, just like the other two.

Pottermore Presents: Hogwarts – An Incomplete & Unreliable Guide – 3 stars

pottermore-presents-3This is a nice collection of information on the secrets of Hogwarts castle. I found I liked the simple details that Rowling includes, however, I wish there would have been more information on things I didn’t already know. It frequently becomes repetitive, especially to those who have read Harry Potter so much and know the lore about a lot of Hogwarts stuff. But I did like the author explaining her thoughts on certain things (like the lake with its merpeople, and the original plot line within the Chamber of Secrets book) while she was actually writing the book. I think that’s my favorite part about this, when she divulges her first initial thought processes.

Our reviews in this series…

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, et. al.

In this screenplay, we reunite with a grown-up Harry Potter, his family, and the rest of the Hogwarts gang as Harry goes through being a parent, his son has to figure out who he is beyond his dad’s legacy, and a new enemy emerges with a sinister plot up her sleeve.

cursed-childTitleHarry Potter and the Cursed Child
AuthorJ.K. Rowling, et. al.
SeriesHarry Potter, Book 08
Publish Date: July 31, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionBased on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on 30th July 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat_Mandu_100Kat Mandu says…

I finally got the chance to read this! I’ve had it since July but I wanted to reread all seven books before I read it.

I enjoyed the majority of this. Some of the time changes threw me for a loop (as in three years pass within seconds of reading it). I’m certain if I were to actually see the play for myself, I’d understand it a lot better. Not that it was hard to read the script. It’s just a very big jump from novelization to screenplay and although I understood it, I do wish I could have seen it live to get a better feel for things.

badge5v4However, that story is remarkable! Time turners are brought back in a bad way and Harry’s son Albus gets a taste of what Marty McFly went through when he tried to mess with time. You get to see all kinds of characters in new light as different changes are made to affect them. But things work out in the end.

I really loved the character of Scorpius, who is Draco Malfoy’s son. He has the best lines and I simply adored him and his humor, plus his unexpected and unyielding friendship to Albus.

Agent_Annie_100Agent Annie says…

I don’t think this Harry Potter book was nearly as good as the original series. I know that it is supposed to be watched on a stage, which makes for a different style of writing, but I didn’t think the actual story was as well done as previous.

I did enjoy “meeting” some favorite characters again, but I didn’t like how Rowling wrote Professor McGonagal. I thought Rowling made her weak and uninformed. I also thought she made Ron the same way. Their dialog was really a lot of “Huh? What’s going on, what do we do?” This didn’t feel true to the characters in the original series. Thinking about this further, I wonder if JK Rowling enjoyed simply exploring alternative ways she could have ended the original series.

badge3v4I also can’t imagine actually performing this play. The scene changes seem so fast, just a couple pages in some cases and the sets were quite elaborate. There is one scene which re-creates the first meeting of Hagrid and Harry on his 11th birthday. What a nightmare to try and do on stage. I haven’t actually read any reviews of the production, but based on what I read in the book, I’m not sure I would want to attend the play.

I give the book a 3. As a fan, it’s fun to delve back into the characters and see the what if’s, but I thought it lacked the depth that her previous work has.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

The Cursed Child is an interesting read, so much so that I feel I’m still digesting it a week after reading. It certainly feels different than the books, though I don’t think the themes are any darker.

I like the characters quite a lot, both the familiar and the new. Albus and Scorpius are good kids, despite the fact that their boyhood adventures didn’t turn out as well for them as they did for Harry. I think it’s excellent that this book attempts to show a better side of Slytherin; but in the end, Scorpius seems much more like a Huffle Puff to me. I didn’t really get a sense of why he was in Slytherin.

It’s wonderful to see what Harry, Ron, Hermonie, and Ginny are up to as adults, having invested so much emotion in their childhoods.

Cursed Child deals a lot with time travel, almost to the point of being confusing. Since this is a screenplay and not a book, and thus there is no exposition, the reader has to pay close attention in order to follow all the alternate timelines. It’s very interesting, however, to see how little actions affect the current timeline. I enjoy that part of time travel stories.

