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Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

By J.K. Rowling

This is the 6th book in the series. This book too has a different start. The first chapter deals with the interaction between the Prime Minister of the Ministry of Magic and the Muggle Prime Minster. You see the progression of the story from a non-magical perspective. In this chapter you also see that since Voldemort has come out in the open many deaths both magical and muggle have occurred. We also find out that the Dementer’s have revolted and are breeding which is causing fog.

The next chapter describes an interaction between Severus Snape and fellow Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange and her sister Narcissa Malfoy. What is so interesting about this chapter is that it is told from a third person perspective. It makes it difficult to tell whether Snape is good or evil. In this chapter we learn that Voldemort has set an impossible task for one of Harry’s classmates, Draco Malfoy to complete. In fact the task is one that Voldemort has been incapable of doing. Voldemort has done this to punish Draco’s father Lucius for failing to complete a task. Narcissa askes Snape to watch over Draco and goes as far as to require Snape to perform an Unbreakable Vow. An unbreakable vow if broken will cause the promise maker to die.

Finally we get back to Harry who is once again at his relatives house. This is his shortest summer stay at the Dursleys. This time it is Dumbledore who is coming to retrieve him to take him to the Weasleys for the rest of the summer. Dumbledore does show up much to the chagrin of the Dursleys. Before leaving Dumbledore does reproach the Dursleys for their cruelty towards Harry. He also tells them that the charm that protected Harry will cease to exist when Harry comes of age at 17. He asks them to allow Harry to return one more summer to ensure that this protection lasts till that time. We also discover that Dumbledore has suffered a grievous injury that has caused one of his hands to die.

Once they leave Dumbledore takes Harry with him to recruit Horace Slughorn one of Dumbledore’s old colleagues. Horace is eventually convinced to come out of retirement. Slughorn has a talent for picking out students who had a lot of talent who would go on to be the best in their fields. Slughorn returning to take over his old post of Potions the post that had been held by Snape for 14 years.

Dumbledore then takes Harry to the Weasleys for the rest of the summer. He tells Harry that he should trust Ron and Hermione with the details of the prophecy. He also tells Harry that he will be giving Harry lessons that year. While at the Weasleys Harry learns many important things:
1. Bill Weasley is going to marry Fleur Delacour.
2. Karkiroff the ex-Death Eater was found dead after managing to evade Voldemort for a year.
3. Sirius’ brother Regulus only managed to elude Voldemort for a few days when he tried to run.
4. Ollivander the wand maker has disappeared.
5. Tonks, who is a Metamorphmagus (meaning she can change her appearance at will) has lost her ability due to some unknown emotional upheaval.

Once Harry returns to Hogwarts, the students find out that Snape at long last has been given the Defense Against the Dark Arts position that he’s been wanting. Of course Snape uses his position to torment Harry more than ever. Also Draco Malfoy is distracted more than ever. Harry feels that he is up to no good. Also someone is responsible for nearly killing two Hogwarts students of which Ron in one.

In this book, there are two focuses. First is Harry’s quest to find the Half Blood Prince. In Harry’s new potions class he ends up with an old book that has a lot of interesting notes written in it. The second focus which is the most important are the private lessons with Dumbledore

************SPOILER ALER*******************
The lessons focus on the reasons that Voldemort tried to kill Harry as a baby. See the prophecy only played as smart part of what happened. So Dumbledore takes Harry for a trip through Voldemort/ Tom Riddles life. This path is tortuous so I’ll explain it chronologically.

