Harry Potter and the Re/Read of The Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone

Talk75 Books Challenge for 2014

Join LibraryThing to post.

Harry Potter and the Re/Read of The Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone

This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.

Edited: Aug 13, 2014, 2:18pm

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone/Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Welcome to our group re/read of the Harry Potter series for 2014! There aren't any hard guidelines as to when you should read or what format you should use, we're just happily revisiting (or enjoying for the first time) this wonderful series of books together!

I'm hoping that we'll not only share that we ARE reading, but will celebrate the moments that we love and have a lively discussion of what makes these books mean so much to us!

That said, I would like to see some information when everyone posts, so please use this form when starting your posts:

Format: (book, ebook, audio/ US edition, UK edition)
Chapter: (mentioning the chapter you are currently discussing will help us keep up with each other and let new readers avoid spoilers!)


Format: Audio/UK
Chapter: 2, The Vanishing Glass

Threads for all the books:

The Sorcerer's Stone
The Chamber of Secrets
The Prisoner of Azkaban
The Goblet of Fire
The Order of the Phoenix
The Half-Blood Prince
The Deathly Hallows
The Supplemental Reading List

Otherwise, LET THE FUN BEGIN! Invite your friends!

Edited: Jan 2, 2014, 4:06pm

Format: book/US
Chapter: 1, The Boy Who Lived

I'm starting today! To kick off I wanted to explore how we all came to Harry Potter in the first place.

For me, I was 16 years old when the first book came out. It was one of the first books I bought where I actually drove myself to the bookstore! I hadn't heard anything about it at all, but it had a nice display in the bookstore so I read the first chapter. I was hooked right there in the aisle.

I purchased it mainly as something I could read with my brother, who was 9 at the time. We read this first one together but he was finally too old to want me to read to him so he didn't sit through the rest.

I kept reading for myself and I never looked back!

So excited to read this first chapter again (for maybe the 4th or 5th time) and relive that wonderful first moment all over again!

Jan 2, 2014, 3:17pm

Format: not started yet
Chapter: not started yet

My aunt's boyfriend had visited London in late 1997/early 1998 when HP was really big there but wasn't available in the US yet. He pre-ordered the US edition for my brother and I (I was 10 and my brother was 7). We started to read it as a family (my mom, my brother, and I) and we fell in love from the very first page.

My mom has all the copies that we read (over and over and over) when we were younger, but the first one is falling apart so badly that it's pretty much unreadable. So I'll be borrowing the audiobook from one of four libraries where I have a hold on it. Isn't it amazing that, after seventeen years, there is still a waitlist for these books?!

Jan 2, 2014, 3:56pm

I love that the furor hasn't died down but it sure gets frustrating when you want to borrow a copy!

Jan 2, 2014, 4:11pm

Format: Hardback, US
Chapter: Not Started Yet

Bought 'em for my son as they came out. First he read them, then mrsdrneutron, then me. It was a tough wait while they took their own sweet time... :)

Jan 2, 2014, 4:14pm

Haha, I bet!!

Jan 2, 2014, 4:55pm

By the time we got to the 4th book, my brother and I were so frustrated with having to wait and read every book out loud as a family (our mom worked evenings most days at that point so by the time the whole family was together it was usually 10-11pm) that we *stole* the 4th book from our mother and took it on vacation with us when we went to the beach with our dad. After that we got to take turns reading it to ourselves, which went much faster.

Edited: Jan 2, 2014, 5:24pm

Format: Hardback, US
Chapter: Not Started Yet

I found a copy of the first book somewhere or other in the summer of 1999, I think. I was home from college for the summer. I had never heard of it, but it sounded interesting. I read through it, then turned back to the beginning and immediately started reading it again. Then I recommended it to my mother and my brother. Then we started reading them aloud as a family. For the fourth through seventh books, we read them aloud together before we were allowed to read them separately. The fourth book was a real trial, because my brother was away at summer camp, so we had to wait a few weeks for his return. The book sat temptingly on the coffee table in the living room, but I never did more than peek at the table of contents!

I was the one who did most of the reading aloud, and I blame my own vanity for preferring my own interpretation of some of the character voices to Jim Dale's (his Hermione always sounds whiny to me, and he does Dobby all wrong), though I've listened to all of the US audiobooks at least once, and in some cases, twice. And of course I've reread the entire series many more times than that.

Edited: Jan 2, 2014, 8:02pm

Format: Not sure yet (have the option of US hardback or UK paperback)
Chapter: Not Started Yet

I am not yet sure which groups or challenges I want to participate in, but this one sounds like a great start to the year. I need comfort reads, for sure.

As for when and where I first read HP...

I'm not of the "Harry Potter generation", but my sister, 10 years younger, is. For a long time, our family would go up north to relax for a couple of weeks each summer. Relaxing meant books, so we would stop at a bookstore before we left and stock up. Everyone would get a few new books to enjoy and that summer, which must have been 1998 or 1999, my sister chose the first two Harry Potter books. She said that her friends had been reading them and she wanted to too. By the end of the vacation, not only had she read them, but so had everyone else in the family -- Mom, Dad, two other sisters, and me -- twice.

It was an excellent vacation.

After that, we waited for every single one to come out, buying multiple copies at all the midnight parties (those days I was still working in bookstores, so we usually got discounts, thank goodness), because I had to have my own and Mom couldn't wait for my sister to finish -- she had to read it right away too. Believe it or not, one of the bookstores in our town broke release date on one of them (this was before the height of the furor, so it must have been number three or four) and I read it a whole day early. Those were the days. :)

I've reread the series, oh, at least 6 times. I also teach the first book in my mythology course at my local college, so I've lost count of how many times I've read that one. But it doesn't get old. At least, not yet.

