This post contains Harry Potter spoilers.
I began this new year rereading Harry Potter for the first time in a while. So far, I’ve gone through the first three books (currently on Goblet of Fire). It feels really good to get back into this magical world, like meeting up with a really great friend you haven’t spoken to in years. It’s nice to see you still have so much in common.
Upon rereading, I’ve been noticing a lot of things I’d missed or forgotten and many things that make more sense or feel more meaningful in retrospect. It’s also interesting to take a look at the story from a little bit older perspective, with an undergraduate degree and three years out of school. I find myself constantly praising Jo’s genius. There’s so many beautiful breadcrumbs early on in the story. I’ve no idea whether she meant it that way or retrofitted details but either way it makes for some breathtaking storytelling.
This is a book series that ended nearly a decade ago, so forgive me if this gets spoiler heavy. If you’ve never read Harry Potter, first of all, what are you doing? Stop reading this post and go read Harry Potter. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Okay, now that everyone here has read Harry Potter, let the spoilers commence.
The first couple of books read very young. HP’s end sticks out most in my memory at this point, and the final book is pretty adult (dark and heavy; so much death). It was kind of nice to get back to books 1 to 3, which are lighter in tone and not quite as dire. Not everyone is going to die all of the time. Though I kept thinking that Dumbledore was and continues to ask a lot of Harry. I mean, he’s only eleven, but he definitely starts grooming him to face off with Voldemort. It’s no accident he ends up learning the secrets of the Mirror of Erised. And then there’s the whole business with the Chamber of Secrets and the whole rescuing Sirius thing. Like he’s eleven. Calm down professor. I mean, it’s no real surprise considering he knows about the prophecy the entire time, but still. It’s a lot for someone who hasn’t even gone through puberty yet. I also forgot how annoying Sorcerer’s Stone is before Ron and Harry become friends with Hermione. It’s just so painful. I need my HOLY TRINITY. Also I don’t think I realized before that the goblin that takes Harry to his Gringotts vault for the first time is Griphook. This may have been addressed in the last book, but I can’t remember. I’ll get back to that in a few weeks.
I have such mixed feelings about Chamber of Secrets. There is a lot of it that I find annoying (i.e., everyone turning against Harry, LOCKHART, Malfoy and mudbloods). The end of Chamber of Secrets is probably the best part or at least the most thrilling part. It’s like a race to the end once Hermione is attacked. It’s great that we see the opal necklace that curses Katie Bell and the vanishing cabinet from the sixth book early on in Chamber, another example of how carefully Jo utilizes all the details she puts in her books. I
Prisoner of Azkaban remains the absolute best HP book. It’s the only one where Voldemort doesn’t directly get involved. The exploration of the Marauders’ story is so good and it’s important backstory. Remus Lupin is the greatest DADA teacher of all time, also possibly greatest person. He’s so kind to Harry when he really needs it the most. I was so sad to see him leave Hogwarts. Of all the professors they have in that position, he’s the only one who really teaches the students anything. I guess you could argue Mad-Eye does too but that gets complicated when you realize he was an impostor the whole time.
Hermione’s stress at overloading herself is incredibly relatable looking back. Girl, I’ve been there. I also forgot how creepy it is when Trelawney makes her prediction. It’s such good setup for the prophecy. Bless you Jo. Bless you. I would also say the third books really expands the HP world. Harry takes a ride on the Knight Bus. We get to go into Hogsmeade for the first time. Outside of Hogwarts, the Burrow, and Diagon Alley, we don’t see a lot of scenes in wizard society. The crisis surrounding the escape of Sirius Black puts the wider wizarding world into a greater context, showing more of what regular wizardly life is like and also what they fear. Can I also stress how upsetting the dementors are, especially at the end with the swarm and the attempted kiss? It makes Harry’s full formed patronus even more impressive.
Finally, the climax is basically the last third of the book, but it never feels very long. Just awesome. There is so much necessary information in there. Plus everything with Sirius is super awesome. He is the best. He’s smart, loyal, a little bit crazy, and just totally wonderful. (He’s kind of my fave.) I also love how Harry is like a couple of hours ago I thought you sold out my parents to Voldemort but hell yeah I’ll live with you. Granted, that moment is also the most heartbreaking. For a glorious half an hour, Harry almost gets a family. He’s so happy. It makes me sad to think he only gets a couple of years with Sirius. It’s terribly unfair.
Man, I love Harry Potter. I don’tknow what else to even say. Look forward to more HP updates as I finish the series for the umpteenth time. I am having such a ball going through it again. ❤
Until next time!