Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 1

In the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, we learn exactly how much this entire series hinged on these seventeen pages. It’s time for Mark to re-read Harry Potter.

I’ve actually been looking forward to reading the Harry Potter series for nearly a month. The truth is that I originally planned for this re-read to start a day or two after I finished Deathly Hallows; I had this master plan written out sometime during the summer, but that was still during the time I thought I’d be on Buzznet for a while and…well, things didn’t happen that way. When I reached the end of the series, I wanted to debut this site and its partner that day, but I was bound by a contract not too.

So this has been delayed and I’m sorry for that. In my head, it was sort of perfect for us to end up with a second re-read under our belts prior to the Deathly Hallows movie. But that’s not how things happen, so here we are.

I hope to have a few posts per week on the series. I had initially planned to break the first three books in two parts, but after reading the first chapter alone, I had so much to say that I thought it might be necessary to break this up just a bit more. More Harry Potter? Ok, no one is going to complain, ever.

My idea for this is not to do the precise type of reviews I did the first time around; it doesn’t really make sense to do AIM reviews or fake plays. I instead want to reflect on the foreshadowing, the hints, and some of the themes this series addresses now that I know the endgame, and I’ll often compare my original thoughts to what I know now. But most importantly: THERE ARE NO SPOILERS ANYMORE. We can finally talk about everything. So please, go wild in the comments and link me to all the shit I couldn’t read before.

Sound wonderful? I’ll make sure to Tweet on @MarkDoesStuff every time an HP post goes up. Some of the reviews will combine chapters as I see fit, some will be single chapters. It all depends. But let us enjoy the full Harry Potter experience!


And let’s start things off with an apology: I’m sorry I thought the title of this chapter was stupid. Now, in hindsight, it’s a powerful, inspiring statement of life and hope. In fact, while large parts of this chapter are indeed pretty whimsical and fancy, it’s overwhelming how much this part of the series is really the answer to pretty much everything. I mean, not only does it set up the story, but it shows how much Rowling planned this whole thing out

The Dursleys had everything they wanted, but they also had a secret, and their greatest fear was that somebody would discover it. They didn’t think they could bear it if anyone found out about the Potters. Mrs. Potter was Mrs. Dursley’s sister, but they hadn’t met for several years; in fact, Mrs. Dursley pretended she didn’t have a sister, because her sister and her good-for-nothing husband were as unDursleyish as it was possible to be. The Dursleys shuddered to thin what the neighbors would say if the Potters arrived in the street. The Dursleys knew that the Potters had a small son, too, but they had never even seen him. This boy was another good reason for keeping the Potters away; they didn’t want Dudley mixing with a child like that.

It’s strange to read this because I didn’t realize that I was reading a part of this story where the Potters were alive. Now, knowing why Petunia hates her sister so much, it makes this passage equally maddening and depressing; her sister died and she doesn’t care at all.

Vernon Dursley is just as awful as I remember; I still wonder if his hatred is caused because of Petunia or something he developed independent of her. He’s clearly a classist asshole through and through, but I don’t remember it ever being explained exactly where all this came from. To be honest, though, Petunia’s story is far more interesting to me, and I’m ok with just hating Vernon forever and ever.

It was on his way back past them, clutching a large doughnut in a bag, that he caught a few words of what they were saying.

“The Potters, that’s right, that’s what I heard—“

“—yes, their son, Harry—“

I guess I read this series in such a vacuum and so quickly that I forgot how immense this moment was for the Wizarding world, and how much Harry’s survival meant to the entire community of magical folk. It’s still really sad to think about, though; I do wish we could have more time with the Potters while they were alive.

On the contrary, his face split into a wide smile and he said in a squeaky voice that made passerby stare, “Don’t be sorry, my dear sir, for nothing could upset me today! Rejoice, for You-Know-Who has gone at last! Even Muggles like yourself should be celebrating, this happy, happy day!”

And the old man hugged Mr. Dursley around the middle and walked off.

Yeah, this whole scene feels less silly than when I first read it. Did most of you think that I was going to tear this series apart back then? Because I can sort of see why I thought what I did at the time, but now I want to vehemently defend this. YOU DON’T GET IT, JUST WAIT SHIT WILL GET REAL.

I’ve become all of you. And it is wonderful.

I never went back and re-read this chapter, and now I know that wizards and witches must have been sending mail by the thousands that day, as news of Voldemort’s defeat spread. The downpour of shooting stars must have been the joyous celebration of one excited wizard too.

Mrs. Dursley came into the living room carrying two cups of tea. It was no good. He’d have to say something to her. He cleared his throat nervously. “Er—Petunia, dear—you haven’t heard from your sister lately, have you?”

As he had expected, Mrs. Dursley looked shocked and angry. After all, they normally pretended she didn’t have a sister.

Ugh, you bigots. You have no idea what just happened because you are blinded by your massive bigotry. I don’t really like this family anymore than I did before. They’re still shitty, shitty people.

I, however, still massively love Dumbledore.

Nothing like this man had ever been seen on Privet Drive. He was tall, think, and very old, judging by the silver of his hair and beard, which were both long enough to tuck into his belt. He was wearing very long robes, a purple cloak that swept the ground, and high-heeled, buckled boots. His blue eyes were light, bright, and sparkling behind half-moon spectacles and his nose was very long and crooked, as though it had been broken at least twice. This man’s name was Albus Dumbledore.

Oh, Dumbly. So tragically gay. Also, HOLY SHIT HIS NOSE HAD BEEN BROKEN. Already, the clues were in place and I never even noticed them.

Another note: Why is the Deluminator called a Put-Outer here? Why did the name change? Did Rowling ever explain this? Oh shit, you guys can actually answer that question if you know it. Oh god, THIS IS AMAZING.

She jerked her head back at the Dursleys’ dark living-room window. “I heard it. Flocks of owls…shooting stars….Well, they’re not completely stupid. They were bound to notice something. Shooting stars down in Kent—I’ll bet that was Dedalus Diggle. He never had much sense.”

Oh god, his name was planted this early in the series. I LOVE IT. I mean, he’s in the Leaky Cauldron and the Advance Guard BUT STILL. SO AWESOME.

“My dear Professor, surely a sensible person like yourself can call him by his name? All this ‘You-Know-Who’ nonsense—for eleven years I have been trying to persuade people to call him by his proper name: Voldemort.” Professor McGonagall flinched, but Dumbledore, who was unsticking two lemon drops, seemed not to notice. “It all gets so confusing if we keep saying ‘You-Know-Who.’ I have never seen any reason to be frightened of saying Voldemort’s name.”

“I know you haven’t,” said Professor McGonagall, sounding half exasperated, half admiring. “But you’re different. Everyone knows you’re the only one You-Know—oh, all right, Voldemort, was frightened of.”

THIS IS ALL SO WEIRD TO READ because…like…I know all the things now. She sowed the seeds for the amazing Dumbledore/Voldemort fight at the end of Order of the Phoenix and also hinted at the Grindelwald/Dumbledore battle as well. Pure genius forever until the end of time.

