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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Book)
Both the book and the motion picture were released in the United States with the title Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, ostensibly because the publishers were concerned that the title would not instantly give the book an impression of magic and fantasy to the American public.
Whatever the reasons for the change, it had no effect on the sales figures, and demand for the Harry Potter series grew very rapidly among young readers, who seemed to be undaunted by the increasing length and complexity of the volumes.
OverviewHarry Potter, born on July 31, 1980 was orphaned on October 31, 1981, when the wizard Lord Voldemort murdered his parents, James and Lily Potter, a witch and wizard. Harry's mother died trying to save Harry, and her self-sacrifice caused the killing spell, Avada Kedavra, cast by Voldemort to backfire. Instead of killing Harry it formed a connection between the two, transferring some of Voldemort's powers to Harry and nearly killing Voldemort. Harry sustained a lightning-bolt-shaped scar on his forehead and Voldemort vanished. Harry's mother's love and Voldemort's powers give Harry a lingering magical protection against future attacks by Voldemort.
Harry is rescued by half-giant Rubeus Hagrid, groundsman and keeper of keys of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, under the orders of headmaster and powerful warlock Albus Dumbledore. He is put in the reluctant care of his Muggle (non-magical) relatives, his mother's sister Petunia Dursley and her husband Vernon. They live in Little Whinging, a suburb of Surrey, along with their spoiled son Dudley. The Dursleys intensely dislike magic and conceal from Harry any knowledge of his magical abilities and tell him instead that his parents were killed in a car crash. The Dursleys mistreat Harry, whose bedroom is a cupboard under the stairs, filled with spiders. Later on in the series, it is revealed that Dumbledore placed Harry in the care of the Dursleys as Petunia is Harry's last blood relative, and the powerful, ancient magic of blood and love will protect Harry until he comes of age (seventeen) as long as he remains with a blood relative. [HP5]
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
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A week before his eleventh birthday, Harry begins receiving letters offering him a place at Hogwarts to learn magic. The Dursleys try to intercept the letters and take Harry away to a small island to escape them, but Hagrid tracks the family down. He tells Harry about his parents and introduces him to magical Diagon Alley, where he purchases the supplies he will need for school. Hagrid returns Harry to the Dursleys with a ticket for the school train to Hogwarts, from Platform 9¾ at King's Cross station, London.
All new students arriving at Hogwarts are 'sorted' into one of the four school Houses by trying on an ancient talking hat, once the property of one of the school's founders Godric Gryffindor. Each house has very specific characteristics. Slytherin is filled with ambitious, cunning witches and wizards who would use any means to get what they want. Ravenclaw is home to the most intelligent students. Gryffindor houses the bravest, and Hufflepuff is characterised by loyalty, fairness and honesty. When Harry is called up to be sorted, everyone cranes to see the outcome. The hat declares Harry to be difficult to sort. When Harry mentally declares his desire not to be sorted into Slytherin, the hat mentions to Harry the advantages of being in Slytherin. Since the hat finds Harry determined against Slytherin, it sorts him into Gryffindor. Two fellow Gryffindors, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, become Harry's closest friends and his biggest rival is Draco Malfoy, who belongs to Slytherin house.
During the year, Harry learns about the world of witches and wizards. He is given a mysterious Christmas present of an invisibility cloak, which once belonged to his father, and which he uses to move unseen around the castle. He discovers the Mirror of Erised, which allows him to see his parents. He learns about Quidditch in which he plays seeker, the favourite sport of wizards which is played on flying broomsticks and is nearly killed when someone jinxes his broom.
Harry, Ron and Hermione discover that a three-headed dog, christened Fluffy by Hagrid, guards a trapdoor in a forbidden corridor of Hogwarts. They speculate as to what it guards, deciding that Fluffy must be guarding the legendary Philosopher's Stone. The three friends come to believe that Severus Snape, the sinister Potions master, is trying to steal it in order to restore Lord Voldemort to power.
Believing the theft of the Stone to be imminent, Harry, Ron, and Hermione go through the trapdoor to get to it first. They negotiate the security system set up by the school's staff and find that Professor Quirrell, not Snape, is trying to steal the Stone. Snape was trying to protect Harry from harm all along. Harry confronts Quirrell and survives a second encounter with Lord Voldemort, who has been living inside Quirrell on the back of his head. Quirrell is killed in the confrontation and Voldemort is driven away in a ghostlike form. Dumbledore agrees with Nicholas Flamel, the manufacturer of the Stone, that it should be destroyed to prevent future attempts by Voldemort to steal it.
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