Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling Purchase:

    This book is for children – and adults of all ages.

    IN HARRY POTTER and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry, an orphan, lives with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley.

    One day just before his eleventh birthday, an owl tries to deliver a mysterious letter the first of a sequence of events that end in Harry meeting a giant man named Hagrid. Hagrid explains Harry’s history to him: When he was a baby, the Dark wizard, Lord Voldemort, attacked and killed his parents in an attempt to kill Harry; but the only mark on Harry was a mysterious lightning-bolt scar on his forehead.

    Now he has been invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where the headmaster is the great wizard Albus Dumbledore. Harry visits Diagon Alley to get his school supplies, especially his very own wand. To get to school, he takes the Hogwarts Express from platform nine and three-quarters at King’s Cross Station. On the train, he meets two fellow students who will become his closest friends: Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.

    Harry is assigned to Gryffindor House at Hogwarts, and soon becomes the youngest-ever Seeker on the House Quidditch team. He also studies Potions with Professor Severus Snape, who displays a deep and abiding dislike for Harry, and Defense Against the Dark Arts with nervous Professor Quirrell; he and his friends defeat a mountain troll, help Hagrid raise a dragon, and explore the wonderful, fascinating world of Hogwarts.

    But all events lead irrevocably toward a second encounter with Lord Voldemort, who seeks an object of legend known as the Sorcerer’s Stone.

    About J. K. Rowling:

    Everyone knows the story of J. K. Rowling, which remains an inspiration to anyone who has ever laced together seventy thousand words and hoped that someone would read them, preferably after buying them. Bad marriage. Worse divorce. A baby girl in her arms. No job. No money. Alone. Abandoned. Living off social security. Frightened. A small flat in London. She looked in the mirror at night and saw the face of a failure. She was depressed, and if it had not been for the baby girl, she might have committed suicide. She thought about it a lot.

    J. K. Rowling
    J. K. Rowling

    She went by the name of Joanne then. She called herself Jo. She points out, “It was only when I came to rest it hit me what a complete mess I had made of my life. That hit me quite hard. We were as skint as you can be without being homeless, and at point, I was definitely clinically depressed. That was characterized by a numbness, a coldness, and an inability to believe you will feel happy again. All the color drained out of my life.”

    Then on a train from Manchester to London, it all began to change. Her head was flooded with thoughts about a young boy leaving home to attend a mystical school of wizardry, which was odd, she said, because she didn’t even believe in magic. Didn’t then. Still doesn’t. Yet the story came fully formed in her mind. Rowling said, “I really don’t know where the idea came from. It started with Harry. He really was the whole story. The whole plot is contained in Harry Potter: his past, present, and future – that is the story. Harry came to me first and everything radiated out from him. I gave him parents, then his past, then Hogwarts, and the wizarding world got bigger and bigger. He was the starting point.”

    As soon as she reached her Clapham Junction flat, she began to write. Didn’t wait. Didn’t say she would do it later. Didn’t say she would do it when she had the time.

    She wrote, mostly in the cafes that dotted her neighborhood. She found it easier to take her daughter Jessica for a walk in her stroller, and, as soon as the baby fell asleep, she found a café and starting putting the tales of Harry Potter to paper.

    Joanne Rowling always knew she wanted to be a writer. Even as a child around the age of six, she made up stories about a rabbit named, appropriately enough Rabbit. And by the time she was eleven, Joanne Rowling had written a novel about seven cursed diamonds and the people who owned them.

    Now she was working day and night and during any brief moments she could steal in order to breathe life into Harry Potter. Sure, she wanted to be a writer. Sure, she wanted to be a published author. But for Joanne Rowling, she desperately needed the money, if there was any to be found in writing books.

    She said, “Nobody who ever experienced the reality of poverty could say, ‘it’s not the money, it’s the message.’ When your flat has been broken into, and you cannot afford a locksmith, it is the money. When you are two pence short of a tin of baked beans, and your child is hungry, it is the money. When you find yourself contemplating shoplifting to get nappies, it is the money.”

    Yet, in the midst of those lonely and desperate days, she realized, she said, that “failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy to finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one area where I truly belonged. I was set free because my greatest fear had been realized and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter, and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

    I just thought I wanted to write, so I wrote the book. What was the worst that could happen? I could get turned down by every publisher in Britain. Big deal.”

    She almost was. Twelve publishers rejected Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

    Finally a small London publishing house, Bloomsbury, offered her the equivalent of four thousand dollars for the rights to produce the book, and even the editor, Barry Cunningham, almost said no. However, the eight-year-old daughter of Bloomsbury’s chairman kept demanding the next chapter as soon as she read the last. So he decided to take a chance on Joanne Rowling. The editor, however, advised her to get a day job. There’s no money in children’s books, he said.

    Initially, only a thousand copies were printed, and five hundred of those were distributed to libraries. But, one reader at a time, Harry Potter became a minor sensation in Britain. When the rights were sold to Scholastic in the United States for $105,000, Rowling thought she was rich. She wasn’t, but she would be. Scholastic changed the name of the book to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and changed her name to J. K. Rowling, fearing that boys would not buy a book written by a girl. After a while, it didn’t matter. The Harry Potter series has sold more than 400 million copies in sixty-five languages, and Rowling ranks as the twelfth richest woman in the United Kingdom. She’s worth more than the Queen