Fourteen years and six months after the first book in the series was published (yes, I checked), I picked up my copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and immersed myself in the all too popular world of witches and wizards. As an avid reader of epic fantasy, most of my friends find it strange that it has taken me so long to get onboard the Hogwarts Express but I’m finally there and I have to admit that I’m not sure why I didn’t read the books before. The copies I have at the moment were sent to me from across the Atlantic because my older sister read the series and knew that I would like them, and yet I left them collecting dust on my book shelf for over a year. I didn’t have any serious objection to the series and I have seen all the movies (except for the last two) but for some reason, I resisted and resisted till my younger sister beat me to it and started to read the first book. She is a lot more selective about what she reads than I am so when I saw that she was enjoying the book, I knew there was hope. Three weeks on and I’m halfway through the third book (it helps when you have all seven books and don’t have to wait a couple of years for each one to be released).
I’m not sure why but I was shocked to find that the stories are simply written and easy to follow. Then someone pointed out to me that they were written for children. Duh! That explains why it feels like I am reading an Enid Blyton series, but not in a bad way. So my impression so far, I find Harry very annoying with his famous scar, adventurous streak and indifference to saying the name Voldermort when clearly he should be petrified of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. I really liked Ron because he’s funny and pretty much a normal kid and I’m sure my 10-year-old self would have had a crush on his character – sadly we all know what Rupert Grint looks like so that’s off the table (sorry Rupert). I can’t wait for him and Hermione to develop their romance (so far there is no hint of this in the books I’ve read but that’s what you get for watching movies before reading books). Hermoine reminds me a little bit of myself, with the constant horrified reactions to rule-breaking and the excessive meticulous obsessions (thankfully I am not so much of an annoying know-it-all).
What keeps bugging me as I read on is that I can’t remember much of the story from the movies or what the movie characters look like – apart from Harry, Ron, Hermione and Snape (oh, I do love me some Alan Rickman, mmmmmmmmm). I know it shouldn’t matter but somehow it does. I’ve consulted my phone a few times in bed when I come across a new character and can’t remember what they look like (Lupin who?) and when I’ve done this, I’ve been stunned by how much the actors have changed over the years. Take Malfoy for example, I thought he’d grow up to be a stunner but – ehem – no! Even Neville looks much more strapping than him these days (thank God for IMDb). Apart from the insanely inappropriate countdown to when Emma Watson became “legal” (shocking, I say – yes, it was The Sun) I’m sure only teenage boys and girls will follow the careers of the real life actors from now on. Unless they go on to achieve something more monumental than being in that cast.
Anyway, back to the books. I don’t want to write much about them because I got a nasty shock recently when I clicked on a blog I follow and read the names of all the characters that meet their end in later books (oops, spoiler) and I don’t want to ruin it for anyone else. Guess I’ll be writing another post when I’m done with the series. Stay tuned.