Jan 2, 2014, 8:08pm

Format: Hardback, US
Chapter: Not Started Yet

I read the first book after it had been out a while but before my son was quite old enough to be interested. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I have only read the first 5 - but starting over seems like a good way to finish. My son never really got into them, but his last name is Potter and he got really tired of jokes and unwanted nicknames.

Jan 2, 2014, 8:12pm

Format - Kindle
Chapter - Not started

The first book remains my favorite, and I look forward to reading it again! I have the books in hardback and on my Kindle. I think I'll read the Kindle version this time.

Jan 2, 2014, 8:18pm

Format: Paperback, UK edition
Chapter: Not started yet

The first three books had been released before I started reading them. A friend of mine at the time had been reading them before allowing her children to read them because there had been a big hubub about occult themes to the books, she was loving them and recommended them to me.

My copy of the Philosophers Stone is falling apart it's been read and re-read so often.

Jan 2, 2014, 8:21pm

Format: Paperback, US
Chapter: I actually started my reread last fall. I finished #4 in December, and am waiting a bit to start #5 so I can prolong the pleasure.

I had been *meaning* to read the books since they came out and got so much great press. They were on my list (you know how that goes). My mother gave me the first book for Christmas, 2001 just a few days after I had my second daughter. 2nd C-section, too. I had a hard time staying in bed and resting with my first, but Harry Potter did the trick, and definitely kept me in bed! My mother brought me the second and then the third and fourth when I was ready for them. I just about cried when I had finished the 4th, as the 5th hadn't been published yet.

Edited: Jan 3, 2014, 8:01pm

Format: Paperback, UK edition
Chapter: Three - Letters from Nobody (or thereabouts)

I found out over on the 'What we are reading: Sci-Fi & Fantasy' thread about the Harry Potter group read. As I've been trying to read The Philosopher's Stone as bedtime reading to the kids (but they're so tired, poor lambs, one or the other keeps falling asleep on me)(must change our strategy), I thought this might be a good group to join.

I remember there was a lot of talk around about the books, and it actually made me cautious about reading them. I went into hospital (must have been around 2001) overnight for a minor operation, so my husband bought me a hardback copy of - I think - book 4, which was the latest one. So naturally I had to buy all the books and read the series from the beginning. Part of the hook, for me, was the author's story.

This year, when we went to London, though we didn't get to King's Cross station, we did go to the WB Harry Potter exhibition. It's about an hour's drive out of central London, but worth it for Harry Potter fans, or if you're at all interested in how films are made, and how they do the special effects and the make-up, prosthetics etc. etc. But be prepared to spend a long, long time there, if you do go.

Jan 2, 2014, 10:41pm

Format: Paperback
Chapter: Chapter 1 The Boy Who Lived

I first read Harry Potter after my daughter told me that her teacher was reading the book to them in school and when the first movie was coming out. I have a thing about reading the book before seeing the movie. Well I read the book and then the next, and next and so on.

I got so hooked that I went to the midnight release parties for I think the next books. I believe I started with book number 3 or 4 going to the midnight release parties. I have the hardback and paperback in most of the books. I even bought myself the collectors book chest and deluxe editions of a few of them. I am not addicted to Harry Potter at all. Even though I went to the midnight showings of the movies too.

Will be starting the book tomorrow.

Jan 3, 2014, 3:12am

I am not addicted to Harry Potter at all.

I can see that.

Jan 3, 2014, 10:05am

I was in my 30s when Harry Potter came out and I didn't succumb until the 2nd or 3rd book came out. I'm not sure how I heard about them. I've re-read the books and re-watched the movies a lot so I decided to listen to them. I started several months ago so I'll not restart but you'll probably catch up with me. Yes, I just started Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix but it takes me a long time to get through them since I only listen on long MetroMobility rides.

Jan 3, 2014, 10:13am

Format: audio
Chapter: Chapter 4 - Keeper of the Keys

From the library.

I will say the audio is far less annoying than reading this book was. I found the book boring as hell for most of it when I read it. At least the narrator is putting some interest in the story for me. But I still don't much like Harry.

Jan 3, 2014, 12:47pm

Format: Audio/UK
Chapter: 1, The Boy Who Lived

I first found HP in 2000, early in the year, when I was in grade eight. It seemed like everyone was talking about them. I resisted at first, but then I borrowed the first book from my neighbour, and my love was born.

Actually, that's not true. I like PS enough to get CoS and PoA out of the library. I didn't love CoS - still don't - but I worshiped PoA. It is still one of my favourite in the series. In July of 2000, I was so excited to get my copy of GoF; I read the first chapter and nearly put it down. However, I persevered, and was quickly caught up in the story. I reread those four books several times over the next few years, as I waited for OotP to be published. With OotP, HBP, and DH, my routine was to wake up early on the morning it was released, pick up my pre-ordered copy, come home and read the entire book straight through. My Dad was wonderful enough to leave me alone on those days; I would stock my room with snacks and not come out until the book was finished. Then, after taking a break to sleep, I started it all over again.

I have read these books more times than I can count, and I love them. I feel like I grew up with these characters, as I was 13 when I first discovered them, and 21 when the last book was released.

Today I picked the UK audiobook of PS up from the library. I've listened to DH before, but the US version, and I don't love James Dale's voices. So far Stephen Fry is much better!

Jan 3, 2014, 2:16pm

I started reading the books when I was in 7th grade. The 7th book had just come out. Since then I have read the books in order at least 14 times (It's been 6 years!). I am addicted! My favorite book is the first followed closely by the 7th. I will never understand how J.K. Rowling weaved all the different threads of this plot together to make something magical! I just finished watching all the movies and I think I'm going to start reading the books again!!

