Thu
Mar 6 2014 10:00am

I Solemnly Swear I Am Up to No Good: Welcome to the Harry Potter Reread!

The Harry Potter Reread

It’s going on two decades since the very first child picked up a book emblazoned with Harry Potter’s name, and the world of children’s literature, fantasy, and fandom has never been the same. Rowling’s wizarding world shaped a generation of young people and her series holds the distinction of being nothing short of a global phenomenon. Children read because of Harry. Friendships were formed because of Hogwarts. The quilt of pop culture will forever display that lightning-shaped scar somewhere amidst its patches.

But how long has it been since you walked those halls in print? For my part, it’s actually been a while, and I’m starting to feel it. Get your feet in those broom stirrups, everyone—I mean to reread, and no one on this here earth can stop me.

This is going to go pretty simply—we’ll start with the first book, which I’m going to refer to by it’s original title (The Philosopher’s Stone) because even if I am American, the change they made to the U.S. edition actually hurts Rowling’s mythology-building and makes no sense. I will show the U.S. covers, however, because they were all rendered in a now-iconic style by a single artist. So there you have it. Though Rowling herself suggested the change at Scholastic’s request, she admits now that if she’d had more clout at the time, she wouldn’t have stood for it. Of course, I possess the U.S. editions of most of the books, so some of the quotes might be ever so slightly off due to Americanisms.

Standard format applies: I’ll give the summary of a chapter (one to two per post depending on length), then reactions and discussion-worthy topics after. Hope that works for everyone!

Keep in mind this is a reread—which means that I’m assuming everyone involved has read the books and won’t mind spoilers for what comes up. It’s been a while since I’ve read the series myself, especially the earlier books, so if I happen to forget where certain subplots and such are headed… well, that’s just bound to happen. Be kind, everyone! And that goes for being kind to each other as well, of course.

Also: sometimes we might take a break from the schedule if one of the topics unearthed in rereading requires enough examination for an essay of some kind. So that’s on the table as well!

Since we’re starting a book that has a lot of history attached to it, I figured I’d kick us off with some—

Background

Harry Potter and the Philospher's Sorcerer's Stone, covers

J.K. Rowling came up with the idea for Potter in 1990, obtaining a grant to finish it from the Scottish Arts Council in 1996. Though she never wrote the book on the back of coffee shop napkins, as legend would have it, she did fall on some very rough times during her years writing the book. The death of her mother saw Rowling transfer some of her own grief onto Harry’s character as a orphaned boy, and she had very little money at the time while raising a daughter on her own.

Her publisher, Bloomsbury, did indeed recommend that Rowling change her penname to “J.K.” so that boys would be less daunted—because we still sadly live in a society where many boys (and men) think reading books by women is somehow not cool. Philosopher’s Stone was first published in June of 1997 in the U.K., then by Scholastic under the new title in the U.S. in September 1998, and the rest is history. The illustrations in the initial U.K. edition were done by Thomas Taylor, and the illustrations for all of the U.S. books were done by Mary GrandPré.

Alright, Hogwarts alums! It’s time to get a move on and dive right into chapter one….

 

Chapter One—The Boy Who Lived

Summary

The Dursleys are a very normal family who live at Number 4 Privet Drive. Vernon Dursley sells drills for a living and Petunia Dursley spends her time looking after their infant son Dudley, who is something of a terror already. The Dursleys live in fear that someone might find out about Mrs. Dursley’s sister, who is decidedly abnormal in some way, and also incidentally married with her own infant son.

One morning, Mr. Dursley heads off to work and notices that strange things are happening all over the place. There is a cat reading signposts outside his home, owls all over, and people walking about in colorful robes. They are whispering about “The Potters”—the surname of Petunia’s sister and her family. He mentions this to his wife in the evening, though he knows it won’t please her. She hasn’t heard from her sister recently, so the family goes to bed unconcerned.

That night, Professor McGonagall (who had been disguised as the cat outside the Dursley’s house) meets with Professor Dumbledore to find out the truth about the Potters. It would seem that someone very bad named Voldemort has been defeated, and though no one seems sure exactly how this occurred, it was just-over-a-year-old Harry Potter who stopped him; he received a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead as a souvenier. His parents, James and Lily, died in the attack. Dumbledore’s plan is to have Harry brought to Number 4 Privet Drive to live with his aunt and uncle. Professor McGonagall is against placing Harry in their care, noting that she has observed the Dursleys all day and finds them horrid. Dumbledore insists that this is the safest place for baby; the Dursleys are the only living relatives he has left, and it is best for the boy to grow up away from “their world” where everyone will know his name.

Hagrid, a giant bear of a man, arrives with Harry on a flying motorbike that he borrowed from Sirius Black. He hands the boy over to Dumbledore, who places him on the Dursley’s doorstep. He, McGonagall, and Hagrid leave him there to be found the next morning. Poor Harry Potter has no idea that he is currently being toasted all over the country and beyond as “The Boy Who Lived.”

 

Commentary

You know… Rowling is really damn funny.

I feel like she gets piled on for having a style that is anything but flowery and poetic, and people miss her sense of humor, which is always so on point and effortless. How she introduces us to the Dursleys is reminiscent of many great authors from Roald Dahl (more Dahl-like in the upcoming chapters) to Charles Dickens to Jane Austen, yes, but still unique to her and very modern. The scathing judgment she allows the reader to pass on the family without having the narrative be outright scornful toward them is marvelous. The way she describes Vernon’s thoughts about other people, Petunia’s gossiping about “Mrs. Next Door,” just everything.

There is a suggestion by some that Rowling’s depiction of the Dursleys is a deliberate backlash against early 90s politics in Britain, which focused on two-parent heterosexual families as the ideal state for the country. Because Rowling was a single mother who had to make do through a lot of hardships, railing against that particular status makes sense and was likely on her mind. She airs some grievances with that mindset and gives us reason to think of the Dursleys on less-than-friendly terms by offering up the simplest of clues… they just want to be normal.

It’s the greatest tip-off in fiction, isn’t it? Especially genre fiction, but really everywhere. Who in their right mind truly wants to be normal? What good can possibly come of that? What adventure, what great feats overcome? Normal is a death knell. You might as well say, “gosh, I sure do hope my life is nothing special.” That’s what the Dursleys are, that’s what they represent. When the extraordinary encroaches on them, it is something reprehensible to be kept at bay. Rising to the occasion isn’t even an option here.

And yet. Reading this again for the first time, I was struck by a few minor details. Namely, for how awful the Dursleys are, they are still depicted as a family that loves each other right from the beginning. Mr. Dursley makes a point of not mentioning the Potters and the day’s weirdness to Petunia until he literally cannot stand it, and all because he doesn’t want to upset her. He knows that thinking about her sister makes her unhappy. Vernon Dursley may be horrible to practically every person on the planet, but he loves his wife and son.

But it wasn’t until I hit the point where everyone starts whispering about the Potters that I realized how different these books were going to be on a reread.

Everything was upbeat and dandy and silly the first time around, and I recall being so curious about this family and the You-Know-Who business and what the cloaked people were fussing over and what a Muggle could possibly be. Then I was rereading it and suddenly it was all, OH RIGHT, JAMES AND LILY POTTER ARE DEAD, IT HAPPENED LAST NIGHT AND THEY WERE ONLY 20 YEARS OLD, AND SIRIUS GAVE HIS BIKE TO HAGRID AND IS CURRENTLY BEING CARTED OFF TO AZKABAN PRISON, NOTHING WILL EVER BE OKAY AGAIN.

So. That’s what this reread is going to be like in a lot of places. Just me… sobbing. In a corner. Full of feelings.

Really, though. Knowing all of these characters, knowing the exact manner of their demise, it changes how you read the whole thing. You think about the fact that this war had been going on for eleven years at this point, before James and Lily even got to Hogwarts. (We do know from the timeline that the Potters can’t be older than 20 at the time of their death.) Now it’s done, and these poor people—barely into adulthood themselves—are dead and gone and their baby is given away to estranged relatives who couldn’t be more unhappy to receive him.

Hagrid, Dumbledore, and McGonagall all stand there, staring at Harry on the doorstep, each of them trying to parse out their feelings over what has occurred. Dumbledore was their headmaster and friend, McGonagall was teaching them transfiguration only three years ago. Their grief is present, but on your first time out as a reader, you are in no position to understand it. Now you are. It’s devastating.

The next chapter will be better right?

Wait. Dudley’s birthday. Fun.


Emily Asher-Perrin should probably start bringing her wand to work, so she's better prepared for this undertaking. You can bug her on Twitter and read more of her work here and elsewhere.

129 comments
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
1. Lisamarie
YESSSSSSSS! YES! YOU JUST MADE MY DAY! :D

I haven't even read the post yet but I have a big ass grin on my face right now!

Also, very happy to see that the dream I had last night of the actor playing Mad Eye Moody having died is NOT the truth...(why I'd dream of that, not sure)...
James Hogan
2. Sonofthunder
So excited!!! Just fantastic to see an HP re-read. Thank you, Emily - thank you Tor!

Now - HP as a series is one I came to late. Didn't start reading until HBP was already out, my first year in college. But I very quickly fell in love. I now try to re-read once every two years or so...always a delight. More than any other books, HP are my "comfort books". Always cheer me up.

As for the differences between the UK/US versions, I remember the first time I read the UK versions and started noticing the (small) differences. I still don't understand why they felt they had to change things for the US market and it bothers me a bit. But alas, guess it doesn't matter that much!

For this first chapter...you're oh so right. I didn't realize it until reading this, but...reading it with the foreknowledge we have makes this chapter all the more emotional. Thanks for the extra dose of sadness this morning...*sniff*

And the Dursleys? Terrible, certainly. But also rather hilarious. Agreed - Rowling's humor is just cracking.
Valerie Varner
3. varnerv951
This will be fun. Now I am going to have to get my books out and read along with you.

I thought Rowling did a good job setting up here, and planting some seeds. It is also interesting rereading the Dursleys. I don't mind them so much on the reread... I think it is because of how I remember them coming around a little in the very last books? I could be remembering incorrectly, though.

So excited for this reread!!
CWMW
4. CWMW
I have been waiting someone on Tor to reread Harry Potter books, I will definitely be on board.
CWMW
5. Ray Jr
Great look at Chapter One! And, of course you are up to something good! HP forever (which is about how long it will take to get through all the books). Looking forward to Chapter Two!
CWMW
6. Bárbara Vieira
YES, YES, YES! I just started the Kingkiller Chronicles reread and am currently loving it, but a Harry Potter reread? I just won my day!

Didn't even read the first post yet, only will do it when I'm back from university - my last exam of the semester is tonight, and THIS was an early holiday gift for sure!!
CWMW
7. Basdr
YES! Awesomeness ensues. *dances*

I grew up with this series and I still read the series at least once a year. And every time I go through them in a matter of days.

But maybe I'll slow down for once and read along with this reread :)
Julia S
8. TwistedDream
Thank you, Emily!! :D
I squealed a little bit as soon as I saw the post title - it was kind of awkward having to explain it to my co-workers.

I try to re-read this series every couple of years, so I was about due to start this year..but my ever-fluctuating pile of library books has been holding me captive, so far.
David Levinson
9. DemetriosX
We discovered this book quite by chance. My wife was looking for a book for our then 13-year old daughter's birthday, something that would get her more interested in reading. This was on sale at Powell's. Maybe clearing out inventory, maybe the staff knowing it was good and another one was coming in a few months and trying to get people to buy it. But there it was, not too expensive and we all became HP fans. If we hadn't heard of it until all the hype, none of us might have read it even to this day.

The comparison to Dahl was obvious to me right away, although that is a lot stronger in the next chapter. I think where Rowling compares to Dickens is in character names and that's something that accumulates over time, but we get hints of it even here.

I'm not quite sure I agree with Emily about the Dursleys' feelings for one another. I always felt that Vernon not wanting to upset Petunia was more for his own peace of mind than hers. If he upsets her, then he has to deal with her freaking out and he'd just rather not. We see a lot more of this later on and in the later books. Their concerns are largely about how things will make them appear to outsiders and less about each other's feelings. They do come around a little towards the end, but it's a long slog to get there.
CWMW
10. SteamboatMeadow
I wasn't sure what to expect, but this was a super fun read. I will definitely be keeping up with this reread!
Gary Rothkopf
11. Fenric25
Glad to see a Harry Potter re-read finally tackled by Tor, I've loved the series since I was 15 (first discovered it at Dragon Con in 2000, just when the hype of Goblet of Fire was about, read the first four books within three days and was hooked), and I figured the site would get to this sooner or later (they've covered most of my favorite series, after all.) I haven't read the books in some time so this re-read gives me a great opportunity/excuse to do so (of course, I'll read through them pretty quickly so I'll have to double back for the chapters actually being discussed). I'll have to finish Words of Radiance and Perdido Street Station first, of course, but I'll catch up soon enough. Wonder if the new info from the Pottermore website will be reflected in this re-read as it often covers a few plot holes and fills in character/worldbuilding gaps...

