My special book review on ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’
A magical world
Published: Jun 29, 2023 10:12 PM
Editor's Note:

"Read ten thousand books, and your pen will be guided as if by the gods" is an ancient Chinese idiom that can be seen in students' textbooks. China's Ministry of Education has published an action plan to further promote reading among students across the nation. With new and diverse book recommendations, the reading scene is expected to be revived not only at schools, but also across society. To contribute to this endeavor, the Global Times launched "My Reading Life" essay contest for middle school students.

Please pick up a pen and share your stories with us at

Participants will be rewarded once the article has been selected.

A scene from the film <em>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone</em> Photo: IC

A scene from the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Photo: IC

Do you know what life-changing events took place in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone? This book is the maiden novel in the Harry Potter series. It was written by J.K. Rowling, a notable author from the UK. The cover of the book was illustrated by Jonny Duddle, and the map of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was drawn by Tomislav Tomic. 

It is a fiction book with fantasy scenes and horrifying adventurous moments. The main setting of the book is Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which has four houses named Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. People who established those houses are also the school's founders.

I would rate this book five stars, because it has vivid descriptions, incredible scenes, magical imagination, attractive plots and unforgettable characters. I always feel like I stand face-to-face with the figures. 

Life of adventure

The story begins with a miserable boy named Harry Potter. Since his parents have passed away, he is forced to reside with his cruel uncle, horrible aunt and their spoiled son in the non-magical world, commonly known as the Muggle community. 

They treat Harry terribly, and have a strong disgust for the Wizarding World. Before Harry Potter's 11th birthday, countless letters with an invitation to Hogwarts School are sent to him. His uncle doesn't allow him to read the letters, and he lies to Harry, saying the letters have disappeared. Finally, the gamekeeper of Hogwarts School, Hagrid, arrives and convinces Harry that he is a real wizard. The next day, Hagrid and Harry enter the magical world. 

At Gringotts Bank, managed by goblins, Harry inherits a discarded account abandoned by his parents and a lot of Wizarding money. A month later, he gets aboard the Hogwarts Express, the train that takes students to Hogwarts School, and starts his life journey anew.

In Hogwarts, Harry and his two friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, accidentally stumble into a secret chamber. They find out that there is a three-headed dog guarding something precious. Soon they learn that it is the legendary stone called the Philosopher's Stone, which can make its owner rise from the dead. They wrongly believe that Severus Snape, the Potions Master, wants to steal the Stone, because his leg seems to have been bitten by the monster. The trio decide to prevent the Stone from falling into the wrong hands. After many challenges and obstacles, only Harry Potter gains access to the last underground chamber. 

The most outlandish thing is that Harry bumps into Professor Quirrel, Professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts, in the chamber. When Harry looks into a magical mirror, the Mirror of Erised, in which one can see the deepest desire of their hearts, the Stone astonishingly appears in his own pocket. After Quirrel unwraps his turban, Voldemort's scary face emerges on the back of his head. Voldemort is the darkest wizard of all time, also known as "You-Know-Who," because he is so intimidating that few dare speak his very name. 

He is the one who murdered Harry's parents, but failed to kill baby Harry, leaving a distinctive lightning-shaped scar on Harry's forehead. Subsequently, Voldemort lost his own physical form and his destructive power, but he still exists and is determined to regain his power by using the Philosopher's Stone. At the end of the story, Harry defeats Quirrel and Voldemort. Wistfully, the Headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore, destroys the Stone.

Interesting characters

The crucial characters in this book are Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and Professor Quirrel. Harry Potter is an especially brave boy. He has messy hair and bright eyes behind a pair of round, black glasses. Ron Weasley is a red-haired, timid and kind boy from a poor family. He has a fear of spiders and is very nice to his friends. 

Hermione Granger is a blond-haired, clever girl. A Muggle-born witch, she always get straight "A"s on tests because of her hard work and fondness for reading books. She is bossy at times and stops Harry and Ron in their daring adventures for their own sake. Professor Quirrel, wearing a purple turban, is known as a strange man at Hogwarts. It seems that he is afraid of his students and fearful of everything on the planet, causing him to stammer constantly. The four basic characters are closely related, as Harry, Ron and Hermione are all good friends in the same house, and Professor Quirrel is their teacher.

My favorite character in this book is Harry Potter, because he possesses outstanding courage and is helpful and considerate to his friends. The most influential lesson that I have learned from Harry is to never give up in the face of dark forces. My favorite quote from the book is by the current Headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore: "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live." 

I think this book is truly captivating, full of magical adventures and at times, the author throws in a touch of eeriness. There are numerable scenes of achievement, failure and great love that keep the readers turning page after page. It is a compelling book for readers of all ages, and it gives valuable life lessons while enhancing our reading and writing skills. I highly recommend this book to you, and I am eagerly looking forward to reading the next one in this series.

The author is a student at the Beijing Financial Street Runze School