Monday, June 28, 2010

The Half-Blood Prince

I should probably wait to write this until tomorrow when I'm a little less wound up and a little less weepy, but to hell with it. Such are the effects of the sixth Harry Potter installment. While The Half-Blood Prince is a brilliant novel through and through, the ending is a bit of a downer. I feel like there is a dementor lurking over me. It's most disconcerting.

What I find most fascinating (and MAJOR SPOILERS TO FOLLOW) is that despite the fact that I have read this book multiple times, watched the movie, read the last book and have all the answers to why these events occurred, it doesn't ease the reading. If anything, it makes it more intense and even, dare I say it, slightly more painful.

When reading Book Six I feel several emotions - giddiness, anger, and a deep and terrible sadness. Perhaps inquisitiveness should be thrown in there as well.

Let's just dive right in there shall we?

1. Dumbledore. There's no way to deny it so I just want to get it over with. I was deeply affected by Dumbledore's death. The first time I read it in '05 I sobbed uncontrollably for a good half an hour. And despite the time elapsed it still gets to me. My tears well up a little when I see him hit my Avada Kedavra. I legitimately cried during the funeral. It's partially the sadness of losing such an influential and interesting character, but mostly it's the genius that is J. K. Rowling. Her writing is what does it. Harry's anguish is tangible. And I can't help but relate. I've grown up these past years with Dumbledore too. After six-plus years of his guidance, it didn't surprise me that I was devastated by his death. It was worst of all because it was just when he was truly opening up to Harry. Sharing crucial information and letting us a little deeper inside that brilliant mind. Shame it had to end that way, but as we can see later, there was no other way.

2. Snape. On my first reading in '05 I was FURIOUS with Snape. I could not be convinced otherwise. Snape was a dirty, rotten coward that betrayed everyone including Dumbledore, Harry and his parents. I loathed him. How could he DO such a thing? People muttered things like Dumbledore wouldn't have begged for mercy and he must have had his reasons. After reading the last book, reading the sixth is torturous when it comes to Severus Snape. I am happy to admit I was very wrong about him, but knowing the truth makes the events that occur more difficult to endure. Harry calls him a coward, but Snape was anything but. Everyone denounces him and deems up a betrayer, and yet he was the most loyal of all. More on that later. I have so much to say about Snape but it's gonna have to wait for Book Seven.

In other Snape related news, the Half-Blood Prince. The interaction of the book with Harry and the reveal at the end is brilliant. It sets up such a nice juxtaposition. The book upon which he relied so heavily was penned by the man he comes to hate above all others. It's beautiful.

3. Horcruxes. The splitting of one's soul through murder and encasing the bit in an object. Brilliant stuff. I love how the term horcrux has become iconic. Well, at least to the people who matter. Hahaha... Kind of. Anyway, the whole idea is incredibly disturbing but fits so well. So very well. Voldemort is just so inhuman. Of course he has no soul. I appreciate that Riddle's Diary comes back into play here. It just shows how perfectly constructed Rowling's world is.

4. On a happier note, Couples.

Ron and Hermione. In all the other books there were hints, particularly with the Yule Ball fiasco. But in this one, there is overwhelming evidence. Ron's reaction to Hermione's invitation to Slughorn's party and Harry's musings about the two of them confirm it. Not that it wasn't abundantly clear. I mean, c'mon. They are meant to be together. Then the business with Lavender Brown. I don't blame Hermione for being furious. I would have sent conjured birds after him too. He deserved it. He clearly cared about Hermione and was just going against his better nature. Ron being poisoned was the best thing that ever happened for them. I felt about Ron's near fatal accident the same way I felt in the fourth book about the first task. I wanted to get it over with so things could go back to normal. Besides, Lavender Brown is appalling. Isn't that right Won-Won? Yeesh.

