Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone Book Review
Fantasy based books are an escape from the real world. You find yourself, travelling with the writer to a world they created, and in turn it stirs and stimulates our imagination. This is where J.K. Rowling stands out and has been extremely successful in taking her readers to places and magical battles that are beyond the realms of reality. Let’s not deny the fact that a lot of us have secretly wished to be at Hogwarts School as well. This is why J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series have been a great hit.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is the first book from the series and create a magical scenario that urges people to read the next book and then the next; till the series come to an end, and yet it still leaves people craving for more. If you have not read the book yet, then here is a quick summary and review of the book.
The first book of Harry Potter Series i.e. Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone A.K.A Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone is indisputably one of the best fantasy books that have ever been written. It gained popularity for some obvious reasons, J.K. Rowling enrolls you in a world that seems as the best escape that you can ever have. The best part about this book is that it is attractive for all ages and doesn’t fail to indulge anyone. If you are a fantasy book lover, then this will mark the top of your most favorite books of all times for sure. Being able to capture imagination of kids and adults both is a success in itself.
Character development has been amazing by J.K. Rowling and the story plot has stood out amongst all the fantasy books that we have had till yet. You feel miserable for Harry Potter while he lives in Mr. and Mrs. Dursley’s place, on the other hand, you can live through the battle which leaves you in awe. The creation of Hogwarts and the description of the wonderful school in the book leave you with an urge of visiting the place.
Miracles do take place and there is always scope for keep hoping. J.K. Rowling has thrown light at how miraculously Harry’s life changes with the arrival of Hagrid and how reaches the place where he deserved to be. If you are meant to be somewhere, your fate eventually leads you there.
SUMMARY : Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone
The story begins with Harry Potter who resides in Mr. and Mrs. Dursley house. Mrs. Dursley is Harry’s mothers’ sister. Lily’s (Harry’s mother) infant son was left on their door step one night. This is when Harry Potter’s parents were killed by Lord Voldemort. Harry was miraculously saved as Voldemort’s power broke when he tried to kill the little boy. However, Lord Voldemort leaves a sign of his encounter with the boy on his forehead. Harry had a scar which looked like a lightning bolt sign. The headmaster of Hogwarts School, Albus Dumbledore, decides to leave Harry with his uncle and aunt because he was too little to live in school. Thus, Harry Potter landed, unwantedly, in Mr. and Mrs. Dursley’s house.
Harry’s room is inside the cupboard that is beneath the stairs. Since his childhood, Harry’s uncle and aunt kept telling him that his parents passed away in a car crash. Mr. and Mrs. Dursley’s son, Dudley is a bully and keeps annoying Harry with his group of friends. Dudley owns two rooms in the house whereas Harry lives inside the small cupboard room which is beneath the stairs. Harry usually faced some weird situations which he tried to avoid at his best. Certain things that happened around him made him that there was something wrong with him.
One day, some really mysterious and suspicious letters start to arrive for Harry Potter. These letters are S, G, R and H. These are further embellished with a badger, an eagle, a snake and a griffin. The letters themselves sound suspicious but Mr. and Mrs. Dursley do not let Harry read the letters. Harry’s uncle kept telling him that the letters are addressed to him by mistake but they keep on arriving. Fed up by the letters that don’t stop coming to their place, Mr. Dursley decides to move to a hut on an island just before Harry’s 11th birthday.
However, despite all that they could do, on Harry Potter’s birthday (before midnight), Hagrid shows up to his place. Hagrid is a huge man and tells the family that he is the key keeper at Hogwarts. He further tells that Harry is a wizard who is supposed to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This is when Harry realizes that those letters have been from Hogwarts and his uncle and aunt have been trying their best to make him normal even when they knew that he had magical powers. Furthermore, he learns how his parents died. Harry is also told that in order to reach Hogwarts School, he needs to catch the Hogwarts express which is at Kings Cross on platform 9 and ¾.
The next day, Harry and Hagrid leave for London and shop for his school supplies. In his entire journey, he learns that his parents had left him a handsome amount of wizarding gold and buys everything from robes to his magical stick and much more. A month later, Harry leaves to catch Hogwarts express but is stunned to see that there is no ¾ present on Platform 9. However, he soon realizes that it is present there but it is not visible for all. This is when Harry meets the Weasleys (they have 7 children in total) who will become the best ever family for him. Their youngest son is Ronald Weasley who is going to become his best friend.
When Harry Potter finally reaches Hogwarts School, the first year students are told to wait as they have to be sorted out by the sorting hat. Ronald (who is known as Ron mostly in the entire book) and Harry are in Gryffindor. As the story moves on, Harry and Ron develops a friendship with Hermione Granger who turns out to be their best friend for life. The book ends with Harry Potter and his friends face an immense battle with the Dark Lord towards the end of their first year. As the battle discloses and everything comes back to peace, the first book comes to an end.
Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone: BOOK VS MOVIE
We often hear that the book was better than the movie and it is said quite right. A lot of books have been turned into extremely successful motion pictures, and Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone is no exception. It is a wonderful movie and Chris Columbus has made an amazing effort to create one of the most excellent versions of the book. However, there are still some important details that were missed out in the movie.
- Snape’s relationship with Harry Potter’s father is missed out on completely. This most probably had been done to keep the audience suspicious about him. We see Snape eyeing Harry weirdly throughout the movie and a lot of scenes make us wonder what issue he has with Harry. If you have read the book, then you probably knew the suspicious eyes and the reason behind them.