Tom Marvolo Riddle’s father is Tom Riddle a muggle. Tom Riddle’s mother is Merope (Mer rope ay) Gaunt. Merope Gaunt was one of the last living descendants of Salazaar Slytherin. This line had intermarried with their cousins to the point that there was a vein of insanity in the family. This insanity was noted in the fact that Merope and her brother Morfin had eyes that pointed in opposite directions.
Merope cherished a burning passions for Tom Riddle. She got him to marry her by giving him a love potion. Once she became pregnant she stopped giving him the love potion and he abandoned her. She gave birth to Tom Marvolo Riddle in an orphanage and died shortly afterwards. Marvolo was the name of her father.
When Tom Marvolo Riddle was eleven, Dumbledore went to the orphanage to tell Tom that he was a wizard and to give him his Hogwarts letter. Dumbledore discovered that unlike many wizarding youth Tom’s magical abilities didn’t manifest itself only as a result of great emotion. Tom had an unusual mastery of his abilities and was already using them to control and torture people without the aid of a wand. Tom exhibited some unusual character traits:
1. He didn’t want to be ordinary or connected with the ordinary.
2. He had a magpie tendency to keep souvenirs of nastier bits of magic that he performed.
3. He operated in secrecy even as a child.
On their first meeting, Dumbledore put a fear of authority in Tom for the first time; also Dumbledore was impervious to Tom’s charm. This is why Voldemort has always feared Dumbledore.
Once Tom entered Hogwarts he charmed everyone teacher and student alike. He surrounded himself with a group of friends that had a dark glamour (they were the forerunners of the Death Eaters). They were mixtures of thugs looking for refined means of torture and the weak seeking protection. Their wrong doing was always underground; they were never caught in the open. While at Hogwarts, Tom was obsessed with finding out his parentage. He stumbled across wizard geneaology books that told of Slytherin’s line and found Marvolo Gaunt. He went and visited his uncle Morfin. That same night he killed his father and paternal grandparents and framed his uncle for the murders. He also stole an heirloom ring from his uncle that night.
While at Hogwarts Tom was also obsessed with immorality. He considered death shameful. In his research of means of immortality he came across the term HORCRUX which was not properly explained in the book. He asked a teacher for help. This teacher was none other than Horace Slughorn. Slughorn stated that a horcrux is an object that has a soul encased within it. In order to created a horcrux you must commit an act of murder which destroys the soul then use a spell to encase the soul in the object. The problem is that murder in destroys the soul which is meant to be whole. Since part of the soul is encased outside of the body, it acts as an anchor if the body dies and therefore the rest of the soul doesn’t go on. The remaining soul is less than a ghost and existence is such that death would be better. The thing Tom wanted to know was what would happen if a person were to create more than one horcrux. He wanted to know if it were possible to create a seven part soul.
Years after this conversation, Tom worked at a dark curio shop which put him in a place to find highly magical objects. Two objects that he came across were Slytherin’s locket and Hufflepuff’s cup- two objects of Hogwarts’ founders. Tom killed the owner to obtain the objects. After this death, Tom traveled extensively; in fact no one knew where he went. He delved heavily in the Dark Arts. He came back to Hogwarts to try to get the Defense Against the Dark Arts teaching position. Dumbledore didn’t give it to him; he knew that Voldemort was after something besides teaching. Dumbledore felt that Tom wanted to be back at Hogwarts to search the school for some hidden repositories of ancient magic or some founder’s objects. When Voldemort came back, his features were extraordinarily distorted. Dumbledore tells Harry that Voldemort’s features looked that way because in murdering so much he had destroyed his soul and he became less human.
Oh! The reason Hogwarts could never keep a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher for more than a year is because Voldemort cursed the position when he didn’t get it.

Here we see the story arc again. Dumbledore started suspecting that Voldemort had used a horcrux back in book 2. The diary that was more than a memory; an object that began to think for itself. The dairy was a horcrux. Based upon the careless way in which it had been thrown away essentially, Dumbledore had an ominous feeling that Voldemort had made more of them. His reason for recruiting Slughorn is that he needed Slughorn’s memory to determine how many horcruxes Voldemort was going to make which is 6. Voldemort much like he did when he was a child created horcruxes commemorating noteworthy murders. He used historic magical objects. He hid these objects in places where significant events occurred in his life. Here were learn the reason for Voldemort’s anger towards Lucius Malfoy. Lucius was given the diary to hold for Voldemort; he wasn’t supposed to use it for his own means. When Voldemort found out what happened, he was extraordinarily angry. Dumbledore destroyed another horcrux which was the heirloom ring Tom had stolen from his uncle. It was destroying the object that caused the damage to Dumbledore’s hand. Dumbledore has been looking for horcruxes for quite some time and said that Harry has earned the right to accompany him the next time.

At the end of the book, Harry finds out that Snape was the person that overheard the part of the prophecy and told Voldemort. It was Snaped who was responsible for his parents death. Harry and Dumbledore do find another horcrux in a cave where Tom as a child had tortured two children. Protecting the cave are Inferi- corpses that had been reanimated to do a dark wizard’s bidding. It is a hair raising adventure that kept me on the edge of my seat. After retrieving the horcrux (Dumbledore was injured in the process) they Apparate to Hogsmeade. Before Harry can get help, they discover that the Dark Mark has been cast over the school. Remember the Dark Mark is cast whenever someone is killed. Dumbledore and Harry rush back to Hogwarts to the Astronomy tower where the mark has been cast only to find no one there. Shortly after landing on the tower, Draco Malfoy comes out onto the turret. It is revealed that Draco’s task had been to try to kill Dumbledore on pain of Voldemort killing his mother. Draco couldn’t do it; but then other Death Eaters rush in and try to force him to do it. Draco was still unable to do it. Last, Snape come in. Dumbledore actually begs saying “Severus please.” Oh Harry was wearing his invisibility cloak all this time and Dumbledore had performed a body binding charm to prevent Harry from being injured or killed. Snape with a look of loathing kills Dumbledore. The Death Eaters run. Harry having been released from the spell because its caster was dead gives chase. In the ensuing chase we see that one again Ron, Hermion, Neville, Ginny, and Luna along with Tonks, Lupin, and Professor McGonagall as well as Bill Weasley who was savaged by Greybeck the werewolf are battling Death Eaters. Once again theses students live to tell the tale. Also the chase reveals that Severus Snape was the Half Blood Prince. His mother was a pureblood wizard who married a muggle. Although Snape seems to be firmly on the side of evil, he still tries to help Harry in his quest against Voldemort by giving him a huge clue as to defeating Dumbledore. Snape does escape. Soon after Harry realizes that the horcrux he and Dumbledore risked so much to obtain is a fake. Inside the locket this note is found:

Dumbledore’s funeral is conducted and there’s talk of closing the school. Harry decides to visit Privet Drive one more time and then visit his parents graves. Harry decides not to go back to Hogwarts in order to fulfill his quest of finding the last four objects which are:
1. Nagini
2. Hufflepuff’s cup.
3. Slytherin’s locket
4. Something of Ravenclaw’s or Gryffindor’s.
***************END OF SPOILERS****************

