This is the third time I’ve read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, but the first since finishing Deathly Hallows and first time reading it critically. I’ve tailored this review in the following in mind: the intended audience for the book (much younger than myself) and it’s place in the series.
Unlike books later in the series, Sorcerer’s Stone (aka Philosopher’s Stone in other parts of the globe) features brevity in length, but is still backed with vivid descriptions of the magical world Harry suddenly finds himself exposed to. Rowling uses her words carefully show the reader not only the setting, but also the story. What also helps is keeping in mind the audience, the primary of which would be the same age as 11-year old Harry, and as a result Rowling focuses on the “big events” over the first year at Hogwarts just like children would focus on the big happenings during their school year. And added to it all is a mystery that soon touches upon the magically communities darkest times as well as the saddest for young Harry. Yet Rowling weaves it altogether to create wonderful story that is a joy to read the first time and many subsequent times afterwards.
As the introductory installment of the entire Harry Potter series, Sorcerer’s Stone does an excellent job in world building and giving the reader an introduction to the characters. As for character development, there are minor examples in Hermione and Neville, but this is to be expected for the age level and with six more books there is plenty of time for characters to grow like any pre-teen would. Finally how is foreshadowing and are there any potential plot holes for later in the series? Littered throughout Sorcerer’s Stone are names and items that will become important later in the series, but unless they were critical to the plot those individuals and items were only descriptors. There was only one glaring potential plot hole and that is the Snape-Quirrell interactions, especially as events unfold with Snape becoming Voldemort’s right hand man later in the series.
Overall, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is a wonderful book both as a standalone and as part of a series. It stands up over time as great piece of children’s literature and fire the imagination of readers.