Harry Potter And King’s Cross Station

While reading Harry Potter once again I was hoping to finally understand the mystery of King’s cross chapter in last book when Harry gets “killed” by Voldemort’s Avada Kedavara curse and meets Dumbledore in someplace that looks like Kings cross station. But the mystery still continues. I have still not understood what all is happening in this part of the story.

Of course it is clear that the last remaining soul of Voldemort that attached itself to Harry while he tried killing him for the first time gets destroyed this time and Harry comes out of this as whole. But why does he himself not die. Is it the magic of resurrection stone that saves him or is it just that the curse can kill only one soul and ends up killing the parasite soul and not Harry. We read about a small helpless child crying next to Harry. Who is that child? Is it indicative of Voldemort’s fragment of soul or something else.

How Dumbledore end up meeting Harry at this stage. Why does Dumbledore not come out when Harry’s parents, Lupin, Sirius come out to help him when he rotates resurrection stone in forbidden forest while he is going to offer himself to Voldemort. Also, in the end Harry asks Dumbledore whether it is real or happening just in his mind and Dumbledore tells him that it is happening inside his mind but why does he think that it is not real. Now this is a very profound statement for a philosophy book but does not really help in this story.

I wonder whether others have also found it difficult to understand this particular chapter or is it just me. It is true that the story here moves in the realm of death and life and everything may not be easy to explain. Perhaps, J. K. Rowling intentionally wanted to leave it that way but I would have really liked to understand it better.

Maybe I still need to read it more to understand or I may find some explanation on the Internet. If you understand it better, please share.

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P. G. Wodehouse And Sleepy Reading

It has been few years since I discovered and started enjoying the writings of P. G. Wodehouse and ever since they have never failed to amaze me in their simplicity of story and wonderful English writing. There have been long stretches of times when I have read Wodehouse books before falling asleep and the stories have always helped me to go to sleep.

You might think that these books must be really boring that I go to sleep reading them but that is not the case. These stories relax your mind completely. These are the stories where there are no bad people. The biggest problems in life are related to style of clothing one needs to wear to dinner or in some cases a lover’s tiff. There are times when a pet pig does not eat enough or there is an unwanted guest in the house. These are the simple problems in the world of Woosters and Jeeves or Blandings Castle.

It is such a difference reading Wodehouse books as compared to other stories that consist of thrillers, mysteries, suspense, murders that it hits you in the face. Even if the book is not about secret spy missions or investigation, authors tend to create a mystery around their characters. Of course you enjoy reading these stories but the story keep you on the edge of the seat and are really not great reading if you are trying to go to sleep peacefully.

On the other hand, reading about Wooster fussing over his dress or Earl fussing over his pig Empress brings such a peaceful state in your mind that your eyes start drooping just like Wooster or Earl after a great lunch and enjoying the sun on a hammock. I wonder if there are other such great writers who can claim to bring sleep to you but are not boring or complicated.

Only one thing you need to be cautious about while reading Wodehouse in night is that you may end up laughing out loud suddenly and that can be a problem if your partner or spouse is sleeping next to you. Otherwise you will mostly end up sleeping with a soft and goofy smile on your face.

I recently came across that somebody has tried to recreate the Jeeves and Wooster magic again and a new book has come out. Not sure if somebody can recreate it but it will be interesting to read it.

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Harry Potter; Reading Again And Discovering More

It has been sometime since I read or watched Harry Potter movies again for the umpteenth time. Finally my craving was too strong and I decided on a marathon reading of all the books once again and as usual I was not disappointed. It is a great feeling when you know the story by heart and still end up discovering nuggets that were hidden somewhere or finding something that you had not really appreciated earlier. Here I am going to focus on such simple things that I discovered.

This being a long series of books you wonder how J. K. Rowling managed to maintain consistency across characters and events. But the truth is that she did maintain it. It was a pleasure to come across the name “Lovegood” in book four “The Goblet of Fire” before the introduction of Luna in book five. But that mention tells you how Ron will remember that “Lovegoods” stayed close to “Burrow” in book seven. Similarly reading about Peverell coat of arms in book six while Dumbledore takes Harry to meet with Gaunts in memory was interesting since the actual meaning of Peverells gets clear only in book seven.

