Thursday, March 11, 2010
The Boy Who Lived
See, I told you there was no way I'd actually be able to blog everyday, although, to be honest yesterday's absence had more to do with the sudden panic that I wouldn't have anything of interest to say about the first chapter than any pressing business I had to get done. Unless of course you consider watching the "extras" disc of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince pressing.
Anyway, here's the plan as it currently exists in my head. I often find when I'm reading this series that I have thoughts I want to talk to fellow Potterheads about and then I forget them by the time I have the opportunity, so I'm going to have this post open as I read and if and when these thoughts come to me (no pressure brain) I'll share them with you. This of course means, that anything that comes after this sentence is nothing more than free-flowing, unedited ideas, make of it what you will.
The Dursleys think they're normal and if your definition of normal is boring, nosy, and mean, I guess they are. Mr. Dursley heads to work and notices a lot of strange people around, which he does not appreciate. At one point he hears a group of these strange people talking about the Potters and a child name Harry, could they be talking about his in-laws? Surely not. Later that night he hears about more strange goings on on the news.
While the Dursleys sleep that night, a strange man appears on the street. He uses a lighter to put out all the lights on the street and then heads toward number 4. A cat that's been hanging out on the wall by the Dursleys all day, turns into Professor McGonagall, who greets the man as Professor Dumbledore. They have a conversation that doesn't make a whole lot of sense at this point and are soon joined by a huge man on a flying motorcycle caring a baby. There's some more talk that doesn't quite make sense yet, and they leave the baby, with a lightning shaped scar on his forehead, on the Dursley's doorstep along with a note.
I'm a big fan of Mary Grandpre's illustrations, and I always like to take a second to look at the drawing on the cover page, in this case, of Hogwarts. Scholastic's website has all the illustrations in color, which is pretty cool to see.
I always find it jarring when I read that Aunt Petunia is blond. In most cases, I've been able to avoid having the actor from the movie become the character that lives in my head, but Fiona Shaw is so brilliant, that she's completely taken over the character for me.
Rowling's narrative style has noticeably changed since the first book. The last time I reread Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, I noticed on my last reread that this is the only book where we're given a perspective that is not Harry's when Harry is in the scene (it's during Quiddich, we'll get there) and just now I've noticed that Rowling directly references the fact that she is narrating a story: "When Mr. and Mrs. Dursley woke up on the dull, gray Tuesday our story starts..." I don't know why I find that interesting, but I do.
One of the things I miss most in the movies is cloaks and robes. Most of the adults manage to dress reasonably normally. The "robes" the girls wore to the Yuleball in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (I'm going to start shortening the titles now, consider the "Harry Potter and the" part implied.) were dresses, pretty dresses, but definitely not robes.
We get the first hint at Rowling's knack for names with Jim McGuffin, who does exactly what a MacGuffin is supposed to do by forcing the plot to move along (in this case, making it so that Mr. Dursley has to mention the weirdness he's noticed).
Everyone knows that Rowling had a plan from the start and that there's a lot of set up in the earlier novels that pay off later. Even the first chapter is chock full of them: the mystery of just why the Dursleys hate the Potters so much, the Put-Outer, Voldemort's name, Dumbledore's letter to Petunia, Sirius' bike, and of course, the scar. All will come into play in the future in HUGE ways.
And now comes the hard part: ignoring the pull to keep reading, because once I get started with this series, it's hard to stop myself, even for sleep. I'm determined to do it slowly this time though, one chapter at a time.
Think I've said something stupid? Did I bring up something you've never thought of before (not really expecting that to have happened, but a girl can dream)? Please share your thoughts, I'd love for this to turn into a conversation and not stay a monologue.