Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter, #1)

ISBN: 0439554934
ISBN 13: 9780439554930
By: J.K. Rowling Mary GrandPré

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About this book

Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He's never worn a Cloak of Invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry's room is a tiny cupboard under the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in ten years.But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that's been waiting for him... if Harry can survive the encounter.

Reader's Thoughts


You don't like this series? Well, fuck off then. You and I are N-E-V-E-R going to get along.

Peter Meredith

In my gradual return to books after my harrowing experience with Mockingjay, I've built myself up to Harry Potter:Five stars to a book that is what it is and isn't what it's not. Make sense? This is a middle school children's book and when it's read as such it's great. I see people giving this one or two stars and I scratch my head in wonderment. Do they compare it to Shakespeare or Hemmingway? Do they read it as it was meant to be read or are they bringing snooty, intellectual baggage to the table. You are smart. We get it. You are all a bunch of geniuses—now try having some fun!


EDIT NOTE in 2012: Since this apparently isn't obvious, I wrote the review years ago. I do not necessarily have those opinions now. I wouldn't know; I haven't read Harry Potter since. With a degree and five more birthdays behind me I do not necessarily agree with everything I said when I was seventeen years old. I'm happy to chat about the definition of literature with you, or what I think about the Harry Potter phenomenon now or whatever, but try and be civil and don't attack me right out of the gate.EDIT NOTE in 2011: I've edited this review to take out some teenage arrogance, but the rest is as-is. A few years later and with a degree in hand, including modules in Children's Lit, I could probably write a better review, but people seem to like this one!I really don't like Harry Potter. It's one of those little concealed but apparently not widely known facts about me, which shocks everyone when I say I love books and they're all, "yeah, rite, Harry Potter is so awesum rite?" and I say "...no, it really isn't." I confess: when I was eleven or twelve or so, I read them. I also read the Sabrina the Teenage Witch novels. I read everything and wasn't very discriminating about it. I did enjoy them. I continued to enjoy them until I got to Order of the Phoenix, and then I decided that all the hype aside, I just wasn't interested anymore. Bear in mind, then, for the rest of this "essay", that I have only read up to and including The Goblet of Fire.Cue a few years of irritation while everyone insisted I must read the rest of the books, and how dare I prefer Tolkien and Ursula Le Guin (and later, Susan Cooper). I have really no objection to people reading the books and enjoying them, taking part in the fandom that surrounds them, dressing up in witchy costumes to go and pick up the most recently released volume at midnight. Have fun with that! As far as I'm concerned you're welcome to. I'm even quite happy to concede that yes, Harry Potter did get more people reading. Whether it got them reading literature or not is another matter: how many people, I wonder, have discovered a mania for reading after reading Harry Potter and then gone onto the likes of Crime and Punishment and War and Peace, or even Lord of the Rings? Not that many, I'll bet. I think they're probably reading Twilight and the like, more often than not. Not that it matters -- as long as people are reading.But in any case, I. Don't. Have. To. Read. Them. Just because I like books, does not mean I like those books. And I detest it every time someone shoves them in my face as 'great literature'. I actually had to study Harry Potter, for my English Lit/Lang A Level (for those unfamiliar with our system: A Levels are exams you take when you're about eighteen, which among other things determine whether you can go to university). One of the questions we had to figure out how to answer was whether we thought Harry Potter was good literature, whether we thought it would stand the test of time, and how it was suited to the time it's currently in.It was then that I figured out that, yeah, there are things wrong with Harry Potter beyond just the hype that was irritating me so much and the feeling that Rowling in no way matched up to the giants of fantasy and sci-fi, like Tolkien. I studied it alongside Tom Brown's Schooldays, by Thomas Hughes. Do note that I didn't like that book either. But it's a well written, well shaped, well considered book -- and it doesn't use the same cheap tricks as Harry Potter does. I'm not going to say much about that, since it's not a book I liked: if I'm going to compare/contrast, I'll compare with my favourite book that is also supposed to be for younger readers, Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising.There's nothing wrong with Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone being an amateur first novel. 