Monday, July 2, 2018

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling

Mary GrandPre (Illustrator)
Synopsis (via Goodreads): 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.
“One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore. "Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn't get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.”
I can really relate to this quote! People love to give me books (no complaints here), but no one ever gives me socks. I love socks (especially fuzzy socks, but plain socks are great, too). I feel like I never have enough, so I'm always looking to add to my less-than-stellar sock drawer.

I try to re-read this series every year, but it's not always doable. I remember falling in love with reading as a child because of these books. My fourth grade teacher was reading through the books herself, but she didn't start reading them aloud until Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (the fourth book), which was cruel and ridiculous (her not the book). Even at a young age, I knew books were meant to be read in the order they were written. Not everything works like the Star Wars movies. 

Eventually I checked out the first three books and spent the next week locked in my room. I devoured every page. Harry Potter brought magic and friendship into my life. I could relate to him and his living situation (more than I would ever admit), and it was nice to see him conquering evil every book. He made his life better by choosing to do the right thing, and because he had amazing friends to spend his days with.

I feel like I learn something new every time I re-read these books. It's like they apply to me differently based on where I am in my life. A phrase or an action might make more sense to me now as an adult than it did when I was nine or ten. For example, I thought Snape was romantic and in love when I first read through this series. He was the mean teacher that students avoided, but now I see it was more than that. Snape was a bully. He was biased against Harry from the start, but not because Harry himself had done anything wrong. No, Snape had his own personal issues that he chose to take out on an eleven-year-old child. That's fucked up. His treatment of children should have prevented him from being an instructor entirely. The fact that Dumbledore vouched for him, and saw him as a good friend, only makes me question Dumbledore's judgement. 

In the end, this is a series I will always treasure. The characters and the world have literally changed my life. They've been there for me when I needed an escape (more than a lot of other books that I've enjoyed), and I love that I can still find new things about the series every time I pick it up and start to read. It makes it feel like I'm reading it for the first time again.

This re-read I read the book out loud to my son. He's four, so I wasn't sure what he would take away from the story, but he did learn what a unicorn was. I may have skipped over some of the more gruesome aspects of those scenes for his benefit, but still explained to him what a unicorn was and how they appeared. He drew one for me the next day! He might not retain everything I say/read at this point, but I think it's good to expose him to literature and new ideas, concepts, and ways of thinking.

43 comments:

  1. I can no longer remember if i read these in English or as a translation...I sure hope I read in ENglish. I believe I did. Oh I want to re-read

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    1. Is there a reason you prefer English to a translation? I was in Germany when the last book was released and bought a German edition (I do not speak or read German, but I adored the cover). I have read a few books that have been translated from German and really enjoyed them! I think Begin Again was one. <3

      Do a re-read! :)

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  2. That was messed up of your teacher! I would've been sent to the office for starting a riot if a teacher pulled that. lol. Confession ... I've never read this series. I know, go ahead and throw tomatoes at me.

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    1. Right? Why would you start reading IN THE MIDDLE OF A LONG STORY? It made no sense to me then, and it makes no sense to me now. A teacher should know better! Start a story from the beginning, please.

      I would never throw tomatoes at you! I know a ton of people that have never read the Harry Potter books, and we're still friends. Different books resonate with different people. <3

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  3. Your unicorn story was so sweet! I love how you not only read books to your kids (well, your older one for now), but actually try to have them take something more away from the story than the simple reading pleasure.

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    1. We have a horse-themed coloring book that he's been adding horns to, haha. I love him so much! We read chapter books to the babies, too. They get their picture books throughout the day and one before bed, but my husband has been reading a Stephen Hawking book to them, too. It had a few descriptive images, and I doubt they are retaining anything at this point, but I think it's good exposure.

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    2. LOL, he's a creative little fellow. And he loves his unicorns!
      Stephen Hawking? Haha, that's great. Even if it's far too early for them to really grasp any of the concepts, it might plant the right seeds...

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    3. Right now they just point at everything and say, "Meow!"

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  4. Every year I try to convince myself that I can get through the whole series in a week just because I did one time when I was. Like. 13? And I have yet to succeed in that particular feat again. (And yet for some reason I keep trying...)

    It's great that you're starting off reading them to your son! Even if he is a bit too young to take more than unicorns away from the story now (which, still, a pretty cool thing to take away from a story) you can always read them again, right?

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    1. Always! It's a series I plan on reading for the rest of my life. My kids are going to have it memorized, lol. ;) I've never been able to read this series as quickly as I did the first time through. It's like my mind wasn't able to do anything else. Too many responsibilities in my life right now! You should keep trying... it'll work out again!

      Unicorns are an AWESOME thing to take away from a story! We'll also be re-reading these many times in the future, unless he decides they're not books he enjoys. It might break my heart, but it'll be okay... :(

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  5. I have so many wonderful memories with this series and my children. I think I've re-read this a half dozen times. Loved your thoughts.

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    1. It's such a great thing to share with them! I hope they can feel my passion and love for the story when I read it out loud. I want them to enjoy it as much as I do, but I'll understand if one day they decide that they don't.

      Do you like the movies, too?

