Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)

Not bad. I still think Dumbledore is clearly biased towards Gryffindor in general, and towards Harry specifically, to a degree that is both unfair and unbecoming. We get a little more insight into Snape’s deal than in the movie… or at least I don’t remember it from the movie, maybe it was in there. He’s kind of the most interesting character to me, and I felt he got very unfairly treated by the most recent movie… the book version was probably better, but I doubt I’ll read them all to find out. I’ve heard the 7th book was crap, which makes me not want to get into the series at all.

Also, the wizard world, while exciting to juvenile-me, is totally unworkable to adult-me. If magic works, there’s no way it’s not a part of EVERYBODY’s everyday life. Humans use what tools are available to them, it’s our nature. Also, these powerful wizards have a responsibility to solve the greater problems of the world, rather than futzing around in their towers waving their wands and pretending they have real problems.

Also, if Harry & company got through the gauntlet of spells at Hogwarts as easily as they did, they wouldn’t have posed any kind of obstacle to a real wizard.

And finally, if House Slytherin produces all the dark wizards… SHUT IT DOWN ALREADY, YOU MORONS! Or at least have more careful monitoring or SOMETHING.

Personally, I prefer magic systems that are well thought out and internally consistent rather than magic-as-plot-device. When magic can do whatever you need it to do at any given moment, it’s really difficult to maintain any kind of suspension of disbelief. Like, if there are cloaks of invisibility, then the school would have Invisibility Detectors around important rooms, etc.

I’ve said this before, and it bears repeating: In a world where magic works, MAGIC IS TECHNOLOGY; and like any technology, is subject to market forces.

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~ by oberon the fool on September 9, 2009.

4 Responses to “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”

  1. Man, it has been awhile since I read these… I picked up the first Harry Potter book just before they became really widely popular (I was working at a bookstore at the time). I remember liking it, but, you know, not ecstatically. I read the second and then the third and it was then that I got hooked.

    Your comments about it not being a fully-realized fantasy world, or one that would really work, are spot-on, but my inner child still wishes that someone would come calling for me and tell me that all along I’ve had these powers and they want me to come away to a special school for people just like me so I can train up to be a kick ass wizard. I’m still waiting. It would probably help if I’d respond to knocks at the door, but I’m not entirely comfortable with that. I assume any wizard worth his/her salt would be able to contact me some other way.

    The Magicians (the book I just finished reading) was rather more realistic about how powers worked (or didn’t work) for wizards in the real world. It was, however, a lot more depressing for that. I’m not sure I liked any of the characters much (maybe Alice), but it was a more accurate – I thought – description of what having *real* power might be like. You may be able to do anything, but there’s still the problem of finding your own purpose. Power, seemingly, can’t provide it.

  2. Yeah, I may have to read that one.

    There’s a huge swath of YA literature (and maybe 80% of anime) that caters to the adolescent desire to be suddenly revealed as Special at a time in life when you are realizing exactly how Unimportant you really are in the world.

    I’m suddenly realizing that, as you’re a librarian who works with YA media, this is a silly thing for me to act knowledgeable about in a conversation with you.

  3. There are a lot of tropes in literature period. Finding yourself and figuring out who you are is not (surprise, surprise!) limited to adolescents. My parents tell me that they’re still waiting to figure out what they want to be when they grow up. I think they settled for “responsible, and we’ll work the rest out later on.” As their child and dependent (for many years), I guess I appreciate their sacrifice.

    I read something in that book that was making me chortle over the weekend about how people who don’t have children are seen as selfish. Someone actually confronted the author about it – asked her why she was so selfish NOT to bring a child into the world. Do people even THINK before these things come spilling out of their mouths, I wonder? I’ve thought before that maybe I’m too self-centered to want to focus on a child (because children do become the center of your universe when you’re a parent), but I wouldn’t call me selfish. And I certainly wouldn’t think of people who choose to have children as selfLESS. That’s completely ridiculous. What about wanting to create your own little master race to take care of you when you’re old? I’m not impressed. Yay, I’ve ranted all over your blag. I apologize.

  4. I think bringing children into the world is THE MOST SELFISH ACT YOU CAN POSSIBLY COMMIT, PERIOD.

    Neither the world, nor the children, deserve that kind of suffering.

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