Harry and Ginny. YES! YES! YESYESYES! This is what we needed folks. Harry's jealousy of Dean Thomas was beautiful. Just wonderful in every way. I loved the monster inside threatening to rip Thomas limb from limb. But mostly, I loved Harry's desperate desire to deny it. Ginny or Ron? Harry's arguments with himself (He's my best mate. She's Ron's SISTER!) were highly amusing and enjoyable. One of my favorite portions of the book. So light hearted. It shows that despite being The Chosen One, Harry's still just a sixteen-year-old boy. Even The Chosen One can fall in love. I knew Ron would approve. I mean, Harry's way better than any of the guys Ginny dated and man, she got around...
Though I knew it had to happen, Harry's nobility at the end is heart breaking. The whole "I don't want to lose you, so I can't see you" bit. (Additionally check out the Harry and the Potters song Save Ginny Weasley from Dean Thomas. It's bloody brilliant and hilarious to boot) Oh Harry. Sigh.

5. Felix Felicis. Hilarious. Wonderful. Wish I had some. Man, what I would do with a bottle of felix. Additionally, felix is the Latin root for luck and felicis is related to the world for happiness. Oh, clever Jo. She knows her Latin. See! It's USEFUL. I will never regret taking four years of Latin. Though, nearly two years out of practice and I'm getting a little rusty. I would just like to add that the Felix bit in the film version makes me irreversibly happy.

Finally, slightly unrelated but Luna Lovegood is great and I'm glad Harry takes her to Slughorn's party.

Until next time.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wizard Wrock and the Order of the Phoenix

It was probably wishful thinking to assume I'd finish all seven HP books in a week. I mean, it's certainly possible. I could definitely do it. It would just consist of zero human contact. Unfortunately, life makes that difficult - i.e. socializing, working, going to other states.

My friends are important to me. While often I choose books and work over them, I try to not as much as I can. As I move into week three of my HP extravaganza I have stayed up until five in the morning causing small city shenanigans, gone to a wiz wrock show in Swansea, gone to Washington D.C. and watched the U.S. make it into the next round of the World Cup. While reading is important and HARRY POTTER IS THE MOST IMPORTANT, having contact with other people is important too.

Additionally, I feel like the wiz wrock shows make up for it. I'm going to CT tomorrow to see the ROFLCOPTOUR. ALL CAPS is going to be there and I am ridiculously excited. Like, it is seriously ridiculous. I need to calm down. Hahaha... But really.

Anyway, Harry Potter!

The Order of the Phoenix has a LOT going on. It's the longest book (I believe. I could go check but my bookshelf is so far away...) I'll try to contain myself.

1. Harry's angst. Harry talks in CAPS for a FULL PAGE. HE JUST YELLS AT RON AND HERMIONE FOR A FULL PAGE. Needless to say, Mr. Potter is aggravated. I mean, I'd be too if the entire wizarding world turned against me and thought I was a mad attention whore. That's rough. But Harry's unrelenting ANGST is complete throughout the novel. Book 5 is age 15 for Harry. It's like J. K. put all the overwhelming teenage years in one novel. He's not nearly as moody in the rest of them.

2. I HATE DOLORES UMBRIDGE. Oh sweet mother of God. I hate her. No, really. I LOATHE HER SO MUCH. I always find the fifth book the hardest to get through. Even more so than Chambers. It's just because my utter contempt for Umbridge is so intense I have to repeatedly lower the book to keep from screaming. My loathing is vehement and thorough. SHE IS THE MOST AWFUL EXCUSE FOR A WITCH. Umbridge is one of my least favorite literary characters of all time. She's just so evil. I hate her more than Voldemort. At least Voldie is upfront about his darkness. Umbridge tries to cover it up. She tries to be so sweet, so sickeningly so. She reminds me of this teacher I had in high school, who would threaten but do so with a smile. It's creepy and weird and just wrong. Dolores Umbridge deserved to be trampled by centaurs.

