Monday, May 16, 2016

The Great Harry Potter Reread - Part 2

Several months ago my book met to discuss Sorcerer's Stone (SS) & Chamber of Secrets (CoS). This very exciting gathering we talked about The Prisoner of Azkaban (PoA)!! Now this was my favorite book of the series all the way up to the point where it was almost (but not) knocked to second favorite by Deathly Hallows. It remains to this day my favorite so know that any of my own opinions will certainly be biased. 

We got together & chatted over food, and covered a great many of topics! As before I will highlight some of the major discussion points and some of the more interesting comments that were made. 

Book vs. Movie

This time around we spent way more time comparing the books to the movies. I suppose this it makes a little sense. PoA was bigger than the first two books by at least 100 pages but the movies were roughly the same length. I won't lie this is my least favorite movie due to some casting disagreements but also largely due to the fact that so much of what grabbed my attention in this book had to do with our four favorite mischief makers. We all agreed that you don't really get the gravity of what meeting friends of his parents really meant to Harry. You also don't get from the movie just how deep the betrayal of Pettigrew went and how much it hurt everyone that knew the Potters. Obviously there are other differences but those were the big ones that kept coming up as we talked. 

The Marauders!

We love them!! All were in agreement. It was obviously nice to learn about them because it helps fill in some of Harry's personal back story & as the main character it's important we feel like he is 3 dimensional but lets face it the Marauders are just fun. They are quirky, quick witted & always up for adventure. There are so many adventures a reader can imagine they had but never get told in the books! Ahhh to have a book on the Marauders. Specifically we compared James & Sirius' conflict with Severus to Harry's conflict with Draco. It was agreed that while James & Sirius were arrogant ass hats as teenagers, they probably didn't spend a lot of time thinking about how to be mean to Severus. They created a magical, interactive map of the entire castle & grounds AND learned how to become animagus in 4 years. They were too busy to be seeking out conflicts with someone they saw as no consequence to them. Before everyone gets all mad at me, I'm not excusing how they treated him, but it is likely they were ass holes of opportunity more than malevolent bullies. Which is far different from how Draco thinks of Harry, he does a lot more active plotting against Harry. 
Another thing we talked about with regards to the Marauders is how Lupin is probably the only one that actually grew up. James & Lily died relatively young. We don't get an exact age but one can imagine it's their early 20's since wizards are done with school at 17 and most people don't settle into their adult personalities until their mid to late 20's. Peter spent most of his adult life as a rat hiding from his past not moving on with his life. That leave Sirius who never really grew up because he spent most of his adult being emotionally traumatized in Azkaban. We see great evidence that this is true later in the series. Where as Lupin grew up, had to process through the grief of losing 3 friends, and started a profession. We all felt like Lupin would be the best teacher ever & were really sad that he had to leave. We felt that one with Harry. We questioned what James & Sirius might have been like as adults had the been allowed to actually become them. 

And Their Map

For all their good and bad points we can all love the Marauders a little bit because they gave us one of the most fascinating magical objects introduced in the series. The Marauder's Map! Now I know I'm a little odd, but I also know I'm not alone, I love maps! LOVE THEM! I love world maps, city maps, fantasy maps (usually found in the front of the book), all the maps! Side note: I also love castles & exploring them. So when JKR gave us a map that is comprehensive of the castle, it's grounds, and all the secret passageways I about lost my shit. Then to top it all off you could see everyone who was in the area covered by the map. So now I could not only imagine myself exploring the castle to its entirity guided by a wonderfully detailed map, I could imagine myself being a wizard spy! There was a legitimate 5 min or more spent gushing about how cool the map is and how appropriate it was that the twins found it. Mischief Managed!

Patronus or Animagus

Just as we talked about what our wands & houses would be with the first two books we definitely spent some time on talking about what our Animagus forms & Patronus would be. As we went back & forth on this topic someone brought up a wonderful point, what is the difference between what form your patronus takes versus what your animagus form is. Here is what as decided:
An Animagus is you only as an animal. Everything in the story suggests that this form does not change, this is why the ministry is able to track Animagus based on their markings, which resemble the physical form of the person as a human (McGonagall's glasses). Given that this form is fixed it should being representative of who you are as a person. 
A Patronus is a protective spell that is drawn from important happy memories, the stronger & more important the memories the more effective the Patronus. What is important to us, and the emotional attachment we place on memories changes and grows as we change & experience more. We experience this in a first person perspective with Harry as he has to process through changing what memories he uses at times to produce his Patronus & in a third person perspective when we find out that Tonk's Patronus has changed form. We felt that Patronuses were more a reflection of your inner emotional state.
For those of you that are curious I decided my Patronus would probably be an owl & my Animagus form would likely be some kind of larger cat, maybe a hawk, but probably a cat

Darker & More Serious

This heading was for a laugh because we joked about how the Trio actors said this about every single movie in interviews! Seriously though JKR's writing did evolve as the series progressed with each book. We discussed how PoA is the first big step in that direction, there wasn't much difference in the writing level & style between SS and CoS. For the first time you get the grander scale of the world & character development took the forefront.Harry starts to get more concrete pieces of his past and as he starts adding to the puzzle we as readers get to see his point of view change. It's not just him versus Voldemort once a year at Hogwarts & anymore, his picture of the Wizarding World becomes more complex. As a first time reader I remember just being excited that I was being given more, but as I am rereading (for the millionth time lets be honest) I can see how the change in writing style & the character development she began in this book really started to lay the ground work that made major events later seem more realistic & plausible.

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