Harry Potter and the Re/Read of The Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone
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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!)
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!
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!
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?!
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... :)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
So glad to meet other Potter fans!
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.
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.
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.
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.
>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.
>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!
Spoiler for Entire Series
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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).
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!
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,
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.
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.
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.
Congrats on the score!
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.
- our introduction to the Wizarding World, especially Diagon Alley, is still so magical. That is one of my favourite chapters in the book.
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.
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.
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?
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)
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.;)
Format: US book & UK audiobook (narrated by Stephen Fry)
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!
I do wonder what Dumbledore was doing on the day before Harry was delivered to the Dursleys.
>77 ronincats: The only problem I see with that theory is that
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.