Sunday, August 17, 2003

book review: harry does it again

harry potter and the order of phoenix

This is the first harry potter where I had difficulty getting into the story. Not because it is poorly written or the plot and characters weren't interesting, it's just that Harry is so darned annoying.

Frankly, the boy inside of me finds it hard to be symapthetic towards someone who's doing things I've always dreamed of doing - i.e. saving the world. So I was a little tired of his complaining.

Of course, it does show that the author has some talent -- it seems a pretty accurate depiction of the angst of a kid his age who is being neglected in one way or another. it's not just something I'm interested in.

I did find it interesting, having returned to Hogwarts, the students and teachers find themselves under the thumb of a ministry appointed official, intent on making sure people toe the line, and don't stir up any nonsense about the Dark lord Voldemort having made a return.

At first I thought it might be a sly pick at our current regimes in the US and Britain, but in thinking about it, it is pretty much exactly the opposite of what are governments are doing. If it was the US government, they would have had Hogwarts on Orange alert, arrested and registered every pure blood wizard, and developed new magical eavesdropping abilities.

Speaking of the US, it is interesting that the US is not even mentioned in passing. The world seems to consist of Europe primarily, with a couple mentions of China (well a chinese firebolt), and some asian (east asian and indian). It would be interesting to know what wizards in africa, the US, south america and asia are like, and their reaction to Lord You Know Who's Rise.

That digression over, I don't have too much more to say. The book reads like the others -- a similar structure (hints of what is to come while at home, the ride to school, a burgeoning mystery of some sort, the usual red herrings, the usual villains at school), with a deepening darkness and sophistication in vocabulary and themes. Which is to say that it is a fun ride and interesting read.

I'm keen for the next book, but will not hold my breath. Any bets on how many years?


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