Harry Potter has spent the last ten years of his life living with Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon and his cousin, Dudley. For Harry, living with the Dursleys means being locked up in the cupboard under the stairs for all his crimes, from asking questions to being found on the school roof – although Harry swears he doesn’t know how he got there.
Everything changes when Harry receives a letter inviting him to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The Dursleys are determined to avoid anything so – abnormal
– but eventually, on his eleventh birthday, Harry discovers that his parents did not die in a car crash. They were murdered by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. You-Know-Who: the most evil and feared wizard of our time, Lord Voldemort.
Somehow Harry escaped the curse, becoming one of the most famous wizards of all time. Fame, however, does not help as Harry begins his first year at Hogwarts. Harry has to deal with a jealous rival, Draco Malfoy, horrible teachers and mountains of homework. Of course there’s also a good side to school, like being the youngest player in the Gryffindor House quidditch team in over a century.
Things turn sinister when Harry and friends encounter a vicious three-headed dog and a full-grown mountain troll is let loose in the dungeons.
Eventually Harry, loyal friend Ron Weasley and brainbox Hermione Granger must come face to face with Lord Voldemort, before he can control the powerful Philosopher’s Stone.
Harry Potter is, after all, mainstream children’s fiction and we have the obligatory happy ending. Although many people have said that Rowling’s books are not really any better than Roald Dahl’s, C.S. Lewis’s or Enid Blyton’s, Rowling does succeed in fusing several favourite genres. On top of everything Rowling adds the ‘magic of modernity’. Kids today relate much better to a rich brat chucking his PS2 out the window than to London bomb evacuations during World War II.
J.K. Rowling has taken age old concepts of storytelling and put them in a new packaging, as well as adding a sprinkling of her own ideas. In the end, isn’t that what writing is?