Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
So this is where it all begins.
This is a slim, tight story about a boy who is a wizard, and it is a story which has come to provide a bedrock to contemporary children’s literature. Not just British, I suspect, but globally; a pebble thrown into the pond, the ripples of which are still felt today.
It’s been a long time since I read this, and the experience of the reread was blinding, really. This is where it all begins. This is where it all began. Both past and present; the promise of a whole new world, the promise of rediscovering that world. Harry Potter exists both in and out of time, I think, a Charlotte Sometimes of genre; a book that is there, as though it has always been, and yet reads as fresh as a dawn-damp daisy.
I’m not sure if there’s anyone in the world untouched by these books, this phenomenon, and so I think this is a review for those of you who circle back to these books or come to them after the films or after seeing pictures online or hearing somebody talk about Hogwarts. This is a review for those moments when you are in the magical world before knowing of it; walking past Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross station (which has always been there, you know it has) and for those moments when you walk down Charing Cross Road and try to spot the Leaky Cauldron. This is for those half-felt moments made flesh; those moments of coming to the series and realising just what an utter joy a character like Hermione is; and how straightforwardly wonderful Ron is, and how the great ripples of this book are marked in matter of fact prose that doesn’t mean anything at the time, but means everything now.
This is a book, this, one that quietly changed the world, and one that continues to do so. It is a classic, really, and it is one that I am amazed by, even now. It is a book that opens a series, but opens once more at the close. A Moebius Strip of a book; a never-ending saga, this world is blindingly everything.