Week 2-Harry Potter Initial Post 1

Hello all!

You have been doing such excellent work this week. I’ve enjoyed reading all of your posts and comments. You’ve been thorough, and I love your motivation to seek out secondary source materials as needed. Keep it up!

I imagine many of you grew up reading Harry Potter. Perhaps you even went through a later-in-life backlash against it. Before we do anything else, I want you to






More than anything else, critics had to laud Harry Potter for getting kids reading again. Some of you were probably included in that cohort of avid readers, so tell us about your experiences with the books and the hype.

17 thoughts on “Week 2-Harry Potter Initial Post 1

  1. Ooh! I was wondering where I could mention a few thoughts about these questions.

    I never read Harry Potter before last week! I was a little old to get onboard initially. I’d say at best, my opinion on the series was neutral. Maybe even a bit negative.

    After reading book 1, I get it! I was really happy to get through the first third, so sad. While I didn’t really enjoy the middle, the ending was great. And the scene in the hospital room was very sweet. It really felt good to finish that book and see Harry’s circumstances so improved.

    My brother acts a little bit, and took classes in London with Emma Watson while they were still making the films. He even appeared in a couple tabloid stories as a mystery man at her side, 😂.

  2. I’m a bit too old to have grown up reading Harry Potter. I have only seen the movies but in a unique way. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra does a film series, I believe it was at the Fox Theater in downtown St. Louis. The orchestra plays the score of the film while it plays on the screen live, its a very unique experience. I think I’ve been to the first two films that way.

    I think the idea the literature can achieve a cult-like following where people wait in line for midnight releases says something about the power of good writing. In a age where everyone is glued to a screen, there is still a large community that prefers a book.

  3. My favorite week of the class is here!!
    But first, confession time:
    When I started reading the books, I didn’t read any of the books until I saw my mom binge reading Half Blood Prince and crying her eyes out when she finished so I HAD to find out what she was so upset about. I think this was right before Deathly Hallows was released. I had seen the previous movies of course, so I kinda knew what was going on. So for YEARS I had only read and reread the last two books of the series, until probably a few years ago.

    Harry Potter 100% sparked the love of reading for me and without those books I don’t know what kind of person I would be. I totally wear my HP jammies to bed regularly, I have a HP tattoo, I watch the movies constantly, and I do a reread at least once a year. I’m obsessed.

    But while I LOVE this series, I also acknowledge that it has some problematic themes and characters (lookin’ at you Snape…and Dumbledore). But I also think thats what makes it so great!

  4. I’ll admit, I guess it was my generation that Harry Potter was introduced to and it was always the trending conversation so I honestly never wanted to read the novels that were getting so much hype. I’ve never even seen the films. So, this will be the first time I’ve read the novel. I’m a bit apprehensive since there’s been such large hype over a novel and that always makes me automatically not want to read it which might be a bit weird. Like, I read the Mortal Instrument series before it got super popular and I’m so happy I did. There’s something about reading a series BEFORE it gets hugely popular and trending but I’m going to try to read this novel without thinking about the reviews and hype its received in mind.

  5. I didn’t read Harry Potter at first. It wasn’t until 2000, so after book two came out, that I decided to go for it. I read the first book in a couple of days and LOVED it! I was in the middle of the second book when I began my Bachelor’s degree, and because of working full-time, already being a parent, and a pretty heavy course load, I put it down and never got back to it—oops!

    One funny story—when I was reading the second book, I mentioned it to a person at church—who promptly told me that it was demonic and satanic and basically, I was probably on a path straight to Hell for reading it😳. One thing that was happening and still does happen today—because the characters are witches and wizards, there are groups who see it as entirely bad. I say groups because I’ve never heard a pastor criticize it from the pulpit (although I’m sure some have), so I think sometimes this is just believers trying to interpret what they feel is right for themselves and kind of getting confused. I don’t get too worked up when I encounter this.

    To that church lady all those years ago, I explained that I had read the first book and there was nothing weird in it. Yes, they were technically wizards and witches, but their spells were much like Bippity Boppity Boo in Cinderella, and it was a great story about good vs evil—Harry being on the side of the good. I even *dared* to mention that Harry seemed to be a bit of a Christ-figure to me. I’m pretty sure that lady real-life unfriended me that day😂….oops.

    I have a student currently who comes from a very devout family, and she’s never read the series but would like to—I told her she’ll be eighteen soon and can blast through the series on her own once she’s grown. I’m never a fan of encouraging students to be disrespectful or disobedient, and there are plenty of books to read in between:). But I do think the stigma attached to this book because of the content is interesting. Also, as an English teacher, I’m absolutely not a fan of censorship on any level. Do I read books occasionally that make me question my stance on censorship? Certainly. But censorship is wrong. Age-appropriate reading material is excellent. Harry Potter is great children’s and adolescent literature! All of my children have read at least the first book—many of them have read the entire series. And ANYTHING that gets books in the hands of children and teens is AWESOME in my opinion!

