Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is the first novel in the seven part Harry Potter series written by British author J. K. Rowling.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

This book is also known as "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" in the USA.




The first book in the series, "The Philosopher's Stone" begins the story of Harry Potter, a young boy who lives with his aunt and uncle, Petunia and Vernon Dursley along with their son Dudley Dursley. They are the only remaining family Harry has because, according to his aunt and uncle, his parents, Lily and James Potter, perished in a car crash. Harry is treated cruelly and bullied by his family, the Dursleys, for 10 years. As his 11th birthday approaches he begins to receive letters addressed to him, but before he can read their contents or see the sender, they are destroyed by his Uncle Vernon. To escape from the growing influx of letters, Vernon takes the family to a small house on an island. While at the house Harry counts down until he turns 11, at which moment the door of the shack is smashed down by giant man who introduces himself as Rubeus Hagrid. He then shares that Harry is a wizard and his parents were murdered by a dark wizard named Voldemort. He proceeds to give Harry his letter, which informs him of his acceptance to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Hagrid then takes Harry to Diagon Alley, a shopping area devoted solely to witches and wizards and hidden from Muggles. It is here that Harry learns how famous he is when he is surrounded by adoring people in the magical pub, The Leaky Cauldron. The first place Harry visits in Diagon Alley is Gringotts Bank, and, to his surprise, he finds out that he was left a good amount of money. After this, Hagrid guides him through buying all of his school supplies and other purchases.

The thing Harry looks forward to most is buying his wand. Hagrid says the only place to get a wand is a shop called Ollivanders , owned by a man called Mr. Ollivander. After trying out many different wands, Harry finds one which suits him best, and Ollivander finds this most curious. He claims he remembers every wand he has ever sold and that the Phoenix, whose tail feather resides in Harry's wand, gave one other feather. The wand in which that feather resides is owned by Voldemort. Harry leaves Ollivanders unsure if he likes Mr. Ollivander.

Hagrid then gives Harry a train ticket for Platform 9 and 3/4, which departs from King's Cross station. Harry returns to the Dursleys until the date arrives to board the Hogwarts Express. Once at the station, he meets a family called the Weasleys. They show him how to get on the platform and introduce him to their youngest son Ron Weasley, who is attending Hogwarts for his first year as well. It is on the train the Harry begins his friendship with Ron. On the journey to Hogwarts, Harry and Ron meet the seemingly know-it-all Hermione Granger. Harry also comes across a boy he met earlier at Diagon Alley named Draco Malfoy, who offers a friendship and advice on choosing friends wisely. Harry turns him down stating, " I think I can tell who the wrong sort are for myself, thanks." (SS109)

Once Harry arrives at Hogwarts, he learns he must be sorted into a house by the Sorting Hat. When it's Harry's turn to be sorted, the hat contemplates on putting him in Slytherin, but after Harry's objections, the hat places him in Gryffindor along with the other Weasleys and Hermione. After the sorting, Harry listens to the welcoming speech given by headmaster Albus Dumbledore. During the feast Harry, makes eye contact with Professor Snape and feels a sudden pain in his scar.

Harry then begins his classes after his class with Professor Snape. He assumes for reasons unknown to him that the man does not like him. During this same week, Harry and Ron visit Hagrid at his hut, which is located on the edge of the Forbidden Forest. It is here that they read an article in the Daily Prophet about a break in at Gringotts. Even more curious to Harry is that fact that he and Hagrid had emptied the vault in question the very same day.

At this point Harry is learning magic in classes and taking in the world that was unfamiliar to him. One of the lessons that he and his fellow first years have are flying lessons with Madam Hooch. It is here where a boy, Neville Longbottom breaks his wrist and is escorted to the hospital wing by Madam Hooch. It is then that Draco picks up Neville's Rememberall and throws it. With natural flying ability, Harry chases down the ball and catches it inches from the ground. Professor McGonagall, to Harry's surprise, appoints him seeker on the Gryffindor Quidditch team.

Shortly after, Harry and Ron are tricked into meeting Draco for a wizard's duel. They are followed, however, by Neville and Hermione, who pesters them to not go but follows them nonetheless. Once they realize it was a joke, they flee from the caretaker Filch and, still not being familiar with Hogwarts, end up in the forbidden corridor. It is here that they run into a giant three-headed dog who Hermione notices is standing over a trapdoor. Harry assumes that the dog must be guarding the package Hagrid retrieved from Gringotts.

