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

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling
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Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn't hold with such nonsense.

Just from this paragraph, even if you hadn't bothered to read the back of the book, you knew something strange or mysterious is going to happen. And it did. Thus began the tale of Harry Potter, the hero of the greatest saga ever written (in my humble opinion).

Harry is an orphan (yes that is cliche), and lives with his horrible relatives, the Dursleys. He soon finds out he isn't who he thought he was ('gasp'!) and is whisked off to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for a magical and sometimes dangerous education.

What makes it so absolutely amazing:
- The characters: Every character is so unique and fleshed out, with a very distinct personality, strengths and weaknesses . Every single individual we meet has a signature 'something', be it the glasses, scar and impossible hair or Dumbledore's piercing eyes and long white beard. The characters manage to be over the top without seeming to try hard to be so, so they come across as natural even while wearing floor length robes or being twice the size of a normal person. Best characters in book one: Harry (of course), though he doesn't come to his potential into book two when he stops feeling like just an observer and more of the real hero. Ron: funny, loyal and red-headed :) Ron is Harry's best friend and a master at wizard chess. Hermione: in the beginning she is just so annoying! the best part of her story is to watch her grow from the girl we first meet to the girl who would break the rules to help her friends. Hagrid: The friendly giant (half-giant, actually), Hagrid will win you over with his sweet personality and love for all things creature (spoiler: giant-three headed dogs and illegal dragons are just some of those animals he loves). Honorable mentions: Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, Snape, Dudley, Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia, Quirrell, Neville, Draco.
- The plot: Again, the perfect word for Harry Potter is unique. Though the simplest plot of all seven books, Sorcerer's Stone still manages to keep you turning the pages uncontrollably.
- The locations: From Diagon Alley in London, to Hogwarts castle in Scotland, every location Harry visits jumps off the page with absolute clarity and again, uniqueness.
- The details: The pages are just filled with amazing details and interesting facts about the wizarding world making it come alive and feel very real.
- It's hilarious: Harry Potter is one of the rare books that aren't 'funny' books, yet make you laugh anyway. The Dursleys are extremely funny in their effort to be 'normal' which they fail at horrendously. The best part about the comedy is that there are little lines here and there that are hilarious, yet fit into the page like they are totally normal and not going out of their way to be funny. Ex: ""No post on Sundays," he (Uncle Vernon) reminded them happily as he spread marmalade on his newspapers." pg. 34-35. I love this line since it so easily goes unnoticed, since he's just spreading marmalade. I read this aloud to my little brother and he didn't notice what it said, until a second later when he realized and he was like 'What?' and burst out laughing.
- The fact that it can combine all kinds of themes and totally work. Magic, adventure, suspense, comedy, a kids story that adults love, romance (not yet, but you just wait), friendship, family, belonging, death, etc etc. The best books are the ones that can span all borders and categories they are boxed into, and this is one book that does so extremely well.

My few complaints (since this is an honest review)
- The writing: JK is a story teller and it shows. Luckily, I can tell you that her writing style and prose greatly improves over the course of seven books, which shows even the best writers need improvement.
- The names: Maybe I'm alone on this, but I never like names like 'Hogwarts' or names which always seem to start with the same letter twice like Severus Snape and Minerva McGonagall (plus they all come from obvious origins even if you don't know much greek or french, btw I'm fluent in french and go to an all french school, so its even more obvious) but this minor enough that it doesn't bother me anymore, not in the slightest.

Overall: 4.5 stars ***** for amazing creativity and unique plot, characters and locations.
If you haven't read this book yet: what's wrong with you, get a copy immediately!
If you saw the movie and think it is enough: read comment above. people who think this way have no idea of what they are talking about.
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Quotes Steph Liked

J.K. Rowling
“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone


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