Friday, 27 June 2014

Review #5 - Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone

Title: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Author: J.K. Rowling

This is my second, possibly third, read of this book. It would be unfair of me to say that I am obsessed with all things Harry Potter, because I believe how strongly I feel about this series far transcends 'obsessed'. It was my childhood. It is now becoming my adulthood.

A brief synopsis; (Via Goodreads)
Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He's never worn a Cloak of Invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry's room is a tiny cupboard under the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in ten years.
But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that's been waiting for him... if Harry can survive the encounter.

I'm going to start off with the title, and why on earth it is called 'sorcerer's stone' in America. Because a philosopher and a sorcerer are not the same thing, and whilst, yes, Nicholas Flamel was indeed a wizard, he was also a philosopher, and was renown for that, since, you know, magic didn't exist to muggles and everything. Hence why the stone was called the Philosopher's stone, and not the bloody Sorcerer's. It's blasphemy, I tell ya.

Now, I'm pretty sure at this point I won't have to say any spoiler warnings, because come on, this is Harry Potter.

Harry James Potter of Number 4, Privet Drive, who spent eleven agonising years in Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon's cupboard under the stairs. Eleven loveless years which could have gone far better if Dumbledore had left him with Hagrid, or Snape, or you know, someone who didn't despise his guts.

One thing I had forgotten about the first book, though, was just how much of a bossy cow Hermione is! It's been a good few years since I've read any of the books, and because I prefer the films after the 3rd one, Hermione has obviously mellowed out about rule breaking. It was quite a shock, because she's actually quite rude!

But it's easy to see where she is coming from, now that I'm older. She's not being bossy to be mean, she's being bossy because she cares. Not, specifically, about Ron and Harry, but she cares about Hogwarts and making a good impression and having good grades and begin worthy of a school like Hogwarts. It must have surely been horrible to enter a wizarding world, knowing absolutely nothing because your parents are both muggle dentists.

I love that fact, that her parents were dentists. It is such a mundane profession.

Now I'd like to talk about Harry Potter. For the protagonist of a really good franchise, he's- well, to quote Hermione Granger: "Sometimes you can be really thick."

He's not an idiot, as shown by how he managed to pass his exams whilst worrying about 'Voldemort bursting through the doors at any given moment', but he's pretty to slow to pick up on some facts. But this can be easily rationalised to how he's grown up in the muggle world. He doesn't know any better.

This is brilliantly shown when the trio are caught up in the Devil's Snare plant, and Hermione is fretting about not being able to light a fire without any wood, to which Ron promptly responds with: "HAVE YOU GONE MAD? ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT?" (Well said, Ron, well said. She's not quite the brightest witch of her age, just yet.)

Which is great, because it demonstrates that even the most knowing of people can crack under pressure. It reminds the reader that they are indeed just children, who have managed to get in way over their heads.

I finished the book last night, as I'd also forgotten how short it was! I guess I'm just used to reading lengthier ones now, though. (Though I think this month's Book Club book is actually only about 220 pages long)

I don't have much to say about Rowling's writing of the book, because I think it brilliantly managed to encompass the thoughts processing of an eleven year old. Magnificent, really, and I can't wait until I get onto book 4, just to see how the writing of that compares with this one.

So, to end this review, I leave you with this:
Harry Potter

Star Rating: 5/5 

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