Last month I reviewed the first three Harry Potter novels. Today, I’m going to review books four, five, and six: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Now, if for whatever reason you have not read the books then I’m going to suggest you STOP READING. This book will contain spoilers.
The fourth novel in the series is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This book details Harry’s fourth year at Hogwarts which, because he’s Harry Potter, does not go the way a normal year at school would. Harry, along with Ron and Hermione, encounter many new adventures this year. From the Quidditch World Cup to Death Eaters (Voldemort’s Followers) to the Triwizard Tournament to fighting dragons and mermaids, Harry’s fourth is year is not one of rest. There are several new characters introduced in the fourth novel. First off, is Cedric Diggory, Hogwarts Champion for the Triwizard Tournament. Then there are the students from the visiting schools, Fleur Delacour and Viktor Krum from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang respectively. They both act as champion for their schools for the Tournament. The next new character we meet is Rita Skeeter, a journalist for the Daily Prophet who loves sinking her claws in Harry. While there are several more new characters, I’m only going to mention one more: Mad-Eye Moody. The new Defense Against the Dark Arts (DADA) professor, Mad-Eye is a little mad, as you may expect. But he has a good reason I can assure you. Now I’ve mentioned the Triwizard Tournament several times and if you haven’t read the book, but are reading this post anyway (firstly, why?) then you’re probably wondering what the heck the Triwizard Tournament is. Well, you’re just going to have to read the book to find out.
The next book is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. In this book we are introduced to the Order of the Phoenix. The Order is an organization led by Dumbledore in the fight against Voldemort. With the introduction of The Order comes the introduction of several new characters. While there are many members in The Order, the two I want to mention are Kingsley Shaklebolt and Nymphadora Tonks (my favourite character in the series). Both work for the ministry as aurors, but rather than listening to the lies the ministry tells, they believe Dumbledore and are Harry’s side. Returning characters are Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Mad-Eye Moody. Of course, it’s not just The Order and it’s members that are new this year. Most notably is probably Bellatrix Lestrange, one of Voldemort’s Death Eaters and Sirius’s cousin. There is no doubt that Bellatrix is evil, but she continues to get even worse as the books go on. Finally, there’s the new DADA professor who is determined to make Harry’s year even harder by convincing everyone that the supposed threat of Voldemort is nothing except crazy lies.
In the sixth novel, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry’s struggle only continues. The magical world now knows he was telling the truth about Voldemort, but that doesn’t matter to Harry after having lost his Godfather. Instead, Harry focuses on helping Dumbledore with a task hes assigned him: find a way to defeat Voldemort. This includes making nice with new professor, Horace Slughorn. Harry succeeds in this when he suddenly becomes very talented at Potions, a subject which he’d previously been awful in. Surprisingly, this new skill is not found with Hermione’s help, but with a textbook who someone – The Half-Blood Prince – has scribbled his own notes in. But who is The Half-Blood Prince?
The fourth Harry Potter novel is brilliant. It keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time. The new characters J.K. Rowling introduces make the story that much more interesting. I always think it’s great when new characters are introduced, especially to a series as extensive as this one, as it adds a new dynamic to every situation. We know Harry, Ron, and Hermione, but now we’re getting to know Cedric Mad-Eye and, as the story continues, several others. This is also the first book with what I would say is the first major character death. Yes, Quirrel died in book one, Ginny almost died in book two, and several people thought they were going to die in book three, but here we lose Cedric. A character that, over several hundred pages, we’ve been learning about and getting attached to. He was a view into the other students of Hogwarts, outside of the trio, and I think his death is both incredibly sad and extremely powerful. All in all, I love the fourth novel and think it was definitely the perfect start to the darker path Harry and his friends started on.
The fifth novel is one of my favourites. I love the dynamic between the new and old characters. It adds a whole new spin to things because we get to see the characters we know and love interacting with new people we haven’t met until now. This book had my emotions going up and down. From anger to confusion to joy to sadness. I was all over the map with this one. The loss of Sirius at the end particularly had me in a mess. Like the death of Cedric in book four, this was a major character death. Except this one was someone who Harry viewed as a father figure and I think Rowling did a great job at making it so we, the readers, felt the pain along with the characters.
I think the sixth novel was great. I feel that J.K. Rowling managed to balance the serious with the humour amazingly in this one. While there are many serious and emotional moments in this book, there are still times where you go, ‘Oh yeah, these kids are sixteen,’ and it really shows how awkward and weird it can be to be a teenager. As someone who was reading these books when I was around the same age as the characters, this meant the novels were very easy to relate to, even though they took place in a magical world.
I love these three novels. I think they were all fantastic and each was better than the last. From book one to book six, J.K. Rowling did an amazing job at leading up to the moment we were all waiting for: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Have you read books four-six? What did you think? Which was your favourite?