Yes, there are wizards everywhere in Harry Potter. But I think they are just a medium through which the theme of courage speaks. I feel like this same story could be told about a boy who goes to school in America and learns he’s the son of a famous football player and has to live up to that, and make a difference. The fact that the series is about magic is the icing on the cake of a very human plight that would be captivating even without the magic. The magic isn’t taken too seriously by Rowling. It’s more a place to laugh and be awed a bit by the idea of “what if.” And I love that it is the magic itself that makes Harry so different and flawed in the eyes of his family. There are heroes in every culture. At Hogwarts, the hero is a little boy who must stand up against a ferocious wizard gone evil. But if little Harry stood strong against an abusive teacher, or an abusive parent, or an abusive mayor, the story would be as satisfying. Because this little boy who was kept in a cupboard for years and told he was nothing, is just beginning to realize he is something. Heroes can be born in cupboards, and be four feet tall with big glasses and mussed hair and no parents and little kindness in their life, and no friends. Heroes can change that; they can stand up anyway.
Rowling frames heroism in a metaphor that translates well in any age, and I think that’s part of what people were trying to tell me, when they said, “You will love it because it isn’t just fantasy. It’s about a little boy no one loved, who realizes he has a destiny”. It’s not the most exquisitely written story I’ve ever read. But that’s not something I actually care about, in a good story. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is a good story and Harry Potter coloring pages are great activities for kids. I have the next book in this series waiting on my bookshelf. I can’t wait to begin it. Would I ever re-read this book? Yep! Opening lines: “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense...”. Favorite Passage: “Ah! Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans! I was unfortunate enough in my youth to come across a vomit-flavored one, and since them I’m afraid I’ve rather lost my liking for them, but I think I’ll be safe with a nice toffee, don’t you?”. He smiled and popped the golden-brown bean into his mouth. Then he choked and said, “Alas! Ear wax!” Favorite Character: Dumbledore: “To have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever. It is in your very skin”.