Saturday, August 13, 2016

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


I could never write a worthy review when it comes to Harry Potter and I am not going to even try especially with a series that has inspired children to read, films that has entertained us, and a whole fictional universe that continues to expand daily. I remember watching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in 1st grade and watching it twice in the same day and still captivated by the magic of it all. I remember my teacher trying to read the first book and never bothered to read past the first few chapters which is a shame because I know I would have enjoyed the book.

I hated reading as a child and in many ways I am grateful that J.K. Rowling is the reason why I started reading for pleasure. I grew up with the films and never bothered to read the books until 10th grade when they announced that the final book would be split into two films. I thought it was brilliant because I knew the ending was going to be action-packed and it was going to be impossible to put this epic series into one film unless it was going to be a 5-hour film. I remember that I had the first book so I decided to enter my garage and search for it and luckily I found it and decided to invest my time into the series.

Immediately I was addicted to this series within the first chapter because it felt like I was rewatching the film in my head and I believe that is the beauty of Harry Potter that regardless what art form you are using either way you are going to be entertained with the plot, characters, and the whole aspect of magic. Plus what I believe is brilliant about these books is that each chapter is at least 20 pages long so the reading pace is quick and encourages you to finish the book. Besides the final film, I believe the 2nd best adaptation of book-to-film is the Sorcerer's Stone.

I finished the first three books when I saw Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and I knew at that moment that I needed to know the ending before the final film was going to be released and it provided me the enthusiasm and passion to read each book in the series back-to-back. When I reached the final page of Deathly Hallows I could not believe that I finished Harry Potter. I went into a literary depression where for 3 straight months I was unable to read anything because when I read the first page my thoughts would scream, "THIS IS NOT HARRY POTTER STOP READING". I never thought it was possible but I believe books can change your life and I am certain that Harry Potter changed my life forever. It felt like the ending of my childhood and I do not take that statement lightly. I have been wanting to write a review but I believe I could only properly write a review unless I recently read the series and since the play is going to be published on Harry Potter's Birthday I decided to revisit the series.

For those who apparently live under a rock and never heard of Harry Potter let me gladly introduce this fantasy world to you. We are taken back to November 1st, 1981 in England where the Dursley's family is enjoying a normal weekday in the life of Muggles (Human Beings who are not magical). Vernon Dursley heads off to work and notices weird people in strange robes are roaming around the city, owls flying around in the daytime, and strange weather. Vernon ignores it at first until lunch time when he overhears one of these cloaked individuals gossiping about how "You Know Who" is dead thanks to the Potters especially Harry. 

Vernon goes into a panic because he believes they are talking about his sister-in-law's family and he knows thats a topic that shouldn't be discussed in front of his wife Petunia for you see his sister-in-law is a Witch. Later on that night as the Dursleys fell asleep, little did they know a big surprise would await at their front door in the morning. A cloaked bearded old man and cat magically turned into an old woman show up at the house in 4 Privet Drive and discuss about the facts of what happened on Halloween. 

An evil wizard named Voldemort has caused terror and panic in the world for years and he was becoming extremely powerful until on Halloween. He entered Godric's Hallow looking to kill Harry Potter and sadly met his death in the process because Harry Potter's mother, Lily, put a protection spell on Harry making it impossible for Voldemort to kill him and in return Harry has a permanent scar shaped as a lightning rod on his forehead. Harry Potter essentially becomes a famous icon in the Wizarding world and Dumbledore wants him to be protected and makes the decision that he is better off living with his muggle family.

The book shifts immediately t0 1991 and it is Dudley's birthday. We see quickly that the Dursleys mistreat Harry by making him live in the cupboard under the stairs, he barely gets any gifts, and Dudley is a spoiled fat brat. The Dursleys haven't told Harry that he is a wizard and avoids discussing anything related to his parents and how they died until one day a letter arrives to Harry. Vernon refuses to give Harry his letters and the mail pile keeps stacking to the point that the Dursleys rent a house in the middle of nowhere to avoid these letters. Luckily for Harry when he turns 11, this giant named Hagrid breaks down the front door and presents him his letter.

