Friday, April 25, 2008

harry potter and the sorcerer's stone book discussion

Please leave comments in the comments!

9 comments:

wordnerdy said...

OK, I'll start with just a few observations. I always find it so interesting how much of the story was clearly planned in advance--the first chapter's references to Sirius Black, and a possible reference to the dragon in book 7 in the engraving on page 72-73. But it's also interesting to notice the things she didn't plan or invent until later--like the word Squib for someone non-Magic born into a magic family (on page 125, Neville says his family thought he was "all-Muggle" for ages, though he clearly comes from a wizarding family and would have used the correct term, had it been invented!). Something I noticed for the first time on this umpteenth rereading--Rowling never says what happens to the Dursleys when Hagrid whisks Harry away from the island! They just disappear from the scene completely.

Still, I've alwyas thought this was a strong start to the series--it was enough to get me hooked!

What do you guys think on this re-reading?

wordnerdy said...

Oh, and this is also the book that started me on identifying with Hermione--because her parents are dentists!! (Later in the series she takes up knitting.) Her transformation from prig to badass is one of my favorite things about the series.

ahartsell said...

I really enjoyed re-reading this. I remember how enchanted I was with Rowling's world the first time I read this. I just love all the little details, like when Harry first gets his letter. I also loved reading his list of school supplies. I believe I was taking a literary theory class the first time I read this book, and I laughed out loud when I read Magical Theory by Adalbert Waffling.

ahartsell said...

Oh and knowing what we know now about Neville, I can't help but wonder what the sorting hat said to Neville. Rowling says "The hat took a long time to decide with Neville" (120).

wordnerdy said...

That's a great point too--Neville's very gradual transformation from clumsy humorous sidekick to bona fide hero is absolutely one of my favorite things Rowling did with the series--Neville is one of the only things I really love about book 5. I'm glad the sorting hat could see it, even if it took me a few books to realize Neville's potential. :)

wordnerdy said...

Though actually, Dumbledore recognizes Neville's nature at the end of book 1, when he gives him those 10 points (for standing up to his friends) which win the house cup for Gryffindor. (That part makes me teary.)

ahartsell said...

That part makes me a little teary too. Go Neville! I also loved how Ron and Hermione played an equally important role in getting past all the traps. I was always kind of disappointed that in the movie they didn't have the scene with the potions and the logic puzzle. I thought that scene did a much better job of showing Hermione shine than her just remembering what to do with Devil's Snare.

ahartsell said...

It always kind of bothered me that Harry beat Quirrell "because of love". What do you think of that explanation? It always felt a little forced to me.

wordnerdy said...

Re: your first comment--that is one of the reasons I HATE the movies. I always feel like they leave out the most important parts and put in totally random stuff. Hermione really didn't get her due in the first film for sure.

Re: the love thing. That's sort of what the whole series boils down to, to a certain extent. Though I agree, the explanation is really clumsy in this one. If I think about it too much, it's kind of silly and nonsensical--almost a deus ex machina that Quirrell couldn't touch Harry.