Friday, February 4, 2011

Revisiting Brilliance

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.

19 comments:

Andrea Mack said...

I have two daughters and one or the other of them always has a HP book in their hand. They re-read them endlessly. In fact, after reading one of my stories, my older one said, "It's still not as good as HP". Like my writing would every get close!

Laura Pauling said...

I love those first chapters in the first book. Love them!

Bish Denham said...

You are creating wonderful memories for your children.

Christine Fonseca said...

Truly abulous writing!

Melissa Gill said...

I've finally gotten my neice hooked on Harry's world, and I'm hoping to get my nephew on board soon. But long before they were even thought of, I was reading Harry Potter, and re-reading. Sometimes I feel guilty for reading these books over again when there are so many other great ones to read, but oh well.

salarsenッ said...

Great observations. I think foreshadowing is something we often over look. You just inspired me to write a post about it...'course, after I do more research and study on the subject.

Enjoy your weekend.

Kristan said...

Hehe, yup, she's a master. I plan to reread those books this year too. :)

lotusgirl said...

I'm blown away by Rowling's brilliance often. Every time I pick up one of her books. Her characters are so real even the most outlandish ones.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

*sigh* Okay, now I'm going to go home and beg my children to listen. :-)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Sigh. She is brilliant, isn't she? Totally something/one to aspire to.

Have a great weekend! :)

p.s. my boys and hubby/grandparents are going to see HP over spring break. I'm staying home to write. Not entirely sure I made the right choice there.

Elaine AM Smith said...

I adored reading the Potter books to my children. Every year I tell my class of 10 to 11-year-olds that this is the time to read the series, to live the books with Harry at the same age (sometimes that would be read it again, but I find kids who say: "I haven't read them I've seen the movies" >:( )

Susan R. Mills said...

Brilliant writing means for brilliant books. Perfect example.

JeannetteLS said...

Revisiting brilliant books is like revisiting old friends, whether it's adult literature or childhood... Everyone here's already commented on the series. Brilliance sheds its own light. (Oh, how profound? NOT.) But I DO think we give our children a wonderful gift when we re-read our favorites, even while we search for new brilliance. My late daughter asked, "WHY are you reading that Virginia Woolf book AGAIN?"

"Because it refreshes me every time I do. Why do YOU read a certain series of fantasy--"

"Never mind," She said and ran to her room and brought out HER favorite.

I can't wait to explore your blog.

Tess said...

love that you're reading them out loud. It is a lost art in our culture, I think.

Niki said...

The Harry Potter movies have been played over the holidays here on TV. I never get sick of watching them.

Theresa Milstein said...

I agree! I reread the books all in a row this summer. Nothing teaches me more what I want to learn about writing more than JK Rowling's books.

The Weasley twins crack me up - love them in book 5. And the mayhem they cause at the Dursley's when they come out of the fireplace in 4 is brilliant.

JK Rowling inspired me to write.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend.

Theresa Milstein said...

You went to Orlando?! I'm jealous!

Amanda Hoving said...

I've re-read this series so many times, and am glad that I still have one more child that has yet to discover them. The discussions with my kids are the best -- we all have different insights, and "favorite moments." And, for writers? These books teach so much about how to do it right.

Yat-Yee said...

What a sweet story. My husband read Sorcerer's stone to me during the early stages of labor with my daughter. Reading out loud to each other isn't really our thing but that event was a memorable one.

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