While I’ve read and re-read Harry Potter more times than I can count since my little brother (way little, he was then 10) introduced me to the first two books during a long road trip down to San Diego in the middle of my 8th month of pregnancy with my oldest (holy crap, could this sentence get longer? Let’s see!), I haven’t picked them up in a few years. I didn’t re-read them last year cos I was supposed to be reading all the NEW TO ME things, and the year before…I don’t even know what I was doing the year before that. It was 2010 when I last picked up Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to make that first trip to everything magical along with Harry.
I was reminded while reading this time why this was never my favourite of the series. If I hadn’t been stuck in a car with my dad, both of my little brothers and my husband on that REALLY LONG DRIVE, I probably wouldn’t have read this in an hour and immediately moved onto Chamber of Secrets. So, I suppose I should be grateful that I was trapped in that car, trying to avoid the need to pee because I can fully realize that a good portion of my love for this series comes from later volumes, and the friendships I made while waiting for Jo to just finish writing the damn thing.
Since I haven’t got much to say in the way of a review, as I’m pretty sure it’s all been said elsewhere before, I’ll just nitpick a few things:
It struck me this time as I was reading that Harry was 15 months old when Dumbledore left him wrapped up in a blanket on the Dursley’s front porch. A FIFTEEN MONTH OLD! LEFT ALONE ON A PORCH FOR THE WHOLE NIGHT! I’d never really bothered to do the math before, but there’s no way I’d leave my 15 month old asleep on just the floor, cos I know they’d eventually wake up and get into everydamnthing. This is kind of ridiculous (and I know, talking about ridiculous things in these books is rather defeatist, but still). She couldn’t have thrown in a mention of a whispered spell or something so that we knew the kid wasn’t just being dumped off?
Harry realizes in Chapter 3 (“The Letters from No One”) that the next day (Tuesday) is his birthday. If Harry was born July 31st 1980 (which we now know he was), his 11th birthday would have been on Wednesday. This is the first of many examples where Jo shows that she’s a bear of very little brain and
long words numbers bother her. I’m currently reading the newly released Pottermore eEditions, so I’m not really sure why this hasn’t been fixed yet? She has a problem with dates and numbers throughout the series, though, so this wasn’t really a surprise. It more bothers me that no one has bothered to fix this (minor) detail in the last 15 years.
I’m terrible at video games. I have the worst hand/eye coordination of anyone I’ve ever met. I’m not even kidding. Don’t throw things to me because I will not catch them.
The first video game that tied in with the movie (on the original Playstation) was perfect for me, though. It was mostly running around the grounds of Hogwarts, collecting Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans and Wizard Cards – with occasional digressions to solve puzzles. I didn’t have to be able to do anything fancy, and it was exactly the kind of game I like…by which I mean, one I can be good at without having to do much of anything.
Because I played the shit out of that game (100%, even if they never let me into the damn broom closet in the entryway), every time I read these books, I hear the names of the textbook authors in my head in this voice like the one used in the game when you discovered something. A bit of surprise and awe. [gasp] Hengist of Woodcroft!
ALSO, this game had major save issues. You couldn’t save when you wanted, you could only save after you passed, like, what would be the Boss portions in a normal video game. I didn’t usually have a problem with this, but at the end when you’re trying to make it through all of the challenges to the Philosopher’s Stone, you had to get through ALL OF THE CHALLENGES before there was a save point. I was good up until the troll. Yes, like in the book, the troll is knocked out, but in the game he’s starting to wake up as you’re running past him. So you have to use wingardium leviosa on all of these objects in his path that he might trip over, while still managing to avoid getting stomped. I was the worst at this part of the game. I tried for, like, 2 days to get past that stupid troll before I finally did, and then I died again at the next challenge. Because I’m sometimes superstitious, I decided that the song I was listening to when I got through it was the reason I’d been able to pass. So I listened to this on repeat as I tried to levitate all of this crap out of the way. Eventually I got to the save point, but it was HARD. That’s why I will always associate Flogging Molly with Harry Potter.
Tell me about the first time you picked up this book? I know many of you love the series, and I’m wondering how many of you came to it as adults?