Today I am so excited to review the first book in the incredible international bestselling Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
This is part of my Harry Potter Marathon from June-December 2016. I will read and review one Harry Potter book each month. Please share your comments and read along with me!
I’ve been thinking a lot about my reviews of this series that really gave me my deep love for reading and fantasy. I don’t think my usual review style works as well here.
- We all know the plots (whether we’ve read the books or seen the movies).
- We all know the endings (or we can easily find them).
- And we all have opinions about every element of the books.
Not to mention the fact that these books have been reviewed for years and years and years by people much more sophisticated and eloquent than myself.
So I decided to focus more on my experiences with each novel, why I love certain characters, what I learn from each book, and probably a lot more fangirling 🙂 Enjoy!
My first experience with this book – When I was in elementary school, one of my teachers read this book out loud to the class. I was hooked from that moment on. I loved it because of the fantasy and magic. I love Quidditch in the books! And I remember loving the ending. From dressing up as Harry Potter for Halloween before it was trendy (wore my dad’s bath robe), to midnight book parties, to themed get togethers with friends, I was a Potter-head from then on.
What surprised me this time – I loved the first chapter. It just felt so Harry Potter in its description and voice. I did not expect how simple this book is. In fact, it is short (especially compared to later books in the series). But Rowling packs it with so much action, character description and fun humor. Speaking of the humor, that surprised me too. This book is so funny! I don’t remember laughing out loud quite as much as I did this time. Last, the quickness of the plot surprised me this time. It only talks two chapters to go through all the magic protecting the sorcerer’s stone and defeat Quirell. That’s pretty fast.
Who I love most in this book – It’s so fun to meet everyone for the first time again and to think of all the adventures and growing up they have in store. I love Harry because he is so little and innocent at first. He really doesn’t know he’s famous. But he learns and also fights for what he knows is good, despite his innocence. I love Hagrid because he tries to so hard to do what he should but still makes hilarious mistakes. I love Hermione because she is book smart but is able to make friends and make a difference. I love Neville because he is so little and nerdy but still makes big things happen. And I love Dumbledore because he is so weird, and there is so much more to come from his character and his interactions with Harry……Also Peeves! Why doesn’t he make the movie cut?!
What I learn from this book – The value of good friendship is throughout the book from Harry and Ron’s first meeting to the way Neville stands up to his friends. We get so much about the fight between good and evil–and that good can triumph over evil. In this book, its so simple and easy to understand why you should choose good. Magic is not always the answer–I really love Snape’s potions defending the sorcerer’s stone. Logic is as important (and perhaps more important) that magic. We see this as the series progresses as well. Finally, I think we learn valuable lessons about doing what’s right and following our conscience. Vernon and Petunia may be stuck up snobs, but they do take Harry in and they do take him back at the end of the year. I like that.
How I would teach this book in a class – One day, I hope Harry Potter books are taught in schools all over the world. I think there are so many things to be learned from HP! And I must admit, I would love to teach one. With this book, I would have students compare scenes where Harry uses magic and how they are similar (like his interactions with Dudley and with Malfoy, or final exams and the different magic defending the stone. Or I would have students write about the development of a character through the book (I think Hermione or Neville are both especially interesting).
And I few of my favorite quotes, both classics and a few new favorites. Also, interesting to note that most of these come from Dumbledore.
“After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure. You know, the stone was really not the most wonderful thing. As much money and life as you could want! The two things most human beings would choose above all–the trouble is, humans do have a knack for choosing precisely those things that are worst for them.”
“Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.”
“‘The truth.’ Dumbledore sighed, ‘It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.'”
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, pages 297-298
It feels a bit silly to give this book (or any in the series) anything below 5 stars. They deserve every one.
What do you love most about The Sorcerer’s Stone?