After the weakest book (The Chamber of Secrets), the Harry Potter
books start to get longer, darker, and stronger. The length, I suspect,
stems from the author having more time to work on them and therefore getting
deeper into and more familiar with the world she’s created. The darkness comes from the fact that evil (in the guise of the Dark Lord Voldemort)
is getting stronger again and therefore regaining his foothold within that world.
The strength of the writing, however, has very little to do with the longer and darker
aspects. Instead, it has to do with the pure fact that the writing is improving
and that Rowling’s creativity has been progressing on a par with her young
characters’ ability to wield magic. The plot, which see
med a bit repetitive
in The Chamber of Secrets, picks up again, introducing us to Harry’s
unexpected godfather, giving lots of close encounters with the servants of Lord
Voldemort, and leaving us a bit more unsettled at the end than before, leaving
the reader ready to pick up Book 4 in the series.
Yes, there’s still those tiresome few pages at the beginning in which
Rowling has to rehash things for those who insist on reading the books out of
order (please, please don’t—and if you want to know more about the
premise, go back and read my reviews of Book 1 and Book 2, because I’d
rather not repeat it again, either). And since the book still covers the course
of a school year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, it has a
certain circumscribed course. Let’s face it—however creative the
world, the books are definitely formulaic.
However, this book definitely picks up the tempo within the series and gives
us more fascinating glimpses into an intriguing world much like our own…but
enough different that we can see our quirks mirrored more clearly in it. This
book proves to those disappointed by book 2 that it’s worth going onward
to The Goblet of Fire. I’m very curious to see what the movie
will be like—and how they’ll portray Sirius Black (the Prisoner mentioned in the title).