'cause that's what it is. I'm sure many people's first novels don't even see the light of day, and yet Harry Potter somehow made it to a publisher's and was accepted. The thing is, people mostly refuse to recognise that and the cheap tricks J. K. Rowling uses. For example, her character's names. 'Draco Malfoy'. Mal, the French for bad, immediately obvious. 'Draco', suggesting dragon? Or perhaps 'draconian', which has negative connotations aplenty (not that I'd necessarily attribute those particular ones to Draco). Not very subtle, is it? 'Dumbledore'. Who doesn't get the image of a well-meaning, if strange, old man? 'Minerva', straight out of Greek myth: a goddess of knowledge. Gee, I wonder why Rowling chose that for a female teacher... 'Remus Lupin', 'Sirius Black', 'Mad-Eye Moody'... Do I even have to say anything?And 'Harry Potter'. Nothing striking about that: perfectly ordinary, as names go, right?Yeah. And that's the point. Harry Potter himself is not a real character -- certainly not at first. He's a cypher, a convenient space into which a kid can very easily insert himself or even herself. He's brave. Okay, generic hero characteristic. He has doubts. Again, the same. He has a Tragic Past. Don't we all? Or don't we all like to think we do? Look at the Mary Sues/self inserts people write in fandom -- so often they're people with incredibly dark, melodramatic pasts that they rise above. Harry Potter is a convenient place to insert yourself. The other characters are archetypes more than anything -- Hermione, the know it all girl; Ron, the loyal friend; Dumbledore, the mentor; Malfoy, the rival...All of that is actually what makes Harry Potter a highly readable, enjoyable book, for young people and even adults. It's targeted very precisely toward the readership of today. Maybe that makes J. K. Rowling a better author than I might paint her as, that she can know her audience so well -- there's that view, I'm sure. But it's all very basic, and I tend to look on it as cheap tricks. The whole chapter, in the first book, about the Mirror of Erised -- how sad does it make you feel for Harry? It's sentimental, it's sad -- and it's meant to do that, very obviously. There's a whole chapter written just to enforce the love between the members of Harry Potter's family.Susan Cooper does it in a single paragraph that makes me want to cry every single time I read it, coming after all the build up of guilt and pain in the relationship. "Bran went to [his father] and put his arm round his waist, and stood close. It was the first gesture of affection between the two that Will had ever seen. And wondering, loving surprise woke in Owen Davies's worn face as he looked down at the boy's white head, and the two stood there, waiting."That paragraph does for me what Rowling's whole chapter cannot. It's so effective, actually, because Cooper spends a whole book leading up to it, showing us Owen and Bran's relationship. Rowling shows us Harry's parents, but in an unsubtle way that actually throws me out of it because I think, "Oh, yeah, this is the chapter in which we're supposed to feel very sorry for Harry."There's also a very easy, blunt misdirection. You're supposed to hate Snape, supposed to believe he's the one to blame for everything, and at the end, you're supposed to be as surprised as Harry when it's Quirrel waiting there for him. At the age of eleven, I think I went right along with that, but when I reread it for A Level, I had to wince at how heavy-handed the misdirection was. I understand that later in the series Snape comes into it more, and I don't know whether the misdirection turns out to be not that misdirected when it comes down to the real truth: but in the first book, you're meant to believe it's Snape all along, and I don't think J. K. Rowling does a very good job of giving us clues that it's not actually Snape, because she's so busy blackening him to lead people astray.It's also very black-and-white. Questions aren't raised, by this story -- and that's a thing I think is actually important in literature. Raise questions, discuss issues, end with a question. I don't know what to call stories that don't fit into that, really. I'm going to go with 'novels' as opposed to literature. Harry Potter is a novel. It's a story. I don't think it has any real lasting values. Susan Cooper's books, while also quite basic, discussing the Light and the Dark, do end with a question. If man is left on earth, to do as man will, will man be Light or Dark? The immortals leave earth, and say that the world -- for better or worse -- belongs to humans. Right now, a lot of people think the answer to that question would be 'worse'. But Harry Potter does not raise this question, does not raise any question, and does not answer one either. That's why I don't think it will last except perhaps as a phenomenon to be studied: the 'Potter mania' and what caused it.That's why I don't like Rowling's writing. It's not particularly refined, it's unsubtle -- and that's okay, you know, I'm not saying you can't enjoy that, can't find it refreshing. I don't. I'm also not saying that 'novels' are bad -- they're good, they can provide valuable escapism, they can be incredibly rich fodder for the imagination, and I suspect Harry Potter is, for many children. But I don't call it literature, and I myself don't like it.Note: the three star rating is because honestly, when I first read it, I did love it.

