Reflection: Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

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For the past eight months I have been re-reading the Harry Potter series written by J.K. Rowling. Growing up I only read the first four books. I was one of the few who actually did not finish reading the series but I did watch every single movie when they came out. I also collected wands, Harry Potter merchandise and related books (Fantastic Beasts and Quidditch Through the Ages).

Last fall I decided I wanted to read the entire series in order. Last month I finally finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, this week I finished Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.In celebration of finishing reading the entire series plus the playscript I watched the Harry Potter Movies ( I have seen the movies countless times over the years). I did not plan on my return to the Harry Potter world to align with the commemorative 20 year anniversary of the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone but it conveniently worked out that way.

This post is a quick reflection on reading the series and watching the movies plus a brief overview of the playscript.

Also, a brief comment on if the Harry Potter books are a bad influence because of their fantasy/magic elements.


Books (1-7):

I became totally enthralled with the Harry Potter world after seeing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the theatre in 2001. I would keep the popcorn bag and movie tickets for years until I finally lost them when I was 18. Immediately afterwards I immersed myself in the Harry Potter world, collecting movie merch and the books. I remember reading the first two Harry Potter books when I was a kid and being completely sucked in (this was about the same time I became an avid reader).

When I read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban I was around ten and I remember thinking suddenly that I was nervous and scared to keep reading. The first two books were amazing but it wasn’t until Prisoner of Azkaban that I felt like I was reading a scary story. Prisoner of Azkaban became my favorite book and movie instantly for its dark content. When I read Goblet of Fire, the death of Cedric brought a new level to reading the books. First, they were getting bigger and bigger. Second, the death of Cedric brought gravity to the story. It felt like the threat of Voldemort reached beyond just the story and became a serious matter during my childhood.

Rereading the first four books, I was amazed at how much I actually remembered. I did read the third and fourth book multiple times growing up but because of the increasing size of the books I felt overwhelmed at the idea of reading them but enjoyed the movies nevertheless. Reading them this time, having a few more years of reading under my belt along with critical analysis skills and a soon to be complete BA in English, I found myself dissecting the books in the same way I would a piece of 20th Century Fiction (natural habit for me but for some yawn evoking). Key aspects that I noticed and took notes on included character development, details on the harry potter world/magic and the classic story line of good versus evil. These aspects sound simple enough but when time is given to pick them apart suddenly the genius of J.K. Rowling emerges.

Character Development: I felt at certain times especially as the books became darker and more serious, the character development was incredible and fascinating. The complexities within each character, the struggles, fights and relationships I felt reflected the characters ages accurately. Following a small child’s life from birth to the final face off with Voldemort at 17, the books contain the growing pains of a young kid but also the anguish of a child fighting for his life and trying to survive his ‘adventures’.

While reading the Order of the Phoenix, Harry and his friends begin to feel differently, their attitudes, actions and behavior appear to be maturing but also possess the complications of teenage years. Harry is constantly being pushed beyond his limits, fighting alone or fighting together with Ron and Hermione (who have their own issues). Barely surviving attacks and life threatening adventures the trio uses their talents, wits and strengths to keep going but underneath it all is the theme of friendship and love that keeps them alive.

Harry Potter World/Magic: It is the little inventions and unique approach to magic/fantasy that make me admire J.K. Rowling even more. The simple idea of Quidditch (wizarding sport that includes balls, hoops, and broomsticks) or the talking/moving/exploding candies to the larger more complex idea of Horcrux’s which weaves the entire story line together in a thrilling magical mystery. For an author to sit down and think out these particular elements of their own fictional world is a feat that should be respected and taken seriously. Making clever and complex ideas work within a piece of fiction require skill, there are many places where Rowling magical creations could have not worked but honestly every aspect is so thoroughly thought out and woven together perfectly in concept that there is almost nothing that I could think of that could have been improved.

