Analysis: What's Up With the Ending?
At the end of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, good conquers evil on many levels. Most obviously, Harry – with the help of his friends – keeps Voldemort from taking the Sorcerer's Stone. By doing so, they stop the Dark Lord from getting eternal life. Phew! While not a full, resounding defeat of the bad guy, it's a new victory for the good guy. Harry is rewarded with the knowledge that his parents' love will protect him, even though he never got the chance to know them. He also learns more about his parents and even gets magic photographs of them.
In addition, because of this triumph, Harry and the other first-year Gryffindors propel their house to success in the race for the house cup. This second triumph is particularly sweet because Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville regain the points that they (with the exception of Ron) had lost sneaking around the castle. Not only do they make up for this loss, they catch up to and pass the house with the most points: Slytherin. Gryffindor victory over Slytherin is as innocent and glorious as Harry's temporary victory over Voldemort is solemn and foreboding. Next year there will be another house cup to win, and other battles to be won. Challenges and troubles lurk on the horizon, but so do new enchantments, potential victories, and hope.