Thoughts from the Philosopher’s Stone

ObsessedI’m a few pages away from finishing the Philosopher’s Stone but I’ve read the book every year since I was 10, so, I think I am qualified enough to write a page of my thoughts. I worship the Harry Potter series so there isn’t anything I dislike to be frank. This time I made myself purposely write down all of the random thoughts that came up so I could blog about them later! This post will be spoilery so if you haven’t read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, please, skip to another of my lovely posts *batts eyelashes*

This isn’t in any semblance of order (though I do try to put it into a semi-page order).

Nov. 16 Edit: Just want to say that the purpose of the “Thoughts” posts are to juxtapose what I though and understood HP to be as a kid reading it for the first time, and what it’s like to read it purposefully, with notes, paying attention to stuff more, as a 25 year old. I got this at 10, and I’ve reread the series every Christmas since I owned it, so that makes this my 15th reread for the Philosopher’s Stone (so much more than I realised…).

Neglect x Abuse

As a child, I thought it was unfortunate that Harry was shoved into a cupboard and had to sneak meals when he was punished. Now, at 25, I’m calling it as it is, that is down right abuse and neglect. How did the teacher’s not notice that he as wearing hand me downs all the time? That his glasses were taped up? I don’t get it. I understand what Rowling was trying to do, juxtapose a horrible muggle life with a dream magical one, but the first 4 chapters are getting more and more upsetting to read as I get more “grown up”. Harry disliked where he was so much that he went off with a man that he knew nothing about! Sure Hagrid is a good guy, but I remember being 11 years old and I wouldn’t have gone with anyone even if they could prove they knew my parents. Mind you Hagrid did have Harry’s letter from Hogwarts. I’m at a stalemate with this one, what do you think?

Hagrid, Why do 11 year old children have to solve your problems?

Speaking of Hagrid, who is one of my favourite characters, why on earth does it take three 11 year olds to solve his problems? How is it that these kids are more responsible than he is? How? My cousin is 11 and the kid barely finishes his dinner or can tie his laces let alone assist in smuggling a dragon across international borders. But oh, dragons in the UK! I love magic.

The Mirror of Erised

So this chapter broke my heart because it is essentially the first time that Harry sees his parents. Not once did someone think to show this kid a picture of his parents. Not. Once.

meme6I’d love to see the Mirror of Erised in person, though I think it might terrify me what it shows.

McGonagall Is An Amazing Person

OH MY GOODNESSS. How did it not hit me till I turned 20 how awesome she is. I love her.

Hermoine, Ron and Harry

First let me get this out of the way, Hermoine color codes her notes? She’s 11! Who taught her how to do that?! At 11 I didn’t know how to study let alone figure out how to use a highlighter to color code my notes. Actually, I don’t think I made notes. So the fact that she does this makes her seem a little bit more grown up than she is, that and she’s so cool an geeky for figuring this out early.

All of them seem a bit grown up for their age, with the responsibilities and what not but they are in essence, distilled versions of their older selves in books 5 and up. So I don’t pick a bone with this, it’s just something I noticed that I think is cool.

Also, Ron has a much more central role in this book than I remember which I like. I like Ron Weasley a lot and people don’t seem to like his character much. He’s human. He gets jealous, he is scared. He isn’t brilliant, he isn’t the chosen one, he’s just a normal boy. He plays wizard chess and wins, so he clearly isn’t dumb, maybe just a bit lazy. They down played Ron’s contribution in the HP films and that’s a shame because it has cast a shadow on what I think is a darn good character.

meme5

Is there something you especially liked or made you think a lot in this book?

NameClaire

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About Claire (BWB)

It's Claire (aka Quirky) from Bitches With Books, an online book blog that serves up a healthy dose of book reviews, lists + literary madness.
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32 Responses to Thoughts from the Philosopher’s Stone

  1. Pingback: Looking Back & Forward: 2014 Survey with 2015 Resolutions | Bitches With Books

  2. dogearedcopy says:

    I first read “Sorcerer’s Stone” as a middle-aged woman several years ago, and the role of adults in the book caught my attention at the time too. I was a little disconcerted at how many of the adults were seen as weak, secretive, deceptive, obtuse, and overbearing. Yes, I understand that adults don’t need to be children’s “friends”, but I also found it paradoxical that as authority figures, the concept of being role models as well seemed to be absent. Perhaps Rowlings perspective is more realistic, or at least more reflective of the British school experience, but I still thought it was a shame.

    As for the part about the Room Under the Stairs, I have to admit that I’ve actually always wanted a room like that. There was a space like that in the house where I grew up, and my mother was always having to ferret me out of there! There were all sorts of odd things packed into storage bins and boxes under the stairs… But yes, I do get your point about child abuse. Yes, it *is* abuse; but I didn’t find it unrealistic. I think we all know that it could have been much, much worse… :-/

    • Claire (BWB) says:

      I don’t think adults need to be explicately role model esque, look at McGonagall, she was clearly a role model or someone for Hermoine to emulate. Perhaps Rowling’s perspective is more realistic in that way? In that it isn’t explicitly said so?

