Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling (Illustrated Edition)

harry-potter-sorcerers-stone-illustratedHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) (Illustrated Edition)
J.K. Rowling, author
Jim Kay, illustrator
Scholastic; 2015
Hardcover; 256 pages

Of course it’s the night before Alan Rickman died that I finish rereading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the first time since I first read it in 1999. If I’m the first to break that news to you (I hope I’m not), then I deeply regret to share the news. And having read the series before and done many Harry Potter movie marathons, I know how the story ends and how Snape’s character plays a big role in Harry’s life (that’s the only semi-spoiler I will share in regards to the plot line), and I’ve kept an eye on how he’s portrayed.

I think one of the best things I’ve done is not reread this book in over a decade because it was almost like reading it for the first time (almost). Granted, there were several things I remember reading, like the first chapter and the flying key and potion drinking tasks, and some of it felt like déjà vu because I’ve watched the movies countless times, but the magic of Rowling’s world did not pass over me even if I’ve been absent from it for quite a few years.

Side note: I’ve reread Books 2-6 multiple times, generally in preparation for the release of the next book or the movie… or for fun, but I’ve never reread the first book ever. Like I said before, it feels great to not have read it so many times or in such a long time.

A few things about The Sorcerer’s Stone stood out to me:

  • I still didn’t care for the first chapter. While it makes more sense to me as an adult, I found that it dragged on a bit and didn’t care who the Potters were in relation of the Dursleys until it was mentioned halfway through the chapter.
  • Harry and Dudley’s classmates wanted to like Harry. It’s true: “At school, Harry had no one. Everybody knew that Dudley’s gang hated that odd Harry Potter in his baggy old clothes and broken glasses, and nobody liked to disagree with Dudley’s gang.” (p. 25 of the Illustrated Edition; last paragraph in Chapter 2).
  • Ron is hilariously witty with his dry sense of humor, and I’ve literally laughed out loud at his lines as the story went on.
  • Harry, for not having had a normal social upbringing or allowed any social interaction (see second bullet point), gets pretty defiant and persistent as the year goes on. It’s understandable why he’s initially able to be passive aggressive to Draco Malfoy (he’s similar to Dudley but he could never speak to his cousin that way), but Harry’s pretty headstrong on being a rule-breaker, even if it is for a good cause, which I found… Odd? Interesting? Sometimes not right for an 11-year-old?
  • My brain has been polluted with the movie that I was taken aback when the four that were in detention to the Forbidden Forest weren’t Draco, Harry, Hermione and Ron, but rather Draco, Harry, Hermione and Neville. This one stands out the most, but there are other instances like this that were condensed and paraphrased in the movie adaptation, which at times made me double-take and reread paragraphs.
  • Neville actually has a bigger part than the movie let on! I get that a 2.5 hour movie is long for the demographic, but come on… there were ways to include more of him.
  • J.K. Rowling is an undeniably amazing storyteller, and The Sorcerer’s Stone is a stepping stone (ha) to setting up the magical wizarding world. Not much action in this one, just a lot of first-time experiences and explanations.

Oh, and the illustrated edition was phenomenal. Jim Kay’s portrayal of Hogwarts, the characters and everything else were spectacular. It was like reading on parchment with ink splatters around the page, and the two-page spreads of the Hogwarts Express, Hogwarts itself, among a few others, were breathtaking. I can’t wait for the next illustrated edition to come out (presumably later this year).

4 out of 5
Personal copy
This review is part of the B.Y.O.B. Reading Challenge 2016.
This is Book 3 of 148 unread books I own.

I really shouldn’t share this video because it has A TON of SPOILERS (I’ve warned you), but in honor of Alan Rickman and one of the many memorable characters he’s brought to life, here are all of Snape’s scenes in chronological order:

Does Alan Rickman have a place in all of our hearts? Always.

3 thoughts on “Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling (Illustrated Edition)

  1. Brittany says:

    I can’t WAIT to get my hands on the SS illustrated edition. I’ve read the book a few times since my original read (actually, it’s the only book I own where I have actually destroyed the binding from dozens of readings), but definitely not in a few years and I’m glad the illustrations really add to the experience!


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