In order to know the importance as to why I’ve read this book this week, I have to tell you a closely guarded secret of mine.
I’ve never actually read the whole Harry Potter Series.
I know. I’m disgusted with myself too. HOWEVER – This summer, that is going to change.
I read ‘Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone’ in my Year 8 English class, and then I remember reading up to ‘The Prisoner of Azkaban’ successfully, but it was when I reached the opening house scene in ‘The Goblet of Fire,’ I got too scared and didn’t read anymore. So, this summer I decided if I was going to read just one series, it was going to be the Harry Potter series, and catch up with the rest of society.
So what did I think of it? J.K Rowling shows her brilliance for child writing in this book, but also had me, as a twenty year old girl, hooked – which I didn’t expect. I expected it to be a pleasant, magical read, which filled my imagination with the world of witches and wizards, (which of course it was) but, I didn’t expect to be up until 3am, just to try and learn how they got past Fluffy, the three headed dog.
I suppose I was lucky in my timing. I haven’t seen any of the films in ages, and so I was able to be surprised, where I was meant to be surprised, and happily remembered the things I had previously forgotten happened in the book. Some things I didn’t even remember at all! Like the room with the bottles… but still! I couldn’t help but find it a great read.
Obviously one of the things that has made the Harry Potter series as popular as it is, are the vivid descriptions which Rowling presents us with. I think she easily finds the perfect balance between the action of the plot and description of the magical place which surrounds our characters. For example, whether it is of The Forbidden Forest, or the Castle, or even his cupboard under the stairs, Rowling describes it in such a way we are as awed as Harry Potter is. By making Harry a regular boy, or a ‘muggle,’ meant that the reader, whether it be a 8 year old boy, or a 50 year old woman, empathized more easily with his confusion and excitement, crucial for Rowling’s opening book. His nervousness at starting Hogwarts, fear in the Forbidden Forest, or happiness at Christmas time, is all very easily shared by the reader, as we too know nothing of this magical place and what is about to come.
However, debatably, what is equally as important is the sense of humour which J.K Rowling includes in the book. With the greatest of talents, she writes things which children would find funny, whilst at the same time, the older generations who read the book could find amusing too.
Dumbledore: “Fancy seeing you here, Professor McGonagall.”
McGonagall: “How did you know it was me?”
Dumbledore: “My dear Professor, I’ve never seen a cat sit so stiffly.”
McGonagall: “You’d be stiff if you’d been sitting on a brick wall all day”
Who’d of thought McGonagall would be prone to banter. Combine the witty comments of the professors with the cheekiness of the children…
Mrs Weasly: “Now, you two – this year, you behave yourselves. If I get one more owl telling me you’ve – you’ve blown up a toilet or –”
Fred and George: “Blown up a toilet? We’ve never blown up a toilet.” “Great idea though, thanks, Mum.”
…and you’ve got yourself the most perfect of tension breakers.
However, Rowling doesn’t shy away from the responsibility Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone gives her, which is, to teach. To teach that doing the right thing will get you further than following the crowd, and that not doing the right thing for fear of getting in trouble, is not an excuse. To teach what is really important in life – appreciation of each other, being brave when we are scared, and standing up for what we believe is right.
“Harry – you’re a great wizard, you know.”
“I’m not as good as you,” said Harry, very embarrassed, as she let go of him.
“Me!” said Hermione. “Books! And cleverness! There are more important things – friendship and bravery and – oh Harry – be careful!”
One of the final scenes is of a conversation between Dumbledore and Harry. Harry asks why he survived, to which Dumbledore answers: “Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. Love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves its own mark. To have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever.” Which is something everyone can appreciate, and if they hadn’t, Rowling certainly reinforces such ideology – that love will concur all. With such great morals embedded into a book about magic, wizards, and mystical creatures, I don’t think anyone could help but completely fall in love with ‘Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone.’