Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - Chapters 12 - 13

Time Lapse

This book is the shortest in the series and we can see how in just these couple of chapters. Chapter 12 begins just before Christmas and chapter 13 ends in late Spring. The major lapse in time is understandable. The overall plot of the series hasn't quite developed yet. We don't want to throw too much at our little hero just yet.

I've got to say... I got all giddy when I found out that Hermione's parents are BOTH dentists. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

The Invisibility Cloak

I love that the first thing Harry does with the cloak is he goes out and breaks school rules. It's interesting that the cloak was his fathers and that it was given to him by Dumbledore. Why did Dumbledore have it? Don't worry, that gets answered in about 3300 more pages.

Mirror of Erised

It's interesting that Dumbledore has seemingly led Harry to the mirror of Erised. What I like about this part in the book is that Dumbledore sits down on the floor next to Harry. I think this really shows Dumbledore's character; that he doesn't see himself as superior to anyone else. Even though he probably knows he's the greatest wizard out there, he humbles himself and shows this by having a rather adult conversation with an 11-year-old. Yet, another thing about Dumbledore's relationship with Harry comes out in this section. When Harry asks Dumbledore what he sees in the mirror, Dumbledore replies that he sees himself with a pair of socks. Even Harry feels that Dumbledore isn't being quite honest. Dumbledore is being a bit patronizing here, yet he must really feel strongly about not sharing this piece of personal information because he is otherwise quite open about other things.

The Sorcerer's Stone

Oh good, we finally find out what the blasted book title means. The original title of this book was Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone which is the title that was used in the British version. "Philosopher", however, has a slightly different connotation here in America, so the editors decided to change the title for the American publication.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - Chapters 10 - 11

Hermione, the Wretch

Hermione debuts as quite the piece of work. Sadly, she reminds me a lot of me when I was younger. Scratch that. I'm still a lot like her in a lot of ways. I find it interesting that from the get go, Hermione and Ron's relationship is a bit strained to say the least, but even after they become friends, that tension never leaves; even through the end of the series. The group dynamic among the trio (Harry, Ron and Hermione) is fascinating. The stereotypical role of the airhead is usually, (but not rightly) played by a blond female. In this case, Ron is really the one to take on that role. He is often oblivious to social graces and perception of people's feelings.

It's interesting, but I find myself identifying with a lot of personality traits from each one of the intrepid trio. Like Hermione, I'm fairly studious and can be a bit of a know-it-all. Like Ron, I often lack confidence and social grace, but consider myself a loyal friend, and like Harry, I feel I'm quick to jump to conclusions, but have a good moral compass.


Did you notice who gave Harry is broomstick? It was Professor McGonagall and it wasn't just any old broomstick. It was the best on the market. I think this gesture shows a lot of insight into Professor McGonagall. She isn't just all business. She has a heart and I believe she has a real soft spot for Harry even though she has an interesting way of showing it. She's very old fashioned, but I love the brief moments when we can catch a glimpse of what's hiding beyond her stoic fascade.

Did you know that there are 700 ways to commit a Quidditch foul? Harry learned this piece of trivia from a book called Quidditch Through the Ages. Here's a bit of trivia for you. Quidditch Through the Ages is an actual book written by J.K. Rowling, and yes, I have it and I've read it. It's quite interesting too.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - Chapters 8 - 9

The Overgrown Bat

We finally come to one of my favorite characters throughout the Harry Potter series. No, it's not Argus Filch. I'm talking about Severus Snape. Rowling really does a great job with this character. He has so many levels and the depth of this character gets more intricate with each book. Rowling has a gift of making the reader hang on to his every line, and I've got to say, Alan Rickman does a fabulous job portraying Snape in the films. He's a loathsome character, but you can't help but be drawn to him and be intrigued by him. For those of you who haven't read the books yet, why do you think Snape hates Harry so much?

Super Sleuth

So at this point, Harry starts to put together that there is some connection between the emptied vault at Gringotts and the announced break-in. Was Harry right in thinking the grubby little package is what the crook was after? We'll see. From this point in the story, Harry is developing a bad habit of not being able to ignore mysteries. We'll see that sometimes it's for the best, but at others, it can lead to big trouble. I love that Harry has no fear, but at the same time, is like a typical 11-year-old in that he has absolutely no regard for consequences of his impulsive actions.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A little break for a little reason

Sorry for the brief hiatus in the posts folks, but we've been busy enjoying the newest addition to our family, Addelyn Nicole. She's wonderful and we're so happy to be parents. I'll be resuming my Harry Potter posts shortly. Keep reading!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - Chapters 6-7

Corned beef? Whose mom fixes their kid corned beef?!?

