“Because that’s what Hermione does,” said Ron, shrugging. “When in doubt, go to the library.” ― J.K. Rowling,
This is our second 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 Prisoner of Azkaban, so be sure to join us!
The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he’s packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.
And strike it does. For in Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockhart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls’ bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley’s younger sister, Ginny. But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone, or something, starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects: Harry Potter himself?
Eden: I’m still so happy that we’re rereading this series. J.K. Rowling is such an amazing writer. She created a series that was incredibly important to me growing up, reading it as an adult has just reminded me of what I loved so much about the novels. 5/5 stars of course.
Caitlynn: Harry Potter is such a pivotal book in my life and it continues to be with this reread. There were so many things that as an adult I picked up that I never would have as a child and I’m loving every second of it. Rowling knows how to write a book that appeals to all ages and that is something. 5/5 stars!
Eden: What did you guys rate it?
E: 5, not very surprised by that. Anything that you guys want to start off with?
J: Something that I thought about through this book that I hadn’t really thought about previously was how a lot of times with children’s books they have this underlining theme or life lessons; but what J.K. Rowling does really well is that she makes you develop this trust and makes you care for these characters and has them give you these lessons. I would argue that because of kids growing up reading these it led to a lot more people our age and younger being more tolerant of other people.
E: I actually agree with that a lot.
E: Rowling builds a level of empathy in these novels that –
J: You can’t help but to side with them and that translates into your life later on. As a kid, you see it as an injustice to the characters that aren’t of pure-blood or the injustice of the house elves. As you get older, you realize what those injustices represent in society and I feel like it made a lot more people more empathetic, especially in homes where they might not have seen that elsewhere.
E: Yeah. Especially with the key point that Jenn made, we love these characters and that is what is so important because when you see Hermoine Granger be called a Mud-Blood and you see everyone react so negatively, you’re immediate reaction is “You don’t talk to Hermione Granger like that!” It creates a level of empathy for kids that they wouldn’t normally see.
J: Tying it back to the Holocaust, people our age don’t have many interactions with people who witnessed that for the most part, but when you see a character that you are growing with and are really connecting with going through the same sort of situations then it gives you a more realist point of view when you begin to actually learn about the Holocaust, an access point for kids.
E: I agree with that, it’s put in a very simple way and it is still a really complex idea that she is throwing at you.
C: I think it is so bizarre that this book was written 20 years ago and the issues it brings up are still so prevalent in our lives today.
E: Isn’t that crazy, this book was planned and written so long ago and we are still facing the same issues that are going on in these books.
J: I think that that is what makes it stand out so much. There’s injustice in the world and there will always be injustices and discrimination in the world no matter if it is race or religion it keeps popping up through history. With it being set in this fantastical world, it’s easier to apply these issues to current situations because it’s not spelling out a specific kind of discrimination.
E: This is my third time rereading this book and I noticed something this time that I didn’t notice either of the other times reading this book, but Snape is the first person the use the Expelliarmus spell. I think it speaks pretty highly to what Harry becomes later in the series that Snape is the one who taught him his go-to spell. It shows the amount of influence this man, that neither of them like very much has in Harry’s life. I really appreciated that and I thought it was really cool when I noticed that when I read it this time.
J: I think the spell really speaks to who Snape really is. He is someone who is trying to fight against this persona, the Death Eaters and Voldemort, in a way that is more passive than aggressive and speaks more to his way of handling things in a whole. Snape isn’t a person who is going to strike first, he is going to allow them to cause themselves to get into the trouble.
C: I think this is why these discussions are really cool because I didn’t pick that up on any of my reads through these books yet. It makes so much sense.
J: I think that thinking back on something that dawned on me reading this, one of the reasons why I think the parallel is made is because Snape has such a huge part in shaping Harry to the person he becomes. He is the professor that Harry has the most interactions with in his formative years. Yes, he has McGonagall but he doesn’t go to her for a lot of things, Snape is an ever-present figure through all of these books.
E: And it will bring us right to the fifth book when Snape is teaching Harry occlumency, SNape is the reason Harry can combat Voldemort from getting into his head at times. It’s just so pivotal that Snape would be the one to teach Harry expelliarmus.
C: It’s insane how much you can reflect on so much in the books after you’ve read them at different points of time.
E: It’s so crazy.
J: It’s such a different book depending on when you read it in your life. So many different things come out each time. You see different things in the books depending on what you are experiencing in your life at the time of reading it.
E: I think the thing for me when I was younger was that I focused on the great friends that Harry always had, but as I grew up I started to see the bigger picture around the whole book.
J: When I was a kid, I felt very focused on the kids relationships. When I was in high school, I was focused on the kids relationships with the adults in the books and how formative those were. Reading it now, I’m looking at more of the social interactions within the world and I think that adds a lot of different layers to a book.
E: Isn’t that crazy though that Rowling wrote a book that can resonate with someone of just about any age? These books are still awesome, I don’t read them and think about how bored I am. I mean, I might do that with the fourth one because I’m not a big fan of that book.
J: I still think you will start to see so many different things in it this time.
E: Yeah, there’s still so many things to pick up that you are never bored.
J: Also, rereading them and knowing what happens at the end makes you appreciate certain things so much more. The sorting hat offering the sword means something so different after you’ve read the seventh book.
E: Yeah, when I was reading it something that I always think about is what happens to Dobby later in the series and I think about how this is when Dobby’s life starts and he begins to have friends. I love it and I’m excited to read it simply because I want more of Dobby. I’m excited to see Hermione’s role grow, Rowling just builds these characters so well that you are excited to see everybody’s journey, you don’t care just about Harry.
C: You start to care about people more than you care about Harry.
J: Harry’s journey on it’s own isn’t that exciting.
E: Harry is kind of dumb.
J: Well, I think that’s the point of these books… everyone can see parts of themselves in each of these amazing characters. They are just typical kids that use the resources that are given to them to do these amazing things.
E: And I think Ron is the most relatable character to ever be written… With Ron, you understand –
J: I think it depends on your perspective because you can say the same about either Harry or Hermione.
E: Really? Because I think Ron is the most relatable because you see his insecurities, you see the struggles he has with standing out.
J: I think it definitely depends on the person, because I can definitely feel that way with any of them. You have Harry who is dealing with notoriety that he didn’t ask for and is having to prove himself both for it and against it. Hermione’s intelligence is her weak spot, because people take her for granted and people are so mean to her because she is so passionate about something like that and it’s where her strength lies. They are all going through these difficulties in different ways, they are kids and they are developing and learning their place and learning about who they want to be and should be.
C: I think the same can be said with every single character in this series.
E: How excited are you guys about Lupin?
J: Not as excited as I am for Sirius Black. I’m excited to hear about the Maurader’s as well. And Hogsmeade!
E: While I was reading this book, I was so anxious for them to get to Hogsmeade.