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 North Star is Nearer by Evelyn Eaton
  • The Christie Notebooks by John Curran
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • So Anyway... by John Cleese
  • First and Second Things by C. S. Lewis
  • Journal of Inklings Studies
  • What to Expect in Baby's First Year
  • Baby's First Year for Dummies
  • Beowulf and Sellic Spell by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • 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)
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman)
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King (loved My Pretty Pony)
  • Every Month Was May by Evelyn Eaton
  • Occasional Soulmates by Kevin Brennan
  • secret beta!
  • Smoke by Catherine McKenzie
  • In Two Aeroplanes Over the Sea by Amanda Palmer (poem)
  • Jim at the Corner by Eleanor Farjeon
  • Finding Fraser by kc dyer
  • Mother Tongue -- The Story of the English Language by Bill Bryson
  • The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan
  • The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
  • Absent in the Spring by Mary Westmacott (Agatha Christie)
  • Come, Tell Me How You Live by Agatha Christie
  • The Lord Fish by Walter de la Mare
  • The Going To Bed Book by S Boynton
  • The Nursery Rhyme Book by Andrew Lang
  • In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck
  • Subterranean Scalzi Super featuring To Sue the World (an original, very short Redshirts story available nowhere else) Muse of Fire Mallet of Loving Correction Lock In, Lost Chapters (available nowhere else) How I Proposed To My Wife: An Alien Sex Story An Election Judge Sn Goes Golfing Questions for a Soldier The Sagan Diary The Tale of the Wicked The God Engines You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop by John Scalzi
  • Emily Goes to Market by William Mayne
  • Many Moons by James Thurber, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (reread)
  • Colours Are Nice (Little Golden Book)
  • Corduroy by Don Freeman
  • The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo by Judy Blume
  • The Wars by Timothy Findley (reread)
  • The Captive Diary of Catherine Logan by Mary Pope Osborne (Dear America)
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (reread)
  • The Poky Puppy (Little Golden Book) (abridged)
  • The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (reread)
  • Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  • secret beta read 2
  • Pre-Fix: A Ciel Halligan Short Story by Linda Grimes
  • Hidden by Catherine Mackenzie
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton
  • But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
  • Oh, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad by M. R. James (short story) (1904)
  • Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman (reread)
  • My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl
  • Usborne board books
  • Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
  • Lila by Marilynne Robinson (so lovely)
  • Flowers for Mrs Harris by Paul Gallico
  • secret beta read!
  • The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend
  • HELP! Food Allergies Coming To Dinner by Kait Nolan
  • This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak
  • The Owl Service by Alan Garner
  • Two Caravans by Monica Lewycka
  • Aunt Sass by P. L. Travers
  • An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten (actually a few pages of the story, written by John Green for the film of his novel The Fault In Our Stars)
  • January Brings the Snow by Sara Coleridge (poem)
  • Kissing song by Neil Gaiman (poem)
  • The Mother by Nettie Palmer (poem)
  • William Tell Told Again by P. G. Wodehouse
  • Her Ladyship's Companion by Joanna Bourne
  • The Long Way Home by Louise Penny
  • How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny
  • Mes P'tits Contes, legends of Swiss cantons
  • 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