Raeleen Lemay

GINNY'S FANGIRLING IN THIS BOOK IS JUST TOO GOOD.Also, the Dursleys aren't as bad as people think they are, because after all, they DID pick Harry up at the end of the year rather than just abandoning him. So THAT'S worth something.mmmm, this book smells so good. It's good to be back.


This is a disgrace to all pure bloods. My head looked quite dashing on that strange professor's head.. If only I could have extended my stay. Harry Potter.. This is not over yet.


If you don’t know what a Muggle is by now, you’re either Rip van Winkle or enormously stubborn.enormously stubborn... yup, that shoe fits!


Wow...nggak kerasa sudah 15 tahun sejak saya kenalan sama Harry Potter dan terpesona pada dunia buatan Madame Rowling ini. Saya tahu kalo saya mestinya bikin review, tapi sebelum itu, rasanya pengen nostalgia saat pertama kenalan sama bocah dengan luka berbentuk petir ini.Saya pertama ketemu Harry Potter di Bras Basah, sekitar akhir 1997. Saat itu saya sedang asyik memilih-milih buku bekas ketika shopkeeper-nya menawari saya buku ini. Dia berpromosi kalo ini buku bagus banget dan sayang banget kalo ampe gak saya beli. Dia juga bilang kalo Harry Potter ini lagi happening banget di Inggris sana.Waktu itu saya kenal internet cuma sebatas email dan chatting doang, gak pernah browsing. Saya pun bukan tipe yang langganan majalah ato koran, jadi saya benar-benar gak tahu kalo ada buku berjudul Harry Potter yang lagi booming. Saya malah curiga kalo buku ini adalah buku jelek yang gak laku. Ya logikanya aja, kalo emang tuh buku buagus banget kok udah ada yang jual second-nya di Bras Basah? Dan kalo emang laris buanget, kenapa juga si shopkeeper maksa-maksa saya buat beli? Tebakan saya sih ini buku gak laku dan si shopkeeper mo nepu saya (Oh...how stupid I was).Akhirnya buku Harry Potter 1 itu saya beli juga karena sang shopkeeper menjamin saya boleh tukar dengan buku lain kalo nggak puas. Dan begitulah awalnya saya kenal sama Harry Potter.Rasanya saya gak perlu menulis sinopsis buku ini ato bahkan memberi tahu buku ini termasuk dalam genre apa. I mean, seriously? Sudah 15 tahun lebih sejak demam Harry Potter melanda dunia, it's been all over the news. Kalo bahkan ampe detik ini Anda nggak tahu garis besar cerita Harry Potter, berarti Anda emang gak berminat sama buku ini. Then why bothers now? ;)Jadi lebih baik saya membahas apa yang saya rasakan sewaktu membaca kembali buku ini setelah 15 tahun berlalu.Yang pertama saya rasa sih "aura"nya yang beda. Sewaktu pertama baca Harry Potter dulu, teman-teman saya gak ada yang ngeh sama buku ini (yah sebenernya ampe sekarang temen saya yang baca buku ini juga sedikit sih :| ). Jadi saya heboh sendiri, bahas buku ini sendirian (dan dapat tatapan loe-ngomong-apa-sih dari teman-teman) bahkan fangirling pun sendirian #kasian. Sekarang ini, berkat GR dan BBI, saya jadi kenal banyak orang yang juga ngefans sama Harry Potter bahkan ampe baca bareng. Jelas vibe-nya beda banget. Dan itu menyenangkan. Horeeeee....saya masuk golongan mainstream #hehe.Yang kedua, saya mengubah pandangan saya tentang Harry di buku pertama. Awal baca dulu, saya beranggapan Harry ini kepo banget. "Kenapa sih pusing banget sama kemungkinan Sorcerer Stone dicuri sama Voldemort? Kenapa gak kirim Hedwig aja ke Dumbledore sih buat warning?"-- itu adalah pertanyaan saya dulu.Sekarang saya ngerti kenapa.Seperti yang dibilang Harry, Dumbledore tahu bahwa Harry butuh untuk mencoba melawan karena pertarungan dengan Voldemort itu personal untuk Harry. Gimana pun, Voldemort lah yang membunuh orangtua Harry. Dan Harry sadar kalo Voldemort bisa kembali menyerang dia.Tapi terutama, karena Harry sadar bahwa kembalinya Voldemort dapat membuat dia kehilangan dunia sihir.He was nothing in the muggle world. Gak punya siapa pun dan apa pun. Lalu dia menemukan semuanya di dunia sihir : sahabat, kebahagiaan dan terutama : penerimaan. Penerimaan yang tak pernah dia dapatkan sebelumnya. Gak heran kalo Harry berkeras mempertahankannya. I'd do the same if I were him. I'd fight the nastiest wizard if I have to in order not to let something most precious being taken from me. So I could understand Harry's determination to fight Voldemort even when he's still a kid.Ketiga, ternyata saya sudah suka Ron dari buku ke 1 X).Jangan salah, dari trio itu Ron memang favorit saya kok. Saya suka Ron karena kalimatnya yang witty dan rada sarkastis, belum lagi sindirannya yang tajam. Tapi kualitas itu baru keliatan di buku kedua (ato malah ketiga?). Yang pasti bukan di buku pertama.Dulu saya gak ngerti apa yang bikin saya bersimpati sama Ron sejak awal. Sekarang