It seemed that Professor McGonagall had reached the point she was most anxious to discuss, the real reason she had been waiting on a cold, hard wall all day, for neither as a cat nor as a woman had she fixed Dumbledore with such a piercing stare as she did now. It was plain that whatever “everyone” was saying, she was not going to believe it until Dumbledore told her it was true. Dumledore, however, was choosing another lemon drop and did not answer.

“What they’re saying,” she pressed on, “is that last night Voldemort turned up in Godric’s Hollow. He went to find the Potters. The rumor is that Lily and James Potter are—are—that they’re—dead.”

Ugh, it’s still pretty awful to read. I mean, the tragedy of it all hangs over this entire series and motivates Harry from the moment he finds out what happened to his parents. (And now I also know it’s because Rowling’s mother died.) It’s still kind of strange to me that a series that depends so much on parental murder ended up being so immediately popular, but I think that’s a testament to the evocative tale that Rowling managed to unfold over seven books.

The gravity of this situation is much heavier on me during this re-read. Again, I didn’t really take this chapter seriously at all when I read this book. It’s a shame. It’s a damn fine introduction to this world and contains so much foreshadowing that I’m surprised I didn’t figure out most of this beforehand.  I particularly like this line:

“Really, Dumbledore, you think you can explain all this in a letter? These people will never understand him! He’ll be famous—a legend—I wouldn’t be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter Day in the future—there will be books written about Harry—every child in our world will know his name!”

Oh, how ironic. And meta. Rowling, you sly devil! It’s like she knew her own words would come true. Expanding on that, reading the Harry Potter series made me aware to how pervasive this series is when it comes to popular culture. I never understood that Voldemort reference in the episode of The Office when they go “camping” to do group bonding exercises. I never knew how many other people in my life were huge Harry Potter fans until I started this project. Now I know that nearly all of them and then I ask them WHERE WERE YOU YEARS AGO WHEN I WAS NOT READING THIS SERIES? Some friends you are.

I jest. But it’s mindblowing how nearly every child knows Harry Potter’s name. That’s amazing to me.

Hagrid arrives and I remember why I love him so much. Though this part is really terrible:

He looked simply too big to be allowed, and so wild—long tangles of bushy black hair and beard hid most of his face, he had hands the size of trash can lids, and his feet in their leather boots were like baby dolphins.

Baby dolphins. There has to be fanart of the dolphin feet, right? I TASK YOU WITH FINDING THIS.

“Borrowed it, Professor Dumbledore, sir,” said the giant, climbing carefully off the motorcycle as he spoke. “Young Sirius Black lent it to me. I’ve got him, sir.”

Jesus it was right there the whole time. Oh god, poor Sirius. 🙁

Harry’s life begins here on this doorstep. His unique scar inspires Dumbledore to reveal something I totally forgot because WHY IS THIS NEVER REFERENCED AGAIN

“Scars can come in handy. I have one myself above my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground.”

WHAT. WHY. HOW DID YOU GET THAT. Also, that does indeed sound very handy, but still. What.

But Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Hagrid all leave Harry on that doorstep; he’s just an infant, unaware how much those three people will come to affect his entire life, and unaware of how the world already sees him:

He couldn’t know that at this very moment, people meeting in secret all over the country were holding up their glasses and saying in hushed voices: “To Harry Potter—the boy who lived!”

The boy who lived indeed.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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454 Responses to Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 1

  1. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    omg thanks for de-lurking!!! Hello!

  2. Revolution64 says:

    As I was reading this, I was listening to "All You Need Is Love" by The Beatles. As soon as it started the chorus I read, "The rumor is that Lily and James Potter are—are—that they’re—dead.”

    I was like, oh hell no. So I switched to the gospel version of "Let It Be" from "Across the Universe". Much more fitting.

  3. Megan says:

    I'm so excited you're re-reading this! And the fact I can comment now (I never did figure out Buzznet) makes me so happy. Every time I re-read these books I find something new.

  4. ldwy says:

    That is a fantastic piece of art.

  5. Cathy (catd94) says:

    Oh Mark, I'm so glad you're re-reading the series. I remember when reading your first review for this chapter, all I could think was, He is not prepared.
    It's interesting going back and seeing all of the things you missed reading the first time through
    & I'm also relieved that you no longer have to worry about spoilers(:

  6. Lilliana says:

    Wow, I must have been living under a rock because I didn't know you were re-reading the series.
    Either that or I forgot…
    I love that you're re-reading the series but more in depth now. I loved the "HOLY CRAP WITH A PILE OF MARSHMALLOW SHIT, HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?" aspect of the reviews(as I could then laugh at your ignorance and feel superior), but being able to see somebody that knows what a well written book looks like write about the foreshadowing, tones, etc. is interesting and helps my own writing.
    So, thanks for doing this service to humanity!

  7. thiamalonee says:

    What I find most interesting is Dumbledore's comment about having been fighting the phrase "You-Know-Who" for 11 years. I never worked out the time line before (though I just checked out the HP Lex). This means that Voldemort started rising to power the same year MWPP, LE, & SS started Hogwarts. This would have interesting implications in the change in LE & SS's friendship.

    • Hermione_Danger says:

      That makes sense, because Lily mentions the Death Eaters, so they have to have known who V was. So even if his rise to power was fairly recent to their time, it would work pretty nicely that Severus slowly becomes drawn to V and the Death Eaters.

    • MichelleZB says:

      Yes, Voldy was actively gathering followers during their school years–something that, as we know, created some tension between Snape and Lily that perhaps wouldn't have show up if they had been at school another time. There was something between them, but it was a time in history when people were choosing sides. And they chose opposite sides.

  8. rissreader says:

    I want to (re)read the chapter reviews, but I've misplaced the link to Mark Reads archive. Could someone please reply with the link? I went to Buzznet but I couldn't find it with my limited skills and old computer. TIA.

  9. breelligerent says:

    I'm de-lurking just to say that I'm SO EXCITED for your re-read! I joined you part way through OotP but I get to be here from the beginning this time around.

    The first two books are so… simple on the re-reads (aside from the HOLYSHIT FORESHADOWING parts). The fact that they were written for kids is so obvious that it puts me off of them now. Back when I was seven and devouring SS for the first time it was perfect, but now it's hard to get through them for me.

    Anyway, thanks for diving back into the HP world again and taking us all along for the ride!

  10. skillwithaquill says:

    Re-reading HP is incredibly fun and enlightening. It shines so much light on particular events and character motivations. JKR cleverly plotted out almost every nuance of the series and I love dearly her for it. These stories are so rich and enjoyable because she wrote them so deliberately. I've re-read the series a dozen times and I still pick up hidden clues and connections.

    For added fun, make sure you look out for parallels between the books! HP is famous for them. (Sorcerer's Stone and Deathly Hallows have MANY similarities and the others all match up just as mind-blowingly well. (CoS and HBP, and PoS and OOtP. Goblet of Fire stands alone as a sort of centerpiece.) Happy Re-reading!

