Rediscovering Harry: The Philosopher's Stone

Something I was excited to do this year was a full re-read of the Harry Potter series. We've talked about what the series means to us before, but I haven't re-read them (in order) in a while, so my sister and I decided to tackle a book a month, followed by a viewing of the corresponding movie. I've decided to break down both the book and the movie in my "favourites" as a monthly feature here on Mind the Gap starting, of course, with Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.


The Book

Best Character: Arguably Harry, in his adorable cluelessness, but I also found myself developing a soft spot for Hagrid this time around. 

Worst Character: Draco Malfoy is a tool. From the moment we meet him, we can see he's not a nice person, and I think that's more effective in the book than in the movie. 

Best Moment: When Hermione, panicking near the Devil's Snare, momentarily forgets that she knows magic and Ron is, for once, the most clear-headed of the trio:

“So light a fire!" Harry choked.
"Yes...of course...but there's no wood!" ...

Funniest Moment: Any time the Weasley twins are around, but especially the Christmas present scene.

You haven’t got a letter on yours...I suppose she thinks you don’t forget your name. But we’re not stupid-we know we’re called Gred and Forge.
— George Weasley

Best Quotation: Dumbledore is, of course, full of profound observations in this one.

The truth...It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.
— Albus Dumbledore

Most Shocking Plot Twist: QUIRRELL. I remember being shocked as an 8 year old and, even though I knew full well it was coming up, I was still impressed by how subtle the clues are.

Pay Attention To This Bit, It Will Come Back Later: Dumbledore's careful avoidance of explaining why Voldemort would target Harry (hello, prophecy). Also of note: at one point, Harry remarks (to himself) that it seems like Snape is reading his mind, and then guess who tries to teach him Legilimency four years later? 

The Movie

Best Casting Decision: Overall, I felt like they did a great job with casting the characters. I remember being disappointed that Daniel Radcliffe didn't have green eyes, but I ultimately accepted it because I love him. 

Worst Casting Decision: None.

Best Moment: For some reason, I find it hysterical when Hagrid barges in and yells "Yer a wizard, Harry." Maybe it's because it's so much more abrupt in the movie (there's less of a build-up/explanation), maybe it's Harry's wide-eyed response of "I'm a what?" in his squeaky pre-pubescent voice, maybe it's the fact that I have a t-shirt that says "you're a lizard, Harry" and features two lizards...either way, it makes me laugh.

Funniest Moment: The look on Snape's face when he suggests the trio might be...up to something. (RIP, Alan Rickman, you genius </3)

Biggest Upset: I remember being 11 years old, seeing the movie for the first time, and being horrified that they cut out two of the challenges en route to the Philosopher's Stone. Looking back on it now, it still bothers me: not including the troll means not being able to tie up the Quirrell connections; and not including Snape's potion challenge means that Hermione doesn't get a chance to shine. Yes, she technically "shines" when she frees Ron from the Devil's Snare, but the scene was much stronger in the book: Hermione panicking when she doesn't immediately figure out how to escape the plant is then rectified by her "cool use of intellect" when faced with the potions. The boys get their own heroic moments - Harry catching the key and Ron's epic chessmatch - but poor Hermione's role is diminished in the movie.