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Harry Potter Challenge

If you know me, you know I love anything Harry Potter. You may be asking yourself how a grown woman can love a fictional series about a boy wizard but hear me out. When Harry Potter first came out I enjoyed the movies but didn’t read the books because I didn’t enjoy reading. However, when the third movie came out something occurred that was not explained in the movie but a friend told me the issue is cleared up in the books. This friend had been trying to get me to read the books for years and stubbornly refused to give me the information thereby forcing me to begin the series.

I am so thankful she did! I not only found a series I loved but a love for reading. As an AP kid I never read for enjoyment but rather for assignments and dissection. I read through the first five books that summer and then faced the pain of waiting for the next one to be released. (God bless the people who suffered through this waiting game for all seven books.)

In the end, I love Harry Potter because it is funny, emotional, poignant, introspective and mysterious. I highly suggest watching the movies at minimum and giving the books a try. Let me just say that I, a nonreader at the time, read the fifth book in two days. It is nearly 900 pages and I couldn’t put it down. (Side note: If you want to see the movies on the big screen, Flashback Cinema is doing one a month throughout the year. They will be showing the fourth movie, “Goblet of Fire” next week.)

Finally, I’ll say that I had always heard a good book makes you homesick for places you’ve never been and people you’ve never met and I couldn’t understand how that was possible. I always viewed reading as such a chore and longed to escape as soon as possible. However, like Harry, I found a home at Hogwarts and I look forward to returning as often as I can. So in honor of the people and places I love so much...

***Be warned there are spoilers in my answers.***

Favorite Book in the Series

I L-O-V-E “The Order of the Phoenix”. While I find it to have one of the saddest moments, Sirius' death, I also think it is a turning point for Harry. Cedric dying was awful but to take someone so close to Harry...One of Harry's only connections to his parents, shows the ruthlessness of Voldemort and makes the “war” more real. And while the death of Sirius stays with you, I feel that the love shown between Harry and Sirius is essential and amazing. Proof that blood has nothing to do with family.

(Strangely enough, this is my least favorite movie of the whole series. So much was left out and the moments in the book that are so emotionally impactful are left flat on the screen.)

Least Favorite Book in the Series

Hmm... least favorite? Is that even possible? I suppose “The Half Blood Prince”. While so many important things occur I also feel the apprehension that Harry feels. The entire series is from his perspective so you make many of the same mistakes in judgement that he does and feel many of the same emotions because of this the whole book feels like you are on the edge of some huge change and you can't help but feel it's regretful. In fact, I feel the whole book has a feeling of “goodbye”. I feel so disappointed when reading it, not because it isn't good, it's quite wonderful but it doesn't end with the hope that the rest of the books end with. There is that uncertainty that Voldemort could win. Also, I think, in some way, I don't enjoy seeing Draco playing the evil role. Like Harry, I didn't particularly like Draco but I knew he wasn't truly evil. I pity him in this book and really until the end of the story.

(Side Story: When this book came out I got it at the midnight release and spent the next two days pouring over it. My daddy had been working evenings and came in close to midnight right as I was reading the very unexpected and tragic death of an important character. I, who rarely cry over normal things, can become a bit of a mess reading a book and at that moment I was HYSTERICALLY crying in my bed. He must have come home and heard me because he came rushing in my room, throwing the door open but it only took a second for him to realize where my trouble lay. His only response was, “Is it that freaking Harry Potter? You have got to be kidding me!” Every time I reread that part I cry but I also chuckle from the memory.)

Favorite Character

I might as well choose my favorite star in the sky. I will leave out the main three because they are givens but that still leaves the whole of the Weasley clan and most of the Marauders. I have to say I dearly love Sirius. I love his heart and the fact that his heart remains in spite of what he had been through. I love his loyalty, to his friends and those he considers his family. I love that he and Draco had similar upbringings/families and yet he chose a different path, a path that wasn't the easy one. He is so wonderful yet so brokenly human.

