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Monday, November 9, 2009

63. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling



Title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Series: Harry Potter, Book 1
Author: J.K. Rowling
Copyright: 1998
Pages: 309
Publisher: Scholastic
Author Website:
Twitter: @scholastic
Format: Audiobook
Rating: 4/5 stars
Finished: 11-7-09

The first installment in J.K. Rowling's smash hit Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone introduces us to all the key players and locales that will take part in the series: we meet Harry Potter himself, the boy who lived; Harry's remaining living family, the Dursleys (the worse king of Muggles); Hagrid, Keeper of Keys at Hogwarts; all the other instructors and staff of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, including Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts; Harry's best friends, Ron and Hermione; Malfoy, Harry's immediate enemy at Hogwarts; even Voldemort, Harry's archenemy, the dark wizard who tried to kill Harry when Harry was an infant and failed. I could go on about the story and what happens, but I'm sure that most everybody already has an idea of what goes on in the story, either from having read the book or seen the movie. If the only experience that you have with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is from the movie, do yourself and favor and read the book; while the movie is fun and gives you all the basic story, it does leave out some key points and some of the funnier moments from the book. This will be a theme that plays out in all of the movies, and it gets worse as the books become more and more involved.

Having the read the book several times already before, and having finished the series now, I can see the inconsistencies in Rowling's storytelling and structure, but at the same time, knowing what's coming, it's interesting to see where she had been dropping clues to the rest of the story from the very beginning. I also like seeing how she progresses as a writer throughout the series, cleaning up her writing style as the books go on. Also, again still going on the knowledge of what's to come, I had forgotten how refreshing and lighthearted these earlier books are, before the story starts to take on its more darker tones. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the series as a whole, and may even enjoy the later books more than the earlier volumes, but that doesn't change the fact that this was still just a plain fun book.

On a side note, I listened to the audiobook version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone this time around, as I have never listened to any of the books, and I have to say that I really enjoyed Jim Dale's take on the characters and his telling of the story. It took me awhile to get used to his version of the voices (I'll be honest, I kept waiting to hear the voices more like they were in the movies, but the only one that seemed to match was Hagrid), but once I got into the story and his version of everything, I found it easier and easier to enjoy the audiobook. If you haven't had the pleasure of listening to the audiobook versions of the Harry Potter books before, take a couple of hours and give them a listen. It's worth it.

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