Between May 2nd and June 23rd of this year, I was able to complete the entire Harry Potter series. I read the books in as much of a consecutive order as I possibly could, but this was almost never the case. On my own, I watched all of the movies from "Sorcerer's Stone" to "Deathly Hallows: Part 1." On top of that, I read none of the books. Zip-a-de-doo-dah! I also had no intentions on reading the books, because I generally read adult fiction and felt my young adult fiction days were over. I did read "Artemis Fowl" and "The Chronicles Of Narnia," but never got to finishing either series. Ultimately, I met a friend who became a good friend who also loved to read and happened to be a Harry Potter enthusiast. I tried to dodge every opportunity I could to reading the series and thought that I could get away with watching the movies. It turns out I set up a trap when it came to naming movies I watched before I read the book. There was "The Kite Runner" (which was an excellent movie and book), "Hearts In Atlantis" (another excellent movie and book), "The Green Mile" (which I actually watched a part of the movie, read the book, and then watched portions of the movie over again. Excellent, by the way, except for the different endings), and of course, "Harry Potter." Ultimately, I felt bad about not reading my friend's absolute favorite thing in the world and decided I would give it a chance. Those who read the series would most benefit from this writing, as these are my feelings to the series. This is more of a discussion starter than anything.
What I say and think about the Harry Potter series will most likely make absolutely no different in the world of literature. There are enough fans to push the series over the edge and make J.K. Rowling a successful woman. There is, however, no reason why Rowling should be denied the success. Rowling is a genius for being able to create such a utopia. Harry Potter has also not fallen victim to having an anti-group that's just as strong as it's pro-group (like "Twilight"). However, pro-groups outdo anti-groups in every meaning of the definition, because it all comes down to recognition, success, and money. It doesn't have to mean that the book or series is the greatest thing ever to be written.
I liked the series enough to keep on reading until the end. You learned different and more interesting things as the series went on. The further you got into the series, the juicier it became. With that being said, I felt the final four books ("The Goblet Of Fire," "The Order Of The Phoenix," "The Half-Blood Prince," and "The Deathly Hallows" in order) were better than the first three ("The Sorcerer's Stone," "The Chamber Of Secrets," and "The Prisoner Of Azkaban"). The first three books were light, simple, shorter than the final four, and built the foundation as to which direction the rest of the series would go. The first one was completely appropriate for being an introduction to all of the characters in the series. As for the second, it just introduced a young Voldemort, the grand villain of the series, and ultimately not knowing so much about the connection to Tom Riddle until toward the end. Then, you had ghosts in the bathroom... ooooooooooohhhhh! "The Prisoner Of Azkaban" introduced Harry's godfather, Sirius Black, and you learned more about Harry's background.
My favorite book in the entire series has to be "The Goblet Of Fire," which was the turning point in the series. From here, the series got dark and it became more than a young adult franchise. I also found humor in the fact that they actually have tabloids in the wizard world and how Rita Skeeter starts juicy rumors. This is the point where Voldemort returns to power and becomes a threat to the wizard society. You also witness the first major "then and there" death in the series. "The Order Of The Phoenix" introduces Dolores Umbridge, who I had more hatred toward than any of the other villains in the series. She came off as being the face of a corrupt government... just as the ministry happens to be. "The Half-Blood Prince" lured you in to "The Deathly Hallows" with another major death and then "The Deathly Hallows" ultimately wraps up the series. Honestly, I would think that the battle between Harry Potter and Voldemort would be far more brutal than what actually happened... and I'll just leave it at that!
Like in most cases, the books gave far more detail than the movies, as this is almost always the case. I also noticed that the movies altered some things that happened in the book (such as how Umbridge's group caught "Dumbledore's Army" in "The Order Of The Phoenix"). I find the former statement to be acceptable simply for the purpose of time constraints. I find the latter statement to be something I frown upon, because when you're adapting a book, you need to do the book as much justice as you possibly could.
Ultimately, I actually found myself enjoying the Harry Potter series. I don't come out of this experience as a fanatic, but I find the series to be an intriguing group of reads. For me, I finished the series and it's another one on the shelf. I consider myself more of an enthusiast for books in general. I'm more into the authors and the genre of horror fiction (along with the genres of thriller and suspense). Standalones don't take as much of an effort, but a good series can always be worth an experience.
It turns out that Harry Potter is far from over after the final film is released on July 15th. J.K. Rowling announced the creation of a site called "Pottermore," in which people can join in the Harry Potter experience in a role play kind of way. I'm sure this will keep the enthusiasts occupied, but I won't be one of them. I tried Runescape for about two tries and then stopped. I'm just not into role playing on the Internet. While Harry Potter fans will continue to talk about Harry Potter for years to come, I will simply mention it and discuss it as I do the many other books I have read in the past. To me, it's simply an equal for the rating in which I've given it. At the end of this year, I will be ranking the series as a single entry. The seven books will be ranked as one, because you ultimately need one to compliment the other. Plus I read the books in such a short period of time that it would only be appropriate to do so.
I will definitely be watching the movie when it comes out. I am on the fence as to whether or not I will be attending the midnight premiere. If I do, I would not be the kind to dress up. Since I haven't dressed up for Halloween since fourth grade, I wouldn't see much of a difference. Dressing up just isn't my thing. I am also left to wonder whether or not I will fall asleep during the midnight premiere. The movie starts at 12:01 AM and will run for two hours and five minutes along with probable trailers. It will probably end close to 2:30 AM in that case. If we are spared having to watch the trailers and the movie starts at exactly 12:01 AM, the film will end at 2:06 AM. I have my ticket already, so it's up to me to decide whether or not I feel like going. I have yet to attend a midnight premiere and Harry Potter would surely make for a good start.
I would like to thank the friend (who knows who they are) for convincing me to join the experience and allowing me to borrow their books. My Harry Potter experience would not be the same without them. Now I am only left to wonder where the series will rank in my "Top Ten Books I Read In 2011" at the end of the year.