Every year, I do this thing (I talked about it before) — I read the entire seven-part series of Harry Potter because it is just something that makes me really happy. As an exercise, what’s even more interesting for me is re-discovering so many details about the stories that I might have missed before, and I enjoy making notes of doubts that occur to me while I’m reading the books, et cetera, et cetera, and in the process, fall in love with the books all over again. (Wow, that was a huge-ass sentence!) It is definitely one tradition I hope to never tire of.
For some trivia, if you are interested, I remember exactly when I began reading the Harry Potter books. I was in the tenth grade, and at the time, I was looking for a new book to read (I exhausted all of my sources) — my friend, Toshiya (Navas) recommended The Chamber of Secrets to me, and told me that I would really like it. She gave me her brother’s copy, and I took it without a thought. I read it, loved it and there was no looking (turning?) back since. I think it was lovely to have begun with this book — it is one of my favourites (like, yes, I do love all of the books equally but every book stands out with its own distinctiveness) — but this one had an absolutely fantastic plot that sucked me right into the wonderful wizarding world of Harry Potter. Following that, I borrowed the first and fourth parts from a friend — Jarir Bookstore was too expensive for me, plus I never saved my pocket money (not that I received a lot of it). I loved the first book, the fourth one was even better! It’s a gloriously fat book with everything enjoyable, from the Quidditch World Cup to the Triwizard Tournament.
With the following parts due to come out around the time I completed reading the previous three, I knew I had to work on obtaining my very own copies of the books. I bought the fifth book at an exhibition here in Bombay, it probably was the one at Fort, I can’t remember exactly now because I used to visit India only over the summer/winter holidays (I used to live in Saudi Arabia). The Prisoner of Azkaban? Yep, I read it first around this time i.e. when I got my hands on the fifth — my sister bought it, and so I borrowed it from her.
About the time when the sixth book came out, I had already moved to Bombay, and I first heard about it in the hostel I was staying at, then. We had mobile phones but it was 2005, and I had an old Nokia model so I couldn’t have heard of it from the internet or anything. Oh, and we didn’t have our own computers back then; notebooks were tricky to own. Of course, I had to have the book but waited patiently to get my grubby paws on it. One of my roommates then, Nandini (Velho) — who isn’t even a Potterhead, btw — decided to ruin it for me by finding out from folks and then telling me what everyone was talking about about The Half-Blood Prince — you know, _ _ _ _ _ killed _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _. WTF! (We are still friends.)
I read it when I went back home for the holidays, it belonged to a friend of a friend’s. It was upsetting, what happened at the end of the book but I knew there would be an explanation of sorts, plus the whole thing about Horcruxes, uh-huh, so goooood. The Deathly Hallows was released in 2007, the same year I commenced my final year of degree college (also, seven-seven, geddit?). I remember buying the book from a bookstore in town — there were stacks and stacks of copies there, and it was very thrilling to buy the seventh book in person. (I always feel especially sad when I finish reading The Deathly Hallows, and I’m sure you know the feeling.)
Oh, fast-forward a few years to the time I began this whole re-reading tradition. I acquired my own copy of the second book sometime ago, the third book — last year. Both are newer editions, I couldn’t find the older ones! However, I did manage to get my hands on a fairly decent copy of the fourth book (the old/first edition) some weeks ago from a book shop in my area. Woo to the hoo! (I want to find a copy of the sixth now, and I’ll be sorted.)
P.S. There are some interesting things that I like to take account of, like Lord Voldemort split his soul seven times, and there are seven parts to this book series, and what-not. (There are seven paragraphs here, hahaha, I am sorry that wasn’t intended — it just happened by way of writing so passionately about the series.) Ooh, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard was like the sweetest, little book that J. K. Rowling presented us with, once the series ended. We all missed Harry Potter so much that it was just… Seriously! Thanks man.