So. I'mma get this out of the way: I haven't read a lot of HP criticism (although I might START. I find the mixture of high-brow snoot and popularism in these sorts of things to be scandalously delicious), but I read a bit one time about the risk Dumbledore ran putting Harry with the Dursleys, and how there was, like, a one-in-ten chance he'd turn out Brave and Heroic and Humble and a nine-in-ten chance he'd become a murdery rager from the years of abuse.
It was a close call.
So THAT kind of tainted this first half for me because I couldn't stop thinking about what a dumb idea it was (and then getting all mad whenever Hagrid was like, You don't know who you are? and Bad luck you ending up with a couple of muggles, because I'm all like, NOT KNOWING WHO HE WAS WAS THE POINT AND ALSO NOT BAD LUCK OH MY GOD DUMBLEDORE DID IT ON PURPOSE AND THAT IS THE OPPOSITE OF LUCK).
Moving on! I started reading these after maybe the fourth book came out, and all my early-20-somethings friends were like What rubbish so I gave it a go and when I came across Mr and Mrs Dursley, the former of whom had 'hardly any neck' but the latter who made up for it by having 'nearly twice the usual amount of neck,' I LAUGHED and LAUGHED. That description right there is why I always say that the books are so well-written (even though sometimes They Are Not). Ibid when Hagrid shows up with his feet 'like baby dolphins.' MS ROWLING CAN DESCRIBE A THING.
Moving on some more. Ok so Dumbledore puts all the street lights out with the 'Put-Outer,' and I just finished watching Game of Thrones with Joel, who scorns fantasy, and I'm all like, Melisandre is the Red Priestess of the god R'hllor and she's helping Stannis win his throne from Joffrey, but Daenarys might take it with the help of her dragons and her Dothraki horselords if she can cross the Narrow Sea, after saying a bunch of stuff like THAT it's a relief to be like, This is a Put-Outer and it puts out the lights. It eases you in before all the Expecto Patronum shit.
Bits That Have Given Me Feels:
Kind of nothing so far? Except the appearance of Neville because we know how that turns out.
And then for whatever reason I teared up when Mrs Weasley shows up at the train station because that scene in the last movie
Yes, that one. I don't know, things about daughters make me gloopy.
TIME TO GO FIND MY EREADER.