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I've been rereading all Harry Potter books in anticipation of the last movie coming out this summer.
When I first read the books I started with book 3 (Prisoner of Azkaban). We had to read a Harry Potter book for school. I had no idea what Harry Potter was at the time (this was back in 2001 or 2002) and didn't actually know I had picked up the third book. Through my reread I've realized this is the first book in the series that is really hard to put down. The first 2 are good, but the third is great!
I've also realized that book 5 (Order of the Phoenix) is really hard to get through. First of, it's long and second, mopey Harry is really hard to sympathise with. A book where you can't sympathise with the hero is a hard read, at least in my opinion.
What's your favourite book in the series?
My favorite book is The Prisoner of Azkaban. I am so glad that I read it BEFORE seeing the movie, I think the wonder of it would be diminished by knowing the revelations that are coming.
I think the Goblet of Fire might be my least favorite, but it has been so long since I read the series that the end books kind-of run together.
I agree with you about whiny Harry. At a certain point I remember throwing a book down in disgust thinking "Oh here we go, we're going to get the Grumpy Paranoid Harry Alienates His Friends plot-line again!"
All of this makes me think it may be time for a series re-read. I re-read the earlier books several times while waiting for later books to be released, but the later along in the series I went, the fewer times I read them. Deathly Hallows I read only once. I didn't enjoy it as much as the others.
I think due to it being the end of the series & having to wrap everything up, but also because of the action in the book. I find that to me the most satisfying parts in the series are the parts about belonging, finding a family outside your family. The golden moments for me are when Harry is relishing Hogwart's as his real "home" when he is secure and his heart warm within the circle of his friends. I love the contrast of beginning every book on Privet Driver with the Dursleys. The cold and hard of the Dursleys makes the soft warm moments that much more to be cherished. - There is not much room for those kind of moments in the final book, and I missed them.
I guess I enjoy the relationships more than the battles.
Thanks for starting this topic. I'm actually just about to start a podcast on Harry Potter. My ranking of the books are:
I think book 5 is a great portrayal of teen angst.
Book 5 is a good portrayal of teen angst, but that doesn't mean it's a fun read. Maybe my teen years are still a little too close to really enjoy it.
So far I'd agree with your ranking, except I'd switch books 4 and 5. I seem to be one of the few people who really liked Goblet of Fire.
I'm a big fan of Goblet of Fire and Deathly Hallows. With GoF, I especially liked the Barty Crouch Jr twist at the end of the book. We also learn a bit more about LV in this book.
You can also check out the podcast that I am now the host of called the Secrets of Harry Potter at: http://secrets.sqpn.com/category/harry-potter/
The first time I read the first book, I was pretty disappointed. I read it for a children's lit class my second semester in college(spring 2002), I really wanted to like it but I just didn't think it was that good. I think part of the problem was that I was trying to compare it to the fantasy that I grew up with which was mostly Narnia.
I eventually heard from people whose book taste I trusted that the third and fourth books were the best ones, so I changed my expectations a bit and tried again, and by the fourth book I was really loving the characters and Goblet of Fire became my favorite.
After that I reread the series from the beginning and really began to enjoy them. Order of the Phoenix was easily the weakest book in the series, I honestly think it needed some editing. It's definitely my least favorite and I long theorized that it would make a better movie than book. I think I was right! I was very happy with Half-Blood Prince though. By the time Deathly Hallows was being released, I was genuinely excited and attended a midnight release.
I had mixed feelings about the ending of the final book, Deathly Hallows, at first but I liked the way it turned out after I had thought about it and discussed it a bit. Another thing that I think really made this series good for me is the audiobooks read by Jim Dale. They were all so well performed that it really helped me get into the series more.
My favorite is Prisoner of Azkaban by far, but even that being said, I love them all.
I can even give you my favorite line in the ENTIRE series, which I read tonight as I am rereading books 1-7 too.
"Where is he, Sirius?"
That one line, that CHAPTER, changed EVERYTHING for me. I just love it.
Although I have one bone to pick with the book. Why in the world did getting caught out of bed cost Harry, Hermione, and Neville 150 points when they were just breaking rules and nobody was hurt yet, in POA when the Slytherins attempt to sabotage Harry during Qudditch they only lose 50 points and are still allowed to play the game? Harry could've fallen and been seriously hurt!!! It should've been 50 each and those involved not getting to play for the rest of the season!