Novel: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone [UK]

Author: J.K. Rowling, 1997
Genre: Children’s Literature, Fantasy
Format: Ebook, 220 pages

Hey Harry,

How are things? I heard you just happen to save the world from evil recently. I bet the events of this past year had been one strange ride, especially since you found out that there are people that actually love and care for you. I hope your wizard hat still fits your head and you won’t forget to write back, Mr. Popularity. You know that morning when you woke up and were afraid to open your eyes thinking that Hagrid and his story of Hogwarts was just a dream? And then you woke up and you were really going? Well my friend, THAT was magic. To suddenly being lifted up from the rock bottom, to realize that your feelings of loneliness are empty, hoping for such unexpected delivery and finally getting it – doesn’t that define happiness? I could see the hopes and dreams of every abandoned child of being special suddenly springing up once again.

Hogwarts is sure a strange and wonderful bunch! I wish my school had a Sorting Hat. Perhaps that way I would actually end up as a Bachelor of Arts instead of boring Commerce. However it made me wonder why Hogwarts even bothers to maintain a house like Slytherin, when everyone pretty much hates it and admits that only evil-minded wizards graduate from there. You know what I mean? Also, Hufflepuffs are always made fun of – so much for no-bullying policy for Hogwarts. I think Dumbledore needs to get a little more involved in the student politics. What is up with those cranky teachers walking around and taking points off for rival houses left and right? That’s just dirty. And speaking of weird punishments, apparently in Hogwarts if students walk around a perfectly safe campus after hours they are subjected to community service in the forbidden forest, full of werewolves and creepy things that kill sacred unicorns, at the risk of being brutally murdered by an insane evil wizard with a grudge! How is that logical? And on top of that, scared eleven-year-olds are being sent alone into dark woods, being protected only by a mushroom dog-thing (who turns out to be just a big wuss in need of protection himself) just because they are not main characters. Way to go education system!

You know what I am envious of? The ticklish doors and screaming dark magic books; the resident ghosts with an attitude and self-projecting feasts; wizard chess of grand proportions and talking portraits asking for passwords. So many magical things we Muggles have no idea about! However, it really surprised me how little wizards know about Muggle world. You mean to tell me that they walk among the non-magic folk, live in down-to-earth housing units in England, and never encounter such everyday things like money and football? Wizards probably don’t go outside to buy groceries; they just wave their wands and go back to watching Quidditch. But I don’t know, you probably have a better perspective on such things, Harry.

I wonder what next year will bring to you. I bet you will end up being the center of attention yet again. I wish you all the best, but secretly do hope for another Voldemort encounter, but with a little more action this time. Take care, have great summer holidays, and don’t hesitate to “accidentally” turn Dudley into a piglet!

Forever your literary Muggle,

A.

P.S. Oh, and stop assuming your teacher is trying to take over the powerful artifact of immortality just because he looks sort of shifty. That’s judgmental!

On the last note: Since everyone seems to be reading Harry Potter nowadays, I thought I should join for the informal readalong. I stress on “informal”, because there is no way I will be reading all seven books in row – there is just too much on my plate right now. But I thought reading the first book for starters wasn’t a bad idea. I’ve read The Philosopher’s Stone way back in 2001, and even though after finishing it in two sittings, I wasn’t too eager to follow Harry any further. At the same time Potter-mania was sweeping the world. Reading the book for the second time, I start to regret not continuing with the series when I was the right age for it. Now I am lacking the same tender nostalgia that draws others to the world of Hogwarts, but instead taking it as is and critiquing it on the same level as any other fiction novel I’ve been reading so far. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is perhaps not literary, but highly imaginative work. The sentence structure is simple, the pacing is too fast and sometimes comes off as scrambled, the characters are underdeveloped and lack depth, but all that is easily ignored thanks to the rich and original world built by the author. I’m sorry to say that I lost the magic that sparks the hearts of Harry Potter fans, but I am optimistic about my future relationship with the series. I heard that further books gradually mature , and that gives me hope!

2 comments

  1. Well, better late than never right? 🙂

  2. That’s true. I am looking forward to reading each and one of these books for the first time. Not many people can say that, I guess 🙂

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