Good versus Evil: I think we (the audience) understate the gravity of the ‘Good vs. Evil’ story line in Harry Potter. Rowling could have easily made the story simpler where it was only Harry Potter versus Draco Malfoy but instead she gave Harry depth and a mysterious past. The villain wasn’t soft around the edges or toned down, Voldemort killed, tortured and sought out Harry’s death plenty in the series. The ultimate bad guy that represented ignorance, hatred, and power-hungry selfishness. The political and social commentary that lives under this story is what really intrigued me. The whole idea of Voldemort wanting wizards to rule over muggles, that ‘pure bloods’ are the only true wizards and that ‘mudbloods’ are nothing, bring to mind horrible similarities with the Nazi’s in World War Two. As well as the whole concept of House Elfs, Goblin rights/wars and how wizards regard and treat magical creatures (think of the Centaurs and Giants). These details add social commentary to the Harry Potter story that can be reflected on and applied to real world scenarios.

Not only is there true evil represented in Voldemort but also realities in child and adult relationships (not all adults are good, they are complicated and have their own problems as well). For instance, the short relationship between Harry and Sirius Black (his Godfather) who is constantly reminded of James when he sees Harry and on more than one occasion treats Harry as if he is James. Another example is the complicated relationship between Harry and Dumbledore (Headmaster at Hogwarts), in the last three books Dumbledore’s attention to Harry becomes more questionable, is Dumbledore using Harry to defeat Voldemort? Did Dumbledore really ever care about Harry? (All this is concluded and revealed in the Deathly Hollows) it is complicated and mysterious most of the time since naturally Dumbledore is presented as good and whole, a sort of father figure/ master protector of Harry but as Dumbledore’s past is revealed, his intentions are questioned by Harry and others.

A few other key characters that I think are worth mentioning that add to the ‘Good vs. Evil’ element of the story. Gilderoy Lockhart, an egotistical writer and fanatic that puts Harry and his friends in danger for fame and glory (he is briefly a teacher at Hogwarts). Dolores Umbridge (works for the Ministry of Magic) hides her beliefs and support for Voldemort in public but soon reveals how evil and treacherous she really is when she temporarily becomes Headmistress at Hogwarts. Peter Pettigrew (Scabbers) an animagus wizard who hides as a household pet in the Weasley family for years before discovery (finally redeems himself in the Deathly Hollows) his lies and devotion to Voldemort to save his own skin is repulsive. And of course, Severus Snape who is presented to readers and characters almost throughout the entire series as an evil man who torments Harry and is a double-spy (Order of the Phoenix and Voldemort follower). In the end Snape is revealed to have protected Harry and impeded Voldemort the entire time, an unknown ultimate hero of the story.


Movies (1-7.1 &7.2): 

There were multiple directors that did the Harry Potter movies and because of this each movie has a particular feel and style that changes over time while reflecting the subject matter of each film (in my opinion, this is successful). The movies do leave out a lot of events, info and details from the books but keep the story line strong. I found that at certain points the movie almost paralleled the book precisely then diverted off, or changed this and that. (Example: the Battle at Hogwarts, Neville’s role or how Doby is buried/where.) Little details and little things but overall the movies are done well and even now hold up to the special effects used today (think of the Philospher’s Stone troll scene in the girls bathroom).

It has only been six years since the last Harry Potter film was released but it feels like it was forever ago. It is amazing to think that for almost my entire childhood I had this fantastic story growing up alongside me. An inspiring story that encourages people to treasure friendship and fight against evil and intolerance.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Playscript):

I am not a big fan of scripts/screenplays. I find them to be a story without meat, just the bones and hard to digest.

Admittedly I was fascinated by this story of Harry’s child, Albus, and Draco’s child Scorpius, as they try to fix the past but in the end fight against evil alongside their parents. I found the first part (the playscript is divided into two parts) a little lagging and without the cherished narrative of Rowling. It is simple and cut out, using the characters to tell another Harry Potter story, for the next generation. The second part I found more interesting since many elements from the first part were finally beginning to tie together and make sense. Reading the playscript feels more like a cartoon version of events than the life-like one of the books. Overall, any Harry Potter fans must read this playscript sequel if they want to quench their thirst for more from the Harry Potter world. Of course there is also Fantastic Beasts


Are the Harry Potter books a bad influence? 