Remaining questions:
1. Where are the remaining horcruxes?
2. What are the identies of the remaining horcruxes?
3. Where did Snape and Malfoy go?
4. What becomes of Draco?
5. How does Wormtail repay his debt to Harry?
6. What actually happened that night his parents died?
7. Where did Voldemort go in those years he was missing?
8. Will anything happen at Bill and Fleur’s wedding?
9. Where is Voldemort hiding?
10. What will be the showdown between Snape and Harry be?
11. Where will the final battle take place?
12. If Voldemort is killed will he turn into a ghost due to his fear of death?
13. Who lives and who dies?
14. Will Harry and Ginny marry?
15. Will Ron and Hermione marry?
16. Who is R.A.B.? Is it Regulus Black?
17. Is this why Regulus Black died so soon after leaving Voldemort’s service, because the potion killed him after a few days?

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

by J.K. Rowling

This is the 5th book in this series. The start of this novel starts as usual. It begins with Harry at his relatives’ house in Privet Drive. Harry knowing that Voldemort is back has been coming up with creative ways in which to listen to the news reports on tv as his aunt and uncle won’t let him watch tv with them. Harry knows that once Voldemort is back in the opening, there will be disappearances and strange deaths. Harry is suffering from the death of his classmate Cedric; he has nightmares about Voldemort’s return every day. In addition he has been out of real contact with Ron, Hermione, and even Sirius. As a result he is dealing with this grieving period alone. To siphon his anger and fustration, he has been tormenting his bullying cousin Dudley.

As you can imagine Harry’s muggle life and magical life are headed for a collision. One night while Harry and Dudley are walking home the summers night becomes unusually cold and black. Harry starts reliving his parents death and realizes that it is a Dementor attack. Harry summons his Patronus and chases the Dementors away from his cousin before the Dementor can perform its Final Kiss.

A Dementor’s Kiss is when the Dementor sucks out its victims soul through its mouth. The victim does not dies as long as the heart and lungs still work. They just merely exist.

Harry actions draw the attention of Mrs. Figg whom Harry thinks is a batty old neighbor. What he doesn’t realize is that Mrs. Figg is a Squib or a non-magical person born to magical parents. Mrs. Figg has been keeping an eye on Harry for all the years he has lived with his aunt and uncle. Mrs. Figg reveals that Dumbledore has had Harry being watch ever since he left school for the summer and that the fact that Harry used magic even in a dire circumstance is going to be a real problem.

Generally students are not allowed to use magic outside of school. However if the wizard’s life or life of surrounding muggles are in danger then it is permitted.

The person who was supposed to be guarding is Mundungus Fletcher, a minor criminal. Mundungus left Harry unattended to get some cauldrons that “fell off the back of a broom.” Mrs. Figg makes sure Harry gets home and warns him not to leave the house. Well once Harry gets home he actually tells his aunt and uncle about the Dementors and Voldemort only to find out that Aunt Petunia has more knowledge about the wizarding world that she has let on. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Magic sends him owls telling he is expelled and Sirius and Mr. Weasley warn him not to leave the house. All of this is too much for Uncle Vernon who decides to kick Harry out. Before Harry can leave the house a Howler comes for– Aunt Petunia. The letter states REMEMBER MY LAST, PETUNIA.

A Howler is a magical letter that amplifies the senders voice 100x. It’s usually used by parents to tell their children off while they are away at school.

Petunia sends Harry to his room and makes him stay there.

A few days later while the Dursleys are out, Harry hears intruders enter the house. As it turns out the intruders are members of the Order of the Phoenix led by Remus Lupin and the Real Mad-Eye Moody who have come to take Harry to the Order’s headquarters at 12 Grimuald Place. Grimuald Place is Sirius’ childhood home. Ron, Hermione, the Weasley family and others are already there waiting for him. Harry finds out how much the wizarding world has changed in those few short weeks he left Hogwarts.

Cornelius Fudge, jealous of Dumbledore, has decided to discredit him and Harry regarding Voldemort’s return. As a result the wizarding world is unaware that Voldemort is back. Fudge has also been strong arming everyone into ignoring Dumbledore and Harry as well by leaning on the newpapers to print what he wants them to print. This caused a rift between the Weasley family and their son Percy. As a result Percy has moved out and will not acknowledge his family even though both Percy and Mr. Weasley work for the Ministry of Magic. The Order feels that Fudge is going to use the hearing examining Harry’s use of magic to publically crucify him as a way of making his point.

What’s most interesting about this book is that this is were you see the arc between this book and book 3 where Sirius was introduced. What we learn about Sirius is as follows. Sirius was born into a pureblood family; he had one brother named Regulus who bought into the pureblood mania. When Sirius was 16 he ran away from home and stayed with James Potter’s family. Eventually Sirius’ uncle Alphard died and left him a fortune that allowed him to be independent. Regulus actually joined the Death Eaters; however once he realized what Voldemort was expecting them to do he got scared and tried to back out but was killed. Sirius hated his home and being in Grimuald Place reminds him of everything he disliked.

The Order of the Phoenix was a group started by Dumbledore the first time Voldemort came to power. However many of the first group were killed off. Apparently there were 20 Death Eaters for each member of the Order. Two people who were killed off were Gidgeon and Fabian Prewett who the author reveals on her website were Molly Weasley’s brothers. The Order has picked up some new members and is more prepared this time around.

