Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1)

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone (Harry Potter #1) by J. K. Rowling

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five stars

“Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy – until he is rescued by a beetle-eyed giant of a man, enrols at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, learns to play Quidditch and does battle in a deadly duel. The Reason… Harry Potter is a wizard!”

“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” is written by J. K. Rowling and published on 26th of June in 1997. It is the first novel of a series of seven. The genre is fantasy and suitable for all ages. Although, it is the world of magic, wands and good versus evil, there are still descriptions of our modern world (the so-called “Muggle-world”; non-magic folk). By showing the clash between the magical world and the “regular” one, Rowling allows the reader to be a part of a secret and thus feeling welcome and secure in her literary universe.

“Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” 

While trying to figure out this new life at Hogwarts, Harry experiences vital things, such as friendship, insecurity about one self and bullying (Malfoy from the Slytherin House). He learns of the secrets of magic, his own history and most importantly, he is also introduced to the evil Voldemort (“he must not be named”) who killed his parents, when he was a baby. No one had ever survived him, before the “boy who lived”.

There has been debate about J. K. Rowling’s writing style. She has been criticized for showing vague insight knowledge of the characters and having a simplified language concerning descriptions. I find it subjective and that it is up to the reader to figure out what works for them. Again, any kind of art is experienced differently by whoever reads and experiences it. Many people have their favourite kind of literature, some may be bored by yet “another” fantasy book and others simply crave for more.

Personally, I was sucked into the magical world that J.K. Rowling portrays and makes so available and easy to disappear into. I grew up with Harry Potter and it was the first book I ever read and for many years I read it over and over again, without ever trying anything new. It created a space of security and a world that allowed me to forget reality. It was really all about escapism. With her books, J.K. Rowling created a world where everything was planned for a reason. Afraid of it sounding like blasphemy, but she became the God of the magical world and created the detailed and visualizing elements of Harry Potter as we know it. You can learn about the secrets of Hogwarts, learn how to play the game Quidditch and read the school books (‘Quidditch Through the Ages and ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them + a collection of the fairy tales ‘The Tales of Beedle the Bard’). What makes J.K. Rowling one of my favourite authors is that as a reader, her descriptions and storytelling are made so visual, so you feel that you’re almost there yourself; trying a wand or seeing the sky of the Great Hall change its mood and colours.

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With her books, J.K. Rowling has created a new generation of readers and a unique literary universe. Later on, when the Harry Potter movies came, it started a new cultural spin: the Harry Potter land (recently opened north of London), the books have been published worldwide and translated into many languages. Furthermore, the objects and requiems from the movies have been manufactured and are now being sold online and in stores, where you find yourself surrounded by well-known things of the Harry Potter-movies.

The world of Harry Potter was my beginning of reading. I remember being 11 years old and my mother read it to me before going to bed. I was and am still totally obsessed about the books and the entire universe. Personally, I think that many teenagers can relate to Harry Potter and the matter of belonging and finding one’s true path. Harry Potter has no friends or family, besides the mother’s family whom he lives with, although they do not treat him well at all. He has never known his parents or the magical world, where he plays a vital part, and because of this, he can’t truly find a place in our modern world. Fortunately, the magical world is finally revealed to him and even though, there are many things he has to learn about himself when attending Hogwarts. But at Hogwarts, he feels truly home.

It was easy to identify oneself with Harry. I read the book for the first time, when I was eleven and he was eleven. Every book matched my age and every time a book was published, I figured out new things about growing up and becoming a teenager, even though my world wasn’t that magical compared to Harry’s.

Once when I have children, I will read the Harry Potter books out loud before bedtime and hopefully, they will enjoy the universe as I did, and still do.

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