Rereading Harry Potter as an adult – Week 1
Hi fellow bookworms!
I hope you’ve been having a great weekend so far! I personally usually work on weekends, but since we’re still in lockdown and there’s literally no other reason to go out of the house these days, I really don’t mind working. The lockdown is a great excuse to lie on the couch and read in your pyjamas all day, though. I had to pace myself not to read the first Harry Potter book in one go. I read 93 pages of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (or Sorcerer’s Stone, for those in the US who are apparently so dumb, they needed a simpler word for Philosopher. Honestly, I will never understand the need to change the name of the book for the US.) this week, which is the first 5 chapters of the book. I stopped just before Harry goes to King’s Cross Station and meets the Weasleys.
Chapter One: The Boy Who Lived
This is probably THE most famous chapter in the entire Harry Potter series, with the iconic first line:
“Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”J.K. Rowling
In the first few paragraphs, Mr and Mrs Dursley are described for us. I know we’ve all noticed how Harry does NOT have his father’s eyes, but apparently Mrs Dursley is supposed to be blonde and so is Dudley. I guess we’ll just call it artistic license.
Then Dumbledore and McGonagall enter the story, waiting for Hagrid to drop off Harry on the Dursleys doorstep. I love the dialogue between the two professors in this scene. It had a wit to it that I had completely forgotten about. I cracked up when Dumbledore tells his two companions about the scar above his knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground. I don’t remember Dumbledore being this funny, but I guess we’ll see if he keeps it up.
Chapter Two: The Vanishing Glass
I never really liked this scene in the movie. I can’t really put my finger on it, maybe I’ve just seen it too many times (impossible!). Obviously it’s the chapter where it’s Dudleys birthday and he complains about there only being 37 presents, when he had 38 last year and Mrs Dursley shows some great parenting skills by promising him 2 more presents when they get to the zoo.
“Aunt Petunia often said that Dudley looked like a baby Angel – Harry Often said that Dursley looked like a pig in a wig.”J.K. Rowling
So Harry is supposed to go to Mrs Figg’s and look at pictures of every cat she’s ever owned, but she calls Petunia to tell her she has broken her leg and she can’t take Harry, which means he has to come with them to the zoo. This is where the iconic scene happens where the glass of the boa constrictor’s tank disappears. It happens much, much faster than I remember, though.
Chapter Three: The Letters from No One
Another chapter with some really iconic scenes. Obviously there’s the scene where Harry gets a letter addressed to him and is stupid enough to open it in front of the Dursleys, so it gets taken from him. Then there’s the scene where hundreds of letters come “pelting out of the fireplace like bullets” and Harry tries to catch one instead of just picking one up from the floor.. Honestly, I’m glad he’s a fast learner, because based on these first three chapters, we would be doomed with him as “The Chosen One”.
Then Uncle Vernon loses his marbles and travels around England trying to find a place where the letters won’t follow them. At the end of the chapter they end up in a shack on a tiny island. In a few minutes, Harry will turn 11. And then just when the clock strikes 12, with a big BOOM enters:
Chapter Four: The Keeper of the Keys
Hagrid nocks down the door to the shack. The first thing I noticed in this chapter is that Hagrid doesn’t mistake Dudley for Harry when he first enters. I guess they just added that to the movie for… I don’t know why they added it, to be honest. It always felt a little odd.
Then Hagrid tells Harry some things about his parents and Hogwarts and he finally gives Harry his Hogwarts acceptance letter. This was the absolute SHORTEST letter I have ever seen. The list of all of Dumbledores titles at the top of the letter was actually longer than the letter itself.
After Harry receives the letter, Mr and Mrs Dursley reveal that they knew that Harry was a wizard and then Petunias speech about her sister starts in the exact words they used in the movie. While I was reading, I could just hear her voice and see her disgusted face in my head (I was the only one who saw her for who she really was – a freak!). I love how they copied her lines in the book almost to the letter. It’s pretty much the first time Petunia says more than 3 words in a row, so I love that they put those few minutes of fame in the movie as well.
Then the part where Harry asks about Voldemort and asks Hagrid to spell it out, if you won’t say his name. Hagrid tells Harry that he can’t spell it. This had me wondering, if Hagrid didn’t get kicked out of school until his third year, he must have gone to school until he was 14 years old. How is it that he can’t spell Voldemort? It just didn’t really add up. If anyone can explain this to me, leave a comment please.
Chapter Five: Diagon Alley
Harry and Hagrid spend the night in the shack and leave for Diagon Alley in the morning (in the movie, they leave in the middle of the night, which doesn’t make any sense, now that I think about it). I will not tell you how old I was when I figured out that Diagon Alley was a play on words on diagonally. Please, before you laugh at me, remember that English is not my first language.
When they arrive at Diagon Alley, Hagrid tells Harry to take out his list of everything he will need for school. Call me a nerd, but I got very excited when I saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander on that list. I got excited again when Hagrid explained wizard money to Harry (29 knuts to a sickle, 17 sickles to a Galleon).
Then Hagrid and Harry arrive at the Leaky Cauldron (again, very excited) and they run into Professor Quirrel, who shakes Harry’s hand. I remember that in the movie, he refuses to shake his hand and we later learn that You-Know-Who has been on the back of his head all year long. I guess they added that for some dramatic effect.
While Hagrid recovers from their trip to Gringotts, Harry runs into the boy we later learn is Draco Malfoy at Madam Malkin’s. They have a nice chat about Mudbloods, who of course shouldn’t be allowed into Hogwarts and my blood already started boiling. Then Hagrid and Harry go and buy Hedwig at Eeylops Own Emporium (I admit, I cried a little) and they go to Ollivanders to buy a wand, which was a lot less eventful than I remember it being from the movie (way less explosions).
In the last few paragraphs, Hagrid hands Harry his ticket for the Hogwarts Express and tells him to take the train from King’s Cross on the first of September, which is where we will pick up again next week..
Thank you for reading and see you next week for the next few chapters! Love you guys.
Also, remind me to add “Galloping Gorgons” to my list of swearwords.