Ok, by now the world is divided into people who do and do not read the Harry Potter books, and I don’t expect to change that. But they’re SO GOOD! And I know, after a certain point popularity just sort of feeds on itself, and Rowling could have just had her Ouija board write the final three books and still made a pile of money. But she didn’t, and for all the gripes and what-have-you, the whole series itself is really quite darling. Whether it deserves the absolute mania is debatable, but now is neither the time nor the place.
But about THIS BOOK IN PARTICULAR. It’s been years and years since Philosopher’s Stone came out, and years and years (minus maybe two) since I’ve read it. I’ve forgotten how sweet and calm and relatively bloodless it is, before major characters started dying off like action-flick sidekicks. I mean, it’s exciting and all, with hexes and three-headed dogs and dead unicorns and all, but no one loses a hand.
Alls happens is that Harry is raised by the Dursleys, who keep him in a closet under the stairs, until he finds out he’s a wizard and heads off to wizarding school. The cast of characters steps up (‘Hi, I’m Ron and I’ll be providing your comic relief.’ ‘Hi, I’m Hermoine, and I’m your resident nerd-it-all.’ ‘Hi, I’m Dumbledore, and I’ll be offering up nuggets of wisdom, and the occasional old-man chuckle.’) and there is a mysterious something afoot at Hogwarts and Harry is nearly killed several times and in the end, everyone goes home shiny.
And I’m not a PotterZombie. I’ve read the series through exactly once, but now going back and re-reading the first one, it’s gleefully obvious how much Rowling knew about books 2-7 while writing book 1. I mean, I’m sure someone out there is currently charting all the inconsistencies and is ready to release Barely Plotted: The Harry Potter Flux, but I’m just rather charmed to see Serius Black showing up on p 16 and then disappearing until, I don’t know…Book 3?
And I’m really just sort of charmed in general. I’m not going to be all, I read them before they were popular, because I didn’t. But I started reading them before they became an entity. And there’s no way you can read in a vacuum, and if you pick up the series now you will shift and become one of those people. But it’s quite friendly over here, so join us, won’t you?