  11. stellacarolyn says:

    Too tired to read all the comments right now but will say this: 1) I wrote my dissertation on Harry Potter, 2) I have heard a Grand Rounds presentation on Trauma and Harry Potter, 3) it is amazing- amazing- how well Rowling understands the impact of psychological trauma on children and child development. I adore this series for that fact alone (nevermind that I just simply adore the series). I've enjoyed reading you reading them!

  12. Meg says:

    I literally just started reading MRHP a few weeks ago, and all i could think of (aside from "OMG Mark feels my pain" and "JFC spoilers!!!!1!") was how bummed out I was at missing out on the comments and the liveblogs and all of it. And now I get to join in! Made my finals weeks so much better. So, so much.

    • ghaweyriao6 says:

      I'm in the same boat! I just started reading a month ago, and I'm so happy I get to actually participate in the community. Blunts the pain of having to go back to school . . .

  13. Peverell says:

    Very glad you're re-reading this Mark. Harry Potter is a series which you'll get way more enjoyment out of re-reading then most.

    Also, I believe that in future editions they intend to change "put-outer" to "deluminator"

  14. Nakeefeet says:

    Oh, this happies me SO MUCH!! You really are one of us now, and it brings tears to my eyes to see it.

    *all the ♥*

    On an unrelated topic – my husband dreamed that we were on the run and became separated, (something about an incident with a mall cop at the Mall of America) and in order to find me he went to Mark Reads and replied to all my comments with a screen name that's our kids nicknames mashed together. And it worked. Apparently in my husband's subconscious he believes that even on the run from the law I wouldn't give up reading with you. It's likely true. 🙂

  15. Laianna says:

    Now that you're rereading, you should check out this site if you haven't already:

    It's basically an amazing archive of JKR quotes/interviews throughout the years, talking about things both in the books and outside of them. Plus, you'll be able to see the hints we got from her when we were reading. 🙂

  16. Emily says:

    Not gunna lie, this started perfectly! JUST yesterday, i got all curious and was like "Hmm, i wonder what Mark thought of the first couple chapters..?" Cause I wasn't here for them (I came around the third book)
    And then, i get THIS.
    I loved your old reviews, and i love how you now realize why I thought it was so funny. It seemed like you would rip this series to SHREADS!

    Thank you for not 😀

  17. taratheninja says:

    okay, so this is quite random. but everytime I watch something on tv, read a book, etc I always imagine how Mark would review it…lol

  18. andreah1234 says:

    oh. OH. This is so awesome, i can't even…

    And honey you were ALWAYS one of us you just didn't knew it ;).

    AND SIRIUS WILL NEVER NOT BREAK MY HEART. WHY WHY WHY?!?!?!??!??!!??!!?!?? *cries* I still stick to Harry, and I will until the VERY END.

  19. ghaweyriao6 says:


    Anyway, to paraphrase . . . just found Mark's reviews, been lurking for a while, decided to comment for the first time, love MRHP, and EXCITE for the reread. And Dumbledore's scar is obvs the true source of his power.

  20. Dementress says:

    Will you be doing a chapter a day, Mark? Or you'll just throw out passages that stood out on your reread?

    Taking this reread journey with you will be epic! Thank you again, Mark! It feels great to know that this fandom helped you heal as a person and I am proud of being a part of all this.

    You're right. I now wish that JKR did something with that odd scar on Dumbledore.

  21. lamuerta says:

    Yay, re-read! I have been waiting for this and wondering why it was taking so long!

    When I read the first few reviews, I figured you were still working off the angst/anger that the Twilight books had brought out, and went through them with a smug "just you wait!" complacency 😛 You were one of us from the start, and we knew it!

    I thought it might have been called a Deluminator from the start, but since the first few books are for younger children, the editor might have substituted a name that would be easier for younger children.

  22. BradSmith5 says:

    What the––!? THIS is what you guys were doing today? MORE Harry Potter!? I swear, you guys could BE Rowling and still clamor for more! YOU NUTTY GOOFBALLS. O_O

    I must say, it does feel good to celebrate the event full-circle. Leatherdaddy Hagrid was a literary EPOCH.

    • hassibah says:

      You didn't clue in about this even after you saw us all dropping 600+ comments a day about a story that had finished up over THREE YEARS AGO? Yeah, we are never moving on. But then, look at where LOTR fans are today, we are in good company.

      I loved Mark's early reviews though, I can tell the difference between someone who's having fun and someone who's trolling for the sake of trolling, it's not like he was trashing the books before he had a chance to make a judgment about them…that's the only thing I really can't take.

      • BradSmith5 says:

        Oh, I bet that I'll be just as clueless in 2055, when Mark is doing his thousandth reread and still somehow finding things that he missed. 😉

        And that second paragraph is what I love about you, Hassibah! xD

        • hassibah says:

          Well I wasn't expecting individual chapter posts 2nd time around but they're def fun books to reread. I guess he feels guilty about his first chapter 1 review. I wasn't around to comment on it first time around but right after I read that one I knew that Mark would spazz out when he met Bane in the forbidden forest. One of the creepiest and shit getting the most real passages in the whole series and he's freaking out about the centaur's name being shared with some band.

  23. hassibah says:

    I always noticed the part about his crooked nose but since it says it's as if it was broken TWICE I'm going into overthinking shit drive and wondering if Abe just really beat the crap out of him or if there was another incident.

  24. Jaime says:

    If you recall, Dumbles had already been holding the Elder Wand by then and had just acquired the invisibility cloak from James days before his death. He already had most of the deathly hallows 6 books before they're even mentioned!

  25. SelphieFairy says:


    hi. 😀

    you finally started your re-read!! I discovered your original buzznet blog — literally, like a WEEK after you finished reading the series and i was sooo sad that I never had a chance to comment. So I'm really glad you started your re-read cuz now I can be all comment-y and stuff and give my opinions :DD yay im so looking foward to this! I actually started re-reading the series myself because of your blog. It just made me excited all over again. Funny thing is, the books came out when I was around 8, I think. My third grade teacher read it to my class, but I remember not ever really paying attention. My older sister was the Harry Potter obsessed one and I didn't understand what the big deal was. I guess it was me being a bratty kid and refusing to read. But I eventually got into it, and I'm glad. Although, because I did get into it rather late, i was spoiled on many many things (the worst one was some girl gave a book report on the 5th book and completely gave away sirius' death when i had JUST finished the third one… awful). You're AMAZINGLY lucky that you were able to get most of it without any big spoils!!

    anyway i remember in the Oprah interview, she actually asked Rowling about that line — the one about every child knowing Harry's name. It's so… it's kind of creepy to be honest. She basically predicted the popularity of the series. :O

  26. buyn says:

    My personal fanon for Dumblie's scar, is that he had a battle in the muggle underground, and a map of some sort and his knee met in an unfriendly manner.

    Oh and I think it's a Putter Outer here, because the audience isn't in the know, so they don't get to know the real terms.