Anyway, not much to discuss in this chapter other than the spot-on point about Rowling's humor-her prose may not be anything overly spectacular, but her humor is wonderful and one of the things that makes the books superior to the movies, much as I do love them (they never seemed to handle the humor and whimsy quite as well, in my opinion). Good luck with the rest of the re-read, Emily, and glad to see you're the person doing this re-read, I love your posts :)
Stephen Dunscombe
12. cythraul
I've always considered this first chapter to be a little dose of perfection. It's like a prose poem, like Bradbury's "Rocket Summer", but with a lot of really deft world-building, character-building, and background exposition.

There's a really icky "unattractive = evil / contemptible" vibe with how Rowling tends to talk about the Dursleys, which I seem to recall is present in other areas of the series too.

Does Harry's origin strike anyone else as deeply Arthurian? Especially the Disney adaptation of T. H. White's "The Sword in the Stone"; you could swap Vernon and Dudley with the Disney Sir Ector and Sir Kay, and not really notice a difference in either work. The Wizard plants the Destined Babe with Mundane Parents...
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
13. Lisamarie
I love love love the Mary GrandPre illustrations. I do really wish that the American books hadn't been 'dumbed down' or Americanicized, because they're not American books! They're British books! It boggles my mind that people would expect them to read like American books, or use American slang, or whatever. I suppose it's one thing when you translate a book from something like Russian to English, you may (depending on your translation philosophies) use some American (if you're an American translator) idioms but this seems like a bit of a stretch to me. As an American, I don't feel like everything I read has to be couched in American terms or have an American feel. Bah.

Still, I have all the American versions (when I started reading the books I had no idea of the controversy) and since I like having a matching set, I stuck with them. And I do think of all of them, they absolutely have the best cover art and chapter art. I have a lot of really intense, emotional, sensory based memories surrounding these books, some of them surrounding the art and the look and feel of the books in my hands. They are the few books I have insisted on owning in hardcover (even Wheel of Time didn't get that treatment! Lord of the Rings is the other series I own in hardcover).

I love hearing people's Harry Potter stories! Here's mine - I was a senior in high school (2000-2001) and Goblet of Fire had come out smoewhat recently. I remember hearing the hype and dismissing it, because I tended to generalize that things that were popular must be bad (never mind that I was known for being a big Star Wars dork, and a Beatles freak and was really into Lord of the Rings. None of those things were popular, of course not!) and at the time I was getting really into Wheel of Time and Guy Gavriel Kay (thanks to my German teacher for those two!) and Dune and Thomas Covenant (thanks to my science fiction teacher for those two!) and more 'serious' stuff.

Then I saw one of my good friends in German class reading one of them and couldn't believe it! But she said they were really good, and I respected her opinion on that (she was one of the few people I acknowledged as being smarter than I was, heh). My mom had gotten my 5 year old sister the first book for Christmas, but it never got read, since she wasn't a big reader at that age, and it was a bit above her level (funny, now she's really into the series as well!). That spring, I went on a camping/road trip with some friends for spring break, and wanted something to read in the car. I grabbed the book thinking it would be a fun diversion, and by now was curious to see what the fuss was about.

I was HOOKED from page one. I loved the humor and writing style. It only took me a day or two to finish the book, and at one point I even dragged my friends to a bookstore in rural Tennessee to see if they had the second one (they didn't). To this day, sometimes when there is a certain smell in the air - that April, springtime smell - I have really vivid memories of reading the books for the first time, sitting outside at a campsite, or while in the car, and feeling the weight and texture of the book and dust jacket in my hands, and whatever emotional reactions I had at the time. Sometimes just running my fingers over the embossed lettering can trigger a similar set of memories, or the memory of spring (speaking of spring...is it spring yet????? Why am I still wearing snowpants and skimasks to work???).

At this point the books were still mostly 'fun' for me, though, I didn't consider them particularly deep at the time, and would not have put them up with things like LOTR or WOT. That came with the later books. But I still really, really enjoy this first book.
CWMW
14. David Clary
I hope to hell you do a chapter a day. I won't live long enough to do 7 books @ 1 chapter a week. Not with all the feels that are coming.
Steven Halter
15. stevenhalter
Emily, you're right, a reread does add a great deal of depth to the scene where Harry is left.

cythraul@12:The destined Babe left with others is a very old theme. Arthur is one as you remark, but also Moses and back through Sargon. Deeply resonate stuff.
Rob Munnelly
16. RobMRobM
I recall I came to the books after Azkaban was out. I read the first one - fine story, rather simplistic; got half way through the second one, thought it was too silly and childish, and put them aside for a few years. Of course, I then read them out loud to my young elementary school age kids, got to Azkaban, which completely blew me away a darker, more complex saga, and then got hooked. I spent a surprising number of hours after HBP (my second fav of the books) reading Leaky Cauldron and other sites trying to figure out who had the Horcruxes and how things were going to wrap up - very fun look at a broad and deep fandom.

So, go for it Emily! Looking forward to it.
Meg K
17. KittenSwarm
Oh this is exciting! It's be a few years since I've read the books, so this reread is a perfect opportunity. I didn't love the books as much from OotP onward, but time may give me a new perspective on them.

The Dahl comparisons are true and part of why the first few books really captured my attention. This opening few chapters have a great modern fairy-tale vibe.

I started reading right as Azkaban came out. Our middle school library group loved the books and we made a Harry Potter club, complete with sorting and making fake wands. Being a frizzy haired brunette with her nose always buried in a book, I really identified with Hermione. Thank goodness one of our members was from an ex-pat British family and could correct our pronunciations! Otherwise I think we would have been pronouncing her name like Krum did. :)
CWMW
18. flyingtoastr
I just reread these books last week because it's been a while. Let's do it!
Chris Nelly
19. Aeryl
YAY! The gods on high at Mt. Tor have heard our repeated pleas, spread throughout many disparate threads, and answered them! With EmilyAP as our guide!

I didn't get into the books until immediately after OTP came out. I had only seen the first movie by this time(which I was very impressed with). I remember how wierd it was that I, who hadn't even read the books, was defending Harry in OTP, because all I knew was that he was 15, and 15 year olds are irritating and whiny, why did anyone expect Harry to be different?

One of my favorite things about a reread, is discovering how well Rowling sewed the seeds of the story to come all the way back in these first novels.
CWMW
20. Neenie
Yeah, a Harry Potter reread!

I first read Harry Potter in the summer of 2001. My sixteenth birthday was going to be on November 16th, when the first film was due to come out. I was spending most of that summer watching my little brother and cousins (ages 11, 10, and 6) who kept going on and on about how I was taking them to the movie for my birthday, which I had no interest in, at the time disliking fantasy on principle. One sweltering day in August, the three of them were playing a video game and I was bored to tears, so I decided to start the first book since I was going to have to take these brats to the stupid movie anyway.

I finished Goblet of Fire at 10 pm the next day, and the rest is history (and yes, my entire family did see the first film on my sixteenth birthday).

Years later, I picked up both HBP and DH at midnight as soon as I finished my shift working at a local pub. I claim the real reason I sobbed all the way through DH was due to staying up all night finishing the book after receiving a large second degree burn at work on release night, and not the end of the series.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
21. Lisamarie
Reflecting more on the content of the post, I agree with Emily in that there are so many things to catch on a re-read that have emotional significance that you just would not get - the mention of Sirius, the knowledge of Harry's parents and the history of the Wizarding war, etc. Even reading it as I've aged and have kids of my own provides a different perspective on these things (and man, that scene in the movie - I think it was the very last movie, where his parents are preparing to die and then Harry is screaming in his crib with his dead mother in the room. It's the one everybody remembers as the 'Snape holding Lily' scene, I think - that was actually our first trip out of the house after having our second first baby and RIGHT IN THE FEELS, man!). (Edited after my husband reminded me I got my times mixed up, it was when our first child was born!)

And of course there is the knowledge that there are other reasons to leave Harry with the Dursleys, awful as they are, that Dumbledore isn't really saying...

cythraul@12 - I definitely recognized that unfortunately tendency as well. Especially in the earlier books, the 'villain' characters are always quite unattractive. Even characters like Snape are described as greasy haired, etc. Hermione does subvert this trope a bit, but even she gets prettied up.

As for the Dursleys, Emily, you bring up an interesting point regarding normalcy. I have what is probably a 'normal' life, in that I'm married, work, have kids, etc, etc. And I want a normal life for me and my family, in that I hope they don't have to deal with things like war, poverty, disease, toxic relationships, abuse, etc. But when you frame normalcy - and the Dursley's quest for normalcy and appearances - in that way - in shying away from the extraordinary, in fitting into a very narrow box for appearance's sake - that is defininitely not something I want for my family.

I am also a little sad to hear she didn't actually write part of it on coffee shop napkins, as I loved that image. Did she write in the coffee shop at all? Also interesting to know about what was going on in Britain at the time. The shots at the Dursleys are obviously not 'against' traditional homes - I mean, we also get the Weasley family (which in some ways is even more traditional depending on your ideas on family size), but the automatic assumption that they must be better/healthier than other families. And I'll just say that she gets mad props for doing all this as a single parent. I have two kids and a husband and a full time job, and it's HARD. So, in that sense, I think a two parent home is 'ideal', not in that I am morally superior, but that I really don't think I'd be able to put two thoughts together at the end of the day, much less write a book! I really admire anybody who can pull it off!
Chris Nelly
22. Aeryl
@LisaMarie, I do believe she has admitted to writing part of it in a coffee shop, because she had no heat or something. I don't remember the details.
Ursula L
23. Ursula
I wonder how much the Dursely's family life was twisted by the way Harry was added to their family.

They had been living with a dangerous secret. Petunia's sister was a witch, but worse, was involved in a dangerous magical war. A conflict that her Muggle family might get caught up in, used as pawns, if the connection became public.

Surely Voldemort would not have hesitated to use Petunia and her family as hostages against Lily!

So being "normal" and hiding their connection to the magical world is not merely wanting to fit in. It is a matter of survival.

And then Harry gets left on their doorstep. Along with the devistating news that Petunia's sister has been murdered. And an obvious connection to the magical world, a way in which Lily's enemies could track them down.

So of course they want to hide Harry's magical abilities, to make things seem as normal as possible. Even hide his presence in their family, as much as they can.

And Harry comes with a threat. Protect him, and you're protected for as long as he is undeage and under your care. Abandon him, and you are on your own against deadly magical enemies who want to kill Harry.

Remember how upset they were when they learned Harry came of age at 17 instead of 18. They had lost their last year of protection, and didn't know what might happen to them next.

Harry is introduced to the family in a way guaranteed to ensure that they are fearful and resentful.

And Dumbledore doesn't even have the grace to knock on the door and explain the situation in person. Offer condolences. He just leaves a baby and a letter. A letter that might "explain everything" to someone who has been living in the magical world, but which would leave a muggle with a host of terrifying questions for which no answers were available.
David Levinson
24. DemetriosX
@13 Lisamarie
Generally I agree with you on Americanizing a British text (or the other way, though that seems to be a lot less common). Terry Pratchett absolutely forbids it, and I'm in complete agreement with him. But the first couple of Potter books are a slightly different case. The target audience is (seemingly) middle grade to very early YA and some of the Britishisms could be problematic for those readers. Not so much things like Ron saying "Wicked!" for things that are cool as for things like "jumper" and "bogey".
CWMW
25. @BenLikesMovies
This is awesome. I just started a Potter re-read a couple of days ago, myself (first time in several years) and will be following this retrospective with great interest. So many new, complicated layers of emotions, knowing what we know now. Definitely came close to losing it when Hagrid, Dumbledore, and McGonagall leave at Harry on the doorstep. And again, later, when Hagrid first tells Harry that he has his mother's eyes... ugh, it's a only a matter of time before I'm the weird guy weeping on the subway....
CWMW
26. ProfMel
Hurray! I love to reread and it's been a couple years since I reread the Potter series.
I really don't like the dumbing down for Americans. If you really think that they will miss things because of the language, put in footnotes or a glossary. But if everything is presented as American, how do we learn about different world views?
Kit Case
27. wiredog
LisaMarie, Ursula
the knowledge that there are other reasons to leave Harry with the Dursleys, awful as they are, that Dumbledore isn't really saying...
Oh boy, the things Dumbledore doesn't say. That (IMHO) he should have. By the end of the books, by the end of Goblet of Fire actually, I was well on my way to wondering if he wasn't actually one of the bad guys.
Chris Nelly
28. Aeryl
Yeah, I get the problems people had with Americanizing it.

