Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone (2)

Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone


Institution Affiliation

Executive Summary

Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone is one of the most popular children’s books in literary history. Published in 1997 and authored by R. K. Rowling, the book has captivated many readers, regardless of age. The book is about Harry Potter’s adventures as he discovers his powers to perform magic. Moreover, the book interests many readers due to Rowling’s creativity and imagination. The book’s popularity is because of several literary elements employed in the narrating of Harry’s adventure. The most notable popularity elements are adventures, mystery, magic, and horror, which makes the book interesting to readers, especially children. Other aspects of the book, such as symbolism, the portrayal of human personality, heroic deeds, conflict, crime, and true friendship, are contributing factors to the popularity of the novel. The critics’ opinions also played a contributing part to the popularity of the story. Since its publication, the book received little attention, but because of The Scotsman review about Rowling’s work, the book attracted a lot of attention. Therefore, Rowling’s work’s popularity is because of several literary elements portrayed in the story and the critics’ opinions.

Table of Contents

TOC o “1-3” h z u 1.0 Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone PAGEREF _Toc40509657 h 42.0 The Novel’s Summary PAGEREF _Toc40509658 h 43.0 Response PAGEREF _Toc40509659 h 64.0 Reasons for Popularity PAGEREF _Toc40509660 h 64.1 Exploration PAGEREF _Toc40509661 h 64.3 Mystery PAGEREF _Toc40509662 h 74.4 Science Fiction PAGEREF _Toc40509663 h 84.5 True Friendship PAGEREF _Toc40509664 h 94.6 Crime PAGEREF _Toc40509665 h 94.7 Conflict PAGEREF _Toc40509666 h 104.8 Heroic Deeds PAGEREF _Toc40509667 h 104.9 Human Personality PAGEREF _Toc40509668 h 114.10 Symbolism PAGEREF _Toc40509669 h 114.11 Horror PAGEREF _Toc40509670 h 124.12 Critics’ Opinions PAGEREF _Toc40509671 h 135.0 Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc40509672 h 13

1.0 Harry Potter and Philosopher’s StoneThe Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone children book is one of the most famous novel series in literary history. The book gained little attention since its publication in 1997 in the United Kingdom until its first review by The Scotsman (Flint, 2017). Since the review, much attention was diverted towards the book, with there being several critics. Other critics alluded to the creativity and imaginations of its author, R. K. Rowling, while others were criticizing it. According to the critics against the novel, they argue that despite the book being entertaining, it has shallow lessons. Others, especially religious critics, strongly condemned the book arguing the book contained satanic elements such as witchcraft (Flint, 2017). Both the pro-Harry Potter and anti-Harry Potter criticism contributed to the popularity of the novel.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone won several awards that created tremendous wealth for its author, Rowling. The community plays a crucial part in determining the popularity of something, in this case, a book. To date, the book by Rowling is popular among both young individuals and adults due to the interesting aspects of literary elements in the novel. There exists several literary elements of popularity in the story that led to the book’s popularity. Additionally, the critics also played a role in contributing to the book’s popularity.

2.0 The Novel’s SummaryBefore having a look at the elements that contribute to the popularity of Rowling’s first novel, it is essential to have a brief summary of the book. The book is the first of a series of novels by Rowling about a boy wizard, Harry. When the boy was little, both of his parents were murdered by the evil Lord Voldemort (Rowling, 2015). The evil Lord went further to put a killing curse on Harry, which inexplicably reverses. Voldemort was defeated while Harry acquired a burning lightning-bolt scar in Harry’s forehead. Being an orphaned, Harry was left in the care of the Dursleys, his boring but ruthless uncle, and aunt. Harry endured a lot of mistreatment and cruelty under the care of the Dursleys.

During his 11th birthday, a letter was sent to Harry requesting him to join Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he would study magic. After that, Harry discovers that he is a famous wizard. In school, Harry made two friends (Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger) who later became best friends and were all in Gryffindor house (Rowling, 2015). The school had four different houses, Hufflepuff, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Gryffindor, where Harry was placed. Not only did Harry made friends, but he also made his first enemy (Draco Malfoy). Harry later discovered that he had a talent in the school’s sport and was recruited as Gryffindor’s star Seeker. His recruitment to the team was because of his flying skills on a broomstick.