- Ron is not the first person Harry meets. Darco is the first Hogwarts student that Harry meets while he is buying his robe. Later on, they interact at Hogwarts and Harry learns that Darco is not the kind of person he wants to be friends with. In the movie, Harry’s interaction with Darco at the robe shop has been missed out and they meet directly in school. However, Darco still hates Ronald and his family which is also highlighted in the book.
- The tasks of Professor Snape and Quirrell are also left out in the movie which is quite important to know about. You will learn about them in the book though.
- If you have seen the movie, you will remember the scene in which Quirrell dies. However, the scene plot has been turned around completely in comparison to the one in the book. Quirrell snaps his fingers to tie Harry Potter with ropes. When Harry touches Quirrell, he is burned by the magical power that Harry unknowingly possesses. It is later unveiled that he has gained that power from his mother. In the movie, the room is turned into ring of fire as Quirrell snaps his fingers. Later when Harry touches him, he is seen burning to ashes while Harry passes out. The scene in the book is much more attractive to read in detail.
- The movie also did not show the sorting hat sing. He sings before sorting each person and the song differs every time. I know listening to so many different songs can be too irritating to watch. But when you read them in the book; it is really fun to read through them.
Columbus missing out on all the tasks attempted by the professors was a big mistake. All the readers, including me, were too eager to see that scene put to life. But thinking of the fact that all details cannot be summarized in the movie; Columbus did all the best that he could. We obviously cannot blame him due to the movie time constraints, but this is exactly why books are always preferred more and adored more than the movie.
I would definitely recommend everyone to read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. There are a lot of interesting details that the movie fails to unveil to the audience. These details add spark and fun to the book and make it way interesting than the movie. If you have not read the book; it is time that you do so now and you will realize that how much the movie has missed upon. It is obviously impossible to settle in all the details in the movie, that is why books always rock!
Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Grade Level: 4 – 7
Lexile Measure: 880L
Series: Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone (Book 1)
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press (October 1998)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Although she writes under the pen name J.K. Rowling, pronounced like rolling, her name when her first Harry Potter book was published was simply Joanne Rowling. Anticipating that the target audience of young boys might not want to read a book written by a woman, her publishers demanded that she use two initials, rather than her full name. As she had no middle name, she chose K as the second initial of her pen name, from her paternal grandmother Kathleen Ada Bulgen Rowling. She calls herself Jo and has said, “No one ever called me ‘Joanne’ when I was young, unless they were angry.” Following her marriage, she has sometimes used the name Joanne Murray when conducting personal business. During the Leveson Inquiry she gave evidence under the name of Joanne Kathleen Rowling. In a 2012 interview, Rowling noted that she no longer cared that people pronounced her name incorrectly.
Rowling was born to Peter James Rowling, a Rolls-Royce aircraft engineer, and Anne Rowling (née Volant), on 31 July 1965 in Yate, Gloucestershire, England, 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Bristol. Her mother Anne was half-French and half-Scottish. Her parents first met on a train departing from King’s Cross Station bound for Arbroath in 1964. They married on 14 March 1965. Her mother’s maternal grandfather, Dugald Campbell, was born in Lamlash on the Isle of Arran. Her mother’s paternal grandfather, Louis Volant, was awarded the Croix de Guerre for exceptional bravery in defending the village of Courcelles-le-Comte during the First World War.
Rowling’s sister Dianne was born at their home when Rowling was 23 months old. The family moved to the nearby village Winterbourne when Rowling was four. She attended St Michael’s Primary School, a school founded by abolitionist William Wilberforce and education reformer Hannah More. Her headmaster at St Michael’s, Alfred Dunn, has been suggested as the inspiration for the Harry Potter headmaster Albus Dumbledore.
As a child, Rowling often wrote fantasy stories, which she would usually then read to her sister. She recalls that: “I can still remember me telling her a story in which she fell down a rabbit hole and was fed strawberries by the rabbit family inside it. Certainly the first story I ever wrote down (when I was five or six) was about a rabbit called Rabbit. He got the measles and was visited by his friends, including a giant bee called Miss Bee.” At the age of nine, Rowling moved to Church Cottage in the Gloucestershire village of Tutshill, close to Chepstow, Wales. When she was a young teenager, her great aunt, who Rowling said “taught classics and approved of a thirst for knowledge, even of a questionable kind,” gave her a very old copy of Jessica Mitford’s autobiography, Hons and Rebels. Mitford became Rowling’s heroine, and Rowling subsequently read all of her books.
Rowling has said of her teenage years, in an interview with The New Yorker, “I wasn’t particularly happy. I think it’s a dreadful time of life.” She had a difficult homelife; her mother was ill and she had a difficult relationship with her father (she is no longer on speaking terms with him). She attended secondary school at Wyedean School and College, where her mother had worked as a technician in the science department. Rowling said of her adolescence, “Hermione [a bookish, know-it-all Harry Pottercharacter] is loosely based on me. She’s a caricature of me when I was eleven, which I’m not particularly proud of.” Steve Eddy, who taught Rowling English when she first arrived, remembers her as “not exceptional” but “one of a group of girls who were bright, and quite good at English.” Sean Harris, her best friend in the Upper Sixth owned a turquoise Ford Anglia, which she says inspired the one in her books.