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In Search of the Novel: Ten Novels

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

by J. K. Rowling

Synopsis

Some boys find themselves cruelly under the thumb of unsympathetic and unloving foster parents. Harry Potter had to spend his first ten years sleeping under the stairs with the Dursleys in their smug suburban life—despised and neglected. Most boys discover some idiosyncrasy in their looks; Harry has a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead. Some children learn a surprising thing or two about their heritage, sometimes from a mysterious visitor. Harry receives a visit from Hagrid, a giant, who brings the news that Harry’s father was a wizard and his mother a witch. They were killed by Voldemort, the evil sorcerer; Harry escaped with the scar on his forehead. Harry must leave the horrid Dursleys, explains Hagrid, to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And so begins Harry’s education and his return to his birthright. He goes off to boarding school as a typical English child might, but his supplies include a message-carrying owl and a wand. There are new friends, new teachers, new sports, and a world of danger and enchantment.

Review

Publishers Weekly, July 20, 1998: “Readers are in for a delightful romp with this award-winning debut from a British author who dances in the footsteps of P. L. Travers and Roald Dahl...There is enchantment, suspense, and danger galore (as well as enough creepy creatures to satisfy the most bogeymen-loving readers, and even a magical game of soccerlike Quidditch to entertain sports fans) as Harry and his friends Ron and Hermione plumb the secrets of the forbidden third floor at Hogwarts to battle evil and unravel the mystery behind Harry's scar. Rowling leaves the door wide open for a sequel; bedazzled readers will surely clamor for one.”

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