Rereading Harry Potter – Week 12

Rereading Harry Potter – Week 12

Good afternoon (for me at least) my fellow bookworms! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week, I know I have. The sun has been shining all week here in the Netherlands and the sun can always brighten up a day, so I hope you’ve all been having a lot of sunshine wherever you are. Now on to Harry Potter related business. The last thing that happened last week, was the disappearance of the Fat Lady (where did that name come from by the way, it’s not very woke to be honest..). I have a lot tabbed in my book this week, so let’s get started.

After the Gryffindors found the portrait of the Fat Lady empty and ripped to pieces by Sirius Black, Dumbledore appears and leads them all to the Great Hall, where they are later joined by the other three houses. They’re supposed to spend the night there while the teachers search the school for any sign of Sirius Black. The students are left with the Prefects as guards and the Head Boy and Head Girl (Percy and is girlfriend) in charge. Personally, I might have added a teacher or two to that equation, considering that there is a murdering maniac on the loose who is known for killing a bunch of people with a single explosion, but who am I. Obviously Sirius Black wasn’t found, because nobody would be dumb enough to linger after a failed attack. Snape of course thinks that Black had inside help, which is not exactly a strange assumption when you consider that Black and Lupin were good friends in school. Although, since Snape serves Voldemort, he should probably be aware that it was Peter Pettigrew who blew up those people and not Black, right? Or was Pettigrew the only one who knew about that? Well, Snape should at least be aware that Black wasn’t a Death Eater.

After their night in the Great Hall, everyone gets to go back to their own common rooms and Sir Cardogan (remember him from showing the trio the way to the Divination classroom?) temporarily takes the Fat Lady’s place in the portrait. Gryffindor is supposed to be playing against Slytherin that weekend, but Slytherin backed out of the game due to their seeker’s arm still being injured, even though we all know there’s nothing wrong with Malfoy’s arm and he is obviously faking it. This means they’re going to be playing Hufflepuff instead, though and they just got a new seeker and captain.. Cedric Diggory! Did you know he made an appearance in the third book already? I had no idea! I was so excited. I can’t get the image of Robert Pattinson on a broomstick out of my mind.

As you may remember, the Quidditch match didn’t go too well. Harry got attacked by a Dementor and fell off his broomstick, which was smashed to pieces by the Whomping Willow. So Harry ended up in the hospital wing for the weekend and his Nimbus 2000 was damaged beyond repair. Every time they say that something is damaged beyond repair, I’m like.. but what about Reparo? Dumbledore was able to repair an entire house in the Half-Blood Prince, but a piece of wood is too complicated? Could it be because of the enchantments on the broom?

After Harry’s next DADA class, Lupin holds him back to check if he is okay. He tells Harry about the Dementors and about Azkaban. He says that Sirius Black must have found a way to fight the Dementors. My guess is that he had some kind of new found hope of finding Harry and protecting him or something. Let’s hope we’ll find out soon. Lupin agrees to give Harry Dementor lessons, though he will have to wait until next term since Lupin still has to catch up on some work from when he was “ill”.

Just before Christmas, another Hogsmeade weekend comes up. Of course Harry’s not allowed to go, but the Weasley twins have got just the thing to avoid those annoying little things called rules. They give Harry the Marauder’s Map, which shows where everyone at Hogwarts is at any given time, but it also shows the secret passages to Hogsmeade. The only available passage is the one that ends up in the cellar of Honeydukes. So movie-Harry was relatively sensible about breaking the rules and decided to take his invisibility cloak. Book-Harry, though, didn’t much care that he wasn’t allowed to go to Hogsmeade, apparently, and didn’t much care if he was seen. Up until professor McGonagall, Hagrid, Cornelius Fudge and professor Flitwick appeared at the Three Broomsticks, that is. It is here that these three highly intelligent individuals and Hagrid and Madam Rosmerta (she runs the Three Broomsticks) decide that it’s a good idea to talk about Sirius Black loud enough for the three students we know and love a few tables over to be able to hear them. This is the moment Harry finds out that Sirius Black was not only his father’s best friend, but also his godfather AND his parents Secret Keeper. The whole Secret Keeper-thing doesn’t appear in the movie, though, so for those of you who (like me) have no idea what a Secret Keeper is: it’s a complicated spell where a secret is concealed inside a person. Only that person would be able to reveal the secret, in this case that would be the location of the Potters.

