Friday, August 11, 2017

Reliving the Magical Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Once again before we dive into the blog be sure to vote for my talented photography of a sister during the "It's Amazing Out There" Photo contest by The Weather Channel. You can find her photo via this link: if this doesn't work just search for "Butterfly and the Dandelion" you can vote everyday so go vote for my sister she deserves to win this!

“Did you ever make anything happen? Anything you couldn’t explain when you were angry or scared?” These words were spoken by a half giant half hairy man known as Hagrid to a little boy who would soon learn he has the potential to be one of the greatest Wizards of all time, Harry Potter. If you’re a muggle and not interested in Harry Potter leave now but if you are interested, keep reading as I take you into the beginnings of this magical series.

Harry Potter is a fantasy novel series turned movie written by J.K. Rowling featuring the life of a young boy whose name is the namesake of the series. This book originally released in 1997 by the name of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” would soon release in America by the name of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” which has become a lifetime favorite series of me and my family. After years of work (And I mean years J.K. Rowling started work on this book in 1990) Harry Potter become a phenomenal success and spawned a just as phenomenal movie series by the same name. This movie adaptation released in 2001 and to my knowledge we experienced Harry Potter both the book and the movie around the same time. I mean Harry Potter was already widely popular with four books released but this movie prompted us to get both the movie and the book.

Funny story short we still actually have our original book, of course it’s a little tatted up but it’s been well loved, I think this might be a re-release specifically for the movie which released at the same time as the cover is not the original American cover.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was directed by Chris Columbus, who was famous for Directing Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire at the time as well as writing Gremlins and The Goonies. This movie really captured the magic the Wizarding World kept secret in the heart of England. Just a train ride away was a school where growing Wizards learn how to control their magic, cast spells and experience wonders beyond their imagination known as Hogwarts. At the same time hiding from the non magic folk known as muggles, but they seem to handle this muggle issue just fine however, without much of a fuss.

For the most part the book was translated faithfully into this movie without too much difference in detail. Some more minor characters were left out from the first book but the characters that really left an impact are in this movie and the actors who portrayed them are absolutely perfect, bringing the characters onto the big screen.

© 2001 - Warner Bros. - All Rights Reserved

This story, just like the magical book, starts in a cubboard under the stairs in house on Privet Drive. Harry Potter (Played by Daniel Radcliffe is a 10 year old boy soon to turn 11; he lives with his Uncle Vernon Dursley (Played by the late Richard Griffiths), a big beefy man who is a the director of a successful drill-making firm, Grunnings. Harry also lived with Vernon’s wife Petunia Dursley (Played by Fiona Shaw), Harry’s Mother’s Sister. Finally Dudley Dursley, the only child of Vernon and Petunia and Harry’s Cousin, Dudley is spoiled rotten by his parents and usually gets away with anything, including bullying poor Harry. Harry has lived with this bunch of muggles since he was only an infant after his parents were killed by He Who Should Not Be Named, the central antagonist of the entire series making him the Boy Who Lived, this would also be just as vital to the story. 

© 2001 - Warner Bros. - All Rights Reserved

Really the Dursleys were the worst kinds of muggles imaginable but Harry struggled through. 

© 2001 - Warner Bros. - All Rights Reserved

Sure enough after a ton of letters was visited by Hagrid, the big, burly but friendly giant of a wizard Harry discovered the world of Wizards and attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. With new friends in Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and a rival of sorts in Draco Malfoy the boy was in for the magical ride of his life.  

© 2001 - Warner Bros. - All Rights Reserved

The teachers of Hogwarts are just as important as the kids however with Albus Dumbledore (Richard Harris), one of the most famous and powerful wizards of all time and holding some deep secrets, as the headmaster. Students in Hogwarts are sorted into 4 houses, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. Apparently according to Pottermore I am a true Ravenclaw, which is pretty awesome. 

© 2001 - Warner Bros. - All Rights Reserved

Three of the teachers featured prominently in this movie are Professor McGonagall (Played by Maggie Smith) the Deputy Headmistress and Head of Gryffindor House as well as being the teacher of Transfiguration. (Also can turn into a cat)

© 2001 - Warner Bros. - All Rights Reserved

Professor Snape, the hooked nose and long dark haired potion master (Played by the late Alan Rickman) also plays a role that becomes vital in the later movies/books. He is the head of Slytherin House and has something against Harry for some reason…

© 2001 - Warner Bros. - All Rights Reserved

Finally Professor Quirrell, the twitchy Professor of the Defense Against the Dark Arts. A brilliant Scholar but nerve wrecked Quirrell plays a big role in this first movie and apparently had an encounter with a vampire. He wears a turban for reasons unknown.

Another character that was memorable for me was Filch, the school caretaker who knows every nook and cranny, the inside and out of Hogwarts better than anyone who has ever stepped foot in the castle. He also has a cat named Mrs Noris who he is greatly attached too and also acts as a monitor/spy for Filch. Filch is played by David Bradley who’s more recently popular for his role on Game of Thrones and apparently I found out recently he’ll be playing as the First Doctor in the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas Special, which is pretty awesome. William Hartnell was the original actor to portray the Doctor but with him passing a long time ago David Bradley may have been a perfect pick to portray the man.

