I read the first three before I was ten, queued up at midnight for a copy of The Goblet of Fire in a Tesco after a Shakira concert in 2000. I went to the last film when I was just 21. I don’t think there’s another series that could possibly encompass my childhood so completely.
Harry Potter was one of those books that I think defined a generation – those that read and loved the books, those that preferred the films, those who refused to be put under its spell.
Even now, the fascination with the world of Harry Potter is strong. Have you ever checked out JK Rowling’s twitter account? Every tweet causes a storm of excitement, especially when it reveals a new Harry Potter film or illumines another corner of magic.
So with that in mind, here is my ‘Book A Day: Harry Potter Edition’.
- Book that defined my teenage years
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was late. It was SO late I was nearly thirteen by the time it got published. And then I must have reread it dozens of times waiting for the next one. Fortunately, that one was pretty quick out.
- I’d like to know what @_____’s favourite book is #passthebook
JK Rowling’s favourite book is. I’d also like to know Luna Lovegood’s. I’d ask Hermione but she’d probably be like me and give an answer like ‘oh that’s too hard, there are so many!’.
- My favourite character’s favourite song would be
I think Minerva McGonagall is probably a massive fan of show tunes.
- Matchmaking: these two characters should get together
I don’t know if I should tell you all my OTP. I was always a fan of Severus Snape, he deserved to be happy even if he was all dark and twisty.
- The author I would love to meet (living or dead fictional) ?
Has anyone else noted that all the writers in Harry Potter are slightly dickish? Gilderoy Lockhart is a cheat, Rita Skeeter is a locust, Bathilda Bagshot is a snake (literally … but perhaps not once upon a time), Eldred Worple takes on many of the characteristics of his bloodsucking friend Sanguini, let’s not mention Xenophilius Lovegood… Basically most of them seem to be pretty psycho. But I think Miranda Goshawk is meant to be ok. So whilst I’d love to meet JK (who wouldn’t?), my writer of choice will have to be the excellent Newt Scamander.
- And the question I would ask them is:
Any top tips for raising a dragon?
- My favourite opening line
I mean, I’m sorry to all those publishers that didn’t realise how bloody brilliant that first line is. That first line, the first paragraph, the first everything : it has that Dickensian narrator feel without ever completely breaking the fourth wall. Genius.
- Bought entirely for its cover
The entire series with ‘grown up’ covers so my parents would read them as well.
- The book that has always stayed with me
Hands down. Prisoner of Azkaban. I’ve re-read all of the books, but this one I must have thumbed through over a hundred times. When I’m having a bad day, Prisoner of Azkaban. Don’t know what book to read first, Prisoner of Azkaban.
- A great book to read aloud
All of them. Have you ever listened to Stephen Fry reading them? JK plays with language. It’s clever, subtle and fun to read out loud.
- These two characters should not have got together
Harry Potter with Ginny Weasley. I know, I know. Total cliché. BUT aside from the obvious mummy-issues, the girl is defined by the ability to throw a bat bogey hex. I’ve heard the argument that it’s all about her sense of humour, (they once both laughed at Percy Weasley in Book the Third, and in Book the Sixth she manages to make a bitchy joke – or five – about Fleur, and then they have a little banter about bad tattoos before they make out) but as far as I can tell Ginny is the source of zero hilarity of her own making. Rather, she’s a whole lot of girlish scorn. So sure, she can throw a hex and isn’t completely vapid like the majority of female characters Harry’s age, but that’s about as much love as she’s ever going to get from me. #BadShip
- Feel-good read
The Half-Blood Prince is actually pretty hilarious despite the deepening darkness that lurks in the corners of the novel. Not only do you have the wonderful Horace Slughorn who is as ludicrous as he is pitiable, but you also have the Romilda Vane / Lavender Brown storyline, the Weasley Wizarding Wheezes truly come into their own with You-No-Poo, and there’s this booming sense of hope through-out as the characters come into their own.
