The Feels Are Real: Re-Reading Harry Potter for the First Time in 15 years
It has been 20 years since I first read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and as much as I love the franchise, I will admit, this is the first time since then that I have picked up the novel to reread. I’m not a big re-reader. I get bored quickly and tend to skip chunks which I hate doing because then I feel guilty, so inevitably I go back to reread the skipped pieces but by then the whole flow of reading has been thrown off, and I put the book down for good. I think I’ve gone out of my way to avoid rereading the Harry Potter series as well because I struggled so hard to read them as a kid. I wasn’t a strong reader due to some backward curriculum at a private school, and I didn’t know how to read until third grade, about the year Harry Potter came out. Even though I loved the books and didn't want to give up, it was an enormous task to take on for my struggling skills especially given the made-up magical jargon and foreign accents and verbiage. But it captivated me, and I loved it with a passion, so I kept up to date and have spent a lifetime enamored with all things Harry Potter and the goddess herself, J.K. Rowling.
So when I learned from my best friend that there were illustrated versions being released every year, I was intrigued, but the memories of a childhood struggle resonated deep within me so I admittedly, ignored her suggestions and went on my way. But finally, the sirens call of the beloved tales became too strong to withstand. I finally broke down and purchased the first illustrated version and was immediately taken with the art done by Jim Kay. Flipping through the pages felt more like an art book than a novel, but I was eager to start reading, so I started reading immediately.
Fast forward to a few days later, and I was done. Wait, when did it become so easy to read? It turns out in my years of aging I’ve gotten better at some things and reading Harry Potter isn't such a hurdle anymore. Also...wow. I have missed this story so much. The movies are one thing, and the new Newt Scamander tales are a blessing, but the original Harry Potter series might as well be my gospel. So many feel rereading this, imagining the horrible Dursleys and sharing the delight with Harry with every new exciting magical discovery. My reading ability isn't the only thing that has changed since the last time I read the books. Minerva McGonagall is my number one bae. I just love that witchy woman so much even though as a child she was probably my least favorite professor. I think she just scared me being the strict automotive character she is. Now I want to be here in any way I can. Her wand is also the only wand I have ever gone out of my way to purchase which I have sitting on my shelf of lovely things.
There is so much magic in each of these books, but now with the illustrated versions there is a new dimension seemingly created. The colors and drawings help bring to life J.K. Rowling's words in a way the movies never really did. Not that I’m not a fan, but it’s just different. Each is wonderful in their special way. Reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone makes me feel as if I am 8 again, but only a wiser version. I remember the impatient longing for the release of each new book which I am reliving again waiting for next illustrated copy to be published. Even though they are publishing one every year, I still have five years to go until I can complete my set. Until there, I will be taking each novel in and reliving my childhood, one book at a time.