Tuesday, August 5, 2014

"Harry Potter" by J.K. Rowling

Everyone is familiar with the Boy Who Lived. Harry Potter has been a cult classic since the first book was released in the U.K. in 1997. The series follows Harry, an orphan that discovers he is a wizard and a very important one at that. The Wizarding World has been a quiet place since Harry defeated Lord Voldemort but there are always rumors of his return. What makes this series great is the fact that every reader can connect to Harry on some level, whether it's through his journey to find meaning in the death of his parents or struggling to understand friendship. Although it's been ten years since the last book was published, it's clear that the series will continue to live on.

 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Harry learns that he's a wizard and he begins attending the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry makes friends with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Not everyone is excited to have him there.

Highlights: Friendships, Quidditch

Lowlights: The Dursleys, going home

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Hogwarts feels like home but Harry receives messages that he shouldn't be there. He learns that he can talk to snakes, a skill that dark wizards possess. Could this skill be used for good?

Highlights: Dobby the house elf

Lowlights: Arrogant teachers

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry learns more about his parents through their friends. One becomes a professor at Hogwarts and the other, an accused murderer, escapes from prison. Harry realizes that his past is more complicated than it seemed.

Highlights: Patronus Charms

Lowlights: Dementors

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Two wizarding schools arrive to participate in the Triwizard Tournament. Harry is content to watch but his name is drawn and he must compete. The games turn out to be a cover-up for more.

Highlights: Hermione's romance

Lowlights: Harry and Ron's fight

 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
No one believes it when Harry says that Lord Voldemort is back. Even Harry's mentor, Dumbledore, avoids him. Harry struggles to deal with qualities he shares with Voldemort and he discovers how he's connected to Voldemort.

Highlights: Secret societies, the prophecy

Lowlights: Professor Umbridge

 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry is back in Dumbledore's good graces as they learn as much as possible about Voldemort. Harry finds a book that helps him excel in Potions Class but leaves him wondering who the owner was.

Highlights: Quality time with Dumbledore

Lowlights: The ending
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Harry, Ron, and Hermione team up to destroy horcruxes. Harry struggles to accept Dumbledore's past and he discovers a different side of someone he thought he knew. Harry also learns what it means to live and to die.

Highlights: Friendship, love

Lowlights: The struggle of grief

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith- written by J.K. Rowling, for an older audience
The Lord of the Rings by J.R. Tolkien- fantasy, 3 volumes

Illustrations provided by Goodreads

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