Is there anyone out there who doesn’t think that this book is the worst one? The movie is certainly the worst of the series, and while the book is obviously better, it’s not good: it’s the only one of the Harry Potters which seems ordinary, as if it could have been one book in a long series (like Nancy Drew?) where it’s to be expected that every so often a book will be super-lame.
Best: the early introduction of Muggle-hatred as a social force in the wizarding world, setting the stage for J.K. Rowling’s supreme emphasis on prejudice as the thing that screws up the world; the deathday party, minus the nasty descriptions of the food; the part when Harry and Ron finally put the puzzle together, get the piece of paper out of Hermione’s Petrified hand, and get to work; the part where Dobby is freed!
Worst: Dobby, who is Jar Jar Binks; Gilderoy Lockhart, who is gay for himself; the duel scene, which you want to skip upon rereads because you know Harry is about to speak Parseltongue by accident and invite a year’s worth of shunning; the fact that the Mandrakes are creepily raised in the greenhouse for slaughter, and you know they’re almost ready when they start partying and moving into each other’s pots; the part where the friends start to doubt Hagrid (how could they?).