Book Review: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Author: J.K. Rowling

Before I even begin this review, I am letting everyone know that it wasn’t written by someone who is obsessed with Harry Potter. I am not the type of person that tells people the house I’ve been sorted into, if you want to know you can ask. If you don’t want to read a review by someone who just likes the books and isn’t talking about them every two minutes then it’s best if you leave now. 

Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Now I never said I hated Harry Potter, in fact I remember them being pretty good, but I don’t remember them being very special.

Yeah, I would get each of the books as soon as I could after they came out, and yeah I would read them as fast as I could, but I don’t remember anything really sticking with me when I read them.

I even gave them all a second read through a few years ago, and honestly liked them a little less, I think because of all the hype that has been put on them for years.

Rowling has done a marvelous job at creating a world that has kept millions of people around the world interested in and engaging with, but I am not one of those people.

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone was our first peek into the magical world, and honestly I wasn’t too disappointed. We got to explore the world as Harry did, learning most things for the first time just like Harry did too.

Being a boy right around the same age as Harry, I was amazed by all the magic, and I can remember having ‘Harry Potter’ fights with my cousin when we were kids.

There are two things about Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone that bother me though.

The first is that it seems sort of rushed. I know it’s a relatively short book, and Rowling’s writing style is a faster paced one, but it seems like a lot more could have been hashed out in order to have readers better understand and enjoy this new magical world they had discovered.

My second problem is that Harry is just a boy being introduced to the magical world for the first time. I get that he’s the protagonist and eventually we find out is the chosen one and all that, but he’s an 11-year-old boy who is going up against a freaking dark lord!

Yeah, sure, Voldemort isn’t at full power, and yeah Harry beats him with luck more than anything (which happens again and again and bothers me), but Dumbledore seems to have all the answers and should be able to help Harry out, or at least have someone else do it, but barely lifts a finger to do so until book six.

I get that the protagonist needs to be the one to save the day and all that crap, but I find there is a difference between the protagonist winning on luck/skill/allies/masters his powers and the protagonist winning just because he has too.

It annoys me that Harry isn’t an exceptional wizard at all. He’s not smart, he’s lazy, and doesn’t really show much promise as a great wizard like Dumbledore, but constantly gets lucky with beating Voldemort every school year.

And yeah don’t give me that friendship is true strength crap either because I wouldn’t call  the trio a friendship. More like one guy who constantly depends on the other two just to survive most days.

Rant aside, I did really like the house point system that was introduced in the book, which we don’t see as often as the books go on. I thought it was a cool little mechanism to learn about the do’s and don’ts of Hogwarts, and was a nice little victory for the main characters, even if Dumbledore cheated and gave them the win for free.

I did also enjoy that the book follows the school year. It seems kind of cliché that all of the books only take place during the school year, but it’s a nice little touch, and it makes sense if you think about it. I mean yeah, the school year takes up a majority of the year, but at the same time it’s when Harry adopts his magical life. When Harry is home for the summer he basically becomes a muggle again, living an especially miserable life.

I hope you guys made it this far, and I am sorry that I’m not more of a fan. I did enjoy the books, I’ll never deny that, I just don’t understand the hype that everyone holds the books up to.

I would like to take a quick poll of my readers to see what houses everyone has been sorted into. For some reason I feel like I have a lot of Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, but we will see.

I don’t know what I’m going to be covering next week, not that I’ve been following it much lately anyways. I’ll have something for you I promise, I just can’t think more than a few hours ahead of me at the moment, but hopefully this will go away soon.

 

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One response

  1. Pingback: Weekly Recap « On My Bookshelf

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