Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Eleven Potter Moments

This Friday night, at midnight--okay, Saturday morning at 12am, but you get the drift--it's all over. Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows hits bookstores, and I will be there, blogging live, step by step. I'll tell you about the night, the party, the people, the wisecracks and more...

By the way, did you know in Harry Potter's world, its only 1997? Book 7 takes place in 1997. I'm assuming its because when JK Rowling was writing the story, starting with Harry's 11th birthday, it was the early 90s, so she kept the years from there.

For now, I'd like to start this Harry Potter Week with a Potter Primer... 11 of My Favorite Moments from Books 1 thru 6. They aren't ranked (except for the bottom one), just 11 moments I love in these books, out of the dozens and dozens I loved in these books. You might agree, you might have more to add, but here ya go...

Harry throws the Patronus on Draco and the Slytherins (Prisoner of Azkaban)
During a game of Quidditch, taking on the Ravenclaws in not only a rain drenched match, but a rain drenched match that matched Harry up with his crush, Cho, he saw the Dementors. Immediately, instinctively, he tossed a Patronus their way... turns out, it was just Malfoy and his gang, and the Patronus not only scared them out of their minds, the trick caused Slytherin 50 points.

The Parting of the Ways (The Goblet of Fire)
At the end of Book 4, Harry lay in the hospital bed, his first real confrontation with Voldemort behind him, Cedrid dead and Cornelius Fudge not believing a word of Harry's story. Books 1, 2 and 3 all had happy endings, even if you had a feeling something else was coming... but this one, this was different. Voldemort had returned. And Dumbledore began to take command. "Fudge's attitude, though not unexpected, changed everything." To Sirius, he commanded the alerting of Lupin, Fletcher and Figg, the old crowd, and to Snape he merely said "You know what I must ask you to do... if you are ready, if you are prepared..." What? What does this mean? Does this mean something when, two books later, Snape kills Dumbledore? What?

Harry & Ginny hook up (Half-Blood Prince)
You knew it had to happen eventually. Harry, suspended from Quidditch matches, sat in detention with Snape, only to find out that Ginny had captured the Snitch and won the House Cup. How did Harry greet Ginny? "Without thinking, without planning it, without worrying about the fact that fifty people were watching, Harry kissed her... Harry looked over Ginny's head to see Dean Thomas holding a shattered glass, Hermione beaming, and then Ron gave a tiny jerk of the head that meant 'Well... if you must'". Made me smile, possibly my second favorite Potter moment.

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I think Bonnie Wright is adorable, for, you know, a 12 year old. I sure hope she looks older when she starts making out with Daniel Radcliffe in the next movie. Here's an artist rendering of how I'd like to picture Ginny to look.

The Weasley Twins give Harry the Marauder's Map (The Prisoner of Azkaban)
Another clue that Rowling had this whole thing planned out from the beginning, Fred and George give Harry a map they found in Filch's confiscated items drawer. Up until now, Fred and George had been bit players, throwing in jokes and lines here and there, but in Book 3, they take on importance, starting with the magical Marauder's Map, one that allows Harry to travel in secret up and down the hallways and through corridors, one that turns out to be invaluable in future books, and one that Ron was outraged for not getting "I'm their brother!"

Harry & Ron save Hermoine from the troll (The Sorcerer's Stone)
No one much liked Hermione Granger to begin with. She was snotty, overly-smart, and abrasive... yet when a troll gets loose in Hogwarts, it finds Hermione, in the bathroom crying over the fact that, well, no one likes her. Enter Ron Weasley and Harry Potter, taking down the troll, and gaining a friend in Hermione. After all, "there are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them"

Ginny Weasley gets a role (The Chamber of Secrets)
We saw a small glimpse of her when the Weasley family met Harry Potter for the first time, and we get an idea that Ginny might kinda like ol' Harry. And the following summer, when Harry visits the Burrow for the first time, we see Ginny again... "At that moment, there was a diversion in the form of a small, redheaded figure in a long nightdress, who appeared in the kitchen, gave a small squeal, and ran out again". Turns out she plays a key role in the entire book, and becomes my favorite character in the entire series from that moment on. What's great about Ginny Weasley is that Rowling writes her in a way that she's never front and center for the next several books, but she's never far from your mind. You know she's there, but she's not that important right now--and when she becomes important, its like you wished she'd been more important all along.