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  6. I’ve always been a bit envious of those who got to experience HP in their childhood. For so many HP is inextricably entwined with growing up and childhood memories. I think I was almost 30 when the first book came out so they don’t have that same kind of nostalgic feel for me. And it’s so awesome that you’re now sharing HP with your son! :)
    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books
    Http://girlplusbooks.blogspot.com

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    1. It's one of the first books I clearly remember reading! The series followed me through high school, so it's like I grew up with the characters. We were always the same age, so it made them more relatable to me. It was also an awesome story spanning seven books and many years. <3

      I'm happy you were still able to enjoy it, but I can understand what you mean about the nostalgia. I just hope my kids love it as much as I do, but it's okay if they don't. :)

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  7. Oh Harry Potter! It's been so long!

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    1. I try not to wait too long between re-reads! I even read the series out loud when I was pregnant with my son. You're supposed to read to unborn babies, so I figured a long series would do the trick, haha.

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  8. I need to get around to rereading the whole series in its entirety.

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    1. It's something I look forward to every year! I really like being able to read all of them in the fall/winter, but it doesn't always work out. At this rate, I can maybe finish reading the series to him by this fall. <3

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  9. There's no need to skip gruesome bits for kids - I looooved gruesome fairy tales! (Jk, obv. do what's right for you and your family! I did love gruesome fairy tales though. My version of Rapunzel came complete with eye-piercing and teen pregnancy.)

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    1. Normally I would agree with you, but I didn't think my four-year-old would sleep very well if I explained why someone was gnawing on unicorns, lol. When he's older I won't skip those bits! How old were you when you heard those fairy tales? I don't think I've ever read the original versions of the known fairy tales. I have heard they're pretty gruesome. Was it the Grimm brothers?

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    2. Rapunzel is Grimm, yeah. Erm... probably 3 or 4 when I first heard them. Maybe even younger. My mother tried to stop them when she realised how gruesome her book was, and we insisted she keep with the gory versions! Philip Pullman's retellings of Grimm are awesome if you wanna check some out - he includes some of the less well-known ones as well! :)

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    3. Thanks! You've made me curious!

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  10. It's been so long since I've read Harry Potter! I started reading the illustrated one a couple years ago to my kids but got sidelined. I should pick it up this summer and continue!

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    1. Ohh, I haven't read the illustrated one! I'm going to have to look into that, because I think it might help them picture the story a little better at their age. Thanks for sharing that! <3

      (...and yes, you should totally pick it back up this summer!)

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  11. I love how you revisit this series and now are sharing it with your son (yeah, for the Unicorn too!) who someday may read it back to you. AWESOME!

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    1. I'll never force my kids to read something they don't like, but I do hope they love these books as much as I do! If they enjoy them, they'll be able to grow up with the characters just like I did! :)

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  12. I read this series aloud with my son a couple of years ago and although it took forever to get through all of them, I'm really glad I did it. I can't wait for him to revisit them on his own at some point.

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    1. I'll always remember the first time I read this series to him! Like you, I cannot wait for him to read them on his own. It's an entirely different experience. <3

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  13. I haven’t reread these for quite awhile. It may be time again.

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  14. I love rereading this series,too. No matter how many times I read them, I still find new things or remember things I forgot, and get to experience it all over again.

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    1. Right? It's like visiting an old friend... they've changed slightly over the years, but they're still the person you remember from before. I know books don't actually change, but re-reading them does offer a different perspective and allow me to discover new things. <3

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  15. What a cruel act on the part of your teacher. I hear a lot of persons raving about this series. I never had the chance to read it. Hopefully one day.

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    1. I hope you have a chance to read this series soon! It's something I grew up with, so I feel like it's a part of me. It was definitely a huge part of my childhood.

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  16. You make me want to read this series. I have not read or watched any of this. I really have no desire to. Great review tho!

    Mary

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    1. Hah, well I'm glad my review made your curious. <3

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  17. I love this series and I never get tired of going back to it.

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    1. My copies are so worn and loved! Mine are all hardcovers, so I was thinking of getting paperback copies for my kids. I think they'll be easier for them to hold and read (not as heavy, lol).

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  18. I think we all remember our first time reading Harry Potter. For me, it was after the movies were released. I wasn't a reader back then and vaguely knew the movies were adapted from a book series. I must admit, I do prefer the movies though, I don't know if it's because I'd seen them first but the books are a little wordy towards the end. Still such an incredible series that was really the cornerstone for bringing so many children and adults back to reading and discovering new worlds ♥♥♥

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    1. I really like the movies, too! I think they did a wonderful job of incorporating all of the important aspects from the books. I think it helped that they allowed J.K. Rowling to be a part of the process, so they knew not to cut things that would be significant later.

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  19. OH NO SHE DIDN'T. That is... Cruel. It's like jumping down the stairs in one bound leap rather than going down step by step. I haven't reread Harry Potter yet, but I can definitely relate to the book being different every time it is read again. πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…

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    1. I know! It was like eating a pie without the crust--you need it all! I hope you're able to re-read it soon! It's always a fun story to revisit. <3

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  20. <3 I need to reread these again soon!!

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