3. The D. A. The one good thing about Umbridge is her awfulness leads to the formation of Dumbledore's army, which is my favorite thing about Book 5. I love how Harry rises to the occasion and takes the role of leader. It's the first glimpse of what is yet to come. Additionally, I just like spending more time with Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom. Their characters are so great. I love when they get a chance for their stories to be told. Poor Neville. His life sucks so much. I don't know what I would have done if that happened to me. I mean, he is so strong. He is suffers silently. Everyone knows about Harry's plight. But Neville? He never told a soul. And Luna's just cool. "You know you look good when you rock those radish earrings!"

4. Sirius Black. WHY? WHY HARRY WHY? It's not really his fault. It's a lot of people's fault. Snape for being awful to Harry and stopping Occulmency. I do feel badly for Snape though. More on that in Book 7. (As a side note, Occulmency seems scary hard to me. I have such a difficult time clearing my mind. Snape would have hated me...) Snape also goaded Sirius which just pissed me off. Don't DO that! It's not nice. And it makes it harder for me to like you which I DO want to do. Stupid Snape. Harry, for not taking Occulmency seriously and for having a "people-saving-thing." Dumbledore, for not being upfront about the truth. Though, in his defense, he thought he was doing what was best.

5. The Department of Mysteries. The end of this book is so damn cool. Voldemort appears in the Ministry of Magic. Epic Voldie vs Dumbledore battle. We get a glimpse into experimental magic. Sirius has death by drapery. Crazy things go down. But most awesome is the Prophecy. Neither can live while the other survives. Poor Harry. He was doomed from the start. It's all up to our boy.

As miscellaneous blurbs, I hate Bellatrix Lestrange for many reasons. The Longbottoms, Sirius, general evil. Ugh.

The mood sensing of Harry in this book alludes heavily to his being a horcrux bit. Which is fun to examine.

And we see the Locket in this book. The horcrux locket which Kreacher covets.

Oh HP, how I adore you.

Until next time.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Things Keep Happening and the Goblet of Fire

I love to read. It is one of my favorite pastimes. In fact, it's pretty much top priority in my life. But sometimes I feel indulgent. Like maybe, I should have a little bit of human interaction. Just a theory, you know? So, HP and the Goblet of Fire took much longer than it would have if I had just holed myself up in my room and read like the hermit I know I can be.

Yet, despite my snail's pace it was, as always, an enjoyable read.

GoF (as I intend to call it) has a lot going on it. First of all it starts out with the Quidditch World Cup and all the Death Eater torturing muggles/Dark Mark shenanigans. That is intense stuff. But the Quidditch bit is great. Viktor Krum and that Wronski Feint (Wonky-Faints). What a guy.

Then there's the whole Triwizard Tournament thing. The tournament itself is fascinating but what happens in between intrigues me even more. The hardest part of that book is when Ron stops talking to Harry. I hate it. I can't stand it. It bothers me. I wish it would stop. I sped through that period just so I could get to the first task (dragons! squee!) and Ron would stop being such a prat. Silly Ron. Harry was just entered in the tournament so he can be a valuable asset to the bring Voldemort back from the almost dead association.

Wait. WHAT?

Exactly. The whole ordeal with Voldie coming back into a corporeal form is a BIG DEAL. The first time I read this a part of me knew it needed to happen but didn't want to accept it. HP goes from happy-go-lucky to all hell breaks loose at the drop of a hat. The Crouch story is crazy. Death Eaters man. I don't even understand how Barty Crouch Sr could even live with himself after all that. Plus, by the end there were so many people being controlled by the Imperius Curse I didn't even know what was what - Barty Crouch, Jr. and Senior, Viktor Krum, Mad-Eye Moody, almost Harry. But Harry don't play that.

Okay, so Voldemort returning from almost death is scary. The visual of the potion turning colors as each vital ingredient (Bone, Flesh, Blood) is alarming and slightly disturbing. Plus the whole evil, baby Voldie is really quite disturbing. (Tom Riddle is a PRIME CANDIDATE for the Evil Baby Orphanage. Is there an EBO for fictitious evil? There should be. Somebody e-mail John Green.) But when Voldemort finally rises and starts gallivanting about, I can't take it. He is such a power hungry, son of a b. I do not approve of the misuse of power, nor of leadership by pure fear and force. Voldemort embodies every evil dictator that has ever walked this fine planet. That makes Voldie pretty damn wicked.

