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September 24, 2014 10:56 AM   Subscribe

How can I make my Harry Potter reading experience super awesome?

I just began reading the Harry Potter series and I want to fully immerse myself in the experience. I'm going to take advantage of everything the Pottermore website has to offer. Are there any other websites, Youtube videos, books, etc. that can enrich my experience?
posted by Triumphant Muzak to Grab Bag (22 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Listen to Stephen Fry read them to you. He gives each character a unique voice/accent, and he's so engaging that you don't notice the occasional infelicities in the language.
posted by suelac at 11:03 AM on September 24, 2014 [8 favorites]

Check out the Muggles Guide.
posted by kdern at 11:11 AM on September 24, 2014

Try some Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans. Warning: They are disgusting.
posted by mbrubeck at 11:16 AM on September 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

I honestly don't care for any Harry Potter-related stuff except the books. The movies are OK. But just reading the books in one long marathon is pretty awesome and I would do that.
posted by stoneandstar at 11:18 AM on September 24, 2014 [13 favorites]

The popular Mark Reads blog originally became well known in part due to his Potter re-read. Tor.com is also doing a big Potter re-read. You might enjoy reading those along with the books, it's like being in a book club without the work of organizing one.

Pottermore's interface made me want to become a deatheater and it's largely directed at children, but have fun if you enjoy it. If you want the content but not the interface some of it is rehosted around the web, though that tends to draw takedown notices and disappear.

As a reference the Potter Wiki is extensive, and usually clear about what's book-canon and what's from Pottermore/the videogames/etc.

If you like additional analysis there are years worth of essays on the HP lexicon, Leaky Cauldron, and Mugglenet (see the "discussions" and "specialty sites" tabs)

The main Harry Potter subreddit is generally a well-behaved place and it sometimes has some really neat content. Also new users asking the same questions that have been asked 5 billion times but hey...

Makani is an amazing fan artist, though a lot of the older stuff has been taken down and is harder to find these days. There are many MANY others, browse around on tumblr or deviantart.
posted by Wretch729 at 11:19 AM on September 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

One thing about the series is that it's very re-readable. I read it as it was released, and then just went back and re-read the whole thing last week. I found more depth, allegory, humour (and continuity errors!) on the second go-round. I think it's such a lovely reading experience that I'd encourage you to just read it straight, as the author intended. I mean, Infinite Jest it is not.

Personally I'd save all the additional available stuff for after, when you are bereft that the experience is over. Or maybe for the last book, which is... dark... and when it might be nice to delve into studies on, for example, the Wizarding economy for some light relief.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:23 AM on September 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

My personal hack has been, and is, time: savour every sentence. This was helped by nighttime reading sessions and some good scotch accompanied with slices of apples.
Other than that, one could google ALL the names and things (early hits are mostly wikipedia and the potter wiki, but that's fine actually). Somehow I feel that reading should be pure and that one should try to create the images inside one's own mind, however.
posted by Namlit at 11:26 AM on September 24, 2014

Saw the Stephen Fry audiobook suggestion, and I would add the Jim Dale versions, as well. When I listened to them, I had already read the books, but I often found myself sitting in the driveway, completely engrossed in Dale's reading. Amazing.
posted by jenny76 at 11:27 AM on September 24, 2014 [6 favorites]

Based on your posting history, you may enjoy the well-known fanfic Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. Do not read it until after you've read (and possibly re-read) the entire original series.
posted by mbrubeck at 11:27 AM on September 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

You should read it once and then re-read it. After you read it through the first time, then do all your in depthing. Then you'll really super enjoy when you re-read it.

So many of the good bits are things you won't even realize are good bits until the books are all over.

One example of a good bit: the first words Snape says to Harry.
posted by phunniemee at 11:29 AM on September 24, 2014 [5 favorites]

I would just read it through first (with like, a week's break in between each book to allow at least a little suspense to build), then do all of this other stuff on the second reading. Because you're doing this in 2014, these sorts of HP-geekdom resources are not made with avoiding spoilers in mind. You've probably already encountered a lot of HP spoilers since you're, you know, a person on the internet, don't make it worse for yourself. Read them, enjoy them as great stories, let yourself adventure with and worry for and grow to love the characters - and then go back and geek out over McGonagall's backstory on Pottermore.
posted by lwb at 11:39 AM on September 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Definitely follow it with the Methods Of Rationality, so much good.

