November 11th, 2009

Harry Potter Re-Read: Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 1

I’m re-reading the Harry Potter series from start to finish in the name of over-analysis.  Spoilers ahoy.

The Boy Who Lived

In the first half of Chapter 1, we’re introduced to the Dursleys, a prudish and judgmental couple who spoil their son Dudley rotten.  They have an embarrassing secret in the form of Mrs. Dursley’s estranged sister, Mrs. Potter, and they are careful never to speak of her or her husband and son.  But then Mr. Dursley has a very strange day in which he witnesses flocks of owls, a suspicious cat, and overhears odd people in colorful cloaks talking about “the Potters”  in hushed tones.  He speculates uncomfortably that these Potters are his in-laws, but after a terse conversation with his wife, decides to ignore these omens and assume it has nothing to do with him.

I’m going to stop there, because there’s a lot to comment on even before Dumbledore shows up. More…

November 10th, 2009

Harry Potter Re-Read: Introduction

Ever since I plowed my way through Deathly Hallows in one day back in June of 2007, I’ve been meaning to re-read the complete Harry Potter series.  I wasn’t always a fan; being naturally distrustful of anything that’s hugely popular, I needed a lot of high-school peer pressure before I would willingly dip my toes into the whole phenomenon.  But the first book grabbed me, bringing back fond memories of childhood fantasy favorites like The Dark is Rising and Goblins in the Castle, and by the time I’d finished Prisoner of Azkaban the deal was sealed.  I had to admit that Harry Potter, just like the Beatles and The Simpsons, was actually popular for a reason.  These were solid, well-written adventure books with compelling characters and richly detailed settings.

Now that time has passed, the series has come to its end and I myself am a (still unpublished) fantasy novelist, I think it’s as good a time as any to come back to the books for a fresh look.  And since I claim to be a writer, I might as well start a blog series about it.  This is the way of the Geek: sure, I’ll cave in and enjoy something with a lot of mainstream appeal, but I’ll be sure to get way too into it, and thus maintain my status as a snobby outsider, snort. More…