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

Author’s Biography

Joanne Kathleen Rowling, born in 1965 in Bristol, England, showed a talent for writing from a very early age. Her first effort was a book called ‘Rabbit’ written when she was just six years old and in her first year at school.

However, it would be through a string of personal events that her sometimes-dormant pen would be regenerated and motivated to produce the Harry Potter series.

Now in her mid thirties, Rowling can look back with pride and satisfaction in respect of her comparative lightning rise to fame.

She obtained her love for writing whilst at Exeter University from where she graduated and became a teacher working in the South-west of England.

The seeds for Harry Potter were sown in the late 1980’s. These were cultivated whilst on a teaching exchange to Baltimore, U.S.A., and finally formatted on her return to England around 1990.

In the early 1990’s she met a Portuguese journalist Jorge Arantes and they had a whirlwind romance, but their marriage only lasted a few months, and in 1993 the pregnant Rowling returned to Great Britain and finally settled in Edinburgh, Scotland.  She found herself almost destitute and this was the catalyst to drive her writing.

Harry Potter and a grant from the Scottish Arts Council enabled the first book ‘The Sorcerer’s Stone’ to be finished. It was written on pieces of paper in an Edinburgh caf’, and the final product won the British Book Awards’ ‘Children’s Book of the Year’ and rave reviews both in Europe and in the U.S.A. 

Follow-up books were soon to appear on the bookstalls – ‘The Chamber of Secrets’, ‘The Prisoner of Azkaban’, and ‘The Goblet of Fire’.

It was inevitable that Harry Potter would hit the silver screen, and this transition has been far more successful than anyone would have thought possible.  The 2001 film has been promoted by Warner Bros., produced by David Hayman, and directed by Chris Columbus, and uses a star-studded cast, many of the actors coming from Britain.  Rowling has been closely involved with the production of this film.

Her literary prowess has been rewarded in the form of an O.B.E. (Order of the British Empire) from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

Despite her fame, Joanne remains modest and is uncomfortable with the public adulation she has received through her books.


Lord Voldemort, an evil wizard, needs to kill the child of Mr. and Mrs. Potter, for he is special. Harry’s parents die trying to protect him, but Voldemort is unable to kill the baby, and loses his power.

The wizard community takes the orphaned Harry to live with his Uncle and Aunt Dursley.  For the next eleven years, Harry endures a horrid childhood at the hands of his Aunt and Uncle, and also being bullied by their son, Dudley. 

At the age of eleven, he receives an invitation to attend Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft.

Although he has not been brought up in a wizard family, he soon finds he has a natural ability for riding a broomstick and he immediately gets a position in his house Quidditch team.  He soon becomes a firm favorite of his contemporaries and he lives up to the fame that preceded him.

The Headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore, possesses the Sorcerer’s Stone, which provides the Elixir of Life and turns metal into gold.  The stone is protected by several spells and a giant 3-headed dog, but Voldemort has regained some of his power and is determined to steal the stone. He possesses one of the teacher’s bodies in order to achieve this aim.

Harry, after losing his friends on the way eventually arrives at the stone’s hiding place, only to be confronted alone by Voldemort. He successfully defeats Voldemort and the future of the stone remains with the forces of good who decide to destroy it.

Voldemort is not destroyed, however, and he may return.

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