This weekend I re-read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K.Rowling. I had read the book over a decade ago and wanted to improve my memory on some of the details as my students this year love the Harry Potter stories.
My re-read of this well-known story was made even more interesting because I spent time with the illustrated version of the novel. J. K. Rowling’s story has been illustrated beautifully by Jim Kay and I loved looking at the paintings that accompany the text.
I spent my weekend immersed in the land of Hogwarts and the world of Harry. This extra long picture book brought me so much joy. How I wish many more stories were illustrated in this way.
This weekend I definitely had a smile on my face while reading. Both the story and the illustrations in my read brought a smile to my face.
Have you seen the illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone?
There are times that I breathe a sigh of relief that I do not live in the Middle Ages. And I mean that literally! I am currently reading Follett’s World Without End and one particular character stands out for me. Claris: a girl born into a family of wealth, but not gentry. A girl whose mother dies when she is young; bringing with the death a desire to understand illness, and a desire to help heal people.
In today’s society, Claris would have been able to follow her heart and study in the medical field to be a doctor or a nurse. However, in medieval society the monks were the physicians; and women were in danger of being hung as witches for preparing medicines that could cure patients or give them relief from pain.
The options available to women in modern society are far greater than they were in the 1300s; and I, for one, am grateful that I have the freedom to choose how I want my life to progress.As I am reading Follett’s novel, I can understand the frustrations that the character Claris experiences. Not many options are open to her as a woman: she can marry and have children; or she can enter a nunnery. Women who were peasants, worked the land beside their husband with their children in tow. Women of landed gentry, ran the household. Women of merchants learned the trade of their husbands, and took over the business if their husband died. A young girl, however, could not decide on a career as young girls do today. Girls and women in the Middle Ages did not go to university or college. Nor did they travel the world before settling down to work, marry and make the decision to have children.
Would you have been content to be a woman in the Middle Ages?