    By the way, this class is really cutting into my reading time—I would like nothing more at this moment than to just camp out with the entire series and go for it!! I told my son (who’s read the whole series) that as soon as my classes are done, I’m going to need to borrow the rest of the series from him:). Nowadays I seldom get past book one of a series because I just don’t have time—but I think Harry Potter deserves my attention this summer!

  6. Yes, it’s Harry Potter week!

    I LOVE the Harry Potter books (not to be confused with loving the movies, which, after the first two, went down the drain in my opinion). I think I’ve read through all seven books at least three times in middle and high school. It came to a point where I’d get in trouble because it took up so much of my time. I have some related merch, and I’m the go-to person in my group of friends for all things Harry Potter. I’m deemed the nerd in our group for the same reason.

    The most compelling thing about the series for me is the ease with which J.K. Rowling introduces us to the wizarding world. Like Harry, we’re clueless about all things magic, and we’re learning with him as he goes. So in effect, his journey is our journey, too. Rowling also keeps the language simple enough for pretty much anyone to understand. This makes sense, seeing as the series is YA fiction. But the things we can learn in the books are timeless, and it spans all ages, from friendship and loyalty to the often underestimated power of love in our lives. Not to mention the fascinating wizarding world itself! I, for one, would love to know what Butterbeer tastes like, and whether someone managed to create Chocolate Frogs yet, with collectibles of famous witches and wizards in each pack. I also learned a little bit about British customs, phrases and the like, which only intrigued me more and cultivated a fondness for a real-life place I’ve never been to (hoping I can venture down to the UK sometime).

    Needless to say, I’m excited that we get to discuss such a favorite book of mine. Doubtless I’ll learn some new things about Harry, and I’ll be able to read the series again with a fresh new perspective in tow!

  7. As someone who has always been an avid reader, it is a bit embarrassing to admit that I have never read any of the Harry Potter books. I have, however, seen the movies and enjoyed them, so I am looking forward to read the first book of the series within the next few days.

  8. It makes me really happy knowing I wasn’t the only person who didn’t read/watch Harry Potter before this! I grew up with an older sister who was obsessed with Harry Potter. She even owned the special playing cards, nightgowns, and trinket boxes! So I guess as the rebellious sister who was seven years younger, I wanted no part in it! To this day, I’ve never seen more than snippets of the moving as I walk passed her binging in our living room! With that said, I’m open to reading the books without my years worth of thoughts towards. After all, some of the best people I know are Potterheads (that’s the name for fans right?).
    The only issue I have is that I already know so much because almost everyone I know loves Harry Potter—I even worked with a girl who ran the quidditch team at her high school. But, I think I’ll be able to separate those from my mind. After all, I did it with Alice last week—I’d never read/seen anything regarding Alice before last week!
    However, I think I can read this book and still enjoy it! The biggest thing I learned from being an avid reader is that it’s important to separate yourself from all that you know when going into things like this. That’s why when watching movies/shows based off of books I’ve read I pretend that it’s just a weird coincidence that share similar themes.

  9. Although it was a very popular series for me growing up, I never read any of the Harry Potter books. I did, however, see all the movies. I have enjoyed all the movies and the ideas behind them but because I haven’t read the books I was always confused at certain parts.

    Two of my best friends have read the series and are obsessed with it. One even got a Gryffindor robe for her birthday. We once had a Harry Potter movie weekend, where we watched all the movies. I asked so many questions though that they started to become annoyed with me and they told me I NEEDED to read the series. So with their pressure, I’ve been meaning to read the series but have still never gotten around to it. When I found out we were reading the first one of Harry Potter, I was really excited. I think reading this novel, will provide a completely different experience of the Wizarding World to me.

  10. I unfortunately didn’t read the books growing up and haven’t gotten around to doing so until now. Though I didn’t read them, my aunt absolutely loved them. Being really young when the first couple came out, she would read to me a couple of pages whenever i would hang out with her. I do, however, love the movies!

  11. I am so glad that I finally had a reason to read any of the Harry Potter books. Growing up I didn’t read them, because I had far more interest in books like The Hunger Games, Star Girl, and other YA romance books. However, my second youngest brother Maddox absolutely loves Harry Potter. He spends a considerable amount of money that he has on merchandise and apparels. When I realized I had to read this book for class, I asked him what he thought of the books. He personally prefers them too the movies (Which is not surprising, as usually the books tend to be better in any case). So with that, I decided to drive into this book at almost everyone I know has read and loved. I was really surprised to find out what all of the different Harry Potter lingo meant. In middle school I remember hearing the word “Muggle” and thought maybe it was a type of Muppet or something. Now I know that they are just all of the non-wizards of the Harry Potter world. This read was really pleasing to me, as it kept me wondering what could happen to Harry and his new friends next.
    I think that one of the reasons why this book is so successful is because it truly is a book about coming of age. Harry faces so many challenges and hard decisions. For example, when Hagrid decides to adopt a dragon (which is super illegal), Harry has to decide whether to let it slide, or do the right thing. Fortunately he decides to do the right thing and help smuggle the dragon out, but he does get caught, which puts Gryffindor in last for the house cup. Harry has to learn how to cope with his entire house being mad at him. While this is just one good example, I am glad I got to read this book because I know that it has positively influenced Maddox, who is going into High School this fall. I know that the amazing qualities that JK Rowling gave to Harry will rub off on my younger brother.

