Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling
My earliest memories of Harry Potter are from when I was around six. My father would read me one chapter of the book every day at night with me cuddled up in the blankets, hanging on to every word. This way, the two of us went though the first three books of the series, and soon after he decided to show me the movies. The movies resulted in a whole lot of nightmares after which I would try to wiggle my way in-between my parents when the nightmares got too bad, Voldemort's pale face burned in the back of my head.
The Harry Potter series written by J.K Rowling revolves around a world where unbeknownst to humans, popularly called muggles in the book, a world of magic with actual wizards and witches exists. Harry Potter is an eleven year old boy who has lived with his aunt and uncle and their son Dudley for as long as he can remember, as his parents had died in a "car accident". His aunt and uncle truly despise him and their son doesn't leave any opportunity to make Harry's life miserable. A few weeks before his eleventh birthday, he starts receiving letters with a peculiar red stamp that seem to leave his aunt and uncle so shaken that his uncle drags him to different places to stave off the sender of the letters, but to no avail. However, on the eve of his eleventh birthday, a humongous man barges into Harry's life and shatters his reality by telling him that he in fact is a wizard, a very famous one at that. Both this parents were wizards as well but were killed by an evil, dark wizard called Voldemort. The curious fact being that when Voldemort tried killing Harry, he was unable to and that very night lost is powers.
The story then progresses with Harry being taken to Hogwarts, a school of wizardry, where he befriends Ron and Hermione, two of his classmates. Harry, along with Ron and Hermione, must navigate each year at Hogwarts while preventing Voldemort, who seems to be very keen on killing Harry and finishing what he had started.
There are seven books in this series, each book having its own story arc while being a part of a broader plot strand which runs through all the books. Having been acquainted with it for so long, I soon developed a fondness towards the series and came to read it completely only in the fifth grade. What makes it so utterly addicting to all age groups is how intricately the whole world has been created, how each book contributes to a larger plot and the simplicity of the language. Each book has its fair share of light moments, while covering several topics like friendship, jealousy, solidarity and loss.
When coming to character development, a reader will notice that the main protagonists - Harry, Ron and Hermione - don't see much change. Instead, J.K Rowling surrounds the protagonists with characters who slowly change, surprising us when we least expect it. Neville Longbottom is one such character. At the start of the book series, he is portrayed as a timid boy who is easily scared. As the story progresses, Neville grows out of his shell to become a fearless boy who inspires others. I have read the whole series three times and don't see myself growing out of it anytime soon.
There is an audiobook of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone narrated by Stephen Fry. This is one of my favourite audiobooks due to the diction and enunciation by the narrator who also happens to be a fine actor (Check the TV series Jeeves and Wooster).
© 2021, Anvita Agarwal. All rights reserved.