Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone 1
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone 2
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone 3
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (published in the United States as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) is the first novel in the Harry Potter series written by J. K. Rowling and featuring Harry Potter, a young wizard. It was published 30 June 1997 by Bloomsbury in London, and has been made into a feature-length film of the same name. The novel has won multiple awards including the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize and the prestigious British Book Award. Through 2001, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone had sold over 5 million copies and has garnered a dedicated fan base said to have Pottermania.

Despite the novel's success, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, along with the rest of the Harry Potter series has received opposition from several religious groups because of assertions that the novels contain occult or Satanic references. The novel was originally published in the United Kingdom under the title "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," but was published as "Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone" in the United States to help appeal to American audiences.

In the book, Rowling introduced an eclectic cast of characters. Most of the actions centre on the eponymous hero Harry Potter, an orphan who escapes his miserable childhood with the Dursley family. Rowling imagined him as a "scrawny, black-haired, bespectacled boy who didn't know he was a wizard", and says she transferred part of her pain about losing her mother to him. During the book, Harry makes two close friends, Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger. Ron is described by Rowling as the ultimate best friend, "always there when you need him". Rowling has described Hermione as a "very logical, upright and good" character with "a lot of insecurity and a great fear of failure beneath her swottiness".

Rowling also imagined a supporting cast of adults. Headmaster of Hogwarts is powerful but kind wizard Albus Dumbledore, who becomes Harry's confidant; Rowling described him as "epitome of goodness". His right hand is severe Minerva McGonagall, who according to the author "under that gruff exterior" is "a bit of an old softy", the friendly half-giant Rubeus Hagrid, who saved Harry from the Dursley family and the sinister professor Severus Snape. Teacher Professor Quirrell is also featured in the novel.

Main antagonists are Draco Malfoy, an elitist, bullying classmate and Lord Voldemort, the most powerful evil wizard who has been disembodied when he tried to kill baby Harry: "According to a 1999 interview with Rowling, Voldemort was invented as a literary foil for Harry Potter, the main protagonist of the series, and that she intentionally did not flesh out Voldemort's backstory at first. "The basic idea … Harry … didn't know he was a wizard … and so then I kind of worked backwards from that position to find out how that could be, that he wouldn't know what he was.… When he was one-year-old, the most evil wizard for hundreds and hundreds of years attempted to kill him. He killed Harry's parents, and then he tried to kill Harry — he tried to curse him.… Harry has to find out, before we find out. And so — but for some mysterious reason, the curse didn't work on Harry. So he's left with this lightning bolt shaped scar on his forehead and the curse rebounded upon the evil wizard, who has been in hiding ever since."

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