One day during lunch, Harry receives a Nimbus Two-Thousand broomstick, arguably the fastest of its time, from Professor McGonagall. He later meets with quidditch captain, Oliver Wood to learn the rules of the game. All the while, Hermione refuses to speak to Harry and Ron after their midnight excursion that could have potentially gotten them expelled. Hermione overhears Ron criticizing her, and she runs off to the girl's bathroom in tears.

While everyone is enjoying the Halloween feast, Professor Quirrell bursts into the great hall to announce there is a troll in the dungeons. While the students are ushered back to their dormitories, Harry and Ron head to the girls bathroom to warn Hermione. It is in there that they encounter the troll cornering Hermione. Harry leaps onto the troll's back and accidentally sticks his wand up its nostril, while Ron levitates the troll's club and drops it on its head, thus knocking it out. From that point on, Harry, Ron, and Hermione become best friends.

On the eve of Harry's first quidditch match, he comes across Snape receiving medical attention from Filch. He overhears Snape mention the three-headed dog being the cause of his injury. Harry and Ron conclude that Snape had tried to steal whatever is being hidden. At the quidditch match, Harry's broom becomes jinxed, and Hermione sees Snape muttering under his breath as if trying to curse him. She runs over to him, knocking down Quirrell on her way, and sets fire to his robes, distracting him. Harry regains control and catches the snitch, winning the match for Gryffindor. Later on, after the match, they visit Hagrid, who flat out refuses to believe Snape would try and knock Harry off his broom. He also lets slip that he bought the three-headed dog and that it's guarding something that pertains to Dumbledore and a man called Nicholas Flamel.

Christmas is approaching, and Harry and the Weasleys decide to stay at Hogwarts for the holidays. For the first time since he can remember, Harry receives presents, one of them being an Invisibility Cloak from an anonymous person with the message, "Your father left this in my possession before he died. It is time it was returned to you. Use it well." (SS202) He uses it to search the restricted section of the library on Nicholas Flamel. While searching he is discovered and flees to a room that is empty apart from a mirror. It is called The Mirror of Erised, which shows your heart's desire. Harry, never knowing his family, desires most to see them. He returns the following night to see them again and brings Ron who, sees himself as head boy and captain of the quidditch team. Harry becomes obsessed with the mirror and continuously returns until one night he is confronted by Dumbledore, who, unknown to Harry, was in the room. He tells him not to waste time on the mirror and not to seek it again.

Once they have returned to classes, Harry, Ron, and Hermione discover Nicholas Flamel's name on the back of a chocolate frog card. It says he is an alchemist, and they learn later on that he is a 665 year-old man (SS220) who is the only known maker of the Philosopher's Stone, from which you can extract an elixir for life. Shortly after, Harry overhears a conversation between Snape and Quirrell where Snapes asks if Quirrell has found a way past the dog. Harry concludes that Snape is trying to get the stone for himself and that Quirrell is the last hope of keeping it safe.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione soon learn that Hagrid has a baby dragon who is named Norbert, and Harry and Hermione get put in detention for sneaking out at night to meet up with Charlie Weasley, Ron's brother, to move Norbert to a new home in Romania. Harry, Hermione, Neville, and Draco serve detention with Hagrid, who says they will be going into the forest to try and rescue an injured unicorn. After they split into two search parties, Harry and Draco discover the dead unicorn lying in a pool of blood. A hooded figure approaches them. Draco flees, so the figure closes in on Harry, who experiences agonizing pain in his scar. Harry is rescued by a Centaur named Firenze, who tells him that drinking unicorn blood keeps a person close to death barely alive but costs that person a terrible price, meaning they will live a cursed life. Firenze goes on to tell Harry that only one person would do such thing, and, to Harry's astonishment, that person is Voldemort.

While asking Hagrid who gave him a dragon egg, Harry finds out that it was a cloaked figure in a pub. Hagrid also lets slip how to put the three-headed dog to sleep. Realizing that the stone may no longer be safe, Harry rushes to tell Dumbledore, but discovers that he was summoned by the Ministry of Magic. Harry thinks Snape must have faked the letter and is going to attempt to steal the stone and that he, Harry, must stop him.

Under the invisibility cloak, Harry, Ron, and Hermione head for the trapdoor. Once they put the dog to sleep, they drop through the door. After, they overcome a series of obstacles set out by different Hogwarts professors that each require a skill one them possesses. During one of the final obstacles, Ron sacrifices himself on a life size wizard's chess board so that Harry can continue.

