Can you believe the first Harry Potter book is 21 years old?!? Harry would be in his 30’s by now! Hagrid would be in his 80’s! A baby could have been born when the first book came out and be able to drink today! I’m amazed at how timeless and magical the books still are. And even after my having read this one 3 times and seen the movie, there are still little treasures here and there that I discover each time.
I love Rowling’s characters, the world she’s created, and the little life lessons peppered throughout. This book is different from the others in that we don’t have a full appreciation of all the characters. Dumbledore is really absent throughout the book, more than my memory let on. And for more than half of the book, Hermione was more of an annoyance to Harry and Ron than a confidante. They don’t really become close until more than halfway through the book, when a troll brokers their friendship (and we aren’t talking about the trolls that roam the internets nowadays). In many ways, things were definitely in their infancy here.
This, my third reading, was devoted to my six-year old son. He’s a bit green for the book (in his ability to pay attention long enough, as well as to fully appreciate a lot of the details), but I couldn’t wait to expose him to this beautiful world. We spent a looooong time reading through this book, a chapter here and there, not necessarily on consecutive nights. But we got through it.
If I had any doubts that my son was too small to listen to this story, they were quickly allayed after we read chapter 12: The Mirror of Erised. Harry becomes transfixed with a mirror that shows you your heart’s greatest desire, obsessively sitting in front of it nightly for hours, as it shows him his parents, long dead. I asked my son what he would see if he sat in front of the mirror and he said “I would see my great grandma, because she only got to see me when I was a baby.”
Are you hearing this?!? Melted my effing heart.
The themes Rowling weave through her writing, of family, belonging, good and evil, loyalty, bravery….I could go on and on…are so deftly handled in such creative and fun ways. I am a proud Potterhead to be sure.
Another bonus with this reading is that we read the illustrated version, which is what the pictures in this post are from. It’s an over-sized, unabridged hard cover version with beautiful drawings to accompany the text. If you read the book and don’t think it could get any better, pick up this version and relive it all over again.
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