I’ve said it before here, but in case you haven’t been following me for long, I’ve never read Harry Potter. Yep, that’s right, I’ve never read Harry. It’s a long story, but the short of it is, I never got around to it. When the fourth book came out and Harry Potter Mania hit, I was a fifteen-year-old eighth grader. Everyone around me was going back and quickly reading the first three, I remember a debate at lunch over how Hermione’s name was pronounced. I just didn’t join them for some reason (I was in the process of moving mind). As they later books began to come out through high school and college, and the movies, I meant to go back and read them, but never found the time with school. Now that I’m done, I’ve decided my first reading order of business this year is to read them.
Recently, I purchased Book 1 from my library’s used bookstore along with Book 7. So I decided I’d bring it along with me to work to read in between phone calls.
My first impression? I liked Rowling’s style and tone. Her descriptions of things were perfect for young minds, and for reading aloud. Her world building was excellent. Even if I had not seen the movies, I could easily have imagined Hogwarts, Platform 9 and 3/4, the Hogwarts Express, even the Quidditch games. The characters were clearly distinct instead of all the same, and I could see room for growth and expansion over a series. All in all, I really liked it. For a novel by a debut author, it was excellent. Sometimes, debut authors struggle with certain aspects of bringing their vision to life, but I saw none of that. It was the perfect start to a children’s series
The best part? We were being introduced to the the world along with Harry. A world with witches and wizards in it was as foreign to Harry as it was to us, so as he got explanations to what Knut and Quidditch was, so did we. This made introducing readers to the Wizarding world not only easy for Rowling to write, and of course easier to readers. There is nothing worse than being introduced to a new world by an author and being thrown new terms etc without much explanation becuase the characters already know what they are. It makes it hard to get into the story, but Rowling made it easy by introducing us along with Harry.
I also liked that I learned more about the characters. The twin’s insistence that Percy had to sit with them at Christmas instead of with the Prefects, and Percy’s stern attitude finally made sense. The mention of minor characters that didn’t pop up in the movies until the later ones filled out the story and showed us just how diverse this world could be and made there sudden appearance in the movies make sense.
All in all, I quite enjoyed it. I think it was an excellent book and the great start to a series. I can’t wait to read The Chamber of Secrets.