I’m still so confused about this whole thing. How did Pettigrew end up being the hero of this story and Black the villain? Pettigrew receives the Order of Merlin and Black ends up in Azkaban. How does the Secret Keeper thing fit into the story if Black wasn’t actually the one who betrayed them? So many questions!

During the Christmas holiday, only Harry, Ron, Hermione and two or three other students remained at Hogwarts. Harry wakes up on Christmas morning to a bunch of presents lying at the foot of his bed, including a brand new broomstick. Someone has sent him a Firebolt, though there is no note with the broomstick. Since they can’t figure out who sent it, Hermione thinks that Harry shouldn’t use is until they have found out who sent it to him. She goes to professor McGonagall, who agrees with her and confiscates the broomstick so that it can be checked for enchantments and jinxes. Both of them think that the broomstick might’ve been sent by Sirius Black.

There’s a feast on the evening of Christmas with just the six remaining students and six teachers. Halfway through, professor Trelawney joins them as well, but she does not dare sit down, for there would be thirteen at a table then (the first one to get up is the first to die). It kind of confused me that McGonagall was bashing and making fun of Trelawney throughout the entire meal, since she is the only one sticking up for Trelawney when Umbridge kicked her out in the Order of the Phoenix. Earlier in the book, she told Harry that Trelawney had predicted a student’s death many times before and no one had died yet, but that seemed like a harmless piece of commentary. This whole scene is just plain mean.

That’s it for this week! I know, I know, but don’t worry. There’ll be more next week when we’re going to resume school in the new year and get some dementor lessons from Lupin (among other things, I haven’t read it yet). Have a great remainder of your weekend and I’ll see you next week!

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Heartstopper Volume 1-4 by Alice Oseman

Heartstopper Volume 1-4 by Alice Oseman

Rating: 4 out of 5.
  • Graphic Novel
  • Young Adult
  • LGBTQ+ Romance
  • Ebook
  • Goodreads ratings: #1 – 4.51, #2 – 4.59, #3 – 4.61, #4 – 4.67,

The Heartstopper series is a LGBTQ+ Romance delivered in a graphic novel. The novels follow Charlie, a teenage boy who was accidentally outed last year, as he is falling in love with Nick, a boy he thinks is straight. Charlie and Nick become good friends and start hanging out together more and more, until Charlie kisses Nick at a party and Nick has to figure out how he feels about that.

I bought the first two volumes in digital edition for 0.99 cents each because I had been seeing them all over Instagram. I bought a bunch of other ebooks as well, but I figured that I’d go through Heartstopper pretty quickly, since it’s a graphic novel, so I decided to read that first. It was indeed a quick read and I went through the first one in about an hour or an hour and a half. The second one took me about the same amount of time. I waited a bit to buy volume three and four, since they were 4 or 5 euros per book and I was hoping for them to go on sale, since 5 euros for a book that I would finish within an hour seemed like a bit much. I ended up buying them for that price after all, since I loved the first two so much and I wanted to read the next two as well. I don’t regret paying the full price, since I loved both of them and Oseman obviously put a lot of work in them. So even though all four volumes can easily be read in one day, they’re definitely worth the price.

This entire series is so incredibly cute. The drawings are cute, the story is cute, the characters are super cute. It’s just so much fun to read. Oseman did a really good job with the drawings and the story is pretty well balanced. Even though it is meant for a younger crowd, it is still very enjoyable as a twenty-something-year old or an adult (I’m still in denial about adulthood).

I loved how Oseman inserts the importance of Mental Health and especially the existence of Anorexia (among boys) into her novels. Considering that her target audience is still pretty young, I think it’s important to address mental health issues in this way. No judgement whatsoever, just an explanation as to what anorexia is and how it feels. I’m not an expert on anorexia since I’ve luckily never had anorexia, but I’m no stranger to other mental health issues and I can tell you from experience that they are so much easier to deal with when the people around you have a certain understanding of what you’re going through. So yay to Oseman for addressing mental health in an accessible way.