Harry’s curiosity led him to pursue the library’s restricted section. In his pursuit, Harry uncovers that the Elixir of Life is produced from the Sorcerer’s Stone. The Elixir of Life is what inflicts its drinker with the aptitude of immortality. Through the discovery, Albus Dumbledore realizes that Voldemort might be interested in the stone and decides to shift it to a more secure location. The chosen site was at Hogwarts. Moreover, Harry discovered that his mother (Lily Potter) had transferred ancient magical protection to him (Rowling, 2015). The supernatural protection was transferred to Harry before the demise of Lily, and the purpose of it was to protect Harry from Voldemort’s lethal spells. The protection was the reason for Harry’s survival from Voldemort’s attack. Moreover, the protection was what facilitated Harry in safeguarding the stone from Voldemort.

Voldemort was killing unicorns in his quest to achieve immortality. Upon the realization of Voldemort’s intentions and the location of the Sorcerer’s stone, Harry was determined to protect the stone. Harry managed to overcome all spell obstacles, and he reached the room containing the stone where he surprisingly finds Professor Quirrell. Nervous Quirrell was unable to decipher the retrieval of the stone from the Mirror of Erised and forced Harry to try and retrieve the stone. To convince Harry, he assured him of his good intentions with the stone. Harry later discovers that the stone was in his pocket, refusing to inform Quirrell that he had possession of the stone. Quirrell then reveals his face as Voldemort’s. Voldemort/Quirrell engaged in a fight with Harry, fighting for the custody of the stone where Harry fell unconscious (Rowling, 2015). After regaining consciousness, Harry realizes Dumbledore saved him and that Voldemort had escaped. Dumbledore then asserts that the stone ought to be destroyed.

3.0 ResponseThe novel marks a fascinating start of Harry’s journey toward the realization of his identity as a wizard and what his future entails. Being the first of a series Rowling’s story, Rowling is praised for her creation of well-rounded characters and imagination of a fully realized wizard cosmos. The popularity of the book led to its translation into 60 other languages. The story marks the start of Harry’s adventures being a wizard at Hogwarts. Rowling’s literary skills portrayed magic and witchcraft to be more interesting to readers regardless of their age. There are several reasons that led to the popularity of Rowling’s first novel.

4.0 Reasons for Popularity4.1 ExplorationForemost, the book gained popularity because of the exploration of the wizarding universe. In the book, there is the Hogwarts School where witchcraft and wizardry were taught. Students, including Harry, were educated on the different forms of magic and mystical practices. Unlike in the real world, the students at Hogwarts had unique subjects such as the study of reason, alchemy which was the study of the Philosopher’s Stone, and the magic of art, among others. Harry learnt about the Philosopher’s Stone and Nicolas Flamel from the alchemy subject. Through exploring the wizarding world, Rowling aroused people’s interest, especially from kids. The appeal was because of the desire to picture the wizarding world that is portrayed in the book. Therefore, the exploration of the unknown witchcraft world aroused interest that consequently led to the popularity of Rowling’s novel.

4.2 Magical Elements

The second element that contributes to the popularity of Rowling’s book is the presence of magical elements. Children are fascinated by magic, and they are keen to watch magic tricks because of their great interest in magic. Therefore, since the majority part of the novel contains magic and mystery, children do not want to be left behind in reading the story. Among the magic devices used include broomsticks, owls, and also the invisibility cloak, among others. The majority of children read the novel with so much interest, ensuring that they complete reading the story. Thus, the presence of magic in the story contributes to its popularity as children have a great interest in magic and mystery.

4.3 MysteryApart from exploration and magical elements, the other captivating component evident in the novel is mystery. The entire adventure about Harry is centered on the mystery which Harry tries and successfully unveils. The first mystery present is concerning the Philosopher’s Stone and Nicolas Flamel. Through accessing the restricted area, Harry discovers the mystery behind stone and why it is protected. The other mystery is regarding the Snape and Quirrell. Throughout the story, the characters of Snape and Quirell are portrayed as suspicious, arousing the readers’ interest. Such use of suspicious characters keeps readers motivated and interested in reading. The mystery of Snape and Quirell was later unveiled at the end of the story, and the revelation favoured Snape.

Another example of mystery is the destruction of several letters addressed to Harry. Since Harry was an orphan, he lived with his relatives, the Dursleys. The Dursleys were cruel to Harry, and they often mistreated him. While Harry stayed with the Dursleys, there were several letters addressed to him but were being torn by Harry’s uncle. Whenever the messages arrived at their residential place, Harry’s uncle would always destroy the letter (Rowling, 2015). Such actions created a mystery as readers are curious to find out the contents of the letter. It was discovered later that the letters were from Hogwarts School and were inviting Harry to join the school. Harry found the contents of the letter when the Dursleys were not around. Such forms of mystery attribute to the popularity of Rowling’s novel because the presence of mystery arouses the readers’ interest.

