UP!—Still AWED While Reading Anew!

Cover-ChamberNudged by Sheila at Book Journey, I recently completed (for the 4th time) Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (CoS), the second book in the “Harry Potter” series, and I continue to be amazed by the storytelling skills Jo(anne) Rowling possesses. Her characters, world and plotting were (are) so well-constructed and clear in her mind (though I know she had to occasionally check on certain details as she wrote the latter books), everything stayed true from the first book through the last. This vividness has afforded us, as readers, the experience of knowing these characters and her wizard world as acutely defined and “real.”

In CoS, the many relationships between the main characters grow along with our relationship with all of them. It’s hard to believe the Dursleys could be any worse than we experienced in “Sorcerer’s Stone,” but their pomposity and cruelty will continue to astound us. Friendships grow stronger, rivalries increase, and both trust and suspicions build in all cases, from fellow students to parents and professors and even the Minister of Magic. For the first time we meet loyal, well-meaning Dobby the house elf, the arrogant Gilderoy Lockhart and the clever, self-serving Tom Riddle. Vicariously we get to ride in a flying car, get whomped by a weeping willow, attend a Deathday Party and face fantastical creatures. Through it all, we feel more toward the many characters, both positive and negative, becoming more invested in them and the story.

When embarking on the reread of the Harry Potter series, I didn’t expect to be “wowed” in the same way I was the first few times I read, and then analyzed, the books, simply because there were no surprises left—so I thought! At first I blamed my often slow recall or simply my being removed from the books for such a long stretch. Now I attribute it more to my not having reread them after the release of the final installment in which so many questions were finally answered. As much as I combed these books, along with my “Theory Monger” friends, there were some things we could only guess at. Now, knowing how it all turns out, I’m coming across bits of information this go-round that spark “light bulb” moments! Things I now completely understand and am completely blown away by!

CraftInWriting_WriterSideUp.com_byDonnaMarieI knew I would enjoy this reread as a reader. I knew I would benefit again as a writer, the reread serving as a review of “how it’s done.” What I didn’t know—though really should have expected—were these “ah ha” moments, now recognizing even more of Rowling’s proficient weaving of foreshadowing and red herrings, as she deftly unfolds the overall plot and subplots.

It’s not that I haven’t read other outstanding books and enjoyed other authors’ work, because I certainly have, and find myself recommending other books often. But there’s something about this series and what this author accomplished that touches me and teaches me like no other. Thank you, Jo Rowling!

I realize I am an avid fan of this series, but not everyone is. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

 

 

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35 thoughts on “UP!—Still AWED While Reading Anew!

  1. You are definitely a fan! 🙂 I enjoyed reading your description of the book and how the signals were there, but unnoticed until all had been revealed. That does definitely sound like the work of a master storyteller, with intricate interweaving of plots and sub-plots. I’ll have to put them on my ‘one day’ list!

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    • Totally a fan of the books and author, Norah 🙂 And we did recognize a lot of the foreshadowing when we were theorizing and examining prior to the last book. It was the stuff most/all of us missed, and wouldn’t see until after the last book. It’s really so much fun and yes, you really should read them. I’m into “Azkaban” now, nearing the end, and although I know it all, rereading these last chapters is SO enjoyable and compelling, I keep thinking about it! lol

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    • Thanks, Sheila! 🙂 I’m looking forward to everyone’s second post! I’m doubting I’ll be able to make it tonight. I may pop in, but I’m not as much of a fan of the movies as I am of the books. They lost a lot of their luster for me once “Phoenix” was released and they changed things way too much 😦 And I have to tell you, now that I’m rereading the books at this point in time, I’m hating how much the movies contaminated the actual story in the books. I’m enjoying the refresher on how things REALLY went down and don’t want to screw that up either! 😀

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  2. 4 times, wow! I read the first two books but then lost interest but I know many people who love the books so much, especially my friends who read them with their children. I might return to them one day.

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    • Yes, this is my 4th time around and right now, the part of the 3rd book (Prisoner of Azkaban) that I’m up to right now is so compelling (and yes, still compelling after all these reads), it’s been on my mind, on and off, throughout the day today. I don’t know when you read the first two (probably a long time ago), but you may have to reread them before moving on, just to refresh yourself on the characters, etc. It’s the best way to read them, but the books “grow” with the characters, get more and more detailed, involved and intriguing. I do hope you pick them up again! 😀

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  3. I always seem to come on here and be Mr Grumpy (sorry about that) but the plot was pretty darn similiar to the first book, which I believe necessitated the inclusion of Hogsmeade in the third book to mix it up a little. Overall though it was a decent story and about ten pages longer which made me happy at the time, of course all was forgiven when the third book came out as that remains my favourite to this day. See I can do happy as well.

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    • You’re not Mr. Grumpy, Ste J, you’re just not a Harry Potter enthusiast which I most definitely am! 😀 I’m nearing the end of “Azkaban” and enjoying it immensely. There’s just SO much in it that is “spellbinding,” even on this 4th read! And I’m ALways glad when you stop by 😀

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    • Thanks, Erik! I guess it IS a review, though I wasn’t thinking of it that way. As part of Sheila’s ReRead, we post about each book once we’ve finished. Today I’m finishing up “Azkaban,” but I won’t post it ’til the last day of her schedule for that book. Loving rereading them! 😀

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  4. My favorite creature character introduced in Chamber of Secrets is Dobby. There are ghosts as well but I don’t like ghosts. The thing with Dobby is I don’t think he was as loyal as the other elves such as Winky and Kreature. To go against his master like he did, and then punish himself for it suggests that he isn’t always loyal. Anyway , thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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    • I’m not one for ghosts either, though they’re pretty amusing in the series and ultimately play an important role in the storyline. With Dobby, his loyalty is one he has no control over. House elves are essentially slaves. His sense of doing what’s right overshadowed what he would suffer by going against the confinements of his “house elf” enslavement. It shows his strength of character and willingness to suffer to do what’s right. He punished himself because of his forced position of “loyalty” to his master, but his master is evil. Dobby was stronger than the other elves in this way. His sense of what’s right won over his fear of punishment.