saya tahu. Karena Ron orang pertama yang "menerima" Harry. Dia gak meremehkan Harry seperti yang dilakukan Malfoy, tapi dia juga gak memujanya secara berlebihan. Dia menganggap Harry sama normalnya dengan dia, and that's enough.Keempat, saya makin kagum dengan persahabatan Ron dan Hermione. They're true bestfriends.Tanpa ragu Ron dan Hermione menemani Harry untuk melawan Voldemort walopun mereka tahu resikonya. I mean, saya ngerti kesetiaan Ron dan Hermione pada Harry di buku ke-7. They've come a long way. Tapi di buku 1? Saat mereka baru kenal 1 tahun kurang serta belum ngeh seberapa parah kondisinya kalo Voldemort kembali berkuasa? That's great.Kelima, perubahan karakter Neville kerasa banget ya. Neville yang penakut dan gak berani membela dirinya sungguh berbeda dengan Neville di buku ke-7. I forgot how awkward, clumsy and shy Neville was. But let's talk about him on the later book.Keenam, wow...penerjemah Harry Potter ini keren sekali ya.Saya sudah pernah sih baca versi Inggris dan terjemahan buku ini (untuk reread yang ini, saya baca versi Inggrisnya lagi), dan dari dulu memang saya tahu penerjemahnya emang canggih. Tapi baru sekarang saya benar-benar ngeh..Mirror of Erised diterjemahkan Cermin Tarsah. Erised yang merupakan anagram dari desire, diterjemahkan jadi tarsah yang anagram dari hasrat. Wow! Dan setelah saya googling, saya dapat info kalo sebenarnya ide Tarsah ini baru kepikir belakangan, menjelang bukunya turun cetak. Karena sang penerjemah berkeras mesti ada padanan yang tepat untuk "erised". Dan iya, beliau emang bener karena erised dan tarsah adalah padanan yang cocok.Ketujuh, hmm....saya tetap gak ngerti kenapa Professor Quirrell gak bisa menyentuh Harry hanya di bagian akhir buku ini? Waktu awal cerita, Harry bertemu Prof. Quirrell di Diagon Alley dan saat itu mereka sudah berjabat tangan. Kok saat itu tangan si Quirrell gak melepuh ya? Padahal sudah jelas kalo Voldemort telah "nebeng" di tubuh Quirrell saat itu.Kedelapan, saya makin kagum deh sama JK Rowling.Oke...saya tahu kalo JKR emang banyak menggunakan bantuan mitos, legenda ato apalah itu dalam ceritanya. So it's not really original. Tapi toh emang gak ada formula yang benar-benar baru. Yang penting sih gimana Rowling bisa meramu bahan yang ada. And she's really good at it.Tapi yang sebenarnya keren dari Rowling adalah : dia benar-benar paham karakter pembacanya.I guess in some points of our life, even if it's just for one time, we ever felt like Harry, who's a misfit and wishing to go to some place new where we could start everything from the scratch or becoming a different people. But not everyone could do that. Apparently Harry is one of those lucky people.Reading Harry's journey gave me happiness. Happiness that comes from knowing that at least there's one person in this world who could fulfill his dreams. It also gave me some hopes that in the end everything will be fine for me too. If this boy whose life was much more miserable than me finally found what he always wanted, how could I not? :)Dan Rowling juga dengan cerdasnya memilih setting di Inggris, suatu tempat yang masih bisa terjangkau dan karenanya masih terasa "dekat". Bukannya tempat jauh antah berantah seperti di Middle Earth sana, atau dunia magic namun tak terjangkau seperti Abarat. Terlibatnya kaum manusia non sihir (aka muggle) juga tempat-tempat di Inggris seperti stasiun King's Cross membuat cerita ini makin terasa dekat di hati, membuat kita (oke...sebenernya sih saya) berani berharap bahwa suatu saat nanti saya juga bisa dapat..ehem...surat saya sendiri. Seorang teman saya bahkan sampe mencoba menekan pilar di tempat yang semestinya jadi peron 9 3/4 waktu dia lagi ada di King's Cross dan waktu salah seorang petugas di sana melihat kelakuan teman saya, si petugas bilang : "You're not the first person who tried looking for that platform." Bhahak....ternyata banyak yang bermimpi ke Hogwarts eh? ;)Dan alasan kenapa saya kasih 5 bintang walopun saya mengakui kalo cerita di buku ini masih kalah spekta dibanding buku-buku berikutnya?Karena ini adalah buku pertama. The one that started it all. Buku ini juga yang bikin saya kenal dan jadi langganan (sampe sekarang) sama sebuah toko di Bras Basah itu. It's always nice to find a new friend because of one certain book.Lastly, just wanna say this : for you all who feel like you don't fit in, who wished for a magical school, or secret garden or magical cupboard that could open secret passage to magical land and still secretly keeping those wish alive : keep on wishing. Keep on hoping. Who knows, maybe your "letter" is on its way now :)