  27. rowanlee says:

    One of us, Mark, one of us. :3

    But yeah, I had no problem with you taking this series lightly at first. I mean… your comments about Hagrid? Kind of hilarious. Beside, you might not have liked it, and that would have been fine.

    But you did. Now you get to see what all of us were spazzing about when you read it. And the best part? SHE PLANNED ALL OF IT. SHE PLANNED ALL THE THINGS! That's why it just boggles me when people dismiss Rowling's writing so much- she foreshadowed everything. Everything, every word was important. I don't care what anyone else says, that takes talent.

  28. forthejokes says:

    Having learned about MRHP when you were reviewing Deathly Hallows and becoming addicted, I'm really happy and excited to watch you reread the series. I always liked to think the person Vernon bowled over was Flitwick for some reason. Also I love to think of your first reaction about Hagrid when you first read the description of him.

  29. Celina says:

    HOLY AMAZING I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU TO RE READ THIS. Mark, I am not even kidding, your reviews have CHANGED MY LIFE. Actually. I'm so careful about how I talk/the prejudices I have/the decisions I make/etc. now, and every time I let myself slip into some sort of like, 'slut-shaming' action or any sort of bigoted joke I stop myself and think about some of the things you've said. NOT EVEN KIDDING. I mean, I'm not perfect, but you've seriously altered my thinking. And my writing is getting better now, too. Mainly because if I ever publish a book I'd want you to review it and PRAISE IT LIKE CRAZY or at least enjoy it without feeling like you're re-reading Twilight.

    Oh, and I planned on reading The Hunger Games at the same time as you but I started it today.

    And I finished it today. Heh.


  30. Ruchira says:

    So glad to see you back to reading HP, Mark.
    I remember reading your 1st chapter review and laughing- "Wait, he'll eat his words. He simply can't go away not liking the boy who lived!":P

  31. tinzilla07 says:

    I think it is safe to say that Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is nostalgia in it's purest form.

  32. hallowsnothorcruxes says:

    Mark, i've have been looking forward to the re-read. i was really missing the HP gif parties at buzznet.

  33. gredandforge says:

    Omg! You don't know how ECSTATIC I was when I checked your site and saw a post on your re-read of Harry Potter!!
    Now I can actually participate in the comments and join in the parties haha!

    I discovered your Twilight & HP reviews only last week or so, and I literally read all the HP ones in 2 days (I pulled an all-nighters because they were so entertaining and wonderful, I couldn't sleep until I read them all). After I finished your last entry on HP7, I was so sad because I thought that was the end. Lo and behold, it's not! I'm looking forward to reading all of your upcoming HP re-read entries! It's a way for me to re-live the magic vicariously through someone else. It's really heartwarming to see you sucked into this world, as I've grown up with Harry Potter and the series holds a very special place in my heart 🙂 Cheesy but hey .. it's nearly 5am and I'm up studying for Philosophy … I'm allowed to be a little nonsensical!

    As for this first chapter itself, it's mind-boggling how JKR set everything up so perfectly! She had the whole story down from day one, it's astounding. I'm still in awe at how she planted clues everywhere and managed to tie everything together so well. I've gotten used to books/stories/shows becoming a bit predictable, but JKR always threw me for a loop .. and I love that we got to experience a chapter in the past, at the time when Voldemort had JUST been defeated and .. and .. James & Lily just died and poor Harry became an orphan *tear* .. it really makes it seem that much more REAL 😛

    Btw, I LOVE Dumbledore and Sirius too.

  34. Lily says:

    How exciting! I just started to re-read the books to prepare myself for Deathly Hallows, since I haven't touched them since 2007 (shame on me). I got into HP pretty late in the game, too, when I finally read the books after watching the fourth movie. Cedric's death hit me very hard because, before that, the movies had just been fun, if slightly "edgy", fantasy movies, which had been part of my childhood since Sorcerer's Stone was released. It suddenly got so fucking real my mind had been blown.

    The last book didn't impress me on my first read, but I guess I was too busying speed-reading to really take it in at the time. Read it again right after that, was more satisfied, and put them away for a few years. After discovering your blog and all the hype for the next movies popping up again, I decided it was due time for another reading.

    I've always been fond of this chapter. Particularly the last paragraph, because once you do know the story, it has such an impact. Nothing else to comment about, just FORESHADOWING IS AWESOME (and while I love The Hunger Games, Collins' forte is not subtlety).

  35. indiecorewhat says:

    all i have to say about this:

  36. abigailscarlett says:

    YAY I'm so glad you are reviewing your re-read 😀
    I got all giggly.

  37. playmelikeapitbull says:

    I think a big part of the reason that Dumbledore was "the only one he ever feared" is because Dumbledore was the first wizard to meet him when he was still in the orphanage and in his excitement over the revelation that he was a wizard he revealed more about himself than he wished he had later when he was plotting to become all-powerful and immortal.

    • notemily says:

      Yes, this. Dumbledore was one that he couldn't fool, even from the beginning. He used his charm on everyone else, but when he talked to Dumbledore in that forceful voice ("tell the truth!") it had no effect.

  38. Nevermore says:

    Love you forever Mark. It's just so amazing how she foreshadowed it all so early.

  39. embers says:

    I'm feeling very disappointed that this is taking priority over 'The Hunger Games', otherwise I would probably find it fun….

  40. MichelleZB says:

    Mark, I have a suggestion. You should consider reading the British versions for your re-read. In the later books, when Rowling was famous, the versions are nearly identical. But the early 2 or 3 books have actual differences in the text–a few details changed, etc. She was still working with both editors separately then.

    As someone mentioned, Dumbledore eats Sherbet Lemons. And, of course, the Philosopher's Stone is a REAL THING (well, a real legend anyway, and Nicholas Flamel and his wife Perenelle are in the legend). And, most importantly, THE BRITISH SLANG. I only realised from reading other people's quotes that people called each other "maniac" in the US version. They actually call each other "nutters". The little words (scarper, rubbish, fringe, jumper) often make it so much funnier.

    The thing that I loved the most is that teams are treated as plural in British English. So people go around speculating what will happen "if Slytherin win" or bemoaning that "Scotland were slaughtered by Luxembourg" in the Quiddich cup.

    • Rhiannon says:

      Wait, how were they stated in the American versions then? The sports teams I mean. We got the British version here in Australia too 🙂
      Wait wait wait, so Ron doesn't say "scarpered" when he's talking about Sirius?? What does he say then? "I woke up and yelled and he… ran away." *shakes head* That sounds so wrong. I say "Brilliant!" as often as I do because of Ron, it is so weird to think there might be books where he doesn't say that.
      My mind has just been blown. I didn't realise the versions were so different!

