The Short Version:
Things got a little darker in the fourth book and they get downright intense and scary in this one plus it has the deliciously fun to despise Dolores Umbridge.
Why I Read It:
While there’s no hope of me finishing listening to the whole series by the end of this month, The Harry Potter Reading Challenge gave me the push to use the audio versions as a way of re-reading the series back to back and I’m more than happy to fail the challenge and just continue with the last two books beyond the end date.
As I’ve said before on the re-read via audio posts, I’m not going to bother with any kind of plot summary. By now you either know it or you don’t want to know.
I was curious about how Jim Dale would voice Dolores Umbridge. She was one of my favorite despicable characters in the series and I think he did an excellent job with her voice. He captured her prissiness and her “Hem Hem” interrupting cough perfectly.
Harry is quite the selfish teenage whiner for much of this book, but he’s a 15 year old boy so it’s not out of place. Dumbledore finally gets around to explaining some of Harry’s history and helps him understand why he had to live with the Dursleys.
I noticed on the re-read of this one that there are lots of hanging plot threads from earlier books picked up again as well as a lot of development toward what is to come in the final two books. Little things are mentioned that either have now become important or will be soon.
I’m really enjoying the secondary characters as I re-read the series. I liked the way Ginny is becoming more of a presence and I absolutely adore Luna Lovegood. Even without knowing what was to come in the final two books this was the point where I developed a real soft heart for Neville Longbottom. After learning about his parents and their torture at the hands of Bellatrix Lestrange, it was great to see him develop his abilities in the secret DA meetings and to be a part of the battle at the Ministry of Magic (albeit with a few typical Neville Longbottom type results).
I can only continue to recommend the audio versions as a great way to re-experience this series and listening to them back to back has been great fun.