BUT

I am an adult and a very good reader, and have YEARS of experience figuring the definitions of unknown words through their context, and I had a hard time deciphering some of the Britishisms they didn't change, like trainers, "binning them" and snogging(which I though was related to snot, imagine my surprise when I deciphered "bogey").

Maybe with a glossary in the back you could refer to?
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
29. Lisamarie
@23 and others -
It just occurred to me what an interesting twist it would have been if, when other backstory was revealed (such as knowing that Petunia and Lily really were quite close as kids, Petunia also wanted to be magical, and Petunia does still grieve for her in some way) that the whole animostiy between them was really an agreed upon act for their protection, and they really didn't feel that way about them. How sad.

That said, I think, even without that particular example, they are pretty nasty to other people as well (and to Harry even for non-magical reasons) so I don't think that explanation flies as a perfect explanation for heir behavior (I'll also state that I don't accept the 'Snape was a double agent so he HAD to treat the kids horribly!' argument).

But I totally get that there are, in addition to their own petty, nasty reasons, good reasons to be very fearful/displeased that Harry was dropped into their midst, or to play down the connection to Lily.
Chris R
30. up2stuff
REALLY?!? Memory of Light reread still going on, JUST started Words of Radiance, and now Harry Potter? You are KILLING me!

Sooo much fun!!!!
CWMW
31. ballisticjaguar
@DemitriosX

I was 11 when I first started reading the books, and because I'm Canadian, I read the original, unamericanized text. Sure, it was a little different from the language I was used to, but it didn't trip me up that much (it certainly didn't stop me from reading them, nor from understanding what was happening). I thought it added to the charm.
CWMW
32. Amy E.
the timing, oh the timing! our book club did a re-read of the series (each member claimed a book) just last month for "Febru-Harry". i look forward to the re-read with Emily and Tor just as much, if not more!
Andrew Berenson
33. AndrewHB
Sometime when I was out of college, my then girlfriend (now my wife) and I were driving somewhere. I was driving and she was in the passenger seat. She started reading the first chapter of TPS. By the end of chapter 1, I could not take it anymore. I thought the description of Dumbledore's light-remover (cannot think of its name) was stupid. I thought the entire tone of the book would be for a 10-12 year old. I did not want to read something for that target age.

A few years later, I saw the first movie. After seeing the movie, I started reading the next books (my wife had read them) and became hooked. I evven bought the last 3 books in hard covers.

What I find remarkable about JK's writing style is that as the series progressed, the target age of the audience changes. It reflects the age of Harry and his friends. I feel the first two (and maybe even the 3rd book) are targeted at pre-teen children. Thereafter, the series becomes darker and the target audience is now an older teenager. Maybe not an adult, but somebody who can be treated as an adult in some situations (able to drive, work part time, trusted as a baby sitter to younger kids, etc).

This changing the target age throughout a series is something that I have not seen before. For example, another series I loved, the WoT, does not change the target audience. I do not think that series becomes more sophisticated as time goes on (I acknowledge that the plot thickens as the books progress -- but in a way that there is more plots: both minor and major). The first book through the last still reads the same (differences in RJ's and Brandon's writing style notwithstanding).

Back to the chapter at hand. Does anybody know how much time elapses between when Hagrid borrows Sirus' motorcycle and when Peter Pettigrew challenges Sirus and frames Sirus for the betrayal of James and Lilly? In retrospect, it is obvious that Hagrid, Dubmledore and McGonagall do not think of Sirus as a traitor as of Chapter 1.

Thanks for reading my musings,
AndrewB
Stephen Shores
34. 2nihon
So tempting to hop back in...sadly, I have five books on the burner right now that I really want to finish before anything else. I think I'll bookmark this post and come back to it in a few months. :)
CWMW
35. Rancho Unicorno
@13 - Since you're interested in HP stories, I'll share. I was in college and Burger King had a $0.99 sale on Whoppers. So I bought three. Got back to our place and needed something to read while I ate. HP1 was on the coffee table (I'm guessing from my roommate's ElEd fiance). So I read it. It was okay, but nothing spectacular. Still, I figured it wouldn't hurt to read the rest. I guess that was somewhere between June 2001-April 2002. Not sure exactly when, though. I was out of the country from 1998-end of 2000, so I wasn't sure what this Harry Potter thing was. I think the thing that got me most into the series was being in Edinburgh for the release of whatever came out in 2003. The excitement was a a bit contagious.

As for my view on the series as a whole, I've never been the biggest fan, but it isn't bad. It's engaging and effervescent, with the added challenge of the stories growing up with the characters. The stylistic choices from 4 or 7 would have had me walking away in book 1 - you felt like you were growing up with the characters. One the other hand, it felt like a totally self-contained world of Chekov's guns. Nothing happened outside of those who understood the impact (beyond the occasional news report), and things that were learned as new to the heros were either fortuitously useful or already familar to the general populace (a style that worked for the first few books but felt like it dragged through the series).

And this chapter. I remember thinking I would pace through the book and food, this was my assembly chapter (remove bottom bun from one burger, top bun from second burger, combine the two burgers and two buns with the extra pickles and mustard). I wasn't totally focused on the story, but the mystery was well written - I was curious to know more, but I didn't feel like I was being manipulated. Still, it wasn't something that made me forget my food. I just read Pride & Prejudice for the first time, and that had me leave my cake on the table (I like to eat and read). In hindsight, I impressed with either Rowlings arc-planning or ability to work random bits into the broader story (like Black and his motorcycle).
Don Barkauskas
36. bad_platypus
Unlike most books, I can actually pinpoint my first encounter with HP pretty accurately: I was home for Christmas break, and my parents and sisters were going out to see the first movie. My Dad handed me the first book, told me I'd enjoy it, and suggested I read it before seeing the movie. I started it and ended up finishing it while in line to see the movie. A great series, and I'm looking forward to the re-read.
Chris Nelly
37. Aeryl
@33, Sirius gave the bike to Hagrid's while in Godric's Hollow. AT this time, Sirius, who knew that Pettigrew was the REAL Secret Keeper, went off to find him.

After he tracks him down, that's when the confrontation happens that leaves Sirius framed for all of the deaths. Now, what confuses me, is that as the Secret Keeper, Black should have been the first suspect, but he wasn't until after Peter "dies". Why is that? Did Dumbledore know who the SK actually was, so didn't think Black was worth worrying about? I mean, it doesn't take a genius to discern that if the Potters are successfully hiding, the Fidelus charm must be involved.
CWMW
38. garrek42
I love the story of Harry Potter, but as an adult I can't help but see the large holes in plot and logic.
if 700 galleons will send a family on vacation, how does 1000 open a shop.
when on the run from bad guys have an emergency rally point.
etc etc etc.

But then I get into the story and I forget all that and just wait to see what happens next.
This reread may take a long while, but will be worth it, if only for the arguements.
CWMW
39. Oreo
I apologize if someone else has already expressed this, but the difference in the re-read is exactly what The Neverending Story 2 touches on at the beginning of the film. Nothing is the same on the re-read, especially if it's been years, because, in addition to knowing what's coming, the reader also has the perspective of life experience and knowledge gained since the first read. Life-changing events may have happened (birth, death, etc.) giving the reader new understanding of concepts they might previously have dismissed or not fully understood.

Similarly, the first scenes with Obi-wan in ANH seem to have a different subtext after seeing the prequels. It's as if he recognizes R2 and knows that his exile is about to end. Other scenes become a little creepy, but at least it's not GoT creepy.

Experiencing a great story for the first time is magical, but coming back to it years later can be just as rewarding.
CWMW
40. fairbetty
"So. That’s what this reread is going to be like in a lot of places. Just me… sobbing. In a corner. Full of feelings."

Oh and me too... sigh... every time I reread...
Chris Nelly
41. Aeryl
@38, The twins were also making money in addition to the money Harry gave them.
Darice Moore
42. daricemoore
I know exactly when I discovered HP. In 1999, I read an article in Salon.com about this new fantasy book, and I immediately went out and got a copy.

Now my daughter (born in 2003) is a massive Potter fan, and having just turned 11, she is hoping that owl invitation will come soon. (I tried to warn her that American exchange students at Hogwarts only happen in fanfiction, but she BELIEVES.)

Looking forward to this reread!
Adam S.
43. MDNY
So glad this new read has arrived at Tor. Pure awesomeness. This opening chapter, and the books in general, make you realize how much JKR HAD planned out for the series from the beginning, from little details like Sirius and his bike, to Petunia's relationship with Lily.
I always felt like JKR continued the tradition of Dahl (and Dickens before him). Vernon Dursley is exactly like Matilda's father, they could be twins.
CWMW
44. Taravangian
cythraul@12

I completely agree with you on the quality of this chapter. I revisit it so often. It has an air of familiarity and comfort for me. The way Rowling inserts little asides and niceties throughout the prose makes it feel like she's really telling you the story firsthand. It's quaint and charming.

Harry's story is definitely influenced by the Arthurian legend. There are plenty of other evident influences too. For instance, The Little White Horse was Rowling's favorite book growing up, and there's no shortage of similarities between the Potter books and that one. Also Narnia.

Since many others have already shared their stories, I guess I'll throw mine in the ring as well. I was introduced to Harry Potter just a few weeks after it came out in the U.S. when my fourth grade teacher read it to our class.

I was instantly hooked. My mother ordered Chamber of Secrets from the U.K., since it came out a year before the American release. We did the same thing for Prisoner of Azkaban. From Goblet of Fire onward, I never missed a midnight premier. In fourth grade, I wrote a 50+ page fanfic in writer's workshop. (Maybe I'll scan it for you guys if anyone' interested — it's pretty classic.)


I attended a private university that offers a special unit in January for classes that allow students to pursue "less traditional" academic subjects. I took an advanced Harry Potter analysis course, which was absolutely wonderful. There was a pretty strong courseloud, but it never felt like work to me.

I remember trawling fansites such as HPANA, Mugglent, and TLC for fan theories for months before the last few books came out. It'll be interesting to see a reread unfold for a series that's already concluded. Most of the other rereads I've followed were for series still in progress, so the comments are always rife with speculation. Here, we all know how it ends, so it'll be interesting to see what kinds of discussions will occur.
Heather Olver
45. Arila
I love re-reads, because of the discussion in the post and the comments that highlight things I never really thought about before, or recognized on the surface, but never really examined. Especially since I frequently turn to the movies to get the refreshers, after I read the essay about the differences between movie Ron and book Ron, this is a great opportunity to remember.

I agree with Emily about the Dursleys. I always sort of saw them all as peas in a pod, them against the world.

I also wish that the back story with Lily and Petunia had been explained a little better. I can see how having an older (?) sister who always outshines you, and is clearly favored by your parents would sour you on her through no fault of her own. With Lily being so extraordinary, striving for and valuing plain old normal may have been a defense mechanism for Petunia. I don't think she would have been quite so vitriolic about it if her parents hadn't fussed and gushed so much about Lily being a witch - something Petunia could never ever be/do.
CWMW
46. av willis
Ok, slightly off topic, I have to ask the question, why haven't we seen an article on Tor covering the Huffington Post editorial that attacked J.K Rowling? http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-26331650
When Rowling posted her thoughts on the Ron-Hermione relationship, this was covered ad nauseum even though all it really boiled down to was fuel for shippers. But here we have an article with asinine interesting implications for publishing and it just slips under the radar? Couple the fact that there have been excellent rebuttals on other blogs, and I have to ask where is the righteous indignation on her behalf from this site?
Brendan Meade
47. Bridge4_knights
Really looking forward to this. These books turned around my reading experience completely. I still remember picking up this book after my girlfriend (now wife) had finished with it for her second year university class Children's lit while she was busy working on some essay (I was highly scepitcal). I was getting bogged down in school and hadn't read for pleasure in a couple years and than this book came along. I flew through the first one and knocked off the remaining five in turn, finished HBP and asked for the next one. Finally catching up to the rest of you I impatiently waited on the leaky cauldron for DH to come out. Great memories and from there I have listened to Jim Dale spin this tale out more than I care to admit on car trips and my daily commute.

