Title: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Author: J. K. Rowling
Genre: Children’s Fiction/Fantasy
Started: 3rd January 2016
Completed: 10th January 2016
Summary: Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy. He lives with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley, who are mean to him and make him sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. (Dudley, however, has two bedrooms, one to sleep in and one for all his toys and games.) Then Harry starts receiving mysterious letters and his life is changed forever. He is whisked away by a beetle-eyed giant of a man and enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The reason: Harry Potter is a wizard! – Amazon
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (known as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the US – please explain this to me) is the first book in the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. It was originally published in 1997 and has been a huge part of many people’s childhoods, including mine.
The edition that I’ve linked to is the edition that I read. They’re the signature editions from 2010 but the newer editions are beautiful too. I’ve recently bought the new editions and they’re just gorgeous.
The characters in Harry Potter are varied and wonderful. My favourite characters are the Weasley twins and I love their on-going toilet seat joke.
I think that Neville is a new favourite character of mine. I didn’t realise how great of a character he is in the first book until I re-read it this time. I love the little section about his sorting and how long it takes for him to be sorted. It’s just such a great moment when he’s sorted into Gryffindor because he thinks so little of himself and it breaks my heart. What a lovely character. I just want to hug him and tell him that he’s going to be a wonderful wizard.
I have to talk about the title character. I love Harry and his narration. He’s just so sassy. Even in the first book. I love it. I am not going to insert a GIF in a review for the first time because it sums Harry Potter’s character up.
Look at that eye-roll. That’s how Harry looks every time Snape speaks. You know it is.
I now need to take a moment to appreciate Oliver Wood’s dedication to Quidditch. He’s one of the only characters who doesn’t treat Harry like someone special. He just wants to beat Slytherin at Quidditch.
Snape’s speech in the Potions Master chapter is one of the best sections of the whole book. It’s perfectly menacing and if I was 11 years old it would terrify me. I wouldn’t want to learn how to put a stopper in death but or brew glory. That just sounds horrendous. I do like the sound learning about ‘the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes’ though. Harry’s internal monologue during this scene is amazing too. His voice is just perfect for a child his age. I’m sure I thought similar things when I was 11 and had just moved up to high school. Teachers ask impossible questions sometimes… A powdered what to an infusion of what?
Peeves is such a great comic character and I love the bit where Harry pretends to be the Bloody Baron to get passed Peeves. Also, the section between Filch and Peeves is wonderfully funny, “Shan’t say nothing if you don’t say please”.
Rowling’s mixture of humour and darkness makes this book thrilling and enjoyable. I love the writing style even though this book moves very quickly. Rowling introduces the Wizarding world perfectly and she doesn’t give too much away too soon. We learn with Harry and I really love that.
I have a few favourite quotes which need to be mentioned:
♦ “I never know,” Harry called to Hagrid over the noise of the cart, “What’s the difference between a stalagmite and a stalactite?”
“Stalagmite’s got an ‘m’ in it,” said Hagrid. – Chapter 5, Diagon Alley
♦ “Send him off, ref! Red card!” – Dean Thomas in Chapter 11, Quidditch
♦ “So light a fire!” Harry choked.
“Yes – of course – but there’s no wood!” Hermione cried, wringing her hands.
“HAVE YOU GONE MAD?” Ron bellowed. “ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT?” – Chapter 16, Through the Trapdoor
♦ “Now, you two – this year, you behave yourselves. If I get one more owl telling me you’ve – you’ve blown up a toilet or –”
“Blown up a toilet? We’ve never blown up a toilet.”
“Great idea though, thanks, Mum.” – Fred and George in Chapter 6, The Journey from Platform Nine and Three Quarters
Okay, so the main thing I dislike about this book, and all of the Harry Potter books, is Dumbledore. He really annoys me and he always will. He’s a terrible Headteacher and shouldn’t be allowed to be in charge of any school, never mind a magical school which borders a dangerous forest.
Also, I’m a Slytherin so I’m bitter about the House Cup.
Overall, I still love this book as much as I did when I was a child. I only gave it 4 stars because it’s very short and there’s not a lot of detail in the chapters. It seems to move too quickly. Oh, and I still don’t like Dumbledore.
I would definitely recommend this book. No matter what age you are you can always experience the magic of Harry Potter.
I was saddened by the news of Alan Rickman’s death on Thursday. He will live on in the hearts and minds of so many people, not just Harry Potter fans, but re-reading this series now feels like a farewell to Professor Snape.