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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - The Book That Started It All
May 27, 2003 (Updated Jan 2, 2012)
by Marie Dragonfire
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Delightfully engrossing story that came to life. The book got children reading.
Cons:None for me
The Bottom Line: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was a wonderful first book in a series by J.K. Rowling. It is considered a children's book, but adults can enjoy it too.
I’m an adult and I love Harry Potter. I have seen the two movies and I have all four of the books. I reserved a copy of the fifth book months ago. I had been hearing about the Harry Potter books for a while before I read any of them. My best friend got me Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for my birthday. I started reading and was immediately hooked. I finished the first three books in less than a week. I didn’t get the fourth book until a bit later. Since the new book will be released soon, I decided to read the books again. I just finished reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone again.
Recommend this product?
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was written in 1997 by J.K. Rowling. The book is available as a paperback and as a hardback. I have the paperback. There were a few small illustrations by Mary Grandpre on the first page of each chapter. The book had seventeen chapters.
Vernon and Petunia Dursley were a normal couple that lived with their son Dudley at number four Privet Drive. They lived in fear that someone would discover the truth about the Potters. Lily Potter and Petunia were sisters. Lily and her husband James had a young son named Harry.
One morning Vernon left for work and noticed some strange things like a cat that seemed to be reading a map. He saw people around town wearing cloaks and robes. Some people were acting strange. Other people noticed other things like owls flying during the day. When Vernon went for lunch, he overheard some of the strange people discussing the Potters. That night when the Dursleys were asleep, some different people turned up at four Privet Drive and Harry was brought to the Dursley home.
For ten years Harry lived with the Dursleys. He didn’t have a happy childhood. He was forced to live in a cupboard under the stairs and wear Dudley’s old clothes that were several sizes too big. The Dursleys spoiled Dudley immensely and tried to ignore Harry as much as they could. Dudley and his friends loved to pick on Harry. Vernon and Petunia didn’t do anything to stop that from happening. Some strange things happened around Harry at times, and he was always blamed. He’d be punished by being locking in his cupboard.
One morning, shortly before Harry’s eleventh birthday, he received a letter. It was addressed to Harry and included his cupboard as part of the address. Vernon grabbed the letter before Harry could read it. Vernon and Petunia were very upset when they saw whom the letter was from. They moved Harry upstairs into Dudley’s second bedroom. Another letter came, and the address was changed to reflect the fact that Harry was now in a bedroom. The letters continued to come even after Vernon boarded up the mail slot.
Vernon finally made everyone pack and they left the house. They drove for days, and the letters followed them. They finally ended up in a shack on an island. That night a man named Hagrid arrived to personally deliver a letter to Harry. The Dursleys were terrified of Hagrid. Harry got to read his letter and he finally found out the truth about his parents and how they died. Harry was a wizard and he’d been accepted into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His parents had gone there. They hadn’t been killed in a car accident like the Dursleys had told him. They had been killed by a powerful dark wizard who had also tried to kill Harry. For some reason, Harry survived and that caused Voldemort to disappear. Harry was famous in the wizard world.
The next morning Hagrid took Harry to Diagon Alley to get his school supplies. They visited a wizard bank and Harry discovered that his parents had left him a fortune in wizard money. Hagrid got Harry an owl for a birthday present. Harry named her Hedwig. Shortly after that day, Harry was on his way to Hogwarts aboard the Hogwarts Express. He had trouble finding the correct platform, but the Weasley family helped him. Ron Weasley sat with Harry on the train and his brothers Fred, George, and Percy stopped by briefly to talk to Harry.
It was spreading through the train that Harry Potter was on board. Harry and Ron became good friends. Harry also met Hermione Granger and Neville Longbottom. A boy Harry had talked to while getting his robes turned up to talk. His name was Draco Malfoy. He was nasty and looked down on others. He and Harry became enemies. Once the train arrived at Hogwarts, Hagrid took the first year students into the school. Professor McGonagall took the students into the great hall where they were sorted into their houses by the sorting hat after Professor Dumbledore spoke briefly. The four houses at Hogwarts were Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Draco and his two friends were put in Slytherin. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville were put in Gryffindor.
