Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

The book
HP-1. The first Harry Potter book introduced Harry Potter, Voldemort, Ron, Hermione and you know, the gang. I read it the first time when I was like… 11 or 12, I think. I instantly fell in love, and I have loved them ever since and reread them numerous times. I also listened to this on audiobook.

Thoughts
Recently I’ve listened to all the Harry Potter books on audio, and then ranted about something in the books that pissed me off. That seemed a bit negative, so I thought, that since I completely forgot to review, or rant, about the Sorcerer’s Stone I thought I might gush about it, and Harry Potter in general. It is a bit more boring, obviously, but anyway.

So I first read Harry Potter when I was 11 or 12 as I said, and I was sort of instantly in love. I read until it was like 2 am. And then I did that one more night just because I had to know what happened. Whenever I reread them I realize how much groundwork Rowling puts down, and how cyclical and clever the books are. When you know the outcome of the series it is easy to see things that Dumbledore and McGonagall talk about in a different light than the first time you read it. He is clearly aware that Harry and Voldemort are connected in some way, and that Voldemort isn’t gone. Rowling leaves hints everywhere in the early books to things that appear again in the later books. It’s impressive.

I loved Hermione when I read the books when I was little. I was also a bookish, nerdy kid. Now I am a bookish and nerdy adult. But I really felt like Hermione was familiar and exciting and awesome. She is sort of precocious and obnoxious, but she’s clever and she’s tough and she clearly wants to have the most comprehensive knowledge possible. She seems to be supremely uncomfortable when she doesn’t know how to do something, like she can’t read her way to flying a broom and it terrifies her. I feel like I connected a lot with her there. She’s also very conscientious, which I also connected with. Something that also makes me love her so much is how terrible she is at making friends. She doesn’t seem to know how to do it. I’m really shy, so I’m not good at it either, but Hermione is just a bit too obnoxious to successfully make friends, which is sort of adorable. It’s also desperately sad obviously, and it’s quite cruel that her fellow Gryffindors don’t seem to make much effort to befriend her either. I realize they’re kids, but they’re very annoyed and mean about her quirks instead of trying to accept her. It might stretch the realm of believability if they were completely accepting of her being a bit abrasive, but I still think they could have tried.

I love Harry for not succumbing to his foster parents. He’s incredibly strong, and he must be made of resilience and sass. No matter how abusive his relatives are to him he doesn’t just buckle and turn into a quiet, scared boy. He is sarcastic and clever and he strikes back and even if he knows he’ll be punished he will fight back anyway. It’s probably the only way he could have ever defeated Voldemort. If his family had managed to crush him he could never have fought back against Voldemort, but it just makes me really happy that while he isn’t necessarily happy, and he hasn’t been treated with kindness since he was one year old he is still excited and tough and polite and ready to make friends. Another part of Harry which I love and admire is that he has a very strong sense of right and wrong. When he meets Malfoy in Diagon Alley he could easily have just buckled under and just vaguely agreed with him, since this is the first Hogwarts student he’s met, but he stands up for himself and for Hagrid. It is part of what makes Harry a good Gryffindor. He is very fair-minded and he’s strong and he is protective and tough. It probably doesn’t help that Malfoy acts a lot like Dudley, but it is still brave of him.

So I’ve thought about Malfoy a lot this time around. No matter how awful and despicable he is his father will always be worse. And everything Malfoy does is modeled on his father, presumably because he wants Lucious’ approval. And because Malfoy genuinely loves his father. He is spoiled and cruel and mean, but like Harry he has been raised in a sort of abusive household. I’m not saying he’s been beaten or anything, but it seems like while his mother is loving and sort of kind Lucious seems like he constantly puts Draco down no matter what Draco does. He will still protect his son and help him, but it feels like whatever Draco does his father seems to despise him for it. In the care of other parents Draco could have been a much nicer boy and that’s kind of sad. Draco is a very interesting character. You don’t get to see a lot of his complexity in this book, he’s more the mean foil for Harry, but it’s a good start.

Whenever I reread the first book I feel like I focus on Neville and try to see the “Chosen One” stuff around him. So if you’re not aware Neville and Harry both fit the prophecy that caused Voldemort to kill Lily and James, and Voldemort chose Harry. He could have chosen Neville, and everything would have been different, I guess. It’s really strange that no one questions why Neville lives with his grandmother. Everyone knows that Harry’s parents are dead, but when Neville says he lives with his grandmother no one even questions it. It might just be politeness, but it’s just strange. Neville is also so sad in that he lost his parents, even if they’re still alive. I love that he is still an excited, enthusiastic boy though. He hasn’t been completely broken by his parents being broken. I think he’s probably really proud of his parents, but worried that people will make fun because they’re “crazy” so that’s why he doesn’t volunteer information about them. I love Neville. He’s so sweet and strong, and while I think his grandmother might be a bit too tough on him, and expects him to be his father, I think she’s incredibly proud of him and loves him very much. I think Neville has incredible character growth in the books. He becomes confident and tough and starts to live up to the Longbottom name, which is pretty badass.

Finally

Yes, so those were some thoughts on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s stone. I love the Harry Potter books and they mean so much to me and my reading history and I always go back to them and reread them, and I always read more into them and discover more in them.