Harry Potter – Part 1 of 7

10 Jul

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

It feels different reading this book when you’ve already read through the series. It gives you a sense of understanding how and why Harry got to be humble, lucky and well, nosy and adventurous.

Here, Harry, after being raised by his Aunt Petunia and its family, found out he is a wizard. With nothing much to look forward to in that too little of a home where he was sort of bullied and not fed well, he found friends and a home in Hogwarts – the school of witches and wizards.

Not knowing much about this new world where he’s ironically, a hero in, his curiosity brought him much “nose” to smell adventure, if not “trouble.” He incidentally came across a three-headed dog and suspects it to be guarding something, suspects Snape to be behind every bad thing happening to him and intertwine events with the little he knows – which happens to be right.

Here, he found friends in Ron and Hermione, after fighting off a troll; surviving a near-death accident during a QUidditch match and passing through the 6-part protective charm of the sorcerer’s stone. He also broke tradition by being the youngest Quidditch member (First years were not allowed to join or by far, own a broomstick), have Dumbledore watch him play Quidditch, have a centaur (Firenze) help him in the Forbidden Forest even if centaurs are not supposed to do so and removing the house cup from the 4-year reign of the Slytherin’s.

His first year was definitely not anyone’s ordinary year and the book closes with goodbyes and a good hope for the succeeding one.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

I wouldn’t have enjoyed a children’s story to as much as I enjoyed this. I can imagine someone’s lovely voice reading it through my ears as I read the book.

The story began with the news that the Voldermort’s threat of conquer and evil is over. As to how it was never clear for his death remains a mystery that was witnessed by a baby who earned a scar in the process – Harry Potter. By the decision of Albus Dumbledore and with the assistance of Minerva McGonagall and Rubeus Hagrid, the baby Harry, (cradled on one of Hagrid’s arms as he rode on Sirius’ flying motorcycle), was brought to the doorstep of his only living relative – Petunia, his mother’s Muggle sister.

Harry was led to believe that he earned that scar on a car crash where his parents died and that he is alive because of his aunt and uncle’s grace. His room was the cupboard under the stairs and his life was defined by the usual bullying the Dursleys gave him, specially by his cousin, Dudley.

He never felt special until the day that he received a letter which his Uncle Vernon has prevented for him to read. However, the letter won’t be stopped from reaching Harry’s hands for the letter kept on coming, no matter how much Vernon prevents it or no matter how he tries to move his house. The letter finally reached Harry’s hand when Hagrid, entered the boat Vernon has hired to stop the letters from coming and handed it to him personally. Hagrid was also the one who told him that he is a wizard and is about to enter high school at Hogwarts.

Vernon could not say a thing for Hagrid was a half-giant who uses an umbrella that seemed to have some sort of magic coming with it.

Prior to his first day, Hagrid brought him to Diagon Alley to buy his school materials. Hagrid also brought him to the Gringotts where he was asked to withdraw money from the small fortune his parents – James and Lily – left for him. Here, he also witnessed Hagrid retrieving a package from another vault which later has proven to be of important matter.

It was at Diagon Alley (at Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions) that he first encountered Malfoy – who he has learned to detest for belittling or making fun of Hagrid. It was much later he met Ron’s family – on his first push at platform 9 and 3/4. Aboard the Hogwarts express, he met Ron once again as he asked to share the same compartment, came across Malfoy, who now has Crabbe and Goyle with him offering an opportunity to be friends, which he immediately declined as he tried to stand up for how he treated Ron.

The two became friends and it was obvious that they shared the same sentiment against Malfoy, for some reason. Enough to agree to a wizard’s duel whom Malfoy tricked them into going to be expelled from Hogwarts – for the reason of being out of bed in spite of curfew. It was also during this time that they accidentally entered the three-headed dog, Fluffy which they noticed to be guarding a trapdoor beneath it.

At this time, both Ron and Hermione shared the same annoyance against Hermione – for being such a “know-it-all.” Although she and Neville was with them during the deceiving wizard’s duel, they, Ron – to be in particular – has always been so partial against Hermione whom he drove into tears for announcing to everyone “why she doesn’t have any friends.” Incidentally, that was Halloween night, the same night that the troll escaped. Perhaps out of guilty, Harry and Ron found themselves going out of their way to find and warn her, only to realize they’ve locked the troll inside the girls’ bathroom – where Hermione has been spending her time crying her heart out. They were then forced to do their best to help her and eventually, succeeded. They’ve been friends with Hermione since.

