The First Three Year at Hogwarts: What I Learned from Each Book

I remember my co-worker, a big Harry Potter fan looked at me in shock when I told her that I have not read the books. She said jokingly that she won’t be my friend until I read Harry Potter. That was a few years ago. It’s not that I didn’t care, I just didn’t see the magic and wonder about it from the movies (it’s probably because I have a habit of mind wandering when watching a film). I remember thinking Harry Potter is just about some nerdy boy and his friends going to an exclusive magic boarding school. But I was wrong about Harry Potter. J. K. Rowling gave me what I needed in good storytelling: humor with a little bit of horror and mystery. The biggest things the movies failed to capture were DETAILED EXPLANATIONS of the story and a GREAT CONCLUSION at the end of each book! It’s the suspense that kept me turning the pages and not the flashy cool special effects that the films attempted to create. A great story is like putting all the puzzle pieces together to get a big picture. All the pieces are important, and leaving them out will only make the picture incomplete. The films took out some of the most important events in the story and turned Harry Potter into a tolerable story with great flashy impressive production. Yes, the world is magical. But why? Why is his story important? Well, for one there’s a lot to it than just looking at the surface and if I didn’t read the books, I wouldn’t understand the films as plain as that.

So here, I am back with my 3-list post. I think it is safe to reveal some spoilers. By now, most people have been exposed to Harry Potter so I am not here to persuade people to change their opinion or convince people to like it. Let alone, criticize the films. I mean come on, Harry Potter is famous in the real world and the book! Instead, I am going to write about what I learned during my first three years at Hogwarts.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Year 1):

There’s a lot of humor in this book. I learned what a Muggle is, although not in the best light. The book introduced the Dursleys as mean-spirited and who hate everything out of the norm. But that made me wonder if they hated Harry Potter so much because he comes from a wizard family, why did they take him in and raise him? Somewhere in their disapproval, they have to have a heart. Some people would have just turned the abandoned toddler into social service, I think. In some rare cases, sadly in some countries, babies are put into dumpsters because their parents couldn’t afford them. Sad, but true. Or another sad story is about a baby who was found crawling around in the apartment by himself. He was so hungry he started sucking and eating on his fingers. So, the Dursleys can’t be so bad; at least they gave Harry Potter a place to sleep even though not the best place (under the stairs in the closet!). They’re just fixed in their ways. They remind me of those who care about their image in society, the herds that follow the crowd and who shun everything odd and peculiar. Then it dawned on me that they kept Harry Potter around for tax purposes. But more importantly, out of fear. That’s just my speculation for the time being. The Dursleys are a mystery to me and their presence serves as comic relief to the plot. In contrast to Muggles, wizards and witches aren’t all that great either (well that is what I learned in Year 4). So, Harry Potter is more than just about race and class issues, although it’s kind of hard not to notice the author’s dislike for Sunday Christian-like folks. Or is it just my imagination?

I think I have more questions than answers. The book left me with a good impression with its quote: “To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure (pg. 297).” So why is Voldemort so adamant about obtaining the Sorcerer’s Stone, the thing that will give him life and body? Is he afraid of dying? Why is he so fearful? And why does he want to kill Harry Potter so badly?

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Year 2):

I was pleasantly surprised at how spooky this book can be. There were parts where I got the chills. Students are petrified, and spiders crawl away from something ominously dangerous from the castle into the Forbidden Forest! I couldn’t help but be on my toes, eager for the mystery to unfold! I think so far, this is my favorite book out of the series. The suspense and mystery were really good. Unlike, the first book where we got a glimpse of Harry Potter’s Muggle relatives who hate all things abnormal and peculiar, some pure-blood witches and wizards look down on Muggle’s blood. Mudblood is the term referred to witches and wizards who come from non-magic families. The opposite of a Mudblood is a Squib, which is someone who comes from a Wizarding family; however, he/she has no magic powers (pg.145). Lastly, we get a glimpse of the nature of house-elves through the appearance of Dobby, which is a slave to a wealthy Wizarding family. So, it’s hard not to see the plot involving class and race issues. In addition, the conclusion at the end of the book was also good too. Dumbledore, a wise wizard always has something wise to say when Harry Potter finds himself in uncomfortable thoughts or situations: Anyone is capable of doing evil, but it is “our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than abilities.” (pg.333). In other words, your abilities do not define you; it’s what you make of yourself. Another great lesson from the book is not to trust something that can think on its own because you don’t know where the brain is (pg.329). Great wisdom there. I can only imagine how a child can easily get exploited online. Be mindfully cautious, kids.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Year 3)

Don’t judge a book by its cover and most often don’t believe everything you read in the news! The truth is more obscure than it seems. Your convict uncle is probably a good guy; your pet rat is a disgraceful human and your favorite teacher is a werewolf! Oops, I said too much about this book! I warned you though that there will be spoilers! I have to keep reminding myself that Harry Potter is intended for adolescents so it may be mind-boggling to them, but quite the contrary, I think it’s full-grown adults who need a good reminder not to judge people based on their social status and appearance. There are some well-groomed-looking criminals out there with high positions in society. The bottom line is don’t judge. Happy that Harry got his final say with his Muggle relative towards the end of the book. Never insult someone’s parents, especially their bloodline because what does that get to do with character? I think I’m seeing a pattern here with Harry Potter which has gained my respect. It speaks a lot to someone who cares for social justice and thinks there should be more of it. Well, for that to happen, people must learn how to think properly like sensible human beings.

