Friday, February 4, 2011

Prong's Re-Reads: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

*Doo Do Do Doo Doo Dooooo Dooo Do Do DO Do Do DOOOO*

Welcome Marauders one and all, to the very first post of the
brought to your by Prongs!!
As some of you may know if you have been following us on Twitter, Prongs has decided to re-read the entire HP series before the last and final (DON'T CRY YET) movie is upon us in July. One book each month until that fateful day. So for those of you playing at home that's 7 books, 7 months, finishing up just in time for the finale of quite possibly the most successful literary franchise EVER.
This post is a bit late since Jan marked the start of the re-read but none the less here a discussion of all things wonderful about book 1. If you would like to join in the festivities, feel free to discuss with Prongs via twitter or e-mail and we would love to get some guest posts going.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
By J.K. Rowling
A Short Summary: If you don't know the basic story of Harry Potter by now... I just... I don't even... *eye twitch*. However, just in case you have been living under a rock that a giant ogre has been sitting on, here is a BRIEF over view of the start of what I consider to be the best series. Ever.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone starts off as unassuming as any other book out there. We are introduced to The Dursley's, an uptight family determined to live as normal a life as
possible, and their 'great-oaf' of a son Dudley. The Dursley's dreams of meritocracy might been accomplished, if not for the unwanted presence of their orphaned nephew, Harry Potter.

Harry Potter has lived for nearly 11 years under the shadow of his hefty cousin, under the wrong impression of his parents death, and under the stairs in a cupboard with only his dreams to keep him company. That is until the evening of Harry's 11 birthday when his life is changed forever, and a literary empire was ignited. Harry learns that he is in fact the son of a witch and a wizard, making himself a wizard in turn. Not only that, the death of his parents marked one of the greatest moments in 'magical history', when the dark Lord Voldermort (quiver) was mysteriously defeated by a tiny baby who would come to be known as 'the boy who lived'.

As Harry is brought into a new world of dragons, spells, friendship, and of course magic, he learns more about the night that would forever leave a scar on his past, future, and of cou
rse forehead.

The first book also marks the first year that Harry attends Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and the year that he would make his 2 companions and best friends, Ron and Hermoine. The trios year is filled with studies, adventures, and of course mischief bond the three together forever. While a majority of Harry's introduction to his new life is filled for the first time with true companionship and love, a sinister undertone haunts the new found happiness that Harry has found. Harry's return to the magical world also marks the resurfacing of Lord Voldermort, and with that the realization of the fear that can from from true evil. S.Stone ends brings with it the promise of more years at Hogwarts and more adventures for both Harry and his loving readers.

The Good:

Hagrid's arrival: When Hagrid bursts into Harry's life, he brings with him the manifested idea of magic. Imagine being a child (both as Harry and as a lowley muggle reader) and discovering for the first time an entirely new world beyond your wildest imagination. Harry's induction into the world of magic is by far one of the most profound moments of the book, and of the series.

Quidditch: In book 1 we are introduced to quidditch, and finally to a sport that I can stand. Harry learns that he has an innate ability to fly on a broom stick and becomes the youngest 'seeker' Hogwarts has ever seen. Quidditch provides much of the action in the book, and Rowlings descriptions leave you on the edge of your broomstick.

The mirror of Erised / Dumbledore: It is a testament to Rowling's strength as a writer that she developed so many of these small but powerful scenes. Half way through his year at Hogwarts, Harry stumbles across a mirror that is able to show him for the first time his hearts true desire; the physical appearance of his parents. With the findings of the mirror comes Harry's first encounters with Dumbledore, and we get a preview of the great man and relationship that is to come.

The Bad:
Draco Malfoy: Before Harry is introduced to all of the good that the magical world has to offer, his basic sense of morality is tested when he meets the young Draco Malfoy. Besides Hagrid, Draco is essentially the first glimpse we have of members of the magical world, and the parallel between the two boys lives begins. Draco, a boy from a pure-blooded rich family, will be a constant representation of everything Harry is not for the remainder of the series.

Lord Voldemort: Book 1 wouldn't have been complete with out the appearancef Harry's arch rival. While Voldemort's presence isn't shown until the end, the fear that he commands is felt from the first chapters of the book, helping to assert himself as one of the greatest literary villains of all time.

Over - Protective - Parents: When the Harry Potter series first rose to acclaim, there was a bit of a controversy among somewhat close-minded parents as to the nature of the books. Witches, magic, blasphemy seemed to ring from every page, and S.Stone became one of the most frequently banned school books of all time. While the lessons of love, bravery, and friendship can be seen in book 1, it is not until the later books that parents seemed to realize the true virtues the stories had to offer.

The Magical:
-Talking portraits
-Bewitched Ceilings
-Owl Posts
-Invisibility cloaks
- Baby Dragons
-Oliver Wood's Smile
-Platform 9 and 3/4th

Favorite Quotes:
  • "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live."
  • "It takes much bravery to stand up to our enemies but we need as much bravery to stand up to our friends."
  • "One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore. "Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn't get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books."
  • "There is no good and evil; only power and those too weak to see it."
  • "As much money and life as you could want! The two things most human beings would choose above all - the trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them."
  • "You're a wizard, Harry."

Alright folks, that is all I have for book 1. I could go on for days about how this book rekindled a love of reading for millions the world over, but I think the reasons why can be better said in the words of the text. Hopefully you will all rush out and start re-reading yourself, and if for some god-forsaken reason you haven't read this before... you will start now!!


  1. So very glad you're rereading!!

  2. I love that you opened your post by giving your rendition, in words, of the HP music:) It made me smile, just thought I would share.

  3. I haven't read HPSS in YEARS. I have re-read several of the later novels in the past year, but haven't revisited the early novels. Hummmm...interesting. JKR is a natural story teller, but I differ with your opinion that HPSS was an incredibly well written novel on the basis of syntax and style. It is clear JKR's writing has improved dramatically during the series. Don't get me wrong; I was hooked the second I entered HP's world, but I think I'm more attracted to the later novels because the writing is so much richer.
    Remember how disjointed many of us felt the epilogue was? If I'm not mistaken; JKR wrote it when she began the series. The style and syntax are so very different between the epilogue and HPDH; the incongruity was bothersome. Okay...I'm rambling, which is something I do frequently.
    Have a fabulous weekend, and cheers!

  4. I love the series collectively, from SS to DH. The Sorcerer's Stone was the beginning though. and there has to be a beginning. I think for a first in such an amazing series, it's pretty damn good. I agree that her writing evolved with each book and that's what's so amazing about JK. She went from damn good with SS to hell yes, and eventually to WHOA!

  5. I believe it was his 11th birthday...not his 12th. Just sayin.


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