Book Review: Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone

“He couldn’t know that at this very moment, people meeting up in secret all over the country were holding up their glasses and saying in hushed voices: ‘To Harry Potter – the boy who lived!’”

Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone is the first instalment in J.K. Rowling‘s seven-book Harry Potter series. The story follows a seemingly ordinary boy, Harry Potter, who, on his 11th birthday, is visited by the half-giant, Hagrid, and invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Soon discovering that he is famous in the Wizarding World for surviving an attack by the evil Lord Voldemort when Harry was only a baby, Harry must fulfil his destiny and prove his worth, with the help of his new friends Ron and Hermione.

The following post is a review of the book only. You can read my review of the film adaptation in comparison to the book here.

Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone did something that no other book has done: it got the world reading. It’s rare that a book can have such a worldwide effect on people of all ages, but this first chapter in an incredible franchise ensured that this was a book that nobody wanted to put down.

Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone is nostalgic, imaginative, and it’s filled with atmosphere; the precise definition of what a children’s fantasy should be. The story has a bit of everything; there are friendships, rivalries, quests, magic, jokes, scares, and even a game of wizarding sport. The characters are engaging and likeable, but most of all they’re fun, courageous, and adventurous. It’s such a gripping and comforting read that Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone has become a book that we will pass on to our future generations with pure excitement at the thought of somebody discovering this world for themselves for the first time.

At this point in Rowling’s series, the plot is quite simple, making for a very light read and, as a piece of literature, it isn’t close to being technically revolutionary. But it’s rare that a story does what Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone does to a reader. Sure, as the series continues the stories get more complex, and Rowling’s writing becomes a lot more profound, but this is where it all began, and the book conjures such fantastic feelings that there’s no wonder that millions of people fell in love with Harry Potter.

The plot may be quite straight forward, but there’s still so much going on, and so much that we, and Harry, are being introduced to. For a book about magic, to say that Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone is magical would be an understatement.

This first book went on to be adapted into a film in 2001, for which you can read my Book vs. Film Review here, and watch the trailer for below:

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