Book review: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Published by: Bloomsbury
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought, Buy on Waterstones, Book Depository
Goodreads rating: 4.42

Synopsis: 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, a wizarding school brimming with ghosts and enchantments, 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.

Childhood Vs Adulthood
When I first read Harry Potter I was a young child. I didn’t always have access to the books because we couldn’t afford books. The first Harry Potter book I owned was Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – our social worker bought it for me before he left. I was determined to read this series as a child, I remember the sobs when Sirius died, I remember the sobs when Dobby died. I remember the funny moments, I remember feeling so excited I just flipping pages regardless of the hour on the clock. I remember organising a play at home to act out scenes from the books. I was the director, main actor and all around bossypants. It was great.

For the longest time I’ve wanted to go back to Hogwarts, it means so much to me. It was my world as a child, it was my safe place, a haven, an escape but I didn’t want to taint it. I didn’t want to read Harry Potter as an adult, a 23 year old adult and not be any less in love with it. But I’ve finally decided to do it. To re-read the entire series. I don’t know how long it will take me because unlike when I was a child, I am now blessed to have books spilling from my shelves. I’m worried. But the Harry Potter made me fall in love with reading and nothing can change that.

I had the luxury of being able to listen to the audiobook for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which was narrated by Stephen Fry. I love listening to audiobooks, just being able to put my headphones in and be transported to the world, any world the narrator is telling me about. My familiarity with the Harry Potter movies and books meant I could vividly imagine each details, each character perfectly. Not reading and just focusing on building the world in my mind made the story even more alive for me.

This being the first book in the series I thought the characters would be incredibly different to me but looking back at Harry, Ron and Hermione from knowing who they become, I couldn’t find a single fault in character progression or fluidity. Hermoine still loves books, Ron still eats too much and is permanently annoyed with Hermoine and Harry is still the chosen one, the one that things happen to – but the boy can’t win he is either hated or loved there is no in between!

Listening to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone felt like I sitting down and turning on an old video cassette or DVD and watching my friends when they were younger. I’m happy to say that I loved the book when I read it twenty-times previously and I still love it now and I don’t think a day will come when I don’t love the Harry Potter series.

When was the last time you reread a book you loved as a child? Do you feel different about it now?
  • Michelle

    I wasn’t allowed to read Harry Potter until I was 13, by which time all but Deathly Hallows had been released. My dad also started reading them and we both became obsessed! I revisited some of the books (particularly 6 and 7, my favourites) over my teen years, but never the whole series. This year, I discovered Stephen Fry narrated the audiobooks and my library has every single one of them, so I started listening to the whole series again and had a similar experience to you. It was all so vivid in my head, a combination of my own imaginings and the movies and I love listening to it while I’m driving. Fry is a fab narrater! I’m up to Prisoner of Azkaban and still loving revisiting the series. I hope you enjoy revisiting it too! xo