Rereading Harry Potter – Week 7

Rereading Harry Potter – Week 7

Hello fellow bookworms and welcome to week 7 of rereading Harry Potter as an adult! Time has flown by this week with my positive COVID-test and quarantine and then having to work a lot to catch up after quarantine, then there was Valentine’s Day, which we didn’t really celebrate, because you know: quarantine, then my boyfriend got tested positive, so now HE’s in quarantine and apparently that means he is entitled to my attention. Then of course there was storm Dudley (very good name) and storm Eunice that wreaked havoc around the North Sea. So this week was a little much and suddenly it was the weekend, which means: Rereading Harry Potter time! This week’s post is the penultimate post about the Chamber of Secrets, after which we will of course be moving on to The Prisoner of Azkaban.

We left off last week with Hermione looking like Millicent Bulstrode’s cat, so we’re starting off this week with Hermione in the Hospital Wing. She’s still quite hairy (if Harry had been the one looking like a cat, he would have been Hairy Potter, but I guess Rowling doesn’t have as great a sense of humour as I do), but looking less like a cat every day. Harry and Ron make their way back to the common room from the Hospital Wing and come across a flooded hallway near the Girl’s bathroom. They enter the bathroom where Myrtle is crying because somebody threw a book at her head. Needless to say, this book is Tom Riddle’s Diary. Ron recognises T.M. Riddle from one of the award trophies Filch made him polish.

“Maybe he got thirty O.W.L.s or saved a teacher from the giant squid. Maybe he murdered Myrtle, that would’ve done everyone a favour…”

Ron Weasley, The Chamber of Secrets

There hasn’t been an attack on any mudbloods for a while now and, here’s another one for the reasons-why-Lockhart-is-annoying-list, Lockhart seems to think he himself has made the attacks stop. He also decides the school could use a little pick-me-up, so he arranges for Valentine’s Day decorations and dwarfs delivering Valentines. Coincidentally, I read this on Valentine’s Day and it wasn’t until hours later that I realised it was indeed, Valentine’s Day.. And they say romance is dead.

Harry also gets a little Valentine from.. someone. I’m not sure who, but I’m guessing it was Malfoy’s idea to have a dwarf deliver a musical Valentine to Harry in front of a bunch of first-years. Harry tries to escape, though and this causes his bag to rip open and ink to spill all over his books. When he returns to the common room, Harry realises that Tom Riddle’s Diary doesn’t have any ink on it at all. He tries to write in it and the words disappear, but are answered by the Diary. Harry agrees to being sucked into Tom Riddle’s memories, where he sees Tom meeting with the headmaster, Professor Dippet (never heard of him) and asking to stay at Hogwarts during the summer. He declines because of the heir of Slytherin still walking around freely at Hogwarts, which makes Tom decide to “turn Hagrid in” (we know of course that Hagrid would never do such a thing and I will suckerpunch anyone who claims otherwise).

The mandragoras have always been one of my favourite things from the second Harry Potter book. The way they suck their thumbs as baby’s (or other peoples thumbs if you get too close), they get acne when they hit puberty and then try to move into each others pots when they’re mature. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love Rowling’s creativity so much.

About four months after the attack on Justin and Nearly-Headless Nick, the next attack happens. This time Hermione and a Ravenclaw girl named Penelope Clearwater are attacked. I have no memory of a Ravenclaw girl being a victim, though I do remember the name, so I guess she’ll be making a comeback somewhere in the story. On the bright side, nobody thinks Harry is the Heir of Slytherin anymore now that Hermione got attacked. Ron and Harry decide to finally go and talk to Hagrid, but then Cornelius Fudge appears to take Hagrid to Azkaban. 10 seconds later Lucius Malfoy appears with an Order of Suspension for Dumbledore. I hate that man so much. How can he possibly still be working for the Ministry. It surprised me, though, that Fudge came to Dumbledore’s defence on the suspension. Everybody knows that Fudge is intimidated by Dumbledore and thinks he’s after Fudge’s job. Or maybe Fudge assumes that as long as Dumbledore is headmaster of Hogwarts, he won’t go for his job.

Okay, it’s time for my least favourite part of the book and perhaps the whole series: the visit to Aragog. Why does it have to be “follow the spiders”? Why can’t it be “follow the butterflies”? But seriously, this chapter is every arachnofobic person’s worst nightmare. The chapter is way shorter than I remember, though. The movie really drags this whole part out into one long scene of agony. I hate spiders. Imagine being picked up by a giant hairy spider and transported through a dark forest with spiders everywhere. Nope. Just nope. Let’s skip this, shall we? The Weasley’s car saves them just as they’re about to get eaten and they live happily ever after.

Important detail, though: Aragog mentions that a girl died in the bathroom when the Chamber was opened 50 years ago. 50 bucks says it’s moaning Myrtle.

That’s it for this week. Thank you again for reading this week’s Rereading Harry Potter update. If you want to be kept up to date, leave your e-mail address in the box below! See you next week for week 8, the grand finale to the Chamber of Secrets.

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Rereading Harry Potter as an adult – Week 1

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.