Perhaps the only thing that felt disappointing to me was the backstory of the antagonist (yes, I’m being vague because if you haven’t read the book yet, I don’t want to spoil anything). While it makes a great counterpoint to Harry’s relationship with Albus, it feels to me as if it came out of the blue, as if it wasn’t something that had been planned. Rowling does an amazing job, even with the new movie, Fantastic Beasts, of demonstrating how much of her world is planned out and connected; nothing feels like a last minute-decision—except for this antagonist. That being said, I should trust that it’s my perception, not the writing, that is the issue. But I just can’t shake the feeling that the antagonist doesn’t quite fit the world.

badge4v4Overall, I think I will never love book eight as I have loved the first seven, but I did enjoy it. I really want to see The Cursed Child as a play. Being in the Midwest United States, I’m sure it will be a long time before that happens. If I’m lucky, something like Fathom Events might carry it, eventually. Or perhaps Pottermore will make it a dramatized audiobook; that would be a lot of fun. Otherwise, it will be likely be years before I get to see the play as it is intended, and I think that would add a lot to my experience of the story.

Our reviews in this series…

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Well, how about that finale? It’s the final epic showdown for Harry Potter against his worst enemy, Voldemort. Somehow he’s got to work through the mess he’s been left in after Dumbledore’s death, figure out how to destroy the horcruxes, and face another problem – his own inevitable death. Spoilers ahead.

deathly-hallowsTitleHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
AuthorJ.K. Rowling
SeriesHarry Potter, Book 07
Publish Date: July 21, 2007
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionIt’s no longer safe for Harry at Hogwarts, so he and his best friends, Ron and Hermione, are on the run. Professor Dumbledore has given them clues about what they need to do to defeat the dark wizard, Lord Voldemort, once and for all, but it’s up to them to figure out what these hints and suggestions really mean.

Their cross-country odyssey has them searching desperately for the answers, while evading capture or death at every turn. At the same time, their friendship, fortitude, and sense of right and wrong are tested in ways they never could have imagined.

The ultimate battle between good and evil that closes out this final chapter of the epic series takes place where Harry’s Wizarding life began: at Hogwarts. The satisfying conclusion offers shocking last-minute twists, incredible acts of courage, powerful new forms of magic, and the resolution of many mysteries.

Above all, this intense, cathartic book serves as a clear statement of the message at the heart of the Harry Potter series: that choice matters much more than destiny, and that love will always triumph over death.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat_Mandu_100Kat Mandu says…

J.K. Rowling closes the series up with a perfectly happy ending. I’ve expressed time and time again how remarkable this series is and I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed rereading the entire seven books with my friends. All that world-building and marvelous writing just hits all the right feels.

Here’s a wrap up of all the things I love about these books.

  • Top four favorite characters
    1. Hagrid – this gentle giant was Harry’s first friend and I adore him and his love for dangerous creatures, his undivided loyalty, and his soft heart.
    2. Sirius – as a man who only got to be in Harry’s world for a short time, I really loved Sirius and his fatherly wisdom, recklessness, and humor.
    3. Luna – Who doesn’t love Luna? I mean, she’s funny and quirky, plus she has all the best ideas when Harry needs them, is very kind, and is a deep friend to Harry.
    4. Hermione – Smart, powerful, and sassy, it’s hard to find someone to compare to Hermione Granger. I love that she’s muggle born and proves just how much of a badass she is throughout all seven books.
  • Favorite creature – Dobby and Kreature; I just love house elves!
  • Favorite bookHarry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban.
  • Favorite movieHarry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince.
  • All-time favorite scene – When Dumbledore duels Voldemort near the end of Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix. Also, I really enjoy the love potion scene between Ron and Harry in book six. It just makes me giggle every time.

And well, I love everything else. What can I say? It’s been a pleasure rereading this and I’d do it again.

Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

After finishing HP7 and watching the last movie again, I feel like it’s the end of an era all over! I love the way we get to see Snape’s love/hate relationship with Harry. All of the death is tragic, but there is the uplifting theme of friendship and hope as well. These characters will always be in my heart and this story will forever have changed me.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

The Deathly Hallows is a serious and bittersweet book with a lot of heartache. I hated that we had to lose beloved characters. However, I did enjoy learning the backstories on Dumbledore and Snape. However, after realizing just how awful Snape behaved toward CHILDREN in this reread, I just can’t buy him, anymore, as the hero adult Harry makes him out to be at the end of the book.  He did a heroic thing, for whatever his own reasons were, but I feel that, especially in literature, the title of “Hero” is less about one deed and more about a person’s character.

That being said, the comparison between Dumbledore and Snape made by this book is so very interesting. Both of them did some seriously regrettable things in their pasts. Both of them spent most of their lives trying to make up for them by doing heroic things. In many ways, the similarities between them are astonishing. Yet they are viewed by most people so very differently. Why? Were Dumbledore’s actions any better or worse than Snape’s, really? Were their talents? Were their results?

Or was it just they way they chose to show up, the way they chose to “be” with other people? Snape was mostly angry and bitter and cruel. Dumbledore was mostly gracious and kind. In the end, they may have both been on the same side, but the way they chose to be with other people made a big difference. Interesting life lesson, I think.

Agent_Annie_100Agent Annie says…

I so enjoyed this final book in the series. I think J.K. Rowling achieves the right tone with Harry sacrificing himself in order to save others, and choosing to end the reign of Voldemort by destroying hoarcruxes, rather than finding the Deathly Hallows and having ultimate power. Harry is a true hero who has unusual moral courage; it makes you wonder where that came from since he had no role models in the Dursleys.

I found myself better able to pay attention to the conversation Dumbledore had with Harry at the ethereal King’s Cross Station. I know better now what Harry’s true power was: the love of his parents.

This series definitely gets better the second time you read it. I would recommend a third reading just to be able to take in more of the details. I have the series in hardback and in audio format and I can see reading these books over again for many years just to see how my perspective changes as I grow older. I highly recommend this series to kids and adults.

Our reviews in this series…

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

An ancient prophecy, a Dark Lord on the rise, and a government doing everything in its power to stop Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore from revealing the truth. In JK Rowling’s fifth book, Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, things begin to take a much darker turn for Harry and his friends – who find themselves the unwilling pawns in an ultimate game of wizard chess

harry-potter-and-the-order-of-the-phoenixTitle: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Author: J.K. Rowling
Series: Harry Potter Book 5
Publish Date: June 1, 2003
Genre: Children’s Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected…

Suspense, secrets and thrilling action from the pen of J.K. Rowling ensure an electrifying adventure that is impossible to put down.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat_Mandu_100Kat Mandu says…

You may be surprised to know that even though I’m rating this a five (because JK Rowling is brilliant and I can’t think of giving her work anything less just because I’m not fond of certain things) that this is my least favorite Harry Potter novel. That being said, it’s amazing. But there’s only so much angry Harry that I can take before he becomes too much for me.

If you’re following our One Book Two Goodreads group discussion, you’ll know that I have a hard time with Harry pushing everyone away and making himself incredibly vulnerable to Voldemort at the worst time possible. Personally, if I knew my loved ones were in danger, not to mention I was in danger, I’d want to surround myself with them every step of the way, rather than be angry and anti-social. Isolating yourself doesn’t always protect them, in fact, if I was the bad guy and I knew Harry was trying to isolate himself and run away, I’d probably kill everyone he loved just to lure him back. But I guess that’s just the way my brain works. I’d rather die protecting the ones I care about over getting away from everyone. For me, Harry was just a bit too angsty and it was rough getting through some of his dark thoughts.

But he’s also fifteen. And dealing with a wizard world who doesn’t want to believe Voldemort is back, really EVIL teachers and ministry members, plus, the actual threat of Voldemort on his doorstep. And now he knows that he’s gotta be the one to kill Voldemort – or else die himself (not that we don’t know what actually happens, but let’s say for good sport we don’t, wink wink).