Also, Hogwarts is now doing distance learning online courses, so anyone can sign up: http://www.hogwartsishere.com/about/.

I haven't found any spoilers yet, but I'm only a second year, it's mostly all about the Potions essays.
posted by symphonicknot at 11:39 AM on September 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Nthing that the books are immersive enough just read through as is. I did love the audiobooks, though.

I have to put in a mention for Wizard People, Dear Reader. It's tongue-in-cheek and totally non-canon, and one of the most brilliantly funny things that has ever been.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:42 AM on September 24, 2014 [10 favorites]

Please do what DarlingBri suggests.

Skip the movies, etc. until you've formed your own images in your head.

If you have a kid or can find a library program for reading to kids (some libraries even have programs for reading to dogs), do that. The point is that not reading to someone else means you may accidentally gloss over stuff that's really fun to read.

Suggestions for savoring each sentence are great, and these are ways you can't possibly skim or skip past a sentence.

posted by whoiam at 12:12 PM on September 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Um kind of embarrassing but with one of my friends, we read Book 6 one chapter at a time and talked in between. (I guess the embarrassing part is that we did this over ~24 hours.) It was really fun and a bit silly and meant we heard about things the other had noticed and made some fun predictions - the predictions being particularly enjoyable to make since Rowling is great at leaving little clues and red herrings. If you have a friend who'd be up for it, that could be great! Even if it's just a book chat after each book, rather than each chapter!
posted by violetish at 1:18 PM on September 24, 2014

Once you've read book four, try listening to Harry and the Potters. (No link because the songs are full of spoilers, but their self-titled album was released in between the fourth and fifth books.)
posted by mskyle at 1:38 PM on September 24, 2014

Make butterbeer.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:41 PM on September 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

You could set up a reading space that puts you IN the harry potter world.
Act like a kid trying to get away with a secret project unnoticed. Maybe you don't have a closet under the stairs, but maybe you can designate a desk as your Hogwarts dorm reading desk, and/or read under the sheets at night (with an illuminated wand?), snacking on Bertie Botts every flavour [mini jelly-bellies], sandwiches wrapped in brown paper, and/or have a physical map on hand, (or a replica Marauder Map?), get an old-fashioned journal, take notes in it with a quill, get frustrated trying to sharpen the nib, inadvertently make a big mess with the ink. Hide your books under the mattress. They're secret. Use candles. Etc.

I'm not really suggesting costume or dressing YOU up, but rather having the things around you be evocative, a reading space (and state of mind) that is not sorely out of place with what is unfolding in your head. Live it while you experience it.
posted by anonymisc at 2:23 PM on September 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Piggybacking. ...what accent is Fry using for Tonks and her dad?

Fry doesn't give McGonagall or Ernie MacMillan Scottish accents and he doesn't use the right pitch for Kreacher.
posted by brujita at 2:29 PM on September 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Piggybacking. ...what accent is Fry using for Tonks and her dad?

I was curious about Tonks & her dad's accent as well (I listen to Fry's reading of the whole series ~yearly) and did a little research. The consensus seems to be that they're closest to a Lancashire accent, but really a hodgepodge of all sorts of accents including Fry's own Norfolk.

Stephen Fry himself describes it thus:

"I mean, there are characters like Tonks which, for some reason, I just instinctively felt she had that slightly sort of Burnley, you know, Jane Horrocks sort of accent." From this interview.
posted by moons in june at 4:51 PM on September 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks....my quibble with Dale is that he gives Narcissa, Andromeda and Bellatrix French accents; Bellatrix married a Frenchman, but the sisters are British.
posted by brujita at 6:43 PM on September 24, 2014

The Chapter Titles Were So Good is a short weekly podcast by a group of college-aged dudes who read and discuss Harry Potter chapter by chapter. I like it because they reflect on how they felt about reading HP for the first time as young adults as compared to their readings now. Their discussions range from "How would this magic work IRL?" and "Hermione's the greatest!" all the way to "What is Jo Rowling trying to teach these kids?" and "Is Ron classist?"

I love this silly podcast. They just finished with Order of the Phoenix and I read along.
posted by RisforKickin at 6:31 AM on September 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

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