“HAVE YOU GONE MAD?” Ron bellowed. “ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT?”
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Page 278
And so the magic continues. My very first thought was, “What a short, sweet book.” It really was such a short and simple little book about a boy who gets the most unexpected surprise of being a wizard. I can only imagine someone reading this book for the very first time without knowledge of any of its sequels would’ve thought the same way. It was just a cute fantasy adventure book. Little does that person know there is still so much left to the story.
Before I get into the ending itself, I want to talk about the book from a writer’s standpoint. As a writer who plans to get published, I do a lot of research about the query and publication process. I have to in hopes of getting to that point with my own manuscript and hopefully succeeding.
In my research, I’ve found that it’s often said new writers should aim to write less than 100,000 words, because otherwise neither an agent or a publisher will look at it. It depends on the genre, of course, but that’s the general rule of thumb.
Finishing this book made me think of this and how it must have been like for J.K. Rowling to cut so many things to create a small book. You can tell this was most likely the case because as the books got more popular, she got free rein and so, the books got larger and larger.
It must have been so frustrating to cut so many details out to keep the book short solely because she was a new writer. And yet, after so many rejections, she finally found that one person who saw the potential. How foolish the people must feel who rejected her.
I know Rowling’s story well. Of all her troubles and worries, and how writing was the one lifeline she had that kept her going. Somehow, however, finishing this book solidified the fact in my mind that despite all the rejection, she kept going, and she made it.
I hope I get to say the same one day. I know my stories will never be as incredible and impactful as hers was with the world, but I do hope my stories will be incredible and impactful to one person. If I can help one person get through another terrible day, for whatever reason it may be terrible, then I feel like I have accomplished something.
I can only imagine Rowling thinking the same way and the smile on her face the day she found out someone would give her the chance to make that happen.
Now, onto the story itself!
*BEWARE: Minor Spoilers Lie Ahead* (Skip ahead to *** to read the rest)
After finishing the book, I decided to rewatch the movie immediately afterward to catch the differences between the two. Though there were minor differences I didn’t mind such as the deletion of Peeves in the movie or the way Norbert was actually sent to Romania which included an interesting interaction between Ron and Charlie, there were a few big ones that I found quite unnecessary. On the contrary, I felt they missed a big opportunity in the film.
The one part that was not included in the movie that bothered me the most was what happened after the chess game underneath the trapdoor. I understand it’s a movie, and they don’t have time to add in details, but I felt it would’ve been far better if they included the potions part.
When Hermione reads through the riddle and uses logic to find out which potions were poisoned, we get a clear picture of just how intelligent, clever, and valuable she is. I felt like with this scene we really got to see her worth. We got to understand that magic is not all about a wand or a broomstick; a wizard or witch’s worth is in their cleverness and logic when they use their magic.
This scene felt like a major waste when it wasn’t included in the film. Obviously, we know how intelligent Hermione is throughout the film, but once the trio got past the trapdoor, they were each being tested. Hermione’s knowledge of Devil’s Snare wasn’t enough for me. Anyone can read a book and remember that fact for an exam. It takes logic to feel confident in which potion was drinkable and which potion was poison.
It also bothered me to see they change completely how the scene ended between Harry and Quirrell. In the movie, it was clear that Harry killed Quirrell with his touch, but in the book, it was more ambiguous and later revealed that Quirrell was left to die by Voldemort.
I think the film made this change to show Harry in a much braver light, and though I feel the change wasn’t necessary, I do like the fact that, in the movie, it was Voldemort who knocked Harry out, not Quirrell acting as Voldemort’s body. In a way, it seemed like foreshadowing. With it, it was clear that this would not be the last time Voldemort would hurt Harry; in fact, it was only the beginning.
***Overall, I found the book very enjoyable. Like I said, it was a cute adventure book that made me excited for a term at a school I will never end up going to, unfortunately.
What I loved the most about the book were the little bits of humor Rowling wrote in the story. Again, I was expecting a much more complicated book, and yet it’s such a fun read with funny and cute moments.
I am almost sad I didn’t read this as a kid; I can see how this book can really grab the attention of a kid and get them to read. That’s also something I love about these books: they got people to read.
I feel like people forget how fun reading can be (myself included). If they just gave it a try, they’d realize it in an instant, and this book proves it.