So glad to meet other Potter fans!

Jan 3, 2014, 7:50pm

Format: UK paperback
Chapter: not started yet.

I have alot to thank Harry Potter for. It got my sister reading more, now you bearly see her without a book. I met one of my best friend becase of Harry Potter more on when we get to book 5. Butmost of all it reminded me why I liked to read.

I was 17 when I first read Harry Potter, not the first but the third. My Mum had brought my brother a copy of POA &GOF. He handed over POA not after he had read it and told me I would like it and I did. I went out and purcused the first 3 books as my brother was read his own copies. And from there an obsesion was born.

I have read PS about 5 maybe 6 times now and 3 copies 1 hardback and 2 paperback editions( if you think thats alot, wait POA).

Looking forward to the re read.

Jan 3, 2014, 9:58pm

Format: Kindle
Chapter: Not started yet

I have two sons that were basically non-readers, despite all of those things I did as a parent that are supposed to make a child love to read. I'd heard something somewhere about these books that kids just loved, so I asked the local bookstore (back when they had those). She steered me to the first book, and I bought it. My older son was hooked. What's interesting is that he was the same age as Harry; they pretty much grew up together. I read them a few years later, then did midnight releases for the last two, followed by marathon reading sessions with a good friend.

I actually have the first one in a UK version (actually purchased in Ireland), so I may read the first book that way.

Jan 4, 2014, 3:05am

>19 Cait86:: Cait, you reminded me with your reading habits that I too, after those midnight release parties, would binge read the book. I used to curl up in bed with the shiny new book and a pile of snacks and read all through the night until I'd finished the whole thing. Then I would sleep, then wake up and read it again. Such delicious indulgence. So glad to know I'm not the only one. :)

Also, I am now completely jealous of anyone who has the UK audio version. STEPHEN FRY does the narration? How am I just learning this now?! I adore Stephen Fry. For heaven's sake, I watch frickin' Pocoyo sometimes just because I like listening to him.

Jan 5, 2014, 11:05am

I really miss those midnight release parties. It had never really happened before, and probably won't happen again (in this age of Amazon pre-ordering). It has some similarities to midnight movie premiers (dressing up, bonding with people in line, being super tired the next day, etc.) but the difference is that once the movie is over, it's OVER. But when the cashier hands you a book, the fun has JUST STARTED.

Jan 5, 2014, 11:20am

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone came out in 1998 in the Netherlands. I was 10 at the time and although I don't remember how I got - I think I received it as a present - I loved it. I've never re-read it and this time I'll be reading it in English.

What I do know is that my perception of it will probably be very different this time around. I got sucked into fanfiction and fandom in general by Harry Potter. Stories that filled the void between books while we were all eagerly awaiting the next one. Exploring the world beyond what Rowling showed us. But also - later, when I was older - fandom meant asking the hard questions about certain things in the books and how they worked.

There's layers to the Harry Potter books you just don't pick up on as a kid, there's some plot holes (or should that be questions) that never did get satisfactoraliy solved by Rowling. Knowing everything about the characters, having read all the books, allows you to pick up on certain things in the earlier books.

All in all, I expect that while I will always love Harry Potter and his world, this re-read will see me thinking and asking questions about the books that never would've occured to my 10 year old self, enchanted as I was by discovering the magical world alongside Harry Potter. Now, I take my enjoyment out of exploring that same world asking the hard questions and allowing my writer's mind to imagine possible answers to those questions. Such is the joy of a complex book in which not everything is wrapped up neatly with a ribbon.

Jan 5, 2014, 12:52pm

I love reading all the stories of how we were introduced to Harry Potter!

>23 beserene: - Stephen Fry's narration is awesome. His Hagrid is spot-on, but the true test will come when Hermione finally appears. I hate Jim Dale's Hermione with a passion.

Jan 5, 2014, 12:57pm

#26-- Glad it's not just me, then.

Jan 5, 2014, 4:02pm

I can understand that hate -- I like the Jim Dale versions pretty well, but certain of the voices do grate and that is definitely one of them.

Jan 5, 2014, 6:19pm

This discussion is going so wonderfully! I love everyone's stories!

>24 norabelle414:, Even after I became a pretty regular Amazon preorderer, I never bought a Harry Potter book through Amazon. My local bookstore introduced me to Potter and I just never was able to change that. Plus, even when Amazon started release day delivery because of Potter, it wouldn't get here until the afternoon and there was no way I was waiting that long. I didn't attend midnight releases until Goblet of Fire, but once I did it was 1) buy at midnight 2) rush home 3) read until I couldn't see words on pages anymore 4) sleep as little as possible 5) finish reading 6) sleep again 7) start reading again at a normal pace. It was AWESOME!

>25 Samantha_kathy:, You bring up a lot of great points. I think those are certainly things we should explore in these threads. Maybe people can jot down questions they have for each chapter and see what gets answered as we keep reading. I want to try to analyze both as if I've never read these before and as an experienced Harry Potter fan who knows the overarching story and can look closer at how we get to the end.

This is going to be such fun!

Edited: Jan 5, 2014, 7:46pm

OK, I have a question that I don't think was ever answered - I feel like some people on this thread haven't read the entire series before, so I am going to try the new fancy spoiler thing:

Spoiler for Entire Series
Harry's scar - Hagrid says in Ch. 4: "Never wondered how you got that mark on yer forehead? That was no ordinary cut. That's what yeh get when a Powerful, evil curse touches yeh" So, does everyone who gets shot with the Killing Curse have a lightning bolt scar on them? The books mention Avada Kedavra a lot, but there aren't any mentions of a bunch of corpses lying around with lightning scars on their foreheads. Does only Harry have this scar? Is that because of the whole Horcrux thing - the scar is actually a byproduct of part of Voldemort's soul latching on to Harry's?

