Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Reader's Diary #523- J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

I've never been a huge Potter fan. Why then have I reread the very first book in the series? Rereading being something I almost never do.

My daughter. Our nightly reads have focused mostly on classics, but I felt it was time to read her something a little more recent. And besides, though I'm not all that gung-ho over Potter and co., I realize the impact Rowling has made on pop culture, on getting kids interested in reading again, and yes, I think it'll be considered a classic years from now.

I must say, I enjoyed it more reading it aloud to her. I admit that I have a hang-up when it comes to fantasy. Why do they always pick unicorns, dragons, goblins, etc? Is there a fantasy template or some sort of guide all fantasy authors must follow? I understand that the consistent mythology and seeing how an author interprets it might be part of the appeal for some, but without even having read a great deal of the genre, I'm still sick of it. Just not my thing, I guess. But reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone to my daughter, who hasn't had a lot of experience with the genre (though it isn't far removed from fairy tales), I enjoyed watching her awe over Potter's world. Like so many kids before her, she now wants to attend Hogwarts. How can her muggle school possibly compete with that?

I've also come to appreciate some of Rowling's liberties. Setting it in modern times and at the aforementioned Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is a nice touch. The Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans are a clever invention. I still, however, think Quidditch is the most overrated creation in fiction. Sure it's cool that the players on broomsticks, but wow, did Rowling ever blow it with the moronic scoring, which basically nulls and voids the entire preceding game with a single catch of a 150 point "snitch."

Beefs aside, now that I've introduced my daughter to Harry Potter, I'm finally looking forward to reading the others. Maybe this time I'll actually make it past the third book.


Anonymous said...

Book 4 (Goblet of Fire) was my favourite by far. Book 5, on the other hand, sucks hairy balls.

Megan said...

Book 3 is still my favourite.

Rosemary Brennan said...

I resisted Potter mania for a while. But then, I fell hook, line and sinker for it all. I think book 3 had just come out at the time. So of course, I ran out and bought both 2 and 3 as soon as I finished up 1. And I may have attended a midnight release party...or 2.

Wanda said...

They get darker as they go along and maybe it's just my RC upbringing but the climax in book #4 gave me a serious case of the willies!

My youngest is looking forward to starting this series soon. She's been bugging to read them for two years! So far, I've managed to hold her off with the Golden & Grey books which imho, are better suited to advanced young readers (and whimps like me,lol!). I think she'll better appreciate and handle some of the larger issues and scarrier scenes in the follow up HP books now that she's a little older. Harry Potter, yet another reason she's so happy to be in grade 3!

3m said...

My husband and I listened to the entire series on audio with our two sons. We enjoyed this family activity very much. All four of us liked the entire series, but the last two books, not so much.

John Mutford said...

Ferry Tales: I'll get there eventually, I'm sure.

Megan: Of the first three, mine too.

Rosemary: I imagine there must be a nerdish glee to those things! I wouldn't rule them out, probably pretending I'm slightly above the others there but inside feeling just as excited.

Wanda: Knowing they get darker as they go up, I was hoping to pace them. We're not rushing to the others yet.

3M: Sounds nice, actually.