So, I am very late on my Harry Potter Reread Extravaganza, considering I wanted to have read Goblet of Fire by now, and I’m just starting Sorcerer’s Stone. That’s okay though, because I think I can move through the books pretty fast, and I’ll get caught up soon enough. If I can get through the series in 3 weeks, I’ll be pleased with myself.
Anyway, I am 7 chapters into Sorcerer’s Stone, and let’s just say, it has been great going back to Hogwarts so far. I’ve read the first three books in the series more times than all of the other ones (mostly because I used to reread the whole series before each new book came out, so naturally I’ve read the earlier ones more times than the later ones), and rereading SS feels so familiar. I find myself anticipating things before they happen, which is normal, but it’s for small stuff too, and not just major plot points. Stuff like, “When am I getting to that paragraph about Mrs. Figg giving Harry some gross chocolate cake?” and “Where’s that part where Harry describes his hair growing back really fast after Petunia cuts it off?” It feels a bit strange to know a book so inside and out like this, and it does take away from the adventure of reading in terms of knowing everything that comes next, but the familiarity is nice in a way.
One thing that is new for me is that I’m not reading my familiar, but old, tattered copy of Sorcerer’s Stone, with it’s yellowing, crinkly pages. I got the illustrated editions of the first two books for my birthday/Christmas, so I’m reading those for the first time, and I AM IN LOVE. When I first heard they were releasing illustrated versions of the books, I was a bit skeptical: why should I get new copies of the books when I have a perfectly good set at home, even if these new copies are illustrated? But I was wrong, very wrong. The illustrated version of this book is beautiful, and I spend a ton of time looking at each page, taking in how seriously amazing the artwork is. I want the illustrated version of all the books right now, but alas, I have to wait a few years for that to happen. I shall be very sad to finish Chamber of Secrets and have to return to my boring, artwork-less paperbacks later this week.
I don’t have many thoughts on how experiencing this book is different from how I remember it, mostly because it all just feels so familiar right now. I will say, I do have more appreciation for young Harry, because I forgot just how small and pure he really is. I can’t help but smile every time he does something adorable, like tell Hagrid about how he wants a book for cursing Dudley while they’re at Flourish and Blotts or how he proudly walks out of the owl emporium holding Hedwig’s cage or even how he worries about doing well at Hogwarts because he grew up with Muggles. He’s just so innocent and pure and wonderful, and I want to preserve this young Harry forever, even though I clearly know where he’s heading.
Finally, one thing I forgot about is how Harry meets Malfoy for the first time in the robe shop in Diagon Alley, rather than in the entrance hallway at Hogwarts, like he does in the first movie. That’s one thing I like a lot better about the book over the movie, because through their conversation in the shop, you really get a sense of Malfoy’s character right away (spoiled and a little mean-spirited), but he’s still being friendly with Harry–this new boy he’s never met and might be friends with–so it humanizes him too. He’s still an 11-year-old kid, scared of going to a new school and looking to make friends. Don’t get me started on all the other characters either: Fred and George are so nice to Harry on the Hogwart’s Express, which they don’t show in the movies, and Hagrid is just so wonderful and such a good role model, and I just love everyone in this book so much. I’m appreciating all the characters even more right now, and I can’t wait to continue.