Because everyone on the planet excluding me and maybe some of the Kardashians have read this series, I'll skip the plot summary and go for a less formal review. I can see why so many people adore Harry Potter. While Rowling does not introduce anything particularly groundbreaking in terms of fantasy or plot or characterization, she does abide by the hero's quest with great precision. Harry is the underdog from the start and you can't help but cheer him on as he overcomes obstacles with the help of his friends and his mentor. Each of the characters has a distinct personality, and Rowling's simple writing style leaves room for brevity and enough imagery to pull you into the setting. Story-wise, she includes all of the necessary elements: foreshadowing, conflicts that escalate to the climax, a pretty satisfying plot twist, etc.I'll probably read one other book in between each installment of this series. I'm looking forward to seeing the characters mature and the plot become darker as many others have said it will!

Patrick Henderson

Oh go to hell. These things are like crack.So I just finished the 7th one and I have no intention of re-reading them, though I do have fond memories of them. My most recent encounter with Harry Potter was on an airplane a couple of days ago. This humongous 16 year old kid from North Dakota was sitting next to me reading the 5th book. He smelled like cereal and farts and was audibly mouth-breathing for the whole flight. I tried to engage him in conversation periodically to get his little whistle to quiet down for a few minutes at a time. We chatted about the little bastards at Hogrwarts and it kind of got me misty...not for the books, but for how terrible high school was even though I didn't realize it at the time. And this kid clearly didn't either. He just wanted to read his book and make it home. I wanted to tell him that in 10 years he wouldn't even remember what his goddamn school looked like. Instead I tried to convince him that what he heard about Dumbledore dying in the 6th one wasn't true. Stay strong, brother.

Elisa (Just a Hunch Book Blog)

