**PS: **Minor spoilers regarding the Harry Potter books. So, stay clear if you haven’t read any of the books from the series.
The Goblet of Fire marked a change in tone for the series as a whole, one which has not changed since. The opening sequences really set it up, a very tired Voldemort instantly killing an eavesdropper or a number of death-eaters casually tossing muggles up and down and we instantly realized that much of the humor from the previous books may never show up again; this was most evident when Dumbledore who had been shown as having a benign smile and caring face was first shown in all his fury as he attacks the fake Alastor Moody and then casually turns his face with his feet to check whether he is knocked out. It also marked Voldemort’s return to complete power and Harry’s first face-to-face meeting with a full strength Voldemort which he faced with all the bravery that was expected of him. When Dumbledore spoke the words “Any time you have a choice between good and evil, remember what happened to Cedric Diggory”, we were one of the many people mourning the loss of this fictional character and we realized that even though the tone had changed from humor to darkness, much of the love and underlying warmth were still intact.
Then The Order of the Phoenix came about and Harry was shown as being left fully alone by his friends and we got the first glimpse of Harry’s anger at being The Chosen One. We also realized that no matter what happens Ron and Hermione would be firmly by his sides. And the story fully opened up with the Prophecy being revealed and Harry being shown as the person to overthrow Voldemort and his evil. Of course, Harry’s burden was further increased with the death of his only remaining family of sorts in Sirius Black. OOTP also featured the best duel to so far grace Harry Potter with the amazing confrontation between Dumbledore and Voldemort during the climax. And we realized that the true weapon Harry has over Voldemort in spite of clearly being the lesser in terms of wizardry is his heart; the only question remaining being how it plays a part in book 7.
I have personally said to myself many times that instead of being called Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince, it should have been called HP and Severus Snape because that is what the book exactly is. THBP firmly establishes Snape as the most important character in book 7 after Voldemort and Harry himself. A large part of book 7 is dependant on whether Snape is double agent working for the good side or evil side. And of course all THBP does is set up for the conclusion. We get to know more about Voldemort’s past, his true inherent cruelty in the way he kills his father’s family and of course his Horcruxes which are the source of his immortality. The whole story finally falls into place with Harry and Ginny (and in a way Ron and Hermione) unmasking their feelings for each other and with Dumbledore’s death which meant Harry’s last protector was gone and he was left all alone (Again!). It also featured some of my favorite lines from all the books like when Dumbledore says, “I am not worried Harry! I am with you” and when Ron and Hermione firmly say they will accompany Harry wherever he goes.
Phew! It has been quite a ride even though it took me less than a month to finish all 6 books and in reality I have been waiting only for about 5 months now whereas some of you have been drooling for years together for book 7. But it feels like I have been part of this world for a longer time than I really have. I know I have forgotten many important characters/events in the above tribute. Hagrid is a wonderful character as is Draco as are most of the people in the Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore’s army like Luna, Neville, The Weasleys and more and to start mentioning everyone is something I don’t intend to do.
I don’t want to start speculating about The Deathly Hallows but am definitely going to say that it is going to be the best book of the lot. Of course, the humor will not be there and the book will be all dark as Harry first goes after the remaining horcruxes and then after Voldemort himself. It is still unclear whether Ron and Hermione will accompany Harry which I hope they will. And of course unfinished plot points like the life debt owed by Wormtail, Ron, Ginny and Mr. Weasley will definitely rear their head. And Rowling must give a strong explanation as to why she killed Sirius and Dumbledore and also round off Snape’s character.
I am completely going to shut myself away for the next few days from anything related to Harry Potter – news, forum topics etc. – no leaked press news is going to spoil it for me and I am sure The Deathly Hallows will be the finale everyone expects it to be and hopefully it will be just that.