So I talked recently about the rough go of reading I’ve had lately. I’m procrastinating terribly on my Narnia reading, and how can anything compare to The Serpent of Venice’s witty, slick style? I needed something to get me back in the groove of wanting and enjoying to read.
Enter: JK Rowling and Harry Potter.
I first read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when I was 10, maybe 11, years old. I received the first 3 in a set for Christmas. I was already a reader, but I immediately fell in love with these books in a way I had never fallen in love with a book before. The truly amazing thing about that book is that literally millions of people had the same reaction. My tween and teen years are filled with memories of pre-ordering each book with my Dad, only to then start suffering the unbearable strain of knowing I needed to wait. Unacceptable! I needed each book immediately!
It’s a book that led to a series that enhanced and solidified my love of reading. In fact, I’ve planned/wanted/thought of multiple Harry Potter related tattoos over the years. This chapter art, from SS chapter 8, The Potions Master, is something that I’ve always wanted to get:
With all of this said, it almost feels unfair to be reviewing this book. Full disclosure, I’ve got nothing negative to say about the first few books. They are perfection printed on pages, in my opinion. But! This project is meant to push my boundaries and I said I’d do reviews, so I’m going to review!
REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, JK Rowling
Plot: In the middle of the night, a bearded man puts a baby on the doorstep of the most normal people you can imagine. Ten years and a host of mistreatment later, we find out that that baby, Harry Potter, is famous – in the wizarding world! (Oh yeah, and he’s one, too!) Swept into a new life of magic, Harry finds friends, makes enemies, and learns how his parents actually died so many years ago.
Most Memorable Line(s): “Cats couldn’t read maps OR signs.”
-Why? Because I think it’s funny and I laugh every time I read it. There are so many great lines to choose from, why not go with one of the most lighthearted?
What I liked: Um, everything!? I know, I know, too vague. First, let’s start with writing. I love Rowling’s writing style. So simple, but her word choice is on point. When I edit, I’m always looking to make sure things are said crisply, simply, and effectively. Rowling has ALL OF THAT in this book. It’s something an 8 year old, or an 88 year old, can read and identify with. Her first chapter, highlighting exactly how normal and, let’s face it, BORING, the Dursleys are is pure genius, especially when she brings in Dumbledore, McGonagall and Hagrid. What kid doesn’t immediately want to ride a flying motorcycle? I know I did. Vernon’s journey to keep Harry from learning about magic is also fascinating. Rereading that it’s like DAMN, just give the kid the letter! You don’t even like him! He’ll go away! Sigh, no logic anywhere. Getting to Hogwarts… Every time I read that I’m excited. Getting around the bend in the boats… learning about all of the different staircases. I can’t. I love it so much. And then, I think Rowling really put one of her strongest “adventures” in her first book. The journey the Trio takes through the 3rd floor corridor is incredible! The choices she made for each teacher were perfect. It was fun. “ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT?” That could’ve been another memorable line. So funny. I literally laugh every time. And then, the understanding of the Mirror of Erised, Harry learning how much his family loved him, and him seeing that he’s got another family now at Hogwarts that cares just as much. It’s perfect.
What I didn’t like: I’m not kidding, I don’t dislike anything about this book. It’s the perfect length. The mean characters are written fantastically – Dudley with a pig’s tail, what revenge! – and the good characters are so easy to fall in love with. I am Hermione. No one can tell me different. It’s not a weird fantasy.
Grade: 10/10! This book, like I said, has no flaws. It’s easy enough for young children to read on their own, while still having a real plot for older readers like me to enjoy over and over. Truly, truly magical.