Thursday, July 16, 2009
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
I still remember the feeling of reading this book for the first time, of being guided through the imaginary land of Hogwarts alongside Harry and his pals. Being introduced to all the main characters: Hagrid, Dumbledore, Professor McGonnagle, Professor Snape, Ron, Hermione, the Weasley family, was like meeting a crazy family. As I made my way through this relatively short book (considering the length of the others) two things really stuck out to me.
First and foremost was the incredible world that JK Rowling had created through Hogwarts. I’m a fan of imaginative literature, but I still have a hard time getting my head around Middle Earth and Narnia and the like. They’re all of them wonderful imaginative places, but Hogwarts stands out. I like it because the characters make the place come alive, not the other way around. Rowling excels at creating characters who are so incredibly relatable. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be friends with Ron, Hermionie, and Hagrid? Also, it is a world full of humor. I don’t think I really caught all the humor as much on my first read, but since then I’ve come to absolutely love the little snippets of humor she wriggles into the story. Her little descriptions of the magic candy’s, her descriptions of the idiosyncrasies of the characters, they all go a long way toward making the story not just exciting, but fun.
And that leads me to my second favorite part of this book, the friendships that are formed. Each of the books seem to have their own key points that stand out, and by far in this book I’d say the theme that stands out is the friendships that are formed by Harry, Ron, and Hermione. The most pivotal scene in all the book, to me, is when Harry and Ron are running back to Gryffindor tower after Professor Quirrell has interrupted the feast by proclaiming that a troll has entered the castle. In a split second, Harry and Ron make a decision that will affect the rest of their lives. Harry turns to Ron and says “but wait, Hermione is in the girls bathroom (she’d been crying all afternoon and had missed dinner), we’ve got to go and get her!”
In that one single action, Harry and Ron decide that friendship is more important than selfishness, and the rest of the story builds from there. Thereafter they become a team that sticks together at all costs. I love how intricately interwoven this thread of friendship is throughout all of the books, and particularly this one. Few books in our time really explore the power of friendships in the way that the HP books do. And that’s why they are some of my favorite books.