The Common Room- A Harry Potter Book Club discussion

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)
Book 1: The Sorcerer's Stone > Episode 1: The Boy Who Lived With Really Mean People

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message 1: by Jessie, Headmistress (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jessie Stardust (stardustlegacy) | 56 comments Mod
Reading: Ch. 1-5
For episode 1 we will look at chapters 1-5 of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. We will discuss our thoughts on the characters introduced and where the story is going so far. One theme I would like to look at for this section is family, and in a broader sense, belonging. As you read chapters 1-5, please think about what Rowling is saying about family and fitting in--how it affects the characters and what it means to the story.
Feel free to jump into the conversation below and we will see you at the livestream (see Events for details.)

message 2: by Jim, Deputy Headmaster (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim DeLizzio | 8 comments Mod
One of the themes that presents itself very early is class warfare. Vernon Dursley is very preoccupied with money and status. He is also very obviously concerned with maintaining appearances. It will be interesting to see where this goes.

message 3: by Jessie, Headmistress (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jessie Stardust (stardustlegacy) | 56 comments Mod
I definitely agree that money and status are very important to the Dursleys. We see by the way that Aunt Petunia gossips about the neighbors, and how Uncle Vernon sits in his view office with his back to the window that the only thing that matters to the Dursleys is the Dursleys. I think that ties in well with fitting in, or at least being seen as fitting in and belonging to the "right sort" of people. They identify with their immediate family (certainly not Harry) and notably they identify just as strongly with class.

message 4: by Jim, Deputy Headmaster (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim DeLizzio | 8 comments Mod
I have never traveled to the UK. Are they more concerned as a country with class?

message 5: by Wil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Wil Wright | 5 comments Belonging is an interesting theme in this section, as regards young Harry. All his life he's an unwanted outcast until he discovers he's a wizard-to-be, and even then he's an outsider - not knowing the rules or history of "his" world, and placed on a pedestal for something of which he has no memory.

message 6: by Gem (new) - added it

Gem (texasgemini) | 13 comments It definately seems like money and status is important here. I am very displeased with how the wizarding community doesn't even bother to check up on him. I mean, it seems to me that's what has happened. They had no idea he didn't know he was a wizard, that his parents didn't die in a car crash, and that he was treated worse than an unwanted pet. This is not a great beginning IMO.

message 7: by Jessie, Headmistress (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jessie Stardust (stardustlegacy) | 56 comments Mod
I agree Gem, it's baffling to me that Harry was left in this situation without any oversight. It doesn't ring true for me from what we know about Dumbledore.

message 8: by LadyDaney (new) - added it

LadyDaney (goodreadscomlady_daney) | 7 comments I think the most important introductions in these chapters concerning family is Harry's surrogate family: notably Hagrid, Dumbledore and, to a smaller extent, McGonagall. These characters introduce Rowling's broader theme of community and global families. In this section, we see Hagrid act as the first Father figure to Harry. Hagrid pursues Harry to the "ends of the earth" in order to bring him good, he celebrates Harry's birthday, he protects and defends Harry, he teaches him about the world Harry belongs to, shows him where to find what he needs, gifts him with tools, bestows him with responsibility, and tells him who he is; all things a good father does for his son. Where Vernon is the Authoritarian Parent who is ashamed of Harry, Hagrid is the Authoritative one who is proud of who Harry is and guides him on his way.

message 9: by Jon (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jon Snow Couldn't agree more, with Daney. Hagrid looks after him like a father would.

As for Gem, yes he was left in such a situation. Seemingly, abandoned. But I guess Dumbledore must have had reasons for apparently ignoring The Boy Who Lived.

message 10: by Jessie, Headmistress (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jessie Stardust (stardustlegacy) | 56 comments Mod
We had our first meeting/episode last night on Twitch (well if you are counting it's sort of Episode 1 Take 2) but all is well and the podcast version is now live! You can listen or download at this link!

Garrett Fitzgerald | 4 comments Sorry for being a bit late here.
Again, I believe this is actually the first book I’ve committed to reading all the way through so I’m not very good at analyzing and extracting meaning from books yet. With that being said, even if it may not be a theme, per say, what caught me in the first five chapters was the absolute ignorance of the Dursley family. Especially since much of the ignorance is completely willful. On top of that, it doesn’t serve them well but they are fully happy to subscribe to their form of ‘successful’ ignorance. It reminded me of the two pills in the matrix yet somehow, these folks have seen the effects of both the red pill and the blue pill and decided to stay in the blue territory; a decision I absolutely could not fathom anyone making in either fictional universe!

message 12: by Jessie, Headmistress (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jessie Stardust (stardustlegacy) | 56 comments Mod
I am adding a link here to the article on the first session that I wrote for the website if anyone is interested. I will try to write a small piece for each session.

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