Friday, January 11, 2013

Harry - yer a wizard

It's time for the first Harry Potter readalong post about the book (as opposed to the intro post which is like the foreward to the whole readalong). THE EXCITEMENT
We're beginning this with the first 9 chapters of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (or Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone if you're not American and therefore, you don't get babied. Because apparently we are too stupid for any book that has "Philosopher" in the title.) And warning for everyone, there will be spoilers. And not just for those first 9 chapters. The whole series is fair game, though I'll try to only bring up spoilers when it's actually necessary for whatever ridiculous argument I'm trying to make. But this will mostly be made up of random thoughts.

I love the opening sentence. "Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet drive, were proud to say they were perfectly normal, thank you very much." It's the "thank you very much" that does it. You can tell from that one sentence the stick up their collective ass is huge.

I don't so much mind the exposition dump when Dumbledore and McGonagall are waiting for Hagrid to show up with Harry. I have much more of a problem with the fact that Dumbledore's device is called "the Put-Outer". That sounds like the name you give something as a stand-in while you come up with something better. Come on now, Rowling.
The beginning spends a lot more time with the Dursleys than I remembered. But then again, I mostly remember the Dursleys as those few pages that happen at the beginning of the book before we get to Hogwarts and the magic. But that's cool cos I like those chapters. You gotta see how awful things are for Harry at home so he can be so excited and not-at-all homesick while at Hogwarts. Besides, I like the scene in the zoo with the snake. Although, how exactly was the snake planning on getting to Brazil? It's a bit of a ways away from England. I fear things don't end so happily for the snake.

It seems like the only place for you to buy all of your Hogwarts supplies is at Diagon Alley. Does that mean all of those stores have a monopoly on spellbooks and wands and cauldrons? That said
I love the scene at platform 9 3/4. Mostly because we get to meet the Weasleys and let's just admit that Mrs. Weasley is one of the best characters (and we can discuss how terrible the twins are later). Except I don't understand. Why doesn't the letter tell you how to get to platform 9 3/4? We've established kids born to Muggles get these letters so why should we assume they know what they're doing.

Why is Ravenclaw's mascot an eagle? Not a raven? No? Is there a clever reason behind that?

Man, Hermione is insufferable early on. I mean, more than normal 11 year olds. I don't like her not being friends with Ron and Harry, but I'm actually more surprised they all ended up besties. It just goes to show how awesome she is that her good qualities out weigh her know-it-all-ness. But I mean, someone has to have all of the answers throughout the series.

Here's something that randomly bugs me about the series, even though it's totally just me thinking WAY TOO HARD into this series and I should really just accept that it's a children's series. So the Dursleys HATE Harry and treat him like dirt and make him sleep under the stairs with the spiders. They've been his guardians since he was 1. And yet Harry is amazingly well adjusted. I keep thinking "Harry, wouldn't you be more of a sociopath? How are you able to form bonds with people if you had been completely neglected through your formative years? Rowling, why haven't you done extensive research into childhood psychology to answer these questions?" I know. I need help.

I was going to find my Hogwarts house by going through Pottermore and I made the username and everything and now it's telling me I need to go through chapters before I can get sorted. So what I'm saying is I haven't been sorted yet. Perhaps before the end of this readalong I'll get my house figured out. But I have really important places to be in the meantime

Title quote from page 50

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Scholastic, 1997.