Welcome to the Wikia Book Club – a place where the Wikia community can together read and discuss novels currently heating up the pop culture zeitgeist. To kick the tires on this new program, we’re piggy-backing our launch off the announcement that all seven books in the Harry Potter franchise are coming to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. As such, we’re going to be reading and discussing the first book in the “Boy Who Lived” saga, The Sorcerer’s Stone.
Whether it’s your first or fifth time reading the story, join us via live chats (schedule outlined below) on the Harry Potter Wiki to discuss:
Monday, July 2 at 5:00 p.m. PSTEdit
Read Chapter 1 (“The Boy Who Lived”) through Chapter 8 (“The Potions Master”). Discussion topics to include:
- How many of you just read the book for the first time? How many of you are rereading the Harry Potter series?
- Throughout the story, we share Harry’s point of view. We see what he sees and experience what he experiences. In the first chapter, however, we are shown Mr. Dursley’s point of view as he drives to work, sees a cat reading a map, and encounters oddly dressed people on the streets. Rowling could have given us a more straightforward third-person story without any particular point of view. Why does she choose to show us Mr. Dursley’s thoughts and reaction in this first chapter?
- The title of each of the chapters provides some clues as to what will occur in each. Do the titles tell the whole truth? How do they reveal some of the more symbolic meaning of the story?
- How does the Hogwarts world compare with the Muggle world? Does Rowling want us to make such a comparison? What were your first impressions of Hogwarts?
- How would Harry be different if Dumbledore decided that he should be raised in the magical world, instead of with the Dursleys? Did Dumbledore make the right decision?
Monday, July 16 at 5:00 p.m. PSTEdit
Read Chapter 9 (“The Midnight Duel”) through Chapter 16 (“The Man with Two Faces”). Discussion topics to include:
- Many novels of high fantasy borrow from the traditional stories of fairytales, myths and legends. The dog Fluffy which guards the trapdoor at Hogwarts School resembles Cerberus, the three-heads dog which guards the underworld of Greek mythology. What other creatures from traditional tales are paralleled in the story? How does each of these creatures play a pivotal role in the advancing plot?
- Quirrell tells Harry that, “There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it.” Do you agree with this? Is this the reality of the world? Or if good and evil do exist, what makes them so? Which is more important in the world, power, or good and evil?
- At the end of Harry’s adventures, when the Sorceror’s Stone has been safely destroyed, Dumbledore reveals to Harry that he devised the Mirror of Erised in the knowledge that Harry would succeed where Voldemort would fail. This admission raises the question of whether Dumbledore orchestrates other parts of Harry’s adventures too. Does he know, for instance, that the troll will be let into Hogwarts, and does he foresee Harry’s defeat of the troll? Is it possible that Dumbledore has a godlike foreknowledge of the whole story from beginning to end?
- Besides harry Potter himself, who was your favorite character in the book? Or which character did you find most interesting? Why? What details did Rowling provide that made that character come alive in your mind in all his or her complexity? Did you learn more about the character from their words, their appearance, or their actions? Did your first impressions of the character remain unaltered, or did you change your opinion of the character as the story went on? Do any of the characters remind you of someone you know?
- If you could talk to the author, is there a question you would ask her?
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