Edited: Jan 5, 2014, 7:38pm

>30 Cait86: Chapter 4

My impression was that it was the byproduct of surviving the curse that gave him the scar. If it killed you it just did it's work but the damage done to Harry, even though protected from death, caused the scar.

Cait, do you mind putting the chapter info outside the spoiler thingy so anyone who wants to can avoid reading it if they aren't to the part yet?

Jan 5, 2014, 7:45pm

>31 leahbird: - I think the question I asked is a spoiler for the entire series/seventh book, which is why I said that in the beginning of my message. I will edit it to be a bit clearer.

Jan 5, 2014, 7:46pm


Jan 5, 2014, 8:24pm

I read the first Harry Potter book shortly after it came out in the US, buying the Book Club edition through the Science Fiction Book Club. All the others were first edition hard cover purchases within a day or so of availability. I was well prepared for the series having read many of the classic British fantasy and boarding school children's books that form the backbone of this series, but I loved how Rowling updated and expanded it. I never was a fangirl to the extent of going to any of the midnight release parties, but I certainly have enjoyed the series and reread all the earlier books before the latest book or movie came out. I'm looking forward to this reread in company!

Jan 6, 2014, 4:59am

Can someone tell me how to put in a spoiler cut, like in message 30 and 31? That's probably gonna be useful later on.

Edited: Jan 6, 2014, 7:01am

use the usual arrow thingies and put in spoiler at the beginning and /spoiler at the end.

Jan 6, 2014, 8:35am

I've finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I liked the audio better than the written, but still am not enamored of it. Pondering reading onward.

Jan 6, 2014, 9:22am

My brother and I were so in love with the Harry Potter series that in 2000 when our family adopted a little black and brown troublemaker of a dog, we named him Hagrid. This was a few years before the movies started coming out, so no one had any idea how to pronounce many of the names in the books. We always called our dog "Hay-grid", as opposed to "Hag-rid" like they do in the movies/audiobooks, which lead to life-long confusion for everyone involved. He was part beagle, part dachshund, and part cocker spaniel, with the worst traits of all three. He howled, dug under fences, and got ear infections. He spent most of his days and nights devising a plan to get onto the counter. We'd only had him about 9 months when he succeeded in getting on the counter and eating an entire cake with chocolate icing. He was so bad!

Three days ago he went to the vet and had to be put down, or "go to bacon park" as my mom likes to put it. So I'm dedicating this Harry Potter full-series reread to him.

Jan 6, 2014, 10:11am

Beautiful dedication to your departed friend Nora. Sometimes the "bad" dogs are the ones who steal our hearts most.

Jan 6, 2014, 10:34am

Thanks majkia, I'm trying it out in this message as what I'm about to write can be considered a spoiler for the series.

Format: US, digital
Chapter: not started yet.

I will be re-reading the books with four things in mind, namely:

1. My very first reaction to the story as I read it and how the re-read holds up against that.

2. How abused is Harry?

I wrote an essay about this between the publication of book 6 and book 7, when abused!Harry became a trope (and sometimes a cliche) in fanfiction. I asked the question of how abused Harry truly is in canon - if at all. It was rather crude, although factual, and I always meant to go back and re-do it, but in more detail and with quotes from the books. I'm taking this re-read as the chance to do just that and will therefore be gathering material during the re-read for this. If anyone's intested, the original essay can be found here.

3. The character of Albus Dumbledore.

Albus Dumbledore has gone from a totally good guy in book 1 to almost being thought of as a bigger bad guy than Voldemort in book 7 if you look at fandom. There's all sorts of different interpretations of Dumbledore's behavior and actions in the books, but many of those interpretations see Dumbledore as a bad guy. I wonder how much of it is really in the books and how much is a few actions taken wildly out of context. So I'm going to look into that.

4. Common sense in the wizarding world - or the lack thereof.

Hermione says in chapter 16 of the first book: "A lot of the greatest wizards haven’t got an ounce of logic, they’d be stuck in here forever.” And truly, when you think about several (all right, many) things in the books, I sometimes wonder of wizards have any common sense at all. So I'm going to be on the look-out for those occasions that make me cry out: "But that doesn't make any sense! Use a bit of logic!" Is it really as bad as I'm inclined to think, or are those instances simply the ones that stand out in my mind?

There are of course many more themes I would want to explore. Dudley, Neville, the relationship between Lily and Petunia, Snape, and many more. But I think I'll keep it to these four for this re-read, as I expect my posts will be long enough as it is.

Jan 6, 2014, 6:19pm

I'm VERY interested in your third topic but I think I will hold off on going into it until we get to the later books and there is more source material fresh in my mind.

Otherwise, your four topics are great. That's a good way of approaching this reread. I'm reading with a particular interest in the connectedness of the whole series. I always pictured Books 1 and 2 as more standalone, with Book 3 a transition into the real meat of the series, and Books 4-7 as a really coherent plot. So I want to pay close attention to the seeds that are planted in Books 1-3 that only really come together in later books. I'm taking notes as I read and will probably post a list of them ever few chapters.

Jan 6, 2014, 7:12pm

>41 leahbird: - I am interested in the overarching structure of the series as well. I think they are really symmetrical, with books 1 + 7 having a lot in common thematically, 2 + 6, 3 + 5, and 4 being the turning point.

