Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is the American title of J.K. Rowling’s book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Harry Potter is the protagonist and a young lad who happens to be a wizard. He doesn’t know this when the book begins. Harry is an orphan living with the Dursley’s and their hefty son Dudley. Having a foster family is not the worst thing in the world. Harry is a thin kid and sports an implied chiseled jaw line. Compared to his plump roommate, he has the genetic advantage. Maybe his new family prefers him, perhaps Harry gets the better bedroom? False, he doesn’t get a bedroom at all. He gets thrown in a cupboard under the stairs with spiders for roommates. No mosquitos at least.
His foster parents turn out to be his Uncle and Aunt, Vernon and Petunia. They are not keen on the commitment that Petunia’s sister Lily (Harry’s mom, a.k.a. mum) left for them. It is shocking. The sisters are named after flowers. Let us turn to floriculture and phytology for an explanation on the floral sisters. Liliums or Lilies (Lily) symbolize happiness and love. They are the most common flower arrangement at funerals and represent the soul returning to an innocent state. This tracks well. Harry’s mom is deceased and of course loves our young hero. Petunias or Petunias (Petunia) can survive in harsh conditions. This does not track with his Aunt’s disposition, but their meaning in the language of flowers (floriography) does. When they are gifted, they represent hatred and resentment or comfort between the two parties. Auntie P’s feelings for Harry align with the first part.
The situation is dire for Harry. His entire wardrobe is second hand and ill-fitting. The glasses that correct his vision are outdated and his unruly hair covers an haute lightning bolt scar on his forehead. Social interactions are scarce and the cupboard spiders are the only ones there for him. Together they have spun a web of friendship.
Dudley hosts a birthday party at the zoo and Harry is left off the guest list. The arachnids and Harry are waiting for the babysitter, but it falls through and he gets to attend. He makes a new friend, albeit it isn’t a human. It is a snake. It turns out years of spider talk has benefits and he is able to talk to him. Somehow the glass of the exhibit vanishes and the snake gets out. Harry gets in trouble and is punished by his Aunt and Uncle.
Harry is serving his sentence in the cupboard when he starts to get letters. Uncle Vernon throws them out, but they keep coming. Uncle V moves the family to a remote island to avoid the onslaught of postage. The attempt fails when a giant named Hagrid shows up. He delivers Harry an acceptance letter to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry is confused and Hagrid is incredulous. He lets Harry know that he is a wizard and that his parents were killed by an evil wizard named Voldemort (not a car crash). Harry realizes that the incident with the snake was magic.
Hagrid takes Harry to Diagon Alley to buy school supplies. It his hidden away from the magicless (Muggle) world. Harry is famous within the community. Voldemort tried to kill Harry and was defeated instead. This left him with the lightning bolt scar that makes him recognizable amongst the wizards. He buys a wand and encounters a new society filled with fame and wealth left by his parents. Harry parts ways with his giant friend.
The school semester starts and Harry is at King’s Cross train station, ready to board the Hogwarts Express at Platform 9 ¾. He has trouble locating the fictional platform. He notices an odd family trans-versing the barrier between track nine and 10. Harry follows and gets on the train. He makes a friend outside of the animal kingdom named Ron Weasley. Together they meet Hermione Granger and an enemy named Draco Malfoy.
The students arrive at the palatial Hogwarts castle. The first-year students are delegated into houses by a giant Sorting Hat. Each new student plops it over their cranium and the hat announces what house they will be in. The houses of Hogwarts are Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, Slytherin and Gryffindor. Harry has an internal monologue with the hat. They talk for some time and it decides to place young Potter in Slytherin. Harry wants to avoid the dark connotations of the Slytherin house and pleads to be assigned elsewhere. The hat is stern, stern but not a monster. It acquiesces and places him in Gryffindor.
