Reading Harry Potter for the First Time at 22

Title: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Author: J.K. Rowling

Publication Date: 2014

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Format: Paperback|352 pages

I must admit I am one of those people who avoid certain books because of how popular they are. Usually, because of the hype, I let my expectations soar and I assume that a famous book must be at least as excellent as everyone claims. On the rare occasions when I catch up with the hype train I rarely find the book interesting, let alone love it. One of the things I’ve noticed along the years is that there are books that are hyped not because they are good books of high literary merit but because they fill a void in the book world; they are rather hyped because of the content and not the storytelling, which I don’t agree with.

However, I decided this year that time has come to buy and read the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Reading children’s literature at the age of 22 might seem a bit odd for some people, but I decided that no one can dictate to me my preferences, likes and dislikes. Besides, children’s books are filled with the wonder of the world and they can certainly be a refuge from whatever is surrounding us. I must confess I was a little worried that I won’t be able to enjoy the book as much as I would have at a younger age because it is, to a certain degree, directed at children, but that didn’t stop me from picking it up.

I got through the book quickly; the plain language used to express ideas clearly and concisely made it an easy read. By using a plain style the author made sure that the reader understood what was trying to be said and made her characters easy to build in the reader’s imagination. The author knew exactly what she was doing, by allowing a clearer and deeper connection between readers and characters she enchanted millions of people becoming one of the most successful authors of our times. I found the plot entirely complex, there are also numerous layers of meaning that can be observed throughout the hero’s journey, layers that can easily missed by young readers. J.K. Rowling’s real strength is definitely the way she gives the plot some time to reveal itself; I was very surprised that at 22 I can still feel a little tingle of excitement about what might happen. Even if the book is not made up of metaphorically resonant sentences, there are numerous important themes, particularly those concerning authority, self-fulfilling prophecy and fear versus love.

Harry Potter and his friends made their way onto my bookshelves later than for most people, but I am glad they finally did. Even though I was sceptic, constantly asking people to justify their obsession, I found myself entertained by these fictional characters and the magic of the wizarding world. Maybe my younger self would have enjoyed it more, but I still found it a lovely feel good story.

You can purchase Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone here, if you would like the Harry Potter Box Set containing all seven Harry Potter novels in paperback you can find it here.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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