SS and CoS Reading Guide.pdf - Harry Potter and the...

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Chs. 1, 6-7, 9-10, 12, 15, 17, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets , Chs. 11, 17-18 REL 3112—Spring 2019 Livingston Sorcerer’s Stone 1 Ch. 1: The Boy Who Lived Part of my interest the rest of this semester is in situating J.K. Rowling with our other authors. On one hand, all our fantasy authors are interested in presenting the extraordinary. So for me, it’s telling that Rowling plays that up so much on pages 1-2 of what was in its original market entitled Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone . 2 The Dursleys are ordinary to the point of being dull. But as Rowling notes, they have a secret: Mrs. Dursley had a sister. (And they’re both named for flowers!) So the year is 1981. And something… odd is going on. Initially Vernon doesn’t notice the owl. Remember, owls are vaguely nocturnal. That’s bizarre. But he doesn’t notice because he’s busy picking out his “most boring” tie for work and fawning on his son, Dudley. It has to be noted here that even as a baby, Dudley is obnoxious. Now let’s talk about the first (but really second) sign of something odd: A cat reading a map. This causes a sense of disquiet in Vernon, but he dismisses it as feline oddity. But the third sign sets Vernon off. Animals, yeah, cool, whatever. But people dressed in strange clothes ? The horror! Call the bobbies (police)! Pages 4-5 of most editions are fun, because 1.) Vernon considers phoning his wife to say he’d heard people on the streets and he totally talks himself out of it by saying, Nah, Potter’s a totally ordinary name and my nephew’s name is probably Harold, not Harry and; 2.) He bumps into a man who calls him a Muggle and says everyone should be rejoicing because You-Know-Who is finally gone. So the Potters are an even bigger “problem” than we suspected. And we’re led here to believe they’re somehow connected to strangely-dressed people openly celebrating the disappearance of a figure whose name they fear uttering. This is so delightfully out of the ordinary. When Vernon finally gets home, he turns on the news. Rowling goes through the trouble of magnifying the first sign: All over the country, owls have been flying around. This will have meaning later, but most of you know owls are the primary means of magical correspondence. On top of that, there have been shooting stars. The Wizarding World (as we soon learn) is partying hard. Buckle up, because this is the fun part of the semester. 1 Her publisher thought we across the Pond were too daft to understand. The tossers. 2
2 Ya’ll, we need to talk about Minerva “McBadass” McGonagall because she has been 1.) protecting the Dursleys (ALONE!) and; 2.) waiting for arrivals of others all day . So yeah, she’s in cat form… but she’s still human. At this point it’s no secret Lily and James died protecting Harry. Ya’ll, I have a lot of feelings about Minerva simply being there for Harry we’re going to have to hash out this semester.

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