The most amazing discovery was during the final fight between Harry and Voldemort when I realised that during second round of fight nobody from Harry’s side gets hurt since he had already sacrificed himself to save everyone else and it was same sacrifice that her mother had made for him. Somehow I had missed that finer detail during earlier readings of the book in the excitement of final battle.

I also found one inconsistency in book four. I am not sure if it is a well-known mistake or not. It comes towards the end of the book four by when Harry had already faced Voldemort and seen the death of Cedric Diggory. He uses horseless carriages to return from Hogwarts to train station to catch the train at the end of the year but does not notice the invisible creatures “Thestrals” pulling on the carriages. In book five he notices them on arrival at Hogwarts and the explanation we are given is that he can see them since he has seen death. But he should have seen them in book four itself or he should have used another means of transport to return to train station.

I am sure I will find more such nuggets as I read it again sometime in future and it will amaze me once again. This is a great story however many times you read it.

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“Kane And Abel”, By Jeffrey Archer

I read “Kane and Abel” more than twenty years ago when I was still at college. Jeffrey Archer was one of the popular authors and this book was one of the most sought after. It must have been amongst the first few books that I enjoyed in popular English writing. When I started the blog, I wanted to write about the book but my memory of the whole story was very hazy and I did not want to do a poor copy-paste job with content from wiki. I finally read the book again last year and enjoyed it once again thoroughly.

This is a story of two men separated by distance, heritage, culture, upbringing but united in their destiny. One of them is born in Russia in very poor family and the other is born in United States with silver spoon. Both the men create their fortunes through grit and determination but are each other’s sworn enemies due to wrong information about each other. On top of that their children end up falling in love with each other. In the end everything falls in place but the story keeps you engaged till the end.

There are many sequences and characters that you like more than the main story and the protagonists.  Abel’s friend George or his daughter Florentyna’s Governess really take you by surprise. They are shown as simple people but fiercely loyal and proud. Similarly, Kane’s love story and how he proposes to his wife  and gets married is really interesting. Love and chivalry at its best. Another interesting sequence was where Abel tries to correct his daughter’s behaviour with help of her Governess and does not take his daughter’s side against his employees.

It is a great book to read with true heroes who show once again that grit, determination and strong character always pays you and even though there may be some bad people in the world, you will still find good people who will help you in tough times.

I also ended up reading the sequel “The Prodigal Daughter” but I will get to that story some other time.

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“Inferno”, By Dan Brown

Another book by Dan Brown and another roller-coaster ride of facts mixed with fiction, history with technology, visits to historical sites to solve current issues of the world. It has become his signature style that is predictable but still enjoyable. “Inferno” is once again featuring Robert Langdon who has already featured in many of his earlier books including “The Davinci Code”. This time our hero is trying to save the world from genetic catastrophe.

The story this time unfolds in Florence with Robert waking up in hospital with no memory of last few days and being chased by a murderer. He is saved from murder by one of the Doctors tending to him and together they start running across Florence and then other countries trying to solve the mystery of biohazard cylinder found in his pocket with symbols of Dante’s Inferno. The story keeps on getting more and more complicated with each chapter with multiple layers of deception and drama till we figure out in the end that the world has been changed forever by a crazy scientist.

Of course there is interesting stuff that you learn about Florence, Istanbul and Venice where the story takes place. You learn about the advancements in genetic science that leaves you in awe and fear at the same time. You also learn about the shady world of power politics that creates deception and propaganda to suit their hidden agenda.

It is definitely difficult to put down the book once you start reading it. At the same time, it is difficult to fully appreciate the book. It is like addiction that forces you to read it through so that you find out what happens in the end but not necessarily completely enjoying the journey and that is where Dan Brown does not live up to the expectations of good literature.

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