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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is the first volume in an ongoing series of (eventually) seven books for children written by British author J. K. Rowling, and starring Harry Potter, a young wizard. The book has also been made into a film of the same name. Both the book and film go by the name Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the USA.

Table of contents

Plot of the book

Warning: Wikipedia contains spoilers!

When Harry Potter was 15 months old, the evil Lord Voldemort killed his parents and tried to kill Harry as well. Harry survived, but a scar remained on his forehead. He was sent to live with his abusive Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon. They forced him to live in a cupboard under the stairs, while they spoiled their son Dudley with constant toys and treats. On the week of his 11th birthday, Harry started to get letters, delivered by owls, inviting him to come and study at a Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. After an intervention by the gigantic Hagrid, Hogwarts' groundskeeper, he is finally permitted to attend, although his aunt and uncle tell everyone that he is attending St. Brutus' School for Incurably Criminal Boys.

At Hogwarts, he befriends Ron Weasley, the youngest son of a poor wizarding family, and Hermione Granger, a muggle-born girl (not of a wizarding family) who is the smartest witch of her age, and develops a rivalry with brat-prince Draco Malfoy.

The main plot revolves around the contents of a forbidden room, which Harry and friends eventually discover and contains the philosopher's stone. Using it, the evil sorcerer Lord Voldemort will be able to resurrect himself from his mysterious death and attack Harry. It remains for the three protagonists to prevent this.

The film

The book was so popular that the movie rights were sold, and the first picture was released during 2001. The second book has also been filmed, and it is planned that the rest of the series will follow, using the same main cast for continuity purposes.

The film made in excess of $950 million at the worldwide box office (second only to Titanic) and received several Oscar nominations.

Both the motion picture and book were released in the United States under the name Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, as the producers were concerned that most Americans were not familiar enough with the term "philosopher's stone" to gain the correct impression from the title. (The renaming of books for international distribution is a common practice, even for highly known and internationally recognised authors.)

Whatever the reasons for the change, it had no effect on the sales figures, and the Harry Potter series rapidly became one of the most-in-demand among young readers, who seemed to be undaunted by the ever-increasing length and complexity of the volumes.

Harry Potter terms and characters


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