Friday, August 26, 2011

Back to Hogwarts: On Rereading the Harry Potter Series

One of my (failed) projects for this summer was to undertake a full reread of the Harry Potter series. I wanted to do so partially because of the release of the second movie, and also because I have only read Half-Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows once and I'd like to revisit them now that I am older and more likely to understand some of the moments I had missed previously.

I mention that this project failed not because I abandoned it but because somehow I ran out of time to finish the books. Currently I am working through Prisoner of Azkaban.

My thoughts on my series read through so far are as follows:

1. I am astounded by the amount of foreshadowing and setup in the beginning books. Particularly in Sorcerer's Stone. I never liked rereading book one because there were so many parts that were slow and nonessential once you had read the book and understood how the wizarding world worked. Now, going back to the beginning and reading all about the Dursley's and Dumbledore and how everything fit together I was surprised at how much more I learned from that very first book.

2. Similarly, the part in Chamber of Secrets where Dumbledore explains why Harry can speak to snakes makes a whole lot more sense now that I've read Deathly Hallows. Even as early as books 1 and 2 there's the foreshadowing of what Harry really is and what the series really holds.

3. At this moment, I am almost eager to reread Order of the Phoenix because I want to see how my knowledge of horcruxes changes my perception of Harry's (angry) actions and behavior in the book.

All of this said, I have one other fun tidbit to share with you.

After years of begging and pleading, I convinced my youngest brother to read the Harry Potter series. About 3/4ths of the way through Prisoner of Azkaban he tried to quit. When I returned home for two weeks before the start of school, I sat down and convinced him to finish the book. The condition for him finishing it was that I would have to read it aloud to him. I promptly sat down, broke out my best British accent, and we finished Prisoner of Azkaban together. Watching his awed face after the end and hearing him agree to start Goblet of Fire brought me to the oddly fulfilling sensation that only books can. As I started Goblet of Fire with him, I got to rediscover and see the books for the first time again. I get to watch my brother's excitement about Fred and George's pranks and silliness, see his love for Quidditch, and share the book series that became my home with a new reader.

And that is what reading is really about--sharing your experience and what you've learned with those around you and those who come up after you.

I will finish my read through of the series as soon as classwork permits, but I am more excited to read the series through my brother's eyes and see it all for the first time once more.

I hope everyone has had a great start to the semester.

No comments:

Post a Comment