Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
by J.K. Rowling
re-read in December 2016
“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
Though this was not the first time I read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, it was the first time I read the illustrated edition! While the illustrations are gorgeous and I’d recommend everyone to get this edition, I don’t think it changed my reading experience. To be honest though, I already knew all the drawings due to my photos on Bookstagram, so it might be different for Chamber of Secrets (because I haven’t glanced through that one yet). Either way I have no idea how I am going to survive the sequel: there were tons of drawings of spiders in Philosopher’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets is only going to get worse!
As much as I love the Harry Potter series, I have many issues with J.K. Rowling. That’s no secret. In this book, there were also a couple of things that bothered me. First of, she is clearly fat-phobic. She needs to stop calling fat people pigs! Even though Dudley and Vernon are unlikeable, does not mean they should be made fun of due to their weight.
Some people might call her a feminist icon, but I very much disagree (She supports casting Johnny Depp even though he abused his wife!). Her misogyny becomes more clear in the later books, but there was also some in this one already. When Draco and Harry are flying on their brooms, “there were screams and gasps from girls”. Some of you might not think that is sexist, but I hate the fact that she felt the need to add “from girls” to that sentence! As if the boys weren’t scared or interested in what was happening…
As for the writing, I kind of dislike the way Hagrid’s lines are written. If someone has an accent, I’d rather have that the author wrote “x said in an accent” or something like that.
Now, I will get into spoilers, foreshadowing, questions I have… So this part contains spoilers! You’ve been warned!
• Ted the newsreader on the Muggle news grins when they are talking about the many owl sightings. I think that might be Ted Tonks! He was a muggle-born wizard, so it makes sense.
• Sirius let Hagrid borrow his bike!
• How can there only be one wizarding bank? That doesn’t make any sense.
• Hagrid isn’t allowed to do magic because he was expelled. Yet he knows how to do nonverbal spells?!
• There is rumoured to be a dragon in Gringots 😉
• Why do the students have to buy their robes beforehand when they don’t know their houses yet?
• James’ wand was excellent for transfiguration.
• Molly asks what platform number they have to go to. It is always platform 9 3/4! She went to Hogwarts herself and takes her children there every year, so how could she not know that?
• Almost everyone of Harry’s generation is sorted in the same house as their parents. Children do not always have the same traits as their parents, so that’s unfortunate.
• Harry has the following dream:
He was wearing Professor Quirrell’s turban, which kept talking to him, telling him he must transfer to Slytherin at once, because it was his destiny. Harry told the turban he didn’t want to be in Slytherin; it got heavier and heavier; he tried to pull it off but it tightened painfully — and there was Malfoy, laughing at him as he struggled with it -then Malfoy turned into the hook-nosed teacher, Snape, whose laugh became high and cold — there was a burst of green light and Harry woke, sweating and shaking.
I guess that this dream is foreshadowing for what’s to come. Obviously, Quirrel’s turban is Voldemort who talks to him at the end of the book. In Chamber of Secrets, Harry questions whether he doesn’t belong in Slytherin instead. Malfoy was supposed to kill Dumbledore in Half-blood Prince, but it was Snape who finished the job instead (hence the burst of green light).
• Snape urged Quirrell to stay loyal to Hogwarts. Therefore, Voldemort should know that Snape’s true loyalties lie with Dumbledore, and not him.
• McGonagall says it’s the first time four students were out of bed in one night. Okay, sure Minerva… We all know that’s not true!
• She also says they shouldn’t be walking around at night, “especially these days”. What is she referring to?
• The centaurs are angry when Firenze interfered when Quirrell/Voldemort was going to attack Harry. Firenze says he hopes the planets have been read wrongly. So, the centaurs know Voldemort is going to kill Harry (they just didn’t know when exactly).
• Peeves says “wee student beasty”. I wonder whether he is referring to the Marauders?
• Dumbledore says that Voldemort is not truly alive, and therefore cannot be killed. Did he know about the horcruxes already?
conclusion: As usual, I enjoyed reading this tremendously. I love the amount of foreshadowing and look forward to re-reading the rest of the series again!