  12. These books were so popular growing up!! I remember hearing so much about them that I finally caved in and read them in 6th grade. The last book had not come out at that point though, so I always have had a curiosity as to how it ended (based on the vague plot I remember). I’ve never seen the movies either though I’ll catch snippets here and there. I agree that weirdly enough it gets difficult to get into something once it is popular, and as with any movie or book that has come out quite a while ago there are spoilers everywhere!
    Anyways I totally get the hype now, the first book was really something and made me anxious to continue the story. I might finish the series and end up binge watching all the movies once this class is over.

  13. It is so cool to read about so many people who haven’t read Harry Potter until now! I was in a slightly different atmosphere, where a lot of friends in elementary school were reading either Harry Potter or the Twilight series (still don’t know how they got away with reading the later books in the Twilight series in 5th grade 😂).
    I unfortunately do not wear a Gryffindor House scarf to bed–I do not even own one. I’m also not a Gryffindor according to the Pottermore quiz, but a Slytherin (I think it might have been Ravenclaw from their old test). This fact caught a lot of friends by surprise who imagined me in Hufflepuff.
    I don’t really loathe the people who stood in line for the next book release. I think that it would have been amazing to be there at the moment, especially with some book stores offering Harry Potter parties, but I appreciated watching from a distance at the comfort of my own home. I do remember though really wanting the final book to Harry Potter when it was released (even though I don’t think I finished the ones before it at the time) and not wanting to wait for other family members to finish reading it before getting a chance to read it.
    I have seen both the movies and the books. I know that the movies left out certain moments that some readers might have been unhappy about, but I still felt that they did a really good job and held pretty true to the books, especially for a movie adaptation!
    I’m also not in a Wizard Rock Band, but that sounds really fun and cool!!

  14. DO YOU SECRETLY WEAR A GRYFFINDOR HOUSE SCARF TO BED?- No, I wear a Ravenclaw one, thank you very much!
    HAVE YOU ONLY SEEN THE MOVIES?- I read the book first, and then saw the movies!
    ARE YOU IN A WIZARD ROCK BAND?- Totally! Check us out on Soundcloud. I’m also on a wizarding sports team.

    Now for the more serious post: Although my parents never exactly banned Harry Potter as a child, yet it wasn’t exactly encouraged either. My parents were cautious about me reading anything with more adult themes such as Harry Potter and Twilight. By the time that they would have encouraged it, I grew intimidated by the sheer size of the collection. One big book I could handle, but the size of the series intimidated me a little bit. Over the years I was nagged by friends and strangers to read the series or at least watch the movies, so in my freshman year of college, I finally agreed. Halfway through the first book, I knew I was hooked. I found myself referencing certain scenes and memorable quotes already! My new found love for Harry Potter even encouraged me to join the siue quidditch team! My budding love for the series helped me make friends! I even have a form of Faux tattoed on my right shoulder. I believe that my love for Harry Potter helped me develop friendships and a more critical mind while reading other books. Unfortunately, after reading Harry Potter, I find it sometimes to read other novels because I ultimately become disappointed if they don’t have the same attention to detail, characterization, and plot development that Harry Potter does.

  15. To answer all these questions simply no to all of the above. Growing up I was not allowed to read books that dealt with wizardry or anything of the sort until about high school. During high school, I did not really care to read any of the books because by that point all the movies came out and people were spoiling all over the place. It also wasn’t until about two years ago that my boyfriend’s sister in law made me watch the movies with her and they still did not interest me. I have watched the movies up to the fourth instalment. Now after reading Harry Potter it does make more sense to me and it was easier to keep up with. If I had read the books long before the movies I probably would have enjoyed it more, but I had already known what was going to happen.

  16. I grew up, like many of my fellow classmates in the time period after the books had been published and just as the movies were coming out. I grew up watching the movies on repeat during the holidays when ABC Family did their marathons of the movies and loved the scenes of Hogwarts decorated for the holidays. I never considered reading the books until my boyfriend got the audio book version of them and then I fell in love with them and they are now my favorite bedtime story to listen to before falling asleep each night. I was able to listen to this first book more intently over the course of two days and fell even more in love with the characters and story that develops them. If you haven’t listened to the audio version I highly recommend them, the performance is the best I’ve heard for an audio book as of yet and truly animates the experience.

  17. I would put my self in the category of movie fan. I love the Harry Potter series but when I first began to see things about it, it was the time the movies were coming out. I have a rule for my self that is odd, I know. I do not enjoy reading books after I have already seen the movies. So young me, really missed out. After reading this first book I may just have to continue to break my rule and just finish the series!

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