Kelly @ Belle of the Literati is hosting a fun challenge for bloggers: The Re-Read Challenge! Not much of a “challenge,” per se, because why wouldn’t you want to re-read and re-experience some of your favorites? Sign up and start re-reading!
Book #1 of 2016:
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
WHEN I First Read
June 21, 2003, at approximately 12:15am. I read all day and into the night, finishing just before June 22 and in no state to be by myself at that late hour. Because Sirius.
WHAT I Remember
I remember a lot of CAPSLOCK!Harry, a lot of dreams, a lot of dark and scary things, feeling incredibly pissed with Umbridge (so much so I threw my book across the room and left a dent in my wall), and distraught over Sirius. Actually, “distraught” is an understatement. Let’s be honest.
OotP was an emotional read. Both with all of Harry’s emotions and all of mine after waiting ages for this book.
HOW I Felt After Re-Reading
Even more pissed with Umbridge and a little less distraught over Sirius. Here’s why…
UMBRIDGE — She loves scapegoats. She loves control and order, which is fine and dandy when you have a heart (like McGonagall and Hermione). But because she’s heartless and takes pleasure in others’ pain, she is worse than Voldemort. She also has issues with anyone who is not like her: pureblood, wealthy, pro-government, human. Any half creature (Hagrid, Firenze, Flitwick), any human with extra abilities (Trelawney’s Sight, Harry’s Patronus, Fred and George’s wit), anyone who questioned her judgement with logic or reasoning. She reminds me of closed-minded right-wing politicians, and we all know they make me rage.
SIRIUS — As an adult rereading OotP for the first time (I reread the others multiple times, but never OotP till now), I can see Sirius’s flaws. I’m not as distraught over him, but he still makes for a great character study. He was a father and a friend for Harry. He was the adult male who was closest to his parents, and therefore a father figure. He was a friend to Harry, because Sirius was not quite up to the task of being a father. Besides, neither one of them knew how to have that father-son relationship, as neither character had a father or son to compare the experience to.
Sirius is also a hypocrite, but not in a way that makes you hate him. He tells Harry to treat others with kindness, that you know everything about a man based on how he treats those below him. And yet Sirius was cruel to his house elf. I understand why, but it doesn’t quite excuse his behavior. He was also vicious with Snape — and again, I understand why — but Sirius never attempted to try to make peace with Snape as adults. He never tried to trust him like Dumbledore asked of the Order. The Weasleys could do it, Lupin and Tonks could do it. It’s called being civil. But Sirius never was.
I think Sirius may be one of the most human of characters in the series. He is forever trapped in a time when his friends were young, he’s traumatized by the horrors of Azkaban, he has moments of wisdom and moments of weakness. It’s a tragic life, and I can forgive him for his hypocrisy.
WOULD I Re-Read Again
It was an emotional read this time around, too. It may be another 10+ years before I pick it up again, though the rest of the series will always be reread without question.
What books have you re-read recently?