Thursday Jul 19, 2007

Rank Ordering the Harry Potter Books

Continuing the Harry Potter theme this week, here is my rank ordering of the first six books in the series from favorite to least favorite.

  1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. In addition to conveying key information about Voldemort and the over-arching plot, this book held together well, with good pacing. I also enjoyed seeing Harry’s maturing relationship with Dumbledore and the clues as to how much Dumbledore cared about and trusted Harry.
  2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I liked this book also for its revelations about the over-arching plot and about James, Lupin, Sirius, and Wormtail, as well as its good pacing.
  3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. This first book in the series is difficult to compare to some of the later ones as it feels so light in comparison (and I don’t just mean physically!) However, the introduction to the wizarding world is unbeatable.
  4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I think the climax of this book, where Voldemort regains his full body and Harry escapes, is excellent. However, the book itself is I think a bit too long and bogs down in places. I also didn’t really like the whole impersonation plot point that much.
  5. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I haven’t re-read this one recently, but I remember feeling somewhat dissatisfied after reading it. I didn’t really like the whole chamber of secrets and diary plot, though after reading later books I can see better how they relate to the larger plot.
  6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix. I felt that this book bogged down somewhat and didn’t really further the over-arching plot much. I finished the book feeling somewhat frustrated. But note that even as my least-favorite in the Harry Potter series, I’d rather read it than most other books around!

Where will Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows fall?

Monday Jul 16, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Predictions

In my previous post I listed some questions that I hope to find answered in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In this post, I’ll go a step further and make some predictions about the book. I’ve re-read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince between writing the previous post and this one, which has led me to think slightly differently about some of the questions I asked. Without further ado, here are the predictions.

  • Fawkes the Phoenix will adopt Harry. Now that Dumbledore, the previous owner of Fawkes, is dead (and yes, I believe he is truly dead and won’t return like Gandalf), I think there’s a good chance Harry could end up with a Phoenix as an animal companion.
  • Harry will kill Voldemort after finding and destroying the four remaining horcruxes. After re-reading the ending of Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix, in which Dumbledore explains the prophecy, I don’t think there’s a chance that it could now refer to Neville.
  • Harry’s scar will disappear. The scar was the connection to Voldemort, so at the time of Voldemort’s death it will vanish.
  • Severus Snape will sacrifice himself to save Harry. After re-reading the Half-Blood Prince, I believe that Dumbledore was wrong that Snape was on his side. The fact that Dumbledore was somewhat incorrect about the Horcrux in the cave (he didn’t know it had been removed already) serves to underscore his fallibility, thus lending credence to the theory that he was also wrong about Snape. That said, I think that Snape, unlike Voldemort, has the capacity to love, and truly feels guilty about Lily Potter’s murder (though perhaps not James’). Therefore, he will redeem himself in the end by helping Harry.
  • Draco will help Harry in some way. By the end of the Half-Blood Prince Harry feels sorry for Draco, with his previous dislike of Draco pushed out of the way by his overwhelming hatred of Snape. Although they’re unlikely to become friends, I think (or maybe hope) that Draco will come to realize Voldemort’s fundamental evilness and will help Harry in his quest to defeat him.
  • Hagrid will die. Harry has now lost his parents, his godfather (Sirius Black), and his mentor and father-figure (Dumbledore). Hagrid’s the adult remaining alive to whom Harry is closest, so following the pattern, he may lose his life in the final book.
  • Percy Weasley will make up with his family. I can’t believe that, when push comes to shove, a member of the Weasley family won’t come through in the end.
  • We’ll discover that Harry is related to Godric Gryffindor. This connection would be parallel to Voldemort’s descent from Salazar Slytherin. There have been hints, such as Harry’s use of Godric’s sword in The Chamber of Secrets, and the name, Godric’s Hollow, where Harry’s parents died.
  • Neville will use his herbology skills to help Harry defeat Voldemort.
  • Petunia will help Harry in some way. This help will include more than just allowing Harry back into her house one last time.
  • We’ll learn more about Dumbledore and his defeat of the dark wizard Grindelwald. Maybe also about Dumbledore’s brother Ableforth.
  • We’ll learn more about James and Lily Potter. I realize this is a bit vague, but there’s got to be more to the fact that Harry has his mom’s eyes.
  • The house-elves, or at least Dobby, will help Harry, rewarding him and Hermione for their kindness toward them.
  • Wormtail will repay his life-debt to Harry.

Reading through the predictions, I can see that I’m pretty optimistic about the outcome: Both Snape and Draco redeem themselves, none of the kids die, and Voldemort is defeated. Let’s see if J.K. Rowling agrees!


Nick Solter is a software engineer and author living in Colorado.


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