Harry arrives in the final room and finds that it is Quirrell who is trying to steal the stone and not Snape. Quirrell admits to letting the troll in the school and trying to jinx Harry off his broom. He also claims that he failed to steal the stone from Gringotts and his master, Voldemort, insisted on possessing him to increase their chances of success. The only other object in the room is the Mirror of Erised, which Quirrell has been unable to extract the stone from. Voldemort insists that Harry stand in front of the mirror, and, when he does, to Harry's surprise, he feels the stone fall into his pocket. Harry stalls for time, but Quirrell takes off his turban to reveal Lord Voldemort's face sticking out the back of his head. When Quirrell attempts to grab Harry, he is burned on his flesh. Harry realizes this and grabs his face to cause him more pain. After further struggle, Harry passes out.

Harry regains consciousness in the hospital wing to find Dumbledore waiting for him to wake. He tells Harry that his mother sacrificed herself for him and that it is ancient magic that protects him. He goes on to say that Voldemort does not understand love and the protection it can give. Dumbledore says that Harry got the stone because he wanted to find it but not use it, unlike Quirrell and Voldemort. Also, he goes on to say that the stone has been destroyed and that Nicholas Flamel and his wife will die.

Due to their efforts, Harry, Ron, and Hermione receive house points along with Neville, who tried to stop them and gained points for standing up to his friends, which is much harder than to his enemies. They go on to win the house cup and the school year ends. Harry returns to the Dursley's for the summer holidays but "forgets" to tell them that students are not allowed to use magic outside of school.

Main characters

Harry Potter

Ron Weasley

Hermione Granger

Albus Dumbledore

Rubeus Hagrid

Minerva McGonagall

Severus Snape

Lord Voldemort

Quirinus Quirrell

Neville Longbottom

Draco Malfoy

Development, publication and reception


The circumstances preceding the writing of this book, and indeed the entire series, are something almost myth-like in the fandom's history. The idea for the book began on a train from London to Manchester which was late, slow and delayed. Suddenly, it is reputed, Joanne Rowling had a flash of inspiration and the words:

Boy doesn't know he is a wizard, boy goes to wizards' school.

flashed into her head. The idea kept on growing and growing all throughout the journey, however, she did not have a pen at the time, and so couldn't write any of it down. This was the beginning of the rollercoaster ride that was to be the Harry Potter series.

UK publication and reception

Might put info about initial print-run, how much the publisher paid the author for publishing rights, reviews of the book, how the public reacted to the release of the book, awards won in the UK, etc.

USA publication and reception

Might put info about initial print-run, how much the publisher paid the author for publishing rights, reviews of the book, how the public reacted to the release of the book, awards won in the USA, etc.


How many languages into which it was translated, translated titles, publishers, how certain names translated, etc.

Film version

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)

Video games

Video games that included this particular book in the game timeline. Creator name and links, platforms released on, release dates, brief descriptions the games, audience for which each were intended, etc.

Religious controversy

Some people are of the opinion that Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone encourages children and teens to practice witchcraft. Led by materials such as the video Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged, which claims that Lily Potter's death to save Harry is "sacrificial goddess magic" and that Voldemort's drinking of unicorn blood encourages animal sacrifice, some have sought to have the books banned from schools. [1] One woman named Laura Mallory took the fight to have the books banned from her child's school to the Georgia Superior Court. [2]

In the United Arab Emirates, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, with the other books in the series, has been banned from use in private schools because they were said to have values opposite to Islam. [3]

Style and themes

Quotes by the author and other authors and well know people that analyze literature. Authors, fictional stories, and styles that influenced the book. Comparisons to other works, myths, legends, etc. Historical influences. General style and theme as well.

Uses in education and business

Many teachers have found the magical world of Harry Potter to be a great way to help students read. Classes are offered at Universities and many schools and teachers have adopted Harry Potter in their classroom.

Lesson Plans that use Harry Potter can be on the Harry Potter Lesson plan page here.

Additional Canon

It is prefered that you use an Additional Canon section (and related sub-sections) on LeakyPedia entries for information that comes from lesser canon sources such as video games, board games, action figures, amusement parks, and other Warner Brothers or J.K. Rowling sanctioned sources.

See also

Links to other LeakyPedia pages that relate to this page.


If a citation template has been created, and if you use the correct MediaWiki code for citing your references, your cited references and any included external links will show up in this section.

  1. Melissa Anelli Harry, A History 180
  2. Melissa Anelli Harry, A History 182
  3. Melissa Anelli Harry, A History 186

External links

The Harry Potter Movie Image Galleries on Leaky

List of links to web pages that aren't on the LeakyPedia and that don't show up in the reference section above because they weren't cited somewhere up above in the main sections on this LeakyPedia page.