A lot of things are overhyped these days, but this book isn't one of them.

Harry Potter is an orphaned child, living a miserable existence with his cruel uncle and aunt, and their dreadful, spoilt son, when, suddenly, his luck changes, and he gets the opportunity to go to a new school, Hogwarts.

There are four houses at Hogwarts, and Harry ends up in Gryffindor, who are determined to end Slytherin's hold on the House Cup, and Harry's amazing powers make him their main hope. A star at Quidditch, it looks as if his reckless behaviour looking for the magical Philosopher's Stone, with his friends, will cost Gryffindor dearly. What happens after that...well, that would be telling!

The good characters in this book are delightful, especially the three child heroes (four if you include Neville!) Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger, and Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall - and even the fur-wearing Hagrid (speaking as a vegetarian, one of the book's faults is it's not veggie friendly!).

The unpleasant characters are hissable - Snape, Malfoy, and Voldemort, plus one or two surprise baddies. The book has a balanced mix of light and dark, and the vivid descriptions of the Quidditch matches mixes the two.

What makes this book special is really the mix of old-fashioned storytelling, involving wizards, monsters, ghosts, and good and evil, but placed in a modern setting - which, though giving you the feeling you've read something similar before, you know you haven't!

- Paul Rance/

J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone book cover

Books by founder Paul Rance on Amazon

Paul Rance books on
Paul Rance books on

Richard Adams - Watership Down
Jane Austen - Pride And Prejudice
Lewis Carroll - Alice In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass
Miguel de Cervantes - Don Quixote
Charles Dickens - A Tale Of Two Cities
Charles Dickens - Oliver Twist
Harry Graham - When Grandmama Fell Off The Boat
Kenneth Grahame - The Wind In The Willows
Graham Greene - Brighton Rock
John Hegley - Glad To Wear Glasses
James Joyce - Dubliners
Franz Kafka - The Trial
Ric Klass - Excuse Me For Living
Robert Lacey, Danny Danziger - The Year 1000

Edward Lear - Complete Nonsense
C.S. Lewis - The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe
Paul Merton - My Struggle
George Orwell - 1984
Wilfred Owen - Collected Poems
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone
J.D. Salinger - The Catcher In The Rye
Anna Sewell - Black Beauty
Fiona Snelson - The NSPCC Book Of Famous Faux Pas
Voltaire - Candide

J.K. Rowling deserves great credit for making reading books cool again - for children. Until Harry Potter, it had been feared that children were too interested in computer games to be distracted by literature again. But, as we've seen with the supposed 'dying game of cricket', all things are cyclical.

Harry Potter is a heroic figure, who you really root for early on, and he proves you can succeed against the odds, while still remaining a decent human being. Great literature has always been full of parables of unlikely triumphs, going back to Aesop and the tortoise and the hare, and that's always what the reader wants. Potter seemingly has no chance against Voldemort.

The characters of Potter are drawn from the great literature tradition, with the old, gentle Dumbledore being more powerful than he seems, and Voldevort is a classic villain, with no redeeming features whatsoever.

Harry Potter, with its surreal aspects, seems like a modern day 'Alice in Wonderland' in places, and that's what Potter is really, a modern day fairy tale for all ages.

- Paul Rance/

Harry Potter Deathly Hallows
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Harry Potter - the boy Merlin - returns for the last time

Buy at
Buy at

Harry Potter DVDs from

Harry Potter  DVD
Harry Potter

Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire DVD
Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban DVD
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets [2002]
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - Full Screen Version [2001]
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - Wide Screen Version [2001]

Harry Potter Links

This website is designed by