I, along with some of my favourite bloggers, am rereading all seven books this year. Here on MVB, I will be livetweeting as I read, as well as writing up a bi-weekly recap of where I’m at in the book. When I was first discovering the series, I read so quickly that I never really let myself savour each word, so I am very much looking forward to taking my time and letting everything I love about Harry’s story sink in.
The Highlights: (some spoilers for plot arcs in play in this book and the rest of the series.)
- Few things in the series scare me as much as the first chapter of this novel. I remember having nightmares about entering the Riddle house and to this day, I have a hard time watching that scene in the film. Rereading it still sends chills up and down my spine, though now I’m better able to notice the little details that Rowling includes to give hints of Voldemort’s past.
- I had completely forgotten that Bill and Charlie were introduced (at least to readers) in this novel. As fascinating as Hogwarts is, I remain interested in what happens after 7th year, and I liked seeing Bill and Charlie happy in their respective careers.
- Admittedly, I am a little embarrassed that before Goblet of Fire, I never really thought about the rest of the wizarding world. It makes sense that Rowling would have focused on developing Hogwarts in the first few novels before branching out into the international spectrum. I especially liked the nod to the Salem Institute.
- Hermione’s concern for the house elves, while not unwarranted, is something that I have conflicting thoughts on, and I’m not sure I’ve settled on them yet. On the one hand, I think it’s great that Hermione noticed an unbalanced relationship between wizards and house elves, mirroring race relations in the real world. It is a clever and subtle way of raising those questions with young readers that may not have encountered them before. On the other hand, the house elves are content with their lives, and indeed, Hermione’s attempts to dictate and change their way of life are met with resistance. She tries to trick them into accepting clothes, and that is uncalled for. Is she justified in her actions? Certainly Dobby is an example of the house elf that yearns for something more. But the Hogwarts elves feel that they are treated fairly and cared for, and that they don’t need liberation. Do Hermione’s concerns trump the house elves’ choice–because Dumbledore does offer them one, as seen with Dobby? I would lean towards no, because respect is tantamount, and I don’t feel that Hermione really respected the house elves’ right to choose their lifestyle, at least not in this novel. (I will be back with more on this topic in future posts!)
- Durmstrang and Beauxbatons are infinitely interesting to me, and I wish we’d had more information about them. I liked that each school had trademark forms of magic, as seen in their arrival at Hogwarts.
- The breakdown of Ron and Harry’s friendship is still painful to read about years after the fact, and I credit that to the way Rowling developed their characters. A lot of Ron hate can be traced back to this plot thread, but I think that focusing on Ron’s behaviour does both the reader and character a disservice. Ron Weasley has always had very deep-seated insecurities, ones that would have been exacerbated by being Harry Potter’s best friend. Harry becoming a Hogwarts champion and (in Ron’s mind) not including Ron would have been one of his greatest nightmares, so his reaction is understandable. I do see this arc as a major turning point in their friendship, because now they have to learn how to become their own people, strong and capable as they are.
- I’m just going to pretend Rita Skeeter doesn’t exist because the mere thought of her infuriates me.
- OH HEY THE DAY SIRIUS ASKS TO TALK TO HARRY IS A PRETTY AWESOME DATE.
- The Yule Ball was absolutely perfect. Perhaps it’s hindsight and some pretty embarrassing high school dance memories of my own, but I thought that Rowling captured the awkwardness and exhilaration of it so well. It certainly didn’t hurt that my suspicions of Ron/Hermione were solidified in this scene. Ron’s inability to articulate his feelings is something that I’m glad to see he grows out of, and Hermione’s determination to make the right choices for herself is admirable.
- I will say this: the whole Barty Crouch thing confused me so much as a kid. I just didn’t understand the kind of person he was, though on some level, I knew that what he had done to his son and Winky was bad. Crouch, Jr. was both a product of his upbringing and of his experiences with Voldemort, and despite his evil deeds, I feel pity for him. His mind was warped by the lack of love and respect from his father, and while some people can rise above that, he could not. Parallels could be drawn between him and Harry, and even just writing this, I can see the pattern continued in Voldemort and Sirius. Our parents, absent or not, loving or not, exert influence on us, and it’s up to us to decide what kind of influence it is, and how we absorb it into our lives.
Thinking of joining in? Sign up over @ Just A Lil’ Lost, and note down the schedule below!
- January: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone
- February: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- March: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- April: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- May: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- June: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- July: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Categories: Harry Potter Reread 2014