Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

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Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

IT'S probably a bad idea to read a Harry Potter book directly after reading one by Philip Pullman. I just finished the second book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and compared with The Golden Compass, it seems superficial, contrived, unfunny, and built on an unsteady foundation of convenient coincidences and dei ex machina.

Which is not really fair to poor Ms. Rowling. The Harry Potter books are not supposed to be serious fare, and are probably aimed at a younger readership than Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy. I think that my main complaint about this novel is that it's not much more than a repeat of her first book. Everything that was so enchanting on encountering it in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone now feels faintly shopworn. Hogwarts, Quidditch, spells with funny names, magic that goes wrong, Harry fighting to clear his name from vile and baseless accusations, Draco being nasty, the Dursleys being nasty and stupid, we've seen all of it before, and wish for Rowling to throw a tire iron into the mix, but she never does.

Although, as I say, perhaps this is not fair to her. Harry Potter is not really written for adults. Kids eat these books up, and don't mind that it's the same stuff over and over. When I was 12 and 13, I roared through Asimov's novels, loving every moment. When I tried to read them again in my mid 20's, I couldn't stand them. Tastes mature as we do. On the other hand, I read Tolkien's 'Ring' novels for the first time when I was around 15, loved them, and have re-read them several times since, over the years, each time with enjoyment. Some fantasy literature that appeals to teens ages well, some does not.

At the very end there is a hint that there may be dark depths within Harry, and oralelk says that the fourth volume of this series gets fairly dark. I'll give Harry another chance, two chances in fact, to see if he has more mettle in him than he seems.

J. K. Rowling
New York, New York, 1999
ISBN: 0439064872

meaning: forget, leave behind
忘れ物 == wasuremono == something forgotten
年忘れ toshiwasure == year-end drinking party
Bottom radical is 'heart' (心). Top radical is 'die' (亡), which functions phonetically (both are pronounced 'bou'), but also indicates 'something which has died in the heart', i.e., been forgotten.. Henshall suggests as a mnemonic:  'Dead in one's heart means forgotten.'


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