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 Magician by Somerset Maugham
  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (annual reread)
  • Beowulf and Sellic Spell by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • The War of the Ring - Book 8 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • What to Expect in Baby's First Year
  • Baby's First Year for Dummies
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman)
  • Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • Lessons for a Sunday Father by Claire Calman
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • Rogue Spy by Joanna Bourne
  • The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving (skimmed last third)
  • A Matter of Grave Concern by Brenda Novak
  • Fatal Fallout by Lara Lacombe
  • secret beta read!
  • The Heart of Christmas by Brenda Novak
  • Deadly Contact by Lara Lacombe
  • Carry On, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse
  • The Floating Admiral by the Detection Club, including Christie, Sayers, Chesterton, etc.
  • Brief Lives, Sandman 8 by Neil Gaiman
  • Liza of Lambeth by Somerset Maugham
  • The Mapmaker's Daughter by Laurel Corona (I give up on finishing this; skimmed to the end)
  • Childe Harold by Lord Byron (listened to the parts of it set in Switzerland read aloud)
  • Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon
  • My Dancing Bear by Helene de Klerk
  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
  • The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier
  • Jane of Lantern Hill by L. M. Montgomery
  • Tu Vas Naitre by Sylvia Kitzinger
  • Goodbye To All That by Robert Graves
  • secret beta read 2!
  • Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay
  • The Caliph's Vacation by Goscinny (Iznogoud series; Canadian translation) (reread)
  • Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson
  • Le Tresor de Rackham le Rouge by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • Le Secret de la Licorne by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • L'Affaire Tournesol by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • The Bum by Somerset Maugham (short story)
  • The Colour of Magic, Discworld 1 by Terry Pratchett
  • Fables and Reflections Sandman 6 by Neil Gaiman
  • Doctor Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party by Graham Greene
  • Once Upon an Heirloom by Kait Nolan (novella)
  • The No-Kids Club by Talli Roland
  • Snip, Snip Revenge by Medeia Sharif
  • Journey to an 800 Number by E. L. Konigsburg
  • various Neil Gaiman short stories on the An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer album (reread (well, this time in audio))
  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (reread; actually this was an older edition, published under the original title of Ten Little N******)
  • Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • Never Saw It Coming by Linwood Barclay
  • How To Fall In Love by Cecelia Ahern
  • biographical note on Lord Peter Wimsey in reissue of Clouds of Witness by Dorothy Sayers (on Gutenberg)
  • One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern
  • Notwithstanding by Louis de Bernieres
  • The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
  • Temptation by Sandy Loyd
  • The Incorrigible Mr. Lumley by Aileen Fish
  • Effie's Outlaw by Karen Lopp
  • Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler
  • The Christmas Crossing by Bev Petterson (short story)
  • secret beta read!
  • An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
  • Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie
  • Arranged by Catherine McKenzie
  • Emil In the Soup Tureen by Astrid Lindgren
  • Whales by Jacques Cousteau (excerpt essay from his book)
  • Tutankhamen's Tomb by Howard Carter (excerpt essay from his book)
  • Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson
  • Everything's Eventual by Stephen King
  • Go the F*^$ To Sleep (board book)
  • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss (reread) (brought to you by Neil Gaiman: http://www.worldbuilders.org/our-next-stretch-goal-unlocks-at/neil-gaiman-reads-green-eggs-and-ham)
  • The Sagan Diary by John Scalzi
  • mini Twitter stories by Talli Roland (available here: http://advice.uk.match.com/dating-advice/enjoy-valentine%E2%80%99s-day-and-get-mentallydating?utm_expid=55691082-15.2L0G0ictTcSJ4BI9Srh77A.0&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fadvice.uk.match.com%2Fdating-advice)
  • The Book of Jane by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul: O Canada The Wonders of Winter
  • Beloved Demons by Anthony Martignetti
  • Hands-on Therapy by T L Watson
  • Let Me Make Myself Plain by Catherine Cookson
  • The Razor's Edge by Somerset Maugham
  • Mystery of the Fat Cat by Frank Bonham
  • Spin by Catherine Mckenzie
  • Virgins by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen (reread)
  • The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
  • The Ghost in the Window by Betty Ren Wright
  • The Progress of Love by Alice Munro
  • The Treason of Isengard - Book 7 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling (reread)
  • Behind the Lines (poems) by A. A. Milne
  • the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (reread)
  • Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother's Soul
  • 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