J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

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Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone Summary

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics.  This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.

Written on napkins as a struggling, single mother, J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone is the first of a seven-part series that has become a worldwide phenomenon with over 400 million books sold. The author’s rags to riches tale and her protagonist’s struggles over evil have captured the imagination of millions, sparked censorship debates, and inspired eight blockbuster films.

Harry Potter received positive reviews, as well as several literary awards. Its themes of humility over pride, the primacy of friendship and familial love, and the questioning of institutional orthodoxy have resonated with parents and children across generations.

The children’s adventure tale follows a British orphan named Harry James Potter as he discovers his hidden history within the wizarding world and navigates through the ordinary dramas of life at a top boarding school for witches and wizards.

The books opens to Harry’s unhappy life with the Dursleys. His guardians, Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon, regularly mock Harry and assign him a host of chores while praising their inept and very rotund son, Dudley. While Dudley has two bedrooms (one just for his toys) Harry lives in a crawl space beneath a creaky staircase.

One day, letters arrive in the mail for Harry to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His aunt and uncle oppose Harry attending any special school and eventually, to be untraceable, move to a hut on a remote island in the middle of the sea.

Despite their flight, Hagrid, a half-giant and groundskeeper at Hogwarts, finds them. Right before midnight on Harry’s 11th birthday, Hagrid informs him that he is a wizard. Hagrid is outraged that the Dursleys have not clued him on his rich wizard history. He tells Harry his parents sacrificed themselves to save him from Voldemort, an evil wizard intent on ruling the wizarding world. When Voldemort tried to kill Harry, the “dark lord” inexplicably lost all of his power. Harry was left with only a scar on his forehead in the shape of a lightning bolt.

After intimidating the Dursleys, Hagrid takes Harry to Gringotts, a wizard bank managed by goblins where Harry learns his parents left him a fortune. Next, they visit Diagon Alley, a famous shopping street where Harry buys his school uniform, potions for class, and a wand, which is eerily similar to the wand used by Voldemort.

A month later, Harry reports to King’s Cross station to travel to Hogwarts. He runs into Ron Weasley and his kind if clumsy family who help him find Platform 9 ¾, a magical portal invisible to muggles (the wizard word for non-magical beings).

Aboard the Hogwarts Express, Harry bonds with Ron and learns about Dumbledore, a revered wizard who becomes Harry’s mentor. He also meets Hermione Granger, a smart girl that some see as bossy, and Draco Malfoy, whose arrogance and prejudice repulses Harry.

At Hogwarts, Harry learns that students are divided into four houses based off of their values and temperament. He is sorted into Gryffindor, whose students are known for their courage. He’s relieved he wasn’t sorted into Slytherin, which was the former house of Voldemort and attracts cunning, ambitious people. (The two other houses are Ravenclaw for the intelligent and Hufflepuff for the humble).

After a conflict with Malfoy, Professor McGonagall, Head of Gryffindor, recommends Harry play Quidditch, a form of rugby but played while flying on broomsticks.

Harry takes classes in Transfiguration, Herbology, Charms, Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Potions. Harry excels in Defense Against the Dark Arts, taught by a nice though odd man named Quirinus Quirrell. By far, his least favorite class is Potions taught by Severus Snape. Snape is the Head of Slytherin and for reasons he can’t understand, hates Harry.

Jealous of Harry, Malfoy challenges him to a duel at midnight. Going against school rules, Harry goes to meet Malfoy but Malfoy doesn’t show, and Harry is nearly caught in the halls after school hours. Scurrying back to the dorm, he passes a trap door guarded by a snoozing three-headed dog.

On Halloween, someone releases a dangerous troll in the castle. All the students are evacuated to their dorms but Harry and Ron look for Hermione, who is crying in the girl’s bathroom after Ron said a cruel comment about her. They defeat the troll but still get in trouble.

While serving detention in the forbidden forest, Harry sees a man drinking unicorn’s blood. The man attacks Harry, and a Centaur named Firenze saves him. Taking Harry back to the Hogwarts, Firenze tells him Voldemort was drinking the unicorn’s blood for its strength, and that he is after the philosopher’s stone, a magical stone that grants its owner immortality.

Through Hagrid’s accidental admission, Harry, Ron and Hermione learn that three-headed dog Harry saw is probably guarding the philosopher’s stone.

Harry receives an anonymous Christmas present: an invisibility cloak. He uses it to explore the castle after dark. He comes across the Mirror of Erised (Desire spelled backward), which shows the viewer the fulfillment of their deepest wish.

After a robbery at Gringotts and Dumbledore’s departure from Hogwarts, Harry thinks Voldemort is moving in on the sorcerer’s stone. Along with Ron and Hermione, he decides to find the stone before Voldemort does.

They descend through the castle’s basements and mazes, using their respective skills to overcome various obstacles.

Harry runs into Professor Quirrell, who is possessed by Voldemort and has been hiding Voldemort’s face underneath his turban. Voldemort forces Harry to complete the final obstacle for him, which is to peer into the Mirror of Erised. Seeing that the stone is not Harry’s desire, the mirror places it into Harry’s pocket. When Quirrell tries to grab it from him, Quirrell is burned alive.

Harry faints and wakes up in the hospital. Dumbledore explains that the love his mother gave to him protected Harry from Quirrell and Voldemort. Dumbledore destroys the philosopher’s stone.

For summer break, Harry returns to the Dursleys, who are now afraid of his magical powers.