I’m not a big reader of fiction. When I was an adolescent I did quite a bit of reading of young adult series, but less so in recent years. Somehow I can never find the time these days, alongside everything else that consumes my time, to commit myself to constantly reading new books. I think part of my problem is also the same problem my dad has with watching TV shows on Netflix: there’s a whole catalogue of titles there for him to peruse, but he doesn’t recognise any of them, so he isn’t motivated to watch anything. My reading problem is similar: I just don’t know what to read.
But one series of fiction that will always remain close to my heart is the Harry Potter series. Although, as I said, I don’t get much reading done these days, it was reading Harry Potter for the first time as a child that began my love of reading for leisure. My parents had bought me the first book for Christmas at some point as a child after the first film was released, but I think I only made it through a couple of chapters before giving up (perhaps I wasn’t old enough for it yet). But I returned to the series a couple of years later with zeal after seeing the film of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and absolutely loving it. I was nine at the time, and quickly devoured my way through all five of the available books in the series. My parents bought me the final two books when they came out on their release dates, and I got through both of them in a matter of days.
As a child and an adolescent, I was immersed in the world of Harry Potter. I’ve re-read the books more times than I care to admit, and they were a very big part of my life growing up. Without a doubt, they’ve made a huge impact on me, inculcating in me an enduring love of stories, and also instilling in me some of the most important moral lessons in my life. I owe Harry Potter more than I can say.
I was prompted to do the Harry Potter Tag from reading Richard’s post on re-reading the Harry Potter series at Richard’s Blog, where he completed the Harry Potter Tag. It looked fun. So here goes…
1. What is your favourite book?
Prisoner of Azkaban is my favourite. I guess, because it was seeing the film of Prisoner of Azkaban that prompted me to go and read the books, I have a particular love for that episode in the series. It’s the book I always look forward to reading most when I re-read the series. I find it a really well-crafted story, full of intrigue and suspense, the constant, menacing presence of the Dementors, and it’s about the point where the series begins to become darker. What’s not to love?
2. What is your favourite film?
It’s got to be Prisoner of Azkaban again. It was the film that got me into the books after all, and I still consider it the best-made of all the films. There’s a distinctive tonal shift in Prisoner of Azkaban towards a darker, grittier atmosphere and away from the more fairytale mood of the first two films, which I love. (Not to disparage the first two films, though, which were both fantastic as well).
3. What is your least favourite book?
The Half-Blood Prince. I’m not saying I didn’t like it — it’s a very pleasurable and absorbing read — but I wasn’t as captivated by the plot as much as I was the others. Even the non-plot of Order of the Phoenix was more engaging, because it was easy to become immersed in Harry’s life in that book.
4. What is your least favourite film?
I haven’t seen some of the later films in a while, but I don’t think I was ever as enamoured with Order of the Phoenix as I was with the others. It seemed like the filmmakers had begun to get complacent to a degree by Order of the Phoenix, given the success of the first four films and the Harry Potter franchise as a whole, and I think it rather showed in that film.
5. Parts of the books/films that made you cry?
I don’t think I ever cried over anything in the books, but I do remember quite vividly tearing up and becoming very emotional when watching the montage of Snape’s memories in the pensieve in the final film, specifically the part where Snape broke down over Lily’s dead body, and wept cradling her in his arms. That was a really powerful moment.
6. If you could hook up with any character, who would it be?
Now what guy wouldn’t say Fleur? 😉 But seriously, of all the female characters, I think I’d be most compatible with Cho Chang. I was tempted to say Hermione, because we’d share intellectual interests in common, but Hermione’s very intense, whereas I’m actually a very silly and frivolous person at heart, and Cho seems like someone with whom I could just have fun and let my hair down and be myself 🙂
7. Who is your favourite character?
Ginny, I think, with Fred and George a close second. She’s just a very cool chick and it was wonderful to watch her character grow over the series from the shy little girl into such a strong, brave and extraordinary young woman. I’d love to be friends with Ginny in real life.
8. Who is your least favourite character?
Umbridge. I’ve never come across anyone as singularly unpleasant as Umbridge in real life, but I truly hated Umbridge. I suppose that was the reaction J.K. Rowling was going for. She reminds me strongly of Miss Trunchbull from Matilda, who was one of my most despised arch-villains of my childhood.
9. What is your least favourite line?
I really have no idea, to be honest. I can’t remember ever reading a line in any of the books and thinking “that’s rubbish”.
10. What would your Patronus be?
I have a feeling it would be a dog, because of… reasons.
11. If you could have the Resurrection Stone, Invisibility Cloak or Elder Wand, what would it be?
I’m not particularly drawn to any. I’m not interested in power, so I have no use for the Elder Wand, except maybe as a means of effective defence. I’m too young to have lost anyone I love, so I don’t (yet) have any attraction to the Resurrection Stone. That leaves me with the Invisibility Cloak, which I suppose could prove useful in certain situations.
12. Which house would you be in?
I was sorted into Hufflepuff on Pottermore. I would more naturally have sorted myself into Ravenclaw, but I do have many Hufflepuff traits as well, and I’m happy being a Hufflepuff.
13. If you could meet any member of the cast, who would it be?
Daniel Radcliffe, I think. Just because anyone who does this has got to be a sick lad.
14. If you were on the Quidditch team, which position would you play?
Hard question. My instinctive answer would have been Seeker, because I’m small and light and agile so I’d be a natural build for a Seeker, but I think I’d get frustrated very quickly in that position. I don’t have the patience or the attention span to be a Seeker. I’d want to be in the thick of the action, where I can feel the adrenaline rush. So I think I’d be a Chaser: I can be very competitive, which is definitely an advantage for a Chaser. I might be attracted to being a Beater, but I’m probably not physically powerful enough; and I wouldn’t be a Keeper because I’d get bored.
15. Were you happy with the ending?
I suppose so. I’ve never really seen anything to criticise about the ending.
16. How much does Harry Potter mean to me?
Harry Potter raised me. As a child and an adolescent, Harry Potter taught me so much. Harry Potter made me into a reader, and shaped, in more ways than I can probably define, who I am today. I will never not be a Harry Potter fan, and I’m sure that, at the end of my life, I will return, as though upon a pilgrimage to my childhood home, to Harry Potter for repose.