Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone
J. K. Rowling
Contributed by Sung Miele
Character Analysis

He is a skinny, bespectacled 11-year old boy who wears his cousin’s cast-off clothes. Voldemort, a wizard who had turned to the dark side, killed Harry’s parents when he was just a baby. Harry is special, and Voldemort was unable to kill him at that time.  However, Harry was left with an unusual lightning-bolt shaped scar on his forehead.

He was brought up by his aunt and uncle and was treated dreadfully by them, being forced to live in a cupboard under the stair.  Vernon and Petunia Dursley had their own spoilt son, Dudley, who bullied Harry. Harry spent a lonely childhood, but on his 11th birthday, he learned his true identity and was to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft, Harry was a wizard.


Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and their son Dudley represent a very dull and normal family who try to ignore Harry’s roots and lie to him about how he was orphaned.  While Vernon and Petunia shower their son with all sorts of gifts and privileges, they treat Harry badly, deliberately discriminating against him. Dudley and his gang bully Harry at school. They try to ignore Harry’s gifts, but these are brought to the fore by Hagrid who is charged with ensuring that Harry attends Hogwarts School. Despite this abuse, Harry appears to have some force protecting him.


The grounds man of Hogwarts School, he is Headmaster Dumbledore’s trusted servant. He never finished his time at Hogwarts as he was expelled, and he does on occasion flout the rules.  He can be described as a giant, twice as tall as a man and five times as wide. His face is almost completely covered by long shaggy hair and a tangled beard. His official title is Keeper of the Keys and Grounds and Hogwarts.  Instead of using a broomstick to fly around, he uses a motorbike. Despite his ominous appearance, he has a heart of gold and immediately feels responsible for Harry’s welfare.


Aged over 150, he is the Headmaster of Hogwarts School, is greatly respected by those around him, and is considered to be the best wizard alive.  His power is such that he is able to stand against the dark side and oppose Lord Voldemort.


Deputy Head of Hogwarts School, she teaches transfiguration, and is the Head of Harry’s house Gryffindor. She is a strict disciplinarian, and although she is firm she is also fair.


Professor Snape is the Potions Master at Hogwarts, and shows a distinct dislike for Harry and to a certain extent victimizes him during his first year at Hogwarts.  He is the Head of Slytherin house and delights in intimidating the boys and girls in his classes. He tends to favor those who belong to his house.


He teaches Defense against the Dark Arts.  He has a pronounced stutter and wears a curious turban.  His nervous disposition is attributed to his encounter with vampires in the Black Forest from which he never fully recovered. It is suggested that the strange odor that surrounds him comes from the garlic concealed within his turban.


Like Harry, Hermione comes from a muggle family. She has obtained her knowledge of wizardry through extensive reading. She assists Harry during his first encounter with Hogwarts School.  She can be regarded as a swot and she tends to boss Harry and her other contemporaries around. She becomes one of Harry’s valued friends and her knowledge of magic assists him greatly.


He too is a first year student and is the youngest of a long line of Weasleys who have attended, or still attend Hogwarts School.  His main aim is to surpass his older brothers’ reputation and to some extent this is achieved through his association with Harry. Like Hermione, he also has abilities that assist our hero’s quest.


Another first year at Hogwarts, he was a late developer in showing his mystical character. He was brought up by his grandmother who was a witch.  He has an unfortunate accident during his first encounter with a broomstick. He is rather accident prone. He is loyal to Harry, but his desire to ensure that Harry remains within the school rules is an occasional hindrance. 


These three boys all belong to the rival house of Slytherin, and they represent a bullying element of the school.  They try in vain to get Harry into trouble, but until Harry gains in confidence, they remain a threat to him.


Filch is the school caretaker, but he is more concerned with catching pupils who break the school rules, and his cat aids him in this task.

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