I didn’t post a WWW yesterday because I have A). been stressed, B). been going through some personal issues, which has led to, C). the beginnings of a reading slump, which means that, D). there are no changes to what I am reading at the moment. Working through it though, as much as I can.
This is not a review in the traditional sense. Most of my reviews rely heavily on what my first impressions are. With a book series like Harry Potter, which has been in my life for a long time and has impacted my life in many significant ways, there is no way that I can be impartial about reviewing them. I logically know that they are not perfect works, that there are plenty of flaws that people love to pick apart, but I will always revere these books and what they did, not just for me, but for their impact culturally towards the way we see fandom and how they invigorated the book world as a whole.
I was one of those readers who saw the movie first. I had seen all kinds of advertisements and interviews and hype for the film, but I didn’t really know much about it. I had heard the name, but wrote it off as just some kids book – probably good, if it was getting this much attention, but nothing I would probably pick up and read. My then-husband and I went to the theater to see another movie (I don’t even remember what it was now), but it was sold out. A showing of Sorcerer’s Stone was getting ready to start and still had seats, so we went ahead and purchased tickets, figuring that it was probably just a silly kiddie flick, but at least it would be fun.
Afterwards, we immediately left for the Barnes & Noble down the street and bought a copy of the book. We agreed that I would read it first, because I am a much faster reader than he is. It took me less than a day. I almost read it in one sitting. I was completely transported into the story and the world. I loved the characters, even more than I did in the movie. It was, in many ways, a truly magical experience (pun intended).
Discovering Harry Potter also happened during a time in my life when I desperately needed something to make me happy. The movie came out in November 2001. 2001 was a shitty year. We were all still coping with the after effects of 9/11, but for me, hating 2001 is personal. I had lost my father in February 2001 (hence some of the personal issues I mentioned – this is a rough time of year). Still reeling from that, I allowed myself to get completely lost in the Wizarding world. It was my escape from dealing with the emotions I couldn’t handle (The Lord of the Rings films also helped in a similar fashion, as Fellowship came out that December). Part of me connects both of these franchises to my dad, both because of the time they first came out, and also because I think he would have absolutely LOVED them.
Hence why it is hard for me to be impartial to Harry Potter.
So is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone a silly kids’ book? In some ways, yes.
Is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone way more than just a silly kids’ book? Also yes. It’s so much more than that, to me, and always will be. It helped me find joy at a time where joy was hard to come by and kick-started my reading again, which had gone stagnant. For both of those things, I will always be grateful.