When digging into these films I sure do love to see what the actors who portray these characters have done in other roles so it’s a reoccurring thing for me to mention these other roles here and there. I mean I could go on and on about what the awesome Dame Maggie Smith has done in her life time, such as Jean Brodie in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. I have come across a discovery that shocked me. While watching Midsummer Murders, a popular British murder mystery show and made popular over here by the means of Netflix (I think I’ve seen it enough to be a fan as well.) 

© 2001 - Warner Bros. - All Rights Reserved

I realized Elizabeth Spriggs who played the Fat Lady in Harry Potter who you must tell the secret password too before entering Gryffindor’s common room actually played two characters on Midsomer Murders but here’s the funny part. 

Iris Rainbird a suspect in the very first Episode of Midsomer Murders but comes back to play the sister of Iris Rainbird in a 2006 Episode which sort of connects with the original first episode, thought that was cool for some reason.

© 2001 - Warner Bros. - All Rights Reserved

I don’t think I can express enough how great this story and movie is and how much it’s impacted my life. I can’t count how many times my family and I have watched this movie or read the books. It’s got a wonderful story that spans 7 books and 8 movies and I can’t name a single character that hasn’t made an impact. Even the supporting characters or one off characters have etched their way into my mind and they couldn’t have picked better actors to portray them. As a writer who is looking to soon publish his first book Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling I can say have been a magical inspiration that really can’t be described that easily.

Harry Potter hasn’t just impacted myself it has impacted a world of wizards, with one of the largest communities in the world Harry Potter, despite its main series having concluded, continues to be a huge topic in conversations regarding books and movies. For a book aimed at YA it seems to have impacted people of all ages. I can actually remember my sister and I playing make believe wizards when we were really young, pretending we were actually attending Hogwarts, using our school textbooks as spell books.

Oh yeah many years ago we ended up getting this Harry Potter bookmark set which came with some really cool, well bookmarks. 

Apparently you could get this and a few others in a box set of sorts but I’m not sure if these exact ones I have here did or not, I do remember seeing the Snitch one though but couldn’t find it for this photo. The first bookmark here is a Broomstick, a Nimbus 2000, Harry's Broom in the books and movie the second the Golden Snitch and the 3rd I believe is the prophecy featured in the later movies. Pretty cool, huh?

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is just an introduction to 6 more books and 8 more movies so in a way this will be part 1 of 7 blogs that I’ll be writing as I re-watch the Harry Potter movies and re-read the books, which trust me won’t take my family and I long to do so. While the movie is quite faithful to the book I highly recommend you read the book either first or after watching the movie, there’s a lot more detail the movie couldn’t capture so you’ll be able to experience the Harry Potter world in much more depth in you would just watching the movie, plus the book came first and is the original story so it’s only natural to read the book.

For those who don’t own this movie or used to on VHS or DVD and want to get an upgraded digital copy (Which we’ve had to do since we owned the first three movies on VHS) you can do so via iTunes!

Also for the book you can buy it via Amazon Kindle for all of your mobile and computer devices here:

Don't forget to check out for more Harry Potter! J.K. Rowling has released a lot of awesome tidbits and stories from within the Wizard World so you'll have even more to read once you finish the books!

Before we wrap up for the day I have some more magical items to discuss, knitting. 

I’m still working on my little knitted pouch from earlier and I’m just about finished. I’ve finished the main body and now I’m working on this little flap that will go over top, closing up the pouch. This pouch will be used for my video camera’s remote which will hopefully stop me from losing this now that I actually got the remote working finally. When I’ve finished this flap I’ll be attempting something I haven’t before, it’s been awhile since I’ve dove into a new technique but I’ll be doing a three stitch attached icord on the edge of this flap, which will include a loop that will go over a button I’ll be sewing on. This kind of icord is a bind off that is usually used to finish off sleeves or armholes in general but you can use it to add loops as well. I’ll let you guys know more about that when I get there.

Until then before I leave I have the FREE knitting pattern of the day to share. If you own the physical copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Which you can get also from the Amazon link above)  you’ll want a bookmark, right? Well get ready for the “Harry Potter Bookscarf” by Laura K. Miller.

This is an awesome looking bookmark, actually I had never considered making a knitted bookmark but this is actually a great idea. You’ll need some US 0 – 2.0 MM knitting needles and some lace weight yarn in the Hogwarts house choice of color. Other than that this seems like an easy knit though I’ve never added tassel to something before other then my little brother’s blanket. You can check out this pattern here:

This was ZAK Entertainment

See you on Monday.

Ten points for Gryffindor!

[Photo Credits: ZAK Entertainment, Warner Brothers, J.K. Rowling, Laura K. Miller.]

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