Into the Pensieve: Reading “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”
In the latest in our posts ahead of Bloomsbury’s Harry Potter Book Night, where hundreds of children will begin to read Harry Potter for the first time, we thought we’d take a walk down memory lane. We asked a few MuggleNet staffers to offer up their presiding memory of reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone for the first, second, or hundredth time.
“Unlike most people, I didn’t actually read SS until I was in my twenties. I’d seen adults reading these strange children’s books in the lunch room at work and finally asked what they were. One of my co[-]workers lent me the book, told me I had to read it and when I went home that night, I devoured the whole thing in less than two hours. I only wish I had discovered it earlier because I missed out on at least four midnight release parties I could have attended!” Aimee Krenz, Source Editor.
“I was 7, and I got the first book for Christmas. Upon first reading it, I decided I didn’t like it! Fast forward to a few months later: I’m 8, and my parents just informed me we’re moving a long distance away. I picked up Harry Potter again, and I was lost in its beautiful magical world. I devoured the first four books and got the fifth book the day it came out that summer (2003). It started as an attachment and an escape, but now it is a deep love and appreciation for everything it has allowed me to think and feel and how it continues to shape me to this day. I’m so happy I picked up Sorcerer’s Stone again, otherwise would I have ever read it?” Alyssa Cokinis, Creative.
“My mom bought me the first book when I was 9. I didn’t want to read it at first because I already had so many unread books on my shelf. But when the hype around Harry Potter started to pick up, I decided I had to give in and see what all the fuss was about. I was instantly hooked. I couldn’t put it down, and I regretted not having read it immediately when I first got it. I had no idea then of the lasting impact the series would have on my life.” Catherine Lai, News.
“I met my best friend, Hope, in the summer of 2003. One afternoon while we were sitting in her apartment, it started to rain. Our outdoor plans having been cancelled, she said, ‘Let’s watch Harry Potter.’ I worked at a movie store at the time and knew allllllll about the movie phenomenon – and quickly said no way. Well, she won out, and we watched the film. I still wasn’t convinced of the hype. She got up, grabbed her hardback from the dresser, and shoved it into my hands. She paused, then grabbed the second and gave that to me as well. ‘Read these. They’re better than the films. I’ll buy you lunch if you don’t love them.’ Needless to say, I loved them. I read those two books and the next two in just a few weeks, finishing just days before book five’s release. Turns out, I found two best friends that summer.” Kat Miller, Creative & Marketing Director.
“I was 39 (or thereabouts) when I first read the book, just to see what all the hype was. Luckily, I had the books in the house for my eldest daughter.
My favorite part of Book 1 was thinking about [Snape’s] potions riddle […] for an hour, trying to figure out how the bottles were aligned. Did you know there are basically 8 possible solutions to the alignment?!”
Keith Hawk, Managing Editor.
“I received SS for Christmas when I was 5 years old! Well, actually, the boxed set of 1-4 and began reading it right away [since] at my family Christmas, I’m the only one my age. I loved it, couldn’t put it down, and finished it in 3 days! After that, I went on to the rest and have loved them ever since!” Kim Moore, News.
And as for yours truly? I can’t remember the first time I read Philosopher’s Stone, but I do remember the second time. I was on holiday, age 11, sitting by the pool and hiding from the sun. Having read all the new books I’d brought with me, I decided to have another read of the first Potter book. I was a fan of the series at this point, having pre-ordered and devoured Goblet of Fire the previous year, but as I drew to the end of the story once again, I vividly remember being hooked to this book like I had never been before. I read the last sentence, turned the book over, and promptly begun again. An obsession was born.
And now over to you! Do you remember reading Harry Potter for the first time? Let us know in the comments below.