The Hogwarts coursework is intense and taught by a diverse and alliteration-filled administration. Minerva McGonagall holds down Transfiguration. Severus Snape (S squared) heads up Potions. Harry does not get along with SS. Professor Sprout is in charge of Herbology. She is aptly named for her career path. If she wasn’t fictional, she could consult on the onomastics of the flower sisters. Albus Dumbledore is the headmaster and Harry’s mentor. Their relationship is dumbleadorable. Quirinus Quirrell represents the Defense Against the Dark Arts and is aloof. He wears a turban. Filius Flitwick is short and teaches Charms. The gym teacher is Madam Hooch. The sport is Quidditch and is played on broomsticks. Harry is precocious at Quidditch. Argus Filch is precocious at nothing and the school caretaker. History of Magic is taught by a ghost (of course) named Professor Binns.
Mail is delivered by Owls. Draco Malfoy challenges Harry to a duel. Potter backs down from no challenge and shows up. It turns out to be a Malfoy setup. He tipped off Filch and revealed that students were snooping around the fight location after hours. Harry and his boys flee the scene and end up in a restricted area of the castle with a three-headed dog guarding a trapdoor.
A Troll ravages the school during Halloween. Harry and Ron fight it off with Hermione. They become friends after. Harry’s broom acts irrational in a quidditch match and he almost plummets to his demise in front of the student body. Hermione believes Snape was the one applying the jinx. That Snape never seems to give our protagonist a break.
An invisibility cloak is gifted to Harry for Christmas. It belonged to his father. He tours around the school during the night. He visits the restricted section of the library and finds an old classroom with the Mirror of Erised. It reflects himself standing with his parents. He takes Ron to the mirror and he is holding a trophy. Harry goes back again and runs into Albus. He explained that the mirror shows the viewer their greatest desire.
Hagrid and Harry’s relationship grows throughout the story. Hermione, Ron and Harry find a newspaper in his hut that mentions a robbery. They interrogate their buddy Hagrid and deduce that the Sorcerer’s Stone was the object the thief was after and that it is hidden under the trapdoor. They learn that it is used to achieve immortality.
Easter passes and the trio and Malfoy have to serve detention in the Forbidden Forest. Harry meets Firenze (a centaur). He tells him that Voldemort is the robber and the one after the Sorcerer’s Stone. The stone would allow him to return to power. This doesn’t sit well with the gang. If the naughtiest wizard came back into power, nobody would have a good time. In fact, it would be a bad time. A very bad time. Harry would like the good times to keep rolling. He loves his spider pals back in the muggle world, but the reader can see that life is much better for Harry now. As a precaution, the group learns that music is the way past the three-headed dog and how to gain access to the trapdoor.
Dumbledore heads out the dumbledoor on business (he is a busy man) and Harry fears the worst. The crew head to the Sorcerer’s Stone location to prevent Voldemort from taking it. There is a harp on the floor and Harry plays a flute. They jump down the trapdoor and land on a plant. The plant is hostile and starts to constrict the heroes. Hermione saves them by shooting fire out of her wand. They pass into the next room filled with airborne keys. Harry uses his flying skillset to catch the one that unlocks the door. Ron sacrifices himself in a human chess game. Hermione and Harry move on. They solve the penultimate puzzle about potions. Harry continues and Hermione retreats to help Ron.
The Mirror of Erised and a vexed Professor Quirrell stand in the final room. He cannot defat the mirror. The turban on his head unravels and Voldemort’s face is exposed on the back of his head. Harry peers into his reflection and the Sorcerer’s Stone appears in his pocket. Voldemort fails to convince Potter to join him and commands two-faced Quirrell to seize the boy. His hand burns. He has to relinquish his grasp. Harry’s scar causes tremendous pain in this head. Harry feints.
Dumbledore is next to Harry when he wakes up in the infirmary. He explained that his mother’s sacrifice is what caused Voldemort’s original demise and was the reason that Quirrell was repelled. Love defeated evil and Gryffindor wins the house cup.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was published over twenty years ago and is a classic read by millions.