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'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' review
Jun 08, 2012 01:18 AM 3035 Views



It seems like a long time ago, when as a little girl I had screamed with delight on laying my hands upon the very first Harry Potter book. I had got it as a present on my 12th birthday and had sat till midnight reading about a world filled with magic and the fantastical. By the time I had graduated from high-school, I had read all the books in the series and didn't realize then that with each successive novel, J.K. Rowling had adopted a darker approach towards the world of magic. When the final HP film got released, I made it a point to read all the books covering Harry's adventures; from the start, all over again, to send-off Harry, Ron and Hermione in a dignified manner. Am I glad I did; for I had never realized till now the changes in the settings, plots and themes, Rowling applied to each book- with every novel becoming moodier, drearier, gloomier and...............scarier; somewhat more fierce. Towards the end of the final installment in the series, one becomes quite glad that he/she is a mere muggle and not a wizard who is required to risk his own and his friends' lives to overcome a powerful Dark Lord.

Ten year-old Harry Potteris not living an easy life- his aunt and uncle absolutely despise him, while his cousin Dudley Dursley is a bully who enjoys tormenting him. Treated more like an unwanted house-guest rather than a nephew, he is quite content with living under a small cupboard underneath the stairs and celebrating his birthdays alone. He remembers nothing at all about his parents except that they had died in a car accident. Every night though, his dreams are plagued with unusual flashes of green light and a woman screaming. He also has a very strange scar on the side of his forehead shaped like a lighting bolt. After a series of strange events which seemed to occur everytime during Harry's presence, he's kept under house-arrest by the Dursleys. A few days before his eleventh birthday, a letter arrives addressed to him. Surprised at the prospect of someone writing to him, he opens the envelope only for the letter to be snatched away by his uncle. Letters continue arriving (in throngs!) with each passing day; all of which are for Harry Potter and him only. Frustrated and crazed (literally) at not having a moment's peace; his uncle shifts (ahem, forcefully drags) the whole family to a solitary hut on a secluded island. At 12 a.m., they hear a huge explosion as the door is blasted off and see to their horror, a giant with a 'magical' pink umbrella!!! Soon Harry Potter learns of who he truly is and is made to join the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Here he is taught to cast spells, grow exotic monstrous plants, fly on a broomstick, brew potions in a cauldron, play Quidditch and most importantly, to differentiate between his friends and enemies. Together with Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger, Harry experiences both good and evil in the wizarding community he now inhabits.

The Philospher/Sorcerer's Stone is a complete children's book. Rowling's narrative is simple and her descriptions of the muggle and magical world are colorful and easy for kids to imagine. There is no complex vocabulary included except for the incantations of spells, which gives one the feeling of watching/performing real magic . Her wordplay linking the names of her characters to their personalities and backgrounds is quite similar to the style pioneered by Dickens; with Ronald Weasley, Draco Malfoy, Severus Snape, Albus Dumbledore, Rubeus Hagrid, Dudley Dursely, Neville Longbottom, Ollivander, etc., all of whose names may sound incredibly funny to kids, but have deep meaning in them at the same time. The best part of all; every loose end is tied up in the last chapter. In fact, you might not suppose that there's more to Harry Potter after finishing this book. If your child has had enough of reading the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew, Harry Potter will definitely grant him some reprieve and inspire him to flaunt his uniqueness and develop his creativity (especially if the books left to read hereafter include the Twilight series, The Vampire Diariesor Pretty Little Liars).

Final grade- A+; a must-read for kids, young adults and everyone older than 18 years who seek to be a child-at-heart.

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Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone - J K Rowling