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J.K. Rowling, Copyright: unknown
Joanne Kathleen Rowling
born: 07-31-1965
in: Chepstow, Gwent, UK

Official Website:

1998 .|. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Sample Chapter at Kidsreads.com .|. Bookworm's Comment
1999 .|. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Sample Chapter at Kidsreads.com .|. Bookworm's Comment
1999 .|. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Sample Chapter at Kidsreads.com .|. Bookworm's Comment
2000 .|. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Sample Chapter at Barnes and Noble .|. Bookworm's Comment
2001 .|. Harry Potter Schoolbooks:
     "Fantastic Beasts and Where to find them"
     and "Quidditch through the ages"
2003 .|. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Excerpt at BookBrowse.com .|. Bookworm's Comment
2005 .|. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince .|. Bookreporter.com
2007 .|. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows .|. Bookreporter.com
12/2008 .|. The Tales of Beedle the Bard
      (Collector's Edition)
12/2008 .|. The Tales of Beedle the Bard
      (Standard Edition)

Other recommendations:
  • Take a look at the handwritten "Tales of Beedle the Bard" at Amazon.com
  • Book - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone     DVD - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
    "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (Scholastic Inc., 19th Edition, Paperback, 1999, read: July 00, June 07)
    "Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He's never worn a cloak of invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry's room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in eleven years.
    But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that's been waiting for him ... if Harry can survive the encounter."

    A classic story: a small neglected and unloved boy hears that he is something special (a wizard). He's able to escape his miserable everyday life and live at a place which is only known to a few selected people (Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry). And as soon as he's arrived he has to proof himself and undergo extraordinary adventures (which I won't reveal now).
    Children love Harry Potter because he's exactly like they want to be. And adults may remember very well that they would have liked to be as special as Harry. Didn't you wait every day for someone to come and say that you really belong somewhere else? And that you don't have to endure the terror of mean classmates anymore? Here's where you can start dreaming again.
    Of course there are nice and mean teachers at school, as well as good friends and evil foes. And dragons. Harrys adventures are so exciting that you can't stop reading. A childrens book? No way!
    [Dorothée Büttgen, July 00]

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    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets     DVD - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" (Scholastic Inc., 1st Edition, Paperback, 2000, read: August 00, June 07)
    "Ever since Harry Potter had come home for the summer, the Dursleys had been so mean and hideous that all Harry wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he's packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature who says that if Harry returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.
    And strike it does. For in Harry's second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor and a spirit who haunts the girls' bathroom. But then the real trouble begins - someone is turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Our could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects ... Harry Potter himself!"

    A sequel always has to withstand higher measures than the original which could be written without knowing any expectations. But because the fourth volume of the Harry Potter-saga has already stormed the bestseller lists, I won't reveal anything new when I say that the second volume fulfills all promises..
    Known figures from the first part play important roles again but there also are a few wonderful new creatures. Above all the little elf Dobby and professor Gilderoy Lockhart, a publicity-addict who really gets on your nerves.
    Harry is one year older and the adventures he has to master as well as the unfairnesses he and his friends have to encounter are getting bigger. The story isn't as eventful as the first part but it's still enough to let you turn off the light too late on 3 or 4 evenings because you couldn't put down the book. If an adult gnaws at his fingernails because the story is so well written one has to admit that kids can take more than you think. Especially regarding great ghost-stories!
    [Dorothée Büttgen, September 00]

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    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban      DVD - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" (Scholastic Inc., 1st American Edition, Hardcover, 1999, read: November 00, June 07)
    "For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort. Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter's defeat of You-Know-Who was Black's downfall as well. And the Azkaban guards heard Black muttering in his sleep, "He's at Hogwarts ... he's at Hogwarts." Harry Potter isn't safe, not even within the walls of his magical school, surrounded by his friends. Because on top of it all, there may well be a traitor in their midst."