I have heard countless times from people that the Harry Potter books promote witchcraft practices/satanism. I remember when there were articles and news stories about Christians and other religious groups banning and burning Harry Potter books in fear that they promote devil worship even now Harry Potter books are under attack in public libraries and other places because of their content but regardless of this there have been more than

“…450 million copies sold world wide…”

(source: )

I believe the only reason for these responses is purely because most religions are taught that ‘magic’, ‘witches’ and ‘wizards’ are directly linked to the devil. This has been taught for a very very long time and it started centuries ago. The fear of the devil and magic (from a Christians point of view) stems from fear of unknown pagan religions that include their practices and beliefs. For more information on the history of pagan and christian religions, here’s a quick overview

The story of Harry Potter should be treasured for what it teaches children and adults. That love, friendship and family should be valued above all else and that in the face of evil and intolerance we must come together and fight. The story of Harry Potter promotes acceptance, peace, and the triumph of good over evil. 



If you are reading this Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my writing!

I hope that you will return in the future!


Reflection: Singing School by Robert Pinsky


This is a short reflection of Singing School by Robert Pinsky  which was one of the poetry books on My Summer Poetry Reading List. It has taken me a while to finish it since I’ve been neck deep in reading the Harry Potter books among many others.

I admit I had some assumptions about what this book would be when I picked it up. I thought it would be thorough and detailed writing advice from Pinsky. What I really found was a miniature anthology of poems picked out by Pinsky that are presented as examples and inspiration to poets. This was a slight disappointment to me since I have more than enough anthologies of poems and I was looking for more of a detailed guide books/manual with great advice. Still, the infectious reader in me had to finish what she started, so I read on. By the end I realized that these specific poems that Pinsky chose were more than just good examples but living, breathing pieces that were solid in form, approach, style and technique (they are of course written by ‘the masters‘). Quite a few of the poems I recognized from taking previous Poetry courses up at the University of Utah but there were a few that I did read for the first time. I realized that these pieces picked out by Pinsky showed his extraordinary talent and abilities when it comes to poetry. Simply stated: He knows what he’s talking about! Of Course!

The poems are sectioned off into different chapters that have specific themes such as, ‘Freedom‘, and ‘Listening‘. At the beginning of each chapter Pinsky introduces his selected poems by explaining a certain element of poetry. His detailed analysis paired with tying in examples from the poems to be read, create a vivid but short lesson. I found the ‘Listening‘ chapter and ‘Dreaming Things Up‘ to be my favorites.

Overall I wish there was more to this book. I feel that it is a brief introduction to Poetry and Poetry’s key elements for beginners. Since I’ve been reading, studying and writing Poetry for a few years now, I crave something more complex and challenging to learn from. I would recommend this book to any Pinsky readers or newbies to Poetry since it is nevertheless a fantastic book!


Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my writing!

I hope that you will return in the future!



Recognizing Bloomsday, June 16, 1904!!!



Here are only a few James Joyce books that I own. Of course, Ulysses is the shining star today. This day 113 years ago the events that take place in James Joyce’s novel have left an everlasting impression on the literary world. There is no other like Joyce to take the literature, story telling, and the English language to such heights. This large and extensive novel also holds high importance to the Irish and it is an honor to recognize them and Joyce today.

Thank you Joyce!



Here are some quick links and facts about Bloomsday!


Bloomsday Festival 2017

The James Joyce Centre

Dublin on Bloomsday

At Home (U.S.) Bloomsday Celebration

Reflection: Complete Poems of Ernest Hemingway


The Complete Poems of Ernest Hemingway

I found this book at my beloved Sam Weller’s here in Salt Lake City. Their poetry section is large and impressive. Needless to say thanks to them I find amazing poetry books regularly. Thank you Wellers! 

