When I first picked up Harry Potter, I thought it was bloody marvelous. I laughed out loud on reading the first book. I was hooked into the whole detective-mystery style plot. I was curious about this developed alternate magic world that mirror's and parodies ours in so many ways. Likewise, I enjoyed the next two, though even by then it was apparent that Rowling was sticking to a formula; Harry hobnobs about with his relatives from hell, he meets his mates and pops off to school, some mysterious conspiracy centred around the school comes to the kids attention, the kids do a bit of Famous Five style sleuthing, bada-bing, bada-boom, they go off to drink lashings of ginger beer. Now I haven't a problem with this and I think it is snotty to criticise any work for being formulaic. JK Rowling had an especially compelling formula too, so I only wished she would have kept it up. Unfortunately, she felt the need to go beyond her own formula, and I think this is where she fails. By book four, Rowling is starting to experiment a bit. By five, the formula has essentially been dropped. By six, it is a distant memory. Without the laughs at the beginning, books five and six get off to a shaky start. Without a proper mystery to keep things busy, the plot slowly trudges along in no specific direction. In keeping with the darker tone, the characters all become very serious, which also makes them a lot less endearing. The sixth book was terrible for this, what with Harry incessently whining, I so wanted him to hurry up and die. The book completely deprives itself of mystery by giving away the conspiracy at the very start. Instead, we get hundreds of pages of mawkish romance and uninspired filler, and the story only picks up at the climax. Book six was so bad, I have plain refused to read book seven. Hell, I only read six because it was one of the conditions I had to follow to go out with some girl who clearly liked Harry Potter a little too much. If I'd have known then what I know now, I would have told her to stuff it. Son of a bitch.
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