Since picking up TPS I have spent the last ten years reading almost every single day and I know this book played a big reason in my finding the pleasure in reading again.

The first time rereading this I really feel that this chapters really reminds you how much Mcgonagall's character must really care for Harry when he comes to school. The relationships between Dumbledore/Hagrid and Harry are much more apparent in future interactions but I feel that Minerva being here with them really shows her commitment to him.

Cheers,
and can't wait for more.
Francisco Guimaraes
48. franksands
Thanks so much for this reread! I'm actually reading most of the books for the first time! I had only read the first one when they came out. I'm currently reading Goblet of Fire. I hope I can keep up with things here.
meghan shaffer
49. meghanlee
So exciting! I follow along several of the rereads but rarely comment, but I can't imagine not getting involved in this one!

I actually just reread all of the books at the end of 2013. It was my second read through and I had the exact same experience with all the SADNESS. I don't remember feeling sad at all the first time I read them but last year I cried several times. You know the heartache that is coming for these young kids and it just tugs at you. I love these books!
CWMW
50. Michelle L.
Yay! I actually just started a reread of this series myself. I agree that some bits gain surprising poignance when rereading, especially as an adult. When I reached the end of the first book this time, where Dumbledore first describe's the love-protection Lily gave to Harry, I found myself wiping away tears just as Harry does. That moment had never hit me so hard before.

I'm an HP early adopter, as it were, and I'm still quite grateful that my librarian mother had me reading these books from the get-go. She was a school librarian at the time, and her boss had happened to take a vaction in England where she picked up the UK edition of PS and brought it back to add to the collection. It wasn't yet available in the US. It managed to rack up quite an incredible circ rate within a few months, which caught my mom's attention, and she ordered the US edition as soon as it came out as a Christmas present for me.

I have a very clear memory of unwrapping it and my heart sinking. "Harry Potter? Why does my mom buy me these things? If this were any good, I'd have heard of it by now."

Oh, the shame! *buries head* Fortunately, I decided to give it a try near the end of winter break and by the end of the first page (around the bit where it says the Potters were "as unDursleyish as it was possible to be") I was absolutely hooked. I was already very fond of Roald Dahl and saw the connection between the Dursleys and some of his nastier characters.

When I finished the book I remember desperately hoping J. K. Rowling (whoever he or she was; no big newspaper articles or TV spots about her yet!) would get around to writing the rest of the series. And SOON. I think I just about flipped when I heard about Chamber of Secrets coming out.

It helped that I was exactly 11 at the time, too. There were a few months there when I hoped, at the back of my mind, that there might be some wild chance I'd get a letter to Hogwarts or its American equivalent-- you never knew; Harry didn't, after all. (I remember well the small weight on my heart when I finally had to admit it hadn't come.) And until Goblet of Fire, when Rowling took a break from the book-a-year schedule, I aged concurrently with Harry, which was absolutely perfect.

I've just started rereading Prisoner of Azkaban, which will be my favorite forever. (Um, helped in no small part that my mom's library connections also snagged me a spot at one of the few signing tours J. K. Rowling did after it came out, just as the series' popularity was skyrocketing and people *other than me* seemed to finally have heard of this Harry Potter fellow. So.) I don't know how to describe PoA other than "haunting." That line about "maybe all four Mauraders had been there that night" gives me shivers every time.
CWMW
51. Boecchris
Well I picked a bad year to give up smoking! :>) ThankyouThankyouThankyou
CWMW
52. Missblake7
So excited to find this! It made my whole day! I read the last five about twice a year but mostly skip the first two. It will be intereesting to follow a whole re read since every time I always find something new in the books to cement their place as one of the most influential and best plotted series of all time. Hurray!
Elizabeth Doolin
53. mochabean
So glad TOR is doing this! SO MUCH FEELS. Will enjoy not only the re-read but the comments, particularly with so many people coming to the series in different ways, at different times. For those of us who are older (47 just for example) we came to the books as adults (and in fact, it was my mom in her then 70s who told me I had to read them!) but I've re-read them frequently, both by myself and aloud to each of my three kids. And I had a different experience each time.

@37 Aeryl I've always assumed that Dumbledore did NOT know who the real seceret keeper was, which is why he had no issue with leaving Sirius in Azkaban. As to why people wouldn't think Sirius was the one who betrayed James and Lily before he "killed" PP, I always thought that, in fact, everyone did think that and Sirius knew right away that he'd be suspect number 1. So as soon as Sirius gave Hagrid his bike, he went into hiding (which is part of the reason why he gave Hagrid his bike ), until he could avenge James and Lily. But you raise a great point -- why didn't Dumbledore get involved-- if anyone could have found Sirius,he could have. But Dumbledore makes mistakes (one of the things I love about his character -- he's not perfect) so perhaps that is one of them...In my mind, the whole sequence of events all happens really quickly as well, and Dumbledore and the Ministry are preoccupied with getting Harry squared away and figuring out what the hell happened to Voldemort.
CWMW
54. Zylaa
Eeeeeee I clapped my hand over my mouth in delight (and to stop myself from squealing aloud at work) when I saw this!! Really looking forward to this reread, to say the least.

Thank you for pointing out the humor--for some reason I don't see that touched on much, but it's one of the things I've always loved about the series, how there's fun and whimsy (and later, even as the books get bleaker, still plenty of humor).

If we're doing our Harry Potter stories--the first I heard of them was when my mom was looking through the Scholastic Books catalog that we always got before the book sale (any other Americans remember those? Good times). I was nine. She was sitting at the kitchen table and pointed it out, saying "Oh, I've heard good things about these books." And I, foolish child that I was, said something like "It's just another book about wizards, Mom."

Thankfully, Time for Kids did a front-page story on them when Prisoner of Azkaban came out, and I think that's when I decided that oh, maybe these were something special. And the rest, of course, is history.
CWMW
55. radagastslady
I still have one big question. Where has Harry been all day? The murders seem to have occurred around 10-12 on the evening of the 31st of Oct. Hagrid brings Harry to Privet Drive on the evening of the 1st of November. Has Hagrid been taking care of the baby all day?
Alicia Dodson
56. LynMars
A roommate was working in a bookstore and mentioned these books. Boyfriend and I ended up reading torrented copies, up to Goblet of Fire, the most recent book at the time. We then bought the books and started waiting for midnight releases for the next 3, and going to midnight first showings of the films when those started.

Kansas State University offers a Harry Potter class in the English department every year; reading Rowling's influences (Dahl and a few other older fantasy and boarding school stories), most of the books (they've asked students to pre-read the first 2 for time), and a few contemporaries--like The Golden Compass and The Amulet of Samarkand. It was a great class, and very popular.

I recently moved again so gave my entire series (among other YA books) to my oldest nephew; I plan to repurchase the series electronically when I have the funds. He even got my supplemental books about Quidditch, Magical Beasts, and Beedle the Bard's stories. I think passing them on was the best choice given the circumstances.

Emily's observations about a re-readers foreknowledge of the people and events really strikes home here. There is a LOT of world building seeds sprinkled through out this introduction chapter, and many of them won't sprout until much later novels. But it definitely speaks to the larger society and overall plan involved in the story's direction. Rowling's humor is also spot-on, and a huge part of the books for me, balancing out all the times she also makes us cry.
Emily Asher-Perrin
57. EmilyAP
Hello... crew? Gang? Fellow wizards?! (We need a good group name...)

You are all AWESOME. And this is getting off to such a great start!

@Lisamarie - To the question about coffeehouses, Rowling did have a couple of those places in particular that she wrote the first book in. She liked writing in coffee shops because they were generally quiet and warm. (She could afford paper, but keeping her flat toasty during the day was something of a challenge, I seem to recall her saying.)

@av willis #46 - I can't speak for anyone else on the site, but can tell you for my part why I didn't have any desire to respond to that particular HuffPo article; the main reason was because it seemed such sensationalist clickbait to me. Especially when the writer went on at length about how she hadn't read Potter, and more importantly how she thought it was sad that adults read those "kid books." In addition, her complaint mainly seemed to be that Rowling was so popular that her release of The Casual Vacany eclipsed all publishing news and publicity for every other book. I have no idea what world that was true in; I heard about plenty of books while TCV was coming out.

More importantly, the idea that authors who have achieved extreme popularity should just stop writing to prevent anyone else's book from getting overlooked (which was essentially what the writer was demanding) seemed so ridiculous to me that I found myself laughing. It was such an odd little piece of nonsense. No one tells Stephen King he can't write books because he's too popular. The idea that anyone would claim Rowling should for the same reason is boggling. So... that's why I stayed silent? :-) ...I do agree with you, it was crazy.

@Aeryl - I agree with the above; I'm pretty sure Dumbledore had no idea that the Potters changed Secret Keepers. And if that's the case, it actually becomes an odd lesson about him in the opposite direction i.e. what he keeps from various parties; the one thing the Potters chose to keep from Dumbledore is technically what gets them killed...


I am loving everyone's Potter stories. Seeing how and when this book hit different people at all different times in life is such a treat!
Amanda Martino
58. isismaat
@Aeryl and others - Doesn't Dumbledore himself say in PoA that he testified to Sirius being the secret keeper? I've always assumed Sirius gave Hagrid the bike and set out almost immediately to track down Peter; at this point, they're the only two left alive who actually know what happened. I've always had the impression that Peter was "killed" and Sirius arrested as the traitor within about 36 hours of the James' and Lily's deaths (which seems like it was chaotic enough already; Peter's and Sirius's confrontation just added to that).

@55 - Yes, I think we're supposed to assume Hagrid has been taking care of Harry (probably hid him for a few hours while the chaos died down and then hopped on the bike). We don't know that the motorbike can go much faster in the air than it does on the ground, so it could conceivably take several hours to get from where Hagrid was (Hogwarts?) to the Dursley's house. Think about how long the trip on the Hogwarts Express takes.
Chris Nelly
59. Aeryl
Ok, continuing on the timeline.

Hagrid says that Dumbledore sent him to Godric's Hollow to retrieve Harry. Hagrid is without magical transportation, butr Dumbledore knows Hagrid's giant blood will protect him from most spells, so he's the best bet for protection until he gets within the charm Dumbledore places on the Dursleys. So Harry had apparently been in the rubble all day. He sees Sirius at Godric's Hollow, mourning, and deducing HOW Voldemort found them. Sirius learns why Hagrid is there, and gives him the bike to transport Harry safely to Privet Dr, and then sets out in pursuit of Peter.

So, when Dumbledore learns of Sirius being at Godric's Hollow, "knowing" that Sirius was the SK, why isn't Dumbledore more concerned? The only way for them to be found is if the SK betrayed them, it seems the hunt for Sirius should have begun before he could ever give the bike to Hagrid.

Of course, James reckless nature is well known, perhaps at the time they simply suspected that they were found because James led the Death Eaters to them, and didn't think otherwise until Sirius found Peter and was then publicly accused and framed.

But I do seem to recall Hagrid stating that he had only just retrieved Harry, so it does seem likely they left him in the rubble all day.
Don Barkauskas
60. bad_platypus
Arila @45: Actually, Petunia is the older sister, which would probably make it even harder for her if their parents were favoring Lily.
Megan Dillon
61. catgirl
I’m a long time lurker on Tor.com, but I finally signed up for this!

I love the first chapter of PS; it’s an old friend. I agree wholeheartedly with cythraul@12 RE the deft world-building, character building and background exposition, but wonder if this view is the benefit of hindsight. As an 11 year-old, I remember finding this a very slow moving chapter and I had to re-read it a couple of times over a few weeks before I could really get into the story and continue on to finish it and the next three then-published books in quick succession.

RE: UK/US versions: I have never really understood the need to change books for particular markets. Isn’t one of the reasons we read to experience different places and cultures? And wouldn’t Americans have greater understanding of British English if they had been exposed to it from a young age in the same way the rest of us have been exposed to American English? It wouldn’t matter too much except that in a world of books being published across international borders, American English is becoming the default to the extent that…

begin rant
publishers feel the need to Americanise the spelling of books written by Australian authors, set in Australia, and published in Australia! I mean, c’mon, can’t we at least read those with the original spellings!?
end rant

Obligatory HP story: PS was going to be the book read out-loud to my class in 2000, but after the teacher read us this first chapter, the book was put away and never mentioned again. I only picked up the book a few months later because my younger brother asked our parents to buy the first four because his friend was reading them and they were ‘really good’. My brother did not and does not read and even HP couldn’t convince him to. The books stayed sitting on the shelf in his bedroom, until his book-hungry older sister, desperate for something to read, smuggled them out into her room one at a time. That’s where they still are – complete with younger brother’s name in the front cover :)
Megan Dillon
62. catgirl
Aeryl@59
I don’t think they left poor baby Harry in the rubble all day; Hagrid was just late getting to Privet Drive:
‘No problems were there?’
‘No sir – house was almost destroyed but I got him out all right before the Muggles started swarmin’ around. He fell asleep as we was flyin’ over Bristol.’

