Friday, September 5, 2014

Back to Hogwarts Week: First Lines

The first line of a book is always important. It sets the tone, gives a taste of the author’s style, and, most importantly, has to grab the readers interest. Sometimes a first line will be so fantastic that it’ll catch my attention as soon as I read it, other times I don’t notice it until I come back to it after reading the book. I think J.K. Rowling writes some of the best first lines in literature and that is clearly evident in her Harry Potter series.

“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”
I adore this line. It’s funny and odd and it sets the tone of the first chapter wonderfully.  I actually have it memorized and like to quote it at random times to show what a nerd I am.

“Not for the first time, an argument had broken out over breakfast at number four, Privet Drive.”
It certainly sets the tone of number four, Privet Drive. Also, “Not for the first time” gives us a glimpse of what Harry’s summer has been like so far.

“Harry Potter was a highly unusual boy in many ways.”
I love this line, it’s my second favorite out of the first line of the series. The whole paragraph is fantastic, actually, and I have it written down in my quote book. This first line catches the interest and the rest of the paragraph does a great job at reintroducing Harry, the world, and the Dursley’s. If someone had started with this book instead of number one I think this line is the perfect introduction to Harry.

“The villagers of Little Hangleton still called it “the Riddle House,” even though it had been many years since the Riddle family had lived there.”
It’s mysterious and sets up an entirely different setting with different people.

“The hottest day of the summer so far was drawing to a close and a drowsy silence lay over the large, square houses of Privet Drive.”
Not my favorite of the first lines because it doesn’t have the same character as the first books, but this line has really grown on me. Instead of focusing on a certain character Privet Drive itself is the character. This line is written so beautifully and I can see Privet Drive come alive in my imagination.

“It was nearing midnight and the Prime Minister was sitting along in his office, reading a long memo that was slipping through his brain without leaving the slightest trace of meaning behind.”
Again it’s introducing a different person and place then we’re used to, but like the first few it focuses on a person. I find this line kinda fun and quirky.

"The two men appeared out of nowhere, a few yards apart in the narrow, moonlit lane."
Mysterious, succinct, and dark. It has great imagery and sets the tone beautifully.
What are your favorite first lines from the Harry Potter series?


  1. Awwww! Reading all those first lines has me craving a series re-read now xD I think my favorite is the one from PoA. As a HUGE Harry fangirl, I adore how he's described there ♥ The first line from PS is impossible not to love because it's those words that introduced us to the Harry Potter Universe!!

  2. I love the first ones the best I think! I really like #1 and #3. I'm not such a fan of the mysterious gloomy ones...but I haven't got up to those HP books yet so maybe I'll change my mind when I'm there?! ;) I've only read the first 3 but I loved them so much! I just need more time to keep reading, lol!
    Thanks for stopping by @ Notebook Sisters!

  3. I like the ones from Goblet of Fire and the Deathly Hallows best. They're both really mysterious and make me want to read on. This really makes me want to read the books again.

  4. Ahhhh, definitely. “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” I actually used this on a card for Ambers birthday (but altered it a little for her), one of my favourites, along with the Deathly Hallows. Always love the last lines though, too. :)