Monday, 9 April 2012

A to Z Challenge - Favourite Books - Harry Potter Series

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the book that began it all. Except I didn't read it until the third book came out - I though the books were just a fad, and didn't trust the fact that everyone in the world seemed to be jumping on the bandwagon.

Then, the year Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released, my sister borrowed all three from a friend and I thought I'd better read them if I was going to continue being critical.

That was the end of my criticism! J. K. Rowling captured me from the first chapter, all about the mysterious cat and robed wizard, and even from the first paragraph, which is so delightfully British omniscient storytelling style:
"Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn't hold with such nonsense."
Of course, by the time I'd met all the other characters, laughed at Lockhart's foibles in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and agonised over Sirius' and Buckbeak's fates in the third book, there was no turning back; I turned into one of those people who signed up for same-day Saturday delivery of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and hardly said two words to my family that weekend as I devoured the book.

I reread them all every year as the next books - and then the films (which are brilliantly characterise but, in my opinion, don't have much else going for them) - were released: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, during which I wished I could live with them all in Number 12 Grimmauld Place; Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince, in which I have to say I was furious at Snape; and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, after which I fell in love with Snape. Not to mention the two textbooks of Harry's, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard...

Here're two pages of Rowling's notes:



And here're two Snape related images:


20 comments:

maine character said...

I didn't read the first one till last year, and I was totally struck by that perfect-pitch opening chapter, where it's totally obvious something really strange is going on behind all that polite and very reasonable British presentation. (Not to mention very funny.)

S.P. Bowers said...

Love the quote from Rickman. I totally agree with you about the movies and the books. I started reading at book three too and snuck out of the house early in the morning to guy buy the fourth when it came out.

martine said...

We love Alan Rickman in our house, kind of glad he loves the books. Snape was my favourite character and the fact that she sustained the ambiguity of his character was the best thing about the books. My favourite scene is where we find out about him being in love with Lily.
thanks for sharing
martine

Zan Marie said...

Should I mention that I'm one of the few that didn't fall under the spell? Now, don't start the hard sell. ; ) It's just I didn't have time to read while teaching and I haven't ever gone back...yet. ; )

Susan Fields said...

I absolutely love that second Alan Rickman image! I'd like to re-read those books someday, if I could just get my TBR pile a little shorter!

Jennifer Fischetto said...

I haven't read the series and only saw the first movie. I tried reading the first book twice. It's not my cup of tea. The movie was okay though. I love the page of her notes. Super cool! :)

Nadja Notariani said...

Don't feel too alone, Zan Marie...I've never read either. My two oldest girls have, but my sons and I have not. I did watch the movies. :)

DeniseCovey_L_Aussie said...

Would you believe I still haven't read them all?

Denise

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I didn't read Harry Potter either until after the first movie came out; I assumed that it was for younger kids. But once I started reading the first book I managed to finish it within a few days just because it was so good. The same thing happened with the other books. But I've never been able to reread the books; I'm not sure why. I did like the storyline about Snape and his unrequited love for Harry's mother, though.

Jemi Fraser said...

When the books first came out - a fellow teacher brought Philosopher's Stone in - thumped it on the staff table and told us he'd read it in one day. He also insisted I read it next and then we passed it around. I think the entire staff read it in about a month! :)

Theresa Milstein said...

Rowling is my hero. Great to see Harry Potter here.

Pa Ul said...

wow lovely post
I love Harry Potter

do check out my letters at GAC a-z

Deniz Bevan said...

Thanks for coming by everyone!
It's neat to see some dissenting voices; I can see how the tone or voice of Rowling's story isn't for everyone (I, for one, couldn't get past even the first chapter of Twilight). If they hadn't been so English I doubt I would have loved them as much as I do!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Denzil .. my goddaughters loved them .. and were demanding midnight swoops to stores - so I did glance at them, and appreciate what JK has done .. and I love the way she's opened the doors to young writers by exposing her creative thoughts to them. I like the films - but only because I can lose myself in them and do other things at the same time - typical adult!

When you've visited Dover Castle - it'd be great if you'd drop back and leave a note?! Pretty please?!

Many thanks - cheers Hilary

Romance Book Haven said...

Still haven't read them! My daughter loved them though!

Joshua said...

I love me some Harry Potter, and I'm loving that I can start reading them with The Girl. Only the first one so far, but she loved it. Same day delivery? How about getting to the store for midnight release pickup and eating Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans for a discount? This guy! FYI: Black Pepper Beans? Not bad.

Jamie Gibbs said...

Gotta love Alan Rickman :)
Love the notes that Rowling wrote though; I'd assumed that they were tucked away neatly in a notebook.


Jamie
Fellow A-Z Bloggy Buddy
Mithril Wisdom

Trisha said...

These are definitely on my all-time faves list! This year on our tour we went past the cafe in Edinburgh where JK Rowling started writing the books :)

Melanie Macek said...

I was late to the party. A friend read HP & The Sorcerer's Stone and gave it to me to borrow. I couldn't make it through the first chapter. Then I caught the first two movies on ABC Family and was hooked. Though I didn't read the books until right before the 5th movie was about to come out in theaters. Then I read books 1-6 in 2 months and the 7th when it came out 2 months later. Want to reread them now that I've focused on writing as a craft. See how Rowling wove everything into the story and what clues were there in the early books that I missed.