I highly doubted that I would ever write a review for any of the Harry Potter books. Instead, I created a shelf called "seven greatest books ever" and threw them all in there, hoping that would be enough to display my immense love for them. After seeing Part 1 of the Deathly Hallows movie, I decided that I would kick start the re-reading process before the release of Part 2, so I picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for probably the 15th time, and began to read. I realized part way through, that even if I didn't want to review it for its literary merit, I still had much to say about the book solely regarding how it makes me feel.At twenty three years of age, the book is still everything that it was for me when I was only twelve. I remember seeing it in a book order (remember those?) in the sixth grade and putting a star next to it to take home to my mom. My mom, not wanting to buy me a book I'd never read, denied me my request, adding that it looked pretty silly anyway (the joke was on her though, she came to love them too). Anyway, the next year, my cool uncle (don't we all have one?) decided he was going to buy them for my cousin and she was going to have to let me borrow them. So I began the Harry Potter books, and suddenly being twelve- awkward and unpopular, wasn't quite so lonely as it had always been. I dreamed myself right into Harry Potter's world; not in a dangerous, psychotic way, but in a starry eyed, childlike way. Harry, Ron, and Hermione were better friends to me than anyone I met throughout my junior high and high school years, which in a way is a bit sad, but I have no regrets.This was the first time that I've read Sorcerer's Stone since Deathly Hallows came out, and it inevitably made for a far more emotional experience than the first time around. What was once just good, innocent, fun can't exactly be viewed as such when you've seen the big picture. I literally burst into tears at the end of the chapter in which Harry and Ron finally take Hermione as their friend. Oh, what the heck? I'll go ahead and post the paragraph, in case anyone else is wanting to ride the high of that emotional wave:But from that moment on, Hermione Granger became their friend. There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.Ah! Knowing what they were in store for- years of utter devotion to one another made this moment so much bigger now than it had seemed at first. Either way though, it's a very moving moment. I love this book. I will always love this book. And I full intend to disown any future children of mine who can't appreciate it with me (I haven't decided as to whether or not that's a joke yet).

Cheryl Schenick

Strange one this. How can over 40,000 goodread members give this one or two stars.It’s a children's book, and may I say the most loved children's book written in the last 50 years.J.K Rowling turned the world of children into avid readers, once they have read the Harry Potter books they moved onto other books, the same can be said with the Twilight novels, the Jason Steed Novels, and the Hunger Games Novels. They may not be written by the worlds greatest ‘Literaturists’ (Ok I agree that Literaturist is not a real word but you get what I mean). These authors have one thing in common they write for young minds.Harry Potter is a great book, I think J.K Rowling did a fantastic job on the series, the movies are only part of it, the story themselves are amazing. I wish when people give a review they look at the intended market, I would not rate a porn book because I don’t read them if I did I could not review it.Open your minds and look at the genre, too many reviews here could be preventing others from reading a book simply because many mature adults think a YA book is too simply written.

Mohammed Arabey

سُئلت مؤخرا علي الجود ريدز-فضلا عن عدد لانهائي خارجه- عنأكثر الكتب تأثيراً في تكوين شخصيتكوقد أجبت عن هذا السؤال باكثر "تصويت" غير متوقعالاجابه عن السبب سأعلنها غالبا بعد قراءه اخري قريبا لهذا العالم الساحر والذي بدأت دخوله علي استحياء بمشاهده الفيلم في فبراير 2002ولكن الامر صار دخولا حقيقيا بحادث ما نتج عنه قرائتي طوال ليله صيف للكتاب الاول لهاري بوتر من منتصف الليل وحتي مطلع الفجر تقريباواستكملته باقي اليوم التالي في احد ايام سبتمبر قبل الدراسه في 2002ولندع الاجابه لاحقا حين كتابتي لريفيو يليق بتلك السلسله ولكني ادعوكم للخروج معي من تلك الخزانه الصغيره تحت السلمودخول حاره دايجون والحفاظ علي السر الذي سنعرف بوجوده في بنك جرنجوتسوالجري للحائط بين رصيفي 9 و 10 ولانقلق من الاصدام بهودخول بيتنا الحبيب مره اخري..هوجوراتسواذا سالتني "ستفعل كل ذلك مره اخري ؟"فلن اجيب عليك الا بـدائمامحمد العربي


How could I not give this book 5 stars? I would live in fear of being strung up the nearest Muggle tree! Thankfully, it was a great book and well deserving of high praise.Not to mention Harry Potter gives way to this famous Office scene:Michael Scott: We are going to choose team names. Dwight!Dwight Schrute: We will be called Gryffindor!Jim Halpert: Really? Not Slytherin?Dwight Schrute: Slytherin are the bad guys, Jim.Jim Halpert: I know. Okay, we will be Voldemort.Dwight Schrute: [fearfully:] He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named? I wouldn't do that.Jim Halpert: [starts chant, everyone joins in:] Voldemort! Voldemort! Voldemort! Voldemort! Voldemort!Dwight Schrute: [looks around, scared:] Okay, seriously, you really shouldn't be saying that.Now that's funny.


