‘Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy- until he is rescued by a beetle-eyed giant of a man, enrols at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, learns to play Quidditch and does battle in a deadly due. The Reason…
HARRY POTTER IS A WIZARD!’
Since the publication of the first installment in 1997, Harry Potter was become a worldwide phenomenon, a cultural movement and a key feature of the childhoods of millennials across the globe. Since 1997, after 7 books, 8 films, an official stage show (as well as 3 unofficial ones) and a spin off film series, Harry Potter has secured it’s place in history. But is the story of one secondary school age British boy going to Wizarding school really that important? Well, for an awful lot of people, it sure is. There are millions of Potter fans worldwide who are ardent supporters of the wizarding world that Rowling created.
‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ is the first book of the series and tells the story of Harry being introduced to the magical world and the villainous Voldemort. Now, I’ve read this book literally dozens if not hundreds of times and I have to say it never gets boring. The great thing about the world of Harry Potter is that it’s one of those series that you can read over and over again and it’s still just as magical as the first time. From the beginning sentence, “Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive…” you can feel the joy building and you know you’re going to have a great reading experience, as always.
The great thing about rereading the first book is that you notice all the clues and foreshadowing that you didn’t before, like Firenze telling Harry in the Forbidden Forest that he hopes the Centaurs have read the Stars and Planets wrong (they’ve clearly foreseen Harry’s death). But it’s not just foreshadowing that makes it a special experience, it’s also reinforcing your opinions on certain characters. For example, the films and the last book had attempted to redeem Snape but the great thing about rereading the entire series is that you’re reminded just how much of an unnecessarily terrible person Snape was and that it’s completely alright to hate him. Ron also doesn’t get nearly enough credit in the films since in the books he’s a far better friend than he’s often thought of.
But I suppose the main thing I love about Harry Potter is that it allows people to be imperfect. Harry may be brave and talented but he’s also brash, bold and often heroic to the point of stupidity. Hermione is incredibly clever and brave but she’s also bossy, socially challenged and can’t always see the big picture. Ron is loving, loyal but also jealous, lazy and insensitive. But that doesn’t make them bad people, and it doesn’t mean they’re any less able to save the world. By working together they accomplish their goals and do the right thing and I think that’s a very important message to young children. You don’t need to be perfect, you just have to do the best you can in the situation you’re in.
For me, Harry Potter will always be a personal favourite and the first book always gives me goosebumps. No matter what mood I’m in, Rowling can always make me feel happier and Hogwarts will always comfort me. ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’ was a fantastic start to an incredible series, established the characters and world well and is one of the easiest books to read. If anyone wants a bit of escapism for a dreary day, I would always suggest starting at Privet Drive with the Dursleys.