This collection of poems brings amazing insight into how Hemingway developed into the extraordinary writer he was. Among the prolific writers, artists and musicians of the Jazz Age, Hemingway brings his own attitude and style to the era. This collection spans from 1912-1956, from Hemingway as a young man to an older experienced one, the poetry that he wrote explored technique, style, form and subject matter. It is amazing to see and read the poetry of Hemingway evolve as he honed his skills.

The introduction mentions that because of Hemingway’s use of expletives and frank raunchy subject matter, many readers seek out the collection on purpose. I had no idea that because of these elements readers (maybe specifically Hemingway readers) would purposefully seek out this book since the reason I got it was because I love Hemingway and love poetry (simple enough). But I was not surprised that his poems contained this questionable material, since Hemingway’s style emphasizes on ‘telling it the way it is’, he did not seek to leave out the private details of intimate life nor the language that people use in any of his writing.

These are few of the poems that I loved the most from this complete collection,

(italicized years are not part of the poem title)

[Blank Verse] 1916

Killed Piave-July 8-1918

[“Blood is thicker than water…”] 1922

To Good Guys Dead 1922

The Lady Poets with Foot Notes 1924

[Little drops of grain alcohol] 1926

Poem, 1928

Defense of Luxembourg 1945

(bracketed titles are taken from the first line of the poem)

In many of these poems Hemingway critiques his critics, he also explores his experiences in war and his attitude towards politics and government. Of course, there is also a lot of references to drinking and women but there is also critique from Hemingway on maybe a certain female poet (or general types of female poets, I am not sure) in ‘The Lady Poets with Foot Notes’, which I found to be both amusing and fascinating. Many of his early poems have a rhyme scheme, or appear to mimic various traditional forms, as he gets older it appears that Hemingway chisels his words more effectively and dabbles in writing his poetry in freer forms (maybe the influence of key modernist poets such as T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound?) I believe the introduction mentions these poets among others that were involved in the writers community of the Jazz Age in Europe. Overall, I would recommend this book to any poet that loves the works of Hemingway since I find it instructive and inspirational. If anything reading this complete collections of poems has made me appreciate more the daily hard work that goes into writing whenever and wherever you can (on vacation or the battlefront). I admire Hemingway among thousands of other writers for his attitude and style of writing. There is something bare and true about his words that echoes with readers souls still.

What I love about this collection: It contains pictures of Hemingway throughout his life as well as pictures of the original poems and drafts. I love it when poetry/fiction books add these items because it brings the writer so much closer to the reader; to see his handwriting right next to the final printed word on the next page is incredible.

What I wish it had more of: The introduction gives sufficient background into the early writings of Hemingway (specifically his poetry). I am one of those book nuts that loves lengthy Introductions that delve deep into the subject matter of the book, if this one was just a little longer (it is only 15 pages) or double the size I feel that I could have learned more.


If you are reading this Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my writing!

I hope that you return in the future!



p.s. I have decided to wait until I finish the last Harry Potter book to write a reflection on the entire series. Many people have written about Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling I know, but I want to specifically focus on the evolving writing in the series and character development. As a cornerstone series that every child should read, I think it is crucial to analyze Rowling’s technique and approach to her controversial subject matter, to better understand how such influential writers write. 

Working on Reflection: The Complete Poems of Ernest Hemingway


This is just a brief announcement that I am working on a reflection on the book of poems that I just recently finished.


The Complete Poems of Ernest Hemingway

In my reflection I will be discussing my favorite poems in the collection and why. I am also thinking of comparing a few select poems to key works of Hemingway’s such as ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’, ‘A Moveable Feast’ and ‘The Sun Also Rises’.

I hope to have this reflection complete and posted on my blog by the end of the week (June 18th)!

Again I thank you all for reading my work! and I hope that you enjoy this upcoming reflection!



p.s. Heads up, I am almost done with Pinsky’s Singing School, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince from my Fiction and Poetry Summer Reading Lists. I also plan on doing short reflections on these. 

Summer Fiction List: News

It has been a few weeks since I announced I would be compiling a Summer Fiction List of all the books that I plan to read this summer. I have had difficulty in coming up with this list and I believe it is because I get overwhelmed when I plan out what I’m going to read.

