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A Sister’s Review: ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’

by Kim on June 7, 2013 · 16 comments

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Long-time blog readers may remember a few years ago when my sister, Jenny, and I read and reviewed each others favorite books. Jenny and I have vastly different reading tastes — she’s into chick lit and lots of YA fiction, which I’m more of a nonfiction and literary fiction gal myself — which made some, I think, interesting conversations.

That picture at the right is me and Jenny when we were kids. I’m the sort-of-blondie on the left and she’s the brunette on the right. Even as young tykes, we loved to read.

One of the series that we both love and have fond memories of reading is Harry Potter. When a group of bloggers started doing a re-read of the series in January I wanted to join along with Jenny, but neither of us could get our ducks in a row. Instead, we decided to save our re-read for this summer. We started last week with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (we both have British editions of that one), and plan to continue through the series until just after Labor Day (if the schedule holds).

I’m not sure what the posting plan is, exactly, but I think we’ll be doing conversational reviews like this as we finish each book (rather than every week as the other HP readalong has done). I hope you enjoy!

What is your first memory of reading Harry Potter?

Jenny: I have small recollections of reading the first couple. I remember the spider and snake in book two freaking me out and trying to read the books as fast as I could so no one could ruin the surprises. But I think my first big memory came when we were reading three or four, the first one that we read the day it came out. We only had one copy that we had to share so we had to take turns. I was slower at reading then you so you would get annoyed at how long I was taking, and I would get mad cause you kept saying that if I just gave you the book you could be done in an hour or two and than I could read it. We fought for several days about who’s turn it was to get to read the book and who had to wait. Then you finished first I was bummed. The next book came out and we did it again and again and again until number seven when we got two copies cause we knew waiting was not an option.

Kim: I remember that too! I think we didn’t get into the series until book two or three, but I definitely remember going to Barnes and Noble with Mom to pick up our copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on the day it came out. I think to stop the fighting about who could read when, Mom instituted a system — one person was the “First Reader” who had priority for the book until they were done. But if the First Reader wasn’t reading, the Second Reader could have the book until the First Reader wanted it back. Smart Mom.

What were your thoughts on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone? Same or different as you remembered? Favorite or least favorite parts?

harry potter and the philosopher's stoneJenny: I did not realize how much of the action that I remember from the first time that I read it and from the movie happen so late in the book and are relatively short. This book was a lot more about setting up all of the relationships then I remember. In my mind the event in the woods and in the third floor were a big portion of the book and really they were just a small potion at the end. My memory turned these into super long events that were a larger portion of the book. So as I read I kept thinking when are they going to get to these action pieces.

My favorite parts were the magic done by Hagrid in the cabin on the island, the sorting hat portion, and the stuff with Hagrid’s dragon. In terms of least favorite part there was no part I did not like. It moved a littler slower then I remember. I think the others have a little more comedy in them and will be more exciting to read because the audience gets older as the books move on. I am excited to keep reading and reliving my childhood!

Kim: I had the same reaction. This is the one I’ve probably re-read the most, so a lot of it was familiar anyway, but the action and adventure comes really late. It never feels like the book is dragging though. I actually think this one is really funny, but in a quieter way than some of the other books. J.K. Rowling’s descriptions are just goofy (I love the opening about Aunt Petunia having a longer-than-average neck), and she has some great one-liners like how Harry, Ron and Hermoine are friends because you can’t battle a troll without becoming friends. But it’s also really more of a kids book than the books later in the series are.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

bermudaonion(Kathy) June 7, 2013 at 8:11 am

My husband, son, and I all fought over our copy of the books too.

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Kim June 9, 2013 at 8:49 am

I think if we had been slightly older/had slightly more money we would have bought separate copies. Alas, we were in middle school for a bunch of them and had no income :)

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Jennifer June 7, 2013 at 3:19 pm

This is fantastic! Yay for sisters :D

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Jenny June 8, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Hahaha, my mother instituted a functionally identical system about First Reader/Second Reader for us when the fourth book came out and we all wanted to read it but we only had two copies for the family. Such a foolish idea. My sisters and I all got our own copies after the fourth book, and it worked out much better for us.

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Kim June 9, 2013 at 8:49 am

We should have started getting our own copies much earlier. It would have saved a lot of resentment (although I still would have finished all of the books first because I am a fast reader!).

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Heather June 8, 2013 at 6:35 pm

What a great idea! So sweet!

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Sheila (Book Journey) June 9, 2013 at 8:44 am

Love this… you know what a Potter geek I am! I am so excited about the new covers!

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Clint June 9, 2013 at 8:43 pm

This great that you and your sister are literally odd couple. I wish one of my siblings liked reading so I could do something like this. So glad my wife and I enjoy the written word even though it is different genres.

Keep up the great work.

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Kim June 12, 2013 at 7:24 pm

I used to be a lot more snobby about our different reading tastes when we were younger, but I like to think I’m getting better about taking her recommendations and giving some of my own.

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Jenn June 13, 2013 at 3:43 pm

My sister and I are reading them together this summer too! I’ve been rereading them each summer for years now (except last year, when I took a break), but this is her first time reading them ever. She loves the movies though, so I told her it was time. :) I’ve been trying to think of something to blog with them too, so this is fun to see!

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Kim June 17, 2013 at 9:34 pm

That is so fun!! I wonder what it will be like to read the books after the movies. I have to think there are a relatively few number of people who will have done that. Exciting!

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