Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Harry Potter Reread: Introduction (Mario)

Regular readers might start to wonder if I’m creating too many ongoing projects for myself on the blog. That may be true, but the very nature of these projects, the fact that I label them and consider them to be ongoing, means that I don’t have to limit myself to just one project at a time. Besides, it also offers a bit more structure to the blog for people whose interests are specific to one of the topics or projects that I have.

Why is this project important? Well, to anybody who’s paid attention to the title, I’m introducing another project to Shared Universe Reviews and this time I’ll be accompanied by my older sister, Myriam. Together, for an undefined period of time, we will devout some of our time to re-exploring the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, something neither one of us has done for several years.

The full cover of the French edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
by Jean-Claude Götting. This was the cover that started it all for me.
I used to be a huge Harry Potter fan, but my fandom has decreased rather steadily over the years, to the point where I still haven’t seen the final movie nor have I read the latest Harry Potter related book by J. K. Rowling. My parents bought me the first four books for Christmas one year and I read the first one in less than a day, which was kind of impressive seeing as I was ten or eleven at the time. I anxiously awaited each new release and went to see all of the movies in theatres (except for the third and eight movie).

Depending on when the new books were being released, it was difficult to get my hands on a copy on the day of release because I lived in a small town that didn’t have a book store. A particularly memorable release happened while I was at cadet camp. I was on a military base and none of the cadets were allowed to leave. By the time I got home all of my siblings, my dad and all my friends would have already been done reading their copy. Luckily enough, one of the older cadets working as a summer staff bought a copy for me and brought it to me at my barracks. Needless to say, all the other nerdy cadets were incredibly jealous. It was actually somewhat difficult to read the book in peace because this was at the height of Harry Potter mania. I didn’t have a whole lot of time to read while at camp, but I did get a chance to finish reading The Half-Blood Prince once and I was well underway with my second read during the journey home.

Some really cool fan art visualizing a scare that is shaped like real lightning.
Art by Burdge (aka, Brigid Vaughn).

My personal Potter mania lasted quite a while but it didn’t endure as long as some of my friends and family thought it did. I went through a lot of effort to get my hands on the sixth book but when The Tales of Beedle the Bard came out, I walked right by the stacks of it at the book store. Clearly my tastes in book had changed and I didn’t feel the same emotional connection to the series as I did just a few years prior. After the series ended I became increasingly self-conscious of the books I read (thankfully I rarely feel this way now). As a young teen, it was easy to give in to the magical world of Harry Potter. But as I grew up, I became increasingly less vocal about my fandom. Exactly why, I’m not sure, but I’m convinced that by revisiting the books, the movies and discovering the Pottermore website, I’ll be a huge fan once again. It also helps that I’ll have someone with me along for the ride.

As most people know, Harry Potter the series did not end with the publication of the seventh novel. The Harry Potter film saga still had to conclude. Rowling published another novella related to the Potterverse, The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Finally, the website Pottermore launched in April 2012. I don’t even really know what Pottermore is and it’s something that I will be experiencing during this project but I likely won’t be writing about it unless something in particular stands out.

J.K. Rowling in a coffee shop circa 1998. She's a real-world witch who delighted
millions of fans around the world. 

Our reread will consist of all seven books in addition to, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quidditch Through the Ages and The Tales of Beedle the Bard. In a few days we’ll have Myriam do her own introduction and we’ll be diving into the reread proper starting next Wednesday. That gives you just enough time to start rereading the books yourself and joining us along for the ride.

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