Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling // Book Reviews

Hey hey!

Today I’ve got a reread review of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. This is going to be a spoiler free review just case there is someone out there who hasn’t read them yet and still needs convincing. Let’s begin!

72193Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Series: Harry Potter (#1)
Genre: Fantasy
Publication: June 26th 1997 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Pages: 223
Source: Bought
5 stars

Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.


GENERAL THOUGHTS

I can’t even begin to express my love for this book, this series and the world in general. No review of my creation can comprehend its greatness but I’m still going to try. Also my infatuation with this series makes it difficult for me to recognise its flaws. The thing with this book is that every aspect is done so well that it’s difficult to pick out a stand out. The plot, the world, the characters are all so great and I think the weaving of it all is what made the reading experience so wonderful.

PLOT

“Harry – yer a wizard”

And it all began (well actually a lot happened before that but for dramatic effect, just go with me).

There is never a dull moment in this book. You’re always learning more about the story and world. The unfamiliarity of the wizarding world is beautifully weaved in as the book starts from  our (the muggle) world delving deeper and exploring more as Harry does. It’s so fun if you can look past the fact that most of the success of the protagonist is because of sheer dumb luck and narrow escapes. There are intense and great adventures all throughout the novel in a school environment. But just not any school, a cool magic school. I think about how much fun they would have in their common rooms and the jealousy rises up in me. The tension and suspense if definitely there.

In my opinion, the foreshadowing and misleading is done so well. The plot twist definitely shocked me and was so amazingly written. I didn’t suspect its direction at all. I really enjoyed the way things unravelled.

“What happened [spoiler] is a complete secret, so, naturally the whole school knows.”

#schoollife

WORLDBUILDING/SETTING

The Wizarding world is so vivid and the imagery is phenomenal. You would be crazy if you didn’t want to go to Hogwarts or at least be a part of this (totally not judging). Hogwarts is both haunting and beautiful and it’s an incredible experience reading about it. Those food descriptions made my mouth water. If I went to Hogwarts, I would not miss a class and I would jump out of bed to do my homework. Call me nerdy but I’m with you on that Hermione. It was one of my first fictional worlds that I fell in love with. The invention of quidditch is one of the most genius things I have ever heard of.

“Lee Jordan was finding it difficult not to take sides.
‘So — after that obvious and disgusting bit of cheating —’
‘Jordan!’ growled Professor McGonagall.
‘I mean after that open and revolting foul —’
‘Jordan, I’m warning you —’

‘All right, all right. Flint nearly kills the Gryffindor Seeker, which could happen to anyone, I’m sure, so a penalty to Gryffindor, taken by Spinnet, who puts it away, no trouble, and we continue play, Gryffindor still in possession.”

Super fun amirite???

We learn of all the school subjects, spells, books and the house system. You’re able to immerse yourself so much into this world because of how surreal and charming it is. It doesn’t seem juvenile at all. This book and it’s world is such a complex and intricate creation, yet is very much easy to follow.

CHARACTERS

We are gifted with an amazing cast of characters. All of them are developed so well and each so distinct. The dynamics and relationships between the characters, especially the trio are amazing. The characters are developed so complexly and endearing. And the dialogue so quirky and humourous.

The trio

11 year old Harry, Ron and Hermione are so adorable and innocent. My precious babies. I enjoyed the evolution of their friendship and it just gives me so much warm fuzzies. Go team!

“Don’t play,” said Hermione at once.
“Say you’re ill,” said Ron.
“Pretend to break your leg,” Hermione suggested.
“Really break your leg,” said Ron.”

Harry Potter, the boy who lived. I really enjoyed his narration and I admired his determination and courage. I honestly thought that he would be more affected by his horrific treatment growing up.

“Do you mean ter tell me,” he growled at the Dursleys, “that this boy—this boy!—knows nothin’ abou’—about ANYTHING?”
Harry thought this was going a bit far. He had been to school, after all, and his marks weren’t bad.
“I know some things,” he said. “I can, you know, do math and stuff.”

I can do math and stuff – sassy Harry

Ron Weasley, Harry’s first best friend. Honestly, Ron deals with so much being in Harry’s shadow and it’s kind of sad that he just deals with it as he was brought up in a huge household and that’s what he’s used to. But his contribution should not be looked past. He’s not just the funny sidekick. Nonetheless…

“So light a fire!” Harry choked. “Yes…of course…but there’s no wood!” …
“HAVE YOU GONE MAD!” Ron bellowed. “ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT!”

Thanks Ron.

