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Well I just finally got my hand on the book. English version, the dutch version apparantly won't be out till november and I plain well loved it.
I loved the characterisations, I loved the way all the chars were brought out. I loved the character developments, which considering the book is from Harry's pov are no more than normal.
The reason we don't get all the chars as much is because Harry's view on the world is changing. For the first time he has real reason to be jealous of Ron. He already knows Hermione and I love the way she's growing.
Hell for the first time in all five books I actually understood the interest in Ginny and thought she was an interesting character. Probably because this is the first book where Harry considers her as a person other than just as Ron's little sister.
I actually liked the Weasly twins this time and I absolutely agreed with Hermione when she stopped thme from experimenting on the first years. I loved the way that Ron got on the Quidditch team and wasn't an instant wonder on the field.
I loved that Sirius was put on the sidelines and how he hated it.
I loved the Sirius-Snape rivalry and the way Sirius admitted that the marauders were arrogant and wrong, yet how he still hated Snape despite having to admit to that.
I loved that the marauders turned out to be bullies and that Snape wasn't all wrong about his hatred of James, yet that he still doesn't seem to understand that Harry isn't James. And I loved that Sirius has the same problem, yet how it's made clear, truly this time that Harry doesn't have the same personality as his father did. And I loved that James wasn't a saint.
I loved that Harry was a pain, self absorbed at times and starting to understand it yet unable to change it because he's so damn angry, even when it's without reason.
I loved that Harry was clueless about girls and how Hermione clearly told him what he did wrong and he still didn't fully understood it.
I loved that Dumbledore tried to keep clear of Harry, in order to protect him, how he made mistakes and was wiling to admit them. He's not perfect and I like that.
I loved that the prophecy wasn't all over the book, that the book showed more about simple everyday life at Hogwarts with the distant threat of Voldemort than a constant series of threats and a goal that has to be reached.
I loved that Harry for the first time had to learn that his heroes weren't perfect, that life wasn't black and white and that he got to make serious mistakes
And I have I mentioned yet, I loved that Harry isn't some perfect do goody near perfect kid who's always right and never does or feels anything wrong.
I loved to hate Umbridge, giving us someone to hate while we were dealing with Harry's psychological issues and I loved the Weasley twins declaration of independence.
I loved the DA club and how there were members of three different houses in it. Let's hope that in the next book Harry's life can expand to a level where we get to see that not all Slytherins are evil.
I loved Luna and I loved that Harry realized at the end that despite her freakiness she's still just a girl who gets hurt, like he does when people call her names and treat her like a freak.
I think that Tonks will probably be important in the next book and I presume that Rowlings was just introducing her now so she won't appear out of nowhere in the next book.
I loved the return of Moody and to see his sense of humor
I loved the Weasly family, Arthur was great as always.
And I loved that we got to see that even Dudlley has feelings and fears and that Harry tried to protect him, no matter what.
I'm desperate to see more of the consequences of Percy's actions in the next book. He's one of my faves and I can't wait to see more of him.
And have I mentoned it yet? I love Neville even more than before.
I love that notion that if not for Voldemort attacking Harry, the prophecy could have just as easily been about Neville. I loved it even more that this was the same prophecy that Dumbledore mentioned before when he basically told Harry he'd hired Trelawney because of the true prophecy she made before. I'm pretty sure that the only reason she's at Hogwarts was because Dumbledore probably wanted to protect her from Voldemort.
Simply put, I just recently reread all the Harry Potter books before I finally got my hands on the new one and this one's my favorite. I just love stories that deal with characters rather than fights and the book had plenty of that. Yes, Sirius' death wasn't big and flashy, but it didn't have to be. It's not the death that's important, it's the effect that it was shown to have on Harry that mattered. And I loved the way that Rowlings handled that.
Another great moment, when one of the Ravenclaws finally asks Hermione why she was put in Gryffindor instead of Ravenclaw... come on, how many of you haven't been wondering about that one...
Or the notion that truly for the first time there's clear hints that the division of the Houses is NOT a good thing. That even the Hat understood that the school shouldn't be divided that way...
And to for some weird reason bring Buffy into it...
I think this is like season six of Buffy.
All the chars went through dark stretches, they did things that were wrong...
But unlike season six, all the behaviors of all the chars actually made sense and I came out liking the characters even more for admitting their faults...
Just my opinion of course.