  41. Cynkro says:

    Yay! Mark rereads Harry Potter! I love this first chapter so much, it's really emotional once you've read the whole series. I always find that there are things that I miss when I reread the series. I also found it quite ironic how Rowling says everyone will know his name, and indeed, we all do. ^^

  42. Tmeo says:

    Hey Mark, just finished reading your entire MRHP archive in 2 weeks. I was too lazy to register at buzznet (good thing too; you wouldn't have read it anyway), so I'll just say this here:
    I love your heart and your writing and the fact that you guessed things about this series that I would have thought impossible for anyone to guess and that there were so many things that you said that I also thought about while reading, and I wish I could get this emotional or attached to any one of the books I've read and this is a very long sentence.
    Here's a recommendation for you (you've probably read this already so don't laugh if you did): Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. It's a work of art and I'd really like to know what you think about it (this applies whether you've already read it or not). Also, it might redeem your opinion of mormon authors (I personally think any association between Card and She Who Must Not Be Mentioned is an insult to literature).
    Anyway, What do you think of it? will you review it?
    P.S. Trying to force yourself to read Ender one chapter a day might give you an aneurism. Just saying.

  43. WanderingAesthetic says:

    This is the actually first time I’ve thought about Dumbledore’s nose having been broken as being significant. And I’ve read this book at least half a dozen times. JKR, you sly, sly woman.

  44. alexis says:

    I love that you're yelling at yourself pre-HP for being so BLIND to the greatness of the series.

    So glad you're re-reading OMG.

  45. freshwater57 says:

    The complexity and inter-relatedness of all 7 book plots are a joy to behold.

    "I’ve become all of you. And it is wonderful." –Mark

    Yes it is wonderful, and I'm so happy that you realize this for what it is. I came late to your blog….you were already into book 4, so I rushed to catch up…..and I do recall being a bit put off by a certain snarkiness in your tone during your reviews of the first few chapters. But then, I think it was in chapter 6 but it may have been earlier, you proclaimed that you were "a total Harry Potter convert" and then I knew that all would be well.

  46. freshwater57 says:

    ….when you feel reasonably sure that you've overheard the death knell of a relationship, just after the end of the DH movie:

    20-something girl: (tone of surprise) I thought you'd read all the books!

    20-something guy: (defensive) Why did you think that?

    girl: (exasperated) Because I thought you were smart!

    boy: (defensive again) They came out too late for me. I wasn't interested in them.

    Yep…now that they've established their personal priorities, they can cut their losses and move on to find someone more suited to their individual temperments. Here's hoping this was a first-date….

    …when you are only slightly ashamed to admit that you struggled to not laugh out loud at this exchange.

  47. Starsea28 says:

    I'm pretty sure it was Diggle. After all, wizards can Apparate, so jumping from Surrey to Kent isn't hard! 😉

  48. Starsea28 says:

    I always want to reach into the book and yell "GO AFTER SIRIUS, DUMBLEDORE! GO AFTER HIM BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!"

    Petunia makes me want to bang my head against the wall. But I do believe that when she read that her sister had died, she did feel something and it wasn't just relief. Eh, maybe I'm just a crazy optimist.

    Edit: Don't feel too bad about dismissing this first chapter. I found the book hard going until Hagrid gave Dudley a pig's tail. Then there was no stopping me.

  49. Tinabug23 says:

    why dd I tear up at this?
    I'm so glad that you're re-reading the series. & it's so amazing that we can talk a/b everything now & not fear spoilers!!

  50. wanetta says:

    I'll admit, I chuckled a bit at you when you disregarded the 1st chapter. I was thinking to myself, "I wonder what would happen when he finally sees the seeds JKR has been sowing since the first chapter".

    It's a shame that a lot of people miss out on the book based on the first chapter alone. I'm glad you gave this series a chance. =D

  51. karadudz says:

    I think pretty much everyone took the first chapter of the HP series for granted. And by everyone I don't mean those who only started reading the books in 2001 when the first movie came out and made the first 3 books super popular.

    I mean. At first it was a school book. Everyone knows that a book given to you by the school to read is not always enjoyable. So there, a group of people who took the first chapter for granted not really thinking much of it other than the possible questions the teacher might ask them about the character introductions and whatnot.

    Second we have those bandwagon followers who didn't get the book assigned in their 4th grade english class but were very much INTRIGUED and wanted to join in their friends' conversation so they got a copy of the book, read the first chapter, thought it was boring and just waited for the following chapters to take them in. Of course it did. Too bad the first chapter didn't.

    I have to admit that I didn't like it at first either… But then again I read it in french first because that's my first language and disliked it very much… Hogwarts in french is Poulard. Not very appealing. But after learning more english I decided to give the original version a try and didn't like the first chapter but love the rest of the book. And just like you Mark, I reread the whole series and got the same reaction you got when you reread The Boy Who Lived.

    It's just Amazing how JK Rowling dumps us so much spoilery information in the very first chapter of the series. My mind was definitely BLOWN

  52. amythis says:

    I remember joining pretty early on in your first read, and then getting distracted into reading MRT. And I commented somewhere on "Stone" that I was just glad you didn't hate HP. Your first HP post is pretty funny in retrospect of course.

    I think it's not so much that Lily Potter is alive as that Petunia still thinks she is. She won't realize otherwise till she finds Harry on her doorstep the next morning. (Poor Harry!)

    I'm rereading the series anyway. (I mostly wanted to wait till I saw DH1, which I've now done three times.) The first two books move along fast, like the episodic children's books I first took them to be. I'm now on PoA and I can already see what I'll call the adolentising of the series, that not only is Harry becoming a teenager, but there are things like Mrs. Weasley talking about love potions, and the content of the book is just generally heavier. I'm looking forward to all your reevaluation–Dobby!–as you go along. And welcome to the vast community of HP rereaders.

  53. amythis says:

    I remember joining pretty early on in your first read, and then getting distracted into reading MRT. And I commented somewhere on "Stone" that I was just glad you didn't hate HP. Your first HP post is pretty funny in retrospect of course.

    I think it's not so much that Lily Potter is alive as that Petunia still thinks she is. She won't realize otherwise till she finds Harry on her doorstep the next morning. (Poor Harry!)

    I'm rereading the series anyway. (I mostly wanted to wait till I saw DH1, which I've now done three times.) The first two books move along fast, like the episodic children's books I first took them to be. I'm now on PoA and I can already see what I'll call the adolentising of the series, that not only is Harry becoming a teenager, but there are things like Mrs. Weasley talking about love potions, and the content of the book is just generally heavier. I'm looking forward to all your reevaluation–Dobby!–as you go along. And welcome to the vast community of HP rereaders.

  54. Choices says:

    I am so excited about this re-read. The first time I read the series (all the books were not out yet), I ended up re-reading them about 16 times over a two or three year period before I could stop reading them. Every time I tried to read something else, I would get so lonesome for Hogwarts and these beloved characters that I would just start reading HP all over again. Way to go, Mark!

