Monday, September 10, 2012

Review: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
by J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter #1)
Published July 1st, 2018 by Bloomsbury

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.
About once every year or two, I tend to get the urge re-read the Harry Potter Series; and not just because Harry Potter is my all time favorite protagonist, but because J.K. Rowling creates a universe that is so rich, so inviting that I find myself missing everything about the magical world she built. The characters are so rich and layered, that you just can't help but being swept away into the world with them as if the entire magic surrounding the series was actually a part of you.  And truly, it is.

Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone (I  refuse to refer to it as the Sorcerer's Stone) is the first book in the series and it is like no other book I have ever read. Rowling has the gift of 'painting glorious, sweeping 'word pictures' for her readers so you can virtually feel as though you've stepped into this new magical world right alongside with Harry; the ordinary, plain old Harry Potter, who didn't think there was anything special or different about him but that lightning shaped scar on his forehead, until the giant Hagrid comes barging in talking about wizards, and Hogwarts, and revelations about how Harry's parents really died. Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry. In the blink of an eye his whole world has been turned upside down; and for the better at that! The reader gets to follow Harry on a magical journey filled with trolls and unicorns and centaurs...not to mention secrets, and danger...especially where Harry is concerned. This book really makes you feel like you're at Hogwarts, tagging along with Harry on all of his adventures. And I love knowing how Harry thinks, how he figures things out, what makes him tick. You can't not have faith in Harry because his heart, mostly always leads him in the right path.

The best part about re-reading the Harry Potter Series is catching all the little hints and clues that J.K. Rowling had already started setting up, laying the groundwork of so many pivotal plot twists in small bits and pieces here and there. The long discussion at the end of the book between Harry & Dumbledore is so telling; especially what Dumbledore refuses to divulge at the moment: Why Voldemort tried to kill Harry? Ahhh such a loaded question and one not fully appreciated in hindsight :) I also enjoy seeing how quickly and almost unconsciously Harry steps up, refusing to let anyone help Voldemort get the Philosopher's Stone. Already he realizes that he who must not be named must be all costs. An fantastic start to a phenomenal series.


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