Title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Author: J.K. Rowling
Published: June 30, 1997 by Scholastic
Genre: Children’s literature, Fantasy
Okay, confession time: I’ve never read the Harry Potter series (I know, I know. I can’t believe it either). I never had the chance to. But, now that I have the box set, that ends now!
The story begins with Harry on the doorstep of his aunt and uncle’s house after the death of his parents. Hogwarts staff Albus Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, and Hagrid placed him there after rescuing him from his burning house.
Harry’s childhood was not the best. His aunt and uncle, the Dursleys, barely paid Harry any attention, and when they did, they treated him badly. His cousin, Dudley got everything he ever wanted. Harry was lucky to get anything. However, on Harry’s tenth birthday, things change for the better.
There are many themes in this book: desire, friendship, humility, the list could go on and on. The theme that runs through the majority of the book is humility. Harry has never known glory or popularity because of his childhood. Rather than becoming cocky when he finds out he’s famous, he responds with shock. Harry doesn’t know what to do with himself when he goes to the Leaky Cauldron and people start fawning over him.
“Harry didn’t know what to say. Everyone was looking at him” (p. 69)
Even when Harry finds out he has a natural gift for Quidditch, he remains humble and trains just as hard as everyone else. Instead of celebrating when he sets a Quidditch record, he runs off the field. All of these instances show Harry’s humility.
This is a stark contrast to Draco Malfoy, who prides himself on coming from a long line of wizards. Malfoy only cares about fame and recognition. He can even be seen banging his goblet on the table when Slytherin wins the House Cup.
Harry’s refusal to glorify himself is how he’s able to get the Sorcerer’s Stone. He wants it for the greater good of saving Hogwarts, instead of the glory of being immortal. Voldemort and Professor Quirrell aren’t able to obtain the Stone because all they care about is fame and power.
Another important theme is desire. Desire is first shown by Dudley in many instances, but more clearly on his birthday.
“The table was almost hidden beneath all Dudley’s birthday presents. It looked as though Dudley had gotten the new computer he wanted, not to mention the second television and the racing bike.” (p. 20)
Although this is a less threatening example of greed, it still helps tie in to the overall message that desire for material objects can drive you crazy.
If you want a threatening example, however, look no further than the main antagonist of the series: Voldemort. He wants to be the most powerful wizard there ever was, and he’s willing to do anything to get there. He is power-hungry. His greed for the Sorcerer’s Stone is incredible. He wants to obtain it so that he can become immortal and destroy anyone in his path. It is truly terrifying if you really think about it.
While the majority of the book suggests that greed is bad, Dumbledore explains to Harry that it is not inherently evil.
“You, who have never known your family, see them standing around you. Ronald Weasley, who has always been overshadowed by his brothers, sees himself standing alone, the best of all of them.” (p. 213)
I have very few complaints about this book (now that I think about it, I rarely have complaints with books). However, if you are an advanced reader, you have to remember that this is a children’s novel, so it’s not going to be very difficult to read. That being said, this book appeals to readers of all ages. My cousin just finished the series, and I know adults who are rereading it for the seventh time.
- Relateable characters
- Great themes
- Detailed world
- Appeals to all ages
- May be too simple for advanced readers
No matter your age, your breath will be taken away by the world and characters that J.K. Rowling has created.