Monday, 23 July 2012

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone review

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
J.K. Rowling
I don't actually know what month it was published, 1997

Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy. He lives with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley, who make him sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. Then Harry starts receiving mysterious letters and his life is changed for ever. He is whisked away by a beetle-eyed giant of a man and enrolled in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The reason: Harry Potter is a wizard! (really, now? I NEVER would have guessed that Harry went to a school for witches and wizards because he was a Wizard! Seriously. Pretty freaking self-explanatory.)

*apologizes in advance*

Reviewing Harry Potter? What sort of monster must I be if I think I can criticise Queen Rowling's work! Alas, I've (shamefully) never read all seven of the Harry Potter books. Which I think makes me a very different kind of monster. Seeing as I've been meaning to read them basically my whole life, I decided I should probably get a move on and actually read them. A pretty good decision, if I must say so myself. Though I cannot wait until I move on to the later ones, where Harry and the gang develop personalities and the plots become more interesting and it's less black and white about things like good and evil. I did enjoy the Philosopher's Stone, despite it's distinct middle-gradiness anyway, because it's still Harry Potter, and I like J K's writing style, and it's Harry Freaking Potter and I'm 88% sure that there is a special place in hell for people who don't like Harry Potter. (Just because I hadn't read the books before now, doesn't mean that I'm any less of a Harry Potter fan, and if anyone tells me otherwise, then I will be very annoyed. VERY VERY ANNOYED. Just saying.)

Oh, yeah, should probably add: these reviews will probably be kind of like my Vampire Academy reviews, which were more nonsensical rant then anything. So just stick with me. Sense may be made at some point, possibly.

I really regret not having read this book when I was younger, because I would've had more appreciation for it then than I do now.  And I don't mean that in a bad way, and that I don't think it's a good book (because I do), and that I didn't enjoy it (because I did). I am a big fan of there being shades of grey (STOP) in morality in books and stories, and I feel like that is something that this book lacked. I know that that's because it is for a younger audience than myself, and that lines start to get blurred more in the other books, and I really should stop complaining about it, but it does annoy me. I have a real soft spot for Snape (because I know what happens to him and I personally think his death is one of the worst), and it just annoys me that he is a bad guy because he doesn't like Harry. It annoys me that Harry doesn't even think there might actually be a deeper reason for this, and that James Potter might not have always been the saint that Harry thinks he is. Snape is so much more than a sarcastic, mean Potions master, and I know we learn that later on, BUT STILL. I guess what I'm trying to say is that a lot of the side characters felt more like caricatures of people rather than actual three dimensional people. 

I also found the beginning quite slow, but that was mostly due to the fact that the first 50 pages is just the Dursley's not liking Harry. And can I just say that, if they hate Harry so freaking much, why are they so keen on keeping him around? I get they hate Magical Folk and that they're the Muggliest Muggles of all Muggleton, but seriously, if I had been looking after a kid that was a constant reminder of why my parents loved my sister more than me (speaking from Petunia's perspective), I would get rid of him at the first chance I could. If someone offered to take him away to a magical boarding school where I wouldn't have to see him for the whole year, I'd walk him to Hogwarts personally. Y U MAKE HARRY'S LIFE HELL, DURSLEY'S?!

*Ahem* That being said, these books are so charming. They're written (plural because I'm also talking about CoS - review Wednesday) in such a quaint British way that it kind of reminded me of reading a Diana Wynne Jones book. Also, they're a lot funnier than the films, too, and I really cannot wait for them to hit puberty and for hormones to be thrown into the mix as well. The films always felt a lot heavier in tone, and I enjoyed having the tone be lighter every now and again.

I think I like book Harry more than film Harry already, because with the books you also get more time to get to know Harry and the gang, and for them to actually show that they have personalities beyond having a painful scar. Not saying the films don't show the characters well, you just don't get the same sense of character as you do in the books. Which is kind of a no-brainer, I guess. I still think that Harry is kind of bland at this point, but I also suppose that's because he's an eleven year old, and snark does not come naturally to those who have not yet hit puberty.  Though a miserable life time of living in a cupboard under the stars has given Harry a good start. The young one has promise, yet. Ron, as always, was adorable and I want one, and I love his and Harry's friendship. I feel like J K really portrays the relationships between all of the boys really well, actually, and I love all the scenes from the books and the films which are just them hanging out in their dorm talking about stuff (though I know most of these come later on, as well). I must admit, I kind of wanted to slap Hermione for the first half the book, but that Mountain Troll attack really did the girl a world of good, because I love Hermione and all, but she was such a swot. She is freaking clever, though, and the girl earned being top of her class because she does not stop studying, and I seriously respect her dedication and focus to her studies.

I promise to start trying to make sense of my feelings for these books at some point (don't worry, I won't read all seven in a row. You will get breaks between my mental Harry Potter induced breakdowns. But don't be surprised if I read Deathly Hallows and my review is just the digitalisation pf pure and utter heartbreak. If the film can make me cry for an hour straight, the book will actually break my tearducts. BE PREPARED.


  1. I wouldn't know how to review the HP books. Well done!

  2. You finally read it! The romancy bits later on are...interesting. It all gets a bit crazy. Can't wait to see what you think of the rest of these!

  3. hahaha love this, but seriously HOW have you got to... your 16 right?… 16 without reading these books!!! I cant wait for you to get further in and work some stuff out ;)

  4. "I am a big fan of there being shades of grey (STOP) in morality in books and stories..."


    But yeah, dude, HP is the bomb dot com. So is JKR. As you said, the earlier books in the series are a bit more juvenile in their worldview -- but that's the whole point! You'll definitely enjoy the characters' maturing as the story continues. JKR is a master.

  5. I applaud for both reading AND reviewing the work of the might JK Rowling, bahaha.


    Aweeeeesome review, as usual <3

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