YES! I’m definitely glad I bucked all my challenges for the month of July and just explored what I wanted and took time for a few re-reads (specifically seven of them :-D).
I can’t believe it has been over three years (probably closer to four) since I last read the Harry Potter series. That really makes me sad. I really should just have my sets (yes, that is multiple sets of Harry Potter books) sent up from North Carolina. There’s always something missing from my bookshelf when they’re not there. I guess I’ve made up for it by slowly accumulating another set in hopes that Tom will read them. Everyone should comment and tell Tom how great this series is so he will start reading them. Plus tell him they’re fun and relaxing so he can’t use stress as an excuse!
I’ve split this response into three quick sections: a brief background on my first time reading the series, a few quick thoughts on this first book and finally a few brief thoughts on Pottermore. Check it out!
As with most of the books for this blog, I generally just spew out all of my thoughts in hopes of reminding myself at some later point what I loved about the book. I don’t really critique or review the novel explicitly but hopefully I offer a few reasons why you might want (or not want) to read the books I read. Something else I do, especially with multiple books in a series, is I tend to group the entire series as one story rather than ‘x’ volume as one story, even if they can act as stand alone works.
I can still vividly remember the first time I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets AND Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban because I read all three of them within two days and was desperate to finish them. It was the summer before I entered high school (the summer before Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire came out and two separate adults randomly asked me on the same day if I’d read the series yet. (It wasn’t that odd as I loved fantasy novels and at that point was still deeply obsessed with the Star Wars universe.) So I went home and immediately started reading, my mom had previously purchased books 1-3 for me and I remember reading through the night and most of the next night finishing all three books in less than 36-48 hours. I was HOOKED and there was no turning back. I remember how distraught I was when the fourth book wasn’t released for a whole year! And I remember the waits between each novel (and each film) and it never got easier!
I’m not going to lie, going back and re-reading them now has really given my mind a break and relaxed me more than I thought anything could at the moment. So YAY! for that.
My Thoughts about Book 1
I could never list the books in order of how much I love them, but I can definitely tell you this is would be in the top half, if not the top book. Not only did Rowling create this incredibly magical world, she created it on such a level that anyone, adults or children, can love. From despising the Dursley’s, the Malfoy’s and Snape to vollowing in love with Harry, Ron and Hermione, Rowling captured the imaginations of generations and revitalized an industry which some say is (or said was) slowly loosing pertinence to the ‘modern world.’
But what is most impressive about this book and this series, to me at least, is the meticulous planning and intricate detail coordination Rowling used throughout the series. As I reread this book it really hit me once again how many hints and references there are in this first novel of the series which are (vitally) important to things which don’t happen until later in the series (like Book 6 or 7 for a few things!). All these little facts and passing comments have really geared me up for re-reading the rest of the series! As a first novel in a series, I think it does a great job setting up the world and providing enough details to really hook the reader into the world.
My Thoughts about Pottermore (and Lego Harry Potter!)
I planned on reviewing my experience with Pottermore, but I realized I haven’t interacted with it enough to give a good review. I’ve made it through the first half of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone but I just wasn’t captivated by it. I was sorted (Ravenclaw) and everything, but I just couldn’t get into it. What I did enjoy though were the little extra tidbits Rowling provides throughout those first few chapters, I just don’t think there are quite enough to keep me interested.
In contrast to this, this past weekend I bought Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 and Years 5-7! Needless to say I’m a bit TOO excited. I LOVE the Lego series by Traveller’s Tales. There’s something so tongue-in-cheek about them I can even forgive that they’re based on the films and not the books! Previously I’ve played the various Star Wars and Indiana Jones games, and even the original Batman game, but I hadn’t played Lego Harry Potter on my Xbox (I do own and have beat Years 1-4 on my PSP). And it is great! Not only is it a different game from the PSP version, but there is so much to do and so much to explore I will definitely be playing this game for quite a few weeks to come! (I also got both games for about $20, and I had a gift card so it was a double steal!)
Recommendation: I think it goes without saying that I think everyone should READ IT (OF COURSE)! I’m still shocked that Tom hasn’t read it and I’ve bought this set for him to read it, but he’s actively avoiding it, thus my re-reading it.
Sorry this wasn’t much of a response, but mostly I’m reading these for me and not for the responses. For those of you that have read it, what’s your favorite moment in Book 1? Mine is at the very end when Dumbledore awards points to Neville—I tear up every time! Keep an eye out for Book 2’s review on Wednesday.
Opening Line: “Mr. and Mrs. Durlsey, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”
Closing Line: “‘They don’t know we’re not allowed to use magi at home. I’m going to have a lot of fun with Dudley this summer…'” (Whited out for all (none) of you who haven’t read it yet./Tom)