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After spending his life in the luxurious accommodations provided by his horrible Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon, young Harry Potter gets an invitation to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry—a very insistent invitation, as Petunia and Vernon learn.
Naturally, they try to keep him from attending, prompting a deluge of letters, a retreat to a distant lighthouse, and a pig's tail for their son Dudley courtesy of Hogwarts's gigantic groundskeeper Hagrid…who finally arrives to take Harry away from them.
It seems that Harry belongs to a secret society of witches and wizards. But there's more: he's a celebrity there for somehow vanquishing the evil Lord Voldemort when he was just a baby.
(It's a pity he can't remember how, because Voldemort ain't done with him just yet. But we'll get to that shortly.)
In the meantime, Harry has classes to attend. A quick trip to the magical Diagon Alley sets him up with a nifty wand and a pet owl named Hedwig, while the train trip to school introduces him to a pair of new friends: studious Hermione Granger and goofy-but-stouthearted Ron Weasley.
Arriving at Hogwarts, Harry is soon placed in Gryffindor house—the literal home of the brave on campus—and starts learning more about his magical powers. He also picks up on the wizarding sport of Quidditch, which he's apparently incredibly good at.
Along the way, he has spells to learn, rivals to vanquish and a mystery to solve: a magical device called the Sorcerer's Stone which Voldemort wants and the rest of the world really, really hopes he doesn't get. The school's headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, is keeping the Stone safe. But when Dumbledore leaves school to attend to important business, it's anything goes time.
Harry, convinced that the not-at-all-pleasant Professor Snape is behind it all, goes after the Stone with help from his friends. Turns out, Snape, though excessively irritating, isn't actually to blame. Instead, Voldemort has cunningly disguised himself as the world's grossest boil on the head of another professor—Quirrell—and reached the Stone just before Harry does. Harry's got a nasty surprise for him, however, and in a flash of very expensive visual effects, sends Voldemort packing.
Secure with his new friends, awesome mentor, and all the good things a hero needs, Harry returns to the normal world for the summer holidays...or until his agent finishes negotiating the rights to appear in the sequel.