Monday, July 18, 2005

Harry Potter Book 6

I picked up on the Harry Potter series some four years ago, just when it was starting to be popular but before it had reached the height of the frenzy. I think I must have read a review on Time Magazine, and that's what prompted me to give it a shot. The books weren't available locally as yet, so I bought "Philosopher's Stone" and "Chamber of Secrets" in Hong Kong, read them on the plane, and finished them in a hotel in Jakarta.

I thought the first two books were an engrossing albeit short read. In my opinion, they passed the Tolkien test for fantasy stories, that is, that they should contain an element of universal truth. (See "On Fairy Stories"). So gladly I waited for the subsequent books in the saga.

"Prisoner of Azkaban" was alright, but did not really surpass its predecessors. I think, after that point, the series' success may have started working against itself. Was it pressure? Was it the onset of a mechanical mindset? Did Rowling change? Or did I?

Either way, I just didn't feel the magic was there anymore. I read "Goblet of Fire" and "Order of the Phoenix" out of an obsessive desire for completeness. But even that, I think, will not be enough to persuade me to pick up "Half-Blood Prince" anytime soon.

In any case, I have already read the synopsis of book six. The Internet is a wonderful place. Heresy, you say? Ah, chalk it up to impatience.

Perhaps, with some distance, I can re-read and enjoy the series at some time in the future. In the meantime, I'd rather be reading some good ol'-fashioned space opera.


  1. Yeah, books 4 and 5 weren't that great. Rowling admitted that herself. But you know, Half-Blood Prince is very much an improvement. I won't elaborate on it, but suffice to say a lot of what annoyed me in books 4 and 5 are now gone. I think book 6 is just as engrossing as the first few books, and since it's not exactly a short read, who knows, maybe you might like it more. Hey, just my two cents. :-)

  2. Well, with that recommendation, I might decide to borrow it from a friend. Thanks, F.