Hi! My name is Anna, "You'd really like me if you got to know me. I've known me for years and I love me."
Word count: about 100 000
Rating: Tumultuous love-hate relationship
"Your father lives in you"... Simba. Oh, I mean HARRY! Sorry about that.
This book is one of the best and at the same time one of the worst. At least for me. It contains an element I despise - time travel. This is one of the most difficult things to pull off in any book and IMO usually fails miserably. Like it did here.
This is my biggest gripe, something I can't get over no matter how hard I try. If there's time travel than why hasn't that been used as a simple solution to all problems? Why not save Harry's parents? Or just prevent Voldemort from raising to power in the first place? It's bullshit.
Secondly: the more I read the more I see what kind of manipulative, all knowing, pretentious prick Dumbledor really is. He couldn't have known that Harry and Hermione need more time to save Buckbeak. Not at back then (unless he plans over 9000 steps ahead. Which he apparently does) That annoyed me.
But not just that, oh no. He had no idea Black was an innocent man (he says he testified that Sirius was indeed in the position to betray Lily and James). SO either he has no idea Black is innocent and allows a lot of dangerous, random shit to go down in his school, or is asshole enough to send an innocent man to Azkaban in hope of things magically working out. If you're that much of an manipulative genius than you can deal with the situation on your own and the whole scheme is just a feat of deranged cruelty.
Well, maybe let's not go there. Maybe he simply has this laid-back attitude. You know, the 'I'm old and going to die so why do I care? Let the fun begin!'.
Also, I have a serious case of 'Snape issues' aka 'Why I like a movie version but cringe at the book one'. Severus Snape played by Alan Rickman is cold, aloof, keeps his cool; yes, he has a dark aura around him but doesn't act repulsively, he's severe, but not unjust. In the books? Oh boy, he's prone to random fits of rage, clearly abuses his authority over students, his favouritism is blatant. Yes, I do intend to keep on repeating it in every review, and you can't stop me. Book Snape is a cruel, selfish bitch.
*On a more humorous note, have you noticed a parallel between Smeagul in LOTR and Pettegrew in HP? The 'not killing = debt/bond' that may come in handy later on? Just a curious observation.
What could be praised in this book?
- Hermione didn't tell them about the time turner - very good characterization through actions. I don't love her, but with all her shortcomings she becomes real, comes to life.
- J.K. Rowling in general loves 'showing' and feels very little need for 'telling'. Like when Harry volunteers as tribute during Hagrid's lesson; something that got needlessly changed in the movie. It mattered. The fact that his empathy was stronger than his fear mattered. They skipped that in the movie.
- Ron's new owlet. Aww. Cuteness overload. And it's so quirky!
- Rowling is generally pretty good with beginnings and endings of her books. First and last sentences are rather memorable. I loved how Harry threatened Dursleys, but in a cute way. He simply revelled in no longer being alone in the world, in having someone on your side.
What the film did wrong:
- In the film Sirius stops to have a chat with harry after they free him, even though he has to GTFO ASAP. Really? In the book it's much better arranged
- Why is warewolf shown as such a monster? Snape had them write a paper on how to distinguish it form a normal wolf. Would be rather pointless if the creature looked like this, now, wouldn't it? Plus how would a dog and a deer control it?
- I hated the way Tom was portrayed in The Leaky Cauldron. Not funny. Not cool.
Don't get me wrong, they've done a lot of wonderful things with the movie. I do love it.
But it's not perfect.
There could be many more criticisms, but why bother? Both the film and the book were pretty amazing and brought me much joy. Apart from the time travel it is probably the best HP book. It's the least predictable (because of the lack of Voldermort) and nicely combines world-building, character development, action and humour. Rowling has an immensely enjoyable writing style. Little stumbles here and there do little to harm the charm of the novel.
*I'm not quite back yet, but I have to post a few reviews before I forget it even happened...