Monday, February 4, 2019

#YearOfHarryPotter: Philosopher's Stone, Chapters 16-17



This week, I read chapters 16 ("Through the Trapdoor") and 17  ("The Man with Two Faces") of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, bringing me to the end of book one. There are spoilers for the end of the book in this post.

The first thing that caught my attention is the fact that the entire adventure of sneaking past Fluffy, escaping the Devil's Snare, and winning the chess game only really takes one chapter. In my memory, it seemed like it took half the book. I don't necessarily think it needed to take longer, since it's still exciting and suspenseful the way it's written, but it did surprise me that something I remembered as being so important was such a small piece of the story.

I also have to admit that, for the first time, I found Dumbledore's award of last-minute house points to Gryffindor for the actions of the trio and Neville to be kind of obnoxious. Clearly, they acted heroically, but I think I would have liked it better if they just felt good about what they did without being rewarded so publicly (and after the Great Hall had already been decorated to celebrate Slytherin.) Before it was pointed out to me that Harry gets away with a lot of things in these books without appropriate consequences, I never had anything but a positive reaction to this scene. With that notion in mind, however, it does feel a bit like there aren't really any rules. Dumbledore can always just do what he likes when it comes to Harry. I think there is a lot more of that in the series as a whole than I can even remember right now. I'll have to pay close attention as I read this year.

So far, I'm enjoying having this series as a constant companion week by week. For the next four weeks, I'll be re-reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and next week's post will focus on chapters 1-4.

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