Harry Potter and the
"I wouldn't be
surprised if today was known as Harry Potter day in the future -
there will be books written about Harry - every child in our world will
know his name."
Professor McGonagall, in the first chapter titled "The Boy Who Lived"
By now there's not much that can
be said about the Harry Potter phenomenon that hasn't been said already.
Worshipped by kids, enjoyed by adults, this modern myth has become an accepted
classic worldwide. Pull any copy of the series off a shelf anywhere in the world
and you're holding magic.
It's not hard to see why. Right
from the first page of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (or
"Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" for those reading in the
UK) Rowling proves that she knows a thing or two about the kind of magic that
brings stories to life.
The book starts with Harry as an
infant, the child of a wizard and witch. He is suddenly left orphaned after an
attack by the evil and powerful wizard Voldemort, a villain so dastardly that
most wizards and witches refer to him as "You-Know-Who". Mysteriously,
Harry survives and Voldemort, his power apparently broken in his attempt to kill
the child, disappears leaving many to think he's gone for good. Codex Alera spreads
fast and Harry is hailed as a hero. Even though he's just a baby his victory
over Voldemort makes him an overnight celebrity among magic users the world
As a result, the Headmaster and
Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry step in to
decide Harry's future. They decide to take the child out of the spotlight and
allow him to live a normal life with his only remaining relations, a Muggle
family named Dursley, until he is of age to attend the Hogwarts school. They
leave Harry on the doorstep of the Dursley's home, with no more than a letter of
The story truly begins nearly ten
years later, after Harry has endured a childhood of constant scorn and hatred at
the hands of his new family. Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia are embarrassed by
the fact that Harry's mother considered herself a witch and married a man who
claimed to be a wizard. The Dursley's simply don't hold with such nonsense. They
consider themselves respectable.
As Muggles go, the Dursley's may
not be prime examples of the worst of their kind, but they rank pretty high.
They force Harry to sleep in a cupboard under the stairs and to wear their
spoiled son's damaged cast-offs. Harry is little more than a servant and a
punching bag to his cousin Dudley. But worst of all, Mr. Dursley has not read
Dumbledore's letter to Harry, leaving the boy unaware of such things as his
heritage, the truth about his parents death and his emerging powers.
Then everything changes with the
delivery of a letter in a very unusual fashion. From that point on, Harry's life
is never the same again. The letter is actually an acceptance letter, a
notification to Harry that he has a place at Hogwart's school. Literally rescued
from the Dursley's and taken under the wing of Hagrid, the school's lovable
giant of a groundskeeper, Harry embarks on the adventure of a lifetime in the
hallowed halls of Hogwarts where in addition to his studies he makes close
friends and a lifelong enemy, discovers a talent for a very unusual sport called
Quidditch and solves a mystery that threatens the world, not to mention his very
The magic potion Rowling herself
concocts starts solidly with Harry, a remarkably unassuming kid who's got
"hero of mythical proportions" written all over him. He's courageous,
clever and resourceful. He's got a special talent in the form of magical powers,
and a noble and mysterious birth. He's wounded - a big one in myths - not just
physically as evidenced by the scar on his forehead, but emotionally as well due
to the death of his parents, not to mention a tortured upbringing by uncaring
relations that rivals Cinderella's. But most of all, as was hinted right from
the start, he's got one heck of a destiny. All this comes together to
introduce a character the reader immediately bonds with. You *really* want to be
this kid's friend and hang out with him to see what happens.
Next into the potion goes a heavy
dose of down-to-earth realism - the kind of everyday stuff recognized by almost
every kid in the world... but WAIT! You, gentle reader, are never allowed to get
comfortable in the world of the often stupid, ever boring Muggles, because
you're not one of them, are you? Of course not. You know better, because Rowling
blends in the essence of magic fantasy with such skill that Harry's world
literally shimmers with it. Because you're not a Muggle, you can see it all
around you as you read.
The rest of the ingredients are
just as high in quality, from the magical, mysterious yet somehow familiar
Hogwarts School to the friends that help Harry get through it all, to the
exciting conclusion. Rowling serves it all up with a deceptively simple and
straight forward writing style that sparks
a response deep in the subconscious, drawing the reader in and holding on tight.
The fact is, this story is not just read, it's experienced and that's the magic
Of course, adults have to fight
their Muggle tendencies and indulge in a little suspension of disbelief to get
full enjoyment of the story. For example, those of you who read a lot of Tom
Clancy might have trouble getting past the fact that such occurrences as
motorcycles flying over London and entire groups of people who vanish into thin
air at train stations, go virtually unnoticed. The exact purpose of the wizards
trained at Hogwarts in relation to the world is never really explained, except
in some vague reference to the further study and possible control of the other
preternatural type creatures such as dragons, zombies and vampires who also go
unnoticed by the Muggle world. Apparently, when it comes to Muggle mind control,
it's everyone's game. Those readers with sci-fi leanings might start picturing
Hogwarts as existing in an alternate dimension of sorts but that's not the
point. The point is suspension of disbelief. It just all happens because it does
and no one in the real world knows about it but those involved... and that's
Though I thoroughly loved this
book, my only off moment came near the end, where I began to wonder exactly how
suitable the images depicted were for the impressionable minds of Rowling's
younger readers. Still, at the ripe old age of 32, I might just be
"Harry Potter and the
Sorcerer's Stone" is a fantastic book, well plotted with strong characters
that not only talk and act like real kids, but are also great role models as
well. These kids do their homework, brush their teeth, study for exams and still
have time to get into trouble in the name of a good cause. There is one
excellent and well spelled out moral in the story that doesn't detract from the
plot and if the reason why Harry survived Voldemort's attack doesn't leave you
with a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye, I suggest you read it again.
