Sunday, June 26, 2011

Thoughts on Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Part one of my Harry Potter reread begins today with my notes about the first book! I do own the US hardcover version, but I recently saw the UK Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and decided to pick it up because I thought it would be fun to read the absolutely original version of the story.

This is the first time that I’ve ever read the British version of the first Harry Potter book (or any Harry Potter book, for that matter), and it added a whole new level that I really enjoyed. I’ve read the American version enough times that I noticed when little things were different, even if it was just a one word change, and those were really fun to spot. Unfortunately this is the only one that I have in the British format, so the rest of my reread is just going to be the boring old American ones. :P

In addition to the small changes in the text, it was fun seeing the different cover too. I’m in love with the adult British versions and really want a complete set of those, but the children’s versions are cool too.

Here are the adult versions, aren’t they stunning?? I'd love to be able to stroke them.

And the back cover of the children’s version of Philosopher’s Stone is pretty entertaining:

Who do you think this is supposed to be? My guess is Dumbledore, but it’s not a very accurate picture, is it? Luridly colorful clothes, no long white beard…

And apparently whoever designs the cover had the same idea, because I just found that the back cover on the revised edition looks like this:

I also love the review quotes on the back. Harry Potter is so huge now that it’s hard to remember that this book was ever unknown, but check out these excerpts:

“…Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has all the makings of a classic…”
“A richly textured first novel given lift-off by an inventive wit.”
“A terrific read and a stunning first novel.”

I guess they knew what they were talking about! :)

Some other random thoughts I had as I was reading the book:

- Severus Snape: I’m a huge Snape fangirl. HUGE. There’s a soft and squishy place in my heart for him. So getting to go through the entire series again knowing everything that we know about him from the seventh book and getting to see all of his actions in that light is wonderful.

- Dumbledore in the books is really fantastic. I’ve never thought that either of the actors who portrayed him really did him justice. One example of a part I loved, from the end when Dumbledore is talking to Harry in the hospital wing:

“”Destroyed?’ said Harry blankly. ‘But your friend – Nicolas Flamel –‘
‘Oh, you know about Nicolas?’ said Dumbledore, sounding quite delighted. ‘You did do the thing properly, didn’t you? Well, Nicolas and I have had a little chat and agreed it’s all for the best.’”

Haha, I love book!Dumbledore.

- Ron is also hilarious when it comes to Hermione. His reactions to her in the first book are just great. I especially love the bit when they’re in the Devil’s Snare and Hermione is trying to remember how to kill it:

“’Stop moving!’ Hermione ordered them. ‘ I know what this is – it’s Devil’s Snare!’
‘Oh, I’m so glad we know what it’s called, that’s a great help,’ snarled Ron, leaning back, trying to stop the plant from curling around his neck.
‘Shut up, I’m trying to remember how to kill it!’ said Hermione.
‘Well, hurry up, I can’t breathe!’ Harry gasped, wrestling with it as it curled around his chest.
‘Devil’s Snare, Devil’s Snare … What did Professor Sprout say? It likes the dark and the damp – ‘
‘So light a fire!’ Harry choked.
‘Yes – of course – but there’s no wood!’ Hermione cried, wringing her hands.
‘Oh, right!’ said Hermione, and she whipped out her wand, waved it, muttered something and sent a jet of the same bluebell flames she had used on Snape at the plant…
‘Lucky you pay attention in Herbology, Hermione,’ said Harry as he joined her by the wall, wiping sweat of his face.
‘Yeah,’ said Ron, ‘ and lucky Harry doesn’t lose his head in a crisis – “there’s no wood,” honestly.’”

- Lee Jordan’s and his Quidditch commentary are my favorite things ever. SO funny. Especially his interactions with McGonagall while he’s doing the commentary.

- The one issue that I noticed while reading the book is that sometimes it was hard to separate the book from the movie. Certain lines from the book are kept exactly the same in the movie, and it was really hard to read those without hearing the actor’s voice in my head. Other than that I’m pretty good at being able to keep the books and movies separate and appreciate each in their own way.

That's all I've got for now! I’ll be posting my Chamber of Secrets notes in the next few days. Is anyone else rereading the books?

EDIT: Just one thing I wanted to add. In writing my post for Chamber of Secrets I realized how cool the full American edition jacket is, so I thought I'd share the one for Sorcerer's Stone here, even though I mainly focused on the UK edition. Check it out! I definitely haven't been fully appreciating the cover illustrations for these books. They're gorgeous.

Read my thoughts on Chamber of Secrets here.


  1. Oh man, you're totally making me want to do a reread! I wish I had started rereading all these earlier in the lead up to the movie. If I wasn't blogging, I'd be fine. But with review books and such, I can't quite squeeze these in. I'm so tempted to though...

    So glad you're having fun with this! Book!Dumbledore is the best. Out of the actors though, I prefered Richard Harris. I have the same problem when rereading PS and COS, the movies are too embedded in my mind and it's hard to separate. Thankfully I don't have the issue with the rest of the books.

    I LOVE all of Hermione and Ron's interactions! They are one of the best fictional duo's out there. I love the dynamic, the bickering, the jealousy and how they eventually came together. Awww! Bring on the long-awaited kiss next month :D

    J.K Rowling is a genius. I love all the clues she scattered throughout the books about Snape, but you dodn't realise until The Prince's Tale. Like that one line from Petunia in OOTP about 'that awful boy' Lily used to talk to - I always thought she meant James! Now I'm sure she was talking about Snape!

    Anyway, you're totally putting me in a HP mood. Love this post, can't wait for the rest! :)

  2. I know there will be many difficulties and challenges but I am determined to do it. If it does not succeed then it will be a lesson for me as well


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