Finally…I’m a member of the Harry Potter Club!
Ok, fellow book lovers, please don’t faint from surprise with this next admission: I FINISHED THE FIRST HARRY POTTER BOOK TWO NIGHTS AGO.
I can’t believe it’s taken me almost 18 years to actually read this book. I’m 28 years old and finally understanding why everyone has been C-R-A-Z-Y over this Harry Potter phenomenon for years. I’ve heard so much hype over the years, and anyone who knows me understands that I don’t “do” hype. I rarely participate in the discussions surrounding bestsellers or new releases that seem to clog Twitter and Instagram feeds. I generally do my own thing, read what looks good and entertaining, and come to things at my own pace. I’m not even upset about taking so long to read this series, that’s how pleased I am with the first book! (Safe to say, I won’t be taking long to start the 2nd book!)
I can’t add much to the Harry Potter discussion, that’s not what this post is about, for sure. It’s just a simple commentary on why this book has been so good for me, as a reader and as an adult. It won’t be long and drawn out, my schedule doesn’t allow for waxing poetic too long, but it will try to explain why it’s never too late for the right book!
I vaguely remember picking this first book up when Harry Potter mania was first starting, and probably thinking something along the lines of “This is not based in reality, it’s not something I’m going to like.” (Keep in mind, I was 10 in 1997 when HP made his first appearance in the world, so that’s further proof that I’m old beyond my years.) I think I borrowed the book from a neighbor and got a few chapters in, just to sucker out and move on. I’m not going to say that was a mistake, because I now feel as if “discovering” Harry Potter at an older age may actually be more rewarding in the long run. (There’s something to the millions of adults who sneak the books out of their childrens’ bedrooms, feigning a read or re-read, for sure.)
I’ve seen at least half the movies, and I’ve been watching those in one form or another for most of my late adolescence and into my early adult years. While I’ve mostly enjoyed them, I believe (like most bookworms) that it’s really the books that are the important contribution to society, and the films are a bonus with good acting and amazing special effects. I must say that I’m thankful that the films don’t stray from the text and that J.K. Rowling maintained control over the projects!
As for the book itself, I think J.K. Rowling is brilliant with easy-going character development. She has created such a diverse crew of characters in this first book that already I feel myself having a strong emotional pull toward them, especially Harry, Ron, and Hagrid. (I want Hermione to be a little less of a snit and I definitely want to see Malfoy get what he deserves, and I know from the movies that these things come with time.) Since I’ve seen a few of the movies, I can picture each scene vividly in my mind while reading, and Jim Dale’s audiobook narration lends so much to the experience. (His performance should be noted for his unique vocalizations and his ability to keep his character voices on such an individual level. He’s a magnificent reader, and I hope to continue with his narration. Plus, the British brogue is music to my ears!)
I love the quiet philosophy behind the action and adventure in the book, and I expect many more moral insights and battles between “good” and “evil” in the coming books. I believe it’s never too early to teach children how to think and behave when other people stand against them or try their patience and good character. Harry Potter and his small crew fight the good fight, and in my opinion, that’s one of the many reasons people young and old have been coming back to this series. It’s a simple-complicated story about a boy with burdensome origins, who has ample opportunity to let his standing sour him on the world. However, he chooses to stay true to his heart and work toward a future of good and strong moral fortitude. It’s the ultimate story of a young man who finds his people (rather, his wizards), and progresses into a better, although not easier, life. It’s pretty amazing when you think about it…
Alright, in the interest of not boring you to death with any more rambling, I’m going to sign off for now and get this posted. It’s already a day late, sorry! I look forward to hearing your feedback on this and any other content on the blog! (By the way, I’ve got my Mom reading the book with the same narration at night now, and she says she’s enjoying it.)
Five stars! All the way!
Keep Turning Pages, and I’ll see you all next time,