In DH the Potter’s house is invisible to Muggles, but was it necessarily so right after the Fidelius Charm was broken and any other magical concealments had been breached by Voldemort? Surely even the Muggles would have noticed the screaming of a baby and gone to have a look?

And Sirius turned up at Godric’s Hollow after Hagrid did after he found no one at Pettigrew’s hiding place according to PoA. But I don’t know why the hunt for Sirius didn’t begin straight away. Maybe everyone was too busy celebrating ::shrug::
Amanda Martino
63. isismaat
I think Hagrid says something about getting Harry out right before the Muggles started sniffing around. I wouldn't think it would take too long for Muggles to show up and investigate the side of a house blowing off, but we don't really know that. Although Hagrid might not have been there immediately; it's not as if anyone expected Harry to survive the killing curse, since nobody ever had before, so there may not have been as much urgency to show up and search for survivors as we would think in retrospect (knowing there was a baby there as we do).

Did Dumbledore know Sirius was at Godric's Hollow until Hagrid showed up on the bike and said Sirius had given it to him? Maybe he didn't; he does ask Hagrid where the bike came from. I think Hagrid says he borrowed it, so he was probably planning on giving it back before the Sirius/Peter thing went down (the next day, maybe?). I wonder whatever happened to that bike. I don't think we see it again but I could be wrong.
Amanda Martino
64. isismaat
@catgirl - just saw your post; thanks for looking up the exact quote. I was trying to go off memory...just moved and haven't unpacked all the books yet. I feel so empty without them!
CWMW
65. jpellison
It’s the greatest tip-off in fiction, isn’t it? Especially genre fiction, but really everywhere. Who in their right mind truly wants to be normal? What good can possibly come of that? What adventure, what great feats overcome? Normal is a death knell. You might as well say, “gosh, I sure do hope my life is nothing special.”

Honestly? A lot of people. Anyone who has a characteristic that society deems unacceptable will want it to go away, to an extent. People want to fit in with other people, they only want to stand out in certain, "normal" ways.

The Dursleys don't strive to be distinctly average, they strive to be normal. Which is arguably boring, but not that unusual a trait.
CWMW
66. Gregor Lewis
My introduction to Harry Potter was two-fold - the indirect, easily dismissable 'publicity mode', where I happened across some televised specials with J.K Rowling on my newly installed PAY TV service ... My initial marginally interested impressions of Rowling were as a kind of grump, whose sour predisposition was being softened by the endearing attachment her new and growing legion of fans had formed with her characters.

I remember inexplicably choking up ( I knew nothing about the books then) when she recounted the numerous heartfelt pleas - almost demands - from youngster after youngster that she 'not kill Ron'.

I tried reading PS soon after and threw it away immediately in disgust.

My first direct exposure to a complete work of Harry Potter was thus, when the first movie was released in Japan on New Year's Day 2002. It was the first leg in a Movie Marathon Quaddie I undertook that day and despite one of those movies being Memento (in my all-time Top Ten), Potter Movie was the one I was effortlessly caught up in.

I was content to just watch the movies then, and soon after got the added bonus of running commentary on the books from a cousin, who was reading them enjoyably and quite non-plussed at my refusal to do same.

I watched every film up to HBP before stumbling on the first five books lined up neatly on a library trolley (not yet reshelved after having been returned).

"Right! That'll do me!" I said to my recently unemployed self. "Got time to barrel through them now."

And so began the most rewarding fantasy series read of my life. It wasn't just that I knew the series was complete when I started reading. It was recognising the level of planning and preparedness Rowling brought to her work as my read progressed.

Others have touched on how the books mature authentically as the years go by in story. I suppose it could be explained by Rowling growing as an author the more she wrote, but ( I'm probably wrong) I tend to think she planned it that way.

And notwithstanding her lovely line in lugubrious snark ( I baptized my phone Kreacher because the elf's rambling imprecations and recalcitrance in OotP (i think) reminded me so acutely of my 'trusty' weapon of choice developing a mean streak, a mind of its own and not being so trusty anymore.) ...
... DH is the most satisfying, gimmick free ending of any fantasy series I've read. The events within and the conclusion they lead to felt so natural to me, it was a relief to experience an author not straining to make it all fit AND wrap it up at the same time.

So please, allow me to join everyone else in offering my heartfelt thanks to Emily & Tor. This reader who is about to receive ... The Harry Potter re-Read ... Salutes you!

Can't wait...cannot wait...is it tomorrow yet for the next re-Read Chapter?...next week you say?

.......AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!

Agony, Waiting, it Buuuuurnssssss!

grl
CWMW
67. DanielB
I have never followed a Tor reread (normally I do not have the patience to read so slowly), but I will follow this one. It's going to be fun to revisit this beloved series and comment on it with other fans.

Life other commenters, I'll share how I got hooked with this series. I first heard of it when I was in my early twenties. I have always been an avid reader and a big fan of SF and Fantasy books. I'm Spanish, and as a boy this hobby was kind of expensive, since SF&F is a niche market here and we seldom got paperback editions. Libraries tended to have classic stuff, but not recent novels. Life got easier once my English was good enough to read in the original language and I could buy unexpensive second-hand books from Amazon, but that didn't happen until my late teens.

Anyway, I was checking out the bestsellers' lists in Amazon just to see what was going on and I was surprised to see a couple of books called "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" topping the bestsellers' list. They were by a totally unknown writer. I didn't know anything about them, but they certainly weren't the kind of titles you expect to see there. I checked the descriptions and I was even more surprised. A boy wizard? A boarding school to learn magic? An epic confrontation with an evil wizard? Just count me in!

I had never had prejudices about YA fiction (some of it is very enjoyable), and I love fantasy. What was special about these books, though? How on Earth were they outselling Stephen King, and Tom Clancy and John Grisham and all the other bestselling authors? You have to remember that fantasy did not have as much mainstream acceptance as it does now. The sales chart proved they were popular in the Anglosaxon world (although even there they were not yet popular enough for me to have read about them in the internet forums I occasionally visited), but no one in Spain seemed to have heard of Harry Potter at that time. It was certainly not in the media yet, or anything like that.

Well, I normally prefer to wait until a series is finished before starting on it, since I hate waiting when I'm loving a story, and when I do have to wait and get a new book I never know whether to reread the whole series so far. However, this was just too intriguing. I ordered the first book, and when it got here I started reading and I was hooked from the first page. The story was so whimsical and fun, while at the same time there were such big stakes, and you felt so sorry for Harry and excited with him when he got the letter from Hogwarts and when he starts making friends and discovering the wizarding word. Rowlings is really good at making you care about his characters, and once a writer makes you care they have most of the work done. Add to that the sense of humor and the great imagination and you start understanding why these books with these quaint titles were selling like hot cakes.

From then on, like so many other people, I was hooked. I watched in awe as the Harry Potter phenomenom grew in popular culture, but above all I enjoyed the books (I have always enjoyed books more than films). The series has some flaws, and I'm sure we'll comment them during the reread, but it has allowed millions of people to enjoy an excellent story. Thank you, Ms. Rowling!
CWMW
68. DanielB
Going back to this first chapter. I think it's a great start. Even the very first sentence (Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.) sets the tone very well for Rowling's style. It's witty, with reminiscences of the great Roald Dahl, as many others have commented. The tone is juvenile, but because of that sense of humor, so British in style, it is perfectly enjoyable by adults too.

I don't reread many books, since there are so many wonderful stories to discover, but this makes me feel like a child (you know how little children love listening to their favorite stories time after time, without seeming to get bored... they have the ability to relive the story again as if it were the first time, even if they know it by heart).
Birgit
69. birgit
My mother got the first two books for christmas. I read them and thought they weren't that special, but some time later I got the set of all four books published then as paperbacks with "adult" covers. The third is my favorite of those four. I read the rest as soon as they were published.
When the Goblet movie came out someone asked me what was so special about those books and I said that the writing style is funny.
I never understood why they changed the American title. A philosopher's stone is a specific object, the sorcerer's stone makes no sense. There aren't even sorcerers in the book, only witches and wizards.
CWMW
70. Marietta
Just love it. Great idea to reread the books. My boyfriend got them all^^
I gave my German copy to his mum.

And you're so right about the details. I missed so much of them in the very beginning. And honestly - how can I judge the Dursleys when days keep turning up that I wish would just pass as normal as anyway possible. It is indeed very nice to fit in - to be not pointed at.

Though surely they're a hell lot in their afraid manner towards Harry, whom himself didn't ask for this at all to happen.

So yeah, I enjoying your idea very much and am looking forward for the next part.
CWMW
71. Dr. Cox
My mom bought the first book at an independent bookstore (hooray for independent bookstores!), and I later read it right after reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and it's fun to find that others thought of Dahl :).
I've recently reread the whole series and yes having the "Rereader" perspective is different . . . my usual reading perspective is simply the cultureless "I Need My Mind Entertained" perspective. As I've mentioned before sompleace, the only works that didn't entertain my brain were the works of Henry James and Voltaire and Paradise Lost (Paradise Lost . . . boring . . . I know what happened and the original is a lot shorter--not gummed up w/ all that speculative stuff that Milton included).
Wasn't the bike that Hagrid rides in DH the one that had belonged to Sirius? I don't have a copy to check . . . I took it back to the library yesterday.
CWMW
72. Dr. Cox
"some place" . . . yes, as George III told Fanny Burney, it is difficult to proof one's own work.
CWMW
73. radagastslady
Harry could not have been in the rubble ignored all day with so many people knowing he was alive and wondering why. Remember the coversation Vernon overheard. So the word was out that the baby lived early that morning.
CWMW
75. DWhit
Thank you so much for doing this! So excited!

I was also struck when I noticed the difference being introduced the characters, when you know how the story plays out for them.

I like your point about the obvious love the Dursley's have for each other. But knowing this, can they be forgiven? They are obviously written in a way that makes the reader dislike them (and I loathed them when I first read) - but they do provide Harry with a safe home every summer. Maybe not the happiest home, but the safe one.
William McDaniel
76. willmcd
Like a few others, I am something of an "older" HP reader, having been in my 20s when the books started coming out. So I never dreamed of getting a letter from Hogwarts (instead I spent much of my early childhood wondering when my Jedi powers would start to manifest).

I first became really aware of the series during the mania over the release of "Goblet of Fire", where I had something of what I call an "Everybody Else Effect" reaction to them. (The Everybody Else Effect is when it seems that the entire western world is "into" whatever-it-is that one is not very much "into", and so, tired of being bombarded with meaningless images and discussion, one has an extreme reaction that whatever-it-is must be really, really stupid.) "Harry Potter?" I said. "Why are adults getting all worked up over books for 10-year-olds?" I liked to read Tolkien, Tad Williams, and Robert Jordan, and considered myself well above such presumably juvenile reading.

What changed it for me was, thanks to my wife having a much-younger sister who had grown up with the books, I was roped into seeing the first movie when it was in theaters. I enjoyed it well enough, and that softened my perspective on the series (discovering it was set in England didn't hurt either; though American, I've been an Anglophile from childhood). When I finally got to go on my first trip to England in 2002, I decided to finally pick up the books and give them a go as sort of a literary soundtrack to the journey. I started reading Sorceror's Stone on a flight from Atlanta to London, and by the time I was into Prisoner of Azkaban (still my favorite) a couple of weeks later I had to admit my reactionary notions about the series were wrong. The reason why adults were getting all worked up over books for 10-year-olds was simply that they were really, really good.

Thoughts on Chapter 1: Unlike in the film (which begins, as I recall, with Dumbledore and McGonagall), Rowling begins with the Dursleys, introducing them and showing us the wizarding world through Uncle Vernon's perceptions. We readers are Muggles, and it makes sense that we see things first from a Muggle perspective (even if it is an unsympathetic one). I like that among the first things we see Dumbledore doing is eating a piece of Muggle candy (which McGonagall is unfamiliar with); it shows us that he is not possessed of many of the wizards-first prejudices that characterize some of the more villainous figures in the series.

