A Blog of All Things Science Fiction and Fantasy

Monday, July 18, 2011

Review:Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K Rowling

"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live"
Author: J.K. Rowling
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (September 8,1999)
Formats: Paperback, Ebook, Hardcover

            Like many people, I felt inclined to reread the Harry Potter series because of the release of the last Harry Potter movie (which was excellent by the way). Since my initial reading of the Sorcerer’s Stone, I have been exposed to fantasy heavyweights like George R.R. Martin, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. The question must be asked, how does the Sorcerer’s Stone stand up to these greats? The answer to this question is, sadly, only fairly well.

            The Sorcerer’s Stone begins with Harry, an orphan boy, being dropped off to live with his uncle and aunt, the Dursleys. For some reason, the Durselys appear to detest Harry and confine him to living in the kitchen cupboard. After eleven years of a truly miserable time with the Dursleys, Harry learns that he is a wizard, a famous one at that. With his heritage revealed, Harry is whisked away to the famous wizarding school, Hogwarts. With the help of Ron and Hermonie, two Hogwart students, Harry try to unravel the mysteries of some of the more questionable aspects of Hogwarts.

            Since the Sorcerer’s Stone is aimed at children, it would be presumptuous of me to expect an intricate story and Rowling does not disappoint in this aspect. Most of the story deals with Harry’s escapades after classes and the central villain is telegraphed throughout the whole novel.  Some of the side plots within this novel had a lot of untapped potential. For example, Harry finds a mirror that has the ability to show somebody there deepest desires.

            Although I can accept the Sorcerer’s Stone simplistic story, I can not as easily accept the cookie cutter characters, Harry in particular. Harry fits snuggly into the stereotypes of a fantasy main character: orphan boy, untold power, and a destiny that is beyond his control.  Thankfully, all of the characters are not as one dimensional as Harry, Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts, adds depth and humor that the main characters lack.

            The true star of Rowling’s work is the world she has built, most notably Hogwarts.  Although Hogwarts seems to be a typical school for wizards, (as typical as something like that can be) it is filled with secret corridors, mystery, and surprising magical objects. In all honesty, reading about the secrets of Hogwarts was the only thing that made me continue to read the Sorcerer’s Stone.

            The Sorcerer’s Stone serves its purpose as a children novel. It is light on plot, has terrific world building and has gotten me to want to read the sequels. Although the Sorcerer’s Stone does not deserve the praise it receives, it is an entertaining read nonetheless.

The Sorcerer’s Stone score: 34/50 

Story- 6/10
World Building- 8/10
Magic: 7/10


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