Melanie

Deniz Bevan said...

Thank you Hilary! I've saved your comment - will let you know about Dover Castle!

I love 'em, Romance!

Ooh, midnight sales, Joshua? That sounds like fun. Reminds me of the midnight screening for LOTR - everyone around me was French and I asked at least two ushers whether the movie was definitely going to be in English, I was that worried!

Did you see the 60 Minutes episode where she pulled out her trunk of papers, Jamie?

Ooh, which cafe was it, Trisha? I should go there!

I was late too, Melanie - started when the third book came out. I just love their Englishness :-)

Books I'm Reading and Finished Books

  • The Summing Up by Somerset Maugham
  • English People by Owen Barfield
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • Ox-Tales anthology
  • Istanbul Noir (Akashic Books anthology)
  • 12 Anne and Avonlea books by L. M. Montgomery (skimming/reread (this was free on Kindle!))
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • Gambled Away anthology featuring Jo Bourne, Rose Lerner, etc.
  • The Dust That Falls from Dreams by Louis de Bernieres
  • The Bog Girl by Karen Russell (short story)
  • Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
  • The Favour by Clare O'Dea (short story)
  • Wizarding History by J. K. Rowling (short pieces on Pottermore)
  • Jack Palmer by Amanda Palmer (essay on http://myoldman.org/jack-palmer-by-amanda-palmer/)
  • All Fixed Up by Linda Grimes
  • One Day I Will Write About This Place by Binyavanga Wainaina
  • various haiku by R. Wodaski
  • various issues of Amon Hen
  • How do artists make a living? An ongoing, almost impossible quest by Monica Byrne (essay)
  • The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy (poem)
  • Traitor's Purse by Margery Allingham
  • Kill Me Quick by Meja Mwangi
  • A Pocketful of Rye by Agatha Christie
  • Little Miss Twins by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Mr Rush by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Mr Funny by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • The Mzungu Boy by Meja Mwangi
  • By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • secret beta read!
  • Where the Exiles Wander: A Celebration of Horror by R. B.
  • How to Write about Africa by Binyavanga Wainaina (essay)
  • A Woman in Arabia: The Writings of the Queen of the Desert Gertrude Bell (compiled by Georgina Howell)
  • Three Men In A Boat by Jerome K Jerome
  • Dead Man's Folly by Agatha Christie
  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • A River Town by Thomas Keneally
  • Free Fall by Monica Byrne (short story)
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Heartburn by Nora Ephron
  • New Europe by Michael Palin
  • Lyddie by Katherine Paterson
  • The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie (possibly a reread)
  • Husli the Dwarf
  • Winter Birds
  • Walkabout by James Vance Marshall (reread)
  • Wish I Might by Kait Nolan (novella)
  • A Walk in the Countryside A B C (National Trust and Nosy Crow Books)
  • My First Touch and Trace 1 2 3
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Weep Not, Child by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
  • A Secret Vice by J. R. R. Tolkien (edited by Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgins)
  • A Pocket For Corduroy by Don Freeman
  • The Narrow Corner by Somerset Maugham
  • Cakes and Ale by Somerset Maugham
  • Le gout d'Istanbul (anthology) (skimmed)
  • Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
  • Blue Nowruz by Monica Byrne (short story)
  • Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie
  • secret beta read!
  • The Road Home by Rose Tremain
  • The Mewlips by J. R. R. Tolkien (poem; reread)
  • Just for This Moment by Kait Nolan
  • To Err is Human -- To Float, Divine by Woody Allen (short story)
  • the collected works of Beatrix Potter (Folio Society edition, over 30 books)
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman) (only half read)
  • At Home by Bill Bryson
  • Millions of Cats by W Gag
  • Travels in the Scriptorium by Paul Auster
  • Discovering You by Brenda Novak
  • Notes from a Big Country by Bill Bryson
  • Report from the Interior by Paul Auster
  • Dream Days by Kenneth Grahame
  • Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
  • The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien (reread)
  • They Do It With Mirrors by Agatha Christie
  • The Creatures of Number 37 by John Watts
  • The Inklings by Humphrey Carpenter (reread)
  • A Mother's Confession by Amanda Palmer (lyrics and liner notes)
  • Where Eagles Dare by Alistair MacLean
  • Guide to the Names in the Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, in A Tolkien Compass
  • Dirge Without Music by Edna St. Vincent Millay (poem)
  • For my Wife, Navid by Monica Byrne (short story)
  • An Evening in Tavrobel by J. R. R. Tolkien (poem; reread)
  • The Lonely Isle by J. R. R. Tolkien (poem; reread)
  • Bilbo's Last Song by J. R. R. Tolkien (poem)
  • Ancrene Riwle, preface, by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats by Percy Bysshe Shelley (poem)
  • Absence of Mind by Marilynne Robinson
  • The Peoples of Middle-earth - Book 12 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • The Tale of Mr Jeremy Fisher by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • The Tale of Tom Kitten by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • The Young Magicians edited by Lin Carter (anthology; includes two poems by J. R. R. Tolkien and all of rumble rumble rumble rumble drum belaboured by C. S. Lewis, referred to in The Last Battle)