Anyway, if you've seen the
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie, you may recall a scene that takes place right after the second challenge of the Triwizard Tournament. In the scene, Harry, Hermione, and Ron and walking with Hagrid in the woods singing. If you paid attention to the words, you would have noticed that they are the lyrics to the Hogwarts school song, the lyrics of which are only found in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone book in Chapter 7. What is noteworthy is that in the novels, the song is only ever sung in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, never in Goblet of Fire.

On a completely separate note, there is one important distinction in the author's writing that you may have already picked up on. The distinction is between the roles J.K. Rowling has as the author of the novels and as the narrator. As the author, she knows the story from beginning to end. As the narrator, she sees the world as 11-year-old Harry sees it, and in turn, the story (at least on the surface) is probably suitable to a similar-aged reader. Throughout this book, Harry doesn't always see what is going on behind the scenes and doesn't understand as deeply the problems going on right under his nose, as we'll learn in this novel as well as future books in the series. One example of Harry's 11-year-old point of view is that at this point in the series, Harry sees professor McGonagall as an intimidating authority figure. As the series progresses, we'll get to see how Harry's relationship with his teachers changes and develops and we'll see how very differently he interacts with the teachers by the end of the series.

Lastly, remember back to my post from the very first chapter. Remember how I said that the fact that Harry's parents lived in Godric's Hollow was important? The head of Gryffindor house was Godric Gryffindor. The house colors of Gryffindor are red and gold. Harry was born in the town that was named after Gryffindor. Also, remember back to Diagon Alley. The sparks Harry shoots out of the wand that eventually becomes his are red and gold. It's no coincidence then that Harry ends up in Gryffindor house. I told you there is no minor detail that should be overlooked.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - Chapters 4-5

So, Harry knows he's a wizard. He must be a good judge of character if he trusts Gigantosaurus because Uncle Giggle-snort, Aunt Flappergums, and Beefy Weefy certainly don't. One thing I thought of when reading these chapters is the name of Diagon Alley. Does it seem weird to you that when put together the two words form the word "diagonally?" I'm not sure if it was intentional, but judging from the way J.K. Rowling writes, I would say that it was intentional. Also, notice how many references to the color green there are. Harry's eyes, the writing on his Hogwarts acceptance letter, the icing on his birthday cake, and the smoke that came out of his Gringotts vault when it was first opened. Again, I'm sure this was intentional, but even after reading the entire series, i'm still not sure of the exact reasons for making all the 'green' references, but I have my theories.

One thing I love about J.K. Rowling's writing is how descriptive she is. As she describes Diagon Alley, even though everything there is made up and sensational, she makes it completely believable. To those shopping there, everything is commo
nplace and ordinary, just like going to the mall for you and me. From here, the author really sets the stage for how she wants her readers to view the wizarding world: Unbelievable, yet believable.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - Chapters 2-3

Ah, the infamous Uncle Salt Porker, Aunt Horse-face, and their devil child, Roast Beefy. After these two chapters, I hope you're getting a feel for how the Dursleys treat poor Harry. One thing I hope you have noticed is that Harry, despite being treated like a rented mule refuses to feel resentful or reclusive. He remains optimistic and eager to explore the world around him. Notice the joy he feels at the opportunity of watching what he wants on TV, having a go on Dudley's computer, being given a cheap lemon ice pop, and finishing Dudley's "knickerbocker glory" ice cream sundae. Although Harry is aware he is treated worse than most children, he never loses hope that things will get better.

Aunt Horse-face, Roast Beefy, Uncle Salt Porker

In Chapter 3, we get a pretty big clue when the
Dursleys get one of Harry's letters. The Dursleys aren't as in dark about the magical world as they let on. At least Petunia knew what her sister was, otherwise they wouldn't have acted so severely toward the letter. She must have known Harry's parents were wizards and that they attended a magical school called Hogwarts. Hmmmmmm.