Harry Potter - A Darker and Gripping Account of The Wizarding World
A darker theme
While the first three Harry Potter books, ‘Philosopher’s Stone’, ‘Chamber of Secrets’ and ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’ had a massive fan following in young children and 13 and 14 year olds, the final four books of the series have a massive fan following among the later teens and adults. The books take a darker turn that was first hinted in ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’ when dementors and werewolves were introduced.
A much different tone
When the first Harry Potter book began, there was an excitement reminiscent of our favorite childhood books but when the fourth book, ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ opens, there is then unmistakable sense of foreboding, menacing voices discussing murder, the mystery of the Riddle house which readers of ‘Chamber of Secrets’ will be familiar with and Harry’s life in danger. The action is fast-paced, the book covers the Quidditch World Cup where attacks by Voldemort’s followers leave a fear in the air about his return. Back at Hogwarts, Harry is chosen to compete in a tournament with a death toll, one he is not qualified to enter by any means. But he is forced to compete with three far powerful 17 year old student who are sure he cheated his way to the tournament. With such odds staked up against him, Harry rises to the challenge and though reluctant, he proves himself equal to all of them. But his reasons to be chosen for the competition makes itself known when he is kidnapped and forced to be a part of a dark ritual. The end is one no one saw coming and Rowling, the master story-teller leaves us shocked.
This disbelief will follow us to ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ where the rise of Lord Voldemort and the death of a student are all silenced. Harry and Dumbledore are crucified by the ministry and Wizarding World alike. Amidst all of this, an organization founded by Dumbledore from which the book gets its title struggles against ignorance and Voldemort’s followers alike. Harry returns to Hogwarts, depressed, angry and fed up with what he has faced in his four years at the school. Making matters terrible is Dolores Umbridge who remains to this day the most hated villain of the series. She tortures students to silence, suppresses the rebellion with an iron hand and is as ruthless and cruel as the followers of Voldemort. Every question that Harry had regarding the terrible reasons Voldemort targets him is answered and he is faced with a shattered grief at yet another loss in his life and a destiny he dreads above all else.
A fitting end to the series
The sixth book, ‘Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince’ begins with the Prime Minister being made aware of the rise of Voldemort. But with each passing moment, Voldemort and his followers are taking control of the Wizarding World. Harry is unsure of what he must do, and suddenly finds himself well-admired again. At 16, he is just a teenager who wants to forget about the destiny that he must face one day or the other and live a life with the girl he likes. To ensure his survival, Dumbledore shows him memories about Voldemort’s childhood, and his parents. Each memory makes Voldemort’s obsession with conquering death clearer. His obsession led him to dabble in the darkest forms of magic and create objects that are taboo in the Wizarding World. It comes at a heavy price- his humanity. As the book ends, Harry finally realizes that there is no escaping the confrontation that is inevitable. With his faithful friends, Ron and Hermione by his side, he embarks on an absolutely impossible journey to defeat Voldemort once and for all.
The final book, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows’ starts off with a meeting at the Malfoy Manor where Voldemort is on his way to conquer the Wizarding World. Harry sends his relatives into hiding as the Order of the Phoenix comes to his home, to take him away. The daunting task given to him by the late Albus Dumbledore starts off on a sore note, with the horcruxes (pieces of Voldemort’s soul) feeding off on their insecurities. The trio are faced not just with Voldemort’s supporters who have taken over Wizarding Britain but also their own terrible fears. Ron, Harry and Hermione discover that Voldemort is after three mystical objects, specifically, an unbeatable wand. As they along with Ron who returns to save Harry’s life help the students of Hogwarts take back their school, a battle is fought between the two opposing sides, light and dark as Harry finally destroys every last horcrux, at a great cost. The final one turns out to be a twist that one should really have foreseen, but he manages to win the final confrontation, putting to an end a journey that began 7 years ago.
The Harry Potter series may have a tale as old as time, the battle between good and evil. But Rowling’s masterful story-telling makes it a series one can’t forget.