It’s hard to write a book review for a re-read, especially a re-read of a Potter book. Oh well, I’ll try my best. I read this book over the past five months so my memories of it will be a little spotty and my comments will likely lean toward the later part of the book, which is freshest in my mind. And I want to talk here about reading in another language because, in the end, that was my purpose.
Harry Potter y el misterio del princie by J.K. Rowling, translated by Gemma Rovira Ortega
Other books by J.K. Rowling reviewed on my blog:
English Summary from Goodreads:
It is the middle of the summer, but there is an unseasonal mist pressing against the windowpanes. Harry Potter is waiting nervously in his bedroom at the Dursleys’ house in Privet Drive for a visit from Professor Dumbledore himself. One of the last times he saw the Headmaster was in a fierce one-to-one duel with Lord Voldemort, and Harry can’t quite believe that Professor Dumbledore will actually appear at the Dursleys’ of all places. Why is the Professor coming to visit him now? What is it that cannot wait until Harry returns to Hogwarts in a few weeks’ time? Harry’s sixth year at Hogwarts has already got off to an unusual start, as the worlds of Muggle and magic start to intertwine…
I’ve thought about it, and I’m not sure I’ve read this book a second time since devouring it the week after it was published. I know I’ve reread books 1-4, but I’m not sure about 5-7. That makes this Spanish reread of the series even more fun for me. HBP is my favorite of the movies so I’ve watched it dozens of times but knowing that aspect of the story made me forget the details in the book that made it even more incredible. I loved Crabbe and Goyle as first-year girls, the reason Snape called himself the Half-Blood Prince, the details of Ginny and Harry, Quidditch politics, and even more Slughorn.
After seeing Harry act like an emotional teenager in the fifth book where just reading the all-caps freak-outs he has will give you 70% of the plot, HBP is a nice break and a chance to see Harry mature. Hermione is her strong self as always and Ron’s growing and fading relationship with Lavender is always good for a laugh. Rowling’s characters are very believable teens and I remember reading this when it was published, the year I was 16, and thinking the same thing. It was so great to grow up with Harry.
For once, Harry was my favorite character. Though, when Malfoy is in the astronomy tower, he breaks my heart. That’s one of my single favorite character development scenes in all of literature. I’ve literally written a book about it. Harry was much more level-headed this time around. I also liked his drive and determination when it came to the Horocruxes. It was good to get some internal thoughts from him about Ginny and his friends. Much of Rowling’s writing is 3rd person narration but it’s a treat to get into Harry’s head.
Part of what makes this book one of my favorites is that Rowling makes Malfoy sympathetic, something we never expected in Sorcerer’s Stone. We’ve all struggled with something we didn’t want to do but were told to. It’s a terrible inner turmoil, trying to reconcile morality, duty, and compliance. I related to Malfoy and my mother would argue it was my fascination with everything she hated in my teen years, but I loved his character. What great writing.
It should be easy to tell by now that the astronomy tower scene is my favorite (and least favorite) in the book. I think it’s something Potter fans can still discuss to this day. Was he really lowering his wand? In the movie, Malfoy shows a Dark Mark but not in the book. Did he have one? Was Snape reading Dumbledore’s thoughts? Did Dumbledore really want to die? Such a great scene!
It’s hard to find a part of this book I didn’t like. From the opening scene with the Muggle Prime Minister to the ominous tone at the end, I loved the whole thing. Maybe it’s how long it took me to read this, but I really enjoyed every word.
To me, the last two books deal with sacrifice and love. This book focused a lot on sacrifice, especially at the end. Harry is reeling from losing Sirius at the beginning but quickly has to focus on the real problem, Voldemort. He is willing to sacrifice his time and later his safety to stop the Dark Lord and at the end, sees the downfall of his mentor. However, he quickly realizes that this had to happen for him to find his own strength. Gah, I love it!
Writer’s Takeaway: It’s hard to say what it is about these books that I can’t get enough of. I’ll reread them time and again. This book showed a lot of character development and depth I’d been waiting a long time to see and it was refreshing. The series grew up with Harry and this book continued that trend and I really, really loved being a Harry Potter kid.
Amazing, amazing book. A full 5 out of 5 Stars.
Until next time, write on.