Another awful thing is Cedric Diggory. Oh Cedric. Didn't he realize this was how it was going to end? I mean, Harry is the hero. What did he expect? Poor Cedric. Just a spare. He's just this spare guy. Ahaha. I really shouldn't find it funny but there are just too many HP parodies. Anyway, Cedric's death is a bad one. It's the first one of many. SO MANY. Oh Jo, you break my heart.

Also, there's Neville Longbottom and the Cruciatus Curse. When Neville starts freaking out in Defense Against the Dark Arts, the first time you read, it is not know that his parents were driven insane by Crucio! But on the subsequent reads, his reaction to the spell being cast on that spider is just heartbreaking. Poor Neville. His life is so rough. But more on that soon. Book 5 is just around the corner.

Now, I'd like to add a little ray of sunshine in this tunnel of doom, gloom and evil wizards.

The Yule Ball. I LOVE RON AND HERMIONE. They are both so dumb and this is the first example of their clear infatuation with each other. It is BEAUTIFUL. It just makes me excited for later.

Next, SPEW. Oh Hermione. You love house elves. It's adorable. I appreciate the effort even if it is slightly misplaced.

Finally, Harry giving Fred and George the Triwizard winnings was the best possible thing he could have done. People do need to laugh. They need to remember there is good in this world especially in dark times. That's why humor is so cherished. Well done Harry.

Brace yourself for teenage angst in the next installment of HP and moi.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Life and The Prisoner of Azkaban

As so often is the case, life happens. It does not care that you wanted to get more sleep, nor that you wanted to read one Harry Potter book a day. Life tends to be the thing that happens while you are making other plans, as John Lennon so wisely said. Hence, I did not finish The Prisoner of Azkaban when I thought I would.

I find that being employed takes up a lot of my time. I do a lot of running around. Not that I'm complaining. Jobs are good. :)

Additionally, I had to take a brief hour reprieve to watch the season finale of Glee.

In other news, Harry Potter.


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban:

This book is undoubtedly one of my favorite Harry Potter books. It's the calm before the storm. It's the last book before all hell breaks loose. But not only that there's Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. Mad love.

Okay. I am a big fan of the Marauders. They are severely romanticized in my brain. Maybe it's from too much fan fiction (WHAT?) but I always imagine them as so clever and dashing, which they were. At least according to Rowling.

But anyway, Sirius. I love Sirius Black. Besides having one of the coolest names in literature he is just an interesting character. He's so smart and so troubled and he only wants to help. In Book Three Black is just a shadowy figure bent on revenge. My favorite chapter is the one toward the end when everyone sorts out what really happened the night the Potters died. I was always rooting for Sirius after that. I mean, he meant well. He really did.

I'm also impressed by the way he put up with Azkaban. Dementors scare the living hell out of me. They are one of the most horrifying literary, mythical, you name it creatures I have ever heard of. I sort of find them synonymous with Ring Wraiths, though they are completely different. I think it's the whole being soulless, billowing robes thing that I find so similar. Nonetheless they frighten me and I hate them.

Though, I am quite fond of the Patronus Charm. Quite groovy. I think my Patronus would be a cat of some kind. I'd like to say a LION or a TIGER or some other BIG CAT. But it'd probably be a house cat. My Precious is the most adorable kitten in the world. I love her.

Speaking of cats, Crookshanks is hella awesome. He helped Sirius all year. I love how some of the cleverest witches and wizards couldn't understand Sirius's dilemma but it took a cat only a few days. Clever Crookshanks.

