Yesterday, June 26, was the anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The books are my favorite and something I enjoy sharing with my family and friends–especially with my sister Delaney. When I went away to college, I began drawing illustrations of our favorite inside jokes from tv shows, movies, songs and books on index cards for her. Some are nothing more than rough doodles, while others are sophisticated and involved a lot of time, detail and even water colors. She sent me some in return. Recently, she shared a few pages of Harry Potter references I made for her that she has arranged in a binder. Looking at them reminds me of some of the truly amusing and enjoyable moments in the books.
J. K. Rowling writes believable dialogue and has one of my favorite narrative voices, especially considering she writes in third person limited. There is so much humor in her writing, whether it’s kids in the background dancing and chanting “he got off he got off he got off” while two people are trying to have a conversation, or if it’s a case of a dwarf dressed as a baby cupid assaulting Harry and sitting on him to deliver a terrible poem. And then there is the magic of Harry Potter’s world–tables filling with food, candlesticks floating in air, secret entrances and passageways, potions and incantations, flying broomsticks, magical creatures… and, at the same time, recognizable real world issues varying in seriousness from an abundance of homework to murderous prejudice.
I’ve read the books, especially the first five, many times since I was a kid. Over the past two years, I listened to all seven audio books while painting or doing laundry. I was happy to read HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone again last month as I was working on an article for Only In Ark–link here. I like discussing plot holes and inconsistencies with Laney, but such literary weaknesses in no way diminish the magic of the books.