Harry had to adjust to living in a new environment that included ghosts, moving staircases, and paintings in which the people could move around and even go visit other paintings. Harry and his new friends started their classes. One instructor, Professor Snape, seemed to have it out for Harry from day one. Hermione was considered a know it all by many and she didn’t have many friends until after she Harry and Ron battled a troll in the girl’s bathroom. The three new friends had other adventures during the school year.
I loved Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It was well written and descriptive in a way that made the words come to life. Rowling created a wonderful world full of magical creatures and things. The book grabbed my attention from the beginning. I couldn’t put the book down. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen to Harry and his friends next. The book was a fast read for me. The book was meant for children, but it wasn’t written down to them in any way. Rowling wasn’t afraid of using some harder words that some children may need to look up. Adults can enjoy this book as well. This would be a good book for parents to read with their children.
Magic, witchcraft, and some unusual things were very important to the plot of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I thought that those parts of the book were very interesting and entertaining. I’ve always enjoyed reading about magic and magical things. I find them fascinating. The idea of witches and wizards isn’t something new, but I thought that the idea of there being a school where young witches and wizards are taught those things was unique. I’ve never read anything about a school like that before. I also thought that the sorting hat was very unique. It is normal for students to be placed in dorms when going to boarding schools or colleges, but having a magical, singing hat make the decisions of where to place students was very unique. There were some things about magic that weren’t new in the book, like wands being used, but there were some things that were different. Witches weren’t portrayed as old hags with green skin and warts. Owls were used to deliver letters and packages in the world of Harry Potter, which was something else I’d never heard of before. I think the most unique thing in the book was quidditch, a wizard sport played while flying on brooms. I thought that quidditch was amazing and very imaginative. There were magical things all through the book. People who don’t like to read about magic or who are offended by it for some reason shouldn’t read this book. There has been some controversy surrounding the books because of the witchcraft contained in them. Some places have even banned the books. I don’t see what the big deal is because the books are clearly fiction. They are just meant to be read for entertainment. I think that people should read the books themselves before making a decision about them instead of just blindly following what someone else decided.
There was some mystery in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Right from the beginning of the book, there were some strange things going on that had to be figured out. Some things, like why the letters were coming for Harry, were resolved fairly quickly. Other things, like what was being hidden in Hogwarts and what the sorcerer’s stone was used for, took longer to figure out. Those things weren’t simple to figure out, but they weren’t that complicated either. There were several suspenseful moments in the book. I was surprised by what happened more than once.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone wasn’t really violent, but there were a few scenes that could upset or scare young children. Even though the book was mainly aimed at children, there were some serious issues, like the death of parents, that were covered. The book also dealt with hatred since there were some people in the wizard world who hated muggles and people like the Dursleys hated magical people. Some of those things could be upsetting for children to read. Parents should check out the book before letting their kids read it. Each child is different with their maturity level and what scares or upsets them.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is the first book in a series about Harry Potter and his experiences at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. Students go to Hogwarts for seven years. There are supposed to be seven books in the series, one for each year that Harry is a student at Hogwarts. So far four books have been published and the fifth book is due out in June of 2003. I have read the book in order and I think that is the best way to read them. If the books were read out of order, it could be confusing to figure out who everyone was and what was going on. There would be spoilers for the first book if the last books were read first. The returning characters continue to grow and develop in each book. Harry knew nothing about magic when he got his letter to Hogwarts, so Harry was learning about things along the way with the reader if the books are read in order.
A movie version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone has been made. I have seen the movie and I own the DVD version of it. I did like the movie, but I thought the book was better. The movie did follow the book fairly close, but some things were changed and some things were left out. That is normal when a book is made into a movie. If some things hadn’t been left out of the movie version, the movie would have been a lot longer. I did read the book before I saw the movie, so I could tell what had been changed or left out. The friend I saw the movie with hadn’t read the book, and she enjoyed the movie and didn’t have any trouble following what was going on.
