Monday, September 19, 2016

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

So I finally did it.  I actually read Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.  I honestly thought I would have read it years ago, like while I took Children's Literature courses back in University.  I'm not sure why, but that never really happened.  I remember when the books were coming out, I used to tell people who asked if I had read them that I was waiting for book 7 to come out so I wouldn't have to wait like all you suckers.  When book 7 finally did come out, I then told everyone I honestly had no intention of reading them (even though I do like fantasy books).  And I honestly didn't.  I was quite happy to go through my life without reading them.  But a few weeks ago, a friend of mine decided that I *needed* to read them.  That friend will pay me $1 for every one of them that I read.  (My brother thinks I should have held out for more money). 

The first chapter is sooooo boring.  I know, I know, it's boring on purpose.  As someone who has dabbled in writing (and knows literature quite well) I was able to see that.  But it's still sooooo boring that I had a really hard time getting into it.  So much so that the book, which by all rights thanks to its size should have taken me maybe two nights to read took over a week (to be fair, it's been a very busy week with both a funeral and a wedding).  I also found myself wanting to read so many other things.

But I got through it.  And after the first few chapters it picked up well enough.  Only to be hurt by the fact that I have seen the first movie years ago...and remembered exactly how this story ended.  As other people have told me, the first two Harry Potter movies or so follow the books very closely.  So none of the things that should have been a surprise actually were.  :(

So enough with me complaining.  I didn't want to read it, but I did.  And the first thing I have to say is that this book is very, very well written.  J.K. Rowling is very, very good at describing things.  I really did love some of the phrases she used, and routinely found myself admiring her wordsmithing.

This book is quite simple in its way, being written for about ten-year-olds.  Harry Potter is an orphan left with his aunt, uncle, and cousin, who treat him terribly.  He's very much a male Cinderella, having to make sure everything is perfect for his spoiled cousin.  But everything changes on his birthday when he finds out he's a wizard who has been invited to attend wizarding school.  Not only that, but he is famous in the wizarding world, having survived the attack of the biggest, evilest wizard who happened to kill his parents.

Harry has to navigate the school, making friends, avoiding bullies, and getting points for his house.  Oh and of course learning magic along the way.  But an evil that the wizarding world thought long vanquished is stirring.  And it's up to Harry Potter and his friends to stop it!

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is a book I can see very much appealing to children.  I honestly wish I'd had a child of about 10 to read it with - I think I would have gotten more enjoyment out of it.  That being said, I honestly did enjoy it in the end.  Not enough to rush back to the library and grab book 2 - I'm definitely going to be reading some other stuff before I even think of grabbing book 2. 

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