SO MANY HINTS AND REFERENCES to the later novels its unreal! This time as I’m reading, I’m not finding as much I haven’t found before, but it keeps striking me how many hints and details there are in these first few novels that she carries through the entire series. Just one example is the cabinet Peeve’s smashes to get Harry out of Filch’s office. I mean seriously, that doesn’t make an appearance again until Book 6, but it and it’s partner are both in this book!
This book, unlike Book 1, would probably be in the bottom half of the series in my imaginary rankings. Not for any particular reason, but because I’m just not head over heels in love with it. It’s a great story and it’s actually a better stand alone story than some of the other novels, but in general it’s just a good filler in the series.
When I read any novel, I am always drawn to the power of the minor characters – the characters whose names you might not remember and those who have bit parts that truly fill out the story. This is something Rowling does extremely well. There are so many people in the magical world (and even in the muggle world) that Rowling gives personalities to and slowly fleshed them out throughout the series and I honestly believe they make the books a better reading experience.
If there is one thing that the films didn’t do, for me, it was this. They had to cut so many of the minor characters that I was incredibly disappointed in them at first. It took me until the fifth film to fully remove them from the books and appreciate them as adaptations and not literal visuals. I’m still grumpy they removed some of the characters, Peeves, for one, and gave less screen time to some they really could have fleshed out, the Dursley’s, but overall once I got over the fact they weren’t going to do a literal adaptation I realized most of the films were pretty decent. (I’ll discuss when I get to the later books, my thoughts on how Rowling’s writing style changed to fit the films.)
Recommendation: READ IT. There’s no question about reading all of them. I might not be as enthusiastic about this book as I am about others, but I have friends and know there are people out there who LOVE this novel.
Opening Line: “Not for the first time, an argument had broken out over breakfast at number four, Privet Drive.”
Closing Line: “And together they walked back through the gateway to the Muggle world.” (Whited out.)