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Yes, I'm very much behind the times on this one but I have never read any of the Harry Potter books or watched any of the movies in full (we do have the first film on a Thai VCD but it always stops playing during the Quidditch match scene).  With the release of the seventh book a few weeks back and the resulting media coverage (not to mention my sister sending me photos of my nephew during a book release party — he's the spitting image of Harry), I decided that it was time to find out what all the fuss has been about.

However, I've put my family on a rather severe budget and wasn't able to justify buying the hardcover of Deadly Hallows (at a minimum of 850 baht in the local bookshops) and I can't seem to find any of the earlier novels in either paperback or hardback.  I'm sure I can find the DVD's in the markets but these are always hit-and-miss with either poorly-dubbed Thai soundtracks (and really bad English subtitles) or pirated camera-in-the-theater renditions.  I thought about asking for some Potterian Christmas gifts but I simply couldn't wait that long.  Then I thought to search for downloads on my favorite BitTorrent search engine.  Voila!  Not only did I download all seven books in nice PDF versions (OCR scans, but they seem mostly accurate) but I'm currently downloading iPod-ready versions of all five movies.

I printed out Chapter One of The Philosopher's Stone this morning and read it during lunch today.  I enjoyed it and am looking forward to immersing myself in Harry Potter during my free time in the upcoming weeks...