A friend of ours has never read the Harry Potter series, so we’ve tasked ourselves with reading the septet this Spring/Summer and watching the movies as we go. This is my second time through the series and the first time rereading after a gap of five years.
The Sorcerer’s Stone, the first book, is not my favorite of the series although it’s still an enjoyable read. It serves its purpose in introducing the characters and world of Harry Potter, but because I know what’s to come later in the books, I sometimes get bored and want the book to end quicker. So it’s more impatience than bad writing that keeps me from really enjoying it.
Another reason I had problems with this first book is context. Now that I’m not in school anymore, it’s hard for me to share in their woes over homework or the joy that is the start and finish of a school year. Back in college when I first read the series, I felt very connected to the world of boarding school and the constant flow of homework, exams, and finals. Not only did I relate to the trials and tribulations of being in school, but the plot seemed a nice way to exorcise the intense exhaustion it can all have on a person. But now that I’m the teacher and not the student, I felt almost a little patronizing towards Harry and friends as they complained about essays and tests. The teacher in me wanted to say, it’s school–it’s what you do. And I realized with that reaction that my view of Harry is going to be very different this read-through.
But what I still relate to is the importance of education and how the education teaches you that sometimes what you know isn’t enough; there’s more to learn in order to be better at what you want to be. One lesson the gang learns early on in this book is how crucial friends are. This is a lesson that no matter where you are in life is something we all need and need to be reminded of from time to time.
The conclusion of the book really hit home to me one of the enduring themes that Ms. Rowling develops so well throughout the series–that love is the strongest defense against evil there is.