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Saturday, June 09, 2007

cover of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

G and I have been planning to re-read all the Harry Potter books in time for the last one coming out in July. I was hoping to give him more of a head start (he's only in book 3), but I realized there isn't all that much time before July 21st to read 6 books and I'm not sure how many pages. It's fun to revisit our first trip into Rowling's magical world-- but thinking of it with the ending in mind makes it more interesting, too. And I still find myself touched by what saves Harry, when it is fully explained at the end of the book-- the sacrificial love of his mother is such a powerful counter-curse that it saves Harry's life as a child, destroys Voldemort's power, and leaves its mark in his skin so that eleven years later Voldemort's minion physically can't bear to touch Harry. That's powerful imagery, and surprisingly Christian for all those who clamor against these books as dangerous.

Because I'm reading with ideas about the last book in mind, and I've recently heard that the bookmakers in London have given up taking bets on Harry's demise (everyone was betting he dies in the last book), it's hard not to notice comments about death. For instance, the centaurs that Harry meets in the Forbidden Forest seem to know something about his death-- one centaur decides to make a stand against evil (even if it means being an ally of humans) and helps Harry, but it makes you wonder if they just weren't quite right about the timing of when Harry would meet his fate. Dumbledore also has a great line (all the more poignant because we know about Dumbledore's fate in book six) when he's explaining to Harry how Nicholas Flamel could willingly destroy the source of his immortality: "After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure."

Rowling's writing isn't what we think of as great literature, but there's something about her narrative tone that is very engaging-- a humorous, personable voice that is easy to listen to, and has interesting things to share. And in Harry's discovery of who he is and the world he belongs to, it seems there is something every child longs to discover-- there is magic in the world, and they are extraordinarily special.

Read in under 24 hours.

Title:Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Author:J. K. Rowling
Date published:1997
Genre:Children's Fantasy
Series:Harry Potter
Number of pages:309
Notes:repeat reading


Sapo said...

I tried to read this book twice. Each time I stopped after about 50 pages because I couldn't get into it. Do you think it's worth a third try?

Lark said...

I enjoy the Harry Potter books a lot, and I think they get better as the series goes along. But you don't seem to read much (if any?) fantasy or children's/young adult literature-- so maybe it's not your thing?

Lark said...

I told G about your question, and at first he said, "How could she not get into it?" But then he remembered that he was given a warning about the beginning chapters when he first read this book. The Dursleys are almost caricatures; Harry's time with them is painful (for greater contrast with Hogwarts, I suppose)... So, if you never got past the stuff with the Dursleys, maybe you should give it that third try, because you never got to the good stuff.

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