I try to re-read my Harry Potter books at least once a year. It's a ritual for me. Harry Potter is one of the few book series that have one hundred percent re-read value. No matter how many times I pick up the books I get sucked back in. In the past few years I've been a little lax in my Harry Potter worship in the actual reading department. So this summer, this week, for me anyway, is dedicated to Harry Potter. And that is basically what this blog is about. And if you haven't read HP I suggest not reading on because there will be SPOILERS.
Now, without further ado...
I just finished reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
God, I love how that book starts. I opened up to page one with the illustration of baby Harry and THE BOY WHO LIVED staring at me. "Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive..." The words that launched a thousand dreams and started the awesome. My favorite part is the familiarity of it. I've read those words so many times. It's just a comfort to have my eyes following them on the pages. It feels so comfy. At home, if you will.
Another thing I liked about re-reading, besides the familiarity, were all the little things I noticed. Like how the first thing we hear about Snape is how he looks right into Harry's eyes and how Hagrid avoids why Snape would so immediately dislike Harry. In retrospect, it just means so much more.
The characters have grown so much. I feel like Draco is more of a prat in the first book than ever. I mean, he's always uber annoying and evil-ish but at least it feels more justified later on. The first book he just is an utter tool jerk. There's no good reason for it except that Daddy's an ex-Voldemort fanboy. But of course more of that comes later.
And HOLY CRAP WAS HERMIONE ANNOYING. I love Hermione. I am a big advocate for Hermione. She is smart and clever, which are two things I value. But in book one, whew. Such a know-it-all jerk. When the troll bit finally comes along I was just so HAPPY. Hermione lying to the professors was possibly the best thing that could have happened for her. Loosened up Hermione is a happy Hermione.
And the Dursleys are unbearable. But I always feel that way. Trapping your nephew in a cupboard? You know, if you think about it, it's a wonder no one called DSS on them.
I also have a better appreciation for the actual writing. While it's always been fabulous, it has definitely gotten better and more complex with each book. Re-reading the first just feels like such a lapse into my childhood. I mean it was published in the nineties for the love of God.
I also love the scene in Ollivander's. It's probably because of the movies but I had to read that part aloud. I could hear him saying "Curious, curious." I love how that bit went in the movie. I felt the same way about when Draco introduced himself to Harry on the train. The whole stay away from the bad crowd "I can help with that" bit. Ugh. Draco. The movies do crop up in my head sometimes when I'm reading. It's usually just voices. And sometimes that doesn't hurt. It even helps.
But back to Ollivander's. Wands. So cool. I would love one of those legit Harry Potter wands. Man...
I love the end. That's the one thing that really bugged me about the first movie. They left out some of the enchantments and the enchantments were the BEST PART. They were so well done and clever. Snape's logic potion mix-up is one of my favorite challenges. I like it even more than the wizard chess set. It's just brilliant. I don't know how Hermione does it because I don't think I could have solved it or kept my cool.
Finally, I want to discuss Neville Longbottom. Neville is underappreciated. I remember the first time I read this I think I disregarded him as an awesome but minor character. But he is so great. He helps Ron take down the Slytherin goons at the Quidditch game. And there's the whole standing up to your friends bravery bit. But I love how Jo sets up his gradual importance from the very beginning. My favorite is how he, of all the characters, gets in the boat with Ron, Harry, and Hermione to cross the lake. I don't know if she meant to do that, but I still like it. I've always had a soft spot for Neville. He tries so hard.
Well, that's enough for now. Off to Book Two.