Fifteen years ago in June 1997, the first in the Harry Potter series (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) was released. Followed by another six books over the years, J.K. Rowling and her boy wizard changed the face of children’s/young adult literature. Since Harry there have been other reading fads (e.g.Twilight, and now Hunger Games) that have had similar appeal to children and adults alike but as the first of the mega successful series it seems remiss to not write about Harry as part of magic May. (Contains spoilers)
I have started reading aloud The Philosophers Stone to my 6 year old son (his request)and it has been interesting seeing him not only remember what happened but laugh at the right times. For example, in the first few pages when the snake talks to Harry, breaks out of his cage and heads off to Brazil. Whilst we realise later that Harry being able to talk to snakes (parseltongue), is somewhat troubling for Harry as Voldemort is also parseltongue, the first few books have a light heartedness and humour about them (think of the depiction of the Dursley’s, the shenanigans of Ron’s twin brothers, Dobby’s actions, magic going wrong and so on), that can capture the imagination of young and old.
At the time of the publication of Harry, I was buying the later books within the first few days of their release and eagerly consuming them over a weekend but looking back on them now, I feel I enjoyed the first two books far more than the later ones. I know the movement into darker story lines and the development of Harry’s, Hermoine’s and Ron’s teenage angst had to happen (and it is a classic example of the hero myth/storyline) but the events of the later books seem to merge, was Sirius introduced to us in book 3 or 4 and then killed at the end of book 5 or 6? Despite this Harry Potter was a good escape from the depths of winter (a series to warm you against the cold) and is worth a revisit in magic May.