4.4 Science FictionAnother critical element that Rowing used to attract readers is the use of science fiction. In the story, Rowing employed advanced technology that is not yet practical but hypothetically possible. The presence of such technologies intrigues both adults and children as they are curious to know the technology. An excellent example of science fiction used is the flying motorbike. Other examples include silver cigarette lighter, rattling carts, and bobbing of lamps (Rowling, 2015). Such science fiction aspects contribute to interest and the driving force in readers enticing them to start reading or continue reading the story. In the real world, such science fiction elements are only theoretical and non-existence. The readers, therefore, only have the elements in their imaginations while in reality, they do not exist. Such aspects of science fiction captivated the majority of its readers, leading to the book’s popularity.

4.5 True FriendshipThe other element that readers were keen on is true friendship, which contributed to the book’s popularity. Scholars are keen on identifying moral lessons behind each piece of article or story. In Rowling’s book, the moral lesson’s focus was on a true friendship that was between Harry, Ron, and Hermione (Rowling, 2015). The friends were interdependent, and Harry is observed getting assistance from Ron and Hermione whenever he is in difficulty. Such actions demonstrate true friendship between friends.

The society today is filled with different types of friendships. Friendship relations are common among children and teenagers as they value such ties a lot. The manner through which Rowling portrayed friendship is appealing to the community, especially children belonging to the same age group. The love and loyalty between Harry’s friends are astounding, and it inspires individuals, especially kids, to value and love such type of friendship relationship. There are several instances through which the three friends stood together in times of trouble and difficulty. Such actions demonstrate true friendship depicted in the story lead to the book winning several awards.

4.6 CrimeThe use of crime in the novel also attributes to its popularity. Crime is a common feature in real life as criminals commit crimes for their benefits. Similarly, crime is also evident in the novel in several different areas of the book. At the beginning of the story, Voldemort murders Harry’s parents in the quest for his satisfaction (Rowling, 2015). Voldemort is also seen later in the story committing a crime as he attempts to kill Harry but failed. Another example of crime is from Quirell actions of stealing. Harry catches Quirell as he attempts to steal the Sorcerer’s stone from the Mirror of Erised. Furthermore, crime is evident when Malfoy takes advantage of Nevielle’s absence and takes his remembrall. The presence of crime makes the story more captivating and appealing. Through the crimes, there exists a moral lesson that attributes to readers recommending others to read the book, contributing to the novel’s popularity.

4.7 ConflictThe presence of conflict in the story is also another element that conferred to the book’s attractiveness. The entire story is about Harry’s adventure and is centered about the battle between the good and bad, or evil and truth. Harry, who is depicted as being good, has to fight the evil Lord Voldemort. The story begins by the evil Lord killing Harry’s parents, and in an attempt to kill put a spelling spell on Harry, the spell reverses hurting the Lord (Rowling, 2015). Such actions are proof of good fighting evil. Another excellent example of conflict is when Harry is grown up and fights the same evil Lord who tries to acquire the Sorcerer’s stone. Such illustrations depict the battle between evil powers and good. The theme of conflict between evil forces and the good or truth intrigues readers as they are curious to know the actions and the victor of the battle.

4.8 Heroic DeedsApart from the conflict, the other exciting elements of Rowling’s story are the heroic deeds and adventures. One of the most common features present throughout the novel is adventures. Children are mostly fascinated by tales, and the presence of adventures makes readers indulge themselves, creating imaginations and visualizations of the adventures in real life. An excellent example of an adventure is in the fight against the troll. Rowling used a vivid description that makes readers imagine and visualize the battle against the troll (Rowling, 2015). The use of such adventures is a contributing factor to the popularity of the novel, as more and more readers are curious to know the adventures.

4.9 Human PersonalityThe depicting of various human personality by Rowling is another contributing factor to the popularity of the novel. Readers, especially critics, are keen on identifying the different human personality portrayed. There is various human personality described in the story, such as courage, sincerity, and jealousy. Different characters have different personalities, and such features contribute to making the story more interesting. According to the novel, Harry’s character is portrayed as being courageous. Being an eleven-year-old, he challenges the evil Lord, engaging in a battle (Rowling, 2015). Harry’s battles Voldemort to ensure that Voldemort does not get the stone. The actions of Harry, being an eleven-year-old, shows the bravery of Harry.

