I'm being deliberate in my title as this is probably the 948,205th* time I've re-read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, but this is the first time I've re-read it with Booklikes handy-dandy re-read function, hooray for new toys! Given all of those factors, I title this:
The Great Harry Potter Re-Read of 2014, Huzzah!
Up until the release of Book 7, I would re-read the series in advance of each new release and usually 1 or 2 times in the interim just to keep the cravings down, you know, to manage my addiction. Additionally, as the series grew from 4 to 5 to 6 books, and so on, I would start my re-read a little later in the series, usually with Book 3, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, 'cause that one has always been my favorite (or one of my favorites or maybe my favorite, oh, I don't want to play favorites, I love all of my frie- I mean, books equally). However, since the end of the series I think I've only done maybe 1 re-read and it was, again, from Book 3. So, with my recent purchase of the series in "e" format, I thought now would be the perfect time to start the whole adventure again, begin at the beginning and review along the way.
I am also re-rating them. I had rated most of the series, if not all, 4 or 5 stars. You'll note from my ratings I don't give many 5*. In fact, I tend to reserve 5* for classics, for lit-ra-ture if you will, so it's pretty rare for me to dole those out. You may also note that the rating I've got on this is now 5*. That's an increase and it's because after so many years and so many re-readings this book is still wonderful, charming, engrossing and decidedly holds up to the test of time. I would venture that I'll say the same in 5, 10, 25, 50, 100 years.**
So, here we go, installment 1:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - The Review
I love the way this series begins, it's very nearly perfect. I mean, take the opening line:
"Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much."
That is glorious. I love everything from the name "Dursley"-- doesn't that just sound so...well, dursley -- to Privet Drive, ubiquitous and hearty privet. I have a neighbor who planted a privet hedge between our properties, (I live in Atlanta and privet is the Great Invader, next to kudzu, of course.) horrible, rampant, impenetrable stuff that I am forever trying to remove from my jasmine. To have the Dursleys live on Privet Drive, to me, just sends home the point of this uninspired, uninterested, uninteresting, unthinking couple who are impossible to remove. They are boring and permanent and very happy about that fact...thank you very much (oh, how I love that too, so prissy and know-it-all, just fantastic).
Rowling starts us off with the most mundane (Dursleys, Privet, drills, most boring ties, fat-disagreeable children, gossipy small community, small lives) before we embark on our fantastic journey to the wide wizarding world -- this new universe to us. Her use of names and language is one of my favorite things about the HP universe, and points to why I uped the rating to 5*, the way she named people and places, the spells, everything has a deeper significance or are wonderful little jokes for the careful and curious reader. (Curses and Counter-curses (Bewitch Your Friends and Befuddle Your Enemies with the Latest Revenges: Hair Loss, Jelly-Legs, Tongue-Tying and Much, Much More-by Professor Vindictus Viridian. Ah-mazing.)
I have to say, it was so much fun re-reading Sorcerer's Stone again. There is something deeply wonderful about going back to the beginning and having it all be just as fantastic, just as heartbreaking, just as funny, magical, tragic, remarkable as it was the first time around. That's the true test of this book, series and world.
*might be exaggerated for effect...might.
**probably won't be saying anything in 100 years...probably