Philosophers Stone

“Fear of the name only increases fear of the things itself.” – JK. Rowling

The journey of Harry Potter begins with the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone. The first scene begins with two strangely dressed people in Privet Drive holding a baby wrapped in a blanket, this being Harry. He’s left on the doorstep of his aunt and uncles house, with a vivid lightning shaped scare on his forehead. This immediately leaves readers wondering how an infant could be in the situation of becoming an orphan.

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However, 11 years later  Harry is grown up and living under the stairs of 4 Privet Drive with his aunt, uncle and cousin who is extremely spoilt and completely ordinary. Readers can start relating to this story and its only the beginning because Harry is taken for granted and is undernourished. He also is highly mistreated but has his manners and is more respectful to his relatives despite their behavior. Rowling uses juxtaposition with this to create contrast between these characters which becomes a large part of the story later. Harry’s cousin, Dudley, is an only child and ridiculously spoilt leaving Harry being frequently overlooked. This connects to readers because everyone knows someone who has more than they need but doesn’t deserve it, however, its more important for readers to relate to Harry. The character that’s in the shadows and often pushed to the side or overlooked. This is another reason why Harry Potter is such a great story because it shows how people shouldn’t be overlooked just because they’re  not ‘viewed’ as an equal or don’t have the same opportunities that more fortunate people have the luxury of, like his cousin.  

Quickly things change for Harry, he suddenly receives his first letter ever inviting him to  a place he’s never heard of, Hogwarts. This is when readers begin to wonder what this book is about.The letter is quickly taken away from him as his aunt and uncle don’t want him to compete with his cousin but they also notice that it is completely out of the ordinary. The letter becomes destroyed immediately.  Long story short Harry is greeted by this giant called Hagrid telling him that he is going to a school called Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. JK. Rowling soon immerses reader into a place called Diagon Alley, where only wizards and witches are able to visit. It’s described to have every store a wizard would need, wands from Ollivanders, books from Flourish and Blotts, Madam Malkin’s Robes for all Ocassions and Gringotts the Wizard Bank who’s employees are goblins. Hagrid takes Harry to his family fortune in vault 687 but they also visit vault 713. Hagrid takes out a little package and says it’s top secret. Rowling creates a secret world for magical folk that’s full of colour and joyful people. While reading, people can escape from their own world and discover a completely new one that their own imagination couldn’t have thought possible.

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The settings described within Harry Potter are extremely vivid. On his journey to begin his new life at Hogwarts he has to enter platform 9¾ at King Cross Station. This is significant as Harry is only 11 years old and is completely alone in this, until he stumbles across this large family with flaming red hair. He meets his new best friend Ronald Weasley as it is also his first year at Hogwarts. The way to travel to this magical castle is by train, on the ride Harry discovers that he is rather famous amongst the wizarding world, everyone knows who he is but h doesn’t know why. Harry soon arrives at this grand castle that is illuminated by the moonlight and the lights within the castle. All the first years are greeted by Professor Mccgonagall telling them that the feast is about to start and they’re going to be sorted into houses. Slytherin the cunning, Gryffindor the brave, Ravenclaw the intelligent and Hufflepuff the just. Harry, Ron and Hermonie, a know it all they met on the train, all get sorted into Gryffindor. Each student is sorted into a house which is where all their living quarters are. Rowling describes the common room as warm from the fireplace and the relaxing squashy armchairs. Harry often describes it as feeling like his first home. Upon arriving the headmaster warns first years that the third floor corridor and the Forbidden Forest is strictly out of bounds.