Harry attends the hearing despite Fudge’s shenanigans in changing the time and venue. Dumbeldore shows up with Mrs. Figg whose testimony is invaluable in showing that Harry used magic because his and his cousin’s lives were in danger. Harry is cleared of the charges. However, it is clear from the hearing that Fudge does not like the fact that the Ministry does not have any say in how Dumbledore runs Hogwarts. It seems that Fudge intends to change this.

The rest of Harry’s holiday goes more smoothly as he knows he has been show to be innocent. But he keeps having these odd dreams about a walking down a corridor. Well the summer ends and Harry, Ron, and Hermione are ready to head back to school. Ron and Hermione are made prefects for Gryffindor House. Day one at Hogwarts we see that Harry is going to have a rough year. Since everyone else at school has been hearing how crazy Harry and Dumbledore are all summer, people are leary of him. Then we find out that Fudge has placed his spy at Hogwarts in the form of Jane Umbridge the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher who is determined not to teach the students practical defense to prevent the students from becoming an army with Dumbledore at its head. In order to learn to defend themselves properly Harry, Ron, Hermione, and 25 other students form the D.A. which stands for Dumbledore’s Army to practice defensive spells with Harry as the teacher. Things are going well till Christmas when Harry has a dream in which Mr. Weasley is attached by a giant snake. It wasn’t a dream at all rather a vision of what was actually happening. As a result of this Dumbledore has Harry study Occlumency which protects against external penetration into another’s mind. Of course Snape would have to teach Harry. Due to their mutual animosity, Harry doesn’t progress very far.

The year progresses, Harry takes his O.W.L.s which stands for Ordinary Wizard Levels. He wants to be an Auror once he leaves Hogwarts. Finally Harry and company prove conclusively to the wizarding world that Voldemort is back. But it comes at a very high price- grevious injuries and the death of someone Harry loves. We also see Dumbledore and Voldemort duel. It’s amazing Dumbledore is 155 and Voldemort is like 66 and Voldemort still can’t take Dumbledore! Oh! wizards have a much long life span than Muggles. Voldemort leaves the scene whipped. But we note that Dumbledore does not try to kill Voldemort although Voldemort is desperately trying to kill Dumbledore.

In the post adventure chat…..
*****************SPOILER ALERT************************
We finally find out why Voldemort tried to kill Harry as a baby. There was a prophecy told by none other than Professor Trelawney.

The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches… born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies… and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not… and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives… the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies…

One of Voldemort’s spies only overheard the first part of the prophecy telling that the child would be born in July to parents who thrice defied Voldemort. There were two boys that the prophecy could have applied to: Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom. Both Potters and Longbottoms were in the Order of the Phoenix. Voldemort chose Harry because he thought that Harry was most like him i.e. they were both half-bloods. The scar that Harry has is the way that Voldemort marked him as his equal. He also gave Harry powers- parseltongue and the ability to access Voldemort’s thoughts which is why Harry can feel powerful emotions from Voldemort and share visions. But in the end Harry must kill Voldemort or be killed.

We also find out why Dumbledore sent Harry to his relatives. Although Voldemort had been defeated, Dumbledore knew that the Death Eaters were almost as dangerous as Voldemort and that Harry was still in danger. Dumbledore knew that if Voldemort ever regained his body even some of the most complex protection spells wouldn’t have protected Harry. So Dumbledore invoke and ancient protective spell using love. By sacrificing herself, Lily had given Harry the strongest protection possible. That protection lived on in her blood which Harry shares with Petunia as Lily’s sister. Dumbledore wrote Petunia a letter telling her about the charm he place on Harry. Once Petunia accepted Harry that charm became the strongest protection in the world. While Harry can call his relatives place “home” Voldemort cannot touch him there. Petunia knew that by taking Harry in she was saving his life. Dumbledore sent Petunia that Howler because he felt that the Dementor attack may make her regret having Harry as a surrogate son.
**********************END OF SPOILERS********************

Well this book was satisfying. Finally questions were being answered. This book was massive but I loved every page of all 896 pages of it!!!! This was the first book that I went to a book release party for. It was wild. I thought my parents were going to commit me. The night the book was released there was a thunderstorm. Did I mention it was a midnight release. Here were my remaining questions

1. If Voldemort had chosen Neville, would Neville be the orphan with the scar? Dumbledore seems to indicate that this would not have happened.
2. We find out from the author in an interview that Voldemort gave Lily the choice to live and she chose to die. This sacrifce protected Harry. Seeing how blood thirsty Voldemort is, why did he give Lily the choice to live?
3. Would Voldemort have given Neville’s mother the choice to live?
4. Who overheard part of the prophecy?
5. Dumbledore says that Harry’s greatest power against Voldemort is love, how is this going to be used to defeat Voldemort?
6. How did the Potters and Longbottoms thrice defy Voldemort?
7. We know that the Death Eater were responsible for kill many people during Voldemort’s heyday. How on earth did those six teenagers take on a bunch of Death Eaters and live to tell the tale? Granted the Order of the Phoenix showed up, but really those kids shouldn’t have lasted more than a few minutes.
8. In the book we frequently see Harry and Uncle Vernon interacting rarely Petunia. Why is it that Petunia really isn’t the one being mean to Harry?
9. Is Petunia’s fear of the wizarding world because she thinks they are freaks or does she understand the danger all too well?
10. What else does Aunt Petunia know?
11. Was Aunt Petunia’s actions in trying to “beat the magic” out of Harry, her misguided way of trying to protect him from his destiny?
12. Is there a small part of her that does love Harry as her nephew and is just scared because she knows his destiny is to save the world?

ISBN: 0439358078
ISBN-13: 9780439358071
Format: Paperback, 896pp
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire


by J.K. Rowling

This is the 4th book in the series by this author. This book marks the first change in story telling. In the first three books, the story starts at Privet Drive. Thus far it has been told from Harry’s perspective. The first three books also have a discreet conclusion. This changes with the four book.

This story starts off approximately 50 years in the past. Yes many of you remember that Tom Riddle was at Hogwarts 50 years ago. The location is the Riddle house. Mr. and Mrs. Riddle, Sr. and their son Tom are found dead one morning by the maid. The old groundskeeper Frank Bryce is suspected of murdering the family but is release because there was no evidence of murder. The three apparently dropped dead with looks of surprise on there face. The Riddle House passes from owner to owner with no one keeping it long, yet Bryce remains the groundskeeper. Then the story jumps 50 years to the present.

Bryce one night sees lights in the abandoned house. Believing that it is local boys, Bryce goes to the house alone to scare them away. While in the house, Bryce finds the culprits but they are none other than Wortail and Voldemort (who is not actually seen by Bryce). As Bryce is listening to their nefarious plans involving Harry Potter a great snake Nagini crawls passed him and informs Voldemort that Bryce is present. Voldemort kills Bryce.

At this precise moment Harry Potter is dreaming this whole scene. When Voldemort kills the old man, Harry wakes with his scar hurting furiously. He decides to tell Sirius about his scar in hopes for some good advice.

While waiting for Sirius’ response Harry leaves Privet Drive to spend the rest of the summer with the Weasley’s who will be attending the Quiditch World Cup. Well, the game is between Ireland and Bulgaria who features Viktor Krum as seeker. Ireland wins. That night there is a mob that decides to torture the Muggles who run the campsite. There is a mass stampeded to get out of the area. Harry, Ron, and Hermione get separated from the rest of the Weasley family and end up in a clearing by themselves. Harry discovers he has lost his wand. They hear a voice cry MORTEMORDRE and a skull with a snake coming out of the mouth appears in the air adding to the confusion. Ministry wizards appear at the trios location and attempt to find out who cast the Dark Mark.

The Dark Mark is Voldemort and his followers (Death Eaters) symbol. Any time this was cast over a house it meant that someone had been killed.

It appears that a house elf named Winky used Harry’s wand to cast the spell. And she ends up punished by her master- Bartemius Crouch, Sr. This injustice rackles Hermione quite alot.

Soon after the world cup, Harry gets word from Sirius that he’s coming to Harry’s location due to the strange events. As Sirius is Harry’s godfather, he wants to be closer to Harry in order to protect him. Harry panics not wanting the only parental figure in his life to be capture. But Sirius comes anyway.

The trio end up back at school without future incident. At the Start of Term Feast, Dumbledore tells the school that the InterHouse Competition will not take place that year as the Triwizard Tournament will be held at Hogwarts that year.

The Triwizard Tournanment started as a competition between the three largest school of wizardry in Europe- Hogwarts (UK), Beauxbatons (France), and Durmstrang (Balkans). It was hosted every 5 years; however, it stopped being held because the death count was too high. But the Ministry of Magic thought the time to bring the competition back was ripe; and planned it in such a way that no contestant would be in mortal peril. The Ministry put an age restriction of 17 years on the contestants to ensure safety.

This year there is a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher- Alastor Moody who is an ex-Auror. Auror’s are Dark Wizard catchers. Moody had been the best before his paranoia got the better of him. His motto is CONSTANT VIGILENCE!! Moody is missing many body parts as a result of his occupation. However, he takes a fancy to Harry. The first day of DADA class, Moody illegally introduces the 4th years to Unforgivable Curse the use of which on a human being will earn you a life time sentence in Azkaban. The curses are Imperius Curse, Cruciatus Curse, and Avada Kedavra.

Imperius Curse is control over a person’s action. Unless that person is strong willed enough to throw off the effects, you can make them do anything. Voldemort used this curse to force hundreds of people to unwillingly do his bidding.
Cruciatus Curse causes unbearable pain. Great for torture.
Avada Kedavra is the killing curse. It leaves no mark on its victim. These curses are unblockable.

Moody tells the stunned class that there has only ever been one survivor of the Avada Kedavra curse and that person is Harry Potter.

Well the other schools arrive. Beauxbatons’ headmistress is an enormous woman named Olympe Maxime. Durstrang’s headmaster is Igor Karkiroff;his most famous pupil is none other than Viktor Krum. Well the names are entered into the Goblet of Fire who will pick each school’s Champions. The three champions initially choosen are Cedric Diggory, a handsome Hufflepuff, Fleur Delacour, and Viktor Krum. And of course Harry Potter became the first ever 4th Twiwizard contestant.Well, the game is afoot. No one knows why Harry was entered; however, Dumbledore and Siruis are absolutely convinced that Harry is in danger the whole year. Sirius warns Harry to stay away from Karkiroff as Karkiroff was a former Death Eater who cut a deal to get out of prison.

