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How did you first encounter Harry Potter?

This is sparked by a locked entry on my f-list, one of the many asking for NO SPOILERS PLEASE but also telling a story of an impulse purchase of the first book in Inverness in August 1999 and then the saga of getting into online fandom.

My own story of how I read Harry Potter is marginally interesting, so as my sole contribution to the current hype I will recount it here. It was during my first visit to Kosovo, in March 2000, and I spent a long evening renewing contact with some American friends telling me what they were doing in order to avoid going mad in those rather tense days. One of them was reading the Harry Potter books; she was the first person I had met who had done so and I was convinced at least to try them out.

On my way back, passing through Vienna Airport, I saw the rather attractive "grown-up" versions of the first two books and bought them there and then, getting the third one on my return to Brussels. I was especially impressed by Prisoner of Azkaban which I still think is the best of the six so far. As the others come out, I have been reading them diligently, though not with quite the same air of dedication as some people!

Comments

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
splinister
Jul. 20th, 2007 09:30 am (UTC)
I read the first book a year or so ago, and have not continued with the series.
sinclair_furie
Jul. 20th, 2007 09:40 am (UTC)
I bought the first one in sixth or seventh grade on the recommendation of... somebody. I don't remember who. My pottermania peaked in when I was about 13 and has steadily decreased since then, though I've been reading all the books and in the last two years, sort of following the fandom.
I'm still exceedingly fond of the first and third books; they remind me of the few things I got genuinely excited about when I was a lame middle schooler who had yet to discover real literature.
redfiona99
Jul. 20th, 2007 09:45 am (UTC)
I've got the first one in German, and do keep meaning to get the others, but they do have much nicer covers.

As to how I got started on Potter - I'd had various people recommend them, but didn't pay much attention until my form tutor, who was an English teacher, got dressed up as Harry Potter for the yearly 'English teachers dress up day'. She recommended it so strongly that I ended up picking up a copy of the first book and got hooked.
despotliz
Jul. 20th, 2007 10:04 am (UTC)
I was vaguely aware of the hype (it was around the time of Goblet of Fire that I remember noticing it), and then one day my dad came home with the first three. I read the first two and they were ok, but it was Prisoner of Azkaban that I really liked, and then I picked up GoF from the sixth form library and read it in a day. So this must be around 2001 that I started.
ninebelow
Jul. 20th, 2007 10:06 am (UTC)
I was in Huacachina in 2001 and I had just finished the last book in my bag - Guns, Germs And Steel - and was lent the first two HPs by a friend to keep me going. I now have no choice but to find out how it ends.
harwhon
Jul. 20th, 2007 10:13 am (UTC)
came here through tijsmans :)

You're absolutely right- Prisoner of Azkaban is such a good book (and even though the OotP-movie is much better when it comes to movie-making, Cuàron will always own me for making PoA). It's got my favourite characters, it's got such a wonderful plot and so much humour, even though it's quite a heavy book in itself.

How I came to read HP, you ask? I'm not really ashamed of admitting it, but as a true fan I probably should be. I really, really hated HP at first. I hadn't read the books and it was such a hype- I just couldn't understand why people would go berserk over books (I was young).
My sister-in-law was a fan of the books and when the movie came out, she dragged me along. And once I'd seen it, I was in love with the characters, of course. Went over to the library, got the first four books, read them in about a week's time and started writing fanfic :D

Never really stopped, that.
(Deleted comment)
harwhon
Jul. 20th, 2007 02:31 pm (UTC)
I'm rather in love with it, as well. I adore Remus in this movie, and Sirius as well. But I always adore them, so that's hardly anything new to you.

