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ShadowRose

Which HP book would you suggest to someone who's never read them?

Which book?  

14 members have voted

  1. 1. Pick one.

    • Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone
      8
    • Chamber of Secrets
      0
    • Prisoner of Azkaban
      5
    • Goblet of Fire
      0
    • Order of the Phoenix
      1
    • Half-Blood Prince
      0
    • Deathly Hallows
      0


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ShadowRose

So this tweet ended up being an INTENSE topic of conversation at my office today, and Emma suggested I turn it into a forum topic, so here we are. The question isn't which book is your favorite (because that thread already exists) but rather, which one you think makes the greatest contribution as a standalone piece. 

Cast your vote and share your reasoning!

 

Repurposing my argument from aforementioned office groupchat...

  • i kind of have two answers here, and they're for totally different reasons. if we're going based purely on the storyline, my vote is on prisoner of azkaban. especially if said person you're suggesting the book to has seen the movies, because there's so many good details that get totally skipped over in the movie. plus there's just a ton of backstories that get revealed in that one, but not to the point that you're so overwhelmed with information (like in half-blood prince, where i feel like jumping into that much backstory would just be confusing as hell). but if we're talking life lessons and overall takeaways, I'm going with order of the phoenix. it's definitely not my favorite book in the series, and yeah it's dark and dense and harry is pretty much angst™ personified throughout the entire thing, but there's so much to be unpacked in this book in particular, like the whole hermione-spew storyline that digs into some really important ethical questions about how we're often unintentionally complicit in these oppressive structures because we're so used to them that we just... don't question them. and there's a whole monologue from sirius about how people bought into voldemort's ideas before they realized what extents he was willing to go to achieve those ends that ultimately shows that the fact that they were passive observers to how the situation escalated makes them just as culpable for what happened as the people actually doing the killing. and the whole umbridge/ministry storyline is something i feel like i didn't appreciate enough as a kid but it's really such a significant thing, because it shows that "evil" doesn't always look like these big bad voldemort-esque supervillains - it's also people who subvert the system to achieve their own (still evil) ends, and that's something that extends way beyond the hp universe and it's really important - especially as a teenager or young adult still trying to understand how the world works - to see that just because the person isn't breaking the law or outwardly behaving in the ways that we traditionally define as "bad," that doesn't mean they can't be just as evil (if not even more so) as the stereotypical villain. not to mention the idea that you're never too young to fight against injustice and start up your own resistance, and even if people in power are dismissive of you initially, you're still capable of making them listen, which is, once again, a super powerful and important message.

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starbuck

maybe i'm being a 'percy weasley' but i couldn't recommend someone to start a series with a book that's not the first :P  it goes against my nature haha

but if i had to, i'd choose Prisoner of Azkaban because it gives you enough of a taste of what the whole world is about, gives you a little backstory and leaves you wanting more...so you'd have to read the rest ^_^

i do see your point with Order of the Phoenix, but i'd think it would have too many unfamiliar things to someone who hasn't read the previous books? if they'd seen the movies, then sure, they already know 95% of the story :hmm:

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adorably cute

Ohh fun topic! I chose prisoner of azkaban, because I think in terms of the books that's a great one to get a taste of the world and like you've both said, it gives a good amount of information without being overwhelming. Like, I also kind of agree about wanting to recommend the first book, because you would want to go in order, but I think prisoner of azkaban has a good story and is maybe a more fun read. So especially if I'm recommending the books to someone who's never read them (and is maybe a little hesitant to because I think at this point in time, anyone who hasn't read them mostly doesn't want to? at least in my personal experience), I think that's a good one to start with and then maybe tell them to go back to the first if they want/end up really liking it?

I think those are all great points about Order of Phoenix, but I also think all of those reasons might actually be why I would argue against making that the one I would recommend someone read first? I think all of those are details you start to gain appreciation for the more you read them and the series as a whole and I think they would just get lost in all of the details and plot in Order of the Phoenix and not really understood the way the they should be/in the depth that you've listed.

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Felpata_Lupin
1 hour ago, starbuck said:

maybe i'm being a 'percy weasley' but i couldn't recommend someone to start a series with a book that's not the first :P  it goes against my nature haha

I agree with this! When I first started reading Harry Potter GoF had just come out in Italy (I had seen the first movie already, though) and that was the first one I read, and then I went back and read the other three in random order... it still worked, but I feel like I missed something of the Harry Potter experience not reading from the start. So I guess I would suggest PS, just because it introduces to the world we've all come to love so much.

But I do think you all raise great points about PoA and OotP... and probably my other choice would be PoA as well, for all the reasons you already listed (and because it is my favourite... :P)

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magicmuggle01

Even though the first one I read was the third one, I would recommend starting with the first one so that the flow wasn't interrupted.

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juls

Since it's a series, I recommend the first - then the rest, in order. ❤️

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aelaia

One of my best friends in the entire universe who I adore and love completely has never read the philosopher's/sorcerer's stone.

She absolutely loves the whole HP universe and frequently joins me with my obsessive discussions about it but I routinely tell her she just has to read the first book.

As the first in the series I believe it truly sets the scene to the entire wizarding world as Harry knows it and all his trials and tribulations of being 11. It delves into his earlier years with the Dursley's and as I frequently remind her she's missed out of a lot of the earlier content from missing the first book.

Also I'm a bit of a perfectionist/completionist and I truly believe in starting from the beginning and continuing till you reach the end.

(absolutely love this topic by the way!)

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scooterbug8515

I am with others in you have to start at the beginning.  You just got to start there it makes the build ups all the more and it's the beginning.  Now, do see the arguments for POA and OOTP.  Now if a person says they are ever only going to read one book from the series and one book alone PoA hands down.  It has great pacing, has a lot of layers and amazing details and yet doesn't leave a reader lost to back story as it is built up in this anything you need from previous books is outlined enough to not leave you lost and in the dark.  Books after this don't review as it were.

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