      Agreed about the neglect, it could have been so much worse. I’ve never had a house with stairs but if I did, I think I’d make it a small little nook, filled with cushions and warmth!

    • writersideup says:

      I have to say, I’ve never had a problem with how the adults were portrayed. They each have very defined, distinct personalities, leaning toward strictness which is very much how school was for me as a child, at least in Catholic school in the 60s, and I’m imagining it may be that way more so in private schools (?). I don’t think being role models was of the utmost concern until more recent decades.

      Because of the nature of the entire series, being secretive is necessary. First, because the adults were being protective, but also because every book, along with the whole series, is a mystery. Clues and information are doled out when they need to be, whether it’s from a slip of the tongue (Hagrid), being told directly (rarely given ALL the info, purposely) or the characters finding out or having to figure it out. The stories and characters have to unravel, and they do it over the course of 4,000 pages. There are things we continue to learn about the adults as we go on, some things expected and some unexpected. I find Rowling’s expertise at fleshing out very real, believable characters as one of her greatest talents.

      • Claire (BWB) says:

        I find them so far removed though, the wizarding adults are portrayed well, but again still very distant. McGonagall I can excuse and Hagrid is a sweetie, but for some of the adults I wish they were integrated into the story a bit more.

        • writersideup says:

          This points out, so clearly, the differences between readers. I never had a problem with how the adults were in the books. In fact, I think they’re in it a lot. In fact, virtually all the backstory is about all the adults involved. Also, the perspective is nearly all through Harry’s POV and it’s the trio who drive the story. So much of the storyline involved the adults, which is not typical when a book’s not written specifically for adults. I know there are HP readers who wanted more of different things in the story, but honestly, I was a reader who was left completely satisfied in the way things were laid out and tied up.

  3. Heather says:

    I want to grow up to be McGonagall.

  4. OMG! I love this post and enjoyed seeing how my 43 year old saw those elements. I love it. First of all, I love what you had to say about Hagrid. He may be an adult, but he’s never grown up nor tired of all things baby monster. This is why I love him. On the outside he may seem like a dubious role model, but he is a safe place (relatively speaking) for those kids to take on more responsibility. I don’t want to be like Hagrid, but I love that there are adults like Hagrid in the world and I wouldn’t mind if my kids jumped in to help him out. Sometimes helping a good person out of a jam when s/he should have known better is a good way to figure out who you are and who you want to be.

    I watched the movie last night and the scene with Harry, the mirror, and Dumbledore about made me cry. You’d have lived a good, true life if you could look in that mirror and only see yourself. That’s something to strive for.

    I look forward to your thoughts as the reread progresses. I love your blog and am glad I finally found it.

  5. Pingback: Harry Potter Re-Read | Bitches With Books

  6. Jenna @LittleBirdReads says:

    WOW! πŸ™‚ I love all the thought you’ve put into this! I do agree with a lot of what you said (especially the abuse and neglect – I’m a teacher and I know DAMN WELL when something is “off”) but on the same token, I think that it as fantasy, not realistic fiction, it allows JK to bend things a bit to fit her story. The kids are solving adult problems and grow up really fast (I teach middle school, most of my kids are 13 and have NO CLUE how to take notes, let alone color code them) but it feels “right” in the context of the overall story. Picking it apart and looking at it through a critical lens- I totally agree with your statements. Looking at it as a whole- still magical.

    Can’t wait to hear your thoughts as we go through- shit gets REAL dark and I can’t wait to view it through your lens!!

  7. writersideup says:

    Gals, I have to tell you—I really hope you stop analyzing the books in a way that is sucking the life out of them : / I read all of them as an adult (I’m now turning 57) and never had an issue with things like the kids solving problems adults don’t/can’t/won’t. First of all, what fun would it be to read a book in which the MCs are useless? It doesn’t make for a good story, and the way the books were written also shows that adults think differently or are focused on things in a different way than kids. Adults are often more close-minded or one-track-minded. It’s not that the adults are stupid, but their focus is usually different. It also shows the personalities of the characters. If you’ll notice, too—at a certain point Ron and Hermione are no longer as focused on the problems as much as Harry continues to be. This is great writing and puts our “hero” in the frame of mind he should be to ultimately bring the story to a climax and satisfying denouement. Harry, Ron and Hermione are supposed to be, for the most part, “above” the rest in their individual ways, and we know, other characters show their mettle, too, as the series goes on. The adults perform heroically and intelligently in the ways they need to when they need to all to move the narrative forward in the virtually perfect way Jo Rowling executed it πŸ™‚ And if you’ve already read the whole series, we also find out how and why Dumbledore did or didn’t reveal things along the way.

    I’m sure that, as a 10 or 11-year-old reading the books, at that time you had no trouble believing these 1st-years were capable of doing what they did πŸ™‚ Enjoy the reread and the brilliance of the series!

    • Claire (BWB) says:

      Agree, as a kid you don’t notice stuff and as I’ve gotten older I’ve started noticing certain things more and more. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it, it just reflects my state of life at the moment, me thinks. It DOES ruin the magic of the stuff.

