In February I added a grand total of one book to my Goodreads challenge. Oops. The less said on that book the better (it was a bit of a trial), so without further ado allow me to launch into a really good excuse for not reading anything new in February (my rule for entering a book into Goodreads is it has to be the first time I am reading it): I was re-reading Harry Potter. All is forgiven, right?
As I mentioned in one of my Cosy Chat blog posts a couple of weeks ago, some friends and I took part in a Harry Potter quiz earlier this month. In preparation, I re-read up to Goblet of Fire and after the quiz was over I kind of just… kept going. Anyway, as this is a blog about “the things that make life nice” I thought I’d dedicate my February reads post to one of my happiest places – sat on my bum with one of JK Rowling’s finest in my hands.
What can I say that hasn’t already been said? As a HP fan I’m surely in the majority. I started reading the series in high school and from the fourth book onwards I was a midnight-release-read-in-one-day Potterhead. It is pure, magical escapism with characters you fall in love with and a story that keeps you guessing and changing your mind right to the very end.
I’ll admit that I am known for my love of the books within my group of friends – so much so that my utterly epic hen do was even a HP murder mystery party (yeah, it was awesome). Homemade alcoholic butterbeer, quidditch beer pong and floating candles really set the whole night off – I’ve got some incredible friends!
I honestly could ramble on about this series of books for as many words as they contain, but in an effort to actually retain some percentage of readers to the end, I’ve gone meta and have done a post within a post; my Harry Potter Fave Five. (SPOILERS OBVIOUSLY)
1 . Minerva McGonagall – my goodness, I love Professor McGonagall. She is the most kick-ass character. Fiercely intelligent, brave, loyal and with a sense of humour. She puts Umbridge in her place with brutal burns. She leads the defence during the Battle of Hogwarts. She takes on a team of aurors to defend Hagrid… and you just know she had to hide her amusement at the Weasley’s antics. She’s brilliant isn’t she?
2. Hermione Granger – this may come as a shock to you (arf arf), but I was a bit of a nerdy swot in school. Reading about a character that plays a huge role in saving the wizarding world through hard work, cleverness and a love of books was brilliant for me, and I’m sure will continue to inspire people similar to me for many years to come. Plus, she gets one of the best lines in the entire series; “I hope you’re pleased with yourselves. We could all have been killed – or worse, expelled” – I loved her for saying that then, and I love her for it now.
3. Dumbledore’s Army – one of my favourite occurrences in the series is when a group of students gets together to learn Defence Against the Dark Arts without Professor Umbridge finding out. The way the group work together to take control of their own need to defend themselves against a threat that those in power refuse to acknowledge is truly inspiring and gives you one of those ‘punch the air’ moments. It also introduces the Room of Requirement properly and starts Neville down the road of being a stone-cold badass. Which brings me neatly on to…
4. The Hogwarts Resistance – the moment that Harry emerges from the Hogs Head tunnel into the Room of Requirement in Hogwarts to be greeted by the students defying the Death Eaters and defending their own school is quite possibly my favourite moment of the whole series. Hearing Neville tell of his rebellion (and his Grandmother’s!) and seeing all the characters we love enter the room in swathes ready for the battle is fantastic, and when I read that I knew something big was coming. The battle itself was incredible, but the build up for me is the best bit (not least because all our favourites are still alive).
5. The little details – ok so I’m cheating a bit because this encompasses a lot but I really wanted to draw attention to the incredible world that JK Rowling created. From the book titles and authors, to the totally believable Ministry of Magic and the shops of Diagon Alley, you really became immersed in the wizarding world. You cared that Florean Fortescue went missing from his ice cream shop. You felt the nerves of the students taking their apparition tests. You really didn’t want to receive a howler. In short, you attended Hogwarts with Harry, Ron and Hermione – celebrated with them, grieved with them and grew up with them (literally in a lot of our cases).
I’ve had a bloody lovely month returning to Hogwarts and the friends I made there. Reading these books again has picked me up on my down days and has left me with that bittersweet sense of it ending all over again. Really JK Rowling said it best: