I read the Sorcerer's Stone out loud to my husband when it was first released. I was pregnant with our first child at the time, and the cover of the book caught my attention. I had no idea what I was getting into, but oh, how that book swept me away!
I read the entire series to my son the summer between third and fourth grade. It was so much fun diving back into the wizarding world and discovering it again with an eight-year-old. I noticed things I hadn't seen before, found even more to love about the series. And now, after visiting Harry Potter World in Orlando, my daughter has asked me to read the books out loud to her. Of course, brother and father are quite happy to listen in again :)
Opening those pages is like connecting with an old friend, someone you'd forgotten just how much you liked and why. The foreshadowing of characters (Sirius Black doesn't become important until book 3, but he's in chapter 2 of this first book, and of course Mrs. Figg), crucial plot points (parsel tongue at the zoo) and the humor. I forget just how funny J.K. Rowling can be. I laughed so hard I cried as I read Chapter 3, with Mr. Dursley desperately trying to keep Harry from getting his acceptance letters. It's one of the most hilarious things I've ever read!
But foreshadowing, a funny chapter and well-executed plot points weren't the only things that made these books international bestsellers. In addition to doing all that, Rowling created amazingly real characters, placed them in a fantastic world just beyond our eyes, and told us their stories in an incredibly compelling way. Not too much to expect from a book, right?
Yeah, I'm falling in love with her brilliance all over again.