With the illustrated edition of Chamber of Secrets coming out, I decided it was about time I re-read the series since it had been a hot second since the last time I read it (okay, it had been over 3 years since I had re-read the entire series).
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (illustrated edition) – 5 stars
Originally read in October of 2015
Re-read in 2016 in preparation of the illustrated Chamber of Secrets
So what is there to say about Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone other than I love it and I always will?
Okay, actual review. I absolutely adore these illustrated versions and cannot wait until I have all seven books in my collection. Jim Kay is just a master and the illustrations are perfect (though admittedly, I’m not the hugest fan of his portrayal of Snape).
I love that each time that I re-read these books, it somehow feels like a new reading experience. I love the introduction to the magical world that we get. I love that Hagrid just takes Harry under his wing and goes out of his way to send Harry a note with Hedwig just so that Harry would get something in the mail. I love the beginning of the Golden Trio and watching their friendship blossom. I just. I just have so many feelings about this book.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (illustrated edition) – 5 stars
Chamber of Secrets is still my least favorite Harry Potter book, but there is no way I can’t give this book 5 stars for the illustrations. For the record, I give the story about a 3.5 star rating.
I know it’s a bit blasphemous to rate any Harry Potter book less than 5 stars, but for the story part, it definitely is for me. First off, we have to deal with the idiot Gilderoy Lockhart. Don’t get me wrong, I love to hate him, but jeez is he just annoying. Secondly, and I may be alone in this, but I kinda felt like this was way more plot driven than character driven. Thirdly, I’m terrified of snakes, so it doesn’t help that the basilisk is, ya know, A GIANT EFFING SNAKE. And fourthly, there is not nearly enough Hermione Granger in this one for my taste.
However, Jim Kay delivers yet again and this one has my absolute favorite picture so far with the scene of Harry going into the diary. It’s just so colorful and full of life and wonderful.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – 5 stars
So this is a very close second for my favorite Harry Potter book (Goblet of Fire being my favorite). It introduces 2 of my favorite characters (Lupin and Sirius), 1 of my favorite locations (Hogsmeade), and I love that even though Voldemort isn’t in it, you still feel his presence and how it’s making life hell for Harry. I also love that you can see the shift in tone as the books are starting to turn darker and more is becoming at stake. Also, Hermione is a badass and uses the Time Turner simply because she wants to gain as much knowledge (same girl, especially if I was at Hogwarts). And she punches Draco. Who doesn’t love that? Also, I love me some Wood and his obsession with winning the Quidditch Cup. I just really love this book.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – 5 stars
Still my favorite Harry Potter book.
The stakes are so high in this book and you feel it from the very beginning. I love that the Golden Trio still act like teenagers, especially with all of the jealousy that goes around. I still applaud Hermione for S.P.E.W. and still hate that the movies completely ignore it. I love seeing what Sirius is willing to do in order to keep Harry safe. And I love that we get to see the beginning of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. I just really love this book and it will always have a special place in my heart.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – 4 stars
This is still my second least favorite Harry Potter book. But I did enjoy it better this time than any other time I’ve read it. Part of it is that I now recognize that Harry is dealing with PTSD rather than just being the whiny teenager that I always thought he was. Though there were times I still think he was being a little bit more angsty than was necessary. I still hate the 180 that Sirius does and how he is all “get expelled so that we can be outcasts together” when in Goblet of Fire, he is literally willing to live in a cave eating rats in order to keep Harry alive and safe. I also still don’t understand why they couldn’t use Polyjuice potion to sneak him out of the house and let him get fresh air. Also, Snape is just such a bag of dicks in this book. How can people still defend him when he is literally the worst? Yes, he was bullied by James and Sirius (I don’t condone their actions), but come on man. Why did he even want to be a teacher if he was going to bully his students just like he was bullied? But my favorite part of this entire book has to be the sass queen, Minerva McGonagall. I want to be her when I grow up.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – 5 stars
I really truly enjoy HBP and I think it’s my third favorite in the series (following GoF and PoA). Sassy Harry is my favorite Harry and this book delivers one of my favorite lines when Harry tells Snape there is no need to call him sir. No matter how many times I read this book, I always find Voldemort’s backstory fascinating. I also appreciate that the relationships between the characters are messy and wrought with emotions – I feel like they are pretty consistent with teenagers. And it’s really refreshing to have Quidditch back in our lives after it being absent for all of GoF (save the Quidditch World Cup) and the majority of OoTP (f*ck you, Umbridge). I love seeing the relationship between Tonks and Lupin develop because I really do ship them (though, I will always ship Wolfstar until my dying day). My biggest gripe is that people still don’t listen to Harry when he is suspicious of things, aka Draco Malfoy. Also, holy shit is Snape just as big of an asshole as he is in OoTP (if not more so). Does he really expect these kids to just whip out non-verbal spells with NO instruction whatsoever? I wish we could have seen a bit more of the battle at Hogwarts, but I also understand that a) Harry is obviously not a part of it and b) it could become redundant given the battle at Hogwarts that happens in DH (aka why the film makers decided to get rid of it and instead included the battle at the Burrow that never happened). But my complaints are very minor compared to how much I enjoy.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – 5 stars
So fun fact: I read the part where that one character dies at that one place at the beach in the middle of Newark Int. Airport while waiting to come home from visiting family for the holidays and it took all of my willpower not to lose it and cry like a baby. It just hit me so hard.
I love this story, though it’s middle of the road for me in my love of the series. Huge reasons for this are that a) the entirety of both the golden and silver trios survive despite the huge battle (yes, I know other major characters die, but still, and no, I don’t actually want any of my babies to die – it’s just the principal of the matter), b) Hermione is a smart witch – she would have figured out the importance of the deathly hallows sign sooner and also, she should know by now to trust Harry’s instincts and when he says that there’s a horcrux at Hogwarts, she should believe him, c) the whole thing with Lupin ready to ditch his pregnant wife just to go on the run with Harry, and d) knowing what I know now about the Cursed Child and what supposedly happens during this book with certain characters.
However, upon this re-read, after seeing Fantastic Beasts, I am 100% convinced that Ariana Dumbledore is an obscurus. Aberforth’s recollection of what happened to her fits the description of obscurials to a T.
Also, I totally forgot about the fact that the sorting hat is set on fire by Voldemort while on Neville’s head. McGonagall continues to be a badass and I love the duel with her and Snape and how at the end she goes up against Voldemort before Harry steps in.
I also still love the final confrontation between Harry and Voldemort. And I love that Voldemort suffers a mortal death (unlike the BS that is in the movie). I actually marked that passage on my audiobook.
Molly Weasley continues to be one of my forever favorites and I still grinned hugely when I got to “NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!”
It’s been a while since I’ve done a re-read of the entire series and it was the perfect way to end 2016. It helped me remember what I loved growing up and I found new things in each book that I had forgotten about.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Screenplay – 5 stars
I absolutely adored this.
I saw the movie first and then read the script as I didn’t want to be spoiled for anything movie related, and I’m glad I did it that way because when I read the script, I was able to pick up on things I had missed in the movie (chaser shoutout, anyone?). This absolutely makes up for the trainwreck that is Cursed Child in my opinion. Newt is my new precious. I need him in my life. And holy hell did he remind me of Hagrid. Like, just yes. Also, I love Queenie. She is my kween. Just saying. And Tina. And Jacob. And Credence is my child. I thought it was a little (okay a lot) predictable, but it surprisingly didn’t bother me that much. I just really loved being back in the magical world. And I think I enjoyed this even more because it’s a new set of characters, so I have no set notion of what they are supposed to be like. Just yes. More please.