Jan 7, 2014, 12:40am

I found us a group image!

Jan 7, 2014, 10:50am

Format: US, digital
Chapter: 1. The Boy Who Lived

1. My very first reaction to the story as I read it and how the re-read holds up against that.

The very first chapter is designed to make us dislike the Dursleys and does so quite admirably. Most every child likes the unusual, the magical, and the Dursleys do not. So when I picked up the book the very first time and read this chapter, I too disliked the Dursleys. It’s not any different now – the Dursleys are the kind of hypocritical bigots that I dislike.

2. How abused is Harry?

“The Dursleys knew that the Potters had a small son, too, but they had never even seen him. This boy was another good reason for keeping the Potters away; they didn’t want Dudley mixing with a child like that”

Before the Dursleys ever meet Harry, they’re already thinking negatively about him, simply because of his parents (and his) magical abilities.

“Their son — he’d be about Dudley’s age now, wouldn’t he?”
“I suppose so,” said Mrs. Dursley stiffly.
“What’s his name again? Howard, isn’t it?”
“Harry. Nasty, common name, if you ask me.”
“Oh, yes,” said Mr. Dursley, his heart sinking horribly. “Yes, I quite agree.”

More evidence of Petunia (and also Vernon) disliking Harry simply for what and who he is without ever having met him.

“One small hand closed on the letter beside him and he slept on, not knowing he was special, not knowing he was famous, not knowing he would be woken in a few hours’ time by Mrs. Dursley’s scream as she opened the front door to put out the milk bottles, nor that he would spend the next few weeks being prodded and pinched by his cousin Dudley.”

The very first signs of abuse – yes, sibling (or cousin, in this case) abuse tolerated (or encouraged) by guardians is a form of abuse. This is not a few pokes and prods, this is weeks of being prodded and pinched by Dudley without any interference from Petunia and Vernon. How do I know there’s no interference? Aside from their later behavior, the fact that it goes on for weeks means no action is being taken to stop it.

3. The character of Albus Dumbledore.

We meet Albus Dumbledore in this chapter. It seems he’s the only one of whom Voldemort was afraid, while everyone else was so afraid of Voldemort they don’t even call him by name. He’s also oddly calm in the face of everything that’s happened – which is more extraordinary considering what we know after seven books about his thoughts concerning Voldemort around that time.
Leaving Harry with the Dursleys is one of Albus’ most contested decisions. While I would agree with him about Harry’s fame, he later in the series admits to knowing the Dursley wouldn’t have welcomed him nor loved him. Then again, if he’d given Harry a proper home, would Harry ever want to sacrifice himself? I do believe, if memory serves correctly, that even back then Dumbledore suspected why Voldemort wasn’t gone. This is compounded by the fact that Harry’s legal godfather – Sirius Black – is still around and it seems not yet suspected of betraying the Potters. After all, neither Hagrid nor McGonagall nor Dumbledore himself react in any way negatively to Sirius lending Hagrid his bike to transport Harry. So why then is Dumbledore determined to put Harry with Petunia instead of with the logical choice which would be Sirius? The fact that Dumbledore feels the need to say “Good luck, Harry” before leaving could indicate that Dumbledore knew Harry would need that luck while living with the Dursleys, although for honesty’s sake it could be more bening.

4. Common sense in the wizarding world - or the lack thereof.

There’s some common sense in this chapter, because Albus Dumbledore is right about Harry growing up away from his fame being better for a child. How many child stars have we seen that had problems later on in life? But leaving him on a doorstep in November in the middle of the night with only a letter? That’s only going to make his reception by the Dursleys worse. No common sense there at all – and that’s providing Dumbledore cast some magic on Harry to keep him warm and in place (he’s old enough to crawl at least, if not walk), of which we see no evidence.

Jan 7, 2014, 9:10pm

Format: US Audiobook
Chapter: Not started, Book on hold

It seems I'm a little late to the party but I would be very interested in seeing what others have to say about the books. I've already seen some great comments. Looking forward to it.

Jan 7, 2014, 10:14pm

They say at the Sorting Feast at Hogwarts that Dumbledore is brilliant but mad. Maybe that's why he left Harry with the Dursleys.

Jan 8, 2014, 6:56am

Could be, but that's still not an excuse, simply an explanation (and one I've seen used in several fic as well).

Jan 8, 2014, 10:28am

Harry is protected from Voldemort by Lily's sacrifice. This protection extends to the Dursley's house because Petunia is Lily's sister. This is also the reason that Dumbledore insists Harry return to the Dursley's every summer.

Jan 8, 2014, 12:37pm

48 > I don't deny that there's a benefit to Harry staying with the Dursleys. The protection is valuable, considering there are plenty of Death Eaters still around who would love to kill him. But is that an excuse to condemning a child to such an environment? And could he not have had both? Someone that frequently checked up on Harry from the Wizarding World would have kept the Dursley's behavior in check.

Jan 9, 2014, 7:59am

When we started this re-read I had 'read' all but Deathly Hallows but I decided to start with number one again. I had been listening to the Jim Dale recordings and loving him / them. After reading many comments about Dale vs Fry, I managed to get a hold of Stephen Fry's audio of Philosopher's Stone and I have to say I love his rendition also. Both are excellent!

Jan 9, 2014, 9:33am

Platform Nine and Three-quarters

Maybe I should borrow an audiobook and save my voice. We've got as far as getting on the train; but the kids fell asleep last night, and tonight is a bit of a mess as far as bedtime goes (I've got one still on holiday and the younger one back at school).

