“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
― J.K. Rowling,
This is our first book in our Harry Potter reread. Join us throughout the rest of the year as we reread the entire Harry Potter series! Comment below your thoughts during the reread! Next we we will be discussing Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, so be sure to join us!
Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.
Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.
Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.
Jenn: I am so happy to be rereading this series. This was the series that made me fall in love with reading and fantastical worlds. These are a perfect series to be reading during Christmas time because of the pure joy and nostalgia they offer. Of course I gave book 1 a 5/5!
Eden: I felt so much nostalgia rereading the first Harry Potter. I reread it about two years ago and unlike most books, it still stands the test of time. It’s also fun to continue to connect the dots to certain characters that haven’t been introduced yet. I’m really excited to get into Chamber of Secrets. 5/5 stars of course.
Caitlynn: It has been a while since I’ve read this book and I am so glad that we are rereading these now. As an adult I feel like I have a whole new appreciation and outlook on this series and I can’t wait to read the rest. 5/5 stars.
Caitlynn: Did anybody rate it less than 5/5?
C: Okay, so we’re all on the same page there.
J: Even if we did I don’t think we’d admit it because we may be killed for it.
C: I think we’d give it a 5/5 even without public opinion.
E: Yeah, I agree with that. I think you guys are the ones that haven’t reread it in a while. So, how did you feel about it?
C: Honestly, I think this is the first time I’ve reread it since the books were coming out. So, I think it’s been a really long time since I’ve reread it.
E: Yeah because I reread it about 2 years ago.
J: I think I reread it when I was in law school so it wasn’t too terribly long ago.
C: I think I reread it when the Half Blood Prince came out. So, the biggest thing for me was that I didn’t realize how middle grade it really was. When I was reading it in middle school I didn’t realize it didn’t seem like a middle school novel. But, now that I’m an adult I realize how middle grade the language actually is.
E: I think it’s actually lower than middle school. I get that it’s middle grade but it seems even lower than I would expect.
J: No, I feel like it’s pretty on par.
*Caitlynn’s dad is in the room during the discussion and is also a big reader.
Caitlynn’s dad: I have a question. Why are there no younger kids at Hogwarts? Like, we see them but after them we really don’t see any kids as babies like they were.
E: Well, they have like Colin Creevey and Luna that comes later.
Caitlynn’s dad: But, there’s no real babies.
E: Because, nobody really cares about the first years right?
J: Well, and they kind of breeze pass the sortings in the other books.
E: They don’t even go to the sorting in the second and third books. In the second book they have detention because of crashing the car and the third they don’t go to it either.
J: I don’t know but I always skipped the sorting hat song.
C: I ALWAYS skipped the sorting hat song.
E: I think the fourth book is really the first year they have the sorting hat again because they make a point to say it.
C: Another thing I noticed that I wouldn’t have noticed previously was the Mirror of Erised. When he put the whole saying in the book I realized for the first time that it was backwards.
J: I don’t know if I realized it on my own when I read it. But, I know we discussed it in class when I read it.
C: I know we’ve discussed that the name was desire backwards. But, I never realized the saying was backwards too.
J: I think that there were just a lot of things that being older it just shows how intricate her writing is. So, for example the scene at Ollivander’s. The descriptions of the other wands give so much information and characterization to the characters just through their wands. Also, when they talk about the Quidditich positions relate back to who they are as characters. There were just so many things that built character development that I was very impressed by.
C: I really felt like I was able to focus on this time. I felt like there was so much going on and it was so long the first time. But, I felt like I could focus on it a lot better this time.
E: Well, and imagine reading it as a kid. It was a whole lot harder to read as a kid.
E: I think it’s a great read just to remember all of the things that J.K. Rowling can do as an author and why these books are so successful.
C: And why they reach so many different people.
E: They’re not hugely popular because they’re okay. They’re hugely popular because they don’t date themselves. They don’t use any real current technology from when they were written. And, they’re just relatable for everybody that reads them.
C: It doesn’t matter who you are. When I was reading this I was trying to make a point to look at Hermione’s description and she really never does say her ethnicity. I thought that was really cool. It sucks that we all interpreted her as a white female. It was cool to see that it was so ambiguous and anybody can see themselves as these people.
E: Jenn and I also talked about the diversity of characters. In the movies we were used to looking at all of these white characters. However, in the books the Patil twins have a much larger role than they do in the films. Or with Lavender Brown who they completely changed her race to make her white for the later films. Or how they downplayed Lee Jordan and all of the things he does in the books. You forget how diverse she makes her books because of the whitewashing of Hollywood.
C: I would almost like to see new movies being made in a few years.
E: I think anybody would love it. Overall, I would like to say that I am very happy that we are reading this right around Christmas time.
J: I’m also really happy that I’m getting to reread them using the illustrated editions. I’m happy to be rereading the stories overall. But, I look forward to seeing the interpretations of the illustrators for the scenes. I really appreciate that they made them unique from the films and truly just based them off of Rowling’s words.
C: I’m glad that I get the time to reread them.