Review: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (the illustrated edition)

Premise

Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

My review – spoiler free

I love the Harry Potter series, that’s not new. I’ve been reading and rereading this series since I was quite a young child. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve reread these books by now. But this time around, there was a new twist to my reread. For Christmas I was gifted the illustrated edition of Philosopher’s Stone, so I read that one and it was the first time I ever read an illustrated edition of Harry Potter.

The illustrations added so much more to the story for me. It really felt like a whole new experience reading Harry Potter. You got to see how Jim Kay imagined the world of Harry Potter and in which ways his world is different from the films. On top of that the illustrations are also just absolutely stunning.

So now you know how I feel about the illustrated edition, but I’ve actually never written a review for the actual story, so let us do that now.

Just know that by this point I can’t fully objectively review these books anymore, because I have such great memories about them. So naturally I gave this book 5 stars, even though this time around I did notice some things I didn’t really like. But I’ll first get into why I love this book and this series so much.

First of I love this book purely for nostalgic reasons. The Harry Potter series was my childhood and rereading those books always brings back so many great memories.

Next up I just love the characters. I’ve grown so attached to them and I just love them a lot, but they’re also just amazingly written characters. If you look at the golden trio they all have their own personality and it’s nice to see the differences between them. Because I often feel like all the main characters of a book act the same and have the same personality, but with Harry, Ron and Hermione I don’t have that at all. Even all of the side characters have their own personality, completely different from all of the other characters.

I also just love the wizarding world J.K. Rowling created. Hogwarts is such a peculiar and huge castle, but it still manages to make its students (and me, honestly) feel at home

The plot of this book is also really nicely thought out. I especially loved how the trio had to search for answers to their questions and that it was a hard search instead of the answers being presented to them and them not having to work to get the answers.

But there were some small things and details that bugged me when I was reading the book this time around. And I’ll gladly tell those things to you in the spoiler filled part of this review.

My review – with spoilers

Now, I have three main things that kind of bugged me reading Philosopher’s Stone.

The first one was the pacing of the book. I felt like the pacing of this book was really off. The part before Harry even gets to Hogwarts is quite long. I totally get why it is so long, but compared to the time Harry is actually at Hogwarts and the amount of pages those two periods have. That just didn’t really make sense to me. Once Harry was at Hogwarts time really just rushed by, especially once Christmas was over. I guess it just would have been nicer to read more about Harry’s time at Hogwarts between Christmas end the ending. Tied together with the pacing of the book feeling quite off to me, the ending just felt really rushed.

The second thing that really bugged me was Snape. I get that he dislikes, or even hates, Harry, but it is SO unprofessional of him to bully Harry. Next to that he literally has no reason for bullying Neville. I just don’t get how a teacher can get away with bullying students. It just doesn’t make sense in the plot: Dumbledore wants to do everything to protect Harry, yet he lets a teacher bully him so much. Dumbledore knows about the bullying and just lets it happen and that, quite frankly, disgusts me and doesn’t make sense to me at all.

The last thing that annoyed me was the ending. Even though this is a fantasy book, so nothing about it is believable, the ending still was so unbelievable. Tell me how the protection of the Stone was supposed to be so goddamn good, but still a trio of 11 year olds could break it quite easily? Once again, doesn’t make sense at all!

Now, don’t get me wrong, as I’ve stated before, I still love this book and this series so incredibly much. And I still recommend you give it a (re)read! But I can now put in perspective how, when this series wasn’t part of your childhood, you can not love it as much as other people do.

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