Salutes at Dumbledore's funeral (Half-Blood Prince)
Albus Dumbledore was dead. And Harry never understood the breadth of Dumbledore's impact until the funeral, when not only the Mermish people broke the surface of the lagoon to pay their respects, but the Centaurs, who hate humans, showed at the edge of the forbidden forest with an arrow salute. The whole scene was beautifully written by Rowling, not only the loss everyone felt with Dumbledore gone, but also what Harry was facing without him. Of course, this led to the Spiderman ending, so I wasn't happy about that, but still...

Dumbledore's Army training (Order of the Phoenix)
Umbridge had just issued Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four, banning any and all student organizations. Hermione, Harry and Ron knew that if the current Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher wasn't going to teach them anything, they had to learn on their own... so in a "private, small" meeting in the Hog's Head, where two dozen students showed up, Dumbledore's Army was born. Harry became teacher, showing them everything from disarming charms to conjuring Patronuse.

The Battle of Hogwarts (Half-Blood Prince)
With Dumbledore gone, the Death Eaters storm the Hogwart's School. After seeing Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Luna and Neville in action, we see McGonagall open up a can, Flitwick make some noise, and all and all, more we haven't seen--including a chance for Snape to destroy Potter, yet doesn't do it... and runs with Malfoy. Why?

The Transformation of Neville Longbottom (The Order of the Phoenix)
When we met Neville, he was a fumbling, bumbling, talented, fat little kid who had a pet frog, couldn't remember anything, couldn't ride a broom and met the ire of Snape usually reserved for Harry and Ron. He's more of a footnote in Books 2 and 3, helping Harry a little in Goblet of Fire, but in Book 5, Neville becomes a playa. In the D.A., Neville starts mastering spells at an alarming rate, gaining confidence, puts up a heckuva fight in the ministry of magic (a fight he's drawn into because he was standing up for Ginny Weasley, after Malfoy was dragging her to Umbridge's office), and becomes more key to Harry's past, and possibly future.

The Death of Cedric Diggory (Goblet of Fire)
In a name that sounds like it was from Boogie Nights, we finally see a main character, a main good guy at least, bite it. Not just dead, but from one of the three forbidden curses, Avada Kedavra. Though his actual death isn't a favorite part, the whole scene is gruesome and creepy, as the Harry Potter series makes good on a promise that had been given through the entire fourth book--things were about to get really dark and mature in a hurry.

Other moments worth mentioning: Harry kissing Cho... Scabber's first appearance... Harry interviewing with the Quibbler... The Weasley kids throwing a fit (and mashed parsnip) at Percy's reappearance over Christmas... Gilderoy Lockhart getting his in Chamber of Secrets... Harry telling Rufus Scrimgeour he's Dumbledore's man through and through... George & Fred's triumphant exit from Hogwarts...

And my favorite Harry Potter moment, ever...

The Battle in the Ministry of Magic (Order of the Phoenix)
It is 64 of the most exciting, most riveting pages of any book I've ever read. Believing that Sirius was in trouble, Harry is going to the Ministry of Magic to find him and save his godfather. But his friends, friends that had proven themselves over the entire book, wouldn't let him go, as Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Neville and the absolutely fantastic Luna Lovegood insist on going with him. And there, they go full on, head to head with the Death Eaters, throwing spell after spell, curse after curse, in total wizardry battle. There are injuries, there are deaths, and in a Anakin vs Obi Wan confrontation, Voldemort and Dumbledore go toe to toe.

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Great portrait of the Ministry battle. Wish I could draw

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