Friday, February 17, 2017

The Harry Potter Books Ranked, 2017

Sorry it's been a little while since I've posted.. between then and now I needed an emergency surgery and have just been recovering. There are a lot of things I'd like to post about, but I'm easing myself back in with something light and fun - a ranking of the Harry Potter books. (Not counting The Cursed Child because I'll never consider that an actual part of the story.)

My friend Liz finally read the entire series as my 2016 reading challenge for her and so we've discussed the books quite a bit over the last few months. She is officially a Harry Potter nerd. Thank God. Well, with that and the plethora of HP-related articles floating around the internet, it was sort of inevitable to talk about which books are our favorites. I don't have kids but I imagine it's a bit like picking your favorite child. It's so hard, you love them all.

For me, it seems like I'm always ranking them in a slightly different order. Some are always in the top 3, but there's not a solid list - so I thought it'd be fun to rank them every year or so to see how my preferences have changed (especially since I tend to read each book at least twice a year).

"But how to rank you?"
And so, without further ado, let the sorting er, ranking begin!

7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 

I hate to do this because it automatically feels like the books at the bottom are books I don't like and that's just not true - each and every one of the HP books are at the top of my all-time favorite lists, after only Jane Eyre. 

To be fair, I've read PoA less than I've read any of the other books in the series. I've actually been thinking I need to read this one as soon as I finish my current book (The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte). Maybe that will be enough to bring it up a place or two or five in 2018's ranking? 

I do remember really enjoying reading how Harry spent his time in Diagon Alley at the end of summer holidays. And of course, I absolutely love Professor Lupin. And how Harry overcomes the dementors! So beautiful and significant to the whole series. Although... I also remember really hating the end of this book. I know Peter Pettigrew had to escape for the plot to go on, but... ah, I resent the end every. single. time. Had Sirius been a truly free man, he and Harry could have had such a different story! Dammit, Wormtail! DAMMIT, ROWLING!

6. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

This is another one I haven't read as often as I have books 1 and 4-7, so it's not completely fair. Of course, I still love CoS, just not as much as some of the others. Something I do love about it is the time we get to spend at the Burrow. The Weasleys are the best literary family, hands down. I will say that I think the first two movies (Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets) are the best in the franchise. 

5. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

I like love stories, but I don't like love triangles. I also don't think Hermione and Ron make a good match. Between those two things, Half Blood Prince loses a little bit of its ~shine~ to me. (I also get generally annoyed because it's the one on tv most often and, like..... show the other movies, would ya?)

I do, of course, love the scenes between Harry and Dumbledore. Learning about Voldemort's past, seeing Harry and Dumbledore's relationship up close... love it. (I love the conversations between the two of them at the end of every book, so HBP is a treat.)

4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

This story might not be as dense as the others, but it's the first one and it gets me every time. There's nothing better than rereading Harry's first time visiting Diagon Alley. The first is wonderful because we get to experience all the magic again.

3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 

I know a lot of people think OotP is the "worst" of the Harry Potter books. I disagree.

Harry is definitely annoying in this book. No question about that. And he makes some dumb choices. But the book also includes glimpses into the way our favorite witches and wizards are organizing to resist Voldemort and his influence at the Ministry of Magic (sound real-life familiar, or...?) and that is awesome.

I read a book called How Harry Cast His Spell by John Granger and in it Granger observes that, of many of the people he's talked to about the books, introverts prefer PoA and OotP and enjoy the two better than most extroverts do. I tend to lean more introvert, so maybe that also affects my view of the book, who knows?

2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I have read this book so many times that my copy is currently in two pieces, ripped down the spine. I probably should get on it and buy a new one...

This is what the book looked like a year ago when it was still managing to hang on by a single thread... wah
I love damn near everything about this book (don't even talk to me about the movies though... smh). So many of our questions are answered, everything makes sense, the whole story is tied together... I feel like you can't not like it, just for those reasons alone??

The mystery of the horcruxes is also intriguing, as of course is the question of whether or not the Hallows are real (and whether Voldemort knows about them). I like seeing the trio (especially Hermione and Harry) really come into their own, I like the warm, homey feeling we get during the birthday dinner for Harry at the Burrow. There's so much I like. (Though, like everyone else, the deaths are heavy in this one.)

My favorite part of this book is the end, of course. The symbolism, the ending Rowling feared readers would have guessed too early had she explicitly told us it was a Christian story. The best chapter there ever was: The Forest Again. Harry seeing his parents, Sirius, and Lupin - them giving him strength to sacrifice himself so that others may live.

There's not much more you can ask for from a book.

Neville cutting off the snake's head was cool, too.

And finally...

1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

This is usually the book I proclaim as my favorite of the series. It is perfection.

Sure, it's hard having to endure Ron and Harry's silent fight. But it's worth it because this book is meaty and magical and I don't know, think of another "m" adjective, would you?

I love that we're given some light fun - the Quidditch World Cup (pre-death-eater-parading-around-helpless-muggles, of course), the dance, the Burrow!!, the feasts, the boys getting caught up by the veela, on and on and on. It's got that same magical feeling we were given by the truckloads in Sorcerer's Stone, but the story is also intensifying. We're starting to see real struggle, character development, and obviously, more in-your-face good vs. evil.

Of course, the ending of this one is hard. I think I cry more at the end of this than any of the others, maybe. The moment that comes to mind is when Harry is in the hospital wing after he's returned with the cup and Cedric's body, and Mrs. Weasley (a hero, for real) tells him Cedric's death wasn't his fault. Harry then responds with something like, "I told him to take the cup with me," his eyes filling with tears. (And maybe mine too as I recall this...) And then she hugs him and, not for the first time in the series, he feels glad for it. It's so emotional. GoF, while the graveyard scene is terrifying and horribly sad, is a heck of a book. I love it because it's got fun and danger, it's really the pivotal moment in the series, it's dark but balanced with enough light. It never, ever gets old.

I think it'll still probably be my #1 next year, but I suppose only time will tell.

What do ya'll think?

No comments:

Post a Comment