I highly recommend this book to
anyone who hasn't read it yet, kid or adult. Let it carry you away with the
knowledge that you're reading a classic that will be read and loved by
generations to come, just like the fairy-tales of old.
Harry Potter a
by Tom Cordeaux
I succumbed to the lure of Harry
Potter when a friend offered to let me read the series, this was
before Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was published. I was somewhat
apprehensive as the majority of the publicity was aimed at the younger readers
but so many people had said they were a 'great read'. Anyway I started on the
first book Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and was hooked from almost
the first page.
The characters though children
were never treated as extraordinary, magic was normal. They were also still
children not adult characters in a children'senvironment. The plot was clever
and eminently gripping. Harry had many characteristics that most men would
recognise from their own childhood and the story never fell into ridding the
story of nasty characters, Harry's' 'foster' family are still there and you end
up feeling sorry that they cannot see beyond their own noses.
The first book Harry Potter and
the Philosopher's Stone introduced Harry to a new world where children were
still children even though their world involved flying on broom sticks, learing
and making potions and casting spells. Around all this was Harrys' extordinary
history as the one who survived and somehow defeated "the one who must not
be named" Voldemort. Even in this new place there are children and teachers
who either do dislike Harry or appear to do so.Harry makes friends and helps
prevent a disaster all in his first year and with all this he finds a love of
Quidditch - go for it Harry!
Book two Harry Potter and the
Chamber of Secrets, back to school and another adventure. Second year students
have more to learn and it appears more to be afraid of.
Book three Harry Potter and the
Prisoner of Azkaban, another year at Hogwarts and Harry meets his uncle the only
other living relative. How do you save someone who everyone thinks is a
murderer. Harry and friends succeed and reveal more secrets at the school.
There is so much of the world
that has not been revealed that each new book is able to explore the myths of
our world and lay it next door to the mundane universe. The latest book Goblet
of Fire was devoured withexcessive greed.
Though I loved it, the story
continually grows and fits with the way the others have written,but I was
slightly disappointed. I expected something more, I do not know exactly what but
it was missing something, maybe the heavy emphasis on the "bad guy"
Voldemort, who though was the main thread through all the books I was hoping it
would explore other areas in more detail. This may just be an opinion from an
adult reader, but all the same I still await the next instalment-is there a
university for wizards! I need to apply
by J.R. Fedynich
When Harry Potter began to be the
daily word in our household I decided, as a parent, I needed to read the series
to see what all the excitement was about. I was pleased and excited to find that
HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERRERS STONE by J.K. Rowlings was one of the best books
I had read in years. The plot is complex enough to hold the interest of an adult
and fanciful enough to grab the interest of any child.
The bad guys are really bad with
no redeeming qualities whatsoever. The good guys are just that. It is a
pleasure for me to read a series that I have no reservations about letting my
children read. The moral lessons in the story are cloaked in magic with mystery
enough to instill them into the heads and hearts of young readers.
I would urge all those who are
cautious about letting their children read the books to read them for
themselves. There is content that promotes good, moral, behavior. There is
excitement enough to hold the attention of non-readers. And most
important, this book series makes reading fun!
Harry Potter and
the Goblet of Fire
Origionally printed in THE
BOOK DRAGON REVIEW
Harry's back, and things are much
the same as usual. Harry is spending another dreadful summer with his muggle
Aunt and Uncle Dursley. For those who have managed to avoid all of the
Harry-hoopla, a muggle is a person without magic, as opposed to a wizard.
Wizards are a race apart from muggles, and they strive to keep themselves
secret. Harry is a wizard, and as such goes to a private school called Hogworts.
Luckily, the family of his best
friend Ron rescues Harry from his prison. They whisk him off to the World Cup
Quiddich tournament (a sort of broom-borne soccer game to those muggle readers
out there). Then, it's off to school for another exciting term of learning about
potions, magical creatures, and foretelling the future. Except this year is
different. The Triwizard Tournament will be held for the first time in over 200
years, and the hosting school is Hogworts. A magical, flaming goblet will select
a champion from each of the three wizard schools in Europe. The champions will
then face three
great challenges to battle for the coveted trophy. However, the goblet has a
mind of its own and adds a fourth champion: Harry.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of
Fire is the latest in a series of books that have captured imaginations
worldwide with good reason. Rowling has created a loveable, likeable cast of
characters with the requisite villains the reader just loves to hate. Harry and
his friends also find themselves in predicaments many children face: Unpleasant
adults who seem to wish them nothing but trouble; mysterious actions of adults
who do things without explanation; and the sense of learning to use your own
abilities to succeed in life. "Take what you have and make something of
yourself" is a strong theme throughout all of the Harry Potter books.
It's not hard to see why kids
enjoy these books. Children can easily identify with the characters, and the
plots capture their imagination. Yet, though Rowling has managed to create a
hero and friends who will endure, she has not fallen into a trap many authors of
children's books face: Harry is not eternally young, but is growing and
learning. He even is learning of the perils and mysteries of socializing with
girls when he needs an escort for the Yule Ball. Wonder what else Rowling has in
store for our plucky hero....