  • Black and White Ogre Country by Hilary Tolkien
  • The Devil's Coach Horses by J. R. R. Tolkien (essay)
  • Guido's Gondola by Renee Riva and Steve Bjorkman
  • Save Our Public Universities by Marilynne Robinson (essay in Harper's Magazine)
  • Edmund Campion by Evelyn Waugh
  • Arthur and George by Julian Barnes
  • Career by Yevtushenko (poem)
  • Human life in this century by Yevtushenko (poem)
  • Willow by Anna Akhmatova (poem)
  • Sonnet LXVI by Shakespeare
  • Sir Walter Raleigh to His Son (poem)
  • Fair Jenny by Robbie Burns (poem)
  • MacPherson's Farewell by Robbie Burns (poem)
  • World's End, the collected Sandman No. 8 by Neil Gaiman
  • O Wert Thou In The Cauld Blast by Robbie Burns (poem)
  • The War of the Jewels - Book 11 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • The Rolling English Road by G. K. Chesterton (poem)
  • The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes
  • A Tradition of Eighteen Hundred and Four by Thomas Hardy
  • The Hierophant by Lee-Ann Dalton (short story)
  • The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff
  • 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (reread)
  • Lonely Planet guide to Switzerland
  • Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
  • beta read!
  • Ode on Venice by Lord Byron (poem)
  • Little Miss Scatterbrain by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Little Miss Lucky by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Little Miss Trouble by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Homage to Switzerland by Ernest Hemingway (short story; reread but I really don't remember it after 20 years)
  • The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier (reread)
  • Sing a Long Children's Songs
  • Emily's First Christmas
  • Up At the Villa by Somerset Maugham (novella)
  • Telling Stories by Tim Burgess
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Marble Collector by Cecilia Ahern
  • Sophie's Throughway by Jules Smith
  • Baby Animals (Little Golden Books)
  • The House That Jack Built (Little Golden Books)
  • Scuffy the Tugboat (Little Golden Books)
  • The Saggy Baggy Elephant (Little Golden Books)
  • Morgoth's Ring - Book 10 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Who's A Pest by Crosby Bonsall
  • Mine's the Best by Crosby Bonsall (reread)
  • The Case of the Hungry Stranger by Crosby Bonsall (reread)
  • extracts from the diary of John Evelyn (Volume 1 of 2)
  • extracts from Lord Byron's letters about Villa Diodati
  • Pippin the Christmas Pig by Jean Little
  • Ite Missa Est by Anthony Martignetti
  • The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Red Angel by G. K. Chesterton (essay)
  • Emily's Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary
  • The Boy Who Set Out to Learn What Fear Was by the Brothers Grimm
  • The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • secret beta read!
  • Preludes by Wordsworth (extracts read aloud)
  • Little Miss Scatterbrain by Roger Hargreaves
  • Dance Me A Dream by Kait Nolan (ARC)
  • Once Upon A Coffee by Kait Nolan
  • England and Switzerland, 1802 by William Wordsworth (poem)
  • Once Upon A New Year's Eve by Kait Nolan
  • short story by Becky Morgan (http://forums.compuserve.com/discussions/Books_and_Writers_Community/Writers_Exercises/Becky_Morgans_December_X/ws-books/85291.1?nav=messages)
  • Blood In Blood Out by Brenda Novak (short story)
  • That Hell-Bound Train by Robert Bloch (short story)
  • Distraction by J. L. Campbell
  • Humble Bundle Peanuts collection (strips by Charles Schulz)
  • Peanuts Volumes I to VI (bought via Humble Bundle; very disappointing as it's mostly new strips -- how is that even allowed?!)
  • Sandals and Sangria by Talli Roland (short story)
  • Over the Hump by Talli Roland (short story)
  • issues of Journal of Inklings Studies and Amon Hen and Mallorn (Tolkien Society)
  • Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet by Matt Napier
  • Babar and his Family by Laurent de Brunhoff
  • Illusions Lost by Byron A. Maddox (short story)
  • ongoing rereads of most board books listed last year!
  • Lost My Name book for Emily (https://www.lostmy.name/)
  • Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne
  • When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne (reread)
  • Neil Gaiman comics on Sequential app
  • Moranology by Caitlin Moran
  • see the 2015 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ch/2015/12/annual-books-read-statistics.html
  • see the 2014 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ch/2014/12/books-read-in-2014-review.html
  • see the 2013 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2014/01/toast-to-professor-books-read-in-2013.html
  • see the 2012 list and statistics here http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/12/the-hobbit-review-and-year-end-books.html
  • see the 2011 statistics on http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011-statistics-fourth.html
  • see the 2011 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011.html
  • see the 2010 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2010/12/books-read-in-2010-listed-here.html
  • see the 2009 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-ii.html
  • also in 2009 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-iv.html
  • see the 2008 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-ii.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-vi.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-iv.html