Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Author: J.K. Rowling
I feel very goofy writing a review for the first Harry Potter book in 2018. First, I think everybody else I know has already read it. Second, I’m over 30 years old. Still, after several of my coworkers gave me a hard time for being a huge reader and never trying this series out, I moved the first book up in my to read pile and knocked it out in 3 sittings.
I was coming into this pretty fresh, but I had seen the film adaptation of this in theaters when it first came out. I haven’t read any of the other books or seen any of the other movies. I remembered the chess scene from the end, as well as the that who the book sets up to be the bad guy not really being the bad guy (though I didn’t recall who the actual bad guy was). I’m not going to recap the plot here, again because everybody knows it.
The beginning of this book felt very Roald Dahl-ish, with Harry’s aunt and uncle being over the top terrible people. So much so that I had a hard time getting into it until Harry gets to Hogwarts. Once at the school the book became a lot more fun. More importantly, Harry went from being a protagonist in an over the top fairy tale to a more sympathetic character in a fanciful environment. Sections with him seeing his family in a mirror or enjoying his best Christmas ever did a much better job of making me sympathize with him than his step parents ridiculous antics.
Harry’s supporting cast was OK in this book but aside from Ron Weasley everybody seemed pretty one note. Dumbledore is a stand in for every wizard I’ve read in fantasy, Hagrid is the well meaning idiot and Hermione is the over achiever. Aside from Snape, none of Harry’s teachers were memorable enough that I’ll recall who they were when starting the next book. The Harry/Ron friendship starts off great in a train ride conversation and continues throughout the book as one of the best parts.
I enjoyed this first book in the series, but if it didn’t have all the hype and countless recommendations from people whose taste I usually trust I would probably be fine walking away after reading the first book. I am hoping that each book isn’t just a different magical macguffin that Harry has to either protect or collect, as so many fun fantasy series get tedious following that formula.