PAGE COUNT: 246 PAGES
“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”
*Potential spoilers if you have not read any of the books or seen any of the films
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.
“Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts,
Teach us something please,
Whether we be old and bald,
Or young with scabby knees,
Our heads could do with filling
With some interesting stuff,
For now they’re bare and full of air,
Dead flies and bits of fluff,
So teach us something worth knowing,
Bring us back what we’ve forgot,
Just do your best, we’ll do the rest,
And learn until our brains all rot…”
As expected I finished my reread of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone in one day, because putting it down is rather impossible. I had no doubt I would enjoy the book as it has the unique magic of being timeless, but I don’t think I expected to enjoy it well beyond just childhood memories.
There are a great many things I forgot about the book which I discovered in my reread but the Dursley’s and Privet Drive was not one of them. Reading with Jim Kay’s illustrations throughout the story was a delight. I loved his interpretation of the Dursley’s and it served as a reminder of how J.K. Rowling pictures the characters and not just the actors that have become forever linked to them. I was thrilled to relive the character that is Dudley and his hilariously entitled behaviour that I remembered so well.
“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
“Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.”
Harry was much like I remember, and this stage in his journey is a definite favourite. He isn’t yet jaded by everything that goes along with being the chosen one and is instead a plucky eleven year old who is discovering the wonder of magic and the wizarding world for the first time. He makes a great character for the reader to relate to and go on this journey to Hogwarts where I’m positive all Potter fans are upset they never got their invitation too. Harry’s inner Gryffindor is on heavy display throughout this first book too, he’s very much the brave, courageous lion that the house is so known for.
“Harry: “And what if I wave my wand and nothing happens?”
Ron: “Throw it away and punch him on the nose.”
Book Ron is without a doubt one of my favourite characters, I had forgotten how funny the character actually was. The movies tend to portray his humour as a laughing at him rather then with him situation whereas in the book I feel it’s more laughing with him vibes. Ron is also the perfect counterpart to Harry, and you can see this right from the beginning. They balance each other out perfectly.
“Oh, HONESTLY, don’t you two read?”
Poor, clever buck toothed Hermione. She is very much coming into her personality in this book. Right from the start you get a sense of her intelligence and quite possible photographic memory. Personally I find Hermione the most relatable, I genuinely think she was so over the moon with discovering she is a witch that she filled herself to the brim with information she wants to share and she’s is of course so bright that she comes of as a bossy know it all at first. I have definitely had times in my life where I have been over eager to share info and come off similar. Of course the boys realise they cant do without her in the end, and really what would the series be without Hermione Granger?
“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.”
“Even if I could, I wouldn’t. Scars can come in handy. I have one myself above my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground.”
I’m sad to say I had forgotten Dumbledore’s quirky nature and all his odd mannerisms! Why the movies didn’t include them is a mystery to me as they are what makes Dumbledore such a great character! He is known for his philosophical quotes, which there is no debate about their brilliance! However without his random word outbursts and love of funny hats I think the movies scrub the character of what makes him unique. Book Dumbledore trumps movie Dumbledore easily.
“What happened down in the dungeons between you and Professor Quirrell is a complete secret, so, naturally the whole school knows.”
“Clearly, fame isn’t everything”
I couldn’t do this review without mentioning our favourite misunderstood double agent. The enigmatic Professor Snape! He is exactly how I remember him. Mysterious, talented and hella sassy. How can you not love this character I ask you? I could be biased as I am Slytherin who would most likely have an easier time in his classes then most.
“To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”
Those few people who are still resisting the draw of Harry Potter.. Um what are you doing? Get sorted (literally) and pick up the books! Fandom obsession aside, J.K. Rowling is an extremely talented writer. You will laugh, cry, get angry, be surprised and pretty much every other emotion under the sun. She is a master with descriptions making it easy for the reader to completely immerse themselves into the world. I promise, once you read it you’ll be wondering what on earth you were thinking waiting so long to become a Potterhead.
One of my favourite parts of the book;
‘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.”