Maria's Reviews > Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling
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's review
Jun 28, 14

bookshelves: owned-books, non-english-books, own-2-editions
Read from May 28 to June 11, 2014

Originally posted on my blog:

I do admit those new scholastic covers are really nice, but I'll always love the original illustrations for the Harry Potter series. The colored spines especially bring me a sense of nostalgia and fondness for the series.

(2/5) Reading it as a kid, I didn't realize how bad J.K. Rowling's writing was. She writes in this incredibly formal and dry way that, at certain points of the book, just makes me sigh with how boring it was. What saves it was, of course, the content. With her world and characters, she knew exactly how to describe them. Good story can save a badly written book. Similarly, a good story can save a low budget film. On the other hand, good writing can't hope to save anything with a bad story. At certain points of the book, with a more flat character like Harry, you realize how bad the writing is though.

There are also a lot of awkward parts because of the writing:

Perhaps Snape had left the book in there? It was worth a try. He pushed the door ajar and peered inside—and a horrible scene met his eyes.

Snape and Filch were inside, alone. Snape was holding his robes above his knees.

... To say I burst out laughing for a long time was an understatement.

Also, instead of showing you if the characters were shouting or whispering or anything like that, she always told you, which can get annoying after a while and made the dialogue so much flatter:

"Good luck, Harry," he murmured.

"Up!" she screeched.

"Who's there?" he shouted.

"Oh yes, everyone's celebrating, all right," she said impatiently.

"You flatter me," said Dumbledore calmly.

Well you get the idea...

(5/5) Who's never dreamed about going to Hogwarts? Having your own owl and wand and going to Hogwarts to learn magic. You'd think the idea of wizards and witches would be the most used idea ever, but J.K. Rowling made a world that was beyond original and uniquely hers. The setting of the Harry Potter series will remain to be one of the main reasons (if not the only one), that the Harry Potter series will always be adored around the world.

(5/5) Another reason why the Harry Potter series is so amazing is because of the plot. Each individual book (or at least the first four) has its own plot and the entire series has an overarching plot. For me, the series only went bad (with the last three books) when it stopped following that. With the first four books, you can read any book, even out of order, and still be satisfied. The first I ever read in the series was actually the third one, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Now as for The Philosopher's Stone's plot, wow, you can see how polished this book was. It's obvious J.K. Rowling went through tons and tons of drafts and rearranging to get the plot to be as perfect as it can be.

I loved how in each chapter you learn more about the world J.K. Rowling has created and meet all these characters and at the same time get deeper into the plot. As far as the plot for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone goes, I see no flaws. It's perfect.

Main Character:
(1/5) For me, the largest flaw of the series was Harry Potter himself. I have not seen a flatter character yet. On one hand, you can argue that maybe we wouldn't have been able to explore the world as thoroughly if Harry Potter wasn't flat. Or maybe the plot couldn't have been so structured if he had a personality. But on the other hand, while all that is well and good, he's irritating .

The whole world revolves around him and yes, he keeps the story together, but I hate him as a character. Everyone either loves or hates (!?) him. There isn't anybody who doesn't care or is in the grey when it comes to him.

Not to mention, he's flat. He's flat. AND HE'S FLAT!?

To me, the most important element of a story will always be the main character. J.K. Rowling managed to pull off the story despite him being flat. It is his story, true. He's not a self-insert, because who in their right mind would want to be Harry Potter?

But he's unlikable and as I kept reading, he really hit a nerve. You know why he's so terrible? Because everything else is so good. The plot, the world, the other characters, and when you compare Harry to that he's an eyesore.

(5/5) I don't want to spoil anything about the villain (even though I'm pretty sure everyone has already read or watched it), but I liked how J.K. Rowling revealed and added him into the plot. It was perfect.

Other Characters: (5/5)
Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger: Harry's best friends. I actually really dislike the trio in Harry Potter. The only time I even liked these two was probably for the first two books, where they were cute because they were kids.

The Dursleys: The family that raised Harry Potter. I liked that the Dursleys were the only muggles in the book because they were really amusing. I also felt the Dursleys weren't that bad. Sure, they gave him no love, but they raised him ever since he was a baby. They could have put him in foster care or an orphanage, but they didn't. This was more favoritism on Harry's part, and probably making the abuse G-rated or something. I really feel that the author does not believe in grey people. You're either good or really bad, that's it.

Dumbledore: Dumbledore is headmaster of Hogwarts and possibly the most powerful wizard in the wizarding world. Although, he's such an archetype, his presence in the series is really important and he's also such a badass.

Hagrid: The groundskeeper at Hogwarts. Hagrid is one of my favourite characters in the entire series. Out of all the character in the first book, he's easily my favourite. He's so sweet! You can't help but love Hagrid. I find him sorely underrated. I really felt the movies butchered his character (especially the ones after the first two) and they ended up making him all gruff and stuff. It's really cool that he's a half giant and I love how he likes dangerous animals. Also, he's really not confident in himself, but because he's so sweet and kind, you can't help but cheer him on.

Severus Snape: A professor at Hogwarts. Snape is also one of my favourites, but he didn't become a favourite until the end of the series. His presence is definitely important in Hogwarts, but you really start appreciating him more and more with each passing book.

Draco Malfoy: A student at Hogwarts and Harry's arch-nemesis. Draco was surprisingly very different from the movies (in the first book anyway, don't remember him very well in the other ones). For one, he doesn't have a sneer, he was described as having a bored drawl. He's definitely not as unlikable as the films. He was pretty cute as a kid despite being very snooty and spoiled.

Neville Longbottom: A student at Hogwarts. I've always loved Neville more than the trio. One, he's so much nicer and two, he actually goes through some character development.

The Weasleys: I love the Weasely's, I think everyone does. They're a really big wizard family and show what wizard families are like. The twins, Fred and George, are probably my favourites. Percy was also really funny and I liked Molly's motherliness. I also really liked the mentions of their older brother, Charlie (actually one thing I really love about the Harry Potter series are all the mentions of the characters that you don't see until way later on. It makes the characters more real and like they always had a place, even if they didn't appear until later).

There are plenty of other characters, but those are the main ones to me in the first book. I loved all the other side and minor characters as well. Part of the reason J.K. Rowling's series feels so real is because she puts so much detail into all the side characters, even the most minor ones.

(23/30) The only reason this didn't get a 5 rating is because it had two huge flaws: the main character and writing. But the setting, plot, and the other characters were wonderful. Add that with the depth and themes this series had, and we have ourselves a modern classic.

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Quotes Maria Liked

J.K. Rowling
“Harry - you're a great wizard, you know."
"I'm not as good as you," said Harry, very embarrassed, as she let go of him.
"Me!" said Hermione. "Books! And cleverness! There are more important things - friendship and bravery and - oh Harry - be careful!”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Reading Progress

05/28/2014 marked as: currently-reading
06/11/2014 marked as: read

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