Well, I hope you enjoy this little rant which is more like a writing prompt. The student in me never dies. Currently, I am on the fourth book and a few chapters left to go. Please join me next time for more discussion on Harry Potter!

Halsdoll’s New Year Rant: Harry Potter, Scarlet Nexus & DS2 Scholar of the First Sin

New Year and a new start are never the cases for me. I never wait around when I want to achieve a new goal. My New Year Resolution started in December after my fiancé gave me my birthday present. This year. I want to make more time for books. It doesn’t matter if it’s a children’s book as long it got some depth, which is how I got started with the adventure to Hogwarts. Me being the curious cat picked up the book and started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone despite being unimpressed with the movie’s adaptation many years ago. That experience was also my first introduction to the title. Now, I’m more than halfway on book 3, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I intend to finish the entire series because I’m addicted to J.K. Rowling’s imagination and writing style. It made me smile a lot that I couldn’t put the book down, which explains my long absence from this blog. Perhaps, I might write each summary for each book as a writing exercise since that is what has been occupying my thoughts. I’m just so impressed with how well organized J.K. Rowling’s mind is to create such a genuine and humorous but serious world mixed with humility. Somehow the movies failed to capture it, which is why I was never a fan of the Harry Potter franchise until now. I see why all of my good friends were obsessed with it.

When it comes to games, I find that playing game back-to-back can be quite a chore. Forcing myself to conquer my backlog is not fun. Since beating Tales of Xillia, I haven’t been eager to jump into a new game and I thought I would play Tales of Vesperia, but I changed my mind. I played a little bit of Scarlet Nexus instead. The concept of the story and gameplay is promising but feels a little bit too hip and young for my taste. I’m not feeling the characters at the moment or maybe it’s the fact the English voice dub failed to capture the character’s personality. Just not a fan of hearing people read scripts in manga-style cutscenes. Well, I didn’t mind so much in Folklore but it just seems like a lazy tactic in storytelling. Despite all of that, it may have a good story. It’s BANDAI NAMCO StudiosTose after all. I can see some cool things with this game but so far it tries too hard to be cool and deep. Well, I will put it aside. I may play it. Maybe in 7 years when I decided to turn into a teenager again.


For now, I find myself going back to Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin. Yes, I finally beat all the bosses in the Sunken Crown King DLC. This time around, I just needed to step back from the game to have a fresh mindset. So here is what I learn: When playing a difficult game that required some sort of quick reflex, you have to talk mean to your opponent. “Get your ass down here! “Is the magic phrase I used in defeating the Sinh, the Slumbering Dragon, and with a little help from the NPCs. At this point, I just want to complete the DLC without caring how well I kill it. Thank goodness this game does not grade me on my performance.

Telling the dragon to get its ass down here
Sinh, the Slumbering Dragon

I suppose, you just have to be a little angry to play this sort of game at the same time be calm and collected. It’s all about balance and perhaps that is why I keep coming back to the soul games. I have two more DLCs to go: Crown of the Old Iron King, and Crown of the Ivory King. I’m not kidding when I said I keep coming back to this game which I bought it back in 2015. This will be the second time I play this game. I already played it on the PS3 version which honestly, I prefer than the PS4 version which included all three DLCs. I even have the PC version (wow I didn’t know I like the game that much!). I may go into details at a later time if I feel up for it. So far, I have already clocked in over 200 hours. Talking about great gameplay value. Why would I even bother with other games at this rate? I like to see games surpass the Dark Souls franchise. It’s unlikely. As I mentioned before, once you give your soul to the game, there’s no coming back. All other games will appear lacking or petty in comparison. Souls’ game is just that rewarding and addictingly fun. Or perhaps, I just have fallen under its spell. It’s like playing inside an adventurous book and who can ask for more, especially for folks like me who love books and games? It’s the greatest combo.

I stop to read in video games…ooooh if only school was this fun, I would have paid more attention in class once upon a time…

Well, that is it for now. I will leave you folks with a tip. Being a barrel doesn’t hurt if you are trying to reach the next bonfire! Whatever it takes to stay alive. Until next time~

getting close to the bonfire