A few years after my first read-through, I'm re-reading the "Harry Potter" series to my kids. This morning, I just finished book 5. Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, and I'm ready to start posting about my reaction the second time through.
This book (#5) was the one that changed me from avid Harry Potter fan to lukewarm Harry Potter fan. My first reaction to this book was "OK, she finished the set-up in the previous book, and it's too early to start on the wrap-up, so she's killing time between books 4 and 6. And yet it's still I-don't-know-how-many-hundred pages long." My reaction this time? The same, except that I was less annoyed/disappointed this time because of my lowered expectations going in. I was able to just enjoy the episodic ride because I wasn't thinking "Sheesh, do we have to plod through every date on the school calendar before the final chapter where Dumbledore explains everything...?"
Now, I'd like to go over some of my main criticisms of the series. But before I begin, I want to make it perfectly clear that I don't want to see any angry comments about what an evil hater I am for not liking the Harry Potter series. I do like it, and I'm enjoying re-reading it to my kids. Please review my parable of criticism as a compliment. I wouldn't bother to critique/analyze the Harry Potter series if I thought it were just a pile of scheiss.
Also, I'd like to draw your attention to some other critiques made by fellow-blogger friends here and here. These are interesting points, and I have nothing in particular to add to them.
I could swear that I read Holly say somewhere that the "magic" in Harry Potter is not at all magical, but I can't find the link. That is quite a valid and interesting point. Yet, I'm actually kind of intrigued by Rowling's conception of magic as being kind of like science/technology. Indeed, it's interesting how she presents the wizards as sticking with outdated technologies like quills and ink bottles because -- once they've found a way of bewitching a "muggle" technology to their liking -- they have no reason to switch to the latest thing. It creates a situation where sometimes it's actually not clear that the wizarding community's ways are better or more convenient -- just different, and existing in parallel with more familiar ways. So the author's unorthodox conception of magic isn't what I particularly object to.
To be continued. ;^)