Next, Remus Lupin. Oh Lupin. Ilovehim. He is just THE BEST! He really is, out of all seven books, my favorite Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. He was the only one who actually cared about the students and got the job done. Lupin's kind and helpful. I love Remus Lupin. Can't say it enough. Plus he and Sirius really lucked out in the incredibly awesome names department.

I may have slight fangirl literary crushes on Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. So sue me.

Lupin also brings me back to the Whomping Willow. That tree is just positively fascinating. I mean it causes a lot of problems for our heroes, i.e. nearly killing them and destroying things like coveted broomsticks. But it's just interesting. I guess this is a good time to mention that one o my favorite wiz wrock bands is the Whomping Willows. (House of Awesome FTW!) And it's all because of Lupin's curious little problem that such a tree even exists. A tree that hits back. Lovely.


Hermione is a complete and utter badass in Book Three which makes me far too happy. I love that she slaps Draco. Definitely a highlight of the entire series. He completely deserves it. I love that she walks out of Divination. Trelawney is such a crook. Two actual predictions in a full life, neither of which she actually remembers. I do have to say, her prediction about Pettigrew at the end of Prisoner frightens me every time. It's just so creepy. Maybe it's the movie's influence that makes it worse but nonetheless.

Finally, Hermione travels through time ALL YEAR. Man, I would love a time turner. There really is never enough hours in the day. Think of all the things you could DO. I would go back and read freaking EVERYTHING. Then after that I'd go out with my friends. Then I could do everything I wanted simultaneously. It would be so awesome. I have a time turner. One of the Warner Bros ones modeled after the movie. It is BEAUTIFUL.


Finally, I'd just like to discuss Quidditch. I attend one of the awesome schools that actually has a real live Quidditch team so the sport has a special place in my heart not just because its awesome in HP but because it's awesome in my actual life. You think it's dangerous in the book? You should see two chasers grappling over a soccer ball... It's incredibly alarming.

Mostly I want to discuss the Firebolt. What a broom. Brooms are like cars. The sleeker, the shinier, the faster - the better. Gryffindor winning the Quidditch Cup makes me happy for several reasons. 1. Oliver Wood. He just wanted it so bad. I love that Jo gives it to him. 2. Beating Slytherin/Malfoy. Draco's a git. He deserves nothing awesome. 3. Lee Jordan's commentary. I looked forward to all Quidditch commentary. I was really sad after he left. 4. McGonagall not telling off Jordan for calling Malfoy a curse. I can see her jumping up and down every time. It makes me smile.

This last thing about Quidditch is not in the match for the cup. It's the Ravenclaw game. Harry v Cho Chang. (More about Cho Chang later) Oliver Wood: "HARRY, THIS IS NO TIME TO BE A GENTLEMAN! KNOCK HER OFF HER BROOM IF YOU HAVE TO."

And that, my friends, is the essence of awesome.

See you at the Triwizard Tournament.

Monday, June 7, 2010

AVPM and the Chamber of Secrets

I probably would have finished Book Two a lot sooner but I got incredibly distracted by the wonder that is A Very Potter Musical. I was just taking a quick break from reading. It started with a couple interviews with Darren Criss and Nick Lang. I started watching Act I and before I knew it I was an hour in, so I said to hell with it and watched the rest. It was my third time or so watching but, man, that is the best play. It's so funny. I am SO EXCITED for the sequel.

In other exciting news, I saw the sneak preview for the Deathly Hallows movie Part One. I FREAKED OUT. AHHHHHHH! It is so awesome! There was a lot of running through the woods and Harry and Ginny kissing, ominous Voldemort clips and Ron yelling at Harry. I had a nervy b. I cannot wait to see that movie film. It's gonna be off the hook for real.


Okay. I just finished HP and the Chamber of Secrets.

I have to admit. While, HP is my favorite book series, of all the books the Chamber is my least favorite. Maybe it was because after the awesomeness of the first book the darkness of the second took me by surprise. How was twelve year old me supposed to see that coming? The second book was some good foreshadowing for all the madness to come. Hogwarts always seems to be in an uproar of some crisis or another that threatens its well being. The closest it comes to getting shut down for real is in the second book. Unless you count the Umbridge debacle and then there's the end of the sixth, but more on that later.

