BookPeople is buzzing. Everyone is getting excited about the arrival of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II, so excited that we’re throwing a midnight release party! (Get your vouchers here!) And so excited that one of our booksellers, Melissa, is going back and rereading all of the original seven Harry Potter books and giving us her input on what it’s like to read these treasures as an adult. Check out what she has to say below!
(If you haven’t read the series, first off, do it now. Second off, don’t let me be the reason something gets spoiled. Please don’t read this blurb unless you’ve read the series.)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire:
I have to admit, I was a bit intimidated about this book’s size compared to the first three books. Plus, for some reason I still can’t explain, Goblet of Fire is my least favorite book. I appreciate the story and all the new reveals of the Wizarding World, but I suppose it just all moves a little slowly for me. Of course I appreciated it more as an adult than I did as a teenager, but it was still, at points, a little hard for me to get through. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it or love it. Should I stop explaining myself and just get to the parts that I love? Yeah. I’ll do that now.
First, we should talk about the first chapter. A lot of what I talk about realizing as an adult has to do with characters, but here I’m going to talk about Rowling’s story structure as a whole. We all know that this is the first book that changes in direction of storytelling (not as much as the Order of Phoenix does, but that’s another story, literally and figuratively). And I think a big part of the shift is this first chapter itself. First off, I love chapters that aren’t seen through the eyes of our young hero. All these type of chapters hold such a mysterious air to me, and I eat it up every time. Adult me was especially fond of how thin a line Rowling creates between making something truly creepy, but still kid-friendly. It is a true art from.
I won’t forget to mention how great all the scenes surrounding and during the Quidditch World Cup are. Especially when you’re a returning reader and you know all the ins and outs of what’s actually going on and why. Oh JK Rowling, you make my heart go pitter-patter so.
But also, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU WIZARDING ADULTS?! ACTING ALL EXCITED ABOUT LETTING SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLDS COMPETE IN DANGEROUS EVENTS!! Ugh… it’s just so irresponsible. Ok, I’ve calmed down slightly. From a writing stand point I totally understand it, but as a reader… it’s a little terrifying reading about seventeen year olds (and Harry’s ripe fourteen) putting themselves in situations that adult me would never. Oh man. Great storytelling, but I just get too nervous thinking about it.
Since I’ve talked about a few other things that were not as saddening, I’m now going to talk about something that gets me every time I read the book, and when I watch the movie as well, but that shook me in a completely new way as an adult… and that’s the death of Cedric Diggory. Sure, I was always upset by this. But I cried more as an adult because all I could think about was how young Cedric was. At only seventeen years old Cedric was quite the Quidditch player, an excellent student, and not only a great friend, but a great person. He had nothing to do with Voldemort’s plans but that nose-less jerk still murdered him like he was just a mindless roadblock. I wept for Cedric because I knew he could have been so much more than his seventeen year old self had achieved. I was surprised how affected I was by this, but I get heavy-hearted even thinking about it. This is why my favorite part of rereading Goblet of Fire was in fact the saddest part of the book.
I’ll stop pretending that it will take me more than a week to read any of these, I mean once you start, it’s hard to stop. So despite the length, this was also read quickly. But definitely not as fast as Prisoner of Azkaban.
Now please excuse me while I go cry about Cedric some more before reading Order of the Phoenix.