There are three tasks during the tournament. The first tasks tests the contestants mettle. They are required to retrieve a golden egg from a dragon. Harry with a little help from Hagrid and Moody takes first place. The Golden Egg has the clue for the second task. But before they can get to the second task, the Yule Ball occurs. Harry learns some important things that night- Hagrid is a half-giant.

Here is another form of prejudice. Giants are known to be viscious creatures. As such wizards kept them sequestered to certain areas. Due to their propensities, giants are killing themselves out. If people knew that Hagrid was half-giant despite his gentleness, people would be fearful of him.

Harry eventually figures out the clue from the second egg with some help from Cedric Diggory. The egg contains a song by merpeople telling him that they will have taken something of his and he has an hour to retrieve it. However, Harry doesn’t know any magic that will allow him to stay underwater for an extended period of time. His help comes in the form of Dobby who overheard to teachers speculating as to whether Harry would use Gillyweed. Harry ties with Cedric Diggory for first place.

The final task is a maze. The tournament cup is in the center; the first champion to reach it wins the cup and 1000 galleons prize money. Harry and Cedric end up tying for the cup. But the story doesn’t end.

************SPOILER ALERT***************

The cup is a Portkey, which is a form of instaneous transport. The cup relocates the boys to a graveyard. Before they can figure out what to do, a familiar voice kills Cedric with the Avada Kedavra and Harry is overwhelmed by the pain in his scar. It’s Wormtail and Voldemort, who has some how obtained a rudimentary child-like body. Harry is strapped to a headstone- incidentally Voldemort’s father’s headstone. Wormtail helps Voldemort obtain a body using ancient magic that uses three things- bone of the father, flesh from a willing servant, and blood from an enemy.

Voldemort returns and summons his Death Eaters through the Dark Mark tatooed on their forearms. When Voldemort touches Wormtail’s tattoo it burns black on his arm and every other Death Eater. All the Death Eaters save those dead or imprisoned return. Voldemort begins his tale…

Tom Riddle, Jr. was his father. He married his mother, who was a witch. When Tom Riddle found out that his mother was a witch he left her and never came back to discover what became of his son. Voldemort killed his father and grandparents. Voldemort’s purpose in life was immortality and took several steps none of which he could be sure would work. On the night he killed Harry’s parents, Lily sacrificed herself for her son. As a result, the Avada Kedavra curse backfired on Voldemort. Due to his experiments he did not die. His spirit was ripped from his body and he was a weak ghost. He had tried to obtain a body before but Harry prevented him in the Sorceror’s stone. He had engineered all the strange events that year. He conspired to have Harry entered in the tournament to get him to this point. He wanted Harry’s blood because it would make him stronger and he would be able to overcome the inability to physically touch Harry. However, Voldemort did reveal that Harry is safe at his relatives and that he still cannot touch him at Privet Drive. Voldemort’s faithful Death Eater was at Hogwarts and that is how Harry was entered into the contest. Voldemort also revealed that there were two other possible former Death Eaters at Hogwarts that would be dealt with.

At this point Voldemort decides to untie Harry and duel with him in a cat and mouse sort of way before killing him. It doesn’t go quite as planned. In the fight casting of spells Harry and Voldemort’s wands connect and Voldemort’s wand regurgitates a shadow form of the spells it has performed in reverse order. As a result, a form of Cedric appears along with four other people, two of which are Harry’s parents. These shades help Harry get back to the Portkey, and Harry is able to get back to Hogwarts with Cedric’s body in tow.

Dumbledore realizing that something was wrong had come to the maze looking for Harry. Harry tells him that Voldemort is back. A panic erupts on finding Cedric dead. In the mayhem Harry is removed from Dumbledore’s presence by Moody against Dumbledore’s wishes. Moody takes Harry to his office and questions him about what happened in the graveyard. As the discussion progresses Harry realizes that something is wrong with Moody. Before Moody can kill Harry, Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Snape rescue Harry. For the first time we see why Dumbledore is the only wizard Voldemort fears. As it turns out this was not Moody. Voldemort’s faithful Death Eater had incapacitated the real Moody and used a potion to take Moody’s appearance.

Harry tells Sirius and Dumbledore what happened. Dumbledore has a look of triumph for the fact that Voldemort used Harry’s blood. He also explains the wands connecting- Priori Incatatem.

Priori Incatatem is the reverse spell effect. If two wands share the same core and the owners of the wands force them to duel. The wands won’t work against one another. One wand will force the other to regurgitate spells in reverse order. Harry and Voldemort’s wands share cores. Both have phoenix feathers as a core. The feathers came from the same phoenix- Dumbledore’s pet Fawks.

After telling his tale, Harry is sent to the hospital wing for a night of dreamless sleep. However, while in the hospital we find out that Karkiroff has fled; and that Snape was a Death Eater who became a double agent for the good side. Sirius is also revealed. Arthur and Molly and Bill Weasley join Dumbledore’s cause. We also find out that Cornelius Fudge is a cowardly man who would rather deceive himself into believing Voldemort is not back than risk warfare. He and Dumbledore part ways.

