With my 20th birthday approaching and the breath of childhood fast vanishing, I came over with a sudden urge to reread the ‘Harry Potter’ series. One of the biggest selling franchises of all time, the last book having sold 11 million copies within the first 24 hours, Harry Potter is one of the most boys of the 21st century. But to me, it’s one of the main features of my childhood. I grew up reading ahead and anxiously waiting for the next book/film to be released, whilst my dad would read them as bedtime stories for me and my brother. But how do they stand against the test of time? I decided that whilst getting bogged down in the waves of nostalgia I would compare my memories to the reality.
First thing’s first there are a lot of pages. Like a lot. Seven books worth – and the last three each weigh about the same as an encyclopaedia. Each book sees Harry and his friends get into various magic related scrapes (I will not relay them to you here, don’t want to reveal any spoilers), meeting various people related to his past along the way, with the last book ending in the face-off to end all face-offs. I didn’t need to cast around to remember much of these, the films having kept me relatively up-to-date. However, one thing that surprised me more than anything was the sheer amount of content, although it was all minor happenings, that was missed out of the films. Things that added to the character development and made lesser characters (i.e. anyone that wasn’t Harry, Ron, Hermione or Snape) were glossed over to the point that *SPOILER ALERT* Tonks and Lupin’s love story was non-existent.
The writing itself is good, but relatively basic. A shock I know, what with them being children’s books and everything. There were some major plot holes too – some you could literally walk through. But everyday good old J.K. reveals something new on Twitter in order to explain them. A lot of the reader’s time will be spent exclaiming at the stupidity that is Harry (this is why they kept him under the stairs for 11 years), the inability of Ron to realise his love for Hermione for 5 years and the fact that Hermione continues to help the boys out with their homework. But, when picking up the first book you’re embarking on an adventure with these characters and their world, and if you’re like me you aged with them, sympathising with the stages of adolescence.