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2012-07-22

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Author: J. K. Rowling
Titel: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's                                Stone
Publisher: Bloomsbury
ISBN: 9-780747-549550
Rating: 8/10

Blurb: Harry Potter thinks he's 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!
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Inspired by Potterthon and all posts revolving around it both here and on ll-lit I decided to finally making an attempt on reviewing Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (and the following books, but I think that's going to take some time), even though I will never do this book any justice whatsoever. This review will probably be full of spoilers, quotes, mindless babbling about how I love the series and childhood memories, so don't read it if you're not interested or haven't read the book (your loss...), I just thought I'd give you a fair warning.

Like so many people my age I literally grew up with Harry Potter and his wondrous world - and the words "I loved it" would be an understatement. It is one of the most amazing worlds in a book I ever came across and in my opinion it's so rich of lovely (or dark) details it can only be compared to Middle Earth. Although this story actually takes place in the 'real world' there are so many improvements and extras - and when you're a kid or an adult with a little bit of fantasy all of those extras seem not that impossible to you.

Due to the way of Harry discovering being a wizard we get to know the wonderful world of magic and just as he does, we start to love it almost immediatly. Partly that is because it seems so different from the opressing, violent behaviour of the Dursleys and partly because it seems so joyous and peaceful in spite of the dark past we know it has, but the main reason is that it's well-thought-of, lovely and everything we want to have. And whoever says he/she wouldn't want flying motorcycles, racing brooms, books full of curses or a magical academy full of ghosts and moving pictures to be real is downright lying to him-/herself.

The introduction of this magical world and all its possibilities to Harry is absolutely authentic and the positive side-effect for us is that we learn everything we should know about it while Harry expiriences it. But I'm astonished how well all these details and the development of the plot fit into the everyday-life at Hogwarts. There is not one thing in this book that seemed to be misplaced to me, no processions in the plot that didn't fit in the current story - this book is one of the most fluent ones I've ever read.

But that's not the only reason I love Rowlings writing. She has the ability to characterise any person and relationship in no more than two sentences. The first chapter should be evidence enough: After reading the first page of the 'Philospher's Stone' I'm sure you will be able to know exactly what the Dursleys are about and how they will treat Harry. But it's the same with Harry himself, Ron, Hermione, Draco and Fred and George Weasley. I love the way she makes me feel about the different characters and how we expirience the changes they undergo throughout the series.

And there are SO MANY important characters in this first book alone! Let's start with Ron Weasley - Harry's BFF :) They really get to know each other during the book and that's great and all but what I enjoyed most about the relationship between them is how it starts - they become best buddies over a bag of Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans and some Chocolate Frogs. Yes guys, this is how friendships usually start in the real world. Then there is Hermione Granger, whom I love even when she's the know-it-all teacher's pet and how they get to like each other in spite of the differences they had in the beginning. This girl rocks, seriously. She's got the brains but she also knows that there are some things much more important than knowing all of her books by heart:
"Me!" said Hermione. "Books! And cleverness! There are more important things - friendship and bravery and - oh Harry - be careful!”
The Weasley's will also be playing a big role in Harry's future life - everytime I read the christmas part in this book I burst into tears. Mrs Weasley has only seen Harry ONE TIME at the station and yet she knits him his very own Weasley jumper for christmas... I'm so happy that Harry's got himself such an awesome substitutional family. Really, can you imagine Harry Potter without the Weasleys? Can you imagine Harry Potter without Fred and George?!? NO EFFING WAY! Those two are probably my favourite characters in the whole series.... Everytime they are mentioned in this book (or the others) they make me smile, grin or laugh out loud. Seriously, without the Weasley twins this AND the following books would lack a certain humor you can't find anywhere else. Especially the fifth book, but that is a different story alltogether.

We meet Dumbledore and Hagrid who will both become some kind of a father figure to Harry, Professor McGonagall who's as awesome as a teacher can get, the Potion Master ('Turn to page three hundred ninety-FOUR'), the Hogwarts staff members who will find a very permament place in our hearts as the series goes on and so many many incrediable characters that I find myself marveling at Rowlings imagination. And, of course, we meet Harry.

Harry Potter - the Boy who lived. Brave and naive little Harry who has been through so much trouble already in his life and will face far more dangers than we could ever envision. His hero-complex is absolutely adorable and yes, I know it is highly impossible for an 11-year-old boy to do as he does in this book, but what the hell - it's fiction. His story amazed me in a way no other did before and I loved the way he faced Voldemort instead of running for his life. He's increadible even in this first book and will be our very own tragic hero 

But enough of the awesomeness of the characters, let's talk about the story. The long introduction was a no-go for many readers, but I think it's just the right length to become with Harry and get the right feeling for the story. We also wouldn't have the chance to expirience Diagon Alley as we did in the book if the introduction was any shorter and that would be horrible D: So there really is no way around it... I remember that this section of the book felt like a lot more to me when I read the 'Philosopher's Stone' the first time (back then in german) and it probably is a bit suboptimal for a children's book, but I love it nonetheless.

Another thing I absolutely adore in all of the books is the foreshadowing. Watch out, here goes the spoiler attack: Hagrid brings Harry to the Dursleys on Sirius' motorbike - we hear more of this story in the 'Prisoner of Azkaban'. Harry has a dream about Quirrel and his turban after the start-of-term banquet which tells us a lot about the end of the book. Hagrid talks about Voldemort having 'not enough human in him to die'. Harry is chosen by a wand related to Voldemorts etc. etc. etc. I could probably re-read this book a thousand times and still find more and more clues to the plot in the other books.

And that's the thing: I really COULD read this book a thousand times. By now I think I might have finished it about 13 to 15 times in the last 14 years - both in german and in english although I really prefer it in english. I'd like to imagine myself in some years just like Alan Rickman did in this particular interview:
When I’m 80 years old and sitting in my rocking chair, I’ll be reading Harry Potter. And my family will say to me, ‘ After all this time?’ And I will say, ‘Always.’ 

Kommentare:

  1. Fantastic review! And I especially love your shout out to the Weasleys of course! I look forward to seeing if you end up reviewing the others too!

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    1. Thank you so much :) I'm new to doing reviews in english so it's nice to know that somebody likes them :)

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  2. BTW, do you have an RSS feed set up? I couldn't see one.

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