I have not re-read this since I first read it in 2003. I came to the series late. Very late. Earlier in 2003, I had been working at the publisher and still had not read it ... or taken advantage of picking up all of the available books while I was there.
No, it took the final exam for a marketing course at uni to make me read the book, and only because I planned on using the HP franchise as an example and figured I should read the first book to sound like I knew what I was writing about... I stayed up all night before the exams and finished the book, then went back to Waterstone's to get the rest of the series.
On this re-read, it is both easy and amazing to find that even the first chapter is utterly gripping and charming. Still. After all these years. I can only say that this book (and subsequent series) is utterly brilliant.
‘Good luck, Harry,’ he murmured. He turned on his heel and with a swish of his cloak he was gone.
A breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which lay silent and tidy under the inky sky, the very last place you would expect astonishing things to happen. Harry Potter rolled over inside his blankets without waking up. One small hand closed on the letter beside him and he slept on, not knowing he was special, not knowing he was famous, not knowing he would be woken in a few hours’ time by Mrs Dursley’s scream as she opened the front door to put out the milk bottles, nor that he would spend the next few weeks being prodded and pinched by his cousin Dudley … 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!’