Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Two fictional orphan children from different time periods have magically taken the hearts of readers of all ages, especially young readers. Curiosity and adventure await as Harry Potter and Dorothy travel to two different worlds from which they originally lived in. The son of James and Lily Potter and the sorceress who killed the wicked Witch of the East and the wicked Witch of the West have to uphold their title as they face many challenges in the “away” world. In both Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the main characters captivate children and adult readers alike due to their journeys’ as they begin to find their individual identities, create friendships, and understand good vs.


Earlier in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the Dursley’s tell Harry his parents died in a car crash, followed by “don’t ask questions.” The first rule in the Dursley household was do not ask questions (Rowling, 20).

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Little did Harry know when he began his schooling at Hogwarts he had to uphold the Potter name. He begins to dig deeper to figure out who he truly is by taking secondhand knowledge of himself and applying it at his stay in Hogwarts. Gryffindor, one out of four houses in which students in Hogwarts are placed. When it was Harry’s turn to be placed in a house, the sorting hat shouted “GRYFFINDOR,” a house which is characterized by those who are brave at heart, chivalrous, daring (Rowling, 118).

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Now, Harry must uphold the position as Seeker, a very valuable position on the Quidditch team for house Gryffindor. He begins to realize that danger is near, but he falsely accuses the wrong person behind the evilness, Snape. After encountering the troll and the other dangers throughout the wizardry world, he realized it is up to him to save the stone and the rest of Hogwarts. It is after he realizes it was Quirrell doing Lord Voldemort’s “dirty work” when he starts to question “the truth (Rowling, 298).”

Dumbledore tells Harry when he is older he will be ready to know. This led Harry to ask why he was protected from Quirrell touching him. Dumbledore notes that Harry’s mother died saving him, the ultimate sacrifice for true love, something Voldemort would never understand. Dumbledore said, “it was agony to touch a person marked by something so good (Rowling, 299).” Throughout Harry’s time in Hogwarts, his scar made him recognizable to others, he truly was “the boy who lived (Rowling, 17)”. In chapter four, Hagrid tells Harry, Never wondered how you got that mark on yer forehead? That was no ordinary cut. That’s what you get when a powerful, evil curse touches yeh- took care of yer mum an’ dad an’ yer house, even- but it didn’t work on you,’ an that’s why yer famous Harry. No one ever lived after he decided ter kill’em, no one except you… (Rowling, 55)

He went from thinking little of himself to finding out he was a famous figure who survived the attack of Lord Voldemort as a baby. At the end of chapter five, he tells Hagrid, “everyone thinks I’m special…but I don’t know anything about magic at all. How can they expect great things? I’m famous and I can’t even remember what I’m famous for (Rowling, 86).” Hagrid replied, “don’ you worry Harry. You’ll learn fast enough (Rowling, 86).”

In truth, Harry lived a boring life surrounded by “family” who could care less about him. It was not until he reached Hogwarts where he learned the true beauty of another world that awaits him. Although living in Hogwarts, a castle may seem like a dream, what makes Hogwarts is the magic. The magic of what seems impossible, such as moving staircases, ghosts and talking portraits brings Hogwarts to life. The magic which helped Harry in some cases but also got him into trouble. Little did Harry know, his journey to Hogwarts would not just be for school, it was a hero finally coming out of hiding.

Similarly, in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Dorothy goes from living in a dreary, gray world to one with color and fascination. The moment Dorothy arrived in Oz, she was known as a Sorceress who killed the wicked Witch of the East, as if she is famous. Throughout her journey to the Emerald City, Dorothy is like a motivator and an influence for those living in Oz. She takes initiative to get what she wants in the land of Oz, in hopes to return back to Kansas with Aunt Em and Uncle Henry. She has had the power to return home the entire time she was in Oz for she had to “knock the heels together three times (Baum, 257).” However, she learns at the end how she has helped her friends find their strengths. Like Harry Potter, the power and potential they did not know they had was there throughout their stay in the second world.

Friendship, a bond in which Harry did not have with anyone until he entered Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Through the torture of living with the Dursley’s for many years of his childhood, once he reached the age of eleven things changed. The invitation he received many times from Hogwarts gave Harry the opportunity for a change of scenery, surrounded by others his age learning wizardry and witchcraft. As Harry enters the train leaving for the journey to Hogwarts, he meets Ron Weasley, the youngest of the Weasley sons (Rowling, 98). Ron and Harry become friends on the train and their friendship carry’s on throughout the rest of the book. Also, he meets Hermione Granger, another young wizard starting school at Hogwarts (Rowling, 106). A reoccurring theme throughout Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is helping friends, no matter what the cost may be. Whether he is risking expulsion as he shows his loyalty towards Neville as Malfoy grabs his Remembrall (Rowling, 148), or risking his life saving Hermione from the troll (Rowling, 175). Harry faces the chance of death or expulsion and shame from house Gryffindor as he risks everything to help his friends.

