- "I have yet to find a child who can put it down."
- — The Herald
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is the first book in the Harry Potter book series by J.K. Rowling. The book was published by Bloomsbury on 26th June 1997. The name was changed to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the US editions.
The book follows Harry Potter during his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he gets involved in the plot to find the Sorcerer's Stone. The book was adapted into a film in 2001.
Development and publication
J.K. Rowling came up with the idea when she was on a train travelling to London. She stated that the "idea fell into my head" and she "began to write the Sorcerer's Stone that evening". She spent six years creating the book and then with the help of an agent, she sent it to twelve publishers who each decided not to publish it, a few because they thought it had too many words for a children's book.
Eventually, luck struck when Barry Cunningham, who was building a portfolio of new fantasy books for Bloomsbury Children's Books found it was a good idea and recommended it to them. Bloomsbury's chief executive gave it to his eight year old daughter to read before he accepted it, and she said it was "so much better than anything else".
Bloomsbury agreed to publish the book which they did on 26th June 1997. They created 500 copies in the hope that booksellers would read it and then recommend it to buyers. 300 of the copies went to libraries. When it recieved the attention they were hoping for, they kept printing copies. Reviews soon came in for the book, with The Herald stating that "I have yet to find a child who can put it down" while The Guardian called it "a richly textured novel given lift-off by an inventive wit".
The book went on to win many awards, including the 1997 National Book Award and a gold medal in the 9 to 11 year-olds category of the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize which made the book very well-known. The book won nearly won every one of the major British awards that were decided by children. The book went on to appear on many lists including the Best Selling Fiction list by the New York Times. The Sorcerer's Stone changed the children's novels genre with the New York Times having to create a children's section, because the book changed people's perception of children's book and made them more important and popular. It gave other series such as Roald Dahl's novels the chance to be properly appreciated. The book has since been published in several editions, including the 10th Anniversary Edition by Scholastic.
Harry Potter's parents, James and Lily Potter were killed by Lord Voldemort who disappeared when he tried to kill Harry. Harry was sent to live with his aunt Petunia Dursley and her family by Albus Dumbledore and Minerva McGonagall, while the wizarding world celebrated the apparent downfall of Voldemort. The Dursley family don't raise Harry kindly, and never told him he was a wizard.
At age eleven, Harry was sent a letter out the blue which the Dursleys won't let him open. The letters kept coming until Vernon Dursley decided to take them to the Hut-on-the-Rock. Rubeus Hagrid finally tells Harry that he is a wizard who will be attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His life changes forever when he goes to magical places he never knew existed including Diagon Alley, where he buys a wand, and Platform Nine and Three-Quarters, where he travels on the Hogwarts Express.
He gets to Hogwarts School and the Sorting Hat puts him in Gryffindor House. Finding new friends, Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger, Harry begins to learn magic by attending lessons such as Charms, Transfiguration and Potions. He even attends flying lessons which leads to him becoming the youngest Seeker in a century at Hogwarts to play Quidditch.
However, when Harry, Ron and Hermione find out about Fluffy and the Sorcerer's Stone, they begin to discover that someone plans to steal it and that Lord Voldemort was involved, leading to an encounter which places Harry in great danger.
- Chapter 1: The Boy Who Lived
- Chapter 2: The Vanishing Glass
- Chapter 3: The Letters from No One
- Chapter 4: The Keeper of the Keys
- Chapter 5: Diagon Alley
- Chapter 6: The Journey from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters
- Chapter 7: The Sorting Hat
- Chapter 8: The Potions Master
- Chapter 9: The Midnight Duel
- Chapter 10: Hallowe'en
- Chapter 11: Quidditch
- Chapter 12: The Mirror of Erised
- Chapter 13: Nicolas Flamel
- Chapter 14: Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback
- Chapter 15: The Forbidden Forest
- Chapter 16: Through the Trapdoor
- Chapter 17: The Man with Two Faces
- "For Jessica, who loves stories, for Anne, who loved them too, and for Di, who heard this one first."
- — By J.K Rowling
Rowling devoted the story to three relatives. Jessica is her daughter, Anne was her mother who had died a few years earlier and Diane "Di" is her younger sister.