Thursday, March 6, 2014

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J. K. Rowling

Originally written on February 11, 2014

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling
Hardcover, 310 pages
Published by Scholastic Press on November 1, 2003
Rating: 5 Stars

Summary (Goodreads):
Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He's never worn a Cloak of Invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry's room is a tiny cupboard under the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in ten years.

But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that's been waiting for him... if Harry can survive the encounter. The classic tale of Harry Potter, featuring magic and mayhem unlike many the world has seen before. This book brings all ages into a life that one can only dream of living in.

**Note: If you aren't familiar with the Harry Potter series, you may find some spoilers

My Thoughts:
Though this book began slow for me the most recent time I read it, it is still immensely satisfying from start to finish. It starts by talking about a family that is completely normal, living in a normal house, with a normal wife and husband, one at work and one at home, and a normal son. That is, unless you look deeper at the wife’s family. 

Petunia Dursley is the sister of Lily Potter, the mother of the protagonist, Harry Potter. She ends up being forced to take him in, and is terrible to the poor boy. Never knowing love or what it’s like to be properly cared for, Harry has to learn how to take care of himself, sneaking out at night for food, and mostly just trying to be as small and unnoticeable as possible to avoid getting yelled at or locked in his bedroom, the cupboard under the stairs.

After a while, Harry begins to get letters addressed to him, going as far as specifying where he sleeps, but is caught before he gets a chance to read it. Eventually, tired of being bombarded with letters, his Uncle takes his wife, child, and Harry, and they do all they can to run away from the letters and their deliverer.

Not getting any form of a response after getting sent all those letters, something finally happens on Harry’s birthday. A half-giant, Rubeus Hagrid, comes and delivers Harry’s letter to him personally. Harry reads it and is informed of his magical ability that he never knew he had before. Staring at Hagrid in disbelief, he begins to process what is happening and ends up being taken on a whirlwind of a ride as they have to go shopping for new books, cauldrons, gloves, and countless other supplies, including a wand to perform magic with. 

Going back home, Harry almost can’t believe what happened really happened. He has to keep reminding himself it wasn’t all just a dream. He never doubts it again though when he reaches kings cross station on September 1st and finds his way through a barrier onto platform nine and three quarters, and is off on a new adventure filled with potions and charms and magical creatures. 

We follow Harry as he goes through his first year, learning new things and discovering a hidden world. We even find him stumbling upon information that has his inquiring mind leading him down a path that he may never be able to turn back from. Learning secrets hidden from all students and most other, grown wizards, and living through hardships no one should face at any age, especially at age eleven. Harry shows true strength and bravery in the face of danger.

Though most people already know the story of Harry Potter through the movies and word of mouth, this book is definitely a must read. The information given is so much more in depth than that in the movie, and this fact only grows to be even more true as the movies progress, as the books get longer and more informative. I will always have some form of a copy of these books with me, whether that be hardcover, paperback, or ebook. They are a necessity on my bookshelf. When in doubt, it’s something I know I can always pick up and enjoy time and time again, as I have already read them several times and still find new things to learn and enjoy it just as much, if not more, every time. 

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