The idea that Dumbledore and Hagrid still seem to trust Sirius is a little vexing; if they had believed (as most did, apparently) that Sirius was the Potters' Secret-Keeper then suspicion should have been on him already. Others may recall more details than I do, but it seems that maybe Rowling didn't quite have the Secret-Keeper concept mapped out yet at the time of this writing (is it sacrilege to suggest such a thing? This re-read will be my first participation in online HP fandom).

Anyhow, I’m excited about this project. I've been struggling to catch up with the Wheel of Time re-read for a year and a half, so it's obvious that what I really need is to be re-reading another series concurrently. Emily, I've really enjoyed reading your articles on both HP and Star Wars on tor.com in the past, and am glad to see you are our leader.
Rob Munnelly
77. RobMRobM
@74. Surely, it can't be a Sirius bike. (cue Leslie Nielsen response)
Emily Asher-Perrin
78. EmilyAP
Ack, I meant to talk about this in my comment above, regarding how long it takes Harry to get to the Dursley's:

This is actually considered to be one of the biggest goofs of the series. The timeline doesn't stack up at all. Unless we assume that Hagrid paused on their motorbike trip and got so wasted that he blacked out and thinks it's the same evening, there is no way that it could have taken them a whole day to get there based on a few facts--

1. We know that Godric's Hollow is in somewhere in the West Country of the UK.

2. We know that Harry feel asleep "just as they were flying over Bristol."

3. We know the Dursley's live in Surrey.

With all that in mind, it should have taken... a hour or two? Even if Hagrid decides to go real slow, and the Hollow is real high up in the West Country, it cannot have taken anywhere near a 24 hour period. We can make all sorts of assumptions to try and make it work (he double-backed to make sure they weren't being followed, he hid with Harry for a bit), but no one ever makes mention of anything like that.

So it's just a great big fun plothole!
Ursula L
79. Ursula
It's a flying motorcycle. And unlike the Wheasly car, it doesn't seem to have an invisablity function.

So Hagrid collected Harry at night, hid through the day, and could only fly him to the Dursley's the following night, after dark.

Add the detail that while Harry would have been collected from the rubble as soon as possible, it would take a bit longer to decide just what had happened and what to do with him. A day in hiding while things are figured out is plausible, even though the detials of the decision weren't important to the story in the first chapter.
Chris Nelly
80. Aeryl
@77, I'm pretty sure it's Shirley, but good one!
Eleanor Joslin
81. Tatterbots
It was 1997. I was 19 and mooching around my local WHSmith, a chain that sells pretty much every kind of thing made from paper. I'd never grown out of children's fantasy - a niche interest in those days - so when I saw a book I'd never heard of with a steam engine on the front, I naturally picked it up and started to read.

I think I read all of it before I left the shop. I wasn't completely blown away - I really disliked the songs in the Sorting Hat chapter - and I didn't buy it, because I was a student and didn't buy hardback novels on principle. Even so, I was pretty well hooked. When Chamber of Secrets came out I did more or less the same thing in another bookshop. When I read Prisoner of Azkaban, I fell in love properly. On Goblet of Fire's release day, the staff of that little WHSmith dressed up as Harry Potter characters, and I stayed up until the small hours, reading.

The absolutely magical thing for me was watching so many other people get hooked on a series in a genre I always knew I loved. That's something I never thought could happen until it did. It's still happening - a friend of mine who somehow avoided the series until now has recently been listening to the Philosopher's Stone audiobook and raving about it. Seeing my childhood favourites brought back into print for the Potter generation has been magical, too.

I used to feel like a weird outsider. I could find people who shared my tastes on the Internet, or in my univetsity SF group, but not in "real life". Now I'm one of a huge friendly crowd. I remember ironing in my kitchen a few hours before the Order of the Phoenix release, singing along to a Mamas and Papas CD and happily misquoting:

"You gotta make your own kind of music
Sing your own special song
Make your own kind of music
Even if everyone else sings along..."

Everyone did. When I got to Borders that night, the queue was already snaking up the street. Magic.
Bill Reamy
82. BillinHI
Being an inveterate re-reader, I will definitely try to fit this in to my re-read schedule. I'm currently re-reading WOT (as well as following the Memory of Light re-read) as well as the Foundation series (including the various prequels, fillers and sequels). I had planned to re-read Dune after Foundation, but I may have to put that one off for now. Maybe if I finish my WOT re-read....

I think I'm a bit older than most of the current re-readers (2 1/2 weeks old when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and am now living in Hawaii) and was turned on to the series by two friends (who live on Maui). I have done a couple of re-reads and at least one re-listen to the audio books, thoroughly enjoying each one and usually finding some tidbit that eluded me on previous reads.

I have the first six books in US hardcover but we were traveling in Canada when DH came out, so I have the Canadian edition of that one. I have way too many hardcover books now and am trying to buy up the Kindle editions of as many as I can (at least the ones I want to re-read) but the Potter books I will keep, along with all of Tolkien's books and the Wheel of Time books.
Don Barkauskas
83. bad_platypus
(Flagged for moderators' attention)

Is there going to be a central page where links to all of these posts are collected, like for the Wot and ASoIaF re-reads? (I prefer to bookmark the central page and re-visit the posts that way.)
Kelly LeBourveau
86. Kikuo
@57 "Hello... crew? Gang? Fellow wizards?! (We need a good group name...)"

Potterers, Gryffleclarins/Grytherenpuffs/Gryvenfflerins - ha! I give up! (one bit from each of the houses Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw), Blast-ended Screwts, or something to do with Patronuses - the Patronus Legion? What about 9-3/4ers, Snitches, etc.

Of course we could always lift a group name from the book and be Dumbledore's Army, or SPEW, or the Order of the Phoenix?

P.S. I LOVE the books like everyone else here, but one of the things I find myself doing is - when I'm sick and need some TLC - I watch the HP movies as a sort of comforting, laying on the couch under a blanket, snow is falling outside and I'm in here watching a HP movie marathon thing. Works every time!

Edited for a couple typos.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
87. Lisamarie
By the way, Emily, when I told my husband there was an HP reread on Tor, he was a little unsure that he would be able to keep up (he likes to try and stay on top of comments), but then I said you were doing it and he said that you're his favorite :) So I'm hoping he will at least read along with the posts!
Janice Boyd
88. scaredicat
@13 RE: The "Americanization" of the language in Harry Potter -- I too, wish I had a copy of the book in the original British English. However, it's not really "dumbed down" as much as it is translated.

@24 correctly points out why there was this translation. These are kids' books, being published by a company well known and respected for publishing educational materials. They are offering this great new book, but they can't publish it with too much in the way of non-standard spellings and word usages.

There are spelling tests and vocabulary homework in the future of the target audience. If you are Scholastic Books, you really, really want to reflect the standard American usage. Or you might have kids arguing with teachers about the correct spelling of armor or the definition of a boot.

I came to these books as an older adult. I remember my initial assessment of this volume was that it was a bit juvenile. It was full of broad jokes and broad characterizations, but did have lots of fun fantasy elements. I could understand why kids loved it, but I wasn't all that impressed. I told people at the time that I would have loved it - if I was eleven years old.

It took me awhile to start reading the rest of the books. By the fifth or sixth volume, I was seriously considering attending the midnight book releases. It's fun to do a reread, starting back at the beginning, because I know I will get swept up in the books again.
CWMW
89. Your Friendly Reader
so some of the quotes might be ever so slightly off due to Americanisms.
I don't know about the first books, but at least the subsequent books were edited by the US and the UK at the same time. They didn't take the UK book and edit it for the US, they are both edits of the same manuscript. Both editions are as "original" as the other is.
Joseph Newton
90. crzydroid
One of the things I love about Rowling's writing that especially jumps out at me from the first page of the first book is that she's funny. And lo and behold, that was the first line of your commentary section! I absolutely love this very first chapter (and also the chapter with Vernon going crazy trying to drive away from the letters) because of her humor and her writing style. I like books (especially kids' books) that have a narrator that sounds like it is actually speaking to the audience. That's one of the things I like about the Hobbit too--you're not just reading the book, someone is telling you the story. And with this first chapter, I can really imagine just telling this story to a kid the way it's written. It was nice to see all the comments making comparisons to Dahl, because I am also reminded of that. One of the things I like about these books is that she just has a great writing style. I think that goes so far into making a book good. It's disappointing to me whenever I pick up a book I'm initially excited about and it just isn't that well written. Rowling proves that even a book for kids can be well written (as I suppose Tolkien and Dahl and many others have already done).

I also find PoA to be really amusing, especially Harry's line about how stupid it is staring into the crystal ball--but I'll talk about that more when we get to that book. Last time I reread the series, I determined that one was my favorite of the books and the one I was most mad about re: changes in the movie, but we'll see what I think this time around.

As for UK vs. US versions...does anyone know if Dumbledore's device is called the deluminator yet in the UK version? In the copy I have, it's called a Put-Outer. Just wondering.

I'm really quite surprised, though, that no one mentioned leaving Harry on the doorstep (thanks for talking about when Hagrid got him out, though!). I mean, aside from all the obvious things about leaving a baby out overnight in November, this kid is over a year old. He is at least crawling if not walking, and maybe isn't even sleeping through the night, especially if he's on a doorstep outside. If he wakes up is he just going to lay there and cry? Maybe. Or maybe he will start crawling and walking around randomly or into the street or something. And lucky for Dumbledore Mrs. Dursley opened the door to put the milk out and saw him. What if Vernon had come through the door and stepped on him? What if they have an attached garage and no one even saw him there all day? I can only assume that Dumbledore at least put some kind of sleeping spell on him, and maybe a few others for protection.
Chris Nelly
91. Aeryl
Harry's birthday is July 31st. October 31st then only puts him at 15 months old at this time, he can walk at this time.

I think Rowling only intended him to be a few months old when she started, but then realized he needed to be older to get some backstory in there(like Sirius birthday present of a broom).
Birgit
92. birgit
As for UK vs. US versions...does anyone know if Dumbledore's device is
called the deluminator yet in the UK version? In the copy I have, it's
called a Put-Outer.

My British version also has the Put-Outer.
Agnès Léguillon
94. Elyn
I'm so excited to follow this reread! I have been rereading the books about once a year since I first discovered them, but the last one took me so long and my to be read pile shelf is so full, that I needed a good reason to do it and now Emily, you have given me one :)
I got the first 3 books as a Christmas present in 1999 (I was 9) and since then they've been my favorite books! I have read them in French as soon as they came out, except for the last one. I just couldn't wait to read it so I made the effort to read it in English when it came out in summer '07. I even made a French/English dictionary of HP terms to help me understand it. Of course, I still bought it in French the day it came out and caught 1 hour and a half of reading before school started!!
I wonder if Emily will rewatch the movies as well and give us her opinion on them.
Amanda Martino
95. isismaat
I second the request to rewatch the movies as well! Maybe at the end of each book as a break before starting the next one?
James Whitehead
96. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
Thanks for taking this on, Emily. I was very sad to have missed your LoTR & Hobbit re-reads & so will definitely follow along.

I came to the series late as well, GoF was still in hardback, but I quickly caught up. My nephews, however, were just the right age & their librarian grandmother read each new book to them when they visited in the summer - they even let her read them the first chapter of DH; even though they were getting 'too old' for that. ;-)

I found the Americanization of the British expressions disappointing as if Scholastic didn't have faith in the average American child to have the capacity to figure out that 'sweets' meant candy or that 'school hols' was summer vacation.

I never awaited my letter from Hogwarts but my son got one from a local summer program that put on a Harry Potter camp; four years later & he still has the invitation. ;-)

Kato
Heather Dunham
97. tankgirl73
#76 said: "I first became really aware of the series during the mania over the release of "Goblet of Fire", where I had something of what I call an "Everybody Else Effect" reaction to them. (The Everybody Else Effect is when it seems that the entire western world is "into" whatever-it-is that one is not very much "into", and so, tired of being bombarded with meaningless images and discussion, one has an extreme reaction that whatever-it-is must be really, really stupid.) "Harry Potter?" I said. "Why are adults getting all worked up over books for 10-year-olds?" I... considered myself well above such presumably juvenile reading."

That's exactly where I was, at the same time. I was aware of it, but could care less. I am a musician by profession, among other things a piano teacher. One of my young students, at her lesson, was raving about Harry Potter, and I was doing my best smile-and-nod trying not to roll my eyes.

Well she was on a mission, she decided that I *had* to read it. Which is kind of neat, that she thought of me in such a way that she wanted to make sure I wasn't missing out on something, AND that she thought I was an adult who wasn't completely detached from youthfulness.