At the end of term feast Dumbledore makes the best speech on choosing to do good over evil.

Remember Cedric. Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory

At the end of the book, we find out that Hagrid is being sent on a mission with Madam Maxime who it has been revealed is half-giant as well.
********************END OF SPOILERS*************************

This book was well- INCREDIBLE. It was a whopping 732 pages long. It was chock full of mysteries. Finally we get to some meat with the adventure. So as you can imagine it left me with a lot of questions. Specifically

1. Where did Voldemort get his rudimentary body?
2. Why does Harry’s scar hurt when Voldemort is near?
3. Why did Dumbledore have a look of triumph in his eyes because Voldemort used Harry’s blood?
4. What did Snape do to convince Voldemort that he was still on his side seeing how he returned late?
5. Were Hagrid and Madame Maxime being sent to the giants?
6. Will we see Fleur or Viktor again?
7. What did it mean that Dumbledore and Fudge parted ways?
8. What were the “experiments” that Voldemort did to achieve immortality?
9. Since Harry and Voldemort have wands that share cores, how will they eventually battle one another?
10. Why is Voldemort so fixated on Harry?
11. Is Arabella Figg who is mentioned in the hospital scene, the batty old neighbor who lives in Privet Drive.

This book is definitely the turning point in the whole series. From this point on you will notice an arc in the themes of the book. Book 3 has symmetry with book 5; book 2 has symmetry with book 6, and most likely book 1 will have symmetry with book 7.

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

by J.K. Rowling

This story starts once again at Harry’s relatives house over the summer. The summer is dismal but goes from bad to worse when Uncle Vernon’s sister Marge comes to stay bringing along her bulldog Ripper and the news announce that there is a serial killer Sirius Black escaped from prison on the loose.

Sirius Black is a name that appeared in the first book. He loaned his motorbike to Hagrid so that Hagrid could take Harry to the Dursleys. Kudos if you caught that when you read the book.

Also Hogwarts sends a permission form so that any 3rd year student can visit the village of Hogsmeade, the only all wizard village in England. Harry and Uncle Vernon come to an agreement, if Harry goes through the visit without having any magical mishaps Uncle Vernon will sign Harry’s form. It doesn’t happen. Aunt Marge is more verbally abusive than Uncle Vernon. On the very last day, Harry loses his temper and accidentally blows up Aunt Marge like a balloon. Convince that he will be arrested, Harry quickly backs his things and runs away. Once on the street, he inadvertently summons the Knight Bus (which picks up stranded witches and wizards). Once on the bus he finds out that Sirius Black in fact is a wizards and was sent to Azkaban for murdering 13 muggles; apparently Black was a big supporter of Lord Voldemort-2nd in command. The Knight Bus drops Harry off in Diagon Alley only for Harry to be confronted by the Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge who is extraordinarily happy to see Harry safe and sound. The Minister gets Harry a hotel room and makes a puzzled Harry promise to stay in Diagon Alley rather than explore London at large. The Weasley family along with Hermione end up in the same hotel a few days later. Unbeknownst to Harry, the Weasleys were sent to keep an eye on Harry. The night before leaving to go to school Harry overhears an interesting conversation between Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. The reason the Minister of Magic was so concerned about Harry, the reason Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were sent to watch over Harry is because Sirius Black is after Harry. Sirius has been obsessed with killing Harry because he’s deluded and he thinks that getting rid of Harry will bring Lord Voldemort back.

Well the trio- Harry, Ron, and Hermione end up on the train back to Hogwarts in the same compartment with their new Defense against the Dark Arts Professor Remus Lupin. They also have their first encounter with a Dementor, who are the guards of Azkaban prison looking for the escaped Sirius Black.

Dementor suck all the happiness of people. The force you to relive your worst memories over and over again. The author came up with the idea of Dementors from the Depression she suffered at one point being unemployed. Dementers breed like fungus, in case anyone was curious.

Another concept that is introduced this year is Animagus.

An Animagus is a wizard that is capable of transforming themselves into an animal. It is a dangerous form of Transfiguration and the Ministry of Magic requires all Animagi to register

.

Third year at Hogwarts is a little different. In preparation for post-school life the students take other classes in preparation for O.W.L.S. which is the Ordinary Wizarding Levels.

For clarity look up a description on the British school system.

In addition to core classes, Harry takes Care of Magical Creatures and Divination. Divination is taught by Sibyll Trelawney who seems to be a fraud.

******SPOILER ALERT************
During a weekend trip to Hogsmead Harry finds out what many believe is the truth about Sirius. As it turns out Remus Lupin was a childhood friend of Harry’s father James. As was Sirius Black. More of Harry’s back story is revealed. As it turned out, Lily and James Potter knew that Lord Voldemort was after them. They and a group of other people worked ceaselessly to defeat Voldemort They also knew that they would eventually be found because there was a traitor in their midst. So they used what is called the Fidelius Charm to hide. The Fidelius Charm works in the following fashion. It is the concealment of a secret inside a living soul. As long as the Secret Keeper does not reveal the secret it can never be found. So Lily and James made the location of their house a secret and gave it to the Secret Keeper who was presumed to be Sirius Black as he was James Potter’s best friend. The reason Lord Voldemort found the Potters was because presumably Sirius told him.

Back to Divination
During the final exam Trelawney make what appears to be a real prediction.

