“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” – Albus Dumbledore
This isn’t going to be a long review or a review, in fact. You guys already know the story. Suffice to say, I enjoyed reading this. It was wonderful reliving and reintroducing myself to the magic of the Harry Potter universe. Throughout my day, I just wanted to get back to reading this book and it was hard to put down at times. My only complaint would be that I didn’t really care much for Quidditch and there was quite a bit on it.
I did pick up some new things during this reread, so I’m sharing some of my thoughts:
- I’m not sure what to make of everyone’s favourite BFG: Hagrid. We all know that fat shaming is rampant throughout the series. However, I do understand that these books were written during a period when this was socially acceptable, although it didn’t make the task of forgiving Rowling easier, but I do believe that she wouldn’t make such comments now. Nonetheless, seeing Hagrid – a grown man – mocking Dudley – a child – on his weight was infuriating: “Yer great puddin’ of a son don’ need fattenin’ any more, Dursley, don’ worry.” Why mock the child when Hagrid’s problem is with the child’s father? Following this Hagrid gives Dudley a pig’s tail after Vernon Dursley insults Dumbledore:
“I AM NOT PAYING FOR SOME CRACKPOT OLD FOOL TO TEACH HIM MAGIC TRICKS!” yelled Uncle Vernon.
“NEVER – “ he thundered, “- INSULT – ALBUS – DUMBLEDORE – IN – FRONT – OF – ME!”
He brought the umbrella swishing down through the air to point at Dudley – there was a flash of violet light, a sound like a firecracker, a sharp squeal and next second, Dudley was dancing on the spot with his hands clasped over his fat bottom, howling in pain. When he turned his back on them, Harry saw a curly pig’s tail poking through a hole in his trousers.
“Meant ter turn him into a pig, but I suppose he was so much like a pig anyway there wasn’t much left ter do.”
Vernon Dursley insulted Dumbledore to Hagrid, that’s correct, not Dudley. Dudley hadn’t done anything and, yet, he was attacked. Don’t let the film fool you, it was easier to invent a scene that has Dudley eating Harry’s birthday cake, so that Hagrid has an *excuse.* How was it acceptable for Hagrid to bully and disfigure an innocent child and get away with it? Because his father – a moron, though naturally dubious about magic because he’s a muggle – insults Dumbledore, and because the child is considered fat? As the series progresses, we understand that Dudley’s spoilt attitude was a result of his parents spoiling him *pretends to be shocked.* By the end, he matures and becomes a much better person, providing care to Harry in his own little ways.
Having said that, Hagrid is extremely generous to the people he considers worthy of his love and affection. He gifts Harry a photo album after having contacted everyone the Potters knew asking them for photos of Harry’s parents. Now, if he’ll just stop attacking children because he’s angry with their parent(s)…
- Why didn’t Petunia Dursley know anything about platform 9 and ¾? Didn’t Petunia go with her parents and sister to King’s Cross station? Or is she pretending not to know? I don’t fully remember the details regarding this, so anyone care to enlighten me? Perhaps there is something that I’ve missed?
- Ron and Harry = my favourite friendship. During the train ride to Hogwarts, Ron is awkward and ashamed about his lack of money and Harry chips in to explain that he never even realised he had any money to cheer Ron up. He then shares his food with Ron. Ron makes sure to not gawk at Harry so that he doesn’t feel uncomfortable. It’s the little things, you know?
- Oh, God, Hermione was such a pain at the start. This isn’t social awkwardness, this is just being rude and condescending (a flaw, not a virtue):
“You don’t use your eyes, any of you, do you?” she [Hermione] snapped.
I felt sorry for her for not having friends, but if she wanted to make friends – which it was clear that she did when she cried after she overheard Ron saying: “No wonder she doesn’t have any friends” – you can’t go around making people feel like they’re really stupid. But this isn’t that deep, I would have personally just avoided Hermione. Although, I’ll say this for her, Hermione creating a revision schedule for Harry and Ron was really sweet. Sure, the execution is a bit interfering, but her intentions were good.
- Ron received undeserved hate for that comment. First, he’s right. I’ve never met anyone who has said: “Look at the way that person is patronising me, oh my, I do wish we were friends!” He clearly didn’t say it to her face, it was a comment that was passed from one friend to another and was not meant for Hermione’s ears.
- Boy, did they change a lot in the films. In the books, Hermione is paralysed during the troll incident and it is Ron who recalls the Wingardium Leviosa spell. Again, when entrapped by the Devil’s Snare, Hermione panics and Ron bellows: “HAVE YOU GONE MAD? ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT?” Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It doesn’t make Hermione any less intelligent. All it does is show us that there are different types of intelligence and Hermione is skilled at logic and riddles, Harry is cool and collected in a crisis, and Ron is a realist and a strategist. These are all important and useful branches of intelligence. However, I do understand why they gave the Devil’s Snare moment in the film to Hermione as they had chosen not to include the potions riddle thus leaving Hermione with nothing. This is frustrating because those riddles were difficult and would have better exemplified her critical logical thinking skills. But they should have left the Wingardium Leviosa troll moment to Ron alone because it was a moment of growth for Ron.
- Harry, Ron and Hermione represent the ‘head, heart and guts’ trio. Harry follows his gut instincts (steady in a crisis, figuring out Malfoy is a Death Eater and that the Deathly Hallows are real), Ron is heart (piping up to his friends defence whenever they are bullied, and in this book, Ron continuously stands up for Neville when he is bullied by Malfoy and his cronies) and Hermione is head (academic knowledge, riddles and logical thinking).
- Hermione didn’t need to cover for Ron and Harry for the troll incident because they hadn’t done anything wrong when they went to look for Hermione to warn her about the troll. Hermione had missed a few classes and the feast. So, really, she would have gotten in trouble for missing her classes, so I don’t comprehend the reasoning behind the invention of: “I went looking for the troll.” This is more down to JKR to explain though.
- Why wasn’t there more of Charlie Weasley?! Charlie, the athletic, Quidditch playing, dragon-tamer, sounds fine as hell. Speaking of Quidditch, Snape actually referees the Quidditch match after Quirrell attempts to hurt Harry in the first game. Now, Dumbledore – who ordinarily doesn’t attend Quidditch matches – attends the next one as Quirrell wouldn’t dare attempt anything in Dumbledore’s presence, so there was no need for Snape to volunteer as a referee. But he does, just in case. Really, was this not a sign that he cared for Harry more than he let on?
- I personally believe that Neville is the bravest character and it doesn’t make sense why his having any possession of Gryffindorian traits was ever questioned. He was brave from the start even before he stands up for his house against his friends! Does that sound cowardly? And he does it alone. I have seen so many people stand up to people they barely know, but standing up to your friends, family and people who will be a continuing presence in your life is far more difficult because there’s an added concern of the possibility of breaking bonds if you do. But not my Neville. Despite his fears, he stood up for his house. That’s true courage.
What are your thoughts on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone? Do you agree/disagree with my thoughts on the Philosopher’s stone? Let me know in the comments!
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