After more than ten years, I suddenly craved to re-read Harry Potter series. I wanted to know how I'd think about it now, after my reading interest had been moving to literary and classics books. Then I read the translated version, now I picked the English version (e-book); and I found that nearly everything has changed (in the experience of reading). First of all, while I still enjoy reading it, the book did not fascinate me the way it did ten years ago. Maybe it’s because I have been familiar with the wizarding and Hogwarts world, and with the story? I don’t know… On the other hand, now I could sympathize more with the characters, I spent more time to analyze them, why they became how they were, and how they must have felt. It perhaps had something to do with my being more mature than before.
Anyway, I’ll break down here all I have felt and thought during my reading, but now and then you might find some spoilers of the rest of the series, I warn you!—although I think most of you must have read Harry Potter; if you haven’t, what are you waiting for? Grab and read them! :)
One thing has never changed, I always love how Rowling started this story, with the peculiar things happened around Privet Drive number 4, McGonagall sat as a stiff cat, Dumbledore came and turned out the street lamps, the witty dialogue between McGonagall and Dumbledore, Harry’s first trip to Diagon Alley, and the first years’ sail to Hogwarts; it all had a magical sense that had never ceased in me. I feel that somehow Harry was never too surprised to find the peculiarity about wizarding world and the fact that he was a wizard. I think this helps the readers too to be absorbed into the story quickly, never feel it too strange to be true.
From this second reading, I also realized how Harry’s life has always been hard, even from he’s a baby, Harry must struggle through his whole life. He was nearly dead because the greatest dark wizard wanted to kill him. After that he must live with a family who hated him so much and never treated him properly; must go to school where he didn’t have any friends and must went through bullying nearly everyday. In short, Harry’s whole life was miserable…until he found what he was: a wizard.
But still, from the moment he entered Leaky Cauldron, Harry had been burdened by people’s high expectation on him—the boy who lived—while he was nobody. In Hogwarts, people scowled at him when he did a mistake—a hero should bring them something good, not doing something careless that hurt them. Do you realize that Hagrid was the first person who showed his care for Harry, the first time in his life he felt a touch of love, that he was not alone in this world? Remember when Harry received a letter from Hogwarts (the summon to enter the school), a letter that was addressed to him? How—for the first time—Harry knew that he belonged to something, that he was accepted and expected, someone has sent him a letter!
I was very touched by the scene where Harry ‘met’ his parents and relatives through the Mirror of Erised; it must be a lonely life when you did not have parents and relatives who loved you; how Harry must have longed for her mother’s touch of love, that he risked being caught by Filch or anybody for wandering at night, only to meet his parents. And speaking of risks, who wouldn’t risk breaking school’s rules when you know that the most feared wizard who had killed both your parents was somewhere out there wanted to kill you? So, it’s not just because Harry wanted to meddle with things he shouldn’t in the first place, it’s because he was so connected to Voldemort; it was he who Voldemort was after. It became personal for Harry at first, but I think Harry also have concerns for the wizarding world and Hogwarts particularly. In some way, it’s about humanity too.
Other thing I have never thought I’d think about was Aunt Petunia. Really, I felt sorry for Petunia Dursley; I can understand why she became that bitter woman who hated Harry and was so irritated everytime her sister’s name or world had been mentioned. It must have been tough for her; Lily, who at first her loving sister, with whom she had spent a lot of time growing together, was suddenly taken away from her by the wizarding world. I can understand that she hated that world now, more than anyone else.
One thing left unanswered for me after I finished this book is about Voldemort. If all those times Voldemort had been taking part of Quirell’s body, why hadn’t he given any signs to Snape—everytime Snape got suspicios to Quirell—that it was his master’s business and that he shouldn’t stand up against Quirell? And if Quirell knew that Snape had protected Potter all those times, didn’t Voldemort knew it too and got suspicious of Snape being disloyal? Or was it because Voldemort hadn’t been strong enough and he knew that his followers wouldn’t return to him unless he regained his power, that he kept silence? Well, it’s most likely so, anyway, it’s typical weakness of men for being loyal only to the strongest party from whom they can earn a comfortable life, isn’t it?
Speaking about Snape, only now I realize how he—despite of his obvious disliking of Harry—always protected Harry from the beginning. Dumbledore mentioned it as a way Snape got even with Harry’s father for saving his life once, but we all knew why Snape did it. I just only realized it now that it has started from the beginning. I’m just wondering how it feels for Snape when he caught Harry’s green eyes for the first time after eleven years….
Last but not least, I’m always fond of J.K. Rowlings’s wisdoms, I’ll quote some of them…
“The mirror (the Mirror of Erised) will give us neither knowledge nor truth. Men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they have seen, or been driven to mad, not knowing if what it shows is real or even possible.” >> “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” ~Albus Dumbledore
“The two things—money and life—most human beings would choose above all—the trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them.” ~Albus Dumbledore
“Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn’t realize that love as powerful as your mother’s for you have its own mark. Not a scar, no visible signs…to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever.” ~Albus Dumbledore (Oh, how deep and beautiful Rowling’s interpretation of love is!)
This one is from Firenze, the Centaur. I’m sad at the scene of Voldemort killed the innocent Unicorn to drink its blood.
“You have slain something pure and defenseless to save yourself, and you will have but a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips.” ~Firenze
I think it’s a good lesson for us to not doing bad things to the weak and innocents, I always believe that it will return to us somehow.
Well, in the end, I cannot say that I’m fascinated by this book the second time, but I got so many moral lessons and a deeper understanding about human being from it. Four stars for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and I can’t wait to reread the second sequel next month!
*I read e-book version for:*
1st book for Hotter Potter
1st book for Fun Year Event with Children's Literature
1st book for What's In A Name Reading Challenge 2013