Friday, 29 July 2011

B re-reads Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

As promised, inspired by seeing Harry Potter 7.2 a few weekends ago, I have discarded my should-read pile and started re-reading the Harry Potter novels from start to finish.

I have all the books of course and they sit on my shelf, all happy and pretty full of literary merit but they are not frequently re-read. The only one I’ve re-read recently is book 7 because I’m trying to read it in German and I like to look through the proper English after struggling with words like ‘Geheimniswächter’ (secretkeeper).

So I would like to admit straight up that the real reason I haven’t blogged in so long isn’t laziness, it’s because every moment I’m not at work/dance/out/eating, I’m reading Harry Potter. The books are just as un-put-downable now as they were when I first read them oh so many years ago. I still can’t stop at the end of chapters and I still hate when Ron is so nasty to Hermione and I still desperately want to go into this world and have a wand ‘choose’ me and fly a broomstick or a Hippogriff and all those other wonderful, magical things.

So, first up with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

(Yes – Philosopher’s Stone, not Sorcerer’s Stone – christ, why does America have to fuck everything up?)

The opening is so wonderfully exaggerated with how vile all three Dursleys are and how desperate Vernon is to escape the Hogwarts letters and the truth about his hated nephew. Seeing the magic of Diagon Alley and Hogwarts for the first time through Harry's eyes is so thrilling and of course meeting all the characters for the first time (particularly the Weasleys!), know what they'll get up to over the next few books and how all their relationships will develop.

Of course, the reason to re-read the series – aside from pure enjoyment – is to pick out all the foreshadowing. And by gum, there is a lot of it. Harry having eyes like Lily’s is mentioned in the first few chapters when Hagrid, the first magical person he meets, comes to give him his letter. The misunderstanding of Snape and Quirrell mistakes, the knowing Sorting Ha - there are little clues and hints everywhere! It’s like a smug treasure hunt where you know what you're looking for, unlike those poor fools reading it for the first time.

Random trivia – Quirrell’s first name is Quirinus. Quirinus Quirrell. Tee hee. Love Rowling’s use of same-letter names; Severus Snape, Minerva McGonagall, Poppy Pomfrey.

So, the first book took me about 4 days to finish, but only because I had just small gaps of time in which to read. It was actually really nice to be reading a book that wasn’t full of adult angst, just a great story, told in a short book. For some reason, I never seem to read short books anymore. Short books are wonderful!

Is it weird that I’m looking forward to putting the book away for another 5-10 years so I can re-re-discover it all over again?

Never trust a man who poses with an iguana.

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