Saturday, March 12, 2016
A new dimension to a well-loved universe
When I first got married the only books I brought from my parents' house to my new home were 3-7 of the Harry Potter series. I didn't own one and two. It's not that I was intentionally setting myself up for privation - my parents' house is about half a mile from where I live now and I thought the stay here would be much shorter so I didn't want to move too much stuff only to have to move it again. So in the first six months of my marriage I read from Azkaban to the Deathly Hallows seven times. But it has been probably five years since the last time I read Sorcerer's Stone.
My sister got me the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for Christmas, setting up what I'm sure will be a traditional gift for the next six years (excellent!). I finally got around to reading it in a single sitting this week. I had forgotten how quickly the first book in the series slips away - it's such a fun little jaunt, full of world-building and character creation and just getting to sink into the start of a story that feels like home to me.
The Sorcerer's Stone really is a true children's book - it's simply written and easy to digest. It moves at a breakneck pace and hauls you along for the ride, like a Gringott's goblin. It's hard to even write about - I feel like so much has already been said about the Potterverse that there's not much more ground to cover.
So I'll focus on the one new thing here: the illustrations. They're stunning and a wonderful addition to the series. The detailing of Diagon Alley, the heartbreaking sadness of the Mirror of Erised, Hagrid's upturned-ship hut, Minerva's impeccable style, Snape's jars of slimy things - it's all fantastic and adds a depth to the world that I wanted to see so vividly as an eleven-year-old reading along my first trip to Hogwarts.
If you haven't read Harry Potter I'd heartily enjoin you to do so - it's a good story and one that can easily become a part of you that you carry everywhere in your heart. If you don't want to that's fine, but I can't say I understand why you wouldn't. It is, simply, magical.
Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Scholastic Press. New York: New York. 2015.