Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s StoneHarry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling, Jim Kay
Series: Harry Potter #1
Published by Bloomsbury
Published on 6 October 2015
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Orphans & Foster Homes, Young Adult
Pages: 248
Format: Hardcover
Source: my home library
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RRP: $53.99
5 Stars

Prepare to be spellbound by Jim Kay's dazzling depiction of the wizarding world and much loved characters in this full-colour illustrated hardback edition of the nation's favourite children's book – Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Brimming with rich detail and humour that perfectly complements J.K. Rowling's timeless classic, Jim Kay's glorious illustrations will captivate fans and new readers alike.

When a letter arrives for unhappy but ordinary Harry Potter, a decade-old secret is revealed to him that apparently he's the last to know. His parents were wizards, killed by a Dark Lord's curse when Harry was just a baby, and which he somehow survived. Leaving his unsympathetic aunt and uncle for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry stumbles upon a sinister mystery when he finds a three-headed dog guarding a room on the third floor. Then he hears of a missing stone with astonishing powers, which could be valuable, dangerous – or both. An incredible adventure is about to begin!

Yes, I am actually going to review Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

(While quietly lamenting that Bloomsbury thought Americans wouldn’t be smart enough to recognise what a philosopher is.)

I’ve only read the series once, and it was after each book had been released, so it’s been a long time since I read Philosopher’s Stone. As in 20 years.

I’ve seen the film numerous times, so that helps keep things pretty fresh.

But Rowling’s quote, about how “Hogwarts will always be there to welcome [us] home” has stayed with me for a long time.

Would a reread of Harry Potter at age *cough* thirtysomething *cough* still stand up? Could I still find a home at Hogwarts?

I borrowed all of the books the first times I read them. Including the time my best friend bought Order of the Phoenix and gave it to me to read first because I was a faster reader than her. Then I purchased the ‘adult’ cover box set, and because it’s paperback, I’ve never actually read them because I don’t want to spines on the bigger books to crack. Then my husband bought the Pottermore ebooks, so I knew I’d always have Harry Potter within reach if I needed it. Then Bloomsbury released the amazing Jim Kay illustrated editions (they have only released up to Prisoner of Azkaban at time of writing), and I purchased them for the purposes of reading them to my future children.

I was armed and ready with my three different versions of Harry Potter.

Then one day my husband was sick in bed, asleep, and I was lonely.

Despite being an introvert, I feel loneliness very keenly. I prefer to be around only one other person, or a small group, but being by myself? No thanks. I hate having to take a day off work and spend it by myself. I need human company, even if they’re awake and doing something themselves in their own space.

I tried turning on the TV to a reality-style documentary just for the comfort of human voices, but it only helped a little bit.

Then I picked up my Jim Kay illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone…

And suddenly I wasn’t lonely anymore.

There was something so gratifying and comforting about opening up book 20 years after I first read it, and finding it just as enjoyable as the first time.

I really appreciated rereading this because the film version of Hermione really coloured my recollection of her. Film Hermione has more emotional intelligence that Book Hermione, and is often an emotional crutch for Harry and Ron. Her hair isn’t that bushy (not in later films), she doesn’t have large front teeth (which I don’t remember at all being mentioned in Philosopher’s Stone), and she’s beautiful and elegant because she’s played by Emma Watson. Book Hermione really is insufferable, bossy, and annoying, until she becomes friends with Harry and Ron, at which point she is awfully helpful with her organisation and desire to be the best. Book Hermione also seems more keen to break the rules than Film Hermione, at least this early on. As much as Hermione is really touted as one of YA’s most amazingballs incredible book heroines, and I agree that she probably is, maybe I thought too much of her, at least this early on, because of the film interpretation.

Sure, it’s not perfect (perfection is subjective, anyway), but it’s engaging and easy to devour. The characters are all easily defined with motivations of their own, and they’re not perfect either. Not even Harry, who is clearly much better off in the magical world than in the Muggle world. Rowling is not an unskilled writer, and Harry himself is there to be a vehicle to kids’ own imagining of finding out they are secretly special and attending a magical boarding school. That’s why we are always encouraged to figure out which House we belong to (Hufflepuffs represent!) .Remember, the original target audience was young boys, which is why Rowling, who has no middle name, used her initial and her mother’s initial to create the JK part. They somehow thought that young boys wouldn’t want to read a book written by a woman, even if it did have a train or a boy on a flying broomstick on the cover.


About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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4 thoughts on “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

  1. Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books

    I just started a reread with my son because he forgot what a basalisk was and I was like WELL IT’S TIME FOR A REREAD!!! We read it together a few years ago and that was my first reread since the first time I read it all those years ago. I was half loving it SO HARD and half seeing flaws that I didn’t see the first go-round because it felt so magical and I was in a THIS BOOK IS AWESOME Fog. I am also a lot more judgemental about books because of blogging I thing, so that didn’t help. The best thing to come out of it was that I created another HP fan and we can talk and fangirl/boy about it together 🙂

    1. Nemo

      That is so adorable. I love bonding over Potter! I probably didn’t see any flaws because I wasn’t really reading it critically. I mean, it’s not FLAWLESS, but it was still one of the more entertaining books I’ve read. Ever.

  2. Archer

    This will forever be one of my comfort reads. You know the type I mean. The book or series that you turn to when you’re tired of reading, hell even tired of living, and it’s like curling up in a big warm blanket and being made safe and secure. In these pages are a world where good does win and where wrongdoers are punished. There’s something comforting about that to me. Moreso than the magic and the hidden world, it’s the friendships that bring me back to this series time and again. Both the written ones in the books and the ones forged with fellow fans in the real world. GRYFFINDOR REPRESENT!!!

    1. Nemo

      The amazing comfort this book provided was why I turned to it in the first place. I love finding fellow Potter fans.

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