Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Harry in cape and sneekers flys his broomstick
Readers have nearly worn out this paperback copy.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is the first of J. R. Rowling’s series of books about a pint-sized magician that has become a box-office phenomenon.

Harry, an unwanted “baby on the doorstep” of his aunt and uncle since the death of his parents, has lived in a closet under the Dursley’s stairs for 10 years.  Harry’s parents were a famous wizard and witch. The Dursleys are normal.

At 10, Harry receives a scholarship to Hogwarts, a school for magicians. A giant sees that he’s equipped with the necessary supplies.

At Hogwarts, Harry studies broomstick operation and magic spells instead of Latin and composition, plays quidditch instead of British football, and his big adventure involves centaurs.

The novel follows the formula for books about outsiders at British public schools. (British public schools are private institutions, traditionally for upper class males.) There is competition between “houses,’ “common rooms,” and “first years” who are bullied by “old boys.”

Like Sidney Sheldon’s and Michael Crichton’s fiction, Rowling’s Harry Potter reads like a movie treatment. It requires context that Americans don’t know, but which a visual treatment can provide.

Like The Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter will be remembered as a movie, not a book.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
by J. R. Rowling
Scholastic Press. ©1997. 309 p.
1997 bestseller #1 (Tie); my grade: C

©2020 Linda G. Aragoni