Edited: Jan 9, 2014, 10:19am

Format: Hardback, US
Chapter 10: Halloween

I've been taking my reread at a really leisurely pace, savoring it. And, in this chapter, I realized that there are actually a few things that the movie does better than the book (*gasp*). For one thing, the "She needs to sort out her priorities" line is sheer brilliance, and you won't find it in the book. For another, in the troll scene in the book, Hermione is just basically fainting with terror the whole time, while in the movie she is able to at least shout a reminder to Ron about the wand movements for Wingardium Leviosa. In both book and movie, she sticks up for the other two by claiming to have come after the troll on her own, but I like that she gets to have a slightly more active role in the movie during the fight as well as after it.

I am surprised at this -- I like the movies, but I don't love them. Some of the casting and directoral decisions are really problematic for me (more in POA and GOF than anywhere alse, though). But this just goes to show that they have their moments!

Jan 10, 2014, 10:06am

Format: Hardback, US
Finished Book

Despite trying to draw out this reread and savor the book, I managed to finish it yesterday evening. I've posted my thoughts over on my thread, but I thought I'd copy a few points over here. I've put in spoiler tags for a few sentences that might be considered spoilers for later books in the series, for those who are reading it for the first time.

In previous rereads, I have been struck by the illogical nature of the protections set on the Stone at Hogwarts. Why "protect" the stone with a series of enchantments that can be overcome by first-year Hogwarts students? Isn't there any more powerful magic that could be employed? On this reread, I started to wonder if perhaps the stone and Harry were bait for Voldemort; if Dumbledore set up the whole thing to draw Voldemort back out of hiding, now that Harry was ready to be a player again. (Harry says something like this at the end of the book, when discussing events with Ron and Hermione.) Kind of ruthless of Dumbledore, but as Snape accuses him in a later scene, he does have a ruthless side when it comes to Harry, especially at this point, where Dumbledore has not really gotten to know Harry yet. I think this same ruthlessness comes into play when addressing another big question about the book: why leave Harry with his borderline abusive relatives and never check up on him? If Dumbledore was periodically visiting or sending scouts to a particular Muggle residence, it would have been easier for Death Eaters to discover where the boy was hidden, and attack him before he was old enough to have had any magical training. After all, the protection afforded by the blood bond would keep him safe from Voldemort, but not from, say, Lucius Malfoy or Barty Crouch, Jr.

I still count Dumbledore as one of my favorite characters (right up there with Snape), but from this angle he does look a little cold and calculating.

Jan 11, 2014, 10:48pm

Format: Paperback, UK
Finished Book

I still find myself absorbed in the story, but since this is my first re-read since I finished the series (both book and movie) I've gone into this re-read with more knowledge of the characters and the plot, therefore I would have to say that Dumbledore has been a catalyst of the events the whole way through.

I think he places Harry with the Dursley's primarily for the blood protection, but the other side of the coin is that Harry being poorly treated by them and bullied by Dudley is one of the contributing factors to the friendships he forms at Hogwarts.

I think Dumbledore knows Harry's character, I agree with you about Harry and the Stone being bait foggidawn, and I think that Dumbledore has always given Harry just the right amount of knowledge and assistance that is required to overcome the threat they are facing at the time, but never enough to give him the whole story.

Jan 13, 2014, 8:51pm

Format: Kindle, US
Not started

This will be a reread for me. Actually, I never was on the HP bandwagon. Summer before last I had to do a LOT of commuting and decided to try the audiobooks. I loved Jim Dale's narration! I would not have known how to pronounce half the names. I have loved Jim Dale since he did the voice over for Pushing Daisies. I do love Stephen Fry and I don't know if it would be either or for me but both. I will get my hands on a copy of Stephen Fry's version.

This time around I will actually be reading them on Kindle.

Jan 13, 2014, 9:11pm

#55 by luvamystery65> Oh, he did Pushing Daisies. I knew I recognized his voice but couldn't place it! Thanks for that bit of trivia!

Jan 13, 2014, 10:18pm

Pushing Daisies was how I fell in love with Jim Dale too but I don't like his HP narration. I just scored free copies of the Stephen Fry audiobooks today and I'm thrilled. I might be able to share if anyone is interested but no promises.

Jan 13, 2014, 10:30pm

#57 -- I'd be interested, if it's possible!

Jan 13, 2014, 10:57pm

#57 I get it but Jim Dale's narration is my only experience with Harry Potter so I don't even know my own voice in my head from reading the books. :-)

Congrats on the score!

Jan 14, 2014, 7:11am

Format: UK Audio
Finished Book

I finished the Stephen Fry audio yesterday morning, and hopefully my library has CoS ready for me to pick up today. Unfortunately they weren't consistent with their audios, so CoS is the Jim Dale version. Actually, it should be interesting to compare them back to back.

I had forgotten how funny Rowling can be. Her quick little one-liners had me laughing out loud - Fred and George are always good for a laugh, aren't they? :)

Themes/Ideas/Sections that Stood Out:
- the importance of the friendship between Harry, Ron, and Hermione. I love how Harry plans to take on "Snape" on his own, but Ron and Hermione insist that they are coming with him.
- ultimately though, it is Harry who is alone at the end. Ron and Hermione are instrumental in helping him get there, but he has to rely on his own bravery and wits when dealing with Voldemort.
- the question about why Voldemort wanted to kill Harry in the first place - I don't think I even registered this line, and Dumbledore's refusal to respond, the first time I read it. Obviously once OotP came out, it held more significance.
- our introduction to the Wizarding World, especially Diagon Alley, is still so magical. That is one of my favourite chapters in the book.