I'm not going to comment on the literary shortcomings of this book, the cliches, the painfully long narrative, the fact that the characters will not think about an issue for months, but then suddenly it becomes important again. Smarter people than me have already said all this.What bothers me about the Harry Potter universe is its characterization of magic. Why is magic so easy in the Harry Potter universe? It's only moderately a matter of skill to use magic. Magic is mostly saying the correct word with the correct intonation and the correct flourish of the wand and boom! you've done something magical. If it were only for small things I don't think this would bother me so much, but the same works for more serious things, like killing someone.There is so much that is contrary to logic (and I don't mean science, I mean how reasonable people would behave) in the magic of Harry Potter that it drives me crazy. Why is the magical world so separated from the real world? What is their interaction? If magic works in the muggle world, what is preventing someone like Voldemort from completely taking over the muggle world? What is preventing any character from killing any other character by simpling saying the killing curse at any time? Human decency? Obviously there are a lot of characters in the books that don't have any. This never made any sense to me.I would like to draw a comparison with (and I'm sure people on a site about reading books will crucify me for mentioning TV, which is obviously incapable of being an art form) Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In Buffy, every time you use magic, you pay for it. For little things, like floating a pencil, you pay for it in concentration, and maybe a little physical energy, but not more than going for a walk. However, the more you take, the more you have to give back in one form or another. The show is not always entirely consistent on this, but the idea makes sense. To bring someone back from the dead, you have to kill something else, or pay some other kind of price. If you want to kill someone, there is a physical price, a mental price. Nothing is free. In Harry Potter, it seems like everything is free.It's always put me off, and every time a fan tries to explain to me why I'm wrong it sounds like a deus ex machina, or just a plain old stretch.Also, quidditch is the most pointless sport ever created. Only in 1 game out of 1000 does anything 99% of the action matter to the outcome of the game. Only the seeker and the bludgers mean anything.


LEAH'S RATING (age 4): 5 STARSRAEF'S RATING (age 6): 4 STARSMEG'S RATING (age--none of your business): 5 STARSLEAH'S REVIEW:I liked the book and I liked the movie. It was exciting when they destroyed the troll.LEAH'S FAVORITE QUOTE:"Welcome!" (Dumbledore) said. "Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you."RAEF'S REVIEW:They should have figured out the answers faster and had better questions. The part I liked was the part when they were trying to get the Sorcerer's Stone at the end. The ending was a surprise.RAEF'S FAVORITE QUOTE:"And what if I wave my wand and nothing happens?""Throw it away and punch him on the nose," Ron suggested.MEG'S REVIEW:I get it! I finally get Harry Potter! I know it's not exactly rocket science, but I didn't fully understand the obsessive fascination with this series until I read the first book to my kids. They were absolutely RIVETED the entire time. Every magical enchantment was rewarded with an "ooohhh" and "ahhh," every one of Ron's jokes met with hysterical laughter, and I could actually watch my son and daughter grow stronger with each impossible obstacle or horrific monster Harry overcame. In one early scene, Leah literally started crying when Harry thought he would be thrown out of school and sent back to the Dursley's. Now THAT is a sure sign of someone who is LIVING a book, not reading it.So that's why my kids loved it. Here's why *I* loved it: Harry is strong. He stands up for what is right regardless of who stands against him (friend, enemy, authority figure, incorporeal undead wizard of darkness, etc.), which makes him a powerful hero for my 4- and 6-year-old. He's brave, self-sacrificing, and honorable. I think Harry proves his own character, and addresses the book's central theme itself, in a scene he shares with Malfoy near the beginning of his time at Hogwarts. In this particular scene, Malfoy gives a snotty little spiel on how he can introduce Harry to the best wizarding families and help him stay away from the "wrong sort." Harry then refuses to shake Malfoy's hand and responds, "I think I can tell who the wrong sort are for myself, thanks." And isn't that the essence of growing up? Moving away from simply doing what others tell us to do and learning to discern right and wrong for ourselves? Then, as soon as we know what's right, we can work on growing strong enough to stand up for it regardless of who stands against us. Harry is brilliant! Almost as brilliant as his author, who's created a story that is both wonderful and wonderfully told. Bravo!MEG'S FAVORITE QUOTES (and, of course, Dumbledore says most of them):Scars can come in handy.Harry wished he had about eight more eyes. The very dust and silence seemed to tingle with some secret magic.From that moment on, Hermione Granger became their friend. There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.One can never have enough socks.Death is but the next great adventure.Humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them.The truth... is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.To have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever. It is in your very skin.There are all kinds of courage. It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.

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