8th September '18
This first book out of the seven book extravaganza written by J K Rowling introduces the audience to a magical world for the first time, and it does so in a smooth and comfortable fashion, introducing both you and Harry to strange wonders never yet experienced. Doing it this way manages to make the transition into the world of magic an easy and pleasant experience. Rowling has built a strong and multi-layered world with immense amounts of detail, yet it is written in such a way that it doesn’t feel tedious or as though you are being fed all the information at once as is the case with many fantasy novels. Through Harry’s eyes you encounter wands, monsters and spells with their magical properties, purposes and history laid out in small, easily consumable chunks. This means that the book never ceases to envelope you in its world or characters, whereas many epic fantasies have a habit of pulling you aside in a rather obvious fashion and explaining every newly encountered item referenced.
The books biggest triumph however is its characters. The friendship between Harry, Ron and Hermione blooms beautifully and you can not help but take the characters straight into your heart. All the characters, teachers, students and villains alike have truly believable personalities, all with their own eccentricities and flaws which more often than not help to make them the truly loveable/hate-able and long standing characters they will become. These friendships and relationships drive the book forward, providing comical respite and emotional engagement along the way. It is this aspect of the book that is at it’s heart, without the intense and realistic friendship dynamic between the three key characters the book would never make it past chapter one.
The first book in the series does have a more adolescent feel to it as well; the simplicity on it’s surface gives way to much darker suggestions on second readings but it can make an adults first attempt a little frustrating at times. It hasn’t stopped the book becoming the immensely popular phenomenon it has though, which you would expect for many people should speak for itself.