Tuesday, 26 July 2011

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

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling - WARNING! I am reviewing the Harry Potter ooks with the idea that those who read my reviews have read the books. There will be spoilers. If you haven't read Philosopher's Stone, read no further.

Harry Potter is an ordinary boy who lives in a cupboard under the stairs at his Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon's house, which he thinks is normal for someone like him who's parents have been killed in a 'car crash'. He is bullied by them and his fat, spoilt cousin Dudley, and lives a very unremarkable life with only the odd hiccup (like his hair growing back overnight!) to cause him much to think about. That is until an owl turns up with a letter addressed to Harry and all hell breaks loose! He is literally rescued by a world where nothing is as it seems and magic lessons are the order of the day. Read and find out how Harry discovers his true heritage at Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft, the reason behind his parents mysterious death, who is out to kill him, and how he uncovers the most amazing secret of all time, the fabled Philosopher's Stone! All this and muggles too. Now, what are they? From Amazon UK

Since watching the very last Harry Potter movie recently, I was bitten by the bug again and decided to re-read the series. It had been quite a few years since I last read Philosopher's Stone, as several years back I decided I prefered the latter books to the first ones and would start from them instead of from the beginning. So picking up the first book again after all these years was really nice!

There was so much I had forgotten about! Just how nasty the Dursleys were originally, Harry and Hermione getting caught after giving Norbert to Charlie's mates, the way the centaurs behaved in the forest, Snapes potion test underneath the trap door! Just so much was re-discovered, and I did go back to being the 11-year-old I was when I originally read this book. The wonder and the excitement all came rushing back.

What I did notice was how younng the writing style was, Harry is definitely a child. I am now reading Chamber of Secrets, and even in one school year, there is a noticeable difference. The language is less simple, and Harry is less self-absorbed - the business with his parents in the mirror didn't show him in the best light.

As I said earlier, I stopped reading the first few books quite a few years back, while I continued to re-read the others. What surprised me the most was how little actually happens. Obviously, the other books are quite long, so there'squite a lot of page time for different events, but I'd forgotten that little happened in the first compared to the latter. In that sense, it was slightly anticlimatical.

However, still a very enjoyable read, and I can still see why I and everyone else, loved this series so much! Completely absorbing!

Published: 1998
Publisher: Ted Smart/The Book People (My edition. Normally Bloomsbury.)
Buy on Amazon US
J.K. Rowling's Website


  1. I love the books! I have read them all several times. Great review!

    When you get the chance, please check out my blog. Thanks! :]

  2. Kudos for tackling the big HP books, I don't know where I would begin trying to review them. How can you possibly do them justice?! Anyway, great review and you're right about the change in the language from the first book to the others, it was definitely originally aimed at younger children which is odd given the word count and size of the font. I'm just glad the books got bigger!


  3. Zoe - I've read them all several times too, they're amazing! but it's been quite a few years since my re-read :)

    Lyrical - I know! It's very difficult to review books that are just so amazing! The reviews for these books are going to be quite different to my normal reviews, because everyone already knows how brilliant they are! So basically me chatting about my re-read experience, what I like, what I find that's different now as an adult, etc!
    Ohh, I'm glad I wasn't the only who noticed the change in language. Maybe it was because Philosopher's Stone was such a great success with adults as well as children, Rowling was asked to make the language a little more mature fo the older readers as well. I love that the books got bigger! so much more to read about! Buthonestly, before Harry came along, you would never have gotten me to read a book the sizes of the last four. Saying that, I wouldn't have read by choice before Harry Potter.