What can one say about the chapter that started it all? Well its bloody brilliant that’s what.
When I picked up the book, I was slightly nervous that it would live up to the picture of it that I’ve painted in my head, however, that wasn’t the case.
The chapter opens up with an introduction to the Dursley’s, which if your familiar with the movies wasn’t featured in the 2001 adaptation. A more in-depth look at the Dursley’s does offer the reader more insight as to why they are so apprehensive to the abnormal. Also, I think seeing Richard Griffiths (Uncle Vernon) sitting at his desk, oblivious to the owls flying just outside his office window would have brought a bit more comedy to the otherwise darker series.
The introduction of Dumbledore continues to be one of my favourite character intros I’ve ever read. Plus, I forgot how sassy he was!
I must say, it is interesting to reread something like Harry Potter as you pick up on minute details that are otherwise forgotten once an adaptation comes to play. For instance, I completely forgot that Hagrid acquires his motorcycle from a ‘young Sirius Black’, and that Dumbledore uses a silver lighter to extinguish the lamp posts eventually being revealed as the Deluminator given to Ron.
Almost seems like I am studying for one epic game of Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit.
The illustration that stood out to me the most in this chapter was, conveniently enough, the illustration of the Dursley’s. Jim Kay, the illustrator, could have taken inspiration from the films when coming up with the caricature of the Dursley’s, and yet, I feel as if these illustrations embody the characters in their own right. I also, for some reason, really enjoyed seeing all the portraits of Dudley growing up crying, because if you know about his character progression later in the series, its strangely befitting.
Though it was hard to pick a favourite character in a chapter as short as ‘The Boy Who Lived’ I narrowed it down to our favourite Transfiguration professor, Minerva McGonagall.
McGonagall is introduced, unbeknownst to the average reader, as a cat, which just adds to the mystery of the day in which Vernon Dursley is having. Then, after the introduction of Dumbledore it is revealed that this strange, stiff tabby cat is actually a character that will become very important in the Harry Potter universe.
It was nice to see the maternal connection that McGonagall has towards Harry when she questions Dumbledore’s decision to leave him with the muggles. If only McGonagall had the gift of hindsight… or does she?
“Even if I could, I wouldn’t. Scars can come in useful. I have one myself above my left knee which is a perfect map of the London Underground.” – Dumbledore
When I first read this quote I immediately thought that Dumbledore was trying to explain how scars can be useful reminders. For Harry, the scar could serve as a reminder that he is not invincible, whereas it can also serve as a reminder to other witches and wizards of the terror Voldemort was able to inflict upon the wizarding world.
Plus, the quote also shows why Rowling is the queen of foreshadowing… just sayin’.
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.