I. Basic Information
Author: J.K. Rowling
Published by: Scholastics Inc.
Copyright: © 1997 by J.K. Rowling
No. of Pages; 309
II. Author’s Background
J.K. Rowling was a struggling single mother when she wrote the beginnings of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on scraps of paper at a local café. But her efforts soon paid off, as she received an unprecedented award from the Scottish Arts Council enabling her to finish the book. Since then, the debut novel has become an international phenomenon, garnering rave reviews and major awards, including the British Book Awards Children’s Book of the year, and the smarties prize.
Ms. Rowling lives in Edinburgh with her daughter.
III. Synopsis (Summary)
Before the start of the novel, Voldemort, considered the most evil and powerful dark wizard in history, kills Harry's parents but mysteriously vanishes after trying to kill the infant Harry. While the wizarding world celebrates Voldemort's downfall, Professor Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall and Rubeus Hagrid place the one year-old orphan in the care of his neglectful and abusive Muggle (non-wizard) uncle and aunt: Vernon and Petunia Dursley, who also have their own son, Dudley, a spoiled and selfish boy.
For ten years, Harry is repeatedly tormented by the Dursleys. Shortly before Harry's eleventh birthday, a series of letters addressed to Harry arrive, but Vernon destroys them before Harry can read them. To get away from the letters, Vernon takes the family to a small island. As they are settling in, Hagrid bursts through the door to tell Harry what the Dursleys have kept him from finding out: Harry is a wizard and has been accepted at Hogwarts.
Hagrid takes Harry to Diagon Alley, a magically-concealed shopping precinct in London, where Harry is bewildered to discover how famous he is among wizards as "the boy who lived". He also finds that he is quite wealthy, since a bequest from his parents has remained on deposit at Gringotts Wizarding Bank. Guided by Hagrid, he buys the books and equipment he needs for Hogwarts. At the wand shop, he finds that the wand that suits him best is the twin of Voldemort's; both wands contain feathers from the same phoenix.
A month later Harry leaves the Dursleys' home to catch the Hogwarts Express from King's Cross railway station. There he meets the Weasley family, who show him how to pass through the magical wall to Platform 9¾, where the train is waiting. While on the train Harry makes friends with Ron Weasley, who tells him that someone tried to rob a vault at Gringotts. During the ride they meet Hermione Granger. Another new pupil, Draco Malfoy, accompanied by his sidekicks Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle, offers to advise Harry, but Harry dislikes Draco's arrogance and prejudice.
Before the term's first dinner in the school's Great Hall, the new pupils are allocated to houses by the magical Sorting Hat. Before it is Harry's turn, he catches Professor Snape's eye and feels a pain in the scar Voldemort left on his forehead. When it is Harry's turn to be sorted, the Hat wonders whether he should be in Slytherin, but when Harry objects, the Hat sends him to join the Weasleys in Gryffindor. While Harry is eating, he questions Ron's older brother Percy about Snape.
After a terrible first Potions lesson with Snape, Harry and Ron visit Hagrid, who lives in a rustic house on the edge of the Forbidden Forest. There they learn that the attempted robbery at Gringotts happened the day Harry withdrew money. Harry remembers that Hagrid had removed a small package from the vault that was broken into and searched.
During the new pupils' first broom-flying lesson, Neville Longbottom breaks his wrist, and Draco takes advantage to throw the forgetful Neville's fragile Remembrall high in the air. Harry gives chase on his broomstick, catching the Remembrall inches from the ground. Professor McGonagall dashes out and appoints him as the new Seeker for the Gryffindor Quidditch team....
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