If there is one defining characteristic of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone it is an overwhelming feeling of awe and wonder. Sure, the rest of the series exhibits wondrous magic and locations, but never is that sensation so distilled as in the very first entry. One could off-handedly attribute this to the fact that Philosopher’s Stone is, in fact, the first entry in a series set in a fantasy universe and wonderment comes with the territory. I suppose this is somewhat true, though I do also think that J.K. Rowling’s ability to relay that universe to the reader is remarkably adept and puts Harry Potter one notch above most other children’s fantasy. Still, I do believe there is something more at work here. Something that goes beneath the merely superficial concept of “new=awe”. No, I think even in at this early stage, Rowling is ever mindful of the thematic underpinnings of her prose. The wonder on display in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is essential to the idea of a young boy moving into the next stage of his life; a stage in which anything is possible and the world is there to discover.
The Harry Potter series explores many themes and concepts, but one of the most fascinating is its exploration of the transition from childhood to adulthood. Each book in the series advances the characters through their lives year by year, encompassing all those subtle changes that happen over time and that ultimately shape them for the rest of their lives. Harry in particular is the most developed, not just because he is the main character, but also because the books are generally told in the third-person subjective. Nearly everything we see and experience is through Harry’s eyes. As readers we grow with Harry as he grows; as he moves through the wizarding world and his years at Hogwarts we gain an insight into his development as a character and as a constantly changing human being. Click to read more