Friday, July 31, 2009

FRIDAY: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Today is Harry Potter's birthday and in honor of this event, I will be suspending my usual blog schedule for the next couple weeks to look at the original seven books as well as some great non-fiction books about the series.

Let me deal with one issue up front, first. -- I am a Christian, and I am a Harry Potter fan. Yes, you can be both.

I came to the series late, just before the 6th book came out. I had heard the rumblings in Christian circles about the books being evil and endorsing witchcraft, so I avoided them. My husband started reading them because the kids in the youth group were and he wanted to be able to talk with them about what they were reading. He thought they were very well-written fantasy stories and didn't see anything objectionable for Christian teenagers. A friend told me about a book that looks at the Christian themes in the series (I will review it in a few days) that left me feeling as though I could try the series in good conscience.

I fell in love. In fact, I read the first five books of the series in about a week in order to be ready for the 6th book when it released - and those aren't small books! So, let me tell you a little about the book that started it all.

Harry, orphaned and abused by his aunt, uncle and cousin, finds out - at the age of 11 - that he is a wizard. He is introduced to the wizard world and enters his first year of wizard boarding school. At school, Harry and his best friend, Ron, stumble into a mystery. There's a beast in the school guarding something, and an evil presence is lurking in the nearby woods. With the help of the sometimes annoying Hermoine,* the three use their different gifts and strengths to try to save the day.

Each book contains a "mystery" for Harry and his friends to solve, but each also doles out information on the larger overarching story of Harry's past and his ultimate battle with the evil Voldemort.

I love the first book because it develops the world of Harry Potter. My favorite part is when Harry is first introduced to the wizarding world; I love his wonder and amazement at what he sees. It is also so nice to see Harry find a home for the first time since the death of his parents when he was only a year old. With the exception of the very end of the story and possibly the scene with the troll, there isn't much "scary" in this volume for kids. My almost seven-year-old is enjoying the first book quite a bit. [He won't be hearing the other books, though, for a few more years!]

(*I don't think Hermoine is annoying, but the boys do early in the book. In reality, I think she is trying to overcompensate for being from a non-magic family.)

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