There were all sorts of little things that made me love this book. I work in a bookshop and on the day it came out we, like many other places had "Harry Potter Day". The games and costumes, however were not as good or as amusing as the sight of people of all ages and backgrounds poring over the book, unable even to take a break from reading for long enough to buy it and go home! I think we sold over 450 copies in one day? quite a stunning amount anyway.
The reason I am writing this was to point out a lot of the little touches that turn the books from great adventure stories into classics. To begin, though, this book is great. I would not agree that it is "too long" and think the criticisms about JK Rowling moving away from her "target audience" are daft. Would these same people cristicise The Lord Of The Rings for not being for the same "target audience" as The Hobit?! Why do we have to think about classic books in terms of "target audiences"? Even The Chronicles of Narnia dealt with gradually more adult themes throughout the books, ending with the death of all the main characters!
Little things that I really enjoyed in this paticular book were...
1. The ongoing love/hate relationship between Ron and Hermione, especially Ron's phrase "Hey Hermione...you're a girl..."
2. Harry and Ron's way of talking about the magical world's equivalent of "gear" i.e the Firebolt's aerodynamic perfection-this is so like some of my best friends that I laughed out loud.
3. The cartoonish world of the Dursleys has been dismissed as "cartoonish" but hey, cartoons are fun, and these episodes of the book really are funny. ("We didn't give it to him because he's a Muggle, we gave it to him because he's a great bullying git!") Without this humour, these scenes could be really quite dreary and void of hope, but we see things through Harry's eyes, and his defence against the Dursleys is to laugh at them.
4. The complex circle of relationships of Harry's parents' friends that emerges mainly in Azkaban, but develops further in this book.
5. Hermione's championing of the house-elves. I don't think it detracts from the plot. I also love the scene in which Winky becomes an alcoholic-very funny.
6. Hagrid's crush, arguement with and later friendship with Madame Malkin.
7. The whole Rita Skeeter thing-a nice satire.
8. One of my favourite scenes is when Harry goes to see Dumbledore and falls into the Pensive. Neville's background is something that most readers, like Harry and the others, would have taken for granted. Good reading.
9. The brilliant ending, of course. Can't wait to see that as a film, if it's well made. It seems silly to see the death of Cedric as a "cop-out"-if anything, the tension between Harry and Cedric over Cho throws Harry's feelings over the death into sharper relief. 10. However probably the thing that made me laugh most in the whole book was the fact that England didn't even qualify for the Quidditch World Cup but "went out to Transylvania in the first round. Bloody embarassing!".
Excellent entertainment, combined with deeper issues. Full marks.