Monday, November 19, 2012
This year has been a different sort of reading year for me, but only in the best possible way. By reading less, I've been enjoying it more, by reading with friends the experiences have been enriched.
I mentioned offhandedly once that I needed to reread Harry Potter and a friend suggested we reread it together. Then another friend who had somehow never read the books joined in and my little Harry Potter summer reading project happened.
I'm not someone who read the books over and over even though yes I love them. I just don't reread a lot, so while I had reread most of the books at some point, they still felt very very fresh to me in a lot of ways. I was a little nervous about rereading them? Since I read them I've changed in a lot of ways as a reader and I had no idea how they'd hold up for me. Also, they were such a big fun part of my life as a reader for so many years. Would the magic (haha) be the same etc?
But..you know as soon as I started reading I loved them all over again. I was reminded of all the reasons I loved them in the first place and I think I actually had a deeper appreciation for how tightly plotted and detailed they are. And how much I love the characters! Of course it was a different experience, I didn't feel the same urgency to read as quickly as possible and I was reading with friends who were really interested in the fandom side of things so I learned a lot about what Harry Potter fandom was like! (like the massive shipping wars I was gloriously oblivious to!)
When I first read Harry Potter, I identified so much with his feeling of finally finding home at Hogwarts, of how great it was to have friends that got him, and how hard it was to leave. I've forgotten that feeling a little bit but rereading the first books brought it all back. In some ways I actually felt sadder reading it this time because there isn't a place I love like that right now. Being an adult really stinks, you know? I also like the way it brought back so many feelings and memories from when I first read them, much the same way music is capable of doing.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was always my favorite but this time it was a bit of a toss up between that one and the Order of the Phoenix. I was impressed again with how honest these books are about human tendencies while never being relentlessly grim (like The Casual Vacancy was accused of being) Sure the characters made big mistakes and were deeply flawed but you could always really feel the love of their creator.
I was also impressed again with how she managed to create this whole big huge world and make it seem so alive and real so quickly. Rereading something always feels...smaller in a way? And so this impressed me all the more.
I think I felt like I had more to say on this subject when I first finished, but months have passed unfortunately! All in all it was a great experience and one I recommend if you haven't done it! I still love the books and I'm thankful to know I can always return to them as a warm and welcoming place. I miss what they meant to world and hope that I'll see another beloved series like them in my lifetime!
Rereading Harry Potter