“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies- but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.”
Good morning! Today marks the start of the two-week Harry Potter book review marathon. I’ve challenged myself to publish 7 book reviews over the course of 14 days, so I must confess- this book review was written just under a month before it was published. Nevertheless, here are my thoughts on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
Harry Potter has been my favorite book series of all time- and ever since I finished the series I have been re-reading each book, watching every movie, and hunting for Harry Potter merchandise. That says something.
You may find some of these surprising, but my top three favorite characters (besides Harry, Ron, and Hermione) are Professor Dumbledore, Professor Mcgonagall, and Draco Malfoy. Why Malfoy? Every character in Harry Potter was so well-developed and each had very intricate personalities. These characters are what made the Harry Potter series so great- along with many other things, of course- and particularly Malfoy, Dumbledore, and Mcgonagall, along with the main trio of characters had very strong personalities and were portrayed excellently throughout the series.
When I began reading this book, I was introduced to two of these characters. We find Professor Mcgonagall seated on a brick wall in her animagus form of a cat, watching the house of Vernon and Petunia Durseley, and in their mind, their family couldn’t be any more perfect- in their mind. Earlier that morning, Vernon had noticed the cat Mcgonagall seated on the wall- but forces himself not to think of it, until he noticed numerous people dressed in strange cloaks walking around downtown. Why were they dressed this way? Well, the previous night, a dark wizard named Lord Voldemort broke into the house of Lilly and James Potter, killing both Potters- except for their infant son- Harry Potter. Somehow, Harry managed to escape with only a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead. So, if Harry survived, what happened to Voldemort? Well, let’s say that all that remained was a soul- which, in Harry Potter, plays a big role in several events; for a soul, even without a body, can still possess another body, until, per se, a certain dark wizard could return to power.
After watching the unfortunate mishappenings of the Dursely house, and hearing strange reports on the Muggle news about Voldemort, Mcgonagall is soon joined by Albus Dumbledore. Dumbledore confirmed the rumors Mcgonagall had heard- Lilly and James Potter were dead and Harry Potter had mysteriously survived- and would soon be arriving with Harry. And soon enough, a large motorbike appeared from the sky with a small bundle of blankets, which would be left on the doorstep along to hopefully persuade the Durseley family to care for Harry until the time was right.
They certainly took him in, but as for caring for Harry, well, caring might not be the right word. We now move forward several years later, where Dudley is celebrating his birthday. Somehow, Harry finds himself on his way to the zoo (Dudley, detesting Harry, didn’t want Harry to come, but due to unforeseen circumstances wasn’t able to stay with the neighbor, Mrs. Figgs.) with Dudley’s friend, Piers, who usually helped Dudley beat up Harry. Vernon and Petunia Durseley didn’t treat Harry much better, not that they ever had, though.
At the zoo, Dudley wished to visit the snake exhibit. The giant boa constrictor wouldn’t move, so Dudley moved on. But Harry stayed behind, and told the snake that he probably gets that reaction a lot. Then, to Harry’s utmost surprise, the boa constrictor responded. In a later book, we learn that this means that Harry is considered a parselmouth. The next several events happened very quickly. Over the course of a few minutes, the glass in the exhibit disappeared, the snake escaped, Dudley found himself inside the exhibit, and the glass reappeared. Harry surely didn’t know how he did it, but still found himself locked in the cupboard.
I loved the humor that J.K. Rowling wrote with in the Harry Potter series, especially with the events that occurred around Harry’s eleventh birthday. When Harry went to get the mail, he found a letter addressed to himself, but before he could open it, it was snatched away by Uncle Vernon. Remember: Vernon has known about Harry’s secret, but kept it from Harry. The letter was soon destroyed and the mail slot boarded up. Unfortunately, magic was no match for Vernon. The letters arrived through egg cartons, through cracks in the door, through the fireplace, to the point that Uncle Vernon drove the family to a broken-down house on the ocean in the midst of a storm. Everything was going alright (for Vernon at least) until a large ‘boom’ came from the door.
I am extremely hooked into the Harry Potter series. For those who haven’t read the series, I can assure you that you will be to- but for now, I encourage you to pause reading this book review here so that I don’t spoil anything you might not want to know just yet until you finish reading the book. I wish to review the entire book to give the Harry Potter series the excellent review it deserves. Thank you.
The noise is soon followed be the entrance of Hagrid , the gamekeeper at Hogwarts. Of course, Hagrid is surprised to learn that Harry knows nothing of Hogwarts, but after a bit of arguing with the Durseley’s, Hagrid and Harry leave the next day to get Harry’s school supplies.
Hagrid takes Harry to the magical entrance to Diagon Alley, where he meets several wizards, including Daedalus Diggle, Proffessor Quirrell (I suggest you pay attention to him) and several others. Harry then visits his parent’s fortune in Gringotts (the wizard bank) while Hagrid picked up a package for Hogwarts, and shops for all of his school supplies, including an owl that Hagrid bought for Harry that he named Hedwig. Before Hagrid left, he handed Harry a ticket for platform 9 and 3/4 at Kings Cross Station.
