Friday, July 15, 2011

Favorite Harry Potter Moments

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 2)With seven books in the series, and eight movies that bring those books to life on the big screen, there's a lot to like about the Harry Potter franchise.  But even though there's a lot to choose from, my guess is that most people have a favorite part--a favorite book, a favorite movie, a favorite character, a favorite Quidditch match, or maybe even just a favorite sentence.  For some, their favorite moments have more to do with the experience of reading or watching the series, rather than specific parts of the stories themselves.  Here is a collection of some of our favorite moments from the series, but we'd love to hear about yours in the comments as well!

Kat Howard: I would just like to state for the record that I had made this choice before I saw this picture. I love Neville Longbottom. His character arc is wonderful, and I love that being a hero does not come easily for him, but it does come naturally. My favorite moment is in The Sorcerer's Stone, when Neville tries to stop Harry, Ron, and Hermione from leaving the Gryffindor common room, and is so fierce and determined about it, he winds up in a full body-bind, courtesy of Hermione. As Dumbledore says, "It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends." 
Megan Kurashige: My mom bought my sister a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone when it first came out in the States, before it had become the madness that it is now. I was in high school and my sister was younger, so she was reading it first since it was a "kids' book." Whenever she was sleeping, or taking a shower, or otherwise occupied, I would steal the book away and read as fast as I could, making sure to replace her bookmark at the right page.

Phil Ilten: There are quite a few moments in Harry Potter that give me the chills, but the moment that Harry wakes up on Hut-on-the-Rock is still the most vivid after all these years. Some remember where they were for the moon landing (and if I had been alive, I would as well), but I remember exactly where I was when I read those introductory sentences in Book One.

Andrew Hulke: The conversation that Harry has with Dumbledore at the end of book five is one of my favorite emotionally charged moments in Harry's years at Hogwarts. He is completed devastated by the loss of his godfather and is trying to come to grips with the loss of the closest thing he has ever known as a parental figure. As a reader, your heart bleeds for Harry, wanting him to find happiness in what is a constant lack of a family structure.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of AzkabanEd Upton: It was with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban that I realized that J.K. Rowling’s series was aiming at quite a bit more than just entertainment.  The darkness of the book was startling, even given the shady hues of the previous books.  Here was a book whose plot, in part, revolved around barbaric practices of punishment, practiced by the “good guys”: “kissing” the souls out of prisoners, executing animals on dubious pretenses.  And it was a book that implied that human beings do not always have control of their own bodies and minds: Sirius Black, as an animagus, cannot control when he transforms into a werewolf, and this has very real, potentially tragic consequences.  And beyond all of this, the book presents the specter of friends who betray friends to death, and the persistence of that legacy from one generation to the next.  Put all of this in the context of the turbulent coming-of-age of Harry, Hermione, and Ron, and the book became irresistible. 
But ultimately what kept me up late into the night reading was the miraculously plotted ending, filled with turn after turn.  From the Shrieking Shack, to the execution of Buckbeak, to the awesome power of the Patronus charm, I couldn’t put the book down.  I’ve loved the entire series, but Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban remains my favorite book of the lot.  For me, it was the most engrossing and effective of the Potter books, and the one that made me suddenly impatient for the next one.

Eadaoin McClean: I have always considered the initial chapter of the first book to be the most intriguing part of the whole Harry Potter series. Dumbledore and McGonagall are introduced in a way that you know there is something mysteriously different about them, while debating a clearly contentious topic still unknown to the reader. The combination of a familiar street setting with these obviously out-of-place people raises so many questions that I just couldn't wait to tear into the rest of the book!

Madeline Barnicle: I'm guessing many others feel this way, too, but book 3 was definitely my favorite. The use of time travel was great, and I'm a sucker for sports stories, so having the Lions finally pull out that Quidditch title was sweet!

Jen Miller: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is definitely my favorite book and movie.  There is so much great about this installment--it's where we first start to see the range of Rowling's ability to piece together a complicated puzzle over multiple books (with the Scabbers/Peter Pettigrew plot line); it's where the series shifts from being just for kids to having darker elements (which the movie deals with wonderfully); and it's where Harry learns to do the Patronus charm.  But of all the great moments in this book, the one that gives me chills every time is when Dumbledore tells Harry about his father's Animagus shape: "Prongs rode again last night."

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