Slay the Opening Hook: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling
Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.
JK Rowling’s opening hook immediately ushers us into the ordinary world of the Dursley family, a suburban and “perfectly normal” setting. The juxtaposition of “normal” and the extraordinary universe of magic promises a journey that transcends the mundane.
Ques: Why do they declare—so tersely—that they are ‘normal’? Everybody is normal. Why the chip on the shoulder?
Ans: Because they were suspected of not being so.
Ques: But why were they so suspected?
Ans: Ah, wouldn’t YOU want to know?
The statement is stuffed to the gills with deplorable pomposity. If this is how the Dursleys talk, you know right away that Harry Potter will surely be having a thin time of his stay with them.
If Privet Drive was normal, the world Harry goes to is the opposite. Or is it the other way round? Examine the evidence.
The boy is an orphan and is ill-used by his only kin. He is looked upon with suspicion for no reason at all. To top it all, he lives in a cramped space under the stairs. Of all things, this shows clearly how little the Dursleys wanted him in their lives.
The opening’s assurance of normalcy serves as a canvas against which Harry’s transformation is brilliantly painted. The magic of Hogwarts, Quidditch matches, and spells casts a spell on readers, mirroring Harry’s own awe and wonder.
From humble beginnings on Privet Drive to the grandeur of Hogwarts, the hero’s journey was never told better.
Have you read the book(s)? Which one did you connect with the most? I hated it when Rowling killed off Sirius Black, didn’t you?
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