Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.
It’s Harry Potter… a.k.a. the gold standard by which children’s literature will be measured for years… need I say more? The classic battle between good and evil, a beautifully constructed magical world, and intricate backstory all set in a perfectly appropriate eleven-year-old’s version of the world with school, teachers, friends, sports (Quidditch!) and rivalries with bullies.
A perfect start to a wonderful adventure! Young readers will happily tumble into the wizarding world as they discover magic alongside Harry. While the plot elements and themes of the series do grow darker and more complex as the books continue, this first book is perfect for elementary school and early middle school readers.
How did you get the idea for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone?
“One weekend after flat hunting, I took the train back to London on my own and the idea for Harry Potter fell into my head… A scrawny, little, black-haired, bespectacled boy became more and more of a wizard to me… I began to write Philosopher’s Stone that very evening. Although, the first couple of pages look nothing like the finished product.”
“After I began to write “Philosopher’s Stone,” something horrible had happened. My mother died. She was only forty-five. Nine months afterwards, I desperately wanted to get away from everything and took a job in Portugal as an English teacher at a language institute. I took my manuscript with me in hopes of working on it while I was there. My feelings about Harry Potter’s parents’ death became more real to me, and more emotional. In my first week in Portugal, I wrote my favorite chapter in Philosopher’s Stone - The Mirror of Erised.”
How long did Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone take to complete and publish?
Rowling worked on the book for six years before it was accepted by Bloomsbury Publishing, who paid her an advance of £2,500. The book was published in 1997. Most publishers who took a look at the title thought the book was too long at 90,000 words. But Bloomsbury published it when the chief executive’s daughter, who was eight years old, said Rowling’s book was “so much better than anything else.”
I’ve seen copies of this book with different titles, the Philosopher’s Stone and the Sorcerer’s Stone, what’s the difference?
When the book was first published in the United Kingdom in 1997, it was under the title Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Scholastic published the book the following year in the United States with the title Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
How many languages has Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone been translated into?
The book has been translated into 80 different languages, as of 2017.
How many copies of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone have been sold?
Over 500 million copies have been sold worldwide.
What is J.K. Rowling’s full name?
When Joanne Rowling was trying to get her debut novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, published, Bloomsbury Publishing was concerned about her name, Joanne, as they thought boys would prefer a book with a male author. This is why Joanne’s pen name is J.K. Rowling.
How much is a first edition copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone?
A first edition Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone sold for $90,000 in March of 2019.
Is there a platform 9 3⁄4 at King’s Cross Station?
King’s Cross Station does have an honorary platform 9 3⁄4 on the brick wall between platforms 9 and 10. They have a luggage cart going into the wall that fans can take pictures with. You can take your own photo at the wall for free, or pay to have a professional take it while you wear a scarf in your house color.
How does the movie compare to the book?
Rated PG, run time 2h 32min, rated a 7.6/10 by IMDb (you can also find a movie trailer, a summary, and cast information here).
Rotten Tomatoes gives it an 81% on the Tomatometer and a 82% Audience Score.
This Bustle article brings up a few of instances when the movie strayed from the book, such as the Sorting Hat’s song being trimmed and the delivery of Harry’s Nimbus 2000 happening at lunch instead of a secret delivery. Harry Potter Fandom page lists every discrepancy it could find between the movie and the book.
“Throughout most of the book, the characters are impressively three-dimensional (occasionally four-dimensional!) and move along seamlessly through the narrative. However, a few times in the last four chapters, the storytelling begins to sputter, and there are twists I found irritating and contrived. To serve the plot, characters begin behaving out of character. Most noticeably, Hagrid, the gentle giant of a groundskeeper who has selflessly protected Harry over and over, suddenly turns so selfish he is willing to let Harry be punished for something that is Hagrid’s fault. That’s not the Hagrid I’d come to know.
These are minor criticisms. On the whole, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is as funny, moving and impressive as the story behind its writing. J. K. Rowling, a teacher by training, was a 30-year-old single mother living on welfare in a cold one-bedroom flat in Edinburgh when she began writing it in longhand during her baby daughter’s nap times. But like Harry Potter, she had wizardry inside, and has soared beyond her modest Muggle surroundings to achieve something quite special.”
“Harry Potter also has echoes of children’s classics Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. With the help of a noble if nitwitted giant, a few inept but big-hearted student magicians, even a concerned if somewhat distant centaur, Harry takes on powers bigger and stronger than him, growing older and wiser in the process. You don’t have to be a wizard or a kid to appreciate the spell cast by Harry Potter.”
“Published to praise and awards, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is as inventive and engaging a title as one could hope to find. Designated for ages 8 to 12, but written for anyone who loves a good tale well told, this is a book to engage the mind and grab the heart . . . and J.K Rowling is a writer to watch and remember.”
“I brave the wrath of millions by daring to say so, but it really doesn’t take a high-minded killjoy to worry what these books are doing to the literary taste of millions of potential young readers…What I do object to is a pedestrian, ungrammatical prose style which has left me with a headache and a sense of a wasted opportunity. If Rowling is blessed with this magic gift of tapping into young minds, I can only wish she had made better use of it. Her characters, unlike life’s, are all black-and-white . Her story-lines are predictable, the suspense minimal, the sentimentality cloying every page. (Did Harry, like so many child-heroes before him, HAVE to be yet another poignant orphan?)”.
You bet it did. Check them out below!