Book Review: Fantastic Beasts and where to find them (by Newt Scamander, or JK Rowling if you want to be like that)

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Book: 99/100

Fantastic Beasts and where to find them is an additional book written for the world of Harry Potter. It is a Hogwarts textbook that describes all the magical animals that us Muggles have no clue about.

It is about the 100th time I’ve read this little book. Not more than 50 pages, it is an interesting part of the Potter franchise. There are plenty of animals in there that you’ve stumbled across if you read the books – werewolves, dragons, pixies, gnomes, etc. The book contains “notes” written by Harry, Ron and Hermoine and that makes it even more entertaining.

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I had a little laugh at the beginning of the book – it starts off as a normal Zoology textbook – or in this case Magizoology (I may be wrong) with the “What is a beast?” chapter.

Worth the read!

PS: This is yet another book-to-film that is happening. It will be highly interesting to see if they will be able to make a decent movie!

PPS: You see the 99/100 right?! Finishing last book tonight, will be posting a gloating post on Monday! 😀

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (JK Rowling)

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Book: 18/100

Harry Potter and his friends, Ron and Hermione, are waiting to return to Hogwarts for their 6th year. The magical world Harry finds himself in is in panic with Lord Voldemort now openly causing mayhem and terror.

Harry is fetched early during the summer vacation from Privet Drive by Albus Dumbledore, where he asks Harry to accompany him to the house of an old teacher of Hogwarts – Horace Slughorn. Harry and Dumbledore arrive to try to convince Slughorn to return to Hogwarts to teach, and Slughorn very reluctantly agrees.

Harry spends the rest of his summer with the Weasleys at their home, the Burrow. He meets Fleur Delacour again, now engaged to Ron’s older brother Bill, much to the irritation of Mrs. Weasley, who doesn’t seem to regard Fleur as worthy of her son. When the group visits Diagon Alley, under the safe watch of Hagrid, they finally see what Fred and George have been up to since leaving school. Their wizarding shop – Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, openly mocks You-know-who, and is the only shop in Diagon Alley taking a cheerful approach on life.

On the Hogwarts Express, Harry is annoyed when Ginny leaves them to go sit with her boyfriend, Dean Thomas. Harry tells himself firmly that his feelings are brotherly, and doesn’t think that it might be more. He is interested to find out that Draco Malfoy isn’t abusing his Prefect duties, and sets out to find out why he is neglecting his favourite past-time. In the Slytherin corridor of the train, Draco openly boasts about a task that Voldemort had set for him, but doesn’t give any conclusive information. Harry is found by Draco, and left on the train injured, but Tonks, one of the Order members, arrives and takes Harry to the castle. Harry is shocked by the change in Tonks – her usual quirkiness is gone, and she is constantly distracted.

At school, Harry is shocked when he finds out that Professor Slughorn had returned to teach Potions, not Defence Against the Dark Arts. Professor Snape, Harry’s least favourite teacher, therefore got his life’s wish to become DADA teacher. They are all shocked to why Dumbledore allowed the thing Snape had openly sought for years.

Meanwhile, someone at Hogwarts is trying increasingly desperate measures to kill someone within the school. Katie Bell, a member of the Gryffindor Quidditch team nearly dies when she tries to take a cursed necklace into Hogwarts. Ron is poisoned in Slughorn’s office, and is only saved when Harry finds a bezoar to push down his throat – a cure to many poisons. Harry becomes obsessed with proving it is Draco Malfoy behind it all, but everyone, including Dumbledore, ignores Harry about this.

Harry receives private lessons from Dumbledore, and Dumbledore sets to show Harry as much as he possibly can about Voldemort’s life. Even as a child, Voldemort had immense control over his powers, not even caring if he hurt other children with it. He had no problem at all murdering for things he wanted, and indeed murdered all his living relations as a teen. Harry never receives any form of homework from Dumbledore, until Dumbledore asks him to retrieve a memory Slughorn, telling Harry that it is the most important information he will ever receive to Lord Voldemort’s immortality. This seems increasingly difficult, as Slughorn expected Dumbledore to try something of the sort. When Harry retrieves it, he learns that Voldemort had split his soul into seven pieces, making him immortal. Voldemort hid the pieces of his soul, Horcruxes, in different locations, and Dumbledore tells Harry that he can accompany Dumbledore on the next quest.

Harry and Dumbledore set of one night to find and destroy a Horcrux. They go to a hidden lake, a place where Voldemort had tortured young children in his youth, and after Dumbledore drinks a poison, they get the Horcrux. With Dumbledore seriously injured, the two return to Hogsmeade to find that the Dark Mark had been cast above the Astronomy tower. They rush to the school, with Harry under the invisibility cloak, they find Draco Malfoy waiting for Dumbledore, and disarms him. Dumbledore manages to convince Draco to allow Dumbledore to help him. Snape arrives, and kills Dumbledore. Fleeing from the castle, Snape reveals that he was the Half-Blood Prince, and that Harry had used his old Potions book the whole time. Harry finds that the Horcrux is a fake, and that someone else, RAB, took the real horcrux.

