Saturday, April 12, 2014

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

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

First Line: “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

Romance: 0/5

Profanity: 0/5

Violence: 2/5

Parental concerns: There is, naturally, use of magic, as it is about wizardry.

Recommended age: 10+

I am one of the few literate seventeen-year-olds in the world who, prior to a week ago, had never seriously read Harry Potter. Yes, I had randomly picked up a book or two at a relative’s or friend’s house, and (irritatingly, I’m sure Smile) read over the shoulder of my cousin as he read The Deathly Hallows, but other than that (and spoiling myself with watching some of the movie trailers/snippets of the movies) I was infamously unacquainted with the world of Hogwarts.

Harry Potter’s life up till now has been rotten. His horrible Aunt and Uncle Dursley and their—can it be possible—worse son Dudley have been sure to make his life miserable at every turn, and when he begins receiving anonymous letters, they’re even more certain to see he never reads them. Suddenly, a wizard named Hagrid storms into Harry’s life and demands that he accept his invitation to Hogwarts School for Wizardry and Witchcraft. Harry, at first stunned to learn that he is a wizard, soon finds himself excited to attend this wizards’ school and get away from the Dursleys, little realizing that the life he pops into is far more dangerous than it is mere fun. . . .

After hearing so much about this series and looking forward to reading it so long, I believe I put it on some sort of pedestal; I expected it to be one hundred percent perfect. Regardless of what die-hard fans will say, I have to state this: the first installment was definitely not one hundred percent perfect. I expected more plot; suffice it to say it was much tamer and far less than I had assumed. I expected flawless writing; and because of this expectation, I was fairly hard on Rowling whenever I came across a phrase that she could have fixed due to passivity instead of activity. (However, I should also note that she is the English major, and that she therefore probably knows how to correctly use passive verbs, whereas I do not.) Characterization, however, was absolutely lovely. Harry Potter’s character doesn’t come off very quickly in comparison to Ron’s or Hermione’s, but I suppose that’s because the book is mainly from his perspective, not theirs (though Rowling mostly uses the omniscient view, so she can do what we call “head-hopping” within a scene—she does abuse this method sometimes, but I like the book too much to really nitpick about that). Altogether, I am satisfied with this novel—even though it didn’t quite meet my lofty ideals, I think that the series will exceed them as a whole. I highly recommend it, and can’t wait to read The Chamber of Secrets.


  1. Yay! You read it! :D You don't even know how widely I am grinning right now ;)

    1. Hahaha . . . I know, right!? I loved it, and am so excited that I finally decided to just disregard reading lists and go ahead and read it!


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