An orphan leading a miserable life, abnormally vicious guardians, dumb and pestering cousins- sounds like another story from a fairy tale book? Well, ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ is much beyond that. The first step of J. K. Rowling’s magical journey, the international bestseller was the beginning of a new world for the readers.

Harry Potter, ‘the boy who lived’ with a lightning scar on his forehead, orphaned as a baby, is left under the care of his loathsome uncle and aunt- the heavy, moustached Vernon Dursley and the ‘rather horsey’ faced Petunia Dursley. Adding to Harry’s misery is his spoiled cousin, Dudley. While Dudley, the apple of his parents’ eyes, enjoys the privilege of owning two bedrooms (one for his toys), Harry is left to live in the ‘bedroom under the stairs’ in the company of spiders and wear Dursley’s old and baggy clothes.

But Harry Potter is destined for greatness which even Harry’s ‘perfectly normal’ relatives could not prevent with their ‘Dursleyish’ ways. A mysterious letter addressed to Harry changes his life and introduces him to Hogwarts, the country’s elite school of wizardry and sorcery. A new entrant to the world of magic, the curious Harry comes to life in the mind of readers, who long to explore the intricacies of the newly discovered, hidden world.

Inspite of the high supernatural quotient, Rowling’s extraordinary narration succeeds in building an emotional bridge between the characters and the readers. By the time, Harry boards the train from King’s Cross to the unknown Hogwarts, the readers experience the same anxiety and fear as Harry. Similarly, the joy of Harry’s first Quidditch victory is no less than a World Cup victory for the readers.

As the story unfolds itself, the readers chant ‘Alohomora’ to open the gates of imagination and are met with a number of interesting characters, each of which leaves a deep message underneath. While Harry’s best friends, the bookish, Muggle-born, Hermione Granger and the ‘red-haired’ Ron Weasley redefines friendship, the half-giant Hagrid proves love and care are often incompatible with appearance.

Moreover, Harry enjoys the company of a unique panel of mentors-the strict but judicious, Professor Minerva McGonagall, the ‘twinkle-eyed’ and powerful Professor Albus Dumbledore and the rather cold Professor Severus Snape. While Professor McGonagall discovers Harry’s Quidditch skills and introduces him to the sport, Professor Snape maintains an unemotional and heartless image in front of Harry. Last but not the least, the sherbet lemon and knitting patterns lover, Albus Dumbledore is probably the most respected character in Rowling’s work. Dumbledore not only exhibits the real skills of a genius but also inspires the readers to find magic and optimism in the smallest of things.

Even though ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ is not a traditional fantasy tale, it still highlights the victory of good over evil through Lord Voldemort’s failed attempts to gain immortality. The novel redefines traditional values in a renewed and exciting form, thus retaining the true essence of life. This bond between Rowling’s wizarding world and the Muggle world is unquestionably the major factor in the success of the novel among children and adults alike.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ is not only Harry’s story but the readers’ journey through relationships as well. As the readers experience Harry’s emotions and indulge in his pranks, this remarkable work is a pleasant reminder of the importance of friends and teachers in one’s life. The portrayal of Harry’s school days is undoubtedly a walk down the memory lane for readers.

Amidst Rowling’s ingenious inventions like the Every-Flavoured Beans and Sorting Hat, ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ also establishes itself as a shrewdly written mystery tale. Crafted intelligently with elements of curiosity, secrecy and adventure at every step, the suspense quotient of the novel is easily comparable to one of Agatha Christie’s works. This thrilling element of the novel converts traditional reading into a journey through the pages of the novel, where the readers actually experience being part of the wizarding world and witness the unanticipated twists and turns in the tale themselves.

The work is probably one of the best examples of the power of the human mind. Penned down by a 30-year old single mother in a cold-one room flat in Edinburgh, during her daughter’s nap times, ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’, is a living proof of limitless creativity and determination. J. K. Rowling, the hidden source of wizardry, in this Muggle world is a true inspiration for millions. And there lies the true ‘magic’ of Harry Potter.



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