1 So, a few weeks ago I reread Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone. This is not going to be a formal review since I have already read the book twice. But I haven’t read the books in ten years so I wanted to read them again and see what stands out to me.
2 I focused on how the mystery functions in the story, as well as ideas about horcruxes are planted in the first book.
3 When I first read the books, I assumed that Harry would discover these amazing, special powers which is why Voldemort couldn’t kill him. I know better now, so now I am struck by how ordinary Harry is. He wears glasses, he experienced bullying, and he had a hard time making friends.
4 Hermione is also far more flawed than I remembered. She tends to panic in a crisis, and struggles to take decisive action. The best example of this is where Harry and Ron are caught in the devil’s snare. (I still remembered that from the first time I read the book.). Hermione remembers that devil’s snare doesn’t like fire, but forgets that she is a witch and thinks about finding wood. It is Ron who reminds her that she is a witch and can make a fire through a spell.
5 Ron, on the other hand, is far wiser than the movies portrayed him. It is Ron who recognizes the danger of the mirror of Erised.
6 Dumbledore is also less cozy in the books now. He comes across as emotionally distant and he withholds information from others as a means of controlling their actions.
7 Hagrid’s affection for big, dangerous animals is still very funny.
8 I still love the descriptions of the trio doing homework. In these scenes, the quotidian becomes magical.
9 Harry’s dream where the sorting hat tells him to join Slytherin makes sense now that I have read the entire series.
10 The Dursleys are horrible, but it bothers me that no wizard fixed Dudley’s tail, and he had to have it surgically removed. But then again, the Dudleys would never have allowed that anyway, so I will overlook it.
11 Someone commented that the goblins have hooked noses. I didn’t see that description, but there are… implications of having a separate, greedy, untrustworthy race that does the banking. (Though one of Ron’s brothers does work in banking.)
12 I would have hated being trapped in a Hogwarts house. I had teams in middle school. They were horrible. And if choices ultimately make you who you are, why not let people choose their houses and develop their own identities?
13 The book does reward careful reading. This time around, I fought the part where Hermione trips over Quirrell in her way to hex Snape.
14 I wonder at the experience of Muggle born children at Hogwarts. There seems to be no one to help integrate them into the wizard world. Are they also encouraged to retain their Muggle identity? One boy brings a picture of a soccer team with him to Hogwarts. Is that common?
15 Is Christmas the only holiday they celebrate? There is at least one Indian student. Does Hogwarts have a Dawali party?
16 Ron is an excellent foil for Harry.
17 Why is Shape allowed to abuse the students?
18 The fact that Harry and Voldemort share the same wand cores makes all the sense in the world after book 7. But it does lead to troubling questions. Where does Harry end and Voldemort begin? Harry was able to choose to be in Gryffindor instead of Slytherin. But it makes me wonder how much control he had over his choices.
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