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Reread: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling

May 20, 2010

For the last couple years I’ve been saying that I want to, need to, reread the entire Harry Potter series. It’s all well and good to say that, but it means nothing if I don’t do anything about it. Last week I finally decided that enough is enough, these books are not going to get read if I don’t make time for them. In an effort to read the whole series before the first half of the last movie comes out in the Fall, I’ve changed up my reading plan. My plan now is to alternate my books, reading a new book then HP then a new book until I’m finished the series. After I finish each book in the series, I’m going to do a quick post highlighting things that stood out to me in that reread. It’ll be my own little Harry Potter reading challenge :) Note: There will most definitely be series-wide spoilers in these posts.

“Harry felt a great leap of excitement. He didn’t know what he was going to – but it had to be better than what he was leaving behind” (p. 74)

So, last week I took a much-needed break from Anna Karenina (I’m liking it, but ack! do long books ever make me panicky. no. end. in. sight.) to read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I first read this book about eight years ago (wow, I did not realize it was that long ago!!), and have read it I think two more times since then, but it’s been at least 4 years since my last reread. The first thing that struck me was how quickly and effortlessly Rowling draws the reader into the wizarding world. Even though it’s been so long since I last read it, it really only took a couple sentences for me to get lost in the story. Proof that Rowling is an excellent storyteller.

Need more proof of her storytelling chops? This was the first time I had read the The Philosopher’s Stone since the last two books came out, and I was amazed at some of the details that are casually mentioned in the first book that are revealed to be important later in the series. Like the dark wizard Grindelwald? He quickly comes up before Harry even gets to Hogwarts, and is he mentioned again before book 7? This makes me even more excited to read the series beginning to end, to see how all these details weave together throughout the overarching story.

In case you still need more proof how great a storyteller Rowling is, I’ve got a third reason. I had read The Philosopher’s Stone at least 3 times plus watched the movie countless times, so I knew what was going to happen this time around. Still, I could not put the book down during this reread. And when I was forced to put it down (ie. work and sleep), I couldn’t wait to pick it back up again.

One more thing before I wrap this up: the introduction of Harry. I loved reading about young, naive Harry. He gets so angsty later in the series, it was refreshing to read about the wonder he had at the wizarding world. However, it didn’t take too long for the hero “it’s up to me to fix this” Harry to appear, but that was good fun to read, too. Also, Ron and Hermione’s early interactions amuse me to no end, knowing that they end up together.

But from that moment on, Hermione Granger became their friend. There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them. (p. 132)

My Harry Potter appetite has been whetted. I’m so looking forward to rediscovering the rest of the series!

Soundtrack Saturday
YA Reading Challenge 10/12

10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 21, 2010 12:39 am

    I’ve been rereading this as an audiobook & like you it’s been a great rediscovery of the series. I knew I loved the HP books, but it’s nice to go back to the beginning and rediscover so many things you had forgotten about because the later books focus more on the angsty stuff like you said.

  2. May 21, 2010 10:23 am

    I’ve been wanting to reread HP as well, I’m so glad you posted this! It makes me so excited. I don’t know when I’ll be able to, but I can’t wait to start!

  3. May 23, 2010 4:38 pm

    I absolutely loved how Rowling was able to weave so many minor details in earlier books and make them incredibly important later on. I’m still in awe over it.

  4. justbookreading permalink
    May 25, 2010 9:11 am

    I’ve been wanting to re-read all the HP books this summer too. Once I finish my current pile, these are coming off the shelf!

  5. May 27, 2010 11:32 am

    I’ve tried reading them before and never got into them for some reason. I still think that I’m going to have to try them again though because of all the hype around them!

  6. May 27, 2010 1:28 pm

    I just reread this series and had a similarly impressed reaction to Rowling’s advance planning. Most impressive was this moment in the second book where Peeves drops a cabinet on Filch’s office right when Filch is in the middle of fussing at Harry, and Harry gets to leave without getting in trouble, and Filch mutters about how valuable the now-broken Vanishing Cabinet is. That blew my mind. The vanishing cabinet, which reappears broken in Order of the Phoenix and whose brokenness becomes a vital plot element of Half-Blood Prince, gets broken by Peeves in Chamber of Secrets. JK Rowling. Damn.

  7. May 29, 2010 5:15 pm

    Iris – I had forgotten how wonderful young Harry was. Are the audiobooks good? If so, they’d be great to look into for commuting.

    Alayne – Just start right now. I mean really, the first 3 books take no time at all to read ;)

    Amy – Isn’t it amazing? Apparently she all these charts and diagrams packed full of details. I’d love to take a look at those!

    justbookreading – I’m excited for you too reread them, too! Hopefully your current pile doesn’t get any bigger :)

    LR – Yes Yes YES you should! Honestly, when I read the first book for the first time, I didn’t really see what all the fuss was about. It actually took a whole year for me to read the second book. And then I devoured 2, 3, and 4 and was left hanging until book 5 came out. The first two books are good, but I found that the series really picked up around book 3/4. Definitely give them another shot.

    Jenny – Woah… I hadn’t caught that before. The amount of details she kept track of astounds me.

  8. taraSG permalink
    May 29, 2010 5:47 pm

    OK that’s it I’m rereading these this weekend. I’ve been putting it off as well. I LOVE this series. I even had a costumed HP party to celebrate the release of the last movie :) I reread the first in the series at the end of last year and was amazed at how much I had forgotten or worse had remembered the movie version instead of the book’s!

    Thanks for inspiring me to pick these up again!

    PS. Sorry I haven’t been commenting! Somehow I didn’t have your RSS saved in my GoogleReader :( It’s all fixed now.

  9. June 28, 2010 8:43 pm

    This is a great idea! I have to do this, like you i have re-read the books not in other and definitely not after the last book came out!
    I want to pickup on those references that translate in the later books.

    Thanks for the idea!


  1. Reread: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling « alita.reads.

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