Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone & Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Remember when we said we’d count down to the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows premiere by writing about each of J.K. Rowling’s seven books? This is the first of those posts.

We were supposed to begin this weekend, but the offline world required focused participation. We have four days until the premiere so I imagine we will be writing like mad to get the posts in on time.

I’d never heard of Harry Potter until my father brought home the first two books, which he had bought during a trip to Manila. I dove into the opening pages of Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone not knowing I was about to witness a phenomenon that would rescue a generation from illiteracy.

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Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone was the perfect hook: it introduced us to an alternate world where wands were more essential than cellphones; candy was interactive; a ratty hat decided you could live with people who would become your greatest friends; young people studied Potions instead of Chemistry; the national sport was airborne; and goblins were respectable bankers. We also first meet Harry Potter, a protagonist who is marginalized in the human muggle world but is a rock star in the wizarding world. Harry is an orphan and for the first ten years of his life, is forced to live with perhaps the most myopic family in existence.

When he turns eleven, he is brought into a world where people might understand him. At Hogwarts, Harry finds loyal, steadfast friends. He also discovers that he could be exceptional. I remember going back again and again to that chapter where he first learns he can fly. I was buzzing at that first quidditch match. (And oh my, remember the Nimbus Two Thousand? Nostalgia, I demand you desist at once!)

At Hogwarts, Harry found a place he could truly belong. And so did we.

We all have our favorite Harry Potter books, but Sorcerer’s Stone was the door. It was the floo powder that took us to the second book, to the third, and so on. It made us want to read.

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I read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets almost immediately after The Sorcerer’s Stone.

To me, Chamber of Secrets is like Tuesday. Monday is the start of the week, Wednesday is mid-week, Thursday is almost Friday, Friday and Saturday are the thick of the weekend, and Sunday is generally the end of a calendar week. Tuesday has the potential to be a good day, but it is basically a bridge to the rest of the days of the week. Don’t get me wrong. I liked Chamber of Secrets. It just wasn’t as relevant to me as, for instance, The Prisoner of Azkaban.

I still burned through it though, because I was anxious to get back to Hogwarts. I was excited to be back in the common room and the Great Hall, to be among the familiar. But new characters were also in play, including the deliciously vain Gilderoy Lockhart and the lovably manic house-elf Dobby.

Chamber of Secrets had its moments: an impressive entrance involving a flying car and the Whomping Willow; an ancient villain that turned things to stone; a diary with malicious intent; baby giant spiders; and my personal favorite, the Polyjuice Potion. It was also a clever murder mystery. J.K. Rowling took us through an exciting chase that culminated in a dramatic duel and the rescue of a damsel.

While the second book was no Sorcerer’s Stone, it was still a romping good time.

This was a post by Kubi, who is reveling in her free time.

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Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone & Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

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