There’s something comforting about them, you know? In spite of the death and pain and war and all.
I first read Harry Potter on the insistence of my brother. I distinctly remember: he let me borrow the books #1-5 January of 2004 – just after the 5th book came out and just before the 3rd movie came out.
I actually – and you’ll forgive me if this makes me sound crazy – wrote my Master’s thesis on Harry Potter. Granted, the chosen subject was significantly more involved and academic than just writing about a young adult book series, but still. I spent about 6 months reading and writing about Harry Potter. And passed my thesis defense with flying colors.
Since then I’ve been re-reading the entire series about once a year. Usually in the fall/winter months. Partly because spring is when I re-read Anne of Green Gables. Partly because the increasingly dark stories lend themselves to dark, chilly overcast Saturday afternoons curled up with apple cider under a quilt (guess what I’m doing tomorrow).
I love the thickness of the books – it feels so luxurious to read 700+ pages of fiction. Especially several books in a row.
I love the barely perceptible changes between books 1, 2, 3 and 4. The first book, of course, is written at approximately 6th grade level or so. It’s the shortest of all the books with the largest print. I love (love) how the print of the books gets ever so slightly smaller as the content becomes more adult. It’s just an interesting visual shift to recognize as you go through the books.
I love all the detail in the books – this is one of the many differences between the books and the movies (which I plan on blogging about next Friday). A novelist can use her choice of words to draw your attention to something specific, or even mention in passing in a way that is (not better or worse but) so different from the way a filmmaker does.
I love combing through these books with every read-through, looking for things I might have missed (ex: this time reading through the series, I’m noticing how all the *big* events are happening actually ON holidays. Specifically holidays that have connection to pagan (primitively magical) festivals. It’s just so interesting to me).
I love how many literary themes and topics are explored throughout the series. I could probably write a whole paper on the use of music in Harry Potter. I’m sure I could write a whole book on the use of names in Harry Potter. I have a soft spot in my heart for academia (I do, after all, have a completely useless Master’s degree in English Literature), and once you start reading the Harry Potter series you just can’t help but find piles of interesting topics.
I really admire JK Rowling and I love what Stephen King has said about the books:
Her characters are lively and well-drawn, her pace is impeccable, and although there are occasional continuity drops, the story as a whole hangs together almost perfectly over its 4,000-plus page length
As of this writing, I’ve just started the 6th book (which I think is my favorite) …. I love reading these books. Love.
Re-reading the Harry Potter book series plants a seed of inspiration to:
- Watch all the movies. Obviously.
- Quit doing everything else I need to do (laundry, dishes, dayjob) and just read until my head aches.
- Write a novel. Or 5. For some reason reading great books like this always makes me feel like I could write one myself.
- Write an article or series of academic articles on Harry Potter. I have a maybe-someday goal of writing a book-length study guide for use in advanced High School or undergrad English classes on Harry Potter.
- Revisit my Master’s Thesis. I wrote it just a couple months before the final book came out.
- Re-read the series again. As soon as I’m done I always want to start again immediately. Just like when I watch Band of Brothers.
Have you read the Harry Potter books? Do you ever re-read them?
*note: HP book links are Amazon affiliates.