Hi! My name is Anna, "You'd really like me if you got to know me. I've known me for years and I love me."
Word count: only about 70 000 (seriously, I remember it being longer... A perception of a child is a curious thing)
Rating: a mesmerizing start
As I didn't have an opportunity to post updates as I read I shall include a few loose observations I made along the way, and disguise them as a review. I hope this will be agreeable to most.
Is this a perfect book? Of course not! It has some serious faults that, even as a child, I found mind boggling. But the world is captivating, characters relatable and varied, and narration delightful (yep, that's my opinion. Now bumble off.)
A few loose notes (not all positive & RANDOM):
Food - this was (as it still is) one of the greatest wonders of Hogwarts. The moment I've read about the feast at the beginning of the year, I was 100% in. Can you imagine it? No cooking, no cleaning and a varied choice of food available on a table. Every single day. Wow. Just wow. Don't get me wrong, I love the fact it's an awesome castle. I do. But the food is what made me weep about it being only but fiction.
A way Harry, Ron and Hermione became friends. Now, if you haven't read the book, don't continue with this review! You have been warned. I never understood why did Hermione feel she has to lie to the teachers about what happened with the troll. Couldn't she just tell the truth? That she didn't know about the troll and was sitting in a bathroom? Harry and Ron could have said (as it was true, in fact) that they meant to grab her and go to the common room. That in all the commotion, as they were already on their way to the Griffindor tower, there was no time to look for a teacher to handle it. There. No need to lie. Nobody did anything wrong. I never understood why she felt she has to lie. Maybe we should just leave it alone before we (I) break it...
I love Weasley twins. There's no getting around that. Every single time they appear they bring a smile to my face. They have always been my utmost favourite characters. Knowing people like that is awesome. I'd love for them to be a part of my life.
As well as their friend, Lee Jordan. His commentary of quidditch matches never ceases to be entertaining. It was such a cool idea to not only describe the action, but also have an additional commentary of one of the characters. Brilliant move on Rowling's part.
As They were searching for the info about Flamel I couldn't help but appreciate the internet XD Can you imagine Harry whiping out his Iphone and googling it? Technology... Getting rid of it is half the magic XD That's what makes it timeless!
The way Hagrid tells them that there's nothing to fear in the forest as long as they stay with him... aaaaand then tells them they'll split into two groups. Lol. Isn't that fun?
How the fuck did Harry and Ron manage to NOT feel something is strangling them until Hermione mentioned it? WTF And how stupid do you have to be not to move out of the way when your friends jump down? Wouldn't it suck if they land on top of you?
Ok, nuff with the randomness. So what is my final judgement?
My biggest gripe
That this book has one, serious flaw. Why for the fucks sake are the spells/traps protecting the stone presented alongside with ways of getting through them? Why not enchant figures to simply kill all that enter? Why put the un-openable door in, and a key nearby, instead of destroying it or Dumbledor keeping it in his pocket? How convenient. Why go through the hassle of conjuring freaky flames just to give a riddle alongside with potions to let you pass through them? Verdict: stupid fuckery. That's what always felt wrong to me in this book. The ending doesn't make much sense! Why?! This whole thing lacks gravitas. Why would you make it into a game? Dumbledor is a sick fuck, that's why. But why wouldn't other teachers protest? They were supposed to protect the stone, not make it into a game.
And I still don't like Snape. Now more than ever. No, I don't care much about his contribution to the cause - he's an asshole. Period. Charm of Alan Rickman sometimes makes me forget how unpleasant he's in the books.
I don't; however, have a problem with them winning the house cup. McGonagall was a bitch about subtracting points the night they transported Norbert. She took 150 points, Dumbledore gave them back.
And if you think about all the stupid subtractions Snape was allowed to do... Nope, it's not unfair. They deserved it. I'm with Dumbledore on that. Trying to save the world against all odds deserves at least a pat on the back. Even if the threat was a bit...
This book doesn't not deserve 5 stars on its own. I absolutely understand people that upon reading it weren't impressed and couldn't comprehend the hype. I have a whole heap of reasons for my love of the series (which I will post when the group read is done). But even thought it's not perfect, I still appreciate many element's of the first instalment, like not dumbing it down the kids (which authors often do, and that's just insulting). The humour, the magic, captivating world, relatable characters, hardships instead of overwhelming sweetness... It's still a very good book. Just not perfect.
*** One surprising observation - I like the Polish translation more than the original. *gasp* I'm shocked too. I don't think I've ever said anything quite as sacrilegious as this before, but that's the truth. The language is more varied and complex, the words chosen to convey simple meanings are much more subtle giving the story more depth. Even the songs, rhymes and names of people and places are... (often) better. More smooth. More interesting. Less awkward. That discovery was an utter shock to me. It's not just a matter of not loosing things along the way, it's a matter of making them finer, more polished. After comparing both I can't continue to read Polish versions without any regret.