Colleen is one of our newest member’s of the Teen Press Corps and a Harry Potter fanatic! She will be chronicling her journey of rereading and recapping the entire Harry Potter series as a teenager- four years later.
~post by Colleen
*Possible spoilers ahead-Beware!*
Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone. Have I caught your attention? No? Okay, what about Hermione and Harry and Ron and Hogwarts? Still nothing? Alright, how about Hogsmeade and Butterbeer and magical wands and holiday feasts and quidditch? Or the famous words: “You’re a Wizard, Harry.”
You must be dreaming now.
Here’s the thing, I know your eye caught on to that first sentence. You were totally in Heaven when I mentioned Hogwarts and Butterbeer and feasts, and memories of those wonderful characters flooded your mind when you saw Hermione and Ron pop up. Do you know why? Because the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling is home to so many readers of every age. The magic, the characters, the amazing fantasy world that J.K. Rowling has created just brings a wonderful feeling of warmth and happiness to anyone who sets eyes on the pages of her books.
I first read the Harry Potter books in third and fourth grade. I remember having loved the first few books and always having a good laugh, but being terrified of the sizes of the later books (hey, they were massive to me then). Now, this summer I am rereading the entire series. I was super pumped to get started and whipped through “The Sorcerer’s Stone” in a matter of days. I am very happy to be able to share my thoughts on the story, so let’s get right into it.
The book opens up on Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, and we get to see and learn a bit more about the Dursley’s lives before Harry came along. I enjoyed seeing all the strange events happen through the eyes of a stuck-up Muggle and just get a little background on these people that we don’t see too much of in the movie adaptation of Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone.
All these things going on involving Harry Potter (such as The Cursed Child; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and just the movie adaptations themselves) got me searching for little hints about the new movie and play. It was really fun to hunt for snippets in “The Sorcerer’s Stone” that I may have forgotten or over-looked in my first time reading it. I also think that having seen the movies increased my anticipation level for this reread because I really wanted to see how certain scenes had been written and compare the book to the movie with fresh eyes. I found that the movies stayed fairly true to the books with a few exceptions and I appreciate a good book-to-movie adaptation.
Speaking of hints, I really enjoyed seeing the mention of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on Harry’s list of school supplies later on in the book. It just got me even more excited to keep reading because you really can never get enough of the wizarding world.
After Harry gets his list, he and Hagrid have to go to Gringotts to get wizard money for Harry and I really enjoyed this chapter for some reason. I thought it was really interesting and funny that Hagrid was getting sick on the cart because it was going so fast. I mean he seems like such this big almost tough guy up until this point, and all of the sudden he has his first kind of physical weakness. I also loved the mention of the dragon that lives in Gringotts since it plays a big role later in the series.
Skip ahead to later that day in Diagon Alley when Harry meets Malfoy for the first time while he is getting robes for Hogwarts. (His name was never actually mentioned but you can just tell by the snottiness and tone of his voice.) That scene and the moment on the train when Malfoy confronts Harry about befriending the wrong sort and helping him out had me screaming in my head. I was yelling in my mind at Harry telling him not even to consider this jerk as if I didn’t already know what was going to happen. That is such an accomplishment by J.K. Rowling for making me feel worried about a character’s choices when I already know the outcome. I loved being able to revisit all those old feelings again.
When Harry arrives at Hogwarts and has defeated the troll already, as readers we get this endless wave of bias suspicion. Snape was just so highly suspected and hated by Harry, Ron, and Hermione that I was hating him a lot throughout the story as well. Especially in Harry’s Quidditch match when Snape was the referee. It was nerve-wracking because that scene wasn’t in the movie and I hadn’t remembered it from my first read through. Again, even when I knew that Snape was protecting Harry, I felt so afraid for Harry’s safety and of course a win for Gryffindor.
Another scene in the book that I had forgotten about was towards the last chunk of the book when Hermione and Harry had to lug Norbert the dragon up to the tallest tower at Hogwarts at midnight. It was crazy! I mean that was a huge, heavy, fire-breathing dragon that two kids had to hide under an invisibility cloak and carry up this huge tower. I truly loved this insane part because I think it was the first time Hermione really showed how brave she could be for a friend through a difficult and risky task.
Near the end, when the trio is getting the Sorcerer’s Stone I was on the edge of my seat. First the Devil’s Snare where Hermione panicked about making a fire with no wood. Then the key scene where they all had to work together to catch the correct key since there were three brooms, which was a different experience than the movie version. I really vividly saw this key chase with them all flying around on brooms and Harry’s eyes zoning in on the bent wings of the correct key.
After that, we have the giant game of Wizard’s Chess. In the book Ron, Harry, and Hermione actually take the places of the chess pieces instead of riding them like in the movie adaptation, so when Ron gets taken by the Queen, this massive stone piece just smacks him across the room. I was so worried for Ron, but I really thought that his leadership and bravery shone through in that moment. I was proud of him but scared for him at the same time, making it a bittersweet moment.
Hermione easily solves the next challenge with logic, but I enjoyed seeing this burst of care from her when she hugs Harry. She had a very emotional moment and it flowed well with all the emotions that were coursing through me as they parted ways and Harry went to battle Quirrell and Voldemort for the Stone.
I was practically dying during the confrontation with Quirrell. It just felt so intense the entire time even though it seemed to go by very quickly because I was reading so fast.
At the ending, Dumbledore talks to Harry in the hospital before the end-of-year feast, and we get the famous line “Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” It struck me so hard and so close to home. Don’t be afraid of anyone because of what they are called and don’t let anything scare you to the point of giving up or not talking about it. It was an inspirational quote followed by an inspirational House Cup win for Gryffindor. The ending just made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It was amazing.
Overall, I absolutely loved this reread of Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling! It was beautiful and vivid writing all the way through and the story just made my heart feel at home. It made me want to jump right into the next book. It made me want to fly to London and watch The Cursed Child. It made me want to time travel to November and see “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. It made me want to re-watch every Harry Potter movie. It made me want to go to Hogwarts and learn magic and never stop exploring the wizarding world. That want is a kind of magic in itself, isn’t it?