Despite the fact that this isn't my most favorite HP novel, it was still a good read. Since I haven't picked it up in so long it just felt nice. Familiar story. Good times.

Additionally, I keep this Harry Potter Happy Birthday balloon I got for my tweflth birthday or something inside the cover of The Chamber. Every time I read it, looking at the balloon just makes me happy. I work at a party store where we sell a lot of mylars and stuff. I need to see how many HP balloons we have. I'm in the market for more.

Okay, first off - Dobby. Oh Dobby. He means well. He really does. I can just see him with his big eyes and floppy ears and his desire to just save Harry Potter. Ron really does say it right. If Dobby didn't stop trying to save Harry he would have killed him. The pudding incident. Closing the gates at King's Cross. The Rogue Bludger. Madness, I daresay. And after all that Harry still sets him free. What a guy. Well, he did deserve it.

That brings me to Lucius Malfoy. He makes me SO ANGRY. While I loathe Draco on general principles I really hate his father. Lucius is just so much worse for whatever reason. I think, while Draco may have some redeemable qualities (which come up much later), Lucius has none. He is just a bad, bad man. He is just so petty and cruel. It's no wonder Draco is the way he is. A majority of our behavior is brought out by the people who parent us. Ugh. Malfoys... Though I do rather like the band Draco and the Malfoys. Their songs are hilarious. My personal favorite is Voldemort is Awesome. Quite catchy.

In regards to foreshadowing I just want to mention Borgin and Burke's - the opal and the vanishing cabinet. Both are mentioned in chapter four and both are vitally important in book six. That tricksy little Malfoy brat.

Also, I would like to briefly discuss enchanted muggle objects. The Ford Anglia is one of my favorite characters. It is an adorable little puppy car that gets turned wild by the Forbidden Forest. That is bloody brilliant. Mr. Weasley's fascination with muggle things is adorable. I wouldn't mind owning a few enchanted objects - just so long as they didn't kill me or anything. As Arthur Weasley says, don't trust anything that thinks if you can't see where it keeps its brain.

Next, Gilderoy Lockhart. I don't hate him. I mean, you can't really. He's annoying but he's not really evil. Lockhart's just... a pompous git. That pretty much sums it up. I love that he blows his own mind up. It's great. He gets exactly what he deserves.


Is it bad that when I read about Justin Finch-Fletchley I think of the wizard wrock band? No, I didn't think so.


Concerning mudbloods: Clearly, labeling a person's skill in magic based on their blood is ridiculous. All the pure-blood, half-blood, dirty blood nonsense is ridiculous. Jo put it there for a reason, I'm guessing. (Again, all speculation.) It's blatant racism. Draco Malfoy and his family are a bunch of prejudiced racists. End of story.

I do love how mad Ron gets about it though. He comes very near murdering Draco. Ah, budding romance.


Basilisks are alarming. I wish I had been more clever when I first read this book. The basilisk clues are relentless. I have nothing against snakes. I even find them kind of cute sometimes, especially adorable little garden snakes. But basilisks cross that line. Them and acromantula. -.- Giant spiders do NOT do it for me. I side with Ron. Not cool and Hagrid is a mad man. Loveable but a mad man when it comes to normal, safe creatures. I do love how they lead up to discovering the chamber. It's so very exciting.

