Revisiting the Harry Potter Collection

I’m so excited for my second complete journey through the Harry Potter Collection (books). After many attempts to convince my husband to read the series, he has finally started. I decided this would be a good time to re-read the series along with him.

I know that I have read a couple of the books a handful of times, but I’ve never read the entire series from start to finish since my very first pass that concluded shortly after the final installment was released back in 2007.

If anyone is interested in reading along, please do. I intend to blog along the way, sharing some thoughts and observations as I cross them. I will be reading from the British version of the complete collection, as well as glancing the new artwork in the illustrated editions by Jim Kay.

As of this post, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the latest illustrated edition to be released.

So let’s get started.

Though the series has been around for quite some time now, I know not everyone has read the books. I will always give a SPOILER ALERT!

Well, this is it. SPOILER ALERT! Continue reading at your own risk.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Chapters 1 – 5

Immediately, I was reminded just how closely the first film followed the first book. Perhaps it’s because …the Sorcerer’s Stone is the shortest in the series, which makes it a bit easier to condense into a film version.

That said, there are still some notable differences.

For example, Rowling emphasizes the many spiders that reside in Harry’s cupboard under the stairs, where the film version thankfully skirts that. Had they included it, we might have had an Arachnophobia reboot on our hands.

Illustration of Harry Potter in the cupboard under the stairs.
Illustration by Jim Kay

“Harry slowly got out of bed and started looking for socks. He found a pair under his bed and after pulling a spider off one of them, put them on. Harry was used to spiders, because the cupboard under the stairs was where he slept.”

Chapter 2 – The Vanishing Glass, J.K. Rowling

Another difference is Dudley’s friend, Piers Polkiss who tags along to the Zoo for Dudley’s birthday. This boy is nowhere to be found in the film, but I don’t think we’ve lost anything here. This extra kid makes sense in the context of the story, but he’s certainly not necessary for the film.

Also, there is a bit more running around to avoid the many post deliveries than what is shown in the films. Again, this is entertaining in the books, but just superfluous for the film.

Re-reading these early chapters though, I’m basking in the charm of this first installment. It begins light and airy, full of excitement, wonder, and simple fun. I think it holds up well, even knowing where it’s all going. This time around, it feels like a warm chunk of nostalgia just waiting there.

By the end of Chapter 5, we are just finishing up in Diagon Alley. I’ll be interested to get Derek’s input as we go forward, and I will probably include some of his comments along the way as well. Though he has seen all of the films, I bet his take on the books will be fascinating, especially as a first-time reader.

Again, feel free to tag along with us and leave any and all of your thoughts in the comments!

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