Sunday, June 17, 2007

Harry Potter progress and other stuff.

It's been awhile since my last post because it's been hard finding enough time to read, and I've also been distracted by various other things.

Anyway, as I was saying, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the fifth book, is strikingly darker than book four. True, the last book did end with Cedric Diggory's death, but most of that book was much more upbeat, and very interesting. In contrast, book five starts out on a very dreary tone, and was much harder for me to get a start on. The plot becomes urgent very quickly, but there are very few happy moments in this installment.

Parts of this book are supposed to remind us of The Inquisition, and various other times in human history, perhaps also the McCarthy Era. Life at Hogwarts seems to hit rock bottom when Albus Dumbledore is ousted from Hogwarts and Doloris Umbridge becomes the new headmistress, and she is willing to commit crimes in order to silence certain opinions. Unfortunately, the Minister of Magic is of the same mind and willing to let Umbridge do whatever she wants.

Minister Fudge and Dolores Umbridge are seeking to quell rumors that the Dark Lord Voldemort is back in action, and their reasoning goes against all evidence and fact. Since the Ministry of Magic controls much of the press and Umbridge has been allowed to give herself unpresidented unprecedented powers, they are, at first, very successful. However, in the end, facts and logic do prevail, Dumbledore is restored to his position, and most of the people who had previously believed the negative press about Harry were finally hearing all the facts and were quickly changing their minds.

That's the happy part. The sad part is, Harry loses his godfather, Sirius Black, the person he cared about most. Add to that that Albus Dumbledore has to reveal some hard facts to Harry, finally, about exactly what his scar means, why he's got to stay with the dreaded Dursleys at least some time out of the year, and the great burden that rests on Harry's shoulders. It's a bit much for a lad who's not quite sixteen years old.

At the book's conclusion, which is always the start of summer vacation, it does seem that Harry's summer will be more pleasant that usual, at least: his Aunt Petunia has been reminded about the purpose of Harry's stay, and the scary Mad Eye Moody and the rest of the Order of the Phoenix threaten the Dursleys into treating Harry better.


And, look what I found! I've never been especially aware of Hootie and the Blowfish, and I don't know why. They are very good. It's about time that I noticed!

The songlist:

1. Hold My Hand
2. Only Wanna Be With You
3. Time
4. Let Her Cry
5. Not Even the Trees
6. Old Man & Me (When I Get to Heaven)
7. Hey Hey What Can I Do?
8. Tucker's Town
9. I Go Blind
10. Sad Caper
11. Be the One
12. Use Me
13. I Will Wait
14. Innocence
15. Space
16. Only Lonely
17. The Goodbye Girl

Lots of these songs are familiar to anyone who has been in the vicinity of a radio tuned to a pop station in the past few years. Lots of catchy songs, such as I Go Blind, and good lyrics, displayed in Sad Caper, for example, and a couple of really good covers, like Use Me, make this a CD very much worth owning. Darius Rucker, the lead singer, has a very good, strong voice, also. There are times when his voice puts me in mind of a younger Neil Diamond.

Okay, that all for now...


TLP said...

Good post.

Of course I do know who Hootie and the Blow Fish are, but I've never listened to them. Guess I got old, huh?

Doug said...

I enjoy Harry Potter vicariously and this sounds like my kind of children's book. Is unpresidented a typo or a pun?

actonbell said...

Oh, haha AND drat. I didn't catch that. I'm slipping. Maybe it was a freudian slip. unprecedented has too many e's to look right, anyway.

Doug said...

It's a pun then!

And brilliant, may I say?

actonbell said...

That would be very kind:)

Minka said...

well, this is enough for me to digest. All I know about Hootie and the Blowfish is that they come up in "Friends", hey, I am european, cut me soem slack :)

I can´t wait for teh 5th harry Potter film coming out in July, which I wil actually see in America. That will be so cool! It might be the best film yet, but I always say that before every one.

the book was gloomy, I think with Harry getting aolder and becoming more aware of his burden, the childhood impressions of innocent magic dissapear and harsher spells are used...we are growing up with him!

typos? I am alright with them, really...never bothered me much :)