Happy Easter! Even though today is a holiday, it’s still a Sunday, which means it’s time to talk about something nerdy.
Maybe you don’t consider Harry Potter to be a nerdy indulgence. Well, when it comes to my interests, reading gets thrown into the same group as anime, video games and manga. It’s all a part of my nerdy obsession. The only real difference between Harry Potter and all those other things is that I really can’t call reading the book an indulgence. I’m sorry friends, but reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was more about completing what I started than the actual enjoyment of reading.
I was 13 when the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was first released. Just like that, everyone went nuts. It seemed like even people who hardly ever read picked up this book and fell in love. I wasn’t interested then and, frankly, I wasn’t much more interested when I recently picked up the book. Since this series has gone so far as to inspire a theme park, I thought I’d force my way through it. It has to get good at some point, right?
In full disclosure, I didn’t expect this book to be great. When I reread my favorite YA series as an adult, I found the first two books to be a bit simple. After that, the story gets darker and more complicated. Even though I probably would have never gotten into the series as an adult, the nostalgia keeps me going until the series gets good. That’s what I expect out of the Harry Potter series.
Reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was agonizing until about half-way through. I found the dialog and descriptions to be extremely bland. The names for many of the people, spells and places seemed unnecessarily silly to me. I’m sorry guys, it was just bad. I don’t understand how this book became an overnight sensation.
Half way through the book, around the time a troll made an unwelcome appearance at the school, descriptions started to get better. As it became more entertaining to read, the story started to take some turns that seemed unbelievable, even for a story about a fictitious wizard school.
Specifically, I did not like the little jaunt into the forbidden woods used as punishment for 11-year-olds. Really? That’s your punishment. Was the plan to scare the poor children away from the school or does the administration get some sick enjoyment out of telling families their child has died? I know that adventure was important for the plot to move forward, but I just could not get past the idea that this was a punishment. The school should have listened to Mr. Flitch and hung them from chains or something. At least then they would be in an enclosed space, safe from any risk to their lives.
The other thing I really didn’t care for was how Harry and Ron often thought of Hermione. Even after they became friends, it still felt like they looked down on her for taking such interests in her studies. In a way, this also worked well for me as the reader, because I connected with that side of Hermione.
If you’re wondering, yes, I would often get wrapped up in my studies. Yes, I have asked a teacher why they gave me an A- (if it’s not 100% than that means there’s room for me to improve). Yes, I have raised my hand after being given an assignment to write a report just to ask if there was a limit to how long the report could be. What can I say? College was my ticket out of my small town and college was my ticket to a career. These were not things I took lightly.
We’ve established that I’m a bit of a nerd, right? Right, moving on then…
If not for the insistence of a few friends and my own desire to see what all the fuss is about, I probably wouldn’t move on to the next book. I’m unimpressed. There is no need building within me to attend Hogwarts. No, I’d much rather attend St. Vladimir Academy.
There are six more books to go through before the end of the year. That’s six more chances J.K. Rowling has to turn me into a wizard fanatic. Here’s hoping the second book is at least a little better.