So I have decided I will post little lists incrementally throughout the summer, biting off pieces that I can chew so I don’t choke.

Here is this first ‘little’ Summer Fiction List,

  1. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  2. One Select Philip K. Dick Novel
  3. Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King
  4. One Select Novel by Neil Gaiman, (I’m thinking American Gods)
  5. One or More Harry Potter books written by J.K. Rowling


First one on the list is NOT an easy read. I tried starting Infinite Jest last winter with my boyfriend but we didn’t get very far. It is a modest 981 pages but I want to try again.

I love Philip K. Dick but have not read much of his work, I want to do this this summer.

Since it is a new King novel, I am curious, so I plan on reading Gwendy’s Button Box.

I have attempted reading American Gods a couple times but life always distracts me from finishing. I want to finish American gods this summer.

I have been on a Harry Potter binge for the last eight months. I’ve read every single one since then and am currently on Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.


I am looking forward to getting some reading done this summer. I want to broaden my horizons and read more than just stacks of Poetry since that is what I always end up doing (this is not a bad thing but I need to explore other areas more frequently).

If anyone has any suggestions for fiction, please leave title and author info in a comment below and let me know why you would recommend it.

Lastly, I want to say Thank You to all my followers and daily readers that have continued to read my writing and frequent announcement posts.





Currently Reading: After the Quake by Haruki Murakami


photo source:

I thought I would begin posting short reflections on what I am currently reading since I have extra time this summer to focus on my blog. I am thinking that I will do one of these posts once a week, since I have an ever shuffling stack of books that I am always reading.

This week I began reading Haruki Murakami’s ‘After the Quake‘ after a suggestion from my boyfriend who is currently reading multiple Murakami works. After reading a couple of the stories I found myself pulled into Murakami’s world, intrigued by his unique style of writing and the subject matter.

The stories revolve around an earthquake that took place in Kobe, Japan in 1995. Each story has some connection to the Kobe earthquake but is flexible and malleable in the way that it explores the characters personal responses to the earthquake. The stories also emphasize on loneliness and death which strengthen further the connection between the earthquake and people. How do people cope with loss and fear amidst a natural disaster that affects an entire nation? I think a more important question is, How does a writer cope with the loss and fear that surrounds such an event?

I love the way in which Murakami uses detail and emotions to build his stories. The essence that is built up as the stories progress portray the feelings of loneliness, loss, and death in multiple ways.

My favorite stories in the collection:

Landscape with Flatiron


Super-Frog Saves Tokyo

Landscape with Flatiron, explores friendship and a connection with nature through bonfires and alcohol. The end result a suicide pact that has unknown results.

Thailand, emphasizes on loneliness and aging while dealing with personal conflicts and moving on with ones life.

Super-Frog saves Tokyo, a hallucination? or a dream? A giant frog implores help from a lonely middle-aged man to help save Tokyo from a possible earthquake caused by an angry subterranean worm.


Overall I enjoyed reading each short story and plan on reading more of Murakami’s work. I would recommend his work highly to readers that enjoy modern short fiction.

If you are reading this Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my writing! I hope you return in the future!


My Summer Book List: Poetry

I’ve done a lot of debating on this and next to my giant stack of fiction books that I would love to read, I’ve decided to focus this summer on, of course, poetry.

Here are the five books (on or about Poetry) that I plan to read this summer.

