Thursday, 25 September 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week

Most cringe inducing scene in the series

There are, of course, more than enough scenes of the kind, considering how long the series is, and a great many that have such an effect on me and that I've always had trouble reading - sometimes even skipping completely. However, in my case they all have one thing in common: they're all connected with Harry's moments of failure or stupidity. Unsurprisingly, Harry's most stupid moments that make me cringe happen in my most/least favourite book (according to the number of things that I love and hate about it) - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

But let's start from the beginning. I can never read without cringing how everyone turns against Harry for the first time in PS - that's when he, Hermione and Neville lose 150 points each for getting caught at night after Harry and Hermione had successfully got rid of Norbert but stupidly enough forgot the Invisibility Cloak on top of the Astronomy Tower and poor Neville found himself caught in the drama, because he wanted to warn Harry about Malfoy. In fact, I could never understand why Harry and Hermione felt so ashamed and disgusted with themselves - I mean, they were trying to do they right thing, weren't they? They were helping Hagrid! But, somehow, they felt that they deserved everybody's contempt and hostility. I could never get that. How easy one can fall from grace... Hogwarts students are extremely fickle in their likes and dislikes when it comes to Harry, aren't they?

Another example of what a cringe inducing scene constitutes for me is when Harry inadvertently reveals himself to be a Parselmouth during the Duelling Club in CoS and becomes the main suspect behind the attacks on cats, ghosts and students and a pariah all over again. Even worse for me is the scene in PoA when Harry loses his first ever Quidditch match to Hufflepuff because of the Dementors, falls off his broom and his ever faithful Nimbus Two Thousand gets smashed by Whomping Willow - this is the part that I used to skip until very recently. I just could not get through it. Harry - lost a match?! No way! Grim defeat indeed! Then Ron turning on Harry in GoF, not believing him (!!!) and leaving him to deal with the backlash without his support when he counted on him so much. Most of OotP. Especially, Harry's trip to the Ministry of Magic and its heart-breaking consequences. Ron yelling and leaving in DH... Awful, awful.

And, finally, two scenes that I absolutely hate and that make me cringe the most, because Harry was so incredibly stupid during both of them!  The first is when Harry decides to spy on Malfoy on Hogwarts Express and gets his nose broken.

'Petrificus Totalus!'

Without warning, Malfoy pointed his wand at Harry, who was instantly paralysed. As though in slow motion, he toppled out of a the luggage rack and fell, with an agonising, floor-shaking crash, at Malfoy's feet, the Invisibility Cloak trapped beneath him, his whole body revealed with his legs still curled absurdly into the cramped kneeling position. He couldn't move a muscle; he could only gaze up at Malfoy, who smiled broadly.

He considered Harry for a moment.

'You didn't hear anything I care about, Potter. But while I've got you here...'

And he  stamped, hard, on Harry's face. Harry felt his nose break; blood spurted everywhere.

'That's from my father. Now, let's see...'

Malfoy dragged the Cloak out from under Harry's immobilised body and threw it over him.

'I don't reckon they'll find you till the train's back in London,' he said quietly. 'See you around, Potter... or not.'

And taking care to tread on Harry's fingers, Malfoy left the compartment.

Honestly, Harry!

And the second - so much worse and thus its cringe inducing factor so much higher - when he uses Snape's Sectumsempra spell on Malfoy later on in the book, almost killing him, and Moaning Myrtle screaming murder at the top of her voice. "Harry, Harry, Harry..." as Gilderoy Lockhart would have said, shaking his head and showing all of his blindingly white teeth. "How in the name of Merlin's pants could you have been so utterly stupid?! You could have bloody well killed him, you complete idiot!" It makes me cringe every single time I brave the part and actually read it. 

'SECTUMSEMPRA!' bellowed Harry from the floor, waving his wand wildly.

Blood spurted from Malfoy's face and chest as though he had been slashed with an invisible sword. He staggered backwards and collapsed on to the waterlogged floor with a great splash, his wand falling from his limp hand.

'No - ' gasped Harry.

Slipping and staggering, Harry got to his feet and plunged towards Malfoy, whose face was now shining scarlet, his white hands scrabbling at his blood-soaked chest.

'No - I didn't - '

Harry did not know what he was saying; he fell to his knees beside Malfoy, who was shaking uncontrollably in a pool of his own blood. Moaning Myrtle let out a deafening scream.


Thursday, 18 September 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week

Best "Dumbledore Moment"

I once again turn to HBP and as I do so I realize that the sixth book has a lot of things that make it my favourite book as well as a great many things that make it my least favourite book in the series, some of which I mentioned in my last week's post and will, no doubt, mention in the next week's post too. Of course, Dumbledore, being my second favourite character in the series after Harry, has a lot of excellent scenes throughout the books that I enjoy reading and rereading, but I'm going to go with the one that takes place in the beginning of HBP - Chapter Three "Will and Won't" - when Dumbledore arrives to take Harry to the Burrow and has a little chat with the Dursleys. In my opinion this part is a real gem and here are some of my all-time favourite Dumbledore moments and quotes: 

There in the doorway stood a tall, thin man with waist-length silver hair and beard.  Half-moon spectacles were perched on his crooked nose and he was wearing a long black travelling cloak and a pointed hat.