      The My Thoughts posts are meant to juxtapose what I didn’t notice or care about as a kid and what as I’m rereading them purposefully (with notes and so on) at 25, what I’m paying attention to more now than as a kid. I’ve reread the series every year since I was 10, i don’t know why but I always read them around winter time? So this would make the 15th reread of Philosopher’s stone! So many reads X_X

      • writersideup says:

        lol, I can remember, back when I was in my HP group, one of the women I knew had read the series 17 times at that time. I have no idea how many more she may have read them since then (that was 2005-7). She has grandchildren now so I don’t know what kind of spare time she has. I just know she was a speed reader! Obviously, you can’t get enough of HP πŸ™‚

  8. LOVE this post! The mirror of Erised… I too wonder what it would show of me? Would I be a writer? You are also right about Hagrid and Harry going off with him… he is a BIG DUDE! Of course, in Harrys defense, what could be worse than the Dursley’s? πŸ™‚ And poor Ron… he too received hand me downs from his older brothers who all were doing something great and he was… Harry’s best friend. Anyhoo – awesome post. I put mine up today πŸ™‚

  9. Anne says:

    I love the Alan Rickman joke at the end of that comic. Gets me every time. But, the child abuse part is so sad reading the books as an adult. How could someone be so awful to their sister’s child?! It is just makes me mad each time I read the beginning of the books.

  10. rgdole says:

    I’ve been thinking about rereading these books… it’s been so long… but first off, kids often have to wear hand me downs and often can’t afford to replace broken glasses… so it might be hard for anyone to necessarily notice if there’s some neglect going on… my real question is how they could be so distant from a child they had to care for as a baby… I mean they would’ve had to hold him and change him take care of him and suddenly they neglect him… plus this is a kids book… if his life was perfect at home it’s doubtful he would’ve just followed some guy to some magical make believe land… also most kids books like this have the kids saving the day the grownups can’t… that’s what makes it awesome for kids and if you’re beginning to question how realistic this is then you’re not really going to be able to enjoy it like you should…

    like Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos is a cool book about an 11 year old who has to basically save her parents from all the cursed objects they find on their excavations and bring back to the museum… and they don’t even make her go to school… she often sleeps at the museum and they sort of forget her… she’s happy though running around saving the day and if that wasn’t the case no kid would read it… or Percy Jackson is 11 and he goes and fights gods and monsters and his mom just drops him off knowing he has to train and bad things might happen… no kid wants to hear about adults being awesome… these books give them something to kind of look up to and perhaps make them better… if a kid sees Hermione being smart and organized and doing the amazing things she does maybe they’ll try to be more like her… just like it’s unlikely an 11 year old would know hieroglyphs and the meaning of ancient artifacts like Theodosia… but then again real 11 year olds are boring… no one wants that…

    • Claire (BWB) says:

      I agree with your time points! One of the sucky parts if getting older and even rereading things is that it takes the magic and fun out of it. You notice stuff that maybe you shouldn’t think too much about?

      I do like your take on kids saving the world. I remember being 10 and having my mind blown by hermoine. I emulated her colored notes thing. Now im like what 11 year old thinks of this because I’m corrupted by age. I love the HP series to the point where it is the only that can calm me down on bad days sometimes. It is the very child like nature that I adore, and when reading for this read along one must remember this!

    • You should join in the readalong!

  11. Misha says:

    It isn’t something I dislike as I don’t really dislike anything about Harry Potter since I love it so much! I just don’t understand why Harry, Hermione and Ron thought they were the only ones who could save the school. Think someone is going to steal the Philosopher’s Stone, plenty of teachers around, it’s up to three 11 year olds. I always feel that if they were able to get to the stone, then it would be easy enough for a dark wizard to.
    Carpe Noctems

    • Claire (BWB) says:

      That’s a good point, like how is it that only a bunch of 11 year olds managed to figure this all out? You telling me Fred x George never tried to break into the 3rd floor corridor? I know it’s fiction so one has to suspend logic but sometimes I have to laugh at how neat it all is in the book.

      That being said POTTERHEAD FOR LIFE!

  12. Jackie says:

    I think the kids were wise beyond their years but perhaps a little reckless? I liked that they got hands on experience at the things they were taught in Hogwarts but ya, they were sticking their noses where it didn’t belong even though it had to do with Harry mostly. Voldemort became less and less of a threat and more and more of a failure. imo. I understood the grown ups like Hagrid to be more cautious and tended to defend rather than offend or rather cause trouble like Harry, Ron and Hermione usually ended up in.

    • Claire (BWB) says:

      That’s very true, Volemort *was* a bit of a failure. My thing with Hagrid is why is an 11 year old being more sensible than you? A grown man? Wha?

    • Claire (BWB) says:

      In fiction we gotta suspend belief sometimes. Plus, I don’t think that readers can also grasp the horror of Old Voldemort and post Goblet of Fire Voldemort. I’m scared to walk home in the dark but I feel safe when I lock my door, imagine if someone could just walk in with a spell? *shudders* I like magic but it is terrifying.

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