  1. Singing School by Robert Pinsky, I love Pinsky and have a read a couple of his books. My first exposure to his work was his book, The Sounds of Poetry which was a concise and vivid text. I found Pinsky’s work to be invaluable and would  highly recommend it to any poet of any age.
  2. Poets on Poetry edited, with an Introduction, by Charles Norman. I got this book at the UofU’s book sale this Spring and it has been in a stack of books by my desk for a couple months now. It has articles and pieces written by well-known poets defending, or attempting to explain Poetry. My copy is from 1962 and is published by THE FREE PRESS, New York.
  3. The Contemporary Poet as Artist and Critic, eight symposia edited by Anthony Ostroff, again this is an older book that I picked up at the UofU book sale. It was published in 1964 by Little, Brown and Company in Boston and Toronto. This book contains critiques done by Poets on Poetry. The poets that critique include Adrienne Rich, Theodore Roethke, Karl Shapiro, W.D. Snodgrass, May Swenson and W.H. Auden among many many more.
  4. T.S. Eliot: A Collection of Critical Essays edited by Hugh Kenner, I bought this book also at the UofU booksale and was so excited since I had just finished reading one of these Critical Essay books (Twentieth Century Views) on F.Scott Fitzgerald which I thought to be extremely valuable. The Twentieth Century Views books are a series devoted to collections of Critical Essays on writers and poets. These books are from the 1960’s and were published by Prentice-Hall, Inc. in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.
  5. Yeats: A Collection of Critical Essays edited by John Unterecker, this is another Twentieth Century Views book, this time on Yeats. Published by Prentice-Hal, Inc. in Englewood N.J. in the 1960’s.


I know that most of these books may be difficult to get since some are more than 50 years old and out of print. But I enjoy reading older books on poetry that I find so that I can compare what people said about Poets/Poetry to what they say now. I have a few anthologies that are only twenty years apart that have stark contrasts in content, style, and attitude towards particular poets and poetry, which is fascinating.

By the end of the summer I hope to have read if not all of these books at least three out of the five. I also have a giant stack of fiction books that I want to read as well. I plan on posting that list soon, within a week or two.

I have also been speculating on posting a book list containing my favorite books on how to write and read poetry and short fiction. I have many of these and usually during the summer time I will reread a few to keep my mind fresh.

I hope that if any of you have suggestions for Poetry books or Short Fiction to read that you leave the title and author information in a comment below.


If you are reading this Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my writing! I hope you return in the future!


Book Lists: Sample My Favorite Fiction

Here are some of my favorite fiction books…just a taste.


Ulysses by James Joyce

Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse

Orlando by Virginia Woolf

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

This Side of Paradise by F.Scott Fitzgerald

Their Eyes were watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky

Dracula by Bram Stoker

The Fall by Albert Camus

Drive by James Sallis

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu


I will be posting more lists soon. Expect a Summer 2017 Book List which will include books I want to read this summer with a follow up at the end of the summer on which books I read and my reflection on them.

If you are reading this Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my writing! I hope you return in the future!


Books I Love: Beautiful City of the Dead

‘Books I love’ is a sub part of my ‘Book Lists’ posts. It is a post that contains a review/reflection of one specific book that I have read.


Beautiful City of the Dead by [Watts, Leander]

(picture source:

Beautiful City of the Dead by Leander Watts (a.k.a. Th. Metzger) is a young adult novel about a girl named Zee in a band who battles supernatural forces (not entirely sure how to define it, supernatural or sci-fi?). Yes, sounds cheesy I know. But actually this story is written in a style that I recognize now to be closer to prose and poetry. Initially I remember being captivated by the very first chapter which discusses Zee’s obsession with fire (almost a pyromaniac frenzy but not quite) which always led me into binge reading half the book in one sitting (the entire book is only 254 pages). The sentences are often jagged but so clear cut that I can recall certain lines even today.

I think about this book often because of its ability to sear certain images and events (that take place in the story) in my mind. It is a strange synthesis of music appreciation and teen problems meets the unknown (other dimensions? fame? or a bunch of old geezer’s with super powers?). I can never quite put my finger on exactly how to categorize this book and because of this I also love it dearly. I have always wanted a sequel but I know that the book stands alone as a unique piece that needs no continuation, it is only out of my adoration that I’d love to read more about these characters and their extremely weird heavy metal life.

I’d recommend this book to anyone, teen or adult, and especially persons that read poetry on a regular basis. It also has wonderful references to the first ‘Heavy Metal’ bands in RocknRoll. Since I love both poetry, heavy metal music and bands, this book is one in a million for me.


If you are reading this, Thank You, for taking time out of your day to read my writing! I hope you return in the future!