IT WILL HAPPEN TONIGHT. THE DARK LORD LIES ALONE AND FRIENDLESS, ABANDONED BY HIS FOLLOWERS. HIS SERVANT HAS BEEN CHAINED THESE TWELVE YEARS. TONIGHT, BEFORE MIDNIGHT… THE SERVANT WILL BREAK FREE AND SET OUT TO REJOIN HIS MASTER. THE DARK LORD WILL RISE AGAIN WITH HIS SERVANTS AID, GREATER AND MORE TERRIBLE THAN EVER HE WAS. TONIGHT… BEFORE MIDNIGHT…THE SERVANT…WILL SET OUT…TO REJOIN…HIS MASTER….

Shortly after this prophesy is made, we find out a great deal about Harry’s father James. Remus Lupin is a werewolf; he was bitten as a child.

In wizarding society werewolves are feared, mistrusted, and ostracized. This is another example of prejudice.

Generally speaking Lupin should have not been allowed to come to school as he would have been a danger to other students. However, Dumbledore as Headmaster of the school was sympathetic and felt there would be no danger if proper safeguards were taken. Well there were three other boys in Lupin’s year- Sirius Black, James Potter, and Peter Pettigrew. They discovered Lupin’s secret but rather than abandon him they became animagi (illegally). As animagi they could keep Lupin company because werewolves are not dangerous to other animals only humans. Sirius was a black dog (Padfoot), James Potter was a stag (Prongs), and Peter Pettigrew was a rat (Wormtail).

When these gents became older they were part of the group that was working against Voldemort. As mentioned before there was a traitor in their midst. Sirius and Lupin suspected each other of being the traitor. When it came to performing the Fidelius Charm Sirius was supposed to be the Secret Keeper. However, at the last minute Sirius convinced James and Lily to make Peter their Secret Keeper. Sirius believed that as Peter was a terrible wizard, Voldemort would never suspect that he would be chosen. Sirius was essentially using himself as bait to lure Voldemort in the wrong direction. However, Peter was the traitor in the midst and betrayed his former friends to their death. Sirius tracked Peter down to kill him, but Peter escaped framing Sirius for his murder. Well this was 12 years ago. In all this time, Peter had been masquerading as a pet rat. Wonder of wonders Peter had been masquerading as the pet rat of Ron- Harry’s best friend. Sirius was sent to jail for murders he did not commit. Sirius’ escape was amazing because no one had broken out of Azkaban before. Dementors drain a wizard of his power. However, Sirius had an obsession all this time- his innocence. And this prevented him from becoming mad. Shortly before breaking out, the Minister of Magic made an inspection of the jail and gave Sirius a newpaper. The newspaper had a picture of the Weasley family on the front with Ron holding his pet rat. This motivated Sirius to transform into his animagus form and slip through the bars. He was the only person who knew Peter was alive and therefore the only person who was in a position to protect Harry. Sirius was made Harry’s godfather.

Sirius and Lupin intended to kill Peter for his treachery on the spot; however, Harry intervened believing that his dad wouldn’t have wanted his friends to become murders. They intended to take Peter to the authorities but he ended up escaping. This is the servant of whom the prophesy spoke. So we know that Peter is returning to Voldemort shortly. Since Peter escaped, there is no proof that Sirius is innocent. So he goes on the run.

In the post- adventure chat Dumbledore tells Harry that saving a wizards life creates a bond between the two. Although Peter was going to flee to Voldemort, Dumbledore says that Voldemort isn’t going to want a servant who has a bond to his mortal enemy. Dumbledore also tells Harry that this brings Trelawney’s tally of real prediction up to two.

END OF SPOILERS

I think of all the Harry Potter books this was probably my favorite. I think it’s because I always had such burning questions about what happen the night the Potters were killed and this is really the first substantive information we have about that night. Also this is the first that we see that the author is making major plot points out of minor details. I did wonder when I read book 1 why Hagrid mentioned a “Sirius Black” who played no further part in book 1.

Questions to be Answered

1. What was Trelawney’s first prediction?
2. How is it that Sirius was sent to jail without anyone asking him his side of the story?
3. Why did Sirius and Lupin suspect each other if they had been childhood friends?
4. What was this group that James, Lily, Sirius, Lupin, and Peter were apart of?

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The More the Merrier

Just so you know anyone is welcome to post a review. Just email me if you’d like to contribute and I’ll add you to the author list.

GENERAL GUIDELINES

1. Don’t review anything that wouldn’t pass New Jersey’s decency laws.
2. Do give a general overview of the plot.
3. Kindly alert us to spoilers.
4. Tell us why you did or didn’t like the book.
5. Please define literary terms.
6. Do let your inner Bluestocking out!!!

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Next Month and a Half

Ok everyone for the next month and a half it’s all about Harry Potter. I’ll be finishing up reviewing the next four books then I’ll be doing essays on the anti-hero and the hero’s journey. So for the non-Harry Potter fans, you can check out for the next few weeks. The last book will be out July 21st at midnight. I’ve taken the day before off! So I’ll be posting alot that day updating you on the book release of the century. I might even put some pictures. I’ll try to wait a week before reviewing Deathly Hallows that way the rest of you will have time to finish the book. After that well I’ve got a couple hundred books on my shelf that are still waiting to be reviewed.