Harry’s first Quidditch match happened afterwards and this was where he almost fell from his broom. If not for Snape’s counter-curse, Professor Quirrell would have succeeded on killing Harry. The next match was a spectacle for it was Snape who refereed and Dumbledore himself came to watch, the game lasted for not more than 5 minutes.

While attempting to find Hermione from the troll, they same snape limping and they began to suspect that he went to the guarded door instead. They thought it was Snape who was putting the jinx on the broom too during the match because it has always been Snape who has shown utmost “hatred” against Harry. They’ve shared this to Hagrid who have disagreed with them from the beginning, even if he let out that Fluffy, happened to be his pet guarding something between Dumbledore and Nicolas Flamel.

The Christmas holidays brought short Harry, Ron and Hermione’s search as to who Flamel is. It was at this time Harry saw his parents for the first time – it was through the magic of the Mirror of Erised. It was also in this process he first had his conversation with Dumbledore who explained to him that the mirror shows him what he wants deeply in his heart. It was this tip that led to his finding of the sorcerer’s stone in the latter part of the book.

Harry, Ron and Hermione’s search on who Flamel was ended when Neville gave them the card from one of his chocolate frogs. It had Dumbledore’s profile which included the note that he was friends with Flamel who created the sorcerer’s stone. Harry’s first ever card was Dumbledore too, he got it while eating the first few sweets he had aboard his first trip on the Hogwarts Express months ago.

After Harry’s second Quidditch match, he found Snape threatening Quirrell which strenghthens their theory that Snape was after the stone from the beginning. They decided to go to Dumbledore and advise him but he was gone for a meeting with the Minister of the Ministry of Magic. This made Harry, Ron and Hermione take matters into their own hands. They decided to search for the stone.

They are aware that the teachers have placed protective spells for each and they have an idea how many – it was seven (Hagrid advised them who the teachers were although he didn’t advise them what the actual protection was).

Hagrid’s was first which was the Fluffy who’s weakness was music to put him to sleep (such that he leaked out to a stranger who gave him a dragon’s egg). The next was Professor Sprout’s Devil’s Snare, a plant who strangles anyone who is in panic – fearing only one thing – light (or fire). The next was Professor Flitwick’s house of keys followed by McGonagall’s transfigured a Wizard’s Chess to make them alive. The next was Snape’s potion charm and the last was Dumbledore’s Mirror of Erised. It would have been seven including Quirrell’s troll however, Hogwarts will not risk a troll escaping its grounds again and it was probably removed because of that – this however, was not clear on the book.

The scenes were breathtaking and if you’ve watched the movie, it would be really descriptive of how it was on the book – only Snape’s test wasn’t included in the movie. It’s kinda hard to present a charm of logic on the moviescreen.

Harry found Quirrell on the last part of the charms facing the Mirror of Erised and not knowing what to do with it. Here, Harry felt excruciating pain from his scar and it was that feeling that defeated Voldermort (and Quirrell) in the end, the power of love standing ground as protection for Harry against Voldermort. And again, Voldermort is defeated with more questions rather than answers.

In this book, it is only now that I recognized how the link between Harry and Voldermort was introduced and how a skillful Occulementist Voldermort really is. I think on a side – how Harry is a good of an Occulumentist himself too, for he remembers the green light that killed his parents and the flying motorcycle he saw in his dreams, how he’s a parseltongue (zoo experience with Dudley) and how famous he was. Other characters were also mentioned but they won’t be as familiar until the latter books. These include the other Weasleys: Bill, Charlie, Percy, Ginny, Arthur and Molly, Mr. Olivander, Mrs. Figg, Dedalus Diggle, Dolores Crockford and Griphook. The story of wands was also introduced as Mr. Ollivander assisted Harry in choosing his wand – it was pretty tedious (as the book described it, not as fast as how the movie showed it) and as Mr. Ollivander said, “It so happens that the phoenix whose tail feather is in your wand, gave another feather – just one other. It is very curious indeed that you should be destined for this wand when its brother – why, its brother gave you that scar.”

What I find troubling on this book is the ending as it’s just too plain crack and bull as to how Dumbledore explained how Harry defeated Voldermort yet again – I mean how was I supposed to understand that Voldermort cannot bear to touch someone as pure and loved as Harry if Quirrell has shaken Harry’s hands at the Leaky Cauldron when he first arrived there? At this time, it can be assured that Voldermort was already on Quirrell’s body because it was Quirrell who attempted to rob Gringotts of the Sorcerer’s stone – as to how, it wasn’t mentioned.

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  1. derekpm

    July 13, 2009 at 2:12 am

    Rather interesting. Has few times re-read for this purpose to remember. Thanks for interesting article.