Today I’m going to review the first three books in the Harry Potter Series: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Before I talk about the books though, I’m going to warn you that if you haven’t read the books then there will be spoilers here.
Now, first in the series is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. In this first novel we are introduced to an array of characters and a magical world that would help shape many lives for years to come. We meet the titular character, Harry Potter, a boy with messy black and a lightening-shaped scar, who is living with his aunt, uncle, and cousin. After a series of strange happenings, including owls delivering him letters, it is revealed that the boy with the lightening scar is a wizard. He attends Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he meets his two best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, and many different professors, including the headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore. Together, the three of them get into more trouble in one school year than should be possible for a bunch of eleven year olds. But I guess when the darkest wizard of all time is after you, that’s just how it goes. The three of them manage to fight off Lord Voldemort (He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named), the same wizard who killed Harry’s parents and gave him his scar. However, just because they defeated him once doesn’t mean the danger is gone.
The next book in the series is Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. While we met Ron’s family breifly in the first book, the only character truly explored was Ron himself. Now in the second novel we get to meet more of Ron’s large family and even visit his home at The Burrow. One of the members of the Weasley family we meet is Ron’s younger sister, Ginny. Ginny ends up being a key character in the novel after she finds a diary that previously belonged to Tom Riddle aka Lord Voldemort. Little does she know the diary contains a piece of Voldemort’s soul that is using Ginny to do his bidding. Once again Harry comes to the rescue, with the help of Ron and new Defence Against the Dark Arts (DADA) professor, Gilderoy Lockhart (who turns out to be completely useless, but that’s beside the point). Harry defeats Voldemort for the second time, but, being Harry Potter, you can only expect more danger to come.
The third novel is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Harry returns to Hogwarts with Ron and Hermione for their third year where they encounter many new adventures. From new DADA professor, Remus Lupin; escaped convict Sirius Black; and creatures known as Dementors, nothing is what it seems. Remus Lupin is one of the good guys, but has a dark secret come the full moon; Sirius Black is Harry’s godfather, falsely accused of murder; meanwhile, the Dementors are searching for Sirius and Harry must learn to fight them off. It once again falls to Harry to save the day, and stop innocent people from getting hurt. Kind of a lot of pressure for a thirteen year old.
I love these books. I read the first Harry Potter novel when I was a kid and I’ve grown up with it. Reading the first novel I had no idea what it would do, but it ended up being the start of something wonderful. As each book came out and then the films, it was literally a magical experience. I think J.K. Rowling did a wonderful thing with the first three novels. New characters are introduced in pretty much every novel, but if the characters introduced right near the start had been boring then what would’ve been the point in continuing to read? You’re immediately drawn in by the boy with the lightening scar who lives under the stairs. You want to know more about him. Where did his scar come from? What makes him so special? Then you meet Ron and Hermione and I think they were just as vital as Harry. Without them, I think it’s safe to say Harry would’ve done a lot more stuff that would’ve led to him getting killed. They are so much more than just comic relief and a knowing voice, they are Harry’s best friends and this friendship is something so many readers can relate to.
With the second novel we are introduced to the family aspect. Harry’s aunt, uncle, and cousin have never treated him very well so when Harry meets Ron’s family it is a whole new experience for both him and for the readers. You see a new side of the characters when they are in this new environment and I think that’s important because without depth these characters cease to really exist. The family aspect is carried out in the third novel when Harry meets Lupin who he finds out was best friends with the parents when they were at school. Lupin gives Harry a connection to his past that he’s never had before, and for anyone who has ever lost someone I feel like this is an important aspect that J.K. Rowling included. Similarly, Rowling has said that the Dementors were inspired by depression. I won’t go too much in to that here, but if you’d like to hear more than visit this video.
I haven’t really talked much about the characters in Harry Potter, but if I did that I think we’d be here all day. There’s so many brilliant characters and as a huge fan of the series I could probably go on for hours about each one. Maybe that’s something I’ll keep in mind for the future if people were interested. Each of these first three novels is brilliantly written, descriptive, and relatable (despite it taking place in a world of magic). These novels helped shape people all around the world and I believe they will continue to do for many years to come.
What did you think of the first three novels? Which was your favourite?