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Start Date: Mar. 18, 2011
Finished Date: Mar. 20, 2011 (3 days)
Where Found: Birthday present from several years ago (part of a 3-book set)
Why Read: Re-read for a challenge; I'm also planning on reading the entire series as I've only read the first 3 books before (I need to refresh my memory by starting from the beginning).
Read For: Back to the Classics challenge (3/8), 1st in a Series challenge (4/6)
Previously Read: Around 2000-2001, I read the first 3 books of the series, and started Goblet of Fire (#4) but never finished it.
Summary: A young boy is recruited by a magical wizard school called Hogwarts, already a legend in their community for surviving an attack that killed his wizard parents, and must protect a mystical stone from being usurped by an evil presence at the school.
What is not to love about this book? It brings back fun childhood times of imagining far-off places and fantastical things. J.K. Rowling reinvigorates the spirit of children's authors before her, such as C.S. Lewis, E.B. White, and L. Frank Baum (and isn't it fortuitous that they all use first and sometimes second initials?) Like Lewis Carroll before her, Rowling uses inventive terms, such as "muggles," that are playful and allow children to experiment with language. She encourages children to read, explore, play, make new friends, not give in to bullies, and be brave. As a child, you relate to its themes, and as an adult, you admire them for being truthful and inspiring. The characters are multidimensional and each have their own importance to the story with roles dating back to classic literature: Harry is the hero discovering himself; Ron is not only a sidekick but a loyal friend; Hermione is sharply intelligent, stubborn yet caring; Dumbledore is their sage guardian; McGonegal is the firm mother figure; Snape is the conflicted challenger; and Voldemort is the bane of all evil, a classic "bad guy."
Even adults can enjoy Rowling's sense of adventure through the rip-roaring plot that soon goes off in incredible directions from a rather simple beginning about a disadvantaged boy, but intrigues us with his miraculous survival and magical destiny. The story simply sweeps you away from the beginning and doesn't let go. So many subplots are introduced in this book that sequels were inevitable, and I can't wait to continue re-reading Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban, and continuing right to the last (*sniffle*) book. I've heard many wonderful things about the final books (and yes, I'm aware of its sad elements, too).
Rank: (A+)- Spellbinding, A Must-Read!