Hello! Hello. I interrupt your regularly scheduled Book Punks content to bring your attention to a read along that I, Erika, will be participating in over at the mighty Book Smugglers. I know that many of you are willingly parting ways with your sanity, if only temporarily, in reading The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick with Nicolette. I’d said I’d try to do so as well and now this fine month of January is almost over and I have yet to buy the book, let alone crack it open, but I’m here to tell you that there is ANOTHER read-along that seems much more doable with my limited after work brain power, and that is rereading the tales of my man, the wondrous Harry fucking Potter. The read-along is hosted (is that the right word?) by Book Smugglers, and if you don’t follow them, you really should. You can see their first post about reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and the complete reading schedule here. You should really, really go read what they have to say about H.P. because they’re wonderful, thoughtful readers and writers and I’m so thrilled that they’ve given me an excuse to read these books again.
I was first inducted into the world of Harry Potter indirectly when a visiting cousin, aged roughly seven? Eight? I don’t know, whatever, anyways we sat next to each other at dinner one night and over the course of an hour and a half she told me the entire plot of the first book, including directly quoting entire chunks of dialogue at me. I was fifteen or so at the time and highly uninterested (sorry, Claire!), but I listened politely and once dinner was over and I was liberated from my forced, detailed retelling I thought that would be the end of that. HOWEVER. A couple years later one of my friends got me the first three books for Christmas and, though I was at first reluctant to read children’s books (I was such a shitty teenager in that respect), I remember being instantly enchanted by the magical charm of Rowling’s world.
I don’t feel like writing a full-on essay, but here are some bulleted mental notes that I had while reading HP numero uno:
- I’ve read this book twice and listened to the audiobook once, and yet I was still caught off guard by both the Sorting Hat’s song and the Hogwarts song; I’m pretty sure I blocked them both out and will most likely do so within four days of finishing my fourth encounter with Rowling’s debut. As far as I’m concerned, fictional songs do not belong in books. I always hate them. ALWAYS.
- I am SO happy that the people in charge of the film adaptations decided that the hats were not an essential part of the Hogwarts uniform. Excellent fashion choice, imo.
- I have always been vaguely bothered by Rowling’s decision to make Snape so obviously unattractive. I’m not a big fan of the bad guy = ugly trope (even though, yes, we all know that poor, wonderful Snape is not actually a bad guy), and while she at least made the heroes normal looking people, I still don’t like the immediate distaste for Snape based on his looks. I’m so pleased that they decided to cast the late, great Alan Rickman as Snape, because he was sexy as hell.
- I’m not sure how much I trust the professors of Hogwarts’ decision making skills if they thought their super tough “protections” for guarding the Sorcerer’s Stone could be cracked by three first years with like…thirty seconds of effort per task.
- I wish Dumbledore was my grandpa, even if he has occasionally questionable ethics. (Seriously, why the hell did he leave Harry with the Dursleys? Why did he enable Harry to try to battle Voldemort on his own? Uh.)
- Yes, the above images are from the GORGEOUS new illustrated edition.