Jan 16, 2014, 11:47am

We're going quite slowly with our re-read (for me, but first time through for the kids), what with trying to juggle bedtimes when both kids are in bed but awake. We've only just got to Hogwarts tonight.

I did like visiting Diagon Alley. On our recent visit to London, we spent a day (the better part of one, anyway) at the WB set of Harry Potter, and we got to walk up the Diagon Alley set.

Jan 16, 2014, 6:30pm

Chapter Twelve The Mirror of Erised

Have been enjoying my slow read. My reaction to the book is still the same the story finaly ge5s going when they get to Hogwarts.

Hope to have the book finished by the weekend.

Edited: Jan 19, 2014, 12:41am

Format: US hardback BCE
Finished book

In British literature, there is a whole genre of orphaned protagonists left with abusive guardians (from Jane Eyre on). I suspect that the circumstances here arise as much from the conventions of that literature as from any realistic psychological reasons why Harry should or shouldn't be with the Dursleys. DWJ in her Tough Guide to Fantasyland identifies it as a major trope of the genre. The Hero, abandoned at birth, brought up in ignorance of his inheritance...

Good discussion here.

I'm assuming that, although pacing hasn't been set, we're probably not going faster than one a month?

Edited: Jan 19, 2014, 5:56am

#63 roni - I think it was mentioned by a few people on the organisation thread that they would probably do one book a month. So I think we're just following along with that.

Jan 19, 2014, 3:47pm

As for rate of reading, I'll have to get there as I get there. I've read them before, anyway, so don't hold back for me.

It all depend on the kids' bedtimes as to whether we manage to read on any given night, and my voice won't hold out for more than one chapter. Plus, they do have to sleep at some point, and quite often, one or the other falls asleep halfway through a chapter, which forces a halt to the whole procedure.

As for analysing the books, I'm just along for the ride. I never look too deeply into things, anyway. Personally, I admire any writer who can put together a book and get it published, let alone put deep, meaningful insights into their writing. Having said which, though I can see it in authors like, say Jane Austen, I think J. K. Rowlings has just written a series for children with nothing more in mind than a rollicking adventure. Though I could be wrong ;0)

Jan 19, 2014, 9:04pm

I have read up to Chapter 6. I had to put the book on hold for my library book club and an ER book I needed to finish. Now I am hoping to get more reading done tomorrow if I can make it to the gym.

I am not one to analyze and share my thoughts because I always feel that others will judge it and say I am wrong. I never had any college courses on literature or writing so I feel that I am not well versed in those areas.

Jan 20, 2014, 1:02am

I definitely don't go so deep as to wonder about whether or not Harry's childhood could have been made better had Dumbledore done things differently. To a certain extent I just accept what is there because that's what was needed to further the plot as JK intended it.

I have, however, spent a lot of time thinking about the ramifications of that upbringing. Especially the fact that Harry and Voldemort both grew up without their parents and without love and friendship. Harry could easily have hated the world and gone bad but he chose not to. So, Harry NEEDED to have a terrible childhood for this story to play out as it did and to be such a nice parable about the choices we make in life and how your circumstances shouldn't define you.

Jan 20, 2014, 1:06am

As for pacing, there is no rule, just read as you choose. The threads are all up so feel free to post in them whenever. Just be aware that there might not be much chatter until everyone catches up, which seems to be at the speed of one per month.

Jan 20, 2014, 7:12am

I don't play the "what if" game either (I think that's faulty literary criticism), but my English degree makes it so that I cannot stop analysing things like theme and structure. Like Leah, I enjoy thinking about the parallels between Harry and Voldemort, and I do think Rowling put those there intentionally, given that characters comment about their similarities throughout the series. I fully admit that some of the theories/arguments put forward about the series are not things Rowing intended, but I don't think that matters. Authorial intent just isn't that important to me - it is what the reader thinks (and his/her ability to back it up with textual support) that matters.

Plus, talking about these books is fun (at least to me)!! I would certainly never tell someone that their feelings/thoughts about a book are wrong - I might have a different interpretation, but no one is 100% right when it comes to literary analysis. That's the beauty of it!

Jan 22, 2014, 3:49pm


Was nice to read it again.

Jan 22, 2014, 9:06pm

I finished the book tonight and I still love it! I love the chapter Through the Trapdoor. So many things happen in that book that I really was hoping to see in the movie.

Jan 23, 2014, 10:12am

Format: Audiobook (Jim Dale), US
Finished Book

I've finished my audiobook of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I plan on reading one a month, just to prevent myself from zipping through them like I normally do.

I think the reason the orphan trope is so prevalent is that it usually results in a strong, independent character. Also that the plot can give them a nice happy ending by providing familial/platonic/romantic love and acceptance, which the orphaned character fully appreciates. I don't think there's any doubt that Harry would have had an easier early life had he been placed with a more loving family, but it's very possible he would not have grown up into the kind of humble teenager who would befriend Ron & Hermione, reject the temptation of Voldemort-level power, and put such a high value on love. What Dumbledore did might not have been the best thing for Harry in the short-term, but I don't doubt it was the best thing for the wizarding world as a whole.

Jan 23, 2014, 6:26pm

I also think the orphan trope is so prevalent because it affords a nice bit of freedom for the character to get into all sorts of sticky (and interesting) situations without a loving adult grounding them for their own good.

And it is great wish fulfillment for those times when your parents make you so crazy your little black heart wishes they would mysteriously disappear and leave you free to have adventures. Home Alone wasn't a hit for nothing.;)

Jan 26, 2014, 3:32am

>73 leahbird:: Not to mention that the times you've been grounded - for your own good - you felt so miserable, you were convinced you must have been adopted, because how else could your parents be so mean to you? ;0)

Mar 10, 2014, 8:45pm

Well, I'm late to my own party, but I FINALLY finished The Philosopher's Stone today!

