On Reading… Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

On Reading… is a feature I created to accompany my book reviews. So often reading is much more of an experience than is captured within a book review. That’s where this post comes in… All those snippets/spoilers/a-ha moments, all the anticipation of looking forward to a good read, and guessing what lies in store, that’s what you will find in my On Reading… posts. It’s an observational/conversational/discussion type feature, so THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD. Please proceed with caution!

Before I Started

I thought about doing my first Harry Potter re-read for a while, and started writing a post before I started reading book 1, but I didn’t realise I’d have so much to say and it ended up becoming my introduction post for this re-read, you can read that post here.

I’m excited to return to Hogwarts for the very first time. I can’t wait to see how my reaction to the book changes so many years after my first read, and with some knowledge of what’s to come. Am also interested to rediscover all the little details I’ve no doubt forgotten as times gone on.

This post is no doubt absolutely FULL of spoilers. Thought I’d better mention that even though it seems like everyone has already read all these books at least once, possibly multiple times. But, you know, just in case… definite spoilers beyond this point…

Whilst Reading…

I love the wit and humour in the writing.
Even in these early stages, with poor young Harry stuck with the Dursleys and no idea about his identity or his family, he deals with it well, and there are some comical images especially during the Letters From No One chapter.
I enjoyed Dudley having his tantrum and throwing his tortoise through the greenhouse, and the ongoing battle to retrieve Harry’s letter and keep it from him. (As an aside, I’m STILL waiting for my Hogwarts letter. All these years later I still haven’t lost hope!).
I can’t recall the last book that bought a smile to my face as this one is while I’m reading. Dudley’s antics and Harry’s dealings with the Dursleys probably makes for even better reading second time around when you know all that lies ahead when he escapes. The fact that he’ll soon be free of them makes it a lighter situation.

There’s something really comforting returning to a story you already know. The reading experience is different when you know what’s to come. It’s hard to describe, but you kind of relax into the reading. I don’t re-read very often, so this feeling is something I’ve missed out on until now.

p.59 – 60 – I do believe Malfoy just made his entrance; with an attitude like that how could it be anyone else?

p.63 – HEDWIG! I didn’t remember that Hagrid bought Harry his owl as a birthday present.

p.65 – Holly and phoenix feather, 11 inches, nice and supple. The wand chooses the wizard, you know.

p.69 – 80 – Love the introductions at the station and onboard the Hogwart’s Express.
The Weasleys – I smiled at young Ginny’s reaction to hearing Harry Potter was on the train, eager to go and see him like he’s a celebrity (what a change a few years will bring).
The whole atmosphere of the train is so good, the sharing snacks with Ron, Hermione’s first appearance, and even Malfoy’s appearance.
Re-reading is like meeting old friends after a really long absence. It’s such a pleasure to read, I’m really glad I decided to do this re-read.

p.86 – PEEVES! Ah, Peeves really should have made an appearance in the film and I like the bigger role of all the ghosts in the book.
I adore the first description of the Great Hall, the floating candles, the enchanted night-sky ceiling, it’s just gorgeous.
Someone please take me to Hogwarts already.

p.94 – And here comes another fave – Severus Snape, ladies and gentlemen! And on page 94 of my book. Too bad it wasn’t page 394, although I wouldn’t want to wait that long for his appearance and this book doesn’t actually have that many pages!

p.101 – I can’t help but hear Alan Rickman’s voice whenever I read Snape. He really was perfect for that role.

I like the rivalry between Malfoy and Harry and Ron and the way Malfoy never quite has the best of the situation.

p.140 – I love the change in Hermione that sees her become friends with Harry and Ron – lying about the troll then going from teacher worship to suspecting Snape of foul play and saving the day during the Quidditch Match.

p.146 – Wizard Chess! It’s described amazingly, real men on the board being distrustful of their player and shouting help, advice and tactics to Harry.

p.148 – That’s a sign of how long it is since I read this book – I cannot remember who sent Harry the Invisibility Cloak. This re-read is well-warranted. Also, Christmas day at Hogwarts sounds perfect.

Look at the words above the Mirror of Erised! I definitely didn’t notice that first time around.

p.164 – Go Ron and Neville! Scrapping with Malfoy and Co. at the Quidditch match.

p.182 – When Malfoy say’s he’s heard there are werewolves in the Forest is it because he dad was at Hogwarts with the Marauders and knew about Lupin, I wonder?
Oh what I would give for a book or a series of books based on the Marauders era at Hogwarts. It could be amazing.

p.187 – If Voldemort is using Quirrel then who is the hooded figure in the forest?

End – Well, that explains a few things – the sender of the Invisibility Cloak, and the issue of Quirrel and who was in the forest.


What a read! Why did I wait so long to return to Hogwarts? Such a great world. The wonderful thing is knowing that the series is complete and I can carry on reading as soon as I want and I don’t think I’ll be waiting too long. I’ll watch the first movie first then carry straight on.

Movie Thoughts

Had a great evening rewatching the first movie.

It must be AGES since I last watched it, and I know I’m stating the obvious here but HOW YOUNG DO THEY ALL LOOK?!? I think Harry, Ron and Hermione were all perfectly cast, and I love Hermione’s first appearance. Ron, well, sometimes his facial expressions speak far more adequately than any words ever could.

A sense of magic runs throughout the film, I think Hogwarts is bought to life wonderfully, and I was so into it right from the moment those first owls started appearing outside Privet Drive until the last moment the Hogwarts Express pulled away from the station.
I like the newness of it all, the way life at Hogwarts is before the darkness comes, because the later films were obviously much darker than this.
Here a young boy discovers there’s a whole magical world of possibility before him. He’s a wizard, he can go to this fantastic dream-like school in an enchanted castle. He makes some real friends for the first time in his life and is treated like a real human being, rather than being stuck in a cupboard under the stairs.
The sense of wonder is real escapist fare and I loved it all – Diagon Alley, the train journey, Quidditch, the enchanted Great Hall.
That said, when the real business of the story kicked in and Hagrid and the students headed into the Forest I enjoyed that too.
What an enjoyable film.


4 thoughts on “On Reading… Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

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