Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Revisiting Potter, Part 1: The Sorcerer’s Stone


Since my Anne of Green Gables re-read is mostly over (I’ll get to the last two eventually…), I decided to start a fun new one. I discovered that the entire Harry Potter series is available in eBook format for checkout from my home city’s library, and this seemed like a fun re-reading project mixed in with my class readings for this, my last, semester of grad school! I read the Harry Potter series as it came out, but I usually confuse one with another and don’t remember details very well. I’ve been wanting to do a HP movie marathon for a long time (I haven’t seen them all), but that’s to be saved for a cold, rainy day. A reading project felt like something fun to do in the meantime!

I remember the summer when I was 15 and I heard buzz about this series called Harry Potter. (Where did I hear this buzz? Social media didn’t exist; I didn’t work at the library yet; and I was the bookworm that talked about books. Where could I have possibly heard about it?) I picked up the first two in the series from the library and quickly sped through them as I was visiting my sister who lived in Tampa at the time. The third had been recently released and I got my sis to drive me to Barnes & Noble to pick it up; I just couldn’t wait until I was home to read it. Since then, I read the rest of the series as it was released. It was always something to look forward to, yet something you always knew would have a definite conclusion. I remember when the series was finished (in both book and movie format), it felt very weird to be in a world that didn’t have a new Harry Potter on the horizon.

Anyway, this re-read of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is much how I remembered it; there was no new perspective on the second go-around, no new revelations reading as an adult instead of an adolescent. I think this is a wonderful introduction to the series. It’s full of action and humor; it has well-drawn characters that we feel we know after just one short book.

It’s hard to separate this introduction to Harry Potter’s world from the rest of the stories that follow, that we’re so used to. But this paints a clear picture of that world that’s easy to get lost in—the rest of the books just build upon it. I remember, upon seeing the first movie, that so much of the visuals were so similar to how I pictured it in my head. That’s a testament to how well this world is created on paper.

There are so many wonderful little tidbits contained in the pages of this book (and all the others). From the wonderful little drawings at the beginning of each chapter (that thankfully translated to the eBook version, as well!) to the profound musings summed up in thoughtful one-liners. Such as: “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” And: “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” And the story is funny. The characters are colorful; the writing is witty.

I’ve always appreciated how, much like Betsy-Tacy, this series ages along with its characters and its readers. What starts off as a fairly simple action-adventure grows increasingly complex, in both plot and with its characters, as the series continues. Looking back, you can see that Harry Potter always had this potential. Book One is simple but it has much more than just a plot; it sets the stage for what’s to come. Onward and upward we go!

1 comment:

mayceegreene said…

I read this long long ago to see how "evil" it was. You know, does it encourage children to become witches and wizards? Does reading Harry Potter cause evil?

Maycee (Health Wildcatters)