Review: J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets

20131229-151410.jpgI was always under the impression that this was my least favourite of all the books, but I think it’s actually the film which I disliked, because the book was excellent. I think I must have seen the film about 15 times with all the times it’s been shown on TV at Christmas, so I think it’s overwatching that’s made me not like it.

First of all, I just want to say how awesome the cover is for this book, very sinisterly red.

This book is the first introduction we get to Dobby, the adorably cute House Elf, although not so adorably cute in his actions in this book, trying to prevent Harry from returning to Hogwarts with some non-conventional methods. In his own words: “Dobby wants to save Harry Potter’s life! Better sent home, grievously injured, than remain here, sir! Dobby only wanted Harry Potter hurt enough to be sent home!”

I also enjoyed the first appearance of Hermione’s ‘bad side’, trying to persuade Harry and Ron to brew the Polyjuice potion with stolen ingredients even though Ron and Harry both think it’s a bad idea. And maybe after the effects of her particular mug of ‘Millicent Bullstrode’, Ron and Harry had a point…

I couldn’t help but read Moaning Myrtle’s part of the book with the voice from the film, just like when I read Lord of The Rings and couldn’t help but read Gollum with the film voice. I do remember the first time I watched The Chamber of Secrets and being surprised that they managed to get the voice so perfect for the part!

By far my favourite quote of the book comes from the Albus Dumbledore when Harry asks him why the sorting hat didn’t put him into Slytherin when that was what the hat initially suggested.

It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

Prisoner of Azkaban up next, I wonder how far I can get by new year…


Review: J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone

20131228-163743.jpgI’ve been wanting to re-read these books since I went to the Harry Potter museum in July, and my lovely parents bought me the full boxset for Christmas, with the gorgeous new covers. I couldn’t wait to start, but I managed to hold back until I’d finished reading Death Comes to Pemberley.

It’s actually been a surprisingly long time since I read the books, I re-read the last 3 when the final book came out, but it’s probably been about ten years since I read the first few. I’ve obviously seen the films more recently than that, but I loved being transported back to 10 years old again!

I think we all know how the story goes, so I won’t do a review of the actual book, but I do have a favourite few parts from the book, which I was able to write down in the awesome Book Journal that my friend Andy bought me for Christmas.

I got a nice smile from when Dumbledore and McGonagall were leaving Harry on the doorstep of the Dursley’s, and McGonagall asked Dumbledore if there was anything he could do to remove the scar from Harry’s forehead. Dumbledore said ‘Even if I could, I wouldn’t. Scars can come in useful. I have one myself above my left knee which is a perfect map of the London Underground’. I had a wonderful vision of Dumbledore in a pair of shorts on the underground consulting his knee for directions.

I also loved the quote on the door of Gringotts;

Enter, stranger, but take heed
Of what awaits the sin of greed,
For those who take, but do not earn,
Must pay dearly in their turn,
So if you seek beneath our floors
A treasure that was never yours,
Thief, you have been warned beware
Of finding more than treasure there.

Not only is it a good quote about not taking advantage and taking more than you earn, but I’d imagine that if you’d never seen a Goblin before and you saw this quote about finding ‘more than treasure’, it’d probably put you on edge a bit!

But by far my favourite quote from the book is from Dumbledore when Harry is sat in front of the mirror of Erised. ‘It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that’. I also loved that I’ve only just realised that the quote on the mirror of Erised was actually a message backwards:

“Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi”

Which then becomes:

“I show not your face but your hearts desire”

I was quite surprised to remember that the adventure into the third floor corridor past the three-headed fluffy and the subsequent battle with Quirrell/Voldemort was only really in the last 30-40 pages. I seemed to remember it being much longer, although that was maybe because it took up a much bigger part of the film. I’d also forgotten that at the start, Ron and Harry thought that Hermione was an annoying know it all, and weren’t actually friends with her until they helped her fight the troll in the girls bathroom, after accidentally locking it in there with her!

Can’t wait to start the Chamber of Secrets now. I always remembered it as my least favourite of the books, but maybe it will change my mind!

Harry Potter Studio Tour – Leavesden Studios

Last Friday was my best friend Abi’s birthday, so we arranged a trip down to London for me, her and her sister Hannah. We decided to go to the Harry Potter Studio tour, and it was simply amazing! It’s at the actual studios where Harry Potter was filmed and has loads of original props, sets and costumes to look at. I was enthralled with how cool it all was, walking around the sets that they actually used for the films. I’ve just bought the film boxset from Amazon so I can watch them all again, and I want to re-read the books again too. Abi and Hannah had both been before so knew what to expect, but every corner we turned just brought more surprises for me, especially the corner round to the huge replica of Hogwarts which they used to film the external scenes (like with the dragon). It’s huge and so intricately detailed that it took 40 days to assemble.

Here’s a selection of the 360 pictures that I took as we were walking round! This weekend has also involved a trip to Whipsnade Zoo and Waddington Airshow, so there’s plenty more pictures to come!