Hermione Granger is easily my favourite character. She is such a relatable character and her bookish nature is something I can definitely identify with. Her enthusiasm is so inspirational and if I were in her position coming from a muggle family, I would totally be like her. She likes to take charge and can be interpreted as bratty and a know-it-all at the start of the book, but her character development in this book is great.

“I hope you’re pleased with yourselves. We could all have been killed – or worse, expelled. Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to bed.”

#iconic

“Books! And cleverness! There are more important things – friendship and bravery.”

Like I said: prime character development.

Something I really enjoy about her character is the fact that she’s not only a genius, but it’s her hard work and determination that pays off and creates the result. Her character is just so admirable.

“There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.”

Aww can I say true friendship?

Wizards & witches

Rubeus Hagrid is also one of my favourites. He’s so compassionate and protective. Also one of the most pure and loyal characters.

“I AM NOT PAYING FOR SOME CRACKPOT OLD FOOL TO TEACH HIM MAGIC TRICKS!” yelled Uncle Vernon. Hagrid seized his pink umbrella and whirled it over his head “NEVER -” he thundered “- INSULT -ALBUS -DUMBLEDORE – IN – FRONT – OF – ME!”

Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts is definitely someone I’ve looked up to as one of the most wisest yet eccentric characters I have read of. I literally soak up every piece of dialogue that comes from him. Everything he says is quotable and profound.

“Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!”

Or more like…

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

That quote is probably my favourite of this book. Perhaps one of the most controversial aspects of Dumbledore are his actions in knowingly putting Harry in an abusive home and refusing to accept the immorality of the situation, and not even blinking an eye at that treatment. The first time I read this book, I placed full blame on the Dursleys but the fact is that Dumbledore did have his hand in this arrangement.

Minerva McGonagall is one of the most awesome and sassy characters I have met. She is so under-appreciated. We need to talk about her more! She gets better and better as the series continues.

Snape, Snape, Severus Snape. He is the literal worst. The way he bullies and intimidates his students is absolutely unacceptable and unforgivable. I am so bitter about him. He sure is a mysterious and excellent character. But, let’s all say it together: Severus Snape is not misunderstood.

Draco Malfoy is someone I greatly disliked. It really didn’t help with Slytherin’s reputation having Malfoy and Snape as primary members of the house. He’s a horrible, attention-seeking and spiteful boy. Thus far.

On a more positive note; the Weasley family. One of my favourite literary families of all time. Their presence instantly lights up any scenario. We don’t get to see too much of them in the first book, but first impressions showed me their amazing dynamics and delightful nature. Of course, the Weasley twins, Fred and George really bring the humour and amazing banter that exists in this novel. I’m always smiling when they’re around.

Villain time: so Voldy AKA Voldemort is the main enemy and inspiration for so many other novels. We get to know much more about him throughout the series.

ORIGINALITY

This book is the original of all original novels with such a well developed world and unique magic system. And inside lies an incredibly creative story. Say hello to the origin of the chosen one that has become such a prominent trope, and the true meaning of escapism.

WRITING STYLE

Rereading this, I’d forgotten how different the style of writing is, especially with what I usually read. The writing is very clean and “classic” which does create a sense of detachment and separation, but everything else in this world makes up for that. My problems with Middle grade fiction usually stem from the age of the characters, especially if the narrator feels too young or immature. Luckily, with this style of writing as well as the characters read as older, and it their age didn’t bother me. They do make rash and silly decisions so the essence of children is still there but surprisingly, they ever irritated me.

PACING

So much happens in this novel that it’s difficult to believe that it’s only 320 pages. It’s fast paced and eventful. Words are not wasted. You wonder how an author can fit so much into this size of a book without making you confused yet yearning more. J.K. Rowling has succeeded. The magic is non-stop.

As much as the book is entertaining, you can learn so much from this novel and it’s so inspiring. It’s easy to see why so many people have fallen in love with this series and its world. No matter how old or young you think you are to read this book or appreciate it, you’re wrong. Try it. This book and its series explores so many relatable ideas – courage, family, friendship, loyalty, power, evil, belonging, heroism, discrimination and much much more.

There’s no way I can’t demonstrate how glorious this book is from a review. It’s worth every piece of hype in the world. I am always able to discover new things reading this series. The hints of a bigger picture and darker future make me so excited. Just go read it if you haven’t already. And like every Potterhead, I’m still waiting for my letter from Hogwarts.

5 stars

Goodreads   Purchase *

Emily x

LET’S CHAT

What does this book mean to you? When did you read it and what was your experience? Comment below!

* I am a Book Depository affiliate – for more details, you can read my Disclosure HERE.

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