Review: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – JK Rowling

1 - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Adult's Cover

Harry Potter #1

Harry Potter is a young orphan who was dropped with his wretched family, the Dursleys, when he was a year old.  Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon hate Harry to death, and their son, Dudley, is a world class and seriously overweight bully. Harry dreams of escaping. Many strange things have happened to and around Harry over the years, completely inexplicable things, but odd nonetheless. Just before Harry’s eleventh birthday, he begins to receive letters addressed to him, right down to his living space under the stairs. These letters send his aunt and uncle into hysterics, and they refuse to let Harry read a single one. When the letters do not cease, but if anything, become more consistent, the Dursleys take him and run. He is discovered on their useless little island by Rubeus Hagrid, a massive giant of a man who hand delivers Harry’s letter to him himself. Harry is a wizard, set to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Harry sets off to start a new life in a new world with a whole new culture, and it is still a shock to his system. He meets a whole underground community of witches and wizards, and finds that he is somewhat of a celebrity. When Harry was a year old, Lord Voldemort entered his parents’ home to exterminate them, and when he turned to kill Harry, the curse rebounded on him, and he died. The reign of terror ended with his demise, and Harry is largely to thank for that. Harry needs to adapt, and is surprised and pleased all the time. On the Hogwarts Express, the school train, he meets his best friend, Ronald Weasley, and instantly finds his ultimate nemesis, Draco Malfoy.

Harry becomes a part of Gryffindor House, and is jubilant to not have fallen in with Slytherin, a house which turned out the most evil witches and wizards. The adventures keep coming when Harry is chosen for the Gryffindor Quidditch team, and he is elated, especially after receiving the superior Nimbus Two Thousand broomstick. No longer is Harry a nobody and someone to be bullied – in the magical realm, he is a hero. Their first year at Hogwarts will be filled with action and adventure. The students are informed that the third floor is off limits, and then start to notice very strange things – suspicious things are starting to happen at Hogwarts. Gringotts, the Wizarding Bank, was robbed the day Harry met his fortune in the bowels of it, and their Potions teacher, Professor Severus Snape, happens to have a dark past.

Whilst investigating a troll break-in, Harry and Ron need to rescue Hermione Granger, a know-it-all that they were not getting along with. After her rescue, the three become great friends. Snape is definitely up to something, and something is hidden within Hogwarts that is guarded by a massive three-headed dog named Fluffy, though what that may be, they do not know. Albus Dumbledore is an enigma, and he is there for Harry throughout – he rapidly becomes Harry’s mentor, and a man he respects immensely. As though the three did not have enough to worry about, Hagrid suddenly has a dragon that he won off of a stranger in a pub, whom he shared sensitive information with. Harry knows instinctively that Snape is going to make a play for whatever is hidden within the castle – he has all that he requires, and just needs to break the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Quirinus Quirrell, and then he will have all the answers.

Will the three friends figure out soon enough what is hidden within the school and find out why Snape wants it so desperately? What with slain unicorns in the Forbidden Forest and whispers of an elixir of life hidden deep within the walls, is someone attempting to assist the Dark Lord back into his former place of power? Will Quirrell be able to stand up to Snape?

GRADE 8This was such a massive part of my childhood. I have read this book so many times I almost know it word for word! This was fantastic for me. It was my adventure, my escape from reality, and it was a phenomenal one! J.K. Rowling knew what she was on about, and knew how to present it. The greatest thing about Potter is it is absolutely not reserved only for kids. Anyone can read it, and anyone can enjoy it (adults might battle a little bit through the first three, though, but after that – you are home free). The Invisibility Cloak that Dumbledore gave Harry was great, as it is such a big thing to do with so many things that are happening in the book as well as future stories. The story is tight, well written and wonderfully paced. The characters are excellent, the humour that Fred and George Weasley bring to the table is unforgettable, and the magical world that is laid out at your feet is breath-taking. Overall, the Potter series is one of my all time favourites, and there is not a single bad entry to it.

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20 thoughts on “Review: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – JK Rowling

    • Zoë says:

      Friend, I think you and I have the right to say that. We have been reading them for like… thirteen or fourteen years, and we have read them to the extent our originals frayed!

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  1. dbmoviesblog says:

    Great review. I love HP books, though in my opinion the best books are the first ones (1,2 and even 3), and from then on Rowling got a bit carried away (6th was excellent as well). I also think Rowling did not answer all of the questions in later books she unintentionally posed in first 4 books.

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    • Zoë says:

      Thank you!

      I thought the series was excellent, though I understand what you mean when you say that some questions just lingered. I had an absolute ball with all of them, I will admit it.

      Which was your favourite book of the series?

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      • dbmoviesblog says:

        You know, to be completely honest, the first book must be the best one, and thus will always remain my favourite. I mean, it just opened a different world, but in a way which was so amazing, its almost unbelievable. I was around 12 when it came out, and since then read it in a few other languages. However, I also like psychology, hidden motives, etc., and in that sense I loved Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince too. I think the most interesting character in the whole of the series is Severus Snape – his true persona was hidden from us, and no one ever guessed, and I love the way through Snape’s former textbook Harry begins to delve into Snape’s hidden thoughts and feelings in that books. Which one was your favourite?

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      • Zoë says:

        My favourite is most definitely The Order of the Phoenix. There was so much emotion going on, both good and bad. It was hilarious, it was aggravating, it was excruciating, it was happy, it was serious, it had everything going for it. I was about nine when I started reading Potter, and will always love The Philosopher’s Stone for changing my world around irrevocably.

        I love so much that goes into these books – the hidden motives and psychology is amazing, you are right. Snape will always be one of my all time favourite characters. You go from hating him, to pitying him, to identifying with him, to mistrusting him, to trusting him, to adoring him. His character growth is amazing, and one of the most intriguing characters to ever be written into a story.

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