Saturday, 10 March 2012

Review: Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone by J.K. Rowling


Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Series: Harry Potter #1
Author: J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Raincoast Books
Pages: 223
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

Rating:

Reason chosen:  

I had to read this novel for my Children’s Lit class. How cool is that? I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to do homework. And I would gladly study it again.

Summary taken from Indigo.ca:

When a letter arrives for unhappy but ordinary Harry Potter, a decade-old secret is revealed to him. His parents were wizards, killed by a Dark Lord''s curse when Harry was just a baby, and which he somehow survived. Escaping from his unbearable Muggle guardians to Hogwarts, a wizarding school brimming with ghosts and enchantments, Harry stumbles into a sinister adventure when he finds a three-headed dog guarding a room on the third floor. Then he hears of a missing stone with astonishing powers which could be valuable, dangerous, or both. "The saga of Harry Potter and his creator has almost reached the status of myth ... The books strike as deeply as the most timeless fairy tales. Harry and his friends seem intensely real-parents report a frequent refrain of ''they''re just like us.''" -Maclean''s "A richly imagined world to which young readers will surrender themselves, and one of the most attractive heroes to come around in a long while." -Globe and Mail "Harry Potter is the biggest phenomenon in kids'' publishing for decades ... Rowling has taken a classic formula and given it a contemporary (but not too contemporary) twist, where the hero crosses the boundary from the day-to-day mundanity to a world of magic and wonder." -Vancouver Sun

Review:

All right first I have to admit that when I picked up a spare copy for class (one that I could write all over) I laughed. Here is why: I will admit I haven’t read this book in a while. Many, many years have passed since I last picked it up; however, I’ve read it many a times. Anyhow, when I read it years ago when I was much younger it was always such a great adventure (still is), but also such a huge book. It’s huge in the sense that so much happens but I laughed because its 223 pages long. I guess I was more use to the 500 pages of the last four novels.

But who knew that behind an adventure there was so much hidden meanings and allusion. I mean I read this before and just dove right into the story of an orphaned boy in a magical world, which of course is perfectly fine to do as that was Rowling’s original intentions. Who knew that there was allusions to genocide, class separation. Who knew that Harry Potter would fit the structure of Romance (Fantasy Romance), Quest, High Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Fantasy, School Story, Orphan story, Gothic story, and Detective story.

Who knew there was so much wrapped up in one loveable adventure? But too me that’s what it will always be...one hell of an adventure. For 223 pages, a lot sure does happen.

We are thrown into the world of Wizards, where we are actually referred to as Muggles, while a young boy learns who he is, fits the idea of who other people think he is, and accepts himself for who he is. Harry goes from an orphan with no friends whom weird things happen to, to one that was written in Wizarding history books with some rather great friends and adventurous life.

Harry Potter is a book for all ages filled with pages and pages of mischief, adventure, friendship, self discovery, and the teachings of Good vs. Evil, with Evil always losing.

Good:

Harry Potter—Humble, good, courageous and curious
Hermione—Waking up in the middle of the night to run to your books and get half way through your notes to realize...you’ve already taken that exam. Hilarious
Ron—scratch that, The Wesley Brother: (mainly Ron, and Fred and George) the most hilarious characters I think I’ve ever come across. Wish they were real...I’m in love with the whole family.
Neville—Always awesome. And the idea that he too can fit the role of Hero (especially throughout the rest of the series) makes him even more awesome.


Bad:

Nothing here.

Overall (Writing style, story line, and general):

Overall Rowling manages to put across her meanings and provide a clear picture through few words allowing for an adventure every page that everyone follows and no one questions. She answers every question that needs to be answered in this novel and somehow manages to set up plots for books that will happen far into the future from when this was released, and I can’t help but ask how? Her imagination and planning must have been meticulous, and it paid off

Quotes:

‘They stuff people’s heads down the toilet first day at Stonewall,’ he told Harry. ‘Want to come upstairs and practise?’
            ‘No thanks,’ said Harry. ‘The poor toilet’s never had anything as horrible as your head down it—it might be sick.’ Then he ran, before Dudley could work out what he’d said.

Professor Flitwick, the Charms teacher, was a tiny little wizard who had to stand on a pile of books to see over his desk. At the start of their first lesson he took the register, and when he reached Harry’s name he gave an excited squeak and toppled out of sight.

‘Well, a second’s there to take over if you die,’ said Ron casually, getting started at last on his cold pie. Catching the look on Harry’s face, he added quickly, ‘but people only die in proper dues, you know, with real wizards. The most you and Malfoy’ll be able to do is send spars at each other. Neither of you knows enough magic to do any real damage. I bet he expected you to refuse, anyway.’
            ‘And what if I wave my wand and nothing happens?’
            Throw is away and punch him on the nose,’ Ron suggested.

There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll was one of them

            ‘You haven’t got a letter on yours,’ George observed. ‘I suppose she thinks you don’t forget your name. But we’re not stupid—we know we’re called Gred and Forge.’

Speaking quietly so that no one else would hear them, Harry told the other two about Snape’s sudden, sinister desire to be a Quidditch referee.
            ‘Don’t play,’ said Hermione at once.
            ‘Say you’re ill,’ said Ron.
            ‘Pretend to break your leg,’ Hermione suggested
            ‘Really break your leg,’ said Ron.

            ‘So you mean the Stone’s only safe as long as Quirrell stands up to Snape?’ said Hermione in alarm.
            ‘It’ll be gone by next Tuesday,’ said Ron.

Hagrid bit his lip.
            ‘I—I know I can’t keep him for ever, but I can’t jus’ dump him, I can’t.’
Harry suddenly turned to Ron.
            ‘Charlie,’ he said.
            ‘You’re losing it, too,’ said Ron. ‘I’m Ron, remember?’

            ‘But if we get caught, you too will be expelled too.’
            ‘Not if I can help it,’ said Hermione grimly. ‘Flitwick told me in secret that I got a hundred and twelve per cent on his exam. They’re not throwing me out after that.’

            ‘Devil’s Snare, Devil’s Snre...What did Professor Sprout say? It likes the dark and the damp—‘
            ‘So light a fire!’ Harry choked.
            ‘Yes—of course—but there’s no wood!’ Hermione cried, wringing her hands.
            ‘HAVE YOU GONE MAD?’ Ron bellowed. ‘ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT?’
            ‘Oh, right!’ said Hermione...

‘What happened down in the Dungeons between you and Professor Quirrell is a complete secret, so, naturally, the whole school knows. I believe your friends Misters Fred and George Weasley are responsible for trying to send you a lavatory seat. No doubt they thought it would amuse you. Madam Pomfrey, however, felt it might not be very hygienic, and confiscated it.’

            ‘I always said he was off his rocker,’ said Ron, looking quite impressed at mad his hero was.

            “There are all kinds of courage,’ said Dumbledore, smiling. ‘It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends. I therefore award ten points to Mr Neville Longbottom.’

They had hoped that Goyle, who was stupid as he was mean, might be thrown out, but he passed, too. It was a shame, but as Ron said, you couldn’t have everything in life.

Previously in the series:

Harry Potter Prequel  #0.50 (written afterwards)

Next in the Series:


Viewer Type Recommendation:

Fantasy lovers, adventure lovers.

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Read Completely:
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