I’m very excited to share with you a post written by a friend of Christina and I–Ellen! Make her feel welcome and enjoy her very insightful post on the merits of a reread! – Michelle
Stuck in the in-betweens of finishing a new read and deciding what to pick next? Consider the reread. Pick a book, any book that you’ve already read, and experience the story for a second, third, fourth, or nth
“But I already know how it ends!”
This is why the reread is important! Since you know where the story is going, you can spend more time focusing on the little details. Authors write symbols, imagery, and conversation for a reason, so pay less attention to plot or character development this time around, and find what is hidden in between the lines.
I’ll offer an example: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. At this point with all the books published and movies released, I really hope that a *SPOILERS* tag is unnecessary. I reread Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first book in the Harry Potter universe by J.K. Rowling, not too long ago and made specific notes on seemingly irrelevant details throughout the read.
Here are a few things you wouldn’t notice without the reread:
*I don’t have the book on me, but I have the Scholastic, 1st edition paperback version.
“It seemed to be a silver cigarette lighter. [Dumbledore] flicked it open, held it up in the air, and clicked it. The nearest street lamp went out with a little pop.” – pg. 9
Voila! The Deluminator! In the very first chapter of the very first book! If you have only seen the movies, the Deluminator appears in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 and is the gift Dumbledore leaves Ron in his will. It brings the ball of light that leads him back to Harry and Hermione.
“Filch knew the secret passageways of the school better than anyone (except perhaps the Weasley twins) and could pop up as suddenly as any of the ghosts” – pg. 133
Why do the Weasley twins know Hogwarts better than Filch? The Marauders’ Map – given to Harry in The Prisoner of Azkaban!
“Firenze saved me, but he shouldn’t have done so…Bane was furious…he was talking about interfereing with what the planets say is going to happen…They must show that Voldemort’s coming back…Bane thinks Firenze should have let Voldemort kill me…I suppose that’s written in the stars as well.” – pg. 260
This is very interesting quote and foreshadows quite a bit. If you are reading the book for the first time, it seems pretty imminent that Voldemort will return; however, on the reread after finishing the series, much more can be deciphered. We know the prophecy, “neither can live while the other survives,” and we learn later in the series that the Centaurs are expert star readers – they eventually teach at Hogwarts. So, put the two ideas together and you get…the Forbidden Forest after the Voldemort attack Hogwarts in Deathly Hallows.
I hope this gives you some ideas on what to look for when rereading your favorite novels or series. People tend to think that after you’ve read it once, the reread won’t be as exciting, but so much more story occurs in the fine details than what you first notice. In the A Song of Ice and Fire world, rereads have led to the most exciting theories about where George R.R. Martin could be leading the characters.