So she brought me her copy of the first book and INSISTED that I HAD to borrow it and read it. At least read it, before I dismissed it. Since she had actually gone to this trouble, I said fine, I'll read it.

Later that evening, I settled in and, trying not to roll my eyes too hard, read the first page. Okay, this isn't bad -- as others have said, the dry humour was intriguing. But it was still a KIDS BOOK. But I promised. So I kept reading. And I know the exact moment that I was a convert -- when Dumbledore said that he had a birthmark on his leg in the exact shape of a map of the London Underground. That did it, I was committed.

And of course, it just got better from there.

When I finished and returned her copy (one of the original first editions (Cdn) where the picture of Dumbledore on the back cover looks nothing like him at all), I went out and bought the box set of the existing books up to that time. And didn't miss a midnight book release party after that.

I, too, appreciated and adored the way that the books matured in sync with the lead characters' maturing. I would re-read the entire series with each new release. But I don't think I've re-read the whole thing since the DH movie.

Then, just a month or so ago, I offered the first book to my 7yo daughter, who is an avid and advanced reader. She wasn't sure she'd be interested. She's aware of the HP phenomenon, of course, but hasn't seen the movies or anything. But I said I would read it to her and she agreed to give it a try.

Within the first page, I was holding back tears. Good golly, it's so true -- knowing *everything* about what actually was happening beneath the surface is heart-rending. Even things like the first introduction of Snape -- one of the great tragic characters of all time IMO.

It's interesting re-reading it with her young, naive, new and *unspoiled* perspective at the same time as my own deeper level of understanding. She's offering her brilliantly adorable opinions as to why she thinks Snape is a 'bad guy'. Or -- this was one of my favourites -- when we're first meeting Hermione, and they're snipping and arguing and she seems so haughty and mean and Ron is saying nasty things about her. My daughter says "I think they're going to be best friends some day." She's just 7 and she already knows the tropes lol...
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
98. Lisamarie
tankgirl73, that is adorable! If your daughter continues to read the books as this reread goes along, I hope you keep sharing some of her responses :)
Shelly wb
99. shellywb
I bought the British copies when I heard they translated them. They were actually cheaper than the American ones at the time, plus they had better covers. Sadly, as they got thicker I got less interested, and less able to hold them. I never even read the last two books because of their size, even though I bought them. Maybe I'll dig up ebooks of those so I can read along.
John Massey
100. subwoofer
Hahahaha!

I'm in!

This is actually the first series I read on my ereader. Miles ahead of the movies, and there were serveral "aha" moments that the movies down played.

Dibs on Gryffindor.

Woof™.
John Massey
101. subwoofer
Psssst... look at that swanky pup that scored the hunny:)

Woof™.
Janice Boyd
102. scaredicat
@99 You'll need to go to Pottermore.com to get the ebooks, but Amazon can link you to it. I normally resist going outside of Amazon to get my ebooks (I have a Kindle), but this is how JKR wants to handle ebooks.

Anyow, I just wanted to assure you that it was a fairly easy experience buying the books via Pottermore, and since I used my Amazon link, they "behave" the same way as other Amazon ebooks - stored in the cloud at Amazon, etc.

The weight of the later Harry Potter books is one big reason I got a Kindle when I did - I can't manage to read the heavy books unless I'm sitting upright, at a table.
CWMW
103. radagastslady
In reference as to how one came to read this series, my own exposure came as a result of listening to a talk radio host I admired. Normally political talk, for some reason this day had come to the subject of this enormous book Goblet of Fire and how popular it was. A fifth grade boy called in and said every boy in his class was reading this. I was at that time driving about 90 miles each way finishing my MA in history and Literature and the thought of any book that would get that many young men reading intrigued me enough to go pick up the first 4 books. I was hooked.
Kit Case
104. wiredog
A nice thing about buying the e-books through Pottermore is that you only have to pay for them once, even if you change e-readers. I started with a Nook and when I went to Kindle I just went to Pottermore and re-downloded them in Kindle format. Didn't have to worry about cracking the DRM.
Bill Reamy
105. BillinHI
My Pottermore experience was a good one: I had a brain lock day and ordered the full set of 7 ebooks when I thought I was ordering the audio books. Since I already owned all the ebooks, I requested and received a refund with no problems. Of course, I now have to spend even more money on the audio books.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
106. Lisamarie
Aeryl@91 - I think when I read the books I assumed he was a few months old too (especially as I had no real conception of baby ages).

Despite the humor we've already discussed and Rowling's lovely writing style, it's actually really hard for me to read these first few chapters now, as my youngest son is 14 months old, so I guess about the age Harry would be. Not that becoming an orphan would be less traumatic for a very young baby, but our son definitely knows who we are, has a strong attachment to us, and knows when we aren't there (and misses us), and doesn't particularly like strangers. He's also very accustomed to getting lots of love and affection from both of us. So to think of not only something happening to both of us such that he'd suddenly be adrift with strangers and wondering where we are, AND with people who are, frankly, abusive and emotionally neglectful...omg. In the second chapter (I'm a bit ahead), Harry even mentions he has no memory of his parents, who presumably treated him with lots of love. :( Ow, too hard to read. :( :( :(
CWMW
107. Carolyn H.
This re-reard will be fun! I read the series pretty much as it came out, but I haven't read it since. I have to agree that the first chapter is so much more dense and so much sadder knowing what we know through the entire series.

I remember when I read it initially that I was struck with how clever the writing was and how inventive the names were. Another thing I remembered when I re-read the first chapter again was the sentence that says the motorcycle fell out of the sky and I remember picturing one literally falling, as though it was dropped from an airplane.

I did wonder about leaving Harry on the doorstep even though it was only supposed to be for a few hours. I always thought they should have rung the doorbell and not just left him there.

The Dursley's are terrible, of course, but in that first chapter they almost seemed more "cute terrible" than anything. I'm pretty sure that by the time I read chapter 2, I thought they were just terrible.

In the beginning Harry struck me as amazingly forgiving of his awful relatives, who seemed to get more awful with each sentence. In real life, a child brought up the way he was would be seriously damaged by that kind of treatment. Harry seems as though he's looking at this treatment more the way an adult might. He can't do anything about it, so he somehoow manages to find something almost amusing in this awful treatment. He certainly doesn't take it to heart the way a real person would. Especially a real child.
CWMW
108. Eendje
Ha! This is truly great :)... I have been thinking I should get back into the books, its been too long.

Since we're all sharing Harry Potter stories... I am one of those people that have grown up with Harry. I started the books a couple of weeks before the Dutch translation of Goblet of Fire came out. I must've been about 9 or 10. I became obsessed immediatly and waiting for the fourth book seemt to take AGES, though it wasn't that long. I started learning English so I could read Order of the Phoenix when it came out. My aunt went and got it for me at the midnight release! I drove my parents crazy with asking the translation for all the words I didn't understand. I got totally obsessed, reading fan websites (especially mugglenet) for theories and so on. (I'm now experiencing the same obsession with A Song of Ice and Fire, it drives me nuts ;)).

Went to the midnight releases for both books 6 and 7. I started reading at 10 and finished by the time I was 16 so it is something that has always been there through my life. Now I'm 23 but I reread them every year or two.

Harry Potter even helped me find a (maybe even the) love of my life. By the time I was 17 most of my friends were not of the reader-type. But I was at a party with some of them and one confessed to being a Harry Potter reader (the only thing he's ever read voluntarily). That made him in my eyes go from a friend of a friend to someone I possibly had stuff in common with. Now we've been together for 5.5 years and still going strong ;). The books don't feature much in our relationship, though. He's still not much a reader...
Chris Nelly
109. Aeryl
Harry's equanimity in the face of his abuse has always been an indicator of his courage and bravery. This exceptional response is even pointed out by Dumbledore, who knows only to well how bad a person can fail upon being orphaned.
Rich Bennett
110. Neuralnet
Love that we are doing a HP reread. I started the series right after book 3 came out and my favorite memory of the series is probably when book 4 came out and the pre-release buzz was that a major character would be killed.... the online speculation was crazy fun and it made the first read of the book on the midnight release very exciting. Like lots of others, someone gave me books 1-3 and I was surprised to find out how much I came to love a "children's" book. The world J.K. Rowling creates is so humerous and serious at the same time.

not much to add here to this chapter except to chime in that I always have a hard time with how young Sirius Black, the Potters and the Dursleys are. I guess I jsut cant imagine marrying someone right after high school and having a child so young.
K Pekar
111. Larksong
Wonderful! I'm in. Geeze, I haven't even started re-reading yet, and your reminder of how close this first chapter is to James & Lily's death has me in tears. Yes, this is going to be good!
Judy Sonnenberg
112. ButterflyBiker
Woo hoo!! I am so psyched to have this reread starting right as the one for WoT is wrapping up. The two series are permanently linked for me because my eldest son tried for 15 years to get me to read the Wheel of Time books, but I refused to start reading another incomplete series of books. (I didn't start reading Harry Potter until the last one came out, although I did see the movies). Anyway, I eventually started reading the books and loved them so much that I encouraged my son to let go of his determination to hate something so wildly popular and actually read the books. He resisted for years, but finally agreed to read Harry Potter if I would tackle Wheel of Time. Now, I've read and re-read WoT more than half a dozen times and my son finally gets why Harry Potter is so popular with such a broad audience. Even funnier is the fact that my son still hasn't finished WoT after pushing so hard to get me to read it!
Joseph Newton
113. crzydroid
@112: Ha ha...that reminds me of my initial reaction to HP when it first started getting popular...I was determined not to like something so popular. I thought, why are so many older people so into kid's books? Why not read Wheel of Time if you want a grown up fantasy story?
CWMW
114. Blackcat
Might as well throw my story in as well, especially since I can also touch on what I always felt was the biggest achievement of the series.

I discovered the books when GoF came out - as far as I'm aware that was the first book to receieve the full-on midnight-release-plus-massive-media-hype, at least here in Australia (although possibly previous ones just slipped under my radar?). I was in my late teens. I learned that one of my kid cousins was a fan, and he loaned me the first three books. I opened the first one immediately to read a page or two, thinking I'd just get a feel for it. I think I was halfway through the book by the time mum told me it was time to go home!

That Christmas I asked my dad if he'd buy me the four books that were out. He did, and then asked if he could borrow the first one when I was done with it because he'd also been hearing all the hype and wanted to see what it was about. So I gave him the book and, knowing that dad's usual reading habit is "a page or two before bed", resigned myself to not seeing it again for at least 6 months. When I saw him again two weeks later, not only had he finished it but he'd gone out and bought his own copy of CoS because he hadn't wanted to wait until he saw me again!

So we all hear about how Harry has been responsible for getting a whole generation of kids reading, but what I find remarkable is that it got my decidedly non-bookish father reading. And fantasy, no less! :D

---

The one thing that's always annoyed me about the whole "Americanising" of the books is primarily for the first one, though. Yes I think it's a shame that the publishers felt the need to translate British phrases and concepts because American kids might not understand them - both from a "how else will they learn about the existance of teh rest of the world?" point of view as well as a "well the rest of the world is just supposed to learn to cope with Americanisms, what's up with that?" point of view.

I do, however, think it was crazy to change the Philosopher's Stone to the Sorceror's Stone, given that the former is an actual historical artifact (in concept at least, even if it was never proven to have been made!). I can't help but feel that the thought process behind it was along the lines of "Philosopher... that suggests old grey-bearded men in a musty study full of books and twisty glassware. Sorceror... that suggests Mickey Mouse on a mountaintop summoning comets! Yeah, let's go with that!" It also made me feel a little bad on behalf of Americans that they became the butt of so many jokes to the rest of the Harry Potter-reading world because of it.
CWMW
115. Michael J. D'Auben
I can certainly relate to the idea that you view things differently in a re-read. I'm one of those odd people (at least according to some of my friends!) who likes to regularly reread my favorite books. Tolkien, Heinlein, Niven, and of course Rowling. It seems on a reread I always notice something I didn't the first time through, or something I forgot, or (as the reviewer said) things that are seen in a totally different light in view of the foreknowledge I have in a reread.

Also, since everyone else is sharing... I don't recall exactly when I first visited the wizarding world. I know it was before the first movie. I was actually introduced to the books by my sister-in-law, who told me I had to read this book her pre-teen daughter was wrapped up in. After that there was no stopping me and I became life-long fan of the world created by JKR.
John Massey
116. subwoofer
Righto- Hi Emily!

::waves::

Like I said "I'm in". I am not sure of the etiquette here in terms of spoilers and whatnot as on other threads there are "boo-birds/narcs/fun police" that jump on anything that hints at the next chapter or two. So until the fun police reign me in, here it goes.