There were several characters in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Harry was obviously the main character and the most developed. He grew a lot throughout the book. Ron and Hermione, Harry’s two friends, showed up frequently, but there weren’t too developed. Hermione just seemed to be a stuck up know it all the first several times she turned up. She started to become a fuller character a bit later in the book, after Ron and Harry saved her from a troll. Even after she did some changing, there still wasn’t much else known about Hermione beyond the fact that she studied a lot and was obsessed with getting good grades. Draco turned up several times but he really wasn’t developed. He was a nasty character, but that was basically all there was to his character. There were several other characters that turned up a few times, but there were flat characters and not developed. Several of the instructors only turned up once or twice, so nothing was really known about them either. Even the instructors that showed up more often weren’t developed much.
Harry Potter - Young boy who was raised by his aunt and uncle. They didn’t like his parents or approve of their life style. They treated Harry badly and tried to ignore him. Dudley, their son, also treated Harry badly. Harry received a letter from Hogwarts that changed his life. He was a wizard and he was accepted to a magical school. He was famous in the magical world because of events that happened when he was just a year old. Harry adjusted to life at the school. He was put on a quidditch team as a seeker and excelled at the game. He was very well known at the school. He was curious about some things and got himself in some dangerous situations.
The Dursleys - Harry's only living relatives. His aunt and uncle don't treat him well. They spoil their only son Dudley and don't seem to notice or care how he picks on Harry. Petunia and Vernon hate anything that isn't normal. They knew about Harry's parents being involved with magic, but they decided to keep it from Harry. They tried to keep him from being magical and from going to Hogwarts.
Ron Weasley - He was the next to youngest child in the Weasley family. Two of his brothers already left Hogwarts. One brother, Percy, was a prefect. Fred and George, twins, were jokers and on the Gryffindor quidditch team. Ron got upset when Draco made nasty remarks about his family. He knew his family had money problems. He had to wear old robes from one of his brothers and had a hand me down pet in the form of his rat Scabbers. Ron was a good wizard chess player. He helped Harry on some of his adventures.
Hermione Granger - Both of her parents were muggles, but they were happy about Hermione going to Hogwarts. Hermione studied a lot and did extra reading. She seemed to feel like to had to study extra hard to make up for the fact that her parents were muggles. She was a stickler for the rules most of the time, but she did cover for Ron and Harry once. Her studying came into help later on in the book when she was able to help Harry on his way to the sorcerer’s stone.
Neville Longbottom - He was another first year student who was in Gryffindor. Neville had a pet toad that he lost a lot. Neville tended to forget things and had trouble with magic. He had several accidents. He was picked on by some students from Slytherin.
Draco Malfoy - He was another student at Hogwarts. Everyone from his family had always been in Slytherin and Draco was proud of that fact. He was nasty and liked to try to cause trouble. He looked down on Ron and his family and was mad that Harry didn’t do the same.
Hagrid - He was the keeper of the keys and the groundskeeper at Hogwarts. He was a huge man who was really very kind. He had a soft spot for strange pets, like dragons. He carried a pink umbrella at times. He had been a student at Hogwarts, but something had happened to cause him to be expelled. Hagrid was very loyal to Professor Dumbledore. Hagrid was close with Harry, Ron and Hermione.
Professor Dumbledore - He was the headmaster of Hogwarts. He was a kind, wise wizard. He knew what was going on around the school. He seemed to have a soft spot for Harry.
Professor McGonagall - She was in charge of Gryffindor and she taught transfiguration. She was a strict teacher, but she was also kind.
Professor Snape - He was in charge or Slytherin and taught the potions class. He dressed all in black and wasn’t a cheerful happy person. It was well known that he wanted to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts. Snape seemed to have it in for Harry. There was some history between Snape and Harry’s father James when the two were students at Hogwarts.
I really enjoyed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It was a fun, entertaining, imaginative book that children and adults can enjoy. People who like to read about magic may also read the book.
Harry Potter Books
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone ~ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets ~ Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban ~ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire ~ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix ~ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ~ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ~ The Tales of Beedle the Bard ~ Harry Potter Film Wizardry ~ Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey ~
Harry Potter Movies
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone ~ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets ~ Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban ~ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire ~ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix ~ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ~ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 ~ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 ~ Discovering the Real World of Harry Potter ~
Other Harry Potter Related Reviews
Scene It? Harry Potter 2nd Edition (Trivia Game) ~ Hallmark 2010 A Gift for Doby Ornament ~ 2011 Harry Potter Golden Snitch Ornament ~ Harry Potter Uno ~
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