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Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone Hardcover – October, 1998
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Say you've spent the first 10 years of your life sleeping under the stairs of a family who loathes you. Then, in an absurd, magical twist of fate you find yourself surrounded by wizards, a caged snowy owl, a phoenix-feather wand, and jellybeans that come in every flavor, including strawberry, curry, grass, and sardine. Not only that, but you discover that you are a wizard yourself! This is exactly what happens to young Harry Potter in J.K. Rowling's enchanting, funny debut novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. In the nonmagic human world--the world of "Muggles"--Harry is a nobody, treated like dirt by the aunt and uncle who begrudgingly inherited him when his parents were killed by the evil Voldemort. But in the world of wizards, small, skinny Harry is famous as a survivor of the wizard who tried to kill him. He is left only with a lightning-bolt scar on his forehead, curiously refined sensibilities, and a host of mysterious powers to remind him that he's quite, yes, altogether different from his aunt, uncle, and spoiled, piglike cousin Dudley.
A mysterious letter, delivered by the friendly giant Hagrid, wrenches Harry from his dreary, Muggle-ridden existence: "We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry." Of course, Uncle Vernon yells most unpleasantly, "I AM NOT PAYING FOR SOME CRACKPOT OLD FOOL TO TEACH HIM MAGIC TRICKS!" Soon enough, however, Harry finds himself at Hogwarts with his owl Hedwig... and that's where the real adventure--humorous, haunting, and suspenseful--begins. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, first published in England as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, continues to win major awards in England. So far it has won the National Book Award, the Smarties Prize, the Children's Book Award, and is short-listed for the Carnegie Medal, the U.K. version of the Newbery Medal. This magical, gripping, brilliant book--a future classic to be sure--will leave kids clamoring for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. (Ages 8 to 13) --Karin Snelson
From Publishers Weekly
Readers are in for a delightful romp with this award-winning debut from a British author who dances in the footsteps of P.L. Travers and Roald Dahl. As the story opens, mysterious goings-on ruffle the self-satisfied suburban world of the Dursleys, culminating in a trio of strangers depositing the Dursleys' infant nephew Harry in a basket on their doorstep. After 11 years of disregard and neglect at the hands of his aunt, uncle and their swinish son Dudley, Harry suddenly receives a visit from a giant named Hagrid, who informs Harry that his mother and father were a witch and a wizard, and that he is to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry himself. Most surprising of all, Harry is a legend in the witch world for having survived an attack by the evil sorcerer Voldemort, who killed his parents and left Harry with a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead. And so the fun begins, with Harry going off to boarding school like a typical English kid?only his supplies include a message-carrying owl and a magic wand. There is enchantment, suspense and danger galore (as well as enough creepy creatures to satisfy the most bogeymen-loving readers, and even a magical game of soccerlike Quidditch to entertain sports fans) as Harry and his friends Ron and Hermione plumb the secrets of the forbidden third floor at Hogwarts to battle evil and unravel the mystery behind Harry's scar. Rowling leaves the door wide open for a sequel; bedazzled readers will surely clamor for one. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Well, as they say, the rest is history. I not only promptly devoured Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, but began acquiring, and also devouring, the sequels. I only stopped in the middle of the sixth book, when a very sad event made me unable to continue....but I hope to be able to go back and finish the series!
I picked up the first book the other day, and plunged into Harry's magical world once again. Once again, I was totally delighted and enthralled! Rowling's very fertile imagination seems to have no bounds; all the books in this series are full of magical events, as well as twists and turns, and one just never knows exactly what is going to happen next.
Rowling also has the uncanny ability to make her characters, as well as the magical world around them, seem so real! From the very first moment, the reader becomes immersed in this very quirky, wonderfully weird world, where nothing is as it seems, unexpected surprises await, and household chores can be accomplished by the mere wave of a wand (something I positively loved).
Harry, Hermione, and Ron are wonderful characters, and it's not the first time I have wished I had grown up with friends like them. It's great how well they mesh, too, especially since, at first, Harry and Ron constantly found Hermione so annoying.
Harry, of course, is the main hero. He starts out life with the odds stacked against him, what with his sad personal history, and "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" wanting to kill him. In spite of it all, Harry remains courageous, and will not let his curiosity, innate optimism, and eagerness to learn magic be dampened by outward events.
Hermione could have been the main hero of this whole series, because she not only matches Harry (and her name is the female version of his) in all his great qualities, but is also willing to take that extra step to find out more. Books are very important to her, and I really liked her for that! She is also very thorough in her research, and has an excellent memory. Besides, she can really think on her feet.
As for Ron, he is that friend who remains steadfastly by your side, through thick and thin. He's funny, as well, and willing to attempt any adventure, despite his fears. Besides, he's an excellent chess player -- even beating his two friends at the game. In this first book, his chess-playing skills become extremely important in preventing a great catastrophe.
