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15.7.11

À mon chevet: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

book cover
À mon chevet is a series of posts featuring a quote from whatever book is on my nightstand at the moment.
Harry turned over his trading card and read:

ALBUS DUMBLEDORE
Currently Headmaster of Hogwarts

Considered by many the greatest wizard of modern times, Dumbledore is particularly famous for his defeat of the dark wizard Grindelwald in 1945, for the discovery of the twelve uses of dragon's blood, and his work on alchemy with his partner, Nicolas Flamel. Professor Dumbledore enjoys chamber music and tenpin bowling.

Harry turned the card back over and saw, to his astonishment, that Dumbledore's face had disappeared.

"He's gone!"

"Well, you can't expect him to hang around all day," said Ron.

***

"Nicolas Flamel," [Hermione] whispered dramatically, " is the only known maker of the Sorcerer's Stone!"

This didn't have quite the effect she'd expected.

"The what?" said Harry and Ron.

"Oh, honestly, don't you two read? Look -- read that, there." She pushed the book toward them, and Harry and Ron read:

The ancient study of alchemy is concerned with making the Sorcerer's Stone, a legendary substance with astonishing powers. The stone will transform any metal into pure gold. It also produces the Elixir of Life, which will make the drinker immortal. There have been many reports of the Sorcerer's Stone over the centuries, but the only Stone currently in existence belongs to Mr. Nicolas Flamel, the noted alchemist and opera lover. Mr. Flamel, who celebrated his six hundred and sixty-fifth birthday last year, enjoys a quiet life in Devon with his wife, Perenelle (six hundred and fifty-eight).

-- J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone, pp. 102-103 / 219-20 (emphases mine)
I held off from reading any of the Harry Potter books when they came out, planning instead to read them to our kids when they got older. I started the first book with Master Ionarts some time ago, but he quickly grew frustrated with how slowly we were progressing and proceeded to devour the books on his own instead. Now that he has read them a few times and generally become obsessed with all things Harry Potter, he is tolerating me reading them to him. A hint: do not re-read a book with a 9-year-old boy if you have hang-ups about not wanting to know how everything -- literally, everything -- turns out in the end.

As for the excerpts quoted here, it probably goes without saying that the two best, smartest wizards in the books are devotees of classical music and opera. No word yet on whether Voldemort is obsessed with the music of Bach, as most psychopathic murderers inevitably are.

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