Genre: children's fantasy.
Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy. He lives with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley, who are mean to him and make him sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. (Dudley, however, has two bedrooms, one to sleep in and one for all his toys and games.) Then Harry starts receiving mysterious letters and his life is changed forever. He is whisked away by a beetle-eyed giant of a man and enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The reason: Harry Potter is a wizard!
Ahh, the nostalgia.
I’m going through a re-read (or re-listen) of the entire series and I started at the beginning. I haven’t changed any of my ratings so far, they’re all at five hearts/stars but I wonder continually whether I would have loved this series as much as I do now if I only read it as an adult. My parents both got through three books, I think, before giving up on Harry and friends, but then they never were huge readers of fantasy. But I think that my reading taste was shaped at least in part by reading and re-reading Harry Potter as a kid so perhaps I wouldn’t be a fantasy fan if it wasn’t for J. K. Rowling. I guess we’ll never know!
My favourite part from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is the beginning. Not the “let’s leave Harry with awful people” part but when Harry is told (by Hagrid – seriously, who’d send Hagrid to break such news to a 11-year-old – not that I don’t love Hagrid to pieces but he isn’t the most tactful person out there, is he?) that he’s a wizard. The trip to Diagon Alley and the first view of Hogwarts made me fall in love with this story, I think. I wanted to get a Hogwarts letter so badly when I was a kid, though I was more than 11 years old when I first read the series.
My least favourite chapter is the one with the Mirror of Erised; I could have done without it. I can’t really say why, it’s just that I feel like the story wasn’t moving anywhere and I was kind of bored. It also took me years to decipher “Erised”, especially since it was translated as “Ajneneperh” in Slovenian (hrepenenje = a very deep, heartfelt desire).
I would have preferred if the Dursleys weren’t so absolutely horrible, though. All through this book – and for most of the series, really – they are very black (and Harry is seen as very white). I know loads has been written about this but I would have loved to see more positive muggle characters! Especially since the readers were essentially all muggles.
You can expect more reviews as the month progresses, I strongly suspect I won’t be able to do all seven but I’ll slowly chew my way through them.
How old were you when you first read HP (I’m just assuming here that you all read them)?
What’s your favourite/least favourite part of this one?
I’d love to hear from you! :)