Alright y’all, first things first. I bought this set because I ADORE the cover art. I do NOT, on the other hand, endorse the ridiculous changing of the title OR OF ACTUAL WORDS THEREIN for the American editions. This book is called The Philosopher’s Stone and technically the Americans speak English so I truly do not understand why they had to change the title. I also take issue with the changing of Dudley’s new word (shan’t!) to what is apparently a more American-friendly term (won’t!). The fact that this needed to be done in the first place leaves me in despair of the sorry state of modern English education.
Regardless of ridiculous vocabulary changes, this is still the first of Harry’s adventures in the wizarding world and as with every time I return to Hogwarts, the adventure was just as grand as it always is. There are times when I wonder what exactly it is about this series that so grips and enthralls literally hundreds of millions of fans across multiple generations around the world, and despite how trite it sounds I can only ascribe this phenomenon to magic. This series, from the first words of the first page of the first book through to the last words of the last page of the last book, are pure magic. Magic the way it is supposed to be: beautiful and terrible and heartening and heart-rending and amazing.
I read this book (yet again) over the weekend of September first and second, September first, of course, being Back to Hogwarts Day (it’s a thing now). A few friends and I formed a little Instagram group to chat and share pictures and just enjoy the journey back home to Hogwarts once more, twenty-one years after Harry first took that journey himself. And no matter how many times I board the Express, take that journey, close my eyes and feel the pure enchantment of imagining sailing across the Black Lake on the little boats, the great Castle rising up before me, it never fails to make my heart beat faster and a wild smile cross my face. It’s been that way for twenty years, and I can honestly still see myself having this reaction twenty, forty, sixty and more years from now. The wizarding world that J.K. has created for us is just that powerful. And, as she has said, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.
If you haven’t read this book yet, I don’t have the vocabulary adequate to describing the necessity of doing so. I can only tell you, in semi-coherent almost-English, that turning to page 1 of The Philosopher’s Stone (bite me, U.S. publishers) will be the start of a journey that never truly ends, and a love that lasts a lifetime.
And J.K., should you ever see this: thank you for the magic.
Five star read, people.
Image credits: Photos taken by me, of my books and merch. On that note: My flying key was made by the inestimably wonderful Jana of Wornkeys Emporium; my woodmarks are the work of Lauren of In The Reads; the chocolates are from Haighs Chocolates (an Australian company); and the candle is from Alicia of Faerie Tales Candles.