  55. Ellen says:

    YAY so excited you are rereading these, because I only stumbled across your reviews recently and then I basically spent all last week obsessively reading them and my family was all “wtf are you doing, come clean things or whatever” and I was like “CANT I am reading someone else reading Harry Potter and it is like reading them for the first time all over again myself only with part of my brain exploding because of all the spoilers I know, DUH”. … Anyway, now I can actually comment on reviews that aren’t ages old, woooo!! 🙂

  56. vaporeon13204 says:

    Omg, harry Potter re-read! YES! <3

    It's truly amazing how many little things you pick up on in the rereads that were so cleverly hidden in the first read. Heck, even after several rereads I find myself picking out little things every now and then. XD there's just so much here to be loved. <3

  57. marylacey says:

    In reference to the Put Outer, I always thought that in this very first chapter not everything is filtered through Harry's mind. We don't have to look at the world the way Harry sees it, and read the names that Harry has for everything. Harry is a baby in this very first chapter and Rowling is basically writing as an author without anyone to attach herself to yet. I just thought that to a completely third party person what Dumbledore was holding would look like a "Put Outer", and not until we learn the real name of it, would it become the Deluminator. But this is all just my opinion, I have no idea if I'm right.

  58. marylacey says:

    OMG, you're totally in the fandom now! Like, you're one of us.
    I love all the foreshadowing in this chapter. I've long since been amazed with the Sirius remark after re reading the first chapter. It's so amazing how she had everything planned out, even then. This chapter is just so… ah, I just love it. And I love that we can all talk about stuff that happens in the other books and we won't get internet gang beaten. This is great. You have no idea how entertaining this is, after reading your review of the first chapter of Philosopher's Stone, I always knew you would eat your words, and here you are. It's great.

    I still want to be able to post gifs on here!! Is that possible, can someone help me out, please?

  59. marylacey says:

    I want to know how to post gifs in here so bad. That was like my favorite thing to do back on buzznet.

  60. notemily says:

    Oh, Dumbly. So tragically gay. Also, HOLY SHIT HIS NOSE HAD BEEN BROKEN.

    I THOUGHT THE SAME TWO THINGS WHEN RE-READING THIS. Somehow I had never noticed before that he was wearing HIGH-HEELED BOOTS. Ahahaha. And his nose had been broken!!

    It’s still kind of strange to me that a series that depends so much on parental murder ended up being so immediately popular,

    That's a theme, though. I first read this book for a class I was taking on children's literature, and in nearly every book we read, the parents were absent or dead. It's essential, in order for the child to have his or her own adventures, for the parents to get out of the way. In fact, a large number of fictional kids lived with aunts and uncles–Dorothy lives with Auntie Em, and James of James and the Giant Peach lives with his two evil aunts (who then get run over by the peach). And there are plenty of old British stories about orphaned kids–The Secret Garden for one, in which the parents die in a tragic fire. (And plenty that involve boarding schools as well!) But JKR does take it above and beyond the usual "poor orphan" story and makes it a powerful tale of parental love. She starts with some classic tropes and then puts her own spin on them. So awesome.

    You know what still bugs me, though? WHAT HAPPENED DURING THAT WHOLE DAY. Hagrid makes it sound like he rescued Harry from the wreckage and immediately flew over to Privet Drive, so does that mean Harry was just LYING IN THE WRECKED HOUSE this whole time? WHAT IS GOING ON.

    The "Scars can come in handy" line is great. I like it because not only is it lolarious that Dumbles has a scar that looks like the Underground, but it's another example of him using his "I'm a whimsical old man" schtick to hide what he's really thinking. Does he know at this point how important that scar will be to Harry, and how it will keep Harry and Voldemort connected? Even if he doesn't, I think he suspects that it's not an ordinary scar.

    Another thing that bugs me, though–how does Dumbledore KNOW how Harry survived? He explains to Harry that it was because of Lily's sacrifice, but how would he even know that? He wasn't there. I know Dumbledore is supposed to mysteriously know everything, but by the end of the series we know much more about that, so it bugs me that there's no explanation for this. But, you know, "it has known magic"–we don't know ALL of Dumbledore's secrets. Maybe he can just ~FEEL~ the sacrifice.

    I also love Dumbledore's penchant for Muggle candy being set up this early. Dumbledore/candy 4eva.

  61. shewhoisAnna says:

    Longtime reader and follower on Twitter de-lurking for the first time to make a comment about something I was thinking about while reading through the other comments.

    Reading the comments, I noticed one prevalent theme: people realizing that this first chapter takes place shortly before/shortly after the Potters are murdered by Voldemort, and debating whether or not Petunia knew. Someone commented that it wasn't so much that Lily was still alive, but Petunia thinking she was still alive and not realizing until she saw Harry on the doorstep the next morning.

    Then I remembered the line at the end of the chapter where JKR mentions Petunia finding Harry on the doorstep and screaming. And now I'm pretty sure that Petunia's scream when she found Harry wasn't a scream of joy.

  62. Mreeb says:

    I should get an account here. I WILL DO THAT SOON.

    Anyways, this is so exciting! I am so happy to have a Mark thing to read, as I also will not have time to read the Hunger Games until NaNo is done (oh god I have 11000 words to write before midnight whyyyyyyy), not to mention this semester of school (which was the semester from hell), which will be done next week. AND THEN I CAN START YAY. Because I want to read the Hunger Games along with you.

    Anyways (the sequel), I am very excited for you to notice all these little-but-actually-huge-in-hindsight things. I remember rereading the series immediately after finishing DH and just having my mind blown again. She planned everything. EVERYTHING. Forever…

  63. theana says:

    "It’s still kind of strange to me that a series that depends so much on parental murder ended up being so immediately popular,"

    OMG Mark! Harry Potter is BATMAN! 😛

  64. meesha1971 says:

    I'm so excited to see your reactions to re-reading the series. All these little details just jump out at you once you know the whole story. McGonagall turning into a cat, Dumbledore's broken nose, Sirius giving Hagrid the motorcycle, the Put-Outer – later to be re-named the Deluminator, Petunia's relationship with Lily – or lack thereof, Harry being called "The Boy Who Lived" – so many things that end up being significant later. Even Dedalus Diggle makes an appearance here – I've always been positive that he was the one who hugged Vernon. LOL

  65. Nadia says:

    This is so exciting! Mark, I am a first time commenter, but I read thoroughly all your chapter by chapter reactions and loved every minute of it. And some were really heart wrenching, especially when you are reminded of personal experiences…
    But the best of the best is: thanks to you, I have finally convinced my husband to READ it for the first time! All just because I kept talking about you and your own personal experience with it. So I get to relieve the "first time" experience again and again! Hearing my husband laugh because of de-gnoming in the Weasley's garden in COS is so much fun (that's where he is at)… Letting him ask why Snape hates Harry so much without spoiling anything feels so good!
    And I too think that the re-reding experience is so important… I am looking forward to more reviews…

  66. *earsplitting squee* OMG, Mark is starting the HP re-reads! Yes! Yes! You were going to split the books into two parts for the re-reads? If you manage to do anything like that, I'll be super-impressed, because I don't think I could break down the books into fewer than — maybe six or seven posts apiece? — even after a zillion re-reads.