I'm taking the train in half an hour. I can't wait to see all of you again. Help me take my mind of DH. Amuse me.
smellingbottle
Jul. 20th, 2007 10:33 am (UTC)
We briefly made a living by dealing in children's books on e-bay - back in the day when you could get deluxe editions of HP here long before you could in the US. I started reading the stock.
abigail_n
Jul. 20th, 2007 10:55 am (UTC)
I saw some positive buzz about the first book on Amazon in '98 or '99, and filed it away. A few months later, I was visiting a friend in England and looking for a present for my brother, then 12. He's dyslexic, and my mother and I used to enjoy reading to him. HP seemed like a good fit. He was a little dubious, but by the we got to the Hogwarts school song we were all helpless with laughter and completely in love. Even though he's 20 and in the army, we've managed to keep up the tradition of reading the books to each other.
mizkit
Jul. 20th, 2007 11:14 am (UTC)
I picked up the first book in, let's see. My booklist tells me I read the first two books July 8 and 9, 2000. I found them to be perfectly adequate young adult fantasy, but nothing all that exciting, and my opinion hasn't changed. But I've read them all, and Ted and I will be going to pick up his reserved copy at midnight tonight, because we've never done that before and it sounds fun. :)
sammywol
Jul. 20th, 2007 05:25 pm (UTC)
Might see you there :)
mizkit
Jul. 20th, 2007 05:43 pm (UTC)
At Waterstone's?
sammywol
Jul. 20th, 2007 10:24 pm (UTC)
Actually Mr Wol has gone to bed with a sick headache so will not sneak out to the shops in case of him being left to deal with wakeful offspring. BAH! I hates my conscience sometimes.
rmc28
Jul. 20th, 2007 11:48 am (UTC)
I was home from university for a few days and got asked to take my baby brother to the bookshop to pick up his reserved copy of "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban". I was a bit bemused because so far I'd been the only bookworm of the children, but did so, and was astounded to see baby brother hooked on the book for the next n hours. This was pretty much the first I'd heard of this Harry Potter.

So I read the two books he already had, on the basis that if it could get him hooked, it was probably worth it.
frumiousb
Jul. 20th, 2007 12:38 pm (UTC)
I first read it several books into the series-- my sister finally persuaded me that I would enjoy it, and lent me the first three books. Not such an exciting story.
janegaudi
Jul. 20th, 2007 02:15 pm (UTC)
I first read it a couple of years ago when I was at uni. I enrolled in a series of literature workshops in which we focused on Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Our professor was one of the greatest I have ever known. He got tired of students huffing and puffing at the heavy literature that they got on their reading list and so he scheduled the opposite. It didn't bother him at all, and it made a very interesting subject to discuss simple principles. Sometimes I really miss uni :-)
liberaliser
Jul. 20th, 2007 03:02 pm (UTC)
I read the first three books under a banyan tree in Goa, Christmas 2000, which saved me from (increased) madness. Several of my friends there as well as *all* my female relatives were nuts about it, and by the end of page two, so was I. I now recommend it to (nearly) all my students, alongside Alexander McCall Smith and Bujold of course. And yes, the third is clearly the best, although I think 6 is a contender. But, elmyra: what plot hole?
My other half read the last page of DH online yesterday and gave me a two-word almost-spoiler before I could stop her, which resulted in my not speaking to her for half an hour.
Maybe I'll see some of you tonight at Sterling Books. :-)
andrewducker
Jul. 20th, 2007 04:47 pm (UTC)
sammywol
Jul. 20th, 2007 05:24 pm (UTC)
I was at an academic conference in Glasgow back in, erm, 1999 and there was a quiet buzz about Harry Potter. It was two American ladies who put me on to the books and I bought the first one to read on the plane home. I liked the first one, was less than impressed with the second and really got into the third. Like you I think Prisoner of Azkaban is the best book so far. It rather reminded me of an episode in Babylon 5 where we see the Shadows for the first time and Commander Sheridan asks 'Teach me how to fight them!' - ie. a lot of little details suddenly clicking into a place and real feeling of a major plot arc getting moving.
altariel
Jul. 20th, 2007 08:18 pm (UTC)
I was visiting my sister (primary school teacher), and picked something off the shelf to read in bed. Read the first three across the weekend (I don't think the fourth was out yet). I agree Azkaban is the best.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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