- This book is precious to me because…
Harry Potter, and my copies of them, is precious in a thousand little ways. They’re not the only or even the first books that I loved but they are inextricably interfused with much of my life. I grew up with them. I was a 10-year-old that desperately awaited an owl on their 11th birthday (I know a lot of others who felt the same). I’m a twenty-something writing a blog post that’s essentially an ode to the series. Why are they precious? Because yes, they’re well written, compelling stories – not written to be clever or to win awards. And yes, they provide an intricate plots set in a rich, imaginative world brought to life through hundreds of tiny, fantastical details. But the truth is, as cliche and corny as it seems, those books are magic and they cast one helluva spell on me.
- The book that reminds me of an ex
Harry Potter is one of those deal breaker things – I went on a date with someone recently and I honest-to-god couldn’t go on a second because he told me he’d never read, watched or understood Harry Potter. I don’t need a fanatic, but I someone who at least sits on the same page when it comes to appreciating them would be nice.
- Book set in the place you’re from
None are set in the home counties, although London features and Edinburgh is well-known for inspiring Hogwarts… Does that count? I lived there once.
- Favourite book in translation
Harry Potter has been translated into 67 languages. This makes JK among the most translated authors in history. When I learnt Latin, we were given the Latin translations which are brilliant. But my favourite has to be the different translations of names in Harry Potter. Is there anything more satisfying than knowing ‘Hufflepuff’ is a ‘Poufsouffle’ in French? Or that French Voldemort becomes ‘Tom Elvis Jedusor’? Yes, that’s right. Slytherin’s heir was an Elvis. But this is even better in Icelandic where he becomes a ‘Trevor’ and of course ‘Romeo’ in Danish.
- Book you were wrong about
The last book, I really really thought Harry was going to die and stay dead. But I call it about Draco landing on the Light side in the end.
- Book you read after seeing the film
I reread most of them after the films were released…
- Favourite book about music
Well the sheet music to all the films was one of those things I used to love trying and failing to learn so I’m sticking that in here. Also Starkid deserves a shout out here.
- Slept with the lights on after reading
About dementors for the first time. The idea of a creature that thrives on such misery, and devours souls… they’re possibly the most terrifying monsters I’ve ever encountered in literature.
- Brings back good memories
My Harry Potter memories range from days lying on my bed with the newest book, completely lost to the world, to the evenings dressed up with all the gang at the cinema to catch the latest movie. From reading terrible fanfiction aloud with Katie and Olivia (how do people come up with this stuff?!) to going to Harry Potter World with Fiona for Spring Break. Also, this:
- Glad you took a chance on
The first two books. My friend Greta told me to read these books – she and I always had similar tastes in stories growing up – and she wanted to play pretend Harry Potter. I was not happy because I hadn’t read them yet. But my mum bought them consequently and by Merlin, YES.
- Favourite book published in your lifetime
Umm… They were all published in my lifetime. But you know, whilst Prisoner of Azkaban is the one that sticks with me, I suspect the Deathly Hallows is my favourite.
- Character you’d least like to turn up on a blind date
- Book you would give to a lover
Tales from the Beedle and the Bard – it’s simple, beautiful and the stories are pure wonder.
- A book you’d love to discuss with your favourite author
I’d love to discuss Potter with Marina Warner, writer, mythographer and author of From the Beast to the Blond, the Phantasmagoria, Stranger Tales and Once Upon A Time: A History of Fairy Tale. I feel like she’d have some really fascinating ideas about Rowling’s writing.
- Longest owned unread
It probably took me about fifteen minutes from the moment of purchase of Goblet of Fire to bury myself in my bed and in the book. And that’s because we had to drive home first.
- Book to convert a non-reader
I’m not sure if you can convert a non-Potterhead into a Potterhead. If they don’t love the books and aren’t captivated by the films, it’s not like you can force them to do so. But here’s a top tip – the audio books can be great tools for positive conditioning – make them feel happy when they’re listening to Harry Potter. I’m sure it’s totally ethical.
— Cosmopolitan UK (@CosmopolitanUK) May 30, 2015