Like Harry, Dorothy finds friends throughout her journey in the “away” world. When she meets the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion, she learns how each of them is lacking something. The Scarecrow is lacking a brain, for he is made of straw. The Tin Woodman has no heart for he is cursed for loving someone that another did not approve of. The Cowardly Lion has no courage, for he is the great lion, why does he not have courage? The three friends help Dorothy through Oz to get to the Emerald City, not only to help her return to Kansas but to find their most wanted desires. They faced many challenges such as: the deadly poppy field, the crows, the bees, The Winkies, the monkeys, and separation. However, by using “teamwork” they overcame each obstacle and accomplished killing the wicked Witch of the West. At the end of the book, the three friends are eternally grateful for how Dorothy has helped them find their desires. For if she did not realize her power to return home through the silver slippers, the Scarecrow would not have a brain, the Tin Woodman would not have a heart and the Lion would not be courageous. Dorothy and Harry create friendships, for before the secondary world, they were orphans and alone. The friendships created help them overcome many challenges that would have been difficult to face alone.

Who is good? Who is evil? This was a reoccurring aspect throughout Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, many may believe the Dursley family are the most unpleasant, remorseless people towards Harry. However, when Harry begins school at Hogwarts, the Dursley family is the least of his worries. Although Harry encounters many times with Draco Malfoy, “a boy with a pale, pointed face (Rowling, 77),” who is a Slytherin and also a bully, his greatest enemy is ‘You-Know-Who’ who lives through the body of his followers, such as Quirrell. Quirrell, a professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts, a man who is “usually tremblin’,” according to Hagrid for he is “a pale young man,” who “made his way forward, very nervously. One of his eyes was twitching (Rowling, 70).” Quirrell, who is quite often threatened by Snape, as Snape has said to him, “we’ll have another little chat soon, when you’ve had time to think over things and decided where your loyalties lie (Rowling, 226).” At first, Harry thought Snape was evil, threating Quirrell that his loyalties lie with ‘You-Know-Who’, however, after learning Quirrell is a follower of ‘You-Know-Who’ Snape was talking about the loyalty towards Hogwarts.

The “good” side of the secondary world lies with Harry’s parents, friends, and Dumbledore. Although Harry’s parents are no longer alive, his mother’s sacrifice of true love to keep Harry alive was known to be believed by Harry as “good.” Hagrid who comes to Harry on his eleventh birthday and is like a “fairy godmother” to Harry by being a mentor and helping him transition into the wizard world. Also, his friends such as Hermione and Ron risked their lives in order to help Harry during the challenges he faced. Their loyalty towards Harry is greater than any other person Harry has ever known. The wands made by Ollivander are intended to be used for the good, however, when Ollivander noticed Harry’s scar he said, “I’m sorry to say I sold the wand that did it…thirteen-and-a-half inches. Yew. Powerful wand, very powerful, and in the wrong hands…(Rowling, 83).”

Last but not least, Dumbledore. Dumbledore is the “grandfather” figure towards Harry which he never had until he came to Hogwarts. Dumbledore oversees the entire school, however, he has a special place in his heart to look out for Harry. Towards the end of the book, Dumbledore sits with Harry when he wakes up in the hospital wing of Hogwarts. He tells Harry that he is the one who gave him the invisibility cloak, and answers the question Harry has unless he thinks Harry is not ready (Rowling, 299). Harry sees Dumbledore as a “funny man,” and believes he knew Harry would go after the stone the entire time and when Harry needed him when he faced Quirrell, he came to help.

In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, there are many instances where Dorothy is faced with “good” and with “evil.” Like Harry, Dorothy finds the good in friendships and the good “witches” and “wizards” she encounters with. In this book, Dorothy first finds “good” when she meets the Witch of the North, who bestowed a kiss on Dorothy’s forehead which protected her from anyone who tried to injure her (Baum, 27). The “good” of the mice in the field who help Dorothy and her friends as the deadly poppy field temporarily paused their journey to Oz. She sees the “good” in her friends who accompany her and protect her with each of their skills to ward off those who were enslaved to the wicked Witch of the West (Baum, 141-50).

Dorothy finds the “evil” reoccurring theme when she faced Kalidahs, the “two great beasts with bodies like bears and heads like lions.” However, with the teamwork of the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Lion, they defeat the Kalidahs. Her main quest from the wizard in Emerald City was to slay the wicked Witch of the West. When the Witch stole one of Dorothy’s slippers she was enraged and threw the bucket of water at the Witch. The evil Witch was in fact slayed and her slaves were free. Like Harry, Dorothy has to encounter creatures that one would not find in the “home” world. However, both find reassurance and aid through friendship.

In conclusion, Nodelman states how “children’s books are defined by their age-appropriateness (128),” although this may be true for most children’s literature, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz grasps the attention of readers of all ages. The “away” world in which Harry and Dorothy travel to is a challenging, daring journey where each child learns more about themselves with the help of others.

Works Cited

  • Baum, F. L. (1900). The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. New York: George M. Hill.
  • Nodelman, Perry, and Mavis Reimer. The Pleasures of Children's Literature. 3rd ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2003.
  • Rowling, J. K., author. Harry Potter And the Sorcerer's Stone. New York :Arthur A. Levine Books, 1998. Print.
Updated: Nov 17, 2022
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. (2021, Dec 03). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/harry-potter-and-the-sorcerer-s-stone-and-the-wonderful-wizard-of-oz-essay

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz essay
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