Review: ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ (‘Harry Potter’, #1) by J.K. Rowling (illust. Jim Kay)

Harry then did something that was both very brave and very stupid…


4.98/5 paper planes

What’s This Book About?

Genre: Contemporary fantasy (children/YA)

Synopsis: When a letter arrives for the unhappy but ordinary Harry Potter, a decade-old secret is finally revealed to him. Harry’s parents were wizards, killed by a Dark Lord’s curse when Harry was just a baby, and which he mysteriously survived.

At Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry stumbles upon a sinister mystery when he finds a three-headed dog guarding a room on the third floor. Then he hears of a missing stone with astonishing powers, which could be valuable, dangerous…or both. An incredible adventure is about to begin!

A full-colour edition featuring the illustrations of Jim Kay, winner of the Kate Greenaway medal.

What I Thought:

Reading this book always feels like coming home. It’s so familiar to me, and comforting – exciting, funny and touching without as much of the darkness and tragedy that appear when Harry grows older. (Though of course I’m re-reading the next books too, I’m going to ‘suffer but be happy about it’, I guess!)

This was a fantastic start to the modern legend that is the ‘Harry Potter’ series. Upon this re-read (years after my last one) I found it incredibly interesting which bits stood out to me in ways they hadn’t when I was younger – I teared up at the Mirror of Erised scene and the Quidditch matches were adrenaline-pumping thrills that I’d not experienced before. One of my goals in this re-read is to pay more attention to how Dumbledore, Draco and Snape are characterised – I want to gain a better understanding of their personalities than I did when I first read ‘Harry Potter’, especially as they’re some of the most obviously morally grey characters in the series. I’m also doing a scavenger hunt of sorts, picking up on the seeds of the eventual plot arc…I do wonder how early Rowling came up with the Horcrux plotline, especially regarding what Hagrid said about Voldemort’s humanity, only four chapters into this book.

The art was also absolutely fantastic. The details were spot-on and there were several Easter eggs! One of my favourites was the spread featuring the unicorn in the Forest. The way the moonlight filters through the trees, and the softly glowing unicorn? Just stunning.

Aside from minuscule niggles e.g. minor inconsistencies or typos, this book was perfect.

Thanks for reading! Are you a Potter fan? Have you read the illustrated editions? Let me know any thoughts below!

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