I really enjoyed everything else. This book really gives you a glimpse into the workings of the ministry and it’s fascinating. Here are some of my usual favorites!

Favorite character – Poor Sirius, trapped in his childhood home and feeling like he is unable to assist the Order in any way. It was sad to see him fade away though at least he was able to get out and go down fighting. Also, I really love Luna.

Favorite scene – I really love all of the DA scenes, because Harry seems happy to do something useful. He feels in charge of things and that really leaves an impact on him. Plus, when Dumbledore escapes with Fawkes, I giggle. “Dumbledore’s got style!”

Favorite new creature – The thestrals! Creepy though they are, I feel like these somewhat invisible creatures are fun and really take the spotlight.

Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

True confession time (and spoiler ahead): If you have read my introduction, you know that I love the truly magical books—the books that stay with you long after you put it back on the shelf, the books that change you (for better or worse). For me this series does just that. I cried my eyes out when Sirius died. Enough so that my dad asked what was wrong, then rolled his eyes when I told him – he is such a practical fairy. I was so engrossed in Harry’s world that the loss of Sirius affected me just as much as Harry. This is a book and series that will make you laugh, cry, and feel sorrow and outrage.

As far as the movie goes…well, it was better than The Goblet of Fire, but I still feel that they left out the little things that make the book so magical. But it was fairly close to the story in my opinion.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

Listening to this book, I feel a VISCERAL hatred for Umbridge. I can’t think of any other book villian that makes me react so physically. She’s HORRIBLE. Between her, Snape, Mr. Filch, and the Death Eathers, this series depicts some adults who are really horrible to children. I don’t think I realized this when I first read this series, but now that I’m older, it stands out quite starkly. It’s a bit disturbing when you really think about it, but true to the Grimm standard, I guess. Children don’t always get protected and cherished in Harry’s world or in ours.

Harry is in that adolescent phase where he is not quite a child and not quite an adult. He’s had to deal with some very bad things thus far in his life, and feels as though he’s earned some adult respect. Yet the adults around him still view him as a child and are trying to keep him safe. This is a frustrating time for any adolescent and his or her parents, let alone those who are dealing with such terrible threats. I suppose this is where the series transitions from Middle Grade to YA.

One thing that bothered me a lot in this read through is the mirror Sirius gives Harry. Sirius doesn’t tell Harry what it does, and Harry never opens it while Sirius is alive. So much of the story wouldn’t have happened if Harry had just used the mirror. What was the point of the mirror in the story? Why was it even mentioned? I don’t understand the purpose of the mirror except regret. Although I suppose it supports the theme that failing to share information, even with children, can have disastrous results.

Much like the mirror, the worst of the story might not have happened if Dumbledore had just communicated with Harry, just given him a little credit for being mature. This also is a big theme of the book, and once I knew to look for it, I felt Harry’s frustration.

Though it sounds as if I don’t love the book, that’s not true. Some of the things I love are the introduction of Luna Lovegood, the DA club, Harry’s interview with The Quibbler, and Nevil becoming more involved in the story. I LOVE that the Hogwarts teachers team up with Peeves against Umbridge. As always, Rowling writes such a deep, wonderful story that I can find new experiences on every reread.

Agent_Annie_100Agent Annie says…

HP5 was the one book I was dreading when I agreed to the read-along. I remember hating this book. However, each time I put it down and checked how far along I’d come, I was surprised that it was still really good. Even with 10 hours of the almost hours 40 hours of the narrative to go, I was still enjoying the story. I really liked the comeuppance that Umbrage finally got. Served her RIGHT. I will say that the explanation Dumbledore gave for his actions and keeping Harry in the dark still have me a bit confused. I don’t know if the author wanted to keep us confused in order to mirror Harry’s uncertainty or if she wasn’t able to convey the complexity of the choices Dumbledore made. I still think the Harry Potter series is really good and the narration just makes it that much stronger. 

Our reviews in this series…