Please note that it’s a running joke in the Harry Potter fandom that no one has ever named Harry as their favorite character in the series and this is so true. I’ve never heard a soul list Harry as their favorite. Perhaps we see too much of ourselves and our folly in him?

Favorite Professor

It's a tie between McGonagall and Lupin. McGonagall because she was strict and yet had a mischievousness about her. She was an excellent teacher that was determined for her students to succeed in all aspects of their lives and she was quite an old duck when the Battle of Hogwarts came about.

Also, I like Lupin because he taught in a realistic way. He believed his students were capable and in need of methods and means to face what was ahead of them. I also like the fact that he knows what is coming, he had seen the first war and yet, he didn't lose hope like some. He worked with not only the Order but also the DA. I appreciate his view of others in spite of his run in with Fenrir and he is great proof that even a societal outcast can change history for the better.

Most Beautiful Character

Outer beauty: Fleur Delacour, this is self explanatory.

Inner beauty: Luna Lovegood, she and Neville were the only ones to answer the DA coins when true trouble came. Also, she never seemed bitter or hopeless no matter what she'd been through or how she was treated. Her loyalty to her friends and love of everyone endears her to you.

Most Missed Dead Character

Shocker, my answer is Sirius! I miss Sirius' humor, love, wisdom and encouragement. I think Harry (and we, readers) needed Sirius' to the very end and in a way I think he was there. You miss different parts of each character lost. Fred's humor, Dobby’s innocence, Dumbledore's wisdom, Lupin's encouragement but it is all of Sirius that I miss the most.

Funniest Moment

There are so many funny moments but the one that came to my head first was the conversation between Ron and Hermione when she claimed he had the emotional range of a teaspoon. It’s in the midst of a very trying time and a very serious discussion. Voldemort has returned, Cedric is dead and yet in the midst of all of this, teenage boys are still teenage boys and girls are still a mystery to them. It’s a nice little reminder that life goes on and people can still fall in love.

What You Think Your Patronus Would Be

My sweet, little Porkchop!

I would like to think that my patronus would be something fierce and aggressive considering how they are “used” but it would most likely be a cat. I assume it would be a big, fluffy one with a bit of sass similar to my beloved Porkchop… may she rest in peace.

Hogwarts House

My Hogwarts House always seems to confuse or shock people because they feel it is out of character. I say that those people don’t understand the true nature of Slytherin House and have been tainted by Harry’s opinion. For years, I too viewed Slytherin House as the “evil” house but when you listen to the Sorting Hat’s songs you realize that is not the case. Slytherins are described as cunning, shrewd and possessing great ambition and yes, some terrible wizards and witches came from Slytherin but some great and loving witches and wizards were Slytherins as well. In fact on the cusp of the Second Wizarding War the Sorting Hat reminds the students that Gryffindor and Slytherin were great friends, a reminder which becomes more important as Voldemort gains power.

Favorite Quote

This is dang near impossible to decide. Harry Potter has some of the most inspiring, funny and poignant quotes of any series I’ve ever read. Like, I almost broke my own rule of no writing in novels just to keep up with my favorite quotes. If you asked me tomorrow I may give you a different answer but I have a very particular reasoning behind why I chose this quote. Out of context it’s not the most inspiring or wisest but in the context of the moment it is spoken it provides so much. Of course it comes from my favorite book, “The Order of the Phoenix”, and it’s spoken by my favorite character, Sirius Black.

At this moment we find Harry struggling internally with the idea that he may in fact be evil. He feels alone, scared and desperate. He speaks his fears to Sirius who reminds him that we all have good and bad in us which must have been very reflective for Sirius who spent so long in Azkaban. I have no doubt that he questioned his own evil nature in all his years there. This moment gives Harry just a little hope to face what’s ahead. Sadly, this is one of the last conversations Harry has with his godfather.

So there are my random Harry Potter thoughts and why I adore the series. I still urge you to give it a shot if you enjoy reading fiction. It’s well worth it!

For those who have read the series, you know this is a lovely and perfect final dedication from J.K. Rowling.

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