'Judging by your look of stunned disbelief, Harry did not warn you that I was coming," said Dumbledore pleasantly. "However, let us assume that you have invited me warmly into your house. It is unwise to linger overlong on doorsteps in these troubled times.'

He stepped smartly over the threshold and closed the front door behind him.

'It is a long time since my last visit,' said Dumbledore, peering down his crooked nose at Uncle Vernon. 'I must say, your agapanthuses are flourishing.'

'Ah, good evening, Harry,' said Dumbledore, looking up at him through his half-moon glasses with a most satisfied expression. 'Excellent, excellent.' These words seemed to rouse Uncle Vernon. It was clear that as far as he was concerned, any man who could look at Harry and say 'excellent' was a man with whom he could never see eye to eye.

He [Dumbledore] drew his wand so rapidly that Harry barely saw it; with a casual flick, the sofa zoomed forwards and knocked the knees out from under all three of the Dursleys so that they collapsed upon it in a heap. Another flick of the wand and the sofa zoomed back to its original position.

'We may as well be comfortable,' said Dumbledore pleasantly.

'I would assume that you were going to offer me refreshment,' Dumbledore said to Uncle Vernon, 'but the evidence so far suggests that that would be optimistic to the point of foolishness.'

A third twitch of the wand and a dusty bottle and five glasses appeared in midair. The bottle tipped and poured a generous measure of honey-coloured liquid into each of the glasses, which then floated to each person in the room.

'Madam Rosmerta's finest, oak-matured mead,' said Dumbledore, raising his glass to Harry, who caught hold of his own and sipped. He had never tasted anything like it before, but enjoyed it immensely. The Dursleys, after quick, scared looks at each other, tried to ignore their glasses completely, a difficult feat, as they were nudging them gently on the sides of their heads. Harry could not suppress a suspicion that Dumbledore was rather enjoying himself.

Dumbledore paused, and although his voice remained light and calm, and he gave no obvious sign of anger, Harry felt a kind of chill emanating from him and noticed that the Dursleyes drew very slightly closer together.

'You did not do as I asked. You have never treated Harry as a son. He has known nothing but neglect and often cruelty at your hands. The best that can be said is that he has at least escaped the appalling damage you have inflicted upon the unfortunate boy sitting between you.'

Both Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon looked around instinctively, as though expecting to see someone other than Dudley squeezed between them.

'And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.'

Ah! I just love this chapter. It has both the humour and the serious and it's so Dumbledore!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week

The least favourite book

Well, that's easy, right? There's no such thing for me when it comes to Harry Potter. Each book is different and full of delicious things, old and new, and I like each one on its own merit. In the same way I probably wouldn't be able to say which book is my favourite, because it's usually the one that I'm reading at the moment. However, I've recently noticed that I started favouring Goblet of Fire above all others, while I used to under-appreciate it in the past. So let's see... The PS is enchanting. The CoS is hilarious. The PoA is grim and a real eye-opener - it's the third book that actually makes you see that everything is interconnected and intricately interwoven and that you have to keep your eyes open for clues in the most unlikely places. The GoF provides a much broader picture of the wizarding world and gives us a real taste of approaching war. The OotP is deliciously long, which is a huge advantage in my books when it comes to Harry Potter. The HBP... Hmm. I love a lot of things about this instalment but, maybe, I actually found the book that I like the least in the series. For example, I hate the fact that all those tools (like fake galleons and the Vanishing Cabinet) that worked so well for Harry and his friends in the fifth book worked so completely against them in this one and I will never forgive Moaning Myrtle for transferring her affections from Harry onto Draco Malfoy. Perhaps, it's irrational, but I always felt the sting. And, of course, Dumbledore's death was awful.

Friday, 5 September 2014

I started generating ideas for what I hope will be a follow-up book to my recently finished fantasy novel, but I've discovered that it wants to be written in the first person, while the first book is written in the third person. I fear that it might cause a serious problem unless I adapt my ideas to the third person, while they are still in the process of being developed, which is getting more and more difficult the longer I think about the story that is slowly unfolding at the back of my mind. By the way, you can follow my fantasy novel inspiration board on Pinterest.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week

Favourite editions of the books

I'm a bit late to start this whole meme thing, previously having no idea that something like that has been going on, but being a huge Harry Potter fan I decided to do it anyway. This is a Harry Potter meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts. Today I have to share my favourite Harry Potter editions.

There are great many covers out there and I like and love many of them (including the mismatched set that I own), but I guess if I ever buy a new edition of the books (something that I'm dying to do), I would go for the covers created by Jonny Duddle for Bloomsbury, because besides the cover art that I love (I have a particularly soft spot for book 1 and 4), the books include the map of Hogwarts in the beginning and other Potter- and J.K. Rowling-related tidbits at the end of each volume.

This is my own faithful set. The first three are adult covers and the rest are children covers. These were the only editions that I could find back then in my country and I've been reading and rereading them ever since I bought them in the early 2000s.

Also, I always wanted to have this anniversary edition, so if anyone knows where I can get it - do tell me! I just love this cover. There's something so sweet and poignant about it. I love the way Harry looks here and I think the colours are lovely.