The opening shots of this book reminded me of "Oliver Twist". Harry doesn't have a very happy life and it paints a picture that ordinary, what we will find to be "Muggle" life, is very plain, bleak, and grim. Harry Potter is really downtrodden by his Aunt and Uncle.... and Dudley.

But it serves its purpose because when Harry is trust into fame, he has the humility of 10 years of abuse to keep him rooted... and we will find out it had other purposes. I am not sure I was rendered to tears in a corner somewheres, but Harry had a tough go of it, losing his parents and getting shunts like Dursley as his surrogate father. Gah. It could be worse, Harry could have a name like Dudley Dursley. Whoot :/ .

Sharing. Right. I always thought these were children's books, meant for little kids. I saw the first movie, thought it was "OK". Saw the next few, thought "huh?" Let's face it, the endings were fairly anti-climactic compared to the build up of massive wizard whoop ass. It was only when I started into the books a bit ago, when I got my ereader, that I understood all the stuff in the various conversations and so on that were going on all throughout the movies. The movies didn't really explain a horcrux. Sounded like some kind of floozy to me.

I missed my train to Hogwarts years ago btw. Looking back, I am somewhat dissapointed that I never received my owl. I have tried to pick up various branches and try "Wingardam Leviosa". Nothing. Does anyone know of a reputable wand maker?

Woof™.
Chris Nelly
117. Aeryl
@116, This is a REread, so all content is fair game for discussion.
CWMW
118. Megs
Belated rereader, jumping in! To the best I can remember, this will be my 8th time reading the first four books - I limit myself to once a year and decided last night that this was the time! Then I remembered this reread was going on and realized how good my timing was. Unfortunately, I generally move through the series in a couple of weeks, maybe a month if I'm busy, so I'll have to remember to keep checking in to see how things are going here.

I first got into HP in the late summer of 2000 - I was 16 and had just stepped off the plane home after a year in Switzerland. I was jetlagged and missed the boy I'd broken up with when I came home, and my sister had all four books, so I sat on the couch for maybe a day and a half and read all of them. I then traded her two lipsticks for the four hardcovers and subsequently bought each hardcover as it came out.

When book 5 came out in 2003, I was working at a girl scout camp where girls would come to stay for 3-14 days, and we actually banned book five from camp so that no one would get spoiled! We actually had to police the mail and confiscate a few copies. Of course, the staff had several copies that we shared around, and I have very distinct memories of reading by flashlight and whispered conversations around the staff rooms!
John Massey
120. subwoofer
@117 People are still- looks around for another word that means "jerks", not nice sometimes, so I try to tread carefully. Sometimes I fail, but hey, in for a penny, and so on...

That must have been some pricy lipstick, or a very kind sister :)

Still don't have an owl. Tried to get my dog in on the whole "delivering letters" idea, in hindsight I now understand the whole "the dog ate my homework" schtick.

Woof™.
CWMW
121. L A Moody
Coming a bit late to the party, I know, but here’s me trying to catch up:

@ 67 I tend to think the Fidelius Charm remains intact as the Secretkeeper (Pettigrew) is still alive. He may have revealed the Potter’s secret location to the wrong person, but according to what we are told about the charm, Voldemort cannot reveal the knowledge to anyone else. Only Pettigrew can; there is no indication that he has done so (or does so in the future, as a matter of fact).

As such, there is a lot of information crammed into this single chapter. Facts that are accepted at face value on first reading take on more significance in light of the details that are slowly revealed throughout future books. Notice that McGonagall continually turns to Dumbledore for confirmation of the Potters’ fate. Dumbledore’s family home is in Godric’s Hollow (a fact that is hidden until the final book), likely he was nearby at the time of the attack and has firsthand knowledge of the events. Dumbledore’s offhand remark that there are many issues still unclear demonstrates that he is already suspecting that the Potters may have been betrayed; but he quickly hides his keen intelligence behind the semblance of a dotty old man engrossed in eating his candy. Unlike others throughout the series, McGonagall is not fooled, but she knows better than to press Dumbledore for answers at this point.

I am struck by how tight-lipped Dumbledore is with his musings and suspicions, even with a trusted colleague like Minerva. Is it that this is not the proper time for such matters with Harry’s survival being paramount? Or is he the sort who avoids engaging in ideal gossip and unfounded suppositions, keeping his theories to himself until he is able to substantiate them with fact? If the latter, Rita Skeeter’s tell-all biography is that much more an insult to his memory.

Recreating the pivotal events which take place behind the scenes can be painstaking, despite all the extra facts which we now have in hand. In some ways, it’s easier to accept the barebones story that Chapter 1 serves up. Nevertheless, I humbly submit my analysis:

The attack on the Potters occurs in the evening hours of October 31, not long after Halloween revelers are lining the lanes (Voldemort’s encounters with them are recounted in DH). Spells going wild do a lot of damage to the Potter cottage, leading to debris exploding in all directions. Dumbledore is alerted by noise and flashes of errant spells, but finds that most of the site is still shrouded from view by the Fidelius Charm. Muggles likely witness a light show from what they perceive to be an empty lot (or possibly just a space between two houses, if we’re to judge by how the Fidelius Charm cloaks number 12 Grimmauld Place.) In the next chapters, Hagrid tells us that Dumbledore called on him to retrieve Harry from the rubble; notice in this chapter, it is Hagrid who tells us that “the house was almost destroyed.” Being half-giant, Hagrid is often affected by magic differently and is not so hampered by the lingering effects of the Fidelius Charm.

Wizards commonly travel the skies at night; less chance of a Muggle sighting that way. Recall that Harry’s escape from Privet Drive in DH is conducted at night to minimize the neighbors seeing anything suspicious. Likewise, the “advance guard” who take him to Grimmauld Place in OotP lift off on broomsticks under the cover of night (although Harry himself is Disillusioned in this case, the others are not).

Hence, Hagrid waits until the next evening to transport Harry to his new home. As we later learn (perhaps during one of those pesky W.O.M.B.A.T. tests), infants panic at the constricting sensation of Apparition and will howl for hours, so Dumbledore makes alternate arrangements that won’t draw the whole of Privet Drive from their beds. Acknowledging that his godson’s safety is paramount, Sirius has entrusted his motorbike to Hagrid for this very purpose – not to mention that Sirius’ next stop is to catch Pettigrew unawares (something at which he fails miserably, but that’s a discussion for a different day).

During the day, Dumbledore has had time to work out how a mere toddler was able to survive the Killing Curse and concluded that this same “blood magic” will continue to offer protection if the lad stays with Lily’s blood relatives, i.e. Petunia. Dumbledore has also sought medical attention for the cut in Harry’s forehead, notice how Madame Pomfrey is mentioned in an off-hand way. By the time Harry arrives on his aunt’s doorstep the next evening, the cut has already been magically healed into a scar; Dumbledore admits that the scar is “useful” and should remain.

I, too, felt the overwhelming sadness in this chapter, particularly near the end. While much of the wizarding world is engaged in wild celebrations at Voldemort’s apparent defeat, those present mourn the true cost of that victory. This foreshadows how Harry will weary of others dying for him, as he muses to himself before confronting Voldemort for what he thinks will be the last time. I can envision Harry as an adult feeling nothing but sorrow on the occasion of May 2, when wizards everywhere will celebrate “V-2 Day.”
Chris Nelly
122. Aeryl
@121, Dumbledore was not at his family home on Halloween, school is in session. And we are told in DH that the Fidelus Charm broke when it's subjects died.
CWMW
123. L A Moody
Admittedly, not everyone will embrace the same theories. But the beauty of a reread is that it allows us to view things from a new perspective, to reinterpret events based on hindsight as well as to explore alternate interpretations of situations that are never fully fleshed out by the author. Sometimes it’s the little nuances that catch our attention, leading in previously unexplored directions.

As such, Dumbledore is often away from the school; we encounter this throughout the series. As for him being at home on that epic Halloween night, fiction is fueled by such coincidences. Or perhaps I’m just trying to reconcile the utter dismay – and betrayal even – that Harry feels when he learns that Dumbledore never spoke a word about living in Godric’s Hollow himself. Is it totally illogical for Harry to feel that his personal tragedy happened so close to the greatest wizard of all time and the man was unable (or unwilling) to lift a finger/wand?

As for the Fidelius Charm, there are some glaring holes in the explanations we’re given; in DH, they feel hasty as if the author simply wanted to justify deviating from the framework she had previously established. With all the opportunities afforded by Hermione’s reading up on Horcruxes, etc. during the prolonged camping trip, she never augments our knowledge with “official” information concerning the Fidelius Charm. Instead, we are given an assumption Harry makes that “the Fidelius Charm must have died with James and Lily.” How reliable is this really? He doesn’t even voice this aloud where Hermione might be able to educate him as she often does. Seems to me that the charm would be poor protection if it simply evaporated, leaving the most helpless family members exposed.

Then in the very next chapter, we are afforded a look into Voldemort’s memories from the night he killed James/Lily and he recalls that “here in the rubble of the ruined house, where the child was trapped and screaming…” Another unsubstantiated fact, but one which doesn’t quite fit with Harry’s prior assertion. Without any definitive information from the author, is it unreasonable to assume that Voldemort’s knowledge of magical charms exceeds Harry’s?

I contend that it makes more sense to suppose that with the spellcaster dead (assuming it was either James or Lily), the charm fades over time. Or that the charm was broken when Hagrid rescued Harry (the last survivor) from the rubble. Another possibility is that the same unprecedented discharge of magic that stripped Voldemort from his body would also affect the surrounding structures, man-made as well as magical. But none of these details are ever spelled out in canon. Just as we don’t know who actually cast the Fidelius Charm; if it was Sirius (who seems to have been present), then these suppositions break down as well.
Chris Nelly
124. Aeryl
I will say there isn't much to go on to believe that Dumbledore continued to live in Godric's Hollow after the most terrible night of his long long life. I can't imagine he would have.

I also just don't see anything in the story to indicate that Harry carries that much ill will in him to be angry at Dumbledore about something like that, at least not enough to carry it with him like that. Dumbledore and others constantly point out how kind hearted Harry is, and this is demonstrated by Harry again and again.
CWMW
125. Elyn
In DH, the fidelius charm on Grimauld Place was still in place, and Dumbledore, the spellcaster, was dead. So if Lily or James put it on the house, it shouldn't have ceased at their death. I don't know why or how this spell can be broken. But then again, the repercussion of the rebounding death spell might be so powerful as to break it. It did demolish most of the house upstairs.
Chris Nelly
126. Aeryl
@125, The spell dies if the subject of a Fidelus charm dies, not the Secret Keeper. The Order of the Phoenix is the subject of the Fidelus charm for Grimmauld Place, which still existed. The only thing that changes when the SK dies is that every person the SK tells is now the SK.
CWMW
127. greatraven
I have reread this series several times, it has become comfort reading for me. And it's true you see things on a reread you missed first time.

In my case, it was that motorbike. Hagrid says in POA that Sirius had told him he could have it, he didn't need it any more, which has now made him realise that Sirius no longer needed it because he had betrayed the Potters. But go back to Chapter 1 of PS and he says he has to go and return the bike, which was only a loan. A definite glitch on the author's part and by that time she was a big name and the editor would probably not have pointed it out, even if they noticed it. Oh, well...

I don't believe in Americanisation. American books are rarely changed for other markets, so why does it have to be done for American children? Perhaps a glossary, but not a rewrite, which can spoil the meaning. US kids are surely smart enough to work it out for themselves, despite publishers thinking they aren't.

And yes, it was a mistake to change Philosopher's Stone, which means something and is explained in the novel anyway, to Sorcerer's Stone, which means nothing.
CWMW
128. 2nihon
I used to be very religious, so it was a big step for me when I finally decided to pick up the Harry Potter books. I was delighted. I love Roald Dahl, so the sometimes-dark humor in these books is delightful, and the world-building that finally culminates in the last battle is masterful.

(Owing to the fact that I can't borrow the British editions in eBook form, I've had to convert them from downloaded ePub format to put on my Kindle, sigh. I think I'll buy the hardback British editions.)
CWMW
129. Religious person
@128 I am very religious and enjoy Harry potter. What does you losing your faith have to do with loving Harry potter?
CWMW
130. Dr. Thanatos
@129, some (but not all) very religious people have taken the approach that since Harry Potter uses the word "witches" and discusses "magic" that it follows logically the books are about Satanism and should not be read. Those of us who have read the books know better...

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