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      • So you think it was right of Dobby to try and save Harry? Harry didn’t even know Dobby let alone what those ‘evil plans’ were about, but Dobby knew .If he wanted to help maybe he could’ve prevented Mr. Malfoy from slipping Tom Riddle’s diary into Ginny’s schoolbag to begin with or something. I think Dobby was scared of his master, and rightly so, and didn’t want to get into trouble for being a disloyal wretch, so Instead he ends up getting Harry into trouble by blackmailing him but what he wanted more was to be Harry’s friend. What do you think?

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        • Jackie, I must say, I’ve never heard anyone have this take on Dobby before. I can’t help but wonder what influenced you to classify him as a wretch or to feel that his “loyalty” to his horrid master (I won’t state the name here for anyone who hasn’t read the book) was more important than Harry’s life.

          Yes, I do think Dobby was right for trying to save Harry. It was his methods that weren’t exactly the best 🙂 His purpose wasn’t to be Harry’s friend when he didn’t even think he was worthy—him being a lowly house elf—to even sit in Harry’s presence. There’s no question I have a different outlook than you do on Dobby and his place in this book and the story as a whole. (Not mentioning what ultimately happens. Don’t want a spoiler here.)

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          • No I don’t think you have a different outlook on Dobby than anyone else. I certainly don’t. I find it insulting that you think I do and you even sound snooty. It is obvious Dobby’s methods of saving Harry weren’t the best, and that is what I was getting at. He could’ve used different tactics. I am merely discussing with you. Perhaps the use of the term ‘wretch’ to describe Dobby isn’t the right word but neither is ‘pest’ and I certainly understand that pests are annoying. Dobby is a poor creature, slaves are unfortunate and I don’t think he would save his ‘enemies’ . He considered Harry his friend and he was loyal to his ‘friend’.

            Wretch – poor creature, poor thing, poor unfortunate.

            Again with the ‘loyalty’ being more important than Harry’s life, I did not say that. I merely asked you if you think it was right of Dobby to save Harry , that’s all. I take it that you do 😀

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            • Ah, Jackie, I’m sorry you find what I said “snooty.” I wasn’t meaning it that way. I was having a difficult time understanding how you seemed to be so against Dobby. How you explained yourself in this comment sounds much different than how your first comment came across (at least to me), so it’s internet miscommunication, it seems. I just now went back and see that in your very first comment, you said your favorite new character was Dobby. That didn’t come across to me in the second comment, so that’s all that was. Sorry! 🙂

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  5. Wow! You are quite the fan!

    I have only read the first book. While I found it enjoyable, I couldn’t quite understand where all the passionate love for the series was coming from.

    I believe it is a Cardinal sin for a children’s book author to say that he doesn’t go ga-ga for HP, so let’s just keep this between us, OK?

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    • Mike, let me put you at ease—you’re not the only kid’s writer who isn’t a fan! 🙂 I think that it comes down to taste as far as the first book or two (?), and for those who aren’t taken in at the beginning who aren’t spurred to give the rest a chance, you may never get the draw of them. The books grow with the characters and become more and more compelling. It’s a great experience if ever get to that place. Maybe you should read them with your son! Then you can both enjoy the experience together 🙂

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        • Glad to hear it, Mike, and if it can work out that you read them before your son gets to each movie, the ride will be SO much better! 🙂 I’m realizing, more and more, just how much the movie images and depiction contaminated my memory of the books. It wasn’t that way back then ’cause the books were fresher in my mind and I knew them SO well, but over time, the “visual” is what I recall more easily and it’s not what’s accurate (in many ways) to the books : /

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  6. I hear ya about being blown away at the re-read! It’s amazing some of these authors can have these kinds of details early on. Makes me feel like a total amateur myself. 😀 And I love the whomping willow! I Think they did pretty well by it in the 2nd movie, but in the 3rd they definitely short-changed it. I was disappointed because it’s one of my favorite things in the series. 😀 Great post! Here’s mine!

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    • Thanks, Liesel! I agree with you about the Whomping Willow. Much better in the second movie, but then, there were things they changed about the sets that I never understood. Lots of things that didn’t thrill me in the movies as they went along. So many things were done so well, but then that started changing 😦

      And the quality of the writing impresses me even MORE every time I read. The woman is BRILLIANT! 🙂

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  7. Wow, you are a total fan. I haven’t re-read the earlier books since finishing the series. It is something I want to do and hope to do eventually – you are confirming my need to do that. 🙂
    We send you happy wishes.
    ~Cool Mom for
    The S&K Gang

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    • Yep, total fan of the books and author 😀 And yes, you DEfinitely need to put Rick Riordan aside for a while and go back to Rowling! 😀 I sure do appreciate the happy wishes, girls 🙂 Back atcha!

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    • Jennifer, as a first-timer, you are experiencing it all in SUCH a special way 🙂 And yes, I really think that once you finish that last book, you’ll REALLY look forward to your second read. You will see SO much and appreciate, even more, her talent and genius!

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  8. HUGE fangirl here too. I love rereading and finding new details. I don’t often find big details anymore, but I always seem to find a new little detail popping out somewhere.

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