    Harry Potter is in his third year at Hogwarts and the thrill doesn't seize. The build-up of the story differs from the first two parts which can only be beneficial to the whole. That way routine doesn't set in. Of course the story starts with the end of Harry's summer holidays with his impossible relatives but for the first time Harry offers resistance and takes the consequences of his actions. That this isn't the best moment to start his independence he can't possibly know. An escaped convict seems to be after him and (once again) it's about his life and his parent's death.
    But here the similarities to the first two parts are almost over. The story is more complex that in the first volumes, takes unexpected turns and the bad guys aren't always the right ones to fight. What seems to be small and helpless can be mean and vicious, too.
    Harry gets older and this is reflected in the obstacles he must conquer. The world isn't just black and white, but there is a lot of grey inbetween. Children can possibly learn a lot from this story and for the adults it's fun that the stories develop and get more complex. Defititive a "must read"!
    [Dorothée Büttgen, November 00]

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    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire       Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - DVD
    "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" (Scholastic Inc., 1st American Edition, Hardcover, 2000, read: December 00, February 03, July 07)
    "... the pivotal fourth novel in a seven-part tale of Harry Potter's training as a wizard and his coming of age. Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup with Hermione, Ron, and the Weasleys. He wants to dream about Cho Chang, his crush (and maybe do more than dream). He wants to find out about the mysterious event that's supposed to take place at Hogwarts this year, an event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn't happened for a hundred years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. Unfortunately for Harry Potter, he's not normal - even by wizarding standards. And in his case, different can be deadly."

    Marvelous, thrilling, even better than the third part ... Harry's fourth year at Hogwarts is in no way inferior to the third year regarding adventure, humor and danger. On the contrary: the story is rather complex and even the happy ending isn't without it's grain of salt, but contains some very sad moments. Emotions play an important role: Harry's first love, Hermione's hurt feelings, a big fight between Ron and Harry ... when both reconcile it isn't just Harry who is relieved. As a reader you want to grab them by the ears and force them to be friends again.
    This time Harry is an element in a huge conspiracy into which he is drawn and in which he can only try to stay alive. He can't do anything on his own to avoid the inevitable end and has to conquer the danger. But what danger he is facing is revealed to the reader in the same instant it is revealed to Harry. There is no way where one can fathom what's happening. And this leads to one of the most thrilling finales ever written in a book. It's almost impossible to lay the book aside for the last 100 pages.
    In the end Harry survives (of course) but he is hurt and changed. And a lot wiser. Now he is able to prepare himself for what he's up against next year. No question: children and adults need strong nerves while reading this book and the time until the next part will pass very slowly!
    [Dorothée Büttgen, December 00]

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    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix       Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - DVD
    "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (Scholastic Inc., 1st American Edition, Hardcover, 2003, read: August 03)
    "There is a door at the end of a silent corridor. And it's haunting Harry Potter's dreams. Why else would he be waking in the middle of the night, screaming in terror? Here are just a few things on Harry's mind: A Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher with a personality like poisoned honey. A venomous, disgruntled house-elf. Ron as keeper of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. The looming terror of the end-of-term Ordinary Wizarding Level exams.
    ... and of course, the growing threat of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. In the richest installment yet of J.K. Rowlings seven-part story, Harry Potter is faced with the unreliability of the very government of the magical world and the impotence of the authorities at Hogwarts.
    Despite this (or perhaps because of it), he finds depth and strenght in his friends, beyond what even he knew: boundless loyalty; and unbearable sacrifice..."

    Yes, the waiting period has been long and I would have loved to say that it was worth it. But on the contrary: What ended so thrilling and magnificently in the fourth part couldn't be continued in the fifth. Instead of a must-read-novel it's a book which one might read if nothing else is available at home, but which isn't worth the effort to work through. And in part it really was work not just because its really big and heavy with its 870 pages. 200-300 pages less would have done the story good and you wouldn't have missed a single highlight.
    Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts is hard. Everyone and everything is working against him and he has no idea why. Apart from some minor highlights the story is depressing without end. Most of the time I asked myself when finally someone would take pity on Harry (and me) and tell him about the sense of it all. Because it was clear that there had to be a master-plan. Only the way through it all was one without much variety - nothing happened (exactly the opposite of the fourth part, where the single tasks of the Triwizard Tournament led from one highlight to another). The fact that the solution to the puzzle wasn't really thrilling at all doesn't even make the overall impression worse.

    I really love the whole Harry Potter universe and think the fourth one is a masterpiece. But the fifth part, in my opinion, is just too frustrating and not any fun at all.
    [Dorothée Büttgen, October 03]

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