Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

This is the first book listed on my “read” bookshelf on Goodreads.  I don’t know how I managed that.  When I signed up at the site, it had me select twenty books I was interested so it could get an idea of what to automatically generate for recommendations.

I only read this book when the first movie adaptation was coming out.  I was curious about what the fuss was.  At the time, young readers on AOL constantly asked “Who here likes Harry Potter?”

The prose of the book itself is not bad, relatively well-written and accessible to younger readers.  The main character is a seemingly-ordinary waif with some truly horrible relatives he’s forced to live with.  That was the first thing that put me off enjoying the book.  The author, Rowling, calls them “Muggles”.  I recognize them as “Mundanes” and have had bad experiences with people like that for five decades.

Things get a bit better for the title character, Harry Potter, when he gets invited to and goes to a magical boarding school, Hogwarts Academy.  There other people his age and even adults interact with him in a non-obnoxious fashion.

The plot of the book, once it gets to Hogwarts involves the title maguffin, a philosopher’s stone, renamed sorcerer’s stone, for the unwashed American masses of children.  Harry gets mixed up in finding the blasted thing and preventing it from being stolen by the ultimate villain of the piece, a mostly-dead dark wizard named Voldemort.  A confrontation between the two forms the climax of the book, with Voldemort melting from his attempt to touch the sorcerer’s stone.  I think.  It’s been nearly ten years since I read the book.

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