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Lessons within Hogwarts is a little different from the Muggle world (non-magic). They have lessons that include Defence Against the Dark Arts, Herbology, Transfiguration, Care For Magical Creatures and Charms. Harry throughout the story finds out that his aunt and uncle lied to him about how he ended up an orphan. Harry was lead to believe that they died in a car crash, however, he discovers from his friend Hagrid that the most powerful dark wizard, Voldemort, murdered his family with the killing curse. Harry is the only known person in history to survive such a curse that can kill people instantly. Which is why he has become so famous. Voldemort is so feared within the wizarding world that people don’t speak his name. After trying to kill Harry, Voldemort had vanished into nothing and hadn’t been seen for 11 years which is why he is famous. Amongst all the craziness in Hogwarts and the new life, Harry, Ron and Hermonie are reading the Daily Prophet while having breakfast. The Daily prophet being the wizarding newspaper featuring latest news and tips to get rid of garden gnomes. Hermonie says that vault 713 has been robbed which creates curiosity within Harry. He recounts Hagrid’s and his trip to Gringotts and they all decide to go to the main source, being Hagrid. Hagrid is a forgetful and very kind half giant who lives for the finer things in life like dangerous animals. He accidently lets slip that what he removed from vault 713 is between Nicolas Flamel and Albus Dumbledore, the Headmaster of Hogwarts. Hagrid also says that he owns a three headed dog that’s on the third floor corridor protecting something after the trio stumbled across it. The trio decide to find out who Nicolas Flamel is, so they go straight to the library. This leads them to finding out that he is an alchemist and creator of the Philosophers Stone, (after Harry receives an invisibility cloak on Christmas from a random person and enters the restricted section of the library), which makes the drinker immortal.  

Although Hogwarts is every thing Harry has wished for he also gets into some trouble and has to serve some time in detention in the Forbidden Forest with Hagrid. The goal is to find out what has been attacking unicorns, the most purest creatures. After walking deep into the forest Harry stumbles across a hooded figure drinking from a unicorn, frozen with fear  a centaur suddenly appears scaring off the hooded figure. Firenze, the centaur, explains to Harry that that was Voldemort, furthermore he says that drinking unicorn blood can keep anyone alive even on the verge of death. However, it comes at a cost, the drinker will have a cursed life. Firenze also tell Harry that there is a plot to steal the stone to restore Voldemort back to his original body and power. The trio then decide to go to the third floor to find out who is trying to steal it. however, someone has already been down the trapdoor as the three headed dog is sleeping from a harp being played. After the go down the trapdoor they are greeted my a series of puzzles that they need to complete. They complete all of that when only Harry continues and finds Professor Quirrell standing alone  staring at a mirror. Quirrell is being possessed my Voldemort on the back of his head. Voldemort  tries to con Harry into joining him after Harry looks into the mirror of Erised which shows the person they want most. Harry’s reflection shows the Stone in his pocket. Voldemort senses this and instructs Quirrell to kill Harry to get the Stone. When Quirrell suddenly attacks Harry he drops the Stone on the ground. Harry tries to push Quirrell off and when he does Quirrell’s face starts burning and eventually turns to ash. After Quirrell is a pile of ash a swarm of dust spirals up and flies to Harry, he then passes out.

He wakes in the hospital wing with Dumbledore in front of him and answers all of Harrys questions. The Stone was destroyed by Flamel, Dumbledore also explains that there is a possible chance that Voldemort could return another way. And most importantly how and 11 year old boy has escaped from Voldemort, because Harry is protected by his mothers love, it was her sacrifice that saved Harry when he was baby. Voldemort knows nothing of love and sacrifice and that’s why Harrys touch destroyed Voldemort. At the end of the Hogwarts year Harry is to return to the Dursley’s home but later will return to his true home of Hogwarts.

The first instalment to one of the most popular franchises ever is complete. It’s a whirlwind of adventure and mystery as readers travel along with the characters through a journey of magic and wonder. The quote I chose for the book at the top is significant in this story because the name Voldemort is feared, however, as no one says his name it’s become a name that everyone fears. Harry is one of the very few that say the name, this shows his courage towards a senseless murderer. Also, personally, its a great quote to live by it shows not to be afraid of things and to stand up to people whether they are feared and powerful or an everyday person who is simply doing wrong. This is one reason why Harry Potter is an inspiration, to stand up to people who do wrong. Feel free to comment and like 🙂

 

Harry Potter baby image credit – https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=ucUqQNVO&id=EF615BC7A552F3CC966FFFC9FD1BC7E276057B95&q=harry+potter+baby&simid=608009118095379800&selectedIndex=6&ajaxhist=0

Harry Potter house signs credit – https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=rWnZVYIE&id=483E0D771AE5023B3AAAF5B82FC659E4090810DC&q=harry+potter+house+&simid=608021865558838246&selectedIndex=59&ajaxhist=0

Feature Image credit – https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=n%2f7Q8JX%2f&id=1DDE1ADDB6FF735C795D8773C032E8F861168466&q=harry+potter+philosopher%27s+stone+book&simid=608013567688510391&selectedIndex=9&ajaxhist=0

 

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