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Stigweard

Harry Potter is 20 years old

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I've bought all 7 books, and my son is some way through 4.

 

but then he put them down again in favour of Dirty Bertie. What can you do?

 

I've never read them.

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They are all above average, easy to read books, while they are not very original in any way, they tell a decent story and the fact the series made loads of kids pick up a book for maybe the first time, is a massive plus for me.

 

Azkaban is my fav, the only one I didn't really enjoy that much was last one, as the first half was incredibly boring.

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4 hours ago, Charliemouse said:

They are all above average, easy to read books, while they are not very original in any way, they tell a decent story and the fact the series made loads of kids pick up a book for maybe the first time, is a massive plus for me.

 

Azkaban is my fav, the only one I didn't really enjoy that much was last one, as the first half was incredibly boring.

 

I'm afraid that really undersells what is what one of the most impressive pieces of coherent world building in modern fantasy - the Potter books impress not so much because they all spin a good yarn, although they do, but in the level of detail that Rowling established in setting her scene and the backdrop for the action.  The actual stories themselves may not be all that original and towards the conclusion owe a significant amount to Narnia but its the world she created for these stories to inhabit that makes them so special.

 

Azkaban is clearly the best book, but I'd also suggest the Deathly Hallows is also amongst the highlights of the series, yes it does sag a little in the middle where Harry, Hermione and Ron spend an eternity hiding in tents but it has one of the best paced openings I can think of and the final couple of hundred pages pass in a spectacular blur.  To my my mind its Order of the Phoenix and Half Blood Prince that drag a little and could have benefitted for a more empowered editor assisting her

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16 hours ago, Charliemouse said:

They are all above average, easy to read books, while they are not very original in any way

 

I think Rowling identified and fairly expertly reproduced some very popular tropes in children's literature - things like the uncovering of a secret world, the "safe independence" of a boarding school setting, the plot that we can't tell the adults about (even the ones we like!) - but the world she created as a backdrop and the characters she populated it with elevate the series above being at all derivative.  She's a fantastic writer.

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I read them all, back to back, for the first time last year. Prior to that, I had almost zero knowledge of what those books actually were - I'd never seen the films and anything I did know about Harry Potter was just things I'd heard about via popular culture and my sister (who is a fan). In fact I'd actively turned my nose up at the idea of reading them, considering them just kids books.

 

Then @Illyria, along with her endearing and infectious love of Harry Potter, convinced me to read them and I found them absolutely captivating. Really, really enjoyed them. Sure, I didn't like some of them as much as others (I recall Order of the Phoenix was a struggle at times) but all of them were still wonderful to read. Since then, I've read all of the additional books (Hogwarts Library), seen all the films and have "Book 8" (aka the script for the play) waiting to be read. I certainly consider myself a Potterhead now. I might even dive into reading them all again before the end of this year.

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I also struggled with Order of the Phoenix on my first read through, I actually ended up putting it down and only picking it back up after 6 months passed (during which I didn't read any books at all. It was a general reading malaise so to speak, as I'd just finished a trilogy of rather big books beforehand).

 

On my second read through I enjoyed it a LOT more, I think it's absolutely fantastic. It's hard for me to name a favourite, all of them are special to me but I guess Prisoner of Azkaban blew me away the most during the first read.

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I think Azkaban is highly regarded as a favourite of peoples for both the book and film isn't it.

 

I've never read them more than once (I'm a pretty slow reader, so reading something I've already read just stops me reading new stuff for ages) but I have listened to the audio books in the last several year. I'm pretty sure I remember OOTP being one of my favourites, especially the Dumbledore and Voldemort exchange. I remember being ridiculously excited about seeing that on the big screen.

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Oh man yeah that scene was epic. My brother was particularly disappointed with the film version of it, I thought it was alright. I was more disappointed that we didn't get the scene where Harry loses his calm and destroys half of Dumbledore's office.

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This is where I confess I haven't got past the 3rd book in the series :coffee:.  Not because they are poor or anything, just too much competition for reading time!

 

:hat: to Rowling for encouraging or initiating the habit of reading books for so many.

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I liked OoTP as a different style of war and the machinations. (It was a little OTT though :P)

 

HBP was the one that really really bored me. Teeny angst the whole time and not much interesting happens until the end (although all the Voldemort flashbacks are great)

 

Can we agree Ron is one of the worst characters in literature though?