Then there's Hagrid....sweet, lovable, gentle Hagrid, who has a soft spot for creatures great and small, and loves Harry like a father, or perhaps a big, bumbling brother. He's pretty much like a giant teddy bear, and I SO wish I could hug him! He's had some rough times himself, but still remains as positive as he can possibly be. And, most important of all, Dumbledore, the Hogwarts Headmaster, trusts him completely.
Dumbledore is another of my favorite characters, but I won't say much about him because he plays a greater role later on in the series. What I did get to see of him, though, during both my first and second readings of this book, made me like him a great deal! He is definitely a father figure to Harry -- always wise, patient, and willing to give Harry the benefit of the doubt.
There were other great, more minor characters, as well, such as Professor McGonagall, who is really a very fair-minded person, despite her stern exterior, Quirrell, the stuttering professor, the funny Weasley clan, especially the mischievous twins, Fred and George, and Neville, poor, shy Neville, who is constantly losing his pet toad....
Then there's one character who is almost in a league by himself, and a rather hateful one, too: Severus Snape. Alan Rickman plays him superbly in all the movies. He gets the character's oily manner (his hair is even greasy) and incomprehensible attitude toward Harry just right. Rickman made it extremely easy for this reader to despise Snape! Even before I met him on the screen, though, Rowling had already succeeded in making me hate him.
Another character I love to hate is Draco Malfoy, Harry's personal nemesis. I'm surprised he isn't related to Snape, because he can be just as spiteful and horrible to Harry.
Amidst all of the typical boarding school activities and classes with such interesting names as "Potions", "Charms", "Transfiguration", and "Defense Against the Dark Arts", the three friends become very adept at amateur sleuthing, and uncover a secret at Hogwarts, one that students are not supposed to know about....
Of course, there had to be time for sports, as well, and I soon discovered that the magical world's version of soccer -- or is it a strange combination of soccer and basketball? -- with the delightfully odd name of "Quidditch", was not only great fun, but had elements of danger, as well, especially when a certain evil wizard nearly took one of the most important players out of the picture....
Rowling manages all the elements of her plot with great skill, leading her readers along the path toward the exciting, final discovery of the school's secret through tight writing, with not a word to spare.
I especially liked Dumbledore's final words to Harry. It was the power of love, he told the young wizard, that won the day. Some readers might criticize this as 'cheesy', but I thought it was altogether fitting to the story, considering Harry's background.
This is such a terrific story! No wonder it's loved the whole world over, by readers of all ages! This book definitely deserves all the praise it has garnered, and more. I know that I will want to read it many more times in the future! And of course, I will also want to watch the movie just as many times!
Let’s face it, Harry Potter needs no introduction. My book arrived in about half of my estimated shipping time in emasculate condition. My son has been reading it for about a week now and is coming up to the halfway mark. He even woke up extra early before school the other day to get some reading in (proud mama/bookworm moment).
Don’t forget to encourage you kids to read.
“I have lived a thousand lives and I’ve loved a thousand loves. I’ve walked on distant worlds and seen the end of time. Because I read.” – George R.R. Martin
So as everyone here knows the whole story about Harry Potter by now, we are about to get an eighth entry but set in the 19 years after the events of Deathly Hallows. And we are also getting another movie set in the Potter universe but taking place about 70 years before the events of Sorcerer's Stone.
While living a life with his nasty aunt and uncle, young Harry's life is changed forever when he receives a letter from Hogwarts while being enrolled. Thanks to friendly half-giant Hagrid, Harry learns that he is famous because of his defeat of a Dark wizard named Lord Voldemort, who is revealed to have killed his parents.
The amazing storytelling from Rowling brings to life something beyond imagination itself which has captured the hearts of many for several years.
A great character example is Harry himself. Thus since he is probably the driving force for the whole story, he comes across several twists and turns in this and the six sequel stories that brings him to his ultimate destiny in episode 7. And with new friends and foes, Harry definitely is one we can relate to because at some point in our lives, we have been where he is when the story starts. And when he talks to the boa constrictor in chapter 2, I wanted to laugh when Dudley (his cousin fell into the pond) as the glass vanished.
So this is the introduction to a whole other world within our own with Diagon Alley, Quidditch, muggles and so much more. It is an excellent way to introduce readers to this magical world.
But another driving force throughout the whole series is that there is a whole slew of mysterious events in each individual entry. In this installment, Harry claims that his Potions teacher Professor Snape is after a magical relic called the Sorcerer's Stone. But as the story goes on it is revealed that the true villain (aside from Voldemort himself) is actually Professor Quirrell. Another thing I liked is while Voldemort is the true villain of the series as a whole, there are a few side characters in each entry who serve as the main villain individually. They either serve Voldemort directly or they serve the Ministry of Magic (in Book 5 more prominently).
The last thing I like about this and the other books is that it is about development. As the series goes on, we follow Harry, Ron and Hermione as they mature in each story. In this one, they have already met (around chapter 6) and are ready for what awaits them.
So thus begins the story of Harry Potter!!!