Book 126: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J.K. Rowling

[To see an updated review of when I re-read this in Spanish click here.]

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!

Background
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)

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22 thoughts on “Book 126: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J.K. Rowling

  1. TOM, READ HARRY POTTER NOW!

    I was about 13 when I first read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and it was just before the second book came out. My dad got me on to them actually. He was curious about this new hot thing and surprisingly for him as he wasn’t into reading children’s books, he liked it although he never got further then book 4. I think he out grew them, or they out grew him I don’t know. Anyway, he gave it to me after… and that was it.

    I think so many kids got hooked on Harry Potter for the reason you stated – the first book just sets up this world that everyone can understand and imagine. It is like this world that has always been there just waiting to be opened.

    What I think makes HP special is that it came before publishers started to latch on to fads and all that heavy marketing you see now. It’s not often you get books like Harry Potter – there was Lord of the Rings and maybe there’ve been a few others but HP I think is a landmark of its own, due particularly to the Internet which connected millions of people over the world.

    I think my favourite bit about the first book is how the world is revealed to you in a way that just makes you want to be there. I’m still waiting for my letter from Hogwarts. Every time I read it I just want it all to be real. I’m not really sure there’s a specific part of it I like. The world, the characters, the magical system…

    All I know is that the moment after I read it I just had this feeling. I didn’t know anyone else (apart from my dad) who had read it, I didn’t know about the hype. And yet I had this feeling I hadn’t ever had with another book at the time. It’s the feeling that has always stayed with me throughout all the books. So you can’t say that people are just all on the bandwagon because it’s popular, or the latest fad. It’s not because they have an enormous crush on Harry (maybe Ron) but just because there’s something about these books.

    Tom, are you started reading the first book yet?

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    • “What I think makes HP special is that it came before publishers started to latch on to fads and all that heavy marketing you see now.”

      I agree! And even though I think they’ve gone a bit overboard now with the films and so many of the extras they’ve now got, they’re still built on a great story.

      And I think you’re right about the internet. HP came around at about the same time the entire thing exploded into this entity that we have today. It’s so weird to think about it that way.

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  2. How spooky…I too have been slowly working my way back through this series via audiobook. Have literally 10 mins ago stopped, I had spent a good hour to two hours ironing and listening. I am now on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 🙂

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  3. TOM YOU MUST READ HARRY POTTER.

    I really ought to reread the series. If I officially settle over here, I’m buying the British editions for myself.

    I remember reading the first book when I was about nine. We finished it the day the second book was released. For some reason, B Dalton’s had put HP2 on the top shelf. I scaled the shelves to get the book whilst my mum went to ask for help…

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    • Settle shmettle! That was one of the first things I did when I first visited the UK. I picked up copes of the ones that were out and then when I moved over for school I completed my collection including Tales of Beedle the Bard! I even grabbed the first two in French because they were cheap and easy to find 😀

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  4. Harry Potter is a must!

    Hey Tom!
    The Harry Potter series is more than popular reading material. It has made it in our contemporary culture and Harry is an icon of this generation which will be referred as the greatest hero in time someday!
    Hope you enjoy! 😀

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  5. I was like Tom, I refused to read Harry Potter. Then I worked in a bookstore when the 7th one was coming out and so many people were asking me questions about it. I felt like I should read it since I was working in the store and customers were wanting information. So I read the first one. Then the second. I got to the point when I couldn’t put them down and I was reading them when I was walking to and from work and appointments. I loved them. Tom are you listening?

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    • It’s funny, he’s not refusing to read them. He’s just not willing to make time to read them. He’s got a lot on his plate at the moment. I’m just trying to get him to understand they’re easy and fun reads (while being complex and great stories).

      And I’m still like that – I’m most of the way through Book 3 and I can’t put it down (again).

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  6. Harry Potter is one of my most favorite series ever. EVER. I read the first book shortly after it came out and I was almost 12 (so I’ve grown up with them). I distinctly remember my mom telling me to read it because she thought I would enjoy it. I also remember seeing the title of the first chapter (“The Boy Who Lived”) and very sarcastically saying “of course he lives, the whole series is going to be about him!” and my mom just said “oh just read it!” And I instantly fell in love.

    Waiting for each book was agonizing, and I would always read whatever books were already out in preparation for the next installment. I got books 6 and 7 at the midnight sellings. I started reading book 7 when I got home (unfortunately, I can’t read in a car, otherwise I would have started on the way home!) My mom went with me. haha and I was in college at the time. When I was waiting in line for book 7, there was a girl behind me who probably wasn’t born when the first one came out!) Anyway, I was in bed reading and kept saying to myself, “okay one more chapter” but it was so good and the next thing I knew it was getting light outside, I read all night! So of course, I just stayed up to finish the whole thing!

    Friends and I got together (in college) to go to the midnight showings of movies 4 and 5. My sophomore year of college I had to do a project in sociology and got approved for “The Globalization of Harry Potter”. Yessss. (that was when movie 4 came out).

    I’ve grown up with Harry Potter and it was bittersweet when the 7th book was done…and also when the movies were done. It’s such an amazing story with such wonderful, real characters.

    (and I get teary eyed whenever Neville gets those points in Book 1…whether it’s in the book or the movie: his face is just too cute!)

    I’m on Pottermore too 🙂 I recently got an email saying some of Chamber of Secrets is now available. Haven’t gone back to it yet though.

    Whoa, sorry for such a long comment!

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    • Haahaa – I should’ve just had you do a guest post! I know what you mean though. I remember going to at least three midnight showings and was so disappointed when I was living in England and there wasn’t a midnight showing for the 6th movie in my city – needless to say I was there for the first showing the next day.

      I also did a report Junior year influenced my Harry Pottter – I did a report on owls and snowy owls in particular!

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      • Haha!

        Oh that IS disappointing!

        And of all the movies, I’d say the third one was my least favorite, mainly because details about the Maurader’s Map were left out that I thought were important.

        One of my bosses went to Universal and went to the Harry Potter world and brought me back a Hedwig coffee mug! (I still haven’t been there) 🙂

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        • Oh I know what you mean about the details missing and that’s why in Book 4, without S.P.E.W. and Winky and Dobby I finally was forced to let go of the movies as related to the books and seeing them as separate entities and only in going back to Movie 3 could I appreciate it.

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  7. Pingback: Book 71: Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal – J.K. Rowling | The Oddness of Moving Things

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