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Fuck no. Ron is great. He is fuckin annoying at times, but he is so underrated. He is a well rounded character but for some reason that means everyone just focuses on the negative.

 

Anyway, I loved HBP a lot but admittedly I actually was an angsty teenager at the time myself.

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Yeah, all the characters had their moments of being contemptible, moody dicks. Stroppy Harry made me grind my teeth. But they're all still wonderful!

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HPB is my least favourite, although I still enjoyed it and learning a lot of backstory. It didn't translate well onto film. The problem the film had though was that they missed so much stuff out. In the book Harry is obsessed on who the HPB which is why it's such punch to the gut when he finds out it's Snape. When he reveals himself in the book, it's like :o:o:o but the way it was delivered in the film was poor and had no impact because the film hardly focused on Harry's obsession.

 

Bloody hell, I think I need to listen to the Audiobook again. All this talk of Potter has me wanting to revisit it.

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Still have my books from when I first read them, first 3 in paperback, the rest hardback.

 

Goblet of Fire is my fav. Order of Phoenix definitely goes on too long. The last few movies I hated for how much cut content there was, and finally even changing the bloody books, bah.

 

I think I'll be spending my audible credits on Steven Fry's version soon enough.

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The audiobooks are fantastic, I've often listened to them before sleep! Actually I think when summer's over I will start doing that again. It's perfect for cozy autumn evenings ^_^

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On 26/06/2017 at 13:50, Stigweard said:

For me personally it probably has to be the most important novel I ever picked up. Not in any philosophical or enlightening way but it made me someone who wanted to read books.

 

Just for this - giving millions of kids a reason to read - Rowling deserves every penny she makes.

 

I only read the first, to see what the fuss was about - as an adult reader, and long versed in reading fantasy since reading Tolkien back in the 70s, I wasn't particularly blown away by the setting and characters.

 

But what she has in spades is plot and pacing - a real page-turner. Nearest thing I can compare it to was reading Enid Blyton '5' or '7' books as a young kid; that sense of escapism, friendship, real peril and sorting out problems that the adults don't acknowledge; together with compelling plots leading me to read as much as I could in a sitting.

 

No, I don't equate the two - Rowling is a better writer, and way more socially aware; but I can see why she's so popular. Back when I was 12, Star Wars was our thing - for a later generation, it's the Potter books - amazing how many fans are now young parents themselves, passing on the torch. That's a legacy to be proud of.

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I'm sure there are others out there, but New Statesman has been running a Harry Potter week, with a variety of Potter-themed articles:

http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/books/2017/06/harry-potter-week

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It's funny, I've never read OOTP due to the terrible reviews. HBP is my favourite and quite possibly my favourite book of all time (it's a close call along with  The Stand, It, American Psycho, Northern Lights, FOTR and American Gods) 

 

I am of course far too old to be of the right age to experience these books as a child. I remember all of my friends kids suddenly going mental when POA came out which I think was when the series went supersonic and they went from being just books to a media event. 

 

Not it a fan of the seventh book though. 

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Hahah that's pretty mental. I've had to slog through books in other series before (I'm looking at you Feast for Crows) but there's no way I could just skip one out.

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I never had an issue with OOTP. I agree in principle that it's a bit bloated, but that didn't bother me at the time.

 

As for the series, I was vaguely aware of it when the first few books came out, and when the first movie was on the way I remember thinking it was ridiculous that so many adults were getting excited about children's books. I eventually caved and picked up the first book though, shortly followed by the next three. I was there on launch day for OOTP with a pre-order in hand. :) 

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On 7/14/2017 at 17:12, Made of Ghosts said:

Phoenix is great! It's messy for sure but Umbridge is one of the best characters in the whole series.

 

On 7/15/2017 at 22:24, wev said:

It's the best Fred and George book too

 

Oh god yeah I completely forgot about them. Umbridge is up there with the likes of Joffrey for characters who I really hated whilst reading. Fred and George's moment is amazing too.

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And there's only a little bit of Ron in it!

 

I like OttP for a different type of threat and machinations. It's a bit OTT and very very on the nose - but it's still entertaining watching Dumbledore/Ministry out gambit each other.

 

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