The only thing that started to bother me after a few books, is that there is not a single straight couple in any of the graphic novels. The only people who are straight are the bullies and the parents, everyone other character in all four of the books is either gay, bi or trans. I get that we don’t need more straight propaganda, but I’m guessing that the goal of these novels is to show young adults that being gay or bi or trans is perfectly normal and the best way to do that is probably to make the characters relatable. If not a single one of these characters is straight, then straight kids will have nobody to relate to and I think you might not reach as many kids. Of course I’m no expert on psychology and it’s the artists choice in the end, so please don’t take this the wrong way. Plus telling an artist to put more straight people in their LGBTQ+ romance novel is probably kind of missing the point. It’s mostly my personal opinion that I didn’t have a character that I related to.

I gave the Heartstopper series an overall score of 4 stars. I also gave all of the individual novels 4 stars. It is pretty consistent in quality and enjoyableness (if that’s even a word), which I always appreciate a lot. I hate it when the quality of a series is not consistent. “The second book is not that good, but the third one gets way way better!” just doesn’t do it for me, so luckily the Heartstopper series was pretty consistent. If you have not read this series yet, I would definitely recommend it. It’s a series you can easily read on your Ipad or Kindle or something and it’s light and fun in between other reads. Don’t expect hours and hours of entertainment, because it’s a pretty quick read, but definitely worth your money!

Heartstopper Volume 5 comes out somewhere in 2022, so we’ll have to wait a bit for the story to continue. There’s a Netflix series based on the graphic novels coming out soon, though!

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The Wrath and the Dawn – Book Review

The Wrath and the Dawn – Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.
  • The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Adhieh
  • Fiction
  • Fantasy/Young Adult/Romance/Fairytale retelling
  • Ebook
  • 418 pages
  • Goodreads rating: 4.08

The Kingdom of Khorasan is ruled by a murderer. Every night Khalid, the caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride and every morning, he kills her. Until a 16-year-old girl named Shahrzad volunteers to be his next wife. She has a plan to avenge the death of her best friend and put an end to the needless suffering of families who have their daughters taken from them. Except her new husband, the boy-king, is not what she had expected. He is kind and compassionate and seems to have a soft spot for her. She is his first bride who has lived past the morning.

This was an absolutely gorgeous retelling of the A Thousand and One Nights fairytale. It is only loosely based on the story, which gave it the intrigue of the Arabian story while still remaining original and surprising in all aspects.Though I’m only just getting into fairytale retellings (Cinderella is Dead was my first one), this one was definitely nothing like anything I’ve ever read before. It definitely got me into the warm Arabian/Persian aesthetic with all its silk and sand and jewels. The names are very difficult to remember and differentiate, though. There’s Khalid Ibn al-Rashid, Shahrzad al-Khayzuran, Tariq Imran al-Ziyad and Rahim al-Dir Walad. You get used to it, but it takes a little while. Though the names are beautiful, they’re rather difficult to remember at times.

“So you would have me throw Shazi to the wolves?”

“Shazi?” Jalal’s grin widened. “Honestly, I pity the wolves.”

Renee Adhieh, The Wrath and the Dawn

The characters in The Wrath and the Dawn are wonderful and colourful. Though most of the side characters are still a little flat in the first book, the main characters are vibrant and have amazing character development. The book is written from the perspective of multiple characters, so that gives you some insight into information that some of the other characters do not have. It keeps the tension high and the story interesting. It is also a great way to show character development.

Adhieh has incorporated the enemies to lovers trope wonderfully and in a highly original way. Shahrzad’s new husband has killed her best friend and many other girls. She believes him to be a monster. No matter how much she tries to hate him, though, she feels there is much more to the story and to Khalid than meets the eye. The internal struggle to keep regarding Khalid as her enemy and plotting to kill him, while falling in love with him against her better judgement, is described beautifully and progresses naturally. Often the enemies to lovers trope can feel a little forced and considering what I knew about the story, I was afraid it would in this book too, but it didn’t.

“You are not weak. You are not indecisive. You are strong. Fierce. Capable beyond measure.”

Renee Adhieh, The Wrath and the Dawn

Khalid eventually reveals to Shazi the story behind all of the wives he has murdered. He tells her about his first wive, Ava. I obviously don’t want to spoil anything, so I can’t say any more about the story. I can tell you, though that it is a heartbreaking story. I had mixed feelings about Khalid throughout the book, until he told Shazi the story of Ava.

Definitely read this book if you like a fairytale retelling, if you like the Arabian/Persian aesthetic and/or if you like a good enemies to lovers trope.

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