Harry can hardly believe his own ears when a giant man shows up on his eleventh birthday to tell him that he is a wizard. Yet it makes sense, as odd happenings have followed Harry all his life. Delighted to leave his unpleasant aunt and uncle behind, Harry goes to Hogwarts, the magical school that his parents both attended long before they were murdered by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named tried to kill Harry as well, but the attempt backfired and destroyed him. Harry doesn’t remember any of this, as he was only a baby, but he is famous in the wizarding world for causing the downfall of the evilest wizard in history. People expect greatness from Harry Potter, but he knows nothing about the magical world. Will Harry be able to rise to the expectations of those around him? Or should he forge his own path?
The latter seems more likely when odd things start happening at Hogwarts. Trolls, a forbidden corridor, and a suspicious Potions teacher are at the heart of a mystery Harry finds himself entangled in. Can he find out what is hidden, and protect it from others who want it for more sinister purposes? Joined by his classmates Ron and Hermione, the young trio must rise to face incredible dangers, or else the wizarding world will be plunged back into a darkness that hasn’t been seen in eleven years, since He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named first vanished.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is a wonderful read from cover to cover. J.K. Rowling has not only created a wide cast of well-developed, lovable characters, but an entire world of magic and wonder. Although the series revolves around magic, the story does not encourage children to try magic on their own. Spells involve simple words. For example, saying luminos creates light. The books advance throughout the series, becoming longer and slightly more mature, although still appropriate for elementary readers.
Readers will be sucked in from page one, drawn forward by an enticing mystery and delightful adventures. There is also an illustrated version of this novel that will further engage reluctant readers with beautiful, full-page illustrations. Be sure to have book two of the Harry Potter series close at hand, because readers will be clamoring for more upon finishing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
- It’s mentioned that growing up, Harry often was bullied by his cousin, Dudley. “Dudley’s favorite punching bag was Harry, but he couldn’t often catch him. Harry didn’t look it, but he was very fast.”
- Dudley punches his cousin. “‘Out of the way, you’ he said, punching Harry in the ribs. Caught by surprise, Harry fell hard on the concrete floor.”
- When a letter for Harry arrives at the house, “Uncle Vernon had to wrestle Dudley to the ground to get the letter from him, which was made difficult by the fact that Harry had grabbed Uncle Vernon around the neck from behind. After a minute of confused fighting, in which everyone got hit a lot by the Smelting stick . . . “
- When one of Harry’s classmates is being mean, Ron’s rat bites him. “Scabbers the rat was hanging off his finger, sharp little teeth sunk deep into Goyle’s knuckle—Crabbe and Malfoy backed away as Goyle swung Scabbers round and round, howling, and when Scabbers finally flew off and hit the window, all three of them disappeared at once.”
- Ron and Malfoy almost get in a fight after Malfoy insults Ron’s family. “Ron dived at Malfoy just as Snape came up the stairs. ‘WEASLEY!’ Ron let go of the front of Malfoy’s robes.”
- The next time Malfoy insults his family, “Ron snapped. Before Malfoy knew what was happening, Ron was on top of him, wrestling him to the ground. Neville hesitated, then clambered over the back of his seat to help.”
- Harry sees Snape injured. “Snape and Filch were inside, alone. Snape was holding his robes above his knees. One of his legs was bloody and mangled. Filch was handing Snape bandages.”
- Harry and Ron rescue Hermione from a troll. “Harry then did something that was both very brave and very stupid: He took a great running jump and managed to fasten his arms around the troll’s neck from behind. The troll couldn’t feel Harry hanging there, but even a troll will notice if you stick a long bit of wood up its nose, and Harry’s wand had still been in his hand when he’d jumped.” The fight takes place over two pages.
- Harry sees something horrible in the Forbidden Forest. “The cloaked figure reached the unicorn, lowered its head over the wound in the animal’s side, and began to drink its blood . . . The hooded figure raised its head and looked right at Harry – unicorn blood was dribbling down its front.”
- When Harry finds the wizard searching for the Sorcerer’s Stone, he tries to escape but is attacked. “At once, a needle-sharp pain seared across Harry’s scar; his head felt as though it was about to split in two; he yelled, struggling with all his might . . . he looked around wildly to see where Quirrell had gone, and saw him hunched in pain, looking at his fingers—they were blistering before his eyes.” The fight takes place over two pages.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Uncle Vernon, “was so angry he could hardly speak. He managed to say, ‘Go – cupboard – stay – no meals,’ before he collapsed into a chair, and Aunt Petunia had to run and get him a large brandy.”
- After a wild cart ride, Hagrid says, “Listen, Harry, would yeh mind if I slipped off fer a pick-me-up in the Leaky Cauldron? I hate them Gringotts carts.”
- During the Christmas feast, Harry sees “Hagrid getting redder and redder in the face as he called for more wine, finally kissing Professor McGonagall on the cheek, who, to Harry’s amazement, giggled and blushed.”
- Hagrid hatches a dragon egg. Baby dragons eat “a bucket o’ brandy mixed with chicken blood every half hour.”
- Hagrid can’t remember what he told someone in a pub. “I can’ remember too well, ‘cause he kept buyin’ me drinks.”
- Codswallop is used once.
- Ron calls a troll pea-brain.
- The word idiot is used a few times.
- Harry Potter goes to a school of wizards and is a part of an entire world of magic. His studies include potions, charms, and the care of magical creatures. His school is in a castle with ghosts, enchanted ceilings, and portraits that move and talk. He encounters a giant, three-headed dog, unicorns, and living chess pieces. In short, Harry is surrounded by magic and supernatural occurrences every day of his life. As such, not all instances are listed here.
- To cast a spell, wizards say a word and wave their wand. For example, saying luminos casts light.
- There are ghosts in the castle, that behave like regular (although transparent) people. One of Harry’s teachers is even a ghost.
by Morgan Lynn