If you have yet to read the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling, you’ll want to go ahead and skip reading this article, because it’s going to be full of major spoilers. It’s honestly been way too long for me to vaguely talk about specific events.
I’m kicking off my Harry Potter Throwback series today. Every year I re-listen to the Harry Potter books via my audible account and this year I decided I’d bring y’all along for the ride. Honestly, I just need to be able to talk about it more with people because I, still to this day, have so many thoughts around the entire series. For the next couple of weeks, I’ll be featuring a different book from the Harry Potter series and expanding upon some of my most events and talking about the characters I love. To start the series off, I’ve decided to start where it all began, with a conversation on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer Stone.
Fun Fact: JK Rowling agreed to change the title of the book from “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” to “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” because the publishers thought that American readers wouldn’t pick up a book called “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” because they would associate the word Philosopher with some old, boring guy and not with magic. The word Sorcerer brings magis to mind for American children.
The first Harry Potter book was published in 1997 by Scholastic Inc. It’s only 320 pages but it sets the stage for one of the most magical worlds any young adult or regular adult could experience.
It was 2001 and I was a 9 year old Allie, barely able to read when my mom gave me a copy of the first Harry Potter book. I had spent 8 years of my life struggle to even read the word ‘The’. By the time I was 8, something had ‘click’ in my brain and I was a reading machine. So when I was given this by my mom, I dived straight into it and devoured it. I immediately need her to get me the other three books in the series that were already out and waiting to be read and the rest is history. I was hooked and I’ve been hooked to this day.
During the summers my family use to take 30 day roadtrips across the US. I distinctly remember having this massive (small at the time) tape player and a right green cassette tape holder, I dragged everywhere with me. My headphones were these black awful things. They put out about the same amount of sound as they did pulling out my hair. Got to love the 90’s. Stacked within my cassette case were the first four Harry Potter books on audio and I ran those tapes into the ground. As you can see, I’ve been obssessed since the very beginning. The copy in the pictures you see here now, is my original and has love worn pages, a tiny tear in cover, and is utterly one of my favorite books of all time.
This week I choose to feature Hagrid as my favorite character. I honestly feel that he is an underrated character. He’s one of the most generous and thoughtful characters. The amount of foreshadowing that appears in this book for the rest of the story line is immense. I’ve always wondered if Rowling did that on purpose or if she tailored the series around what occurs in the first book. My favorite foreshadowing event is the Hagrid delivery a one year old Harry to Dumbledore. It matches perfectly with him carrying Harry at the battle of Hogwarts. He brings Harry in to the magical world and he is prepared to bring him out of it, no matter how difficult and how much grief it causes him. Hagrid may not be the brightest but he has an un-matchable amount of compassion for everyone, character, human, etc. He’s thoughtful gifts to Harry range from a home made cake, never forgetting his birthday, a photo album of Harry’s parents, a fricking hand whittled a flute for him for Harry’s first Christmas and more. He doesn’t have mean bone in his body, and his loyalty is unshakable. So that’s why I love Hagrid, because he is a character filled with compassion and love, who seeks no glory, asks for nothing, and is more than happy to support those around him. He’s one of the first magical characters we not just meet but get to know, and for that he’ll always hold a special place in my heart.
On the flip side the most frustrating even to me is Halloween night. Forget the fact that a troll is in the castle but let’s talk about how Hermonie, Ron, and Harry could not come up with a better lie than Heromine saying, “I was me. I read all about them and thought I could handle the troll. I was wrong. If Harry and Ron hadn’t shown up, I’d probably be dead”.* Why doesn’t she just say, “I was in the bathroom and didn’t realize there was a troll in the castle. Harry and Ron came to let me know but it was too late, the troll was already in the bathroom.” Like come on! Gryffindor would have been speared from loosing points! It’s so much more believable that an 11 year old girl was in the bathroom rather than actually looking for a troll. I’m getting fired up just thinking about it, so I’ll stop there.
The first book in the series is one of the most special to me. It’s not my favorite book in the series, but it holds a very special place in my heart because it was the first time I fell in love with people in pages. It came to me at a time when I was finally realizing I had finally overcome my reading struggles and it open my eyes to how magical a world could be. Since I was always right around the same age as the main characters, they helped me cope with the struggles of growing up and accepting the things I couldn’t change. I experienced alot of death and lose very early in my life and at a very impressionable stage, and these books helped me to cope. They helped me understand that ‘angry’ was a normal feeling and a typical output of losing people. They helped my know that I was would be okay, but also allowed me a small form of escape from the ‘bad’ things. I know the books are seen as YA books and some people have never even read them (I’m looking at my little sister and my fiance) but to me they were special and I will never outgrow them.
Do you have a favorite character from the Harry Potter series or a favorite event from book one? Share them in the comments with me!
*not a direct quote because nobody got time to look that up.