I picked up Harry Potter and the Chamber of secrets the other day, I needed to scan a couple of pages for school; I was going to put it a way, then I told myself…why not? After all I am not reading any fiction at the moment, I am immersed on a book on the cultural lives of cetaceans and another on English counties – the former very good, the second quite entertaining, but neither of them really gripping so why shouldn’t I give in to the temptation to read one of the Harry Potter books for the umpteenth time?
In this couple of days I’ve read four chapters; I’ve noticed a detail that had registered the other times I’d read The Chamber of Secrets: when Harry gets off the Floo Network at the wrong fireplace and ends up in a rather dodgy dark magic shop he hides in a cabinet: the cabinet that Draco Malfoy will use to connect Hogwarts to the outside world in The Half-blood Prince. The Weasley twins do something with the one at Hogwarts in the Order of the Phoenix.
With the Harry Potter novels it’s like watching a vast tapestry and noticing something new every time you look at a part of it – some things became clear as the novels proceeded, and the final volume sealed everything into place. They are the only books I allow myself to reread repeatedly, because they read fast – I can’t certainly think of doing the same with A song of Ice and Fire, I’d be stuck in Westeros for years.
And isn’t it fantastic how one can read something again and again and not stop being involved? I mean, I am perfectly aware that Harry will go back to school, that his story will go on for many years (and pages) yet the episode about the Weasleys freeing him from his bedroom in Privet Drive still had its tension, the other night, heightened by Hedwig’s screeches.
(I do not own the rights to the pictures in this post)
I am quite sure that when I get to Harry and Ron’s encounter with the giant spiders in the Forbidden Forest (a homage to The Hobbit I suppose) I will be as horrified as ever, and as relieved when help comes from a totally unexpected agent.
Good writing is like magic, it works its spell again and again.