According to the novel, Hagrid, Ron, and Hermione are portrayed as being sincere. Ron and Herminoe are Harry’s best friends, and they are depicted as being honest and genuine friends. Such attributes do not only show the features of true friendship, but also the human personality of sincerity. The characters portrayed as being jealous are Malfoy and Dudley. Furthermore, the dimension of human personality is represented by Snape’s character. Snape’s character is perceived as questionable throughout the story and is being treated as an enemy. However, Snape’s character at the end of the story reveals that he was not an enemy but instead, a friend who tried to help. Such actions depict real-life situations as people mostly regard others as being their enemies, and the truth is that they have good intentions. Therefore, portraying the various dimensions of human personality contributes to the popularity of the book.

4.10 SymbolismThe other element of popularity in the novel is symbolism which is used throughout the story. Readers are attracted to what each character represents in a story. Rowling used symbolism to symbolize various aspects of human society. In particular, Harry symbolizes truth which conflicts with the evil that is symbolized by Voldemort’s character. Another use of symbolism in the story is the unicorn which signifies the innocence of ordinary individuals that are oppressed by others. The various symbolism used depicts the real-life society where truth is in conflict with evil and that the truth always emerges victorious.

Other symbolism used is based on Hargid character and also Hermoine. Hargid represents the discouraging of judging somebody based on outward appearance. Hargid is a half-giant who is loving and compassionate. Conversely, Hermoine’s character symbolizes knowledge while Dumbledore, wisdom. The use of symbolism results in the grabbing of readers interest as they seek to understand the actions and the end of the story. Therefore, the presence of symbolism in the novel attributes to its popularity.

4.11 HorrorLastly, the depiction of horror in the story contributes to the popularity of Rowling’s novel. The overall setting of the story is based on horror, which is evident from the school’s setting. The witchcraft and wizardry school, Hogwarts, is a castle building that contains an entire floor being forbidden to students (Rowling, 2015). Such features of the building depict horror scenes and are described as gothic style. Another feature of horror is the presence of ghosts that roam the castle and the presence of troll in the female’s washing room. The presence of a moving staircase and the movement of pictures between portraits creates a horrifying atmosphere. Lastly, the forbidden forest describes a horrific scene because of the dangers and creatures roaming the woods. The use of such horrific scenes creates curiosity for readers, leading to the book’s popularity.

4.12 Critics’ OpinionsRowling’s book did gain not only popularity from literary elements but also the critics. When Rowling first produced 500 copies which were distributed across the libraries, the book gained little attention. However, after the book’s review by The Scotsman, it gained popularity over time (Flint, 2017). The critics played a significant role as their arguments concerning the book contributes to other readers’ desire to read the book. Several critics notably aired their opinions concerning the book, with others criticizing the book and others alluding Rowling’s creativity and imagination.

Different newspapers had different opinions with others describing Rowling’s work as being similar to Roald Dahl (Flint, 2017). Dahl was also one of the most renowned creative authors, and the comparison with his work contributed to the popularity of Rowling’s book. Religious critics were not left behind as they too criticized the book asserting that the book contained satanic elements. Therefore, the critics’ opinions were also contributing factors to the popularity of the story.

5.0 ConclusionIn summary, the popularity of Rowling’s book, Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone, are attributed to several literary elements and critics’ opinions. The story is a series of Rowling’s story about the adventures of Harry as he discovers his wizardry identity. Through the use of several features such as explorations, magic elements, mystery, and heroic deeds contributed to the book capturing the attention of its readers. The popularity elements kept the readers curios in the story. Furthermore, the use of symbolism, true friendship, crime, and conflict is a depiction of real life, contributing to the book’s popularity. However, not only did the book receive popularity from its literary elements, but also the critics’ opinions. The critics contributed to the book’s popularity as such criticism creates curiosity. Therefore, the book’s winning of several awards is attributed to several literary elements and critics’ opinions.


Flint, H. (2017). Harry Potter at 20: What the critics originally thought of the Philosopher’s Stone. Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/harry-potter-20th-anniversary-fans-original-reviews-harry-potter-and-the-philosophers-stone-a7808721.htmlRowling, J. K. (2015). Harry Potter and the philosopher’s stone (Vol. 1). Bloomsbury Publishing.