Sunday, January 10, 2021

Harry Potter series - review

Harry Potter, by JK Rowling

‘Harry Potter’, quite literally two of the most famous words in the world of books. 

At my age, most kids have read the books, or at least seen the movies. It's quite unusual to come across someone who doesn’t know about this series. Therefore, considering how famous it is, it might seem strange that I have never mentioned it until now. Well, there is a reason for it. Reviewing a book series like Harry Potter is a huge task. There are so many plots and layers to it that trying to explain it without giving away anything crucial is almost impossible. But, considering the fact that this series is legendary, I am going to try to review it, as it would almost be a crime not to do so. 

(Minor spoilers ahead)
All his life, Harry Potter had known nothing other than being bullied and getting pushed around, courtesy of his aunt, uncle and cousin. With both his parents dead, they were his only family. Then comes his 11th birthday, the day that changed his life forever. He discovers that he is actually a wizard and that all the unexplainable things that seemed to happen around him was magic. The delighted boy gets shipped off to Hogwarts, a school of witchcraft and wizardry. What happens next can only be described as mayhem. The series follows Harry and his two best friends Ron and Hermione as they navigate life at Hogwarts and face the impossible challenges thrown at them. 

OK, so that’s that. And yes, I know that was quite possibly the vaguest explanation you have ever read. I’m sorry but I had absolutely no idea how to write it. Trust me, I agonised over the synopsis for at least 45 minutes and rewrote it 3 times. What you just read was the best I could do. I know that doesn’t say much about my writing skills, but this series cannot be spoiled. The plot twists are some of the best I’ve ever read. If you find out the spoilers, it just destroys the fun of the books. Hence, my wonderfully vague explanation. 

 Now coming to the books themselves, they are spectacularly written. There’s no other way to describe it. Nothing seems forced and the loopholes are tied up in the most satisfying way possible. The humour and sarcasm of the books never fail to make me laugh and that’s something considering the fact that I’ve read the entire series more than 10 times. Despite the fact there are 7 books, nothing ever gets old. This is one book series in which you can be laughing on one page and crying on the next 

 One of my favourite parts about the series was that despite being set in a magical world, nothing was perfect. The protagonists weren’t displayed as faultless. Each of them had their flaws and imperfections. Nothing was easy and they faced countless hardships. I loved this aspect of the series as it was the one realistic thing in an unrealistic world. My personal favourite book in the series is the second book, ‘The Chamber of Secrets’. While all the books are fabulous, there’s just something about this book that I find particularly appealing. 

Coming to my own experience, let me just say that it was quite the roller coaster...  My first encounter with this series was when I was four. My father used to read the books to me and my sister, just before we went to bed. Yes, I know it seems like a rather odd choice for a bedtime story but my father has never been concerned with such trivial things like the complexity of a book for a four year old. Truth be told, my attention span was quite small at that age and I was never able to keep track of the plot for more than a few minutes. Undetected by that, my father plowed on. My second encounter was when I was five. That was when my father showed me the movies for the first time. Let me just say, the experience scarred me for life. I couldn’t sleep at night after seeing the third movie. Those who have seen the movies, are probably wondering why I got scared. In my defence, I WAS 6. Understandably I was quite put off the series and only touched it again when I was in 5th grade, at least 5 years later. However, I guess that third times the charm, for when I finally read the series on my own, I was blown away. I could not stop reading. Page after page, chapter after chapter, book after book. Despite re-reading it multiple times, the storyline always remains fresh and I feel like I’m reading it for the first time. This series is a must read and trust me there’s no way you’re only going to read it once. 

 © 2021, Anika Agarwal. All rights reserved.

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