Harry finds Platform 9 and… Platform 10. Only with the help of the Weasley family is Harry able to reach the Hogwarts Express. He sits next to Ron Weasley (who had heard all about Harry) and gets introduced to Hermione Granger as she helps Neville Longbottom find his road. The only trouble comes after Harry, Ron, and Hermione reach Hogwarts and are greeted by Professor Mcgonagall and Hagrid. Professor Mcgonagall explains about the four houses: Griffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin, and how they would each be sorted into their own house. As soon as Mcgonagall leaves. Malfoy comes up and introduces himself to Harry, and when Harry declined to shake his hand after Malfoy insulted Ron, a very special bond was formed.
At the sorting ceremony, Harry meets Dumbedore’s eyes and, along with Ron and Hermione, is sorted into Griffindor. Malfoy, on the other hand, is sorted into Slytherin, just as Lord Voldemort once was.
Soon after, classes begin. The griffindors take transfiguration (the art of transforming an object) with Professor Mcgonagall, defense against the dark arts (with a stuttering Professor Quirrel, and of course potions with Professor Snape, who had detested Harry from the start of school.
Harry, still having the time of his life at Hogwarts, also started his first flying lesson. This ended with Neville getting hurt, Malfoy taking Neville’s Remembrall (since Neville was very forgetful) and flying into the air on his broom, Harry chasing after him, and Mcgonagall entering the field and calling his name.
Quidditch was one of my favorite aspects of the Harry Potter series. It is a game played with seven balls that was similar to playing soccer, but in the air and on brooms. Much to Harry’s surprise, instead of being expelled from Hogwarts, he is taken to the Griffindor Quidditch team captain- Oliver Wood. Mcgonagall told Wood that she had found him a new Seeker. Harry would now be the youngest Quidditch player in a century, and his job was to capture the tiny golden Snitch.
In the first Quidditch game of the season, Harry stirred up more excitement from Griffindors after being accepted into the team. Harry managed to swallow the Snitch- but only because Harry saw Professor Snape cursing his broom and Harry was tumbling towards the ground. Nevertheless, Harry was the talk of Hogwarts for many days forward.
The trio also meets the janitor, Filch, who gets enraged and chased after Harry, Ron, and Hermione. This leads to them finding the off-limits 3rd floor corridor, containing a large three headed dog which Hermione notices was guarding something- Hagrid’s package.
The year begins to fly by, and Christmas came quickly. Harry receives his father’s old invisibility cloak sent secretly by Dumbledore. He uses the cloak to sneak out at night and research the name “Nicholas Flamel”, who they had learned the name of through inquiring Hafrid about the package. Unfortunately, after opening a book in the restricted section of the library at night, Filch goes searching for Harry. Harry attempts to escape, and comes across Snape and Professor Quirrell, where Snape was threatening Quirrell. Harry immediately suspected that Snape wanted to find the sorcerers stone, after learning about it later through Dumbledore’s magical trading card.
While running away from Filch, Harry finds an empty room containing a mirror. When Harry walks up to the mirror, he sees his dead family behind him- but alive. He rushes to find Ron, but Ron sees something different- he was head boy and was shaking hands with Dumbledore.
Harry would repeatedly come back to the mirror, and would be surprised to find that Dumbledore had been with him the whole time. He told Harry that the mirror would be moved to a new home that night. A few nights later, Dumbledore was called to the Ministry of Magic in London. Harry knew that this would be the perfect opportunity for Snape to find the stone, which Harry suspected he was using to help keep Voldemort alive.
With the help of Ron and Hermione, the trio make it past the dog and several other challenges set by teachers. Snape had obviously been down before them, so they were able to get past the dog and the Room of the Winged Keys, where Harry used his Quidditch skills to reach the correct key to unlock the door to a giant life-size Wizard Chess. Ron, an expert at Wizard Chess, helped the trio win the match, but only by sacfrificing his piece and tumbling to the side. Despite Ron being hurt, Harry and Hermione move forward and Hermione uses her logic skills to choose a potion for her to go back to Ron and for Harry to move forward into the final room, where Harry finds not Professor Snape- but Professor Quirrel standing in front of he same mirror as before.
Professor Quirrell was having difficulty with how to get the stone from the mirror (as Dumbledore made it so that only a person who wanted it- but not to use it- could receive it. Suddenly, a voice tells Professor Quirrell to use Harry. He calls Harry to look into the mirror- and Harry sees himself reaching into his pocket and producing the stone. By this time, Quirrell had already explained to Harry that Snape was working against Quirrell the entire time.
Harry takes the stone out of his real pockets, and runs in the opposite direction, only to be blocked and tackled by Quirrell. The only problem (for Quirrell) was that he, for some reason, could not touch Harry’s face. This was due to his mother’s sacrifice of love for Harry, and he used this to his advantage and used his hands to keep away Quirrell until Dumbledore arrived to help Harry.
Soon enough, Harry was out of the hospital ward and on the train back home. While he may not have been looking forward to his summer, he had a whole year at Hogwarts to look back on, and another one to look forward to at the end of summer break.
Even though I don’t rate books with stars anymore, I would still give this book a tremendous 5 star rating. This is, truly, my favorite book series. J.K. Rowling is such an amazing author, and I can’t wait to read the Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts screenplay book.
I will be releasing my book review for the second book in the Harry Potter series on Tuesday. Thank you so much for reading!