Hagrid is the gatekeeper at Hogwarts. He gets angry when he connects the dots and figures Harry is clueless about everything. He finally spills the beans and tells Harry that he is a wizard and he has been accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry cannot believe that this real and learns how awful his family has truly become and the Dursleys refuses him to attend but they have no right when it comes to Harry following his destiny as a Wizard. The next morning Hagrid takes Harry to London where they enter a secret entrance that leads to Diagon Alley which is the shopping district for Wizards and helps Harry buy all his supplies with the massive fortune that his parents left behind for him. Once all that is settle and done Harry has the rest of the summer to enjoy his free time until September 1st which is the day he is supposed to take the train to Hogwarts.

September approaches and Uncle Vernon drops Harry at the train station and Harry enters a panic because he is trying to locate Platform 9 and three quarters and unsuccessfully cannot find it until he overhears this woman telling her kids to hurry up and learns that you have to run through a wall to enter the platform and Harry discovers the magnificent train that will take him to Hogwarts. While boarding the train, these twins from that same family help him with his luggage and they made the quick connection that Harry Potter is him thanks to his scar and the whole train loses their shit because he is the most famous wizard in the room.

To avoid anymore discussions, Harry enters one of the boarding rooms and makes friends with Ron Weasley who is the youngest brother out of the Weasley's to attend Hogwarts. Another passenger enters and her name is Hermoine Granger who actually has Muggle parents and later on Neville Longbottom who is this shy and nervous kid looking for his pet toad. While they are getting settled in their seats and what is to come here enters a character that Harry will despise for the rest of the series. Draco Malfoy. Harry Potter met him in the school uniform shop and dislikes Malfoy's attitude of superiority and opinions on topics that Harry is clueless about and knows that Draco is the wrong person to be friends with and that spark of hatred begins in the train and it will last for eternity.

Once they arrive Hogwarts everything becomes magical and unbelievable that this castle is a school.

Before the grand feast begins all first year students must be sorted into one of the four houses at Hogwarts:

Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. In order to get properly sorted, each student gets called alphabetically and sits in a stool and puts on the sorting hat who determines everything. When I took the Pottermore test years ago I had the option of selecting one out of two houses and guess which one I selected:


Harry, Ron, Hermoine, and Neville got into Gryffindor and Draco got accepted to Slytherin.

For now I will end my summarizing of the book because I believe everyone should read this series particularly this book which started this phenomenon. There is plenty of drama and plot that it will surprise you how easily J.K. Rowling makes it when it comes to putting a whole school year into one book without making it boring and you get to learn new discoveries in this magical world like Quidditch, Invisibility cloak, trolls, dragons, magical broomsticks, and more. 

When it comes to my favorite Harry Potter books it goes by this order: 7,6,4,5,1,2,3.

Till this day I do not know how Rowling made the writing seem effortless because between describing this magical world, keeping the reader entertained, and maintaining a steady flow in the plot is remarkable and difficult. Looking back I believe the first 3 books are meant for middle schoolers and younger because you learn more about Hogwarts and the Wizarding world whereas 4-7 deals with more background information about Harry, Dumbledore, and Voldemort. Each book gets darker which is why the last book in my favorite even though the 6th book I read it in 8 hrs. 

I worship Harry Potter and I hope someday J.K. Rowling decides to invest in the series again and write more Harry Potter books. I am satisfied that she wrote 7 books and yet there are still millions of questions floating in my head after finishing the series and I hope someday they can all be answered properly. I listen to Jim Dale as the narrator of the audiobooks (US Editions) and I applaud his handwork into making each characters voices unique and the only one voice I extremely disliked was Hermoine. He made her sound extremely annoying that I wanted to punch her in the face. Hagrid was beautiful and spot on while Dumbledore made him more cartoonish. 

Hopefully I will continue on this journey again and explore the magnificent and beautiful world that is known as Harry Potter...

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