Format: US book & UK audiobook (narrated by Stephen Fry)
Chapter: Finished

There were so many little things that I had forgotten about this book and it was wonderful rediscovering them after several years. I started out taking notes on everything but that quickly stopped because 1) the list was getting too long and 2) I can barely keep my head screwed on straight. But here's the highlights (remember that I'm reading with the development of the series in mind):

- The Put-Outer: In a series with such delightful and well crafted wordplay, the Put-Outer always felt like a huge disappointment, and right at the beginning too. It felt so clunky and fumbling for such a nifty, elegant little device. When it shows back up later on with the spiffy new name of Deluminator, I cheered!

- Dedalus Diggle: I love the wonderful bookend quality of Dedalus Diggle greeting Harry in his first visit to The Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley and his being the one to take the Dursley's to safety the last time Harry saw Privet Drive. Such a small thing but both such huge moments in Harry's life.

- I love the casual name drop of Sirius Black. It's one of those things I desperately want to real scoop on from Rowling. Did she really, REALLY know Sirius would be significant when she dropped his name this early or did the name just stick with her and grow into the man himself?

- Shouldn't Dumbledore have already suspected Sirius of betraying the Potters since he knew he was supposed to have been their Secret Keeper?

- Why didn't Dumbledore go to Godric's Hollow to investigate the scene of the Potter's murders and retrieve Harry himself? What was he doing all day? And why did it take so long to get Harry from the rubble of his former home to the safety (and horror) of the Dursleys'?

- How did no one, in all the years he was living with the Dursleys, ever question the conditions Harry was living in? I don't necessarily go in for a lot of what ifs as I accept that this is the story as JK intended it, but I feel like it would have rung more honest with at least a muggle or two who were good people and noticed that something was off in Harry's life.

- Does it bother anyone else that Molly Weasley asks what the platform number they are looking for is? I know it's a literary device to label them wizardkind but it just doesn't feel right. She knows what the platform is called. EVERYONE knows what the platform is called.

- Neville Longbottom: I had forgotten just how much an integral part of the the story Neville was from the very beginning. The bit where he stands up to Malfoy at the Quidditch game was wonderful to rediscover. I had completely forgotten (thanks to the film) that it was Neville who got detention with Harry and Hermione because Ron was in the infirmary. And all the stories he tells at the Opening Feast about his family trying to make him do magic were both sad and hilarious.

I adore Neville. Since the first time I read this book, I knew he was more significant than he first seemed. And I really really love how he grows through the series. He might not have been the chosen one, but he actually made the harder, braver decision in becoming a fighter and a target by his OWN choice. I just think he's great.

- And probably 10000 other things I've forgotten in the last few days.

I do adore this book.

OH! Stephen Fry. So, I started reading my copy of the book, but got so horribly sidetracked (obviously, since it's been 2 months since I picked it up). A friend had the UK audiobooks that he was willing to copy for me, so I started listening to it the other day and managed to cobble together enough solitary driving time to finish it up. I don't always love the voices he gives characters, some of them are too similar to distinguish really easily (I'm spoiled by Katherine Kellgren), but he is the perfect non-dialogue narrator for these books. I can overlook the rest.

YAY! On to Chamber of Secrets!

Mar 10, 2014, 9:16pm

>75 leahbird: I'm not bothered by Molly asking what the platform number is; I think she was just talking to hear her own voice, or perhaps asking questions, as parents do, to get her kids to give her an answer.

I do wonder what Dumbledore was doing on the day before Harry was delivered to the Dursleys.

Mar 12, 2014, 2:40pm

Well, the thing I STILL wonder is, maybe Neville IS the chosen one. Both boys were born the same day, and Neville is the one who finally makes Voldemort mortal again.

Mar 12, 2014, 3:07pm

Oh, good point!

Mar 12, 2014, 7:37pm

>77 ronincats: I took it to mean that either boy could have fulfilled the prophecy but Voldemort thought it was Harry because of Snape. The more times you read HP the better it gets.

Edited: Mar 12, 2014, 8:00pm

>79 luvamystery65: I've heard that theory, too (and agree with it, pretty much), but Roni's idea that Neville is the Chosen One because of his role in Voldemort's defeat is a new and intriguing one to me. You're right that there is always something new to discover or think about during a reread!

>77 ronincats: The only problem I see with that theory is that Voldemort never "marked" Neville, which was part of the prophecy, of course.

Mar 16, 2014, 4:40pm

Well, I must confess I've never had a deep, inquiring literary mind; so to me, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is a reasonably light piece of children's fiction, on par with a lot of British juvenile fiction. Consider (as in >75 leahbird:) the 'put-outer', or the fact that (and it's a shame the film didn't show this) the wizards wear bright cloaks of many different hues, or that the sweets that Harry eats on the train could have come from Willy Wonka's factory.

The series does get deeper and darker and more complicated as it progresses, yes (and the books get thicker, and the films get scarier) - but I feel that that's how it grew and developed in J. K. Rowling's imagination, rather than being intentionally light to dark. Though that works, too, as Harry grows up through the books.

Re the day Harry was born, I think we find out that there was a lot going on in the magical world and all wizardly folk were preoccupied with Voldemort's death eaters. Though what precisely Dumbledore was doing, I don't think we do ever get to know.

Mar 25, 2014, 2:53pm

Format: Audio/UK

What can I say. Loved it. Loved Stephen Fry although I do think I have decided that Jim Dale works better for me.