    What's been striking me this year is how much of the series can be better understood for knowing details of JKR's story. For years, I wondered why I kept picturing doorstep!Harry as being 3-6 months old, an infant, when he was actually 15 months old and perfectly capable of saying a few words or getting up and walking away. Then I realized that when JKR fled her first husband with the baby, the baby was 3 months old (birthday in July, left in October, just like Harry's story) and I wonder if that overlay is part of what colored this chapter. It works much better for her story to give the child 15 months of good parenting in preparation for the childhood awaits him, but maybe she was picturing her own baby during that traumatic time.

    So excited for further re-read reviews.

  67. JaneMarple9 says:

    It’s strange to read this because I didn’t realize that I was reading a part of this story where the Potters were alive. Now, knowing why Petunia hates her sister so much, it makes this passage equally maddening and depressing; her sister died and she doesn’t care at all.

    Wow! I never thought of that until now. Indeed, it's the last hours or so of James and Lily's life, as we open this chapter. I love that concept. I've always loved the way this chapter opens, and especailly McGonagall saying that Harry's name is known everywhere and books written about him. I can remember listening to this book for the first time and smiling at the irony.

  68. Antskog says:

    I remember when I first read the first chapter of PS, it didn't make me magically fall in love with the series either. I almost didn't read the book. It took few more chapters for me to become totally obsessed with Harry Potter. I, of course, read the PS soon after it was published so I had no idea how big hit it'd become. But my point was that when I read your first review of this chapter I could understand why you mocked it. And I knew that there was a good chance that you'd come to love the series as much as all the other crazy fans out there. 🙂
    I hope the reread is rewarding to you. In every reread I have done I have found hints of things to come that I hadn't noticed before.

  69. Sadie says:

    Is it weird that I almost teared up reading this review and thinking of this chapter in hindsight? I've never re read the series and just thinking about it now with you, I was shocked how powerful and sad this first chapter really is. Not many writers can pull it off, and I think it's a huge testament to JK Rowling that after seven books the first chapter of the series is transformed into this emotionally charged and terribly depressing thing.

  70. Kristina says:

    I am kind of late to the party here but YAY!!!!
    There are so many things to discover when re-reading these books. I have lost count of the number of times I have already been through the series and there are STILL details and off-hand comments or descriptions that just blow my mind.

    " I never knew how many other people in my life were huge Harry Potter fans until I started this project. Now I know that nearly all of them and then I ask them WHERE WERE YOU YEARS AGO WHEN I WAS NOT READING THIS SERIES? Some friends you are."

    Would you have done the wonderful MRHP project years ago, though? Did things not turn out for the best this way :)?

    I am really, REALLY looking forward to this, and this time around, chapter 1 gets a positive review! I was all "how dare you, Mark? it is Harry Potter!!" when I read that first review; but you got better :).

    Oh, and I just love the fact that there is a spell check available for the comments; I am not even kidding :D.

  71. Smurphy says:

    OK so… I've been putting off reading this. But now I am… I forgot in between hp ending and this site opening how absolutely fantastic your writing is… not that I ever fell out-of-love with Harry Potter but I think somewhere along the way I forgot WHY I loved Harry Potter. How you can capture the beauty that is HP and the love of HP in your writing idk… but I love it dearly anyway… my comment:

    "More Harry Potter? Ok, no one is going to complain, ever." – nope never. Also for the record I (and probably half of your audience) called you kicking-your-butt over the title is stupid thing.

    I remember reading your review of the first chapter and being so afraid of you ripping apart the book. I come from what can sometimes be a fairly conservative (in the worst sense) community and I was so sick of people bashing on Harry Potter and the wonderful universe that I had surrounded myself with. They had no idea. I'm glad I found you when I did and not when you first started writing because you were one of us by the time I started reading and that made me appreciate your hesitation because I could not wait for your mind to be blown.

    Was scrolling through reviews before I wrote this and someone said you are still not prepared. I would like to repeat this sentiment… YOU ARE STILL NOT PREPARED.

    Happy reading… or re-reading… and watching.

  72. Ladysugarquill says:

    I do remember my older brother quickly grabbing Sorcerer's Stone and pointing out Sirius Black's name after we go Prisoner of Azkaban though, and we both gasped at that revelation.

    I did exactly that as well! I was like O_o

  73. Could the guy who hugged Vernon be Dedalus Diggle? Probably not, since he was in Kent, but still.

    LOL, you still don't like the baby dolphins simile. I think it's appropriate, because baby dolphins are sleek and shiny like Hagrid's boots, and sweet and adorable like Hagrid himself 😀

    "Scars can come in handy. I have one myself above my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground.”

    Jo said once she was going to reveal that, but never did. Oh, well, it'll probably be on the Encyclopedia.

    Also, a bit of trivia: Jo wrote 10-15 versions of that first chapter. One of those versions was what ended up as the first chapter of HBP.

    I reckon I must've got through fifteen different alternative chapters of book one. The reason for which I discarded each of them were: They all gave too much away. And in fact if you put all those discarded first chapters together, almost the whole plot is explained. This is an old notebook in which I worked out — and again, I don't want you to come too close on this — [flashes paper] That is the history of the Death Eaters! Where's my Portuguese diary? God… There it is! So this is a Portuguese diary, as you can see. Not filled in, because I've never filled in a diary in my life, but it had paper in it to write on, so we have another draft of book one, chapter one.

  74. Kirby says:

    YAY! I am so excited about this! I started reading "Mark reads in like, September, so when I got to the end of Deathly Hallows, I finally noticed the date, and the "Mark Re-reads Harry Potter" that I was hoping for wasn't there. I was heartbroken.

    Also, you are facilitating my procrastination, and I deeply appreciate it. 🙂

  75. Jujbres says:

    Mark, I was so appalled by your first review of Harry Potter, it almost made me want to stop reading. I thought you'd never understand! But I'm so happy I stuck with you because YOU GET IT NOW <3xD

  76. dbmacp says:

    It's amazingly mind-blowing to re-read this entire book. My brain is still recovering.

    As for what to read after the Hunger Games, my vote is for Graceling, which is right in every way that Twilight is wrong. Awesome. Epic. So much fun.

  77. Roonilwazlib says:



  78. herpestidae says:

    Hay Mark! I found your Buzznet Blog on Tvtropes a while back, and you are hilarious! I'm reading through your twilight reviews, and I was just wondering if you could do what you did in "Mark Reads Twilight chapter 11," with your notebook and then figuring out what made you write it. That was a work of art that will be forever remembered.

    I also want to say that I loved watching you descend into the Harry Potter fandom. It reminded me of… me.

    Good luck and God Bless!

  79. rebelsfire says:


    I found this fantastic site called, and it's basically insight (and pictures) on every chapter in the Harry Potter books. I love it and from it, I gather this on the Put-Outer. "Most likely she already knew when she wrote this book that Dumbledore’s device would be called something different, but gave it this name for the sake of Muggle readers who haven’t yet been introduced to the wizarding world"

  80. Why Twilight Fails says:

    Oh Mark, I am so glad you're re-reading the series! I cannot express my joy in sufficient words!

