It was in 2000 that Harry Potter books 1, 2, & 3 were available in India and the world seemed to be talking about this book series in great fascination. I happened to pick all three from a pavement stall in Connaught place one balmy evening while returning from work and in next 3-4 days, I had completely devoured them. I became one of the anxious in line for the fourth book which was set for a release in July 2000.
Title: Harry Potter
Author: J K Rowling
Genre: Fantasy Fiction
Publication: Bloomsbury Press
Joanne Rowling is a UK-based children’s author who later started writing adult fiction under a pen name Robert Galbraith. Her claim to fame is the Harry Potter series which have been translated into 68 languages and sold over 400 million copies worldwide. They have also been converted to movies and plays. At her publishers insistence that her name sound masculine to the male readers, she adopted the initial K into her name and hence became J K Rowling. Hers is rags to riches story as she was living on state benefits at the time she wrote these books. Today she is a millionaire who gives to charitable causes and is a hugely influential world figure.
Harry Potter is a underfed and poorly cared for orphan who is dependant on his Aunt’s family for a roof over his head. Aunt Petunia is a hard tempered woman with no motherly love to spare for her sister’s son and is a nosy parker who likes to gossip and eavesdrop on others misfortunes. Her husband is worse than her and is ever fearful of what everyone thinks. Then there is his cousin who is the same age yet is extremely disdainful towards Harry.
Growing up in such a family, it was obviously a shock for Harry to learn that he is a wizard and so were his parents who died fighting the evil lord Voldemort who is hell-bent on finishing off Harry too. Harry comes to discover a world of wizardry and witchcraft which exists quietly and parallel to the muggle world.
“Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.” –The Order of the Phoenix
This series traces the life and relationships of Harry Potter through his formative years at the Hogwarts school and the many friends and foes he makes there. While meandering through curriculum, Harry discovers truths about his existence, the fight against Voldemort and more importantly his own role in this fight. The series ends with Harry growing up to be 17 and duelling Lord Voldemort to the end. He loses people close to him in this fight while also forages closer bonds with the ones who love him. His growing up from 11 to 17 has been shown brilliantly by the author.
“There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.” – J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
JKR has created the perfect world of fantasy bespoke with curses, spells and enchantments that lures one’s imagination to be part of it. She has explored fantastic myths, cultural influences and magical lore in this series, making perfect sense in aligning them to the story.
So one reads about Fawkes the Phoenix who dies in a burst of flames to rise forth as a young chick and is the talisman of hope and help at Hogwarts.
Lord Voldemort who has pushed the boundaries of magic beyond the darkness and is set to terrorise and rule on the entire world. He has split his soul into seven pieces which are hidden in other objects/creatures to provide him with the illusion of immortality.
The philosopher’s stone talks about the elixir of life and is much sought after by Lord Voldemort who is obsessed with being an immortal.
There are merepeople who reside under the lake, Thestral which are a cross between a horse and a buffalo and can be seen only by people who have experienced a death in the family, Ghosts who are residual echoes of their former self and are reluctant to cross to the other side.
“’I’m not going to be murdered,’ Harry said out loud. ‘That’s the spirit, dear,’ said his mirror sleepily.” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Broomsticks, wands, owls, apothecary stores, dress robes, every flavour jelly bean, fire whiskey, etc all make for a fantastical tale of telling and Harry potter is not short of adventure.
I could go on and on about this book series and have read it at least 50 times in the past 20 years of its publication. There are seven books in all and JKR has published some ancillary ones to paint this world a little clearer.
Lasting Impression on me:
The story telling is fantastical to say the least. The author is at her imaginative best in portraying the world of Harry Potter which makes me want to jump right into it. The story of an orphan abused by his relatives and then he discovers his true potential as a wizard is one which is very humanely relatable. The underdog is always championed with gutso by us and such is the case of Harry Potter too.
“It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.” –The Half-Blood Prince
One cant help but be sympathetic to the peer pressure he faces at the hands of rich kids, the antagonism of some teachers who make his life hell and the misery of never knowing his parents. Top that with basketball cum football played on broomsticks, wands that erupt onto the user, magic potions to make you feel lucky, dragons, three-headed dogs….. the list is endless.
“Dumbledore says people find it far easier to forgive others for being wrong than being right.” –The Half-Blood Prince
Through all his turmoil, he never loses faith and sticks to following the path he feels is his. There are many who detract him from it but he sticks to it resolutely. He is also fiercely loyal to his friends, regardless of rank and stature. He stays devoted to Albus Dumbledore to the end, despite his many misgivings about him later on. Harry finds true love and gives it up to save her life. His overcoming many odds to even out his chances is the triumph of this tale.
I solemnly swear that I am up to no good. –The Prisoner of Azkaban
I am a huge fan of fantasy fiction and the reason this series is rated so highly by me is that its simple in its telling, layered with fantasy and talks about real human values. One can relate to this book in the course of one’s actual life and learn to deal with it.
It shouldnt come as a shock that my rating is 5 ***** for this series. I would recommend this book for children and grown ups with equal aplomb. It’s a book which has something for everyone to dig into!
Coming up tomorrow is The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society
I am on a no-book-buying pact as I am pretty much broke; not to mention that I am running out of space as well!! But incase anyone wants to trade their books or send me gifts, please do check out my Wishlist on Amazon & Want to read on Goodreads.
For the uninitiated, AtoZ challenge is a blogging challenge wherein one has to write on every alphabet from A to Z and post on all days of April, except Sundays. Usually its better to devise a theme as it makes it easy to write the posts. Plus readers have a reason to stay hooked too.
The A to Z Challenge is created by Arlee Bird of Tossing it Out
and co-hosted by
Alex J. Cavanaugh of Alex J. Cavanaugh
Jeremy Hawkins of Hollywood Nuts
John Holton of The Sound of One Hand Typing
J Lenni Dorner of Blog of J. Lenni Dorner
Some of my previous posts you might be interested in catching up on