Tom Riddle. Tom Marvolo Riddle. I am Lord Voldemort.
I recall first reading that. That is one of the most important scenes in HP history. It's our first glimpse of the past that is Voldemort. Voldemort's past is vitally important to his defeat. Plus there's the diary - horcrux #1. Though, no one knows it's a horcrux yet. Except Dumbledore. I think he knows. He pretty much always knew what the hell was going on. He just never let us in on the secret. J. K. Rowling's a genius. We all know it.
I am constantly fascinated by Tom Riddle. I like to watch the evolution of Voldemort. He was always bad but why did he have to go so bad? I feel like it didn't have to be that way. He was so smart and handsome in his Hogwarts days. But he was also cunning. Too cunning. And power hungry. What made him that way? Probably his desertion by his family. Likely some deep seated personal issues. But more on that in entries to come. I could do a series psychological evaluation of Voldie. But I'll refrain.... for now.
The end.
Talk to you soon.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

It's Harry Potter Week

I try to re-read my Harry Potter books at least once a year. It's a ritual for me. Harry Potter is one of the few book series that have one hundred percent re-read value. No matter how many times I pick up the books I get sucked back in. In the past few years I've been a little lax in my Harry Potter worship in the actual reading department. So this summer, this week, for me anyway, is dedicated to Harry Potter. And that is basically what this blog is about. And if you haven't read HP I suggest not reading on because there will be SPOILERS.

Now, without further ado...


I just finished reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

God, I love how that book starts. I opened up to page one with the illustration of baby Harry and THE BOY WHO LIVED staring at me. "Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive..." The words that launched a thousand dreams and started the awesome. My favorite part is the familiarity of it. I've read those words so many times. It's just a comfort to have my eyes following them on the pages. It feels so comfy. At home, if you will.

Another thing I liked about re-reading, besides the familiarity, were all the little things I noticed. Like how the first thing we hear about Snape is how he looks right into Harry's eyes and how Hagrid avoids why Snape would so immediately dislike Harry. In retrospect, it just means so much more.

The characters have grown so much. I feel like Draco is more of a prat in the first book than ever. I mean, he's always uber annoying and evil-ish but at least it feels more justified later on. The first book he just is an utter tool jerk. There's no good reason for it except that Daddy's an ex-Voldemort fanboy. But of course more of that comes later.

And HOLY CRAP WAS HERMIONE ANNOYING. I love Hermione. I am a big advocate for Hermione. She is smart and clever, which are two things I value. But in book one, whew. Such a know-it-all jerk. When the troll bit finally comes along I was just so HAPPY. Hermione lying to the professors was possibly the best thing that could have happened for her. Loosened up Hermione is a happy Hermione.

And the Dursleys are unbearable. But I always feel that way. Trapping your nephew in a cupboard? You know, if you think about it, it's a wonder no one called DSS on them.

I also have a better appreciation for the actual writing. While it's always been fabulous, it has definitely gotten better and more complex with each book. Re-reading the first just feels like such a lapse into my childhood. I mean it was published in the nineties for the love of God.

I also love the scene in Ollivander's. It's probably because of the movies but I had to read that part aloud. I could hear him saying "Curious, curious." I love how that bit went in the movie. I felt the same way about when Draco introduced himself to Harry on the train. The whole stay away from the bad crowd "I can help with that" bit. Ugh. Draco. The movies do crop up in my head sometimes when I'm reading. It's usually just voices. And sometimes that doesn't hurt. It even helps.

But back to Ollivander's. Wands. So cool. I would love one of those legit Harry Potter wands. Man...

I love the end. That's the one thing that really bugged me about the first movie. They left out some of the enchantments and the enchantments were the BEST PART. They were so well done and clever. Snape's logic potion mix-up is one of my favorite challenges. I like it even more than the wizard chess set. It's just brilliant. I don't know how Hermione does it because I don't think I could have solved it or kept my cool.

Finally, I want to discuss Neville Longbottom. Neville is underappreciated. I remember the first time I read this I think I disregarded him as an awesome but minor character. But he is so great. He helps Ron take down the Slytherin goons at the Quidditch game. And there's the whole standing up to your friends bravery bit. But I love how Jo sets up his gradual importance from the very beginning. My favorite is how he, of all the characters, gets in the boat with Ron, Harry, and Hermione to cross the lake. I don't know if she meant to do that, but I still like it. I've always had a soft spot for Neville. He tries so hard.

Well, that's enough for now. Off to Book Two.