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Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone By Jk Rowling

By: Richard Stooker

I read that Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K.Rowling was retitled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States. I'm not sure why.

Anyway, the copy in my local library was a British edition, though I don't know why, because I'm located in the United States and surely the library could have bought many American editions of these books by now.

Of course, by now everybody who reads has heard of Harry Potter books. Although allegedly for children, they're widely read by adults.

This first one does have a distinct for kids appeal, though. It's obvious Ms. Rowling kept her tongue firmly in her cheek and was having fun creating magical versions of the real world.

I've been busy, and so this is the first and only one of the series I've read. I suspect that if I read it early on, I would not be one of the devoted fans. As it is, I probably will eventually read the rest of the series, on the assumption it does get better.

This first book is not bad. It is kind of fun. There is adventure. I just didn't get so caught up in feeling for the characters. I suppose that may come later when the books get longer and more serious in tone.

There's a lot about quidditch, a game played by witches riding magic broomsticks. It's obviously intended to play with the obsession of both British and American schools for sports such as football and soccer.

The whole riding broomsticks thing demonstrates perhaps my pet peeve with Rowling's fictional magic world. It's so British - exclusively British. Are there no magicians in the United States or China or Brazil?

Where magical traditions have little to do with eye of newt, flying broomsticks and other such stuff as seems rather silly. Must modern warlocks wear cloaks, and buy cauldrons and magic wands before attending magic school?

In some ways, this book is an extended joke.

I do admit, however, that setting up the entire series with the death of Potter's parents and his deflection of a magic bolt intended to kill him while still a baby, was a master stroke. And from what I hear, the series does deliver on the promise to eventually pit Harry against Lord Voldemort, once he's learned enough at school, I suppose.

Perhaps it was because he was a baby when they died, or because he's still disoriented by the discovery that he's famous in this magic world, but Potter oftentimes doesn't seem to take his role seriously.

If this were a kung fu movie, he'd be obsessed by the desire to desire to master magic so he could kill the villain who murdered his parents. Instead, it's his friend Hermione who seems determined to learn it all, while he's a typical boy who'd rather be flying on his broomstick than studying magic herb formulas.

Perhaps, by the time I've read the entire series in a few years, I'll appreciate this introduction a lot more than I can now.

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