>J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter Book 1)

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Book 1 of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, alternatively known as Harry Potter and the Sorceress’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling was my last assigned reading for my Children’s Literature course.  It was, of course, my 2nd or 3rd time going through the book by that time.

Harry Potter is the most famous wizard in the world and he didn’t even know it.  At the age one one, a very powerful, evil wizard, He Who Must Not Be Named, tried to take over the world.  Two people standing in his way were Harry’s parents.  Voldemort managed to kill Harry’s parents, but mysteriously the 1 year old Harry lived and it was rumored that he somehow defeated Voldemort, though of course Harry, being only 1, doesn’t remember.

Harry spends the next 10 years with Muggles, those who can’t perform magic, not knowing he is a wizard or anything about the magical world.  On his 11th birthday, all this is revealed to him and he is sent off to wizardry school.  There he learns a little more about who he is and who and what Voldemort is.

As the rumors suggested, Voldemort, not being fully human, did not actually die when he first encountered Harry at the age of 1.  In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Voldemort attempts to regain power and once again it is up to Harry, this time knowingly, and his friends Ron and Hermione to stop him
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I was first introduced to the Harry Potter series when it was already 4 or 5 books into it and by the time I finished book 6, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, I did not have to wait long for the publication of the 7th and final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  I was immediately drawn into the story; I had also had a soft spot for stories that involved magic which I now know are called Fantasy.  After being fully immersed into the books I started reading book reviews of the Harry Potter series and realized that not everyone found the books as great as I did.

There is a whole unit in my Children’s Literature course devoted to this so called Harry Potter phenomenon.  Why are they so popular?  Why are people reading these books and not ones previously published?  According to the experts, the author, J.K. Rowling, has very poor use of prose in the books; she supposedly uses fantasy conventions instead of creating her own.

I won’t get into points and counterpoints about the Harry Potter books here or say anything about Rowling’s ability as an author; I will simply say that, in my opinion, the books are well worth reading for people of all ages.

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