I find myself rereading Harry Potter a lot. If I’ve had a bad day, one of the quickest cures is to start a Harry Potter reread. It’s a comforting world, even though so many bad things happen there. Harry’s parents are dead, after all, he’s been orphaned and forced to live with relatives who can’t stand him and, in fact, abuse him on a regular basis. And yet, JK Rowling has created a world of hope for us. No matter how bad things may get in Harry’s world, he’s still loved and he still loves others. It’s beautiful.
I love this series so much that I was absolutely delighted when Ashley (narfna) asked for volunteers to be part of a Harry Potter Medicinal Reread. In it, we’ve all been assigned specific chapters of each book, and in turn, recap and review each chapter. So far, I’ve written posts for Sorcerer’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, and Prisoner of Azkaban. My review for Sorcerer’s Stone is below and I’ll be posting the others STRAIGHT AWAY.
You can also, if you like Harry Potter and FUN, start here with the very first chapter. I hope you’ll enjoy reading this project as much as we’ve had writing it.
(Big thanks to Ashley for organizing such a fun project!)
The Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapters 3-5: YOUR MOM GOES TO HOGWARTS
I signed up for Ashley’s Harry Potter reread immediately because A) I will use any excuse to reread these books and B) I love hearing about how people discovered Harry Potter. How old they were. Who their favorite character was. Whether they fell in love right away, like I did, or if it took a couple of books for Rowling to reel them in.
I’d wager I came to Harry Potter a bit later in life than some of the other contributors here. I was in high school when they came out and, as luck would have it, working at a library at the time. One Saturday, I was the only one of my friends working and, during my lonely break, noticed that someone had left a book on the break room table. There was a picture of a bespectacled young boy on the front cover, riding a broomstick and trying to catch a golden ball with wings, and JUST BECAUSE, there was a unicorn running in the background.
“What the fuck?” I thought.
The children’s librarian happened to come in while I was staring at this strange book. She was an older woman, always fluttering about, her hands waving this way and that, adjusting her messy hair, her numerous layers of clothing, or the thick glasses that always seemed to be slipping down her nose. Had I already read Harry Potter at the time (and, you know, had Prisoner of Azkaban existed yet), I would have said she reminded me of Professor Trelawney.
I will be forever grateful to this librarian for pushing me to read this book. If she hadn’t, I would have missed out on the hours of enjoyment (and, sure, heartache) this series has given me and (maybe worst of all?) never would have gotten to experience this batshit project with you crazy nutbags.
Ashley covered the first two chapters in the last post, chapters in which we meet some important characters and are given but a glimpse of the magical world we’re about to become immersed in. Even in the chapters I’m about to cover, we’re really only beginning to see what Rowling has in store for us.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
CHAPTER THREE: THE LETTERS FROM NO ONE
Harry is in mondo big trouble because he set that snake loose on Dudley and, you guys, I still get super pissed about how illogical the Dursleys are about blaming Harry for everything. Yes, I realize they’re supposed to be horrible people but COME ON how is it Harry’s fault that the glass disappeared?
(OK, YES, I realize it really IS his fault but he didn’t mean to and the Dursleys don’t want to believe in magic ANYWAY so why would they just assume Harry could make glass disappear DURSLEYS YOU MAKE NO SENSE AND YES I UNDERSTAND THAT IS THE POINT OF THE DURSLEYS WHY AM I SO MAD ABOUT THIS RIGHT NOW? I should calm down. I still have two chapters to go.)
Harry and Dudley are preparing to return to school, Dudley to a private school called Smeltings, where they wear actual knickerbockers and smack one another with sticks, and Harry to public school. You guys, I’m so excited for Harry that I can’t stand it. I just want him to be at Hogwarts already. I always want to skip over these setup chapters when I read these books because I just want to get to the Hogwarty goodness. It’s like when I used to read The Babysitter’s Club and I’d skim over the part in the beginning of every book that introduced all the girls. Kristy is a tomboy! Claudia has dyslexia and wears funky clothes! Dawn is from California! Mary Anne is SHY! Stacey has diabetes! With their powers combined, THEY ARE CAPTAIN BABYSITTER! (Just don’t feed Captain Babysitter any candy.)
Softball! Fashion! Vegan! Braids! INSULIN!
Anyway, the important thing about this chapter is right in the chapter title. Harry gets a letter addressed not only to him, but to his cupboard. It was this exact detail that made me fall head over heels for this book:
Mr H Potter
The Cupboard Under the Stairs
Fuck. Stop being so damn perfect, Rowling, let the rest of humanity try to catch up.