Thursday, August 16, 2012
Book 5- Some thoughts 1
At 766 pages(first edition, 2003, Bloomsbury), this is the longest book in the series, followed by the next two books, both having 607 pages in their first editions. It is also a very complex and detail intensive book.
We see Rowling, too, growing as a writer as the language, plot and characters become more complex, and more suited to an older readership. A lot of people began reading the series as 6 to 10 year olds. Sometimes older. Themes from HP 4 onward are darker, and sometimes incomprehensible by younger children. A case can be made here about too much, too soon. With A, I let her acclimatize to the changes in tone and did not let her rush into the later books. In fact, we began at the age of 8, that too, read aloud by me. That way, we enjoyed savouring the experience together: I was re-reading. We took a necessary break after HP 4, and took it a bit easy from there, taking the time to let some things sink in and understood. The series are too wonderful to just 'finish reading for the sake of it'. There is so much to learn and appreciate.
Right at the beginning, we encounter the vagaries of politics.
In HP 1, Harry had not yet made a mark beyond his history, so he was largely left alone by the powers that be.
In HP 2, he had been noticed as a possible adversary to the dark wizards, hence the 'plot'. After having proved his mettle at the end of that book, and restored Hogwarts' reputation as a safe place he had become 'someone to contend with'.
Hence, in HP 3, he got the full protection of the ministry to keep him safe from 'mass murderer Sirius Black'.
In HP 4, there is still a lingering protection from politicos and bureaucrats, camaraderie, even. Unfortunately, he appears at the end of the Triwizard tournament sobbing and injured, with the dead body of another student, and with an unlikely story of Voldemort having returned.
So, in HP 5, we see that those who know him well believe him. Hence the protection arranged for by Dumbledore. The ministry, however, goes into denial and makes things difficult for him. Political will also hoists someone from the ministry onto the school, Dolores Umbridge, the person more hated than even Voldemort.