Do you remember Harry Potter, don’t you? That handsome green eyed wizard from Hogwarts impersonated by Daniel Radcliffe? I am sure you do. And I am sure you have probably read the book series by now.
Well I didn’t, at least until this month. I have promised myself that this year I am finally going to do it and I kept my word for it. So here is how the journey begins.
I have seen the movies numerous times, and I know the story by heart till now, but still the book gave me something new, that specific feeling when you read, that joy of opening and sliding through the pages.
We get to know Harry ever since he was a baby and was abandoned on the steps of his uncle Vernon’s house. He grew up in a family of “Muggles” as they are called the ones with non magic abilities. Non educated, spoiled people who don’t care about Harry and think he is a freak.
But his destiny is to be other. He got his letter from Hogwarts letting him know he is a wizard and that he will have to start his studies soon if he wants to follow his dream. Harry sees a way out of his miserable life, but things are not so easy, as his adoptive family doesn’t want the least for him to study magic. Nevertheless, you don’t mess with the greatest school of magic of all times so, with the help of Hagrid, the gamekeeper of the school, he manages to get his way out. And here the adventure starts.
He expects to have a quiet life, full of waving his wand and making weird enchantments, but the world of magic is much more exciting than that.
He learns about a dark wizard called Voldemort, and remembers fragments of his past life that he learns are connected with him. But the question is, how really connected is he with that wizard, how are their destinies linked and how can he, an eleven year old boy fight him?
In this book we learn that Harry is brave, loyal and a strong wizard, even though he hasn’t learned so many spells. The pain of losing his parents made him fight more eagerly against dark magic and wanting to eradicate it until the every last piece. He looks like a fragile boy, but has an enormous spiritual strength. His tough life made him more mature and more willing to fight for what he loves. He is aware that he can’t just stand and watch how Hogwarts and all his friends are to be taken by a wicked sorcerer and the only place he feels as home is to be vanished. He understands that if he doesn’t fight, Hogwarts will never be the same. There will be no more cheering, no more laughter or good times. He prefers to die rather than give up fight.
There are also his friends, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. The three of them are so different yet so alike. They have the same passion for magic and the same desire for making good things and helping. The three of them got into the Griffindors, who seems to be the house with the bravest wizards. We can see how Griffindors house is totally antagonistic to the Slytherins, wicked wizards, capable of anything to fulfil their goals. The main character that stands out from the Slytherin house is Draco Malfoy. His name seems to tell us everything about him even before we start to notice his behavior. He is evil and likes to tramble anyone who is not into his team. He likes to mock people for their origins, wealth and family history or anyone he considers is not worthily enough to be a wizard.
We can see how Harry and Draco reject each other every time they meet. Harry is brave, Draco is coward. Harry is loyal, Draco would be able to betray his own mother and father to get his own way. But there is something into Harry’s soul that makes him have something in common with the other boy. Actually, the moment he was to be elected into his house, the hat was on the verge of sending him to the Slytherins if it wasn’t his strong character who kept reciting that he doesn’t want to be in that house. But what is that something that makes him so special?
Dark secrets seem to revolve around him, but for the moment he doesn’t understand even half of the difficulties that await for him and he has no idea that he is about to become one of the most famous wizards in the magic world, not only because of his thunder scar caused by Voldemort and by being ‘The boy who lived’, but because of the many bravery acts and strong magic powers that he will prove over time.
In this book, the three friends, Harry, Hermione and Ron find out something about a philosopher’s stone hidden in the school and a certain Nicolas Flamel, but they have no idea what the importance of that stone is and what harm could it make if it gets into the wrong hands.
They start suspecting people in wanting to steal it, but to they know the truth, or they are lead on a false path to deceive them, to make them doubt their senses?
I could not help in making a comparison between the movie and the book. I could notice how many similarities are between the two of them. The director of the movie seemed to have decided to keep most of the scenes unmodified, for which I am so glad. Although, I am not that kind of person who judges the fact that the movie is sometimes different from the book. I usually enjoy the moment, the plot, regardless of the fact that the original facts were kept or not. I guess there are some reasons for which some decisions are made.
Nevertheless, twenty years after it has been written, I am glad I can say I have finally read the book, who I consider the greatest fantasy book of modern times.
© Picnic on the Shelf, March 26, 2019