The first book in the widely known Harry Potter series, which also spawned a bunch of films based on the books. I’ve read them all before – all 7 of them on my last 2 week vacation – having seen all the files and wanting to read the books. I decided I was going to read them again as I want to go through the full film collection again, so I took a break from the Nick Stone series by Andy McNab and ventured back into the magical world of Harry Potter. This story forms the foundations of all which follow it, and gives a great insight into the world of magic, both at Hogwarts (the school of witchcraft and wizardry) and even some of the impact on the muggle (non-magic) world.
Harry Potter was born to magical parents during a time when great evil was around in the magical world. The evil wizard, Lord Voldermort, was so evil that even a decade after his downfall, people still dare not speak his name. He had heard of a prophecy in which a boy who is born in July will bring an end to his rule (this is mentioned in a later book). He decided to rid the magical world of all boys born in July in a manner which is biblical in nature, and resembles the work which King Herod did in the bible. When he got to the house of the Potters to rid the world of baby Harry, something strange happened. Sure enough he killed Harry’s parents, but in the process of trying to kill Harry something went wrong. Harry Potter became the boy who lived, and he-who-must-not-be-named vanished.
Harry was taken by some of the Hogwarts’ staff to live with his Aunt and Uncle, where he was forced to live in a cupboard under the stairs, until one day he got a letter – thousands of them eventually – accepting him to study at Hogwarts where he could learn magic.
The story centres around his first year at Hogwats, meeting new friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, as well as making enemies, Draco Malfoy, and the learning curve of being able to harness and use magic. He gets into some mischief as all young boys do, and builds into a more normal life than he ever had living in the muggle world. Well, as normal as flying on broomsticks, fighting mountain trolls and escaping from Fluffy, a three-headed dog, can get.
Unbeknown to Harry and the other students, Hogwarts is guarding the Philosopher’s stone, a rare magical stone with very magical powers, including turning any metal into gold and being able to produce the elixir of life. Some of the dark forces know it is there and try to steal it for their own purposes, and it is left to Harry and his friends to stop them, resulting in a one-on-one confrontation with Harry and the one trying to steal the stone at the end.
I’ve always enjoyed the films, but I generally do, so when I first read the books I did it as a comparison. It is a difficult task to do. The books are so much better, and give a much better portrayal of the whole world than can be put into a film easily, and the books contain some important snippets into why things are the way they are, and why people turned out the way they did which the films simply cannot match. The books for me are the truest way of enjoying the world of Harry Potter, and I would recommend any of them to anyone, but if you’ve never read them, you need to start at the beginning to see how Harry builds his friendships which carry him through his young life.
Even if this isn’t your usual type of story, it’s one which should be read!