In the hospital wing, where everyone is taken to recuperate, Harry shares the news that Dumbledore has died. Fleur and Mrs. Weasley make peace when Mrs. Weasley sees that Fleur intends to stay with Bill even though he was attacked by a werewolf, and this prompts a fight between Tonks and Lupin – Tonks’ drastic change in nature had been caused by her unrequited love for Lupin.

After the funeral, Harry breaks up with Ginny, whom he had been dating since the Quidditch final. He tells her that it would be too dangerous to date her, that she would be in grave danger in Voldemort ever suspected Harry had feelings for her. He tells Ron and Hermione that he won’t be returning to Hogwarts, and they tell him in return that they will accompany him on his quest to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes.

Rating: 8.5/10

What a phenomenal book! The Half-Blood Prince awed me, and repulsed me a little as well. Every part of every book slots perfectly into each other. My heart broke when Dumbledore died, and Harry lost yet another close mentor in his life. Harry finally falls for Ginny, and that girl had been waiting for him since the Chamber of Secrets. I love how she grew into this smart-mouthed individual, able to fight for what she believes in. No other type of girl deserved Harry 🙂

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (JK Rowling)

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Book: 14/100

I reached for the second book in the Harry Potter franchise almost immediately after I finished The Philosopher’s Stone. I really adore these books so much, and I was very happy when the Potter bug bit me again.

What Happened (the short version)

Harry returns to school for his second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry after nearly being punished for magic he didn’t perform. The magic performed was done by a house-elf, Dobby, who deliberately tried to get Harry into trouble after Harry refused to listen to his warnings that Hogwarts wasn’t safe for him.

At school, strange things start to happen. After the caretaker’s cat is petrified, there is a message on the wall behind it saying that the Chamber of Secrets has been opened. The History of Magic teacher tells them that the Chamber was created by Salazar Slytherin, when he left the school because he didn’t want any muggle born witches or wizards enrolled. The rumour went that when the heir of Slytherin returned to the school, the Chamber would be re-opened and the monster within would purify the school of muggle borns.

Harry becomes prime suspect when it is discovered he can talk to snakes, a habit that has long since been accepted as part of the Dark Arts. Every crime points to Harry, but people start to believe in his innocence when one of his best friends, Hermoine, is attacked.

This leaves Ron and Harry to solve the mystery. The find out through a secret diary that Hagrid was expelled for the crimes, even though he did not commit them. When Hagrid is taken to prison as a preventative method, they know they must do everything to stop the monster. They go into the Forbidden Forest, and meet Aragog, a huge spider, who tells them that it was never he nor is Hagrid responsible for the deaths of a student during the last time the Chamber had been opened.

Harry and Ron find out that the monster is a Basilisk, a huge snake that can kill you if you make eye contact with it. When they hear the monster took Ron’s sister, Ginny, into the chamber, they set of to find it and save her. Accompaning them is Professor Lockhart, a man who claims to be a type of heroic saviour to the wizarding world. When they enter the tunnel leading to the chamber, he tries to curse Ron and Harry, but the spell backfires, making him lose his memory, and makes the tunnel cave in. Ron stays with Lockhart, and Harry decides to go searching for the monster alone.

In the chamber he finds Ginny, nearly dead. He finally meets the Heir to Slytherin – who came back through the diary Harry saw Hagrid being falsely accused in. Tom Marvolo Riddle, reveals himself as the young Lord Voldemort. He tells Harry that he had used Ginny through the diary to petrify everyone, and when she dies, he will be restored to his former self.

Tom sets the basilisk free on Harry, and unexpected help arrives when Fawkes, Professor Dumbledore’s phoenix, scratches out the Basilisk eyes, ensuring Harry can kill the snake while looking at it. The sword of Gryffindor is sent to Harry, and he kills the Basilisk with it. Harry prevents Tom from coming back by stabbing the diary with a Basilisk fang, effectively erasing Tom from the present. Fawkes heals Harry, and carries him, Ginny, Ron and Lockhart to safety.

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Rating: 8/10

I don’t ever see myself grading one of the Harry Potter books lower than an eight. They are simply so well written that they deserve highest rating.

The Chamber of Secrets is very funny. I love the humour in it, the sarcasm, and all the small events that make the book such a success. If you have read all the books, you notice how Rowling left clues about events that would happen later on. The characters are all a little older, wiser, and braver.

My favourite part is probably the feast the students have in their pajamas after the Chamber has been closed again, and Hagrid returns to the school. Simply excellent 🙂

Read the review on the first book as well here 🙂