“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” by J.K. Rowling (Book 2)

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Admittedly, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was my least favorite of the films, so I approached this book with some trepidation. The Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets isn’t quite so bad, but I still can’t help but wonder what exactly Harry learned in this book. What role does this book serve in the larger Harry Potter mythos?

I think one problem is that, through Dumbledore, the book misrepresents Harry’s character development. Indeed, I’d argue this book muddles the larger themes of the Harry Potter series. It’s as if Dumbledore doesn’t quite understand what’s going on in his own story. Continue reading ““Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” by J.K. Rowling (Book 2)”

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“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling (Book 1)

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After seeing the Harry Potter movies, I was reluctant to read the books because I didn’t quite accept J.K. Rowling’s approach to world-building in the series. The setting of Harry Potter never seemed “real” in the way that J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth did, with a rich history and convincing plot progression. Harry Potter has all sorts of inconsistencies, plot holes, or in-jokes that broke my suspension of disbelief.

After reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I still think I understood Rowling’s world-building, but didn’t quite appreciate its effect on readers. Structurally, those things I’d previously viewed as “problems” actually do serve a purpose in the book. It’s a different type of world-building that seems deliberately crafted to introduce readers to this magical world.

Continue reading ““Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling (Book 1)”

Coming soon… “Harry Potter”

241153480-30235112I’m finally getting around to reviewing the Harry Potter books. I don’t come to the Harry Potter series unspoiled. I’ve seen all eight movies so I know the basic plot. I also realize that my reviews aren’t exactly timely as the last book was published in 2007. As such, I’ve decided that my posts won’t be “reviews” per se so much as analytical essays about key themes or the storytelling techniques.

My journey to Hogwarts begins later this week with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I hope you’ll join me…

“Inception”

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Christopher Nolan wrote and directed Inception after a decade-long struggle to get his story on screen. Given the box office and critical response, his struggle was well worth the effort. Inception isn’t perfect, but it’s a good example of a fresh science fiction concept turned into an entertaining film.

In Inception, humanity has a means of viewing and extracting a person’s dreams. A business tycoon hires expert dream thief Dom Cobb (Leondardo DiCaprio) to implant an idea into a rival businessman’s mind. This proves more difficult because the subject must believe that the idea is truly his or her own. Cobb recruits a team of “dreamers” and misfits for the mission. However, soon Cobb risks losing his grip on reality as he venture deeper into the dreams and memories from his past.

Continue reading ““Inception””