Friday, October 7, 2016

My History with Harry Potter

In honor of the new play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I thought I'd share my history with the series. I read the play already when it came out in August but the Finnish translation will be published next month so I'll be reading it again in another language. I was quite young even when the Deathly Hallows was published so I read the whole series first in Finnish and just lately I've had it under way to read them all in English.

My parents bought the Philosopher's Stone as a Christmas present for me when I was 8 years old and my cousin got the Goblet of Fire that same Christmas. I don't remember if I read them both then but I at least read the Philosopher's Stone right away. I have a nameday, something we acknowledge in Finland, in February and I received the Chamber of Secrets as a present then. I'm not sure when I got the Prisoner of Azkaban but I guess it was a birthday present that spring. Somewhere along the way I also got my own copy of the Goblet of Fire and read those over and over again. My favorite was the Prisoner of Azkaban until the Order of the Phoenix came out.

The Order of the Phoenix was published in 2004 in Finnish. I was still about 10 or 11 at the time so I was a bit clueless and didn't go to any midnight  release parties. The book had been out a couple of months when I remember my mother pulling it out of a closet at home one day and said that I had to do some chores to get it. I finished those chores in record time and started reading what became my absolute favorite book for a long time. I carried the book with me if I went away for even a couple of days and read it probably ten times within the first year alone. The book is obviously the biggest in the series and it suffered so much that my mother put sticky-backed plastic over it to keep it together.

At this point the first three movies had come out and I liked the first two very much but I was a bit disappointed in the third because it added stuff that wasn't in the book and changed things too much to my taste. The fourth one was a big disappointment and the fifth even bigger and I lost my faith in the movie series. The last three were okay but they lacked the magical atmosphere the first two have, so I can't be totally satisfied with them.

I acquired the Half-Blood Prince closer to its release date and was quite shocked of the events in the book. I liked it very much but it didn't take over my life like the Order of the Phoenix. I remember debating in my mind which one is better and never coming to any conclusion. I still don't have a conclusion, I need to reread them all closely to one another and try to decide.

The Deathly Hallows is the one I remember most clearly, perhaps because it was the last. I went to buy it the day after it was released and read it in two days. I was very excited and didn't quite understand that it was the end then. The book was fabulous and I read it again after a few weeks and the I reread the whole series. I checked and noticed that I haven't read it since and decided that it's about time, so I try to continue my reread round in English and refresh my reading memories.

I'd like nothing more than to be able to see the new play on stage but that won't probably happen, I'm too busy with work and studying and too poor to travel to London and buy the tickets. Another dream I have is to visit the Leavesden studios near London where the movies were shot and the Harry Potter amusement park in the U.S. but those dreams also have to wait. Someday.

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