  81. Tilja says:

    Don't feel bad about how you took the book the first time you read it. I did the same thing myself when I first read the book, I dismissed that first chapter as pure nonsense, not because it was that, but because at that stage I couldn't understand a thing of what was going to happen afterwards, so I decided to read and move on and find out later. And believe me, I didn't understand even after reading the first four of them and then rereading them. Not all of it. It takes a lot to understand that chapter completely. I now think it takes reading the entire series first.

  82. Stephanie M says:

    Honestly, the last page of this chapter is probably my favorite passage in the series. It just soo.. oh i can't even explain it. It's like you said, Harry has no idea how amazing he is, or what is to happen to him. It's just so peaceful, yet so forbidding. You know what is to happen to him, and he doesn't. This child holds the fate of the wizarding world. It's so.. amazing. Bravo Rowling.

  83. StarGirlAlice says:

    I love everything about this! This is kind of how I felt when I read it for the second time- only about 4 years ago now.
    Rowling is just so clever at dropping major plot points and important people in early on!

  84. Quizzical says:

    oh i'm so happy to have this! thank you for tweeting!

    i think the timing is great, because we're in the lull after seeing the film, so this is a nice little shot of life. 🙂

    i have two quibbles with this chapter on the re read.
    1. dumbledore doesn't mention the name tom riddle. which – she might not have really thought of yet, or not decided to have it be such a big part of the story.

    2. i sometimes sort of wish she'd been able to write them all before they were published so that she could have made that more consistent, and the style more consistent, as well. the dursleys are so cartoonish here compared to how the series plays out, and i think she painted herself into a corner there with their characterisation.

    i do see how the style is consistent with harry's age, though, and the way the series 'grew up' with harry is something that in the end made it unique i suppose.

    i ADORE EVERYTHING ELSE and i love how it shows the amount of thought she'd already put into what was going to happen and how it was all tied together. SO MUCH LOVE.

  85. Margo says:

    When I read your first ever entry on Harry Potter (forementioned Chapter 1) I immediately knew you're going to regret it some day 😀 You were being so cocky and seemed determined that none of this is going to get to you (touch you, so to speak). 😀 I think it says a lot about you that after all you had the ability to change your mind over the experience. Some people wouldn't do that, they are so full of themselves and can't admit they were wrong. Good for you!

    I think that people who doesn't love Harry Potter books have NO HEART!!

    As for the Put-Outer, I think there is no mysterious reason for changing the name. For me the first chapter is written from our point of view. That is, from the point of view of an observer unfimiliar with the magical world. That's why the Delluminator is just called how it seems to should have been called, it put outs the light, therefore it is the Put-Outer.

  86. Lizzie says:

    I always thought it was Diggle too…not sure why. Oh well! 🙂

  87. Laura says:

    Um, I think the Deluminator was the Put Outer first because the unseen, unknown narrator at the beginning of the story doesn't know that it's called a Deluminator. After this first chapter, the entire series is from Harry's point of view or limited third person. But this chapter has no defined point of view. So the narrator knows only what he is seeing or rather what we are seeing. The Deluminator becomes the Deluminator when it reappears in Dumbledore's will in book 7. At that point, Dumbledore would've known the name for his invention.

  88. indignantbrit says:

    It's so awesome to see you rereading the series from the perspective of someone who's read book 7 – there's a lot of foreshadowing that I never got myself either. But as a British HP fan, every time I see a quote from the book which has been Americanised, I die inside. And not even a little. I die a lot. I always knew they changed the title (why? Did 'Philosopher's' have too many syllables? In the world of HP wizards and witches, what's a sorceror when it's at home?) but then hazelwillow pointed out the Sherbert Lemons => Lemon Drops thing, and I also noticed this:

    "he had hands the size of trash can lids"


  89. John says:

    Interesting. I am anonymous once more

  90. lisra says:


    I remember rubbing my hands together with glee when you started reading the series "ages" ago… and I completely forgot about the re-read.

    Awesome we can all take another journey together. Bring it on, Mark!

  91. Spugsy says:

    HP excite!:D

  92. Emmy says:

    omg I love you. More Harry Potter! This chapter is one of my favourites for how beautifully it sets everything up.

  93. blessthechildren says:

    That's funny! I'm always surprised by the dearth of Hagrid fan art.

  94. SymphonyOfRain says:

    I believe the Deluminator was called a Put-Outer here to show the mystery. The narrator doesn't know what's going on and describes things as they are. It puts out lights, so the narrator calls it a Put-Outer. They're just as clueless as we are.

  95. Doodle says:

    I'm pretty sure Diggle meets Harry by bowing to him in a shop before Harry finds out he's a wizard. Petunia gets all freaked out and makes them leave without buying anything, and then when Hagrid takes Harry to the Leaky Cauldron Harry is like "I know you! You bowed to me in a shop once!" And Diggle says "He remembers!!"
    Maybe I'm remembering it incorrectly..

    I always thought the little man was Flitwick, too.

  96. @tamswitter says:

    I just found your site today so I have a lot of catching up to do! But your commentary just makes me want to re read the series again =)


  97. Quincy Morris says:

    Sweetness. Yeah, I never commented on the first read through, but now that you’re doing it again… I’m here, guys!

  98. Liberty says:

    I just realized! I'm now one of you! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!! I didn't want this. *sob*

  99. Tangela M. says:

    Hi, This is wayyy behind, but I recently came across a link to your blog from Cleolinda, and I love your reviews! Your reactions are just right on for everything. I don't usually read fanfiction, and I know you have a horor of it, but as far as HP fanfic goes, this is actually pretty cool. It is set in an alternate HP universe where the Battle of Hogwarts was won, but most of the main characters died. So, Harry, Ron, and Jinny have to go back in time and try to save everyone.

  100. Jen says:

    I love that you're doing your re-reads chapter by chapter Mark! I'm an impatient reader so I typically check your page every few months (and read new posts by the lot!) so I was very pleased to find you'd started re-reading HP.

    I like to read each chapter prior to reading your (re?)reviews so that everything is nice and fresh in my mind. Then when people point out new connections in the comments, it's just as fun for me as it is for you!

    I haven't made it through the comments on this post yet but I just wanted to say one of the things that hit me the very first time I re-read this first chapter after finishing the series was all the owls flying around during the day. I get that the wizards were very excited, and I'm sure a great number of the owls WERE carrying messages of celebration, but I can't help but wonder how many wizards weren't checking in on friends and family members after hearing the Potters had died. It's like, "Great, YKW is gone, but let me just make sure MY friends/family were spared from the DEs before I really start partying", you know?

    For some reason it always makes me think of the Missing Persons posters that spring up after natural disasters and events like 9/11. If I had been a witch with friends involved in resisting YKW, I would be thrilled to find out he was "gone", but the FIRST thing I would do is try to find out about the safety of my circle of friends and family- and I wouldn't worry about waiting until nightfall when an owl wouldn't be noticed, you know?

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