It seems ridiculous to pen a review of the first Harry Potter novel. This is a world-wide smash hit, everyone has read it (some numerous times – myself included). Everyone knows the story of The Boy Who Lived, and his tumultuous first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
So why am I reviewing this book?
Because my family, including my husband, five year old son, and two corgis drove 3,550km across Australia to play in the snow at the Snowy Mountains. We chunked this long road trip into a series of 5-hour drives, but that is a long time to play car games and stare out at the window. So I loaded up this audiobook and it turned out to be a real hit on our travels.
And let’s get the obvious out of the way: Stephen Fry’s narration was a delight, and the author has turned out to be a nightmare.
I adore Harry Potter and the story, but it has been quite a few years since I revisited it. And with the wisdom of age, I guess a few things stand out in my mind that I’ll pretend are enough to make this a ‘review’:
- Goodness/badness of a person seems to be inextricably linked to the way in which the author describes a character’s size. ‘Bad’ characters (i.e. the Dursley’s) are Fat and Thick; whereas ‘Good’ characters (i.e. Mrs Weasley, Professor Sprout) are instead Plump, Portly or Stout.
- Harry should have thanked Snape for repeatedly saving his life throughout the year, particularly at the Quidditch matches. Sure, they didn’t like each other, but the barest of gratitude expressed by Harry might have gone a long way to showing Snape that he wasn’t like his father.
- Hagrid is an absolute arsehole for letting those kids sort out his baby dragon mess and then let them go through with an incredibly dangerous detention that they didn’t deserve. How on earth did Harry and Hermione get that dragon all the way up to the astronomy tower?! Why didn’t Hagrid do it?!?!
There’s more but I’ll stop there. I don’t mean to come down hard on the book, but it’s just a fascinating experience to listen to the same story I’ve read so many times with adult ears.
Overall, 3 pumpkin pasties out of 5.