Kristen: A History

So, you've stumbled across my "About Me" section. Rather than bore you with fun facts about myself (which you can already find on my other blog and/or my social media accounts), I decided to share my personal history with the Harry Potter series, to provide a little context to this blog and to prove that yes, I do in fact know my stuff.

Let's turn our time turners all the way back to fall of 2004 (which is technically impossible as time turners can't go back that far, but I digress). In fall of 2004, 10 year old Kristen picked up Harry Potter for the first time. Like many kids at the time, I was not initially allowed to read the series. I grew up in a religious household, and though my parents had no problem with fantastical fiction, a person from church had told them that there was devil worship in the series. To this day, I have no clue where they got that from, but that info on its own was enough for my parents to make me steer clear of the series until fall of 2004 when my curiosity overcame me.

Unfortunately, I don't have any sort of actual story surrounding this first time reading the series. I don't even have a clear memory of my first time reading the first couple books. My earliest clear Harry Potter memory is of reading Prisoner of Azkaban while in the car on the way to my grandparents' house for Christmas that year. So despite knowing that I read the first 5 back to back, I have no real idea when I first started the series. Half-Blood Prince was released the following summer and I went to a midnight release for the book. When Deathly Hallows was released I was travelling (much to my own horror) and couldn't go to a midnight release. But I did buy the book ASAP the next morning and spent the whole day reading it. I've also, of course, seen the movies copious times as well. I went to midnight premieres of both Deathly Hallows movies and saw 4-6 within days of their release.

I really wish I'd kept track over the years as to how many times I've re-read each book. I'm awful at reading the series all the way through. Since I already know everything that happens, I'll often just pick up books 6 & 7 and re-read them since they're my favorites. Or, I'll start the series and decide to read the whole thing only to read the first 3 and then take a break... which turns into me not finishing a full re-read of the series. I did do a full re-read in the summer (mostly June) of 2014, which is my most recent read of the series before doing this blog. Just for some sort of point of reference, here's a rough estimate of the number of times I've read each of the books:

Sorcerer's Stone: 5-7 times
Chamber of Secrets: 5-7 times
Prisoner of Azkaban: 5-7 times
Goblet of Fire: 3-5 times
Order of the Phoenix: 3-5 times
Half-Blood Prince: 10-12 times
Deathly Hallows: 5-7 times

Like I said, these are just estimates. At the very least, even if they aren't accurate, they're at least accurate relative to each other. I've read the first 3 pretty much the same number of times, I've read 4 & 5 the least because they're in the middle and so long, and I've read 6 & 7 quite a bit because they're my favorites in the series.

I also, of course, have seen the Very Potter Musicals, which are beautiful and perfect and wonderful. I've also played several of the video games as well, my favorite being the Order of the Phoenix game because of how open world it was. I still have Harry Potter Scene It! lying around somewhere, but it's been ages since I've played it, because everyone refuses to play with me.

I also talk about the Harry Potter series quite a bit on my YouTube Channel. I filmed a video last year for my birthday, just answering Harry Potter related "tag" questions, another video that served as my WWoHP experience/haul video, a video this year on my birthday ranking the books, and several more. Seriously, if you're curious, check out my channel and just search Harry Potter on there. There's a lot of content.

Also, on my other blog, From Kristen's Brain..., I have an unfinished HP fanfic. I'll leave a link to it here if you're curious. It's not great but I'm a sucker for drama so there's a lot of it in there.

So, if I haven't made it clear already, I'm obsessed. I fell in love at age 10 and 12 years later, I've just fallen more in love. What also helps this obsession is that I have a really great memory. If I'm paying attention (and with Harry Potter, I'm always paying attention), I'll have a really strong recollection of what I've read. I may not be able to tell you every single character name that has ever been mentioned on the pages of the Harry Potter series, but I'm one of "those" annoying fans who will take a "super difficult" trivia quiz and get 50/50. I have several books that are analyses of the series, from a chapter by chapter analysis that I'll be reading alongside the series for this read-through, to a book that speculated what would happen in book 7 (which I bought used after the 7th book was out because it was like $25 brand new).

I say aaaaall of that to say that I consider myself somewhat of a Harry Potter scholar. I love learning more about the series, re-reading it, and delving more deeply into it. Outwardly, I would never call myself a Harry Potter expert because that just sounds really braggy. Outwardly, I also wouldn't call myself the Stephen Colbert of Harry Potter, because again-- braggy. Inwardly, however, my brain likes to put me on that level. At the very least, I think it's not a stretch to say that I'm more of an expert on Harry Potter than I am on music... which I have an actual degree in.

After all of this obsession with Harry Potter, I've never done an in-depth reading of the series. So, I've decided to turn it into a whole series, detailing each chapter. This deeper reading is less of a literary analysis and more of a fan project. Essentially, I want to gain a deeper understanding into the series-- recall forgotten moments, pick up on the brilliant foreshadowing, etc-- instead of deconstructing Jo's writing and analyzing it from that aspect.

So, if you also love Harry Potter like I do, join me for this super exciting (at least for me) analysis of the Harry Potter series. And, if you're new to the series, read along with me! At this point, I want to have sections of each post specifically for people reading the series for the first time, only discussing things at that point in the series and earlier, so as not to spoil anyone for later books. Also, as you might've noticed from this page, I'm a bit long-winded. But, I promise that I'm going to try to keep my best to keep the actual posts succinct and to the point. Operative word there is try. Either way, I hope everyone else is as excited about this as I am, and I hope you'll all keep the discussion going in the comments!

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