Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone - Script Coverage
TITLE: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
AUTHOR: Steeve Kloves
FORM: Feature Screenplay
LOCALE: United Kingdom
CIRCA: Modern, Present Day (2001)
GENRE: Fantasy / Family / Comedy
DRAFT DATE: 4/18/01
COVERAGE DATE: 11/15/21
PREPARED BY: Ioana Ionascu
An orphaned boy enrolls at the wizarding school of Hogwarts, where he finds the truth about himself, his family, and the evil wizard that wants him dead.
HARRY POTTER is an orphaned boy treated poorly by his horrible AUNT PETUNIA and UNCLE VERNON. As his eleventh birthday nears, he receives an invitation to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but Uncle Vernon dismisses it. This prompts thousands of similar letters to barrage them for days to come until they hide in a lighthouse far away from their house. However, Hogwarts’s giant groundskeeper HAGRID still arrives on Harry’s birthday to take him away, leaving his cousin DUDLEY with a pig’s tail courtesy of all the mean things he has done to Harry.
Hagrid tells Harry that he is a famous wizard who seemingly defeated the DARK LORD VOLDEMORT when he was just a baby. Following the groundskeeper to the magical Diagon Alley, Harry procures all the necessary items a wizard needs for school (including a wand and a pet owl). Later, at the platform 9 ¾ and during the train ride to the school, he befriends RON WEASLEY and HERMIONE GRANGER.
Arriving at Hogwarts for the sorting ceremony, Harry and his friends are placed in the Gryffindor house, a house for the bravest on campus. Then Harry begins to accommodate at school: he learns more about his magical powers and even participates in the wizarding sport of Quidditch (excelling in the same position as his father had).
As months go by, things get more dangerous with threats from the Slytherin house, the appearance of a wandering troll at school, and magic spells aimed to hurt Harry. These events lead the trio to learn about the infamous Sorcerer's Stone. As they discover that Voldemort is still alive and wants the stone, they try to uncover its location, so far safely hidden by the school’s headmaster ALBUS DUMBLEDORE and guarded by a three-headed beast. But when Dumbledore leaves Hogwarts to attend to important business, the kids know that the person helping Voldemort (who they assume is PROFESSOR SNAPE) also discovered how to tame the beast, so it is only up to them to get to the stone faster.
As a team, they help each other survive the deadly vine-trap (Hermione knows how to deal with it), the swarming bee-keys (Harry’s Quidditch experience is vital here), and a real-life chess game (Ron is a master at playing it), but by the end of these trials, Ron gets injured. Harry puts him in Hermione’s care, and goes to face the last challenge alone. He enters the last chamber, seeing that the person helping Voldemort was none other than PROFESSOR QUIRRELL and that Voldemort has been hiding in Quirrell all this time.
The magic mirror in the room gives the stone to Harry, and Quirrell jumps on him to kill him. Harry raises his hands, his touch burning Quirrell. He, then, puts both hands on the professor’s face until he vanishes completely. Meanwhile, Voldemort detaches from the dying wizard and disappears, still alive, leaving the stone safely in Harry’s possession.
After the entire affair, Dumbledore takes the stone and awards the trio many points for their courage, thus making Gryffindor win the House Cup instead of Slytherin. In the end, all is well for the three kids, Harry going back home to his uncle and aunt for the summer holidays.
The script portrays a strong story with a good message about family and finding power in oneself. It is a magical and joyful ride that drags a bit at times, but is nonetheless empowering for audiences since most are familiar with being ‘a fish out of water’ in a situation and wanting to bond. The magical elements and setting are the perfect backdrop for this coming-of-age story, which mixes comedy and lightheartedness with darkness and danger.
Harry Potter has a nice from-rags-to-riches arc, his character slowly gaining more confidence in his magical abilities and maturing through his friendship with Hermione and Ron. He gets the family he never had, the courage stemming from it being of use in the battle with Quirrell/Voldemort. Something else that was done really well with the character was the total contrast between him and Voldemort, while also providing insight into how they are also similar in nature. This creates internal conflict for Harry in the future: he does not want to become someone like Voldemort, but the events begin to challenge his views and beliefs. The minor characters are also done really well, the friendship being believable and heartwarming.
It has a good progression, the school scenes providing information that will be later used in the third act. Additionally, there are always payoffs for previous scenes. The mystery element is also done really well, red-herring Snape as the villain in ways that would make it the only plausible choice, while totally obscuring Quirrell. Still, Quirrell appears in the first act, thus his reveal does not appear out of nowhere; it is motivated through actions and information that he would, in fact, possess.
The story follows the three act structure and school narrative, showing ‘the fish out of water’ situation of being the new kid at school. The climax is split into three trials which mimic the fairy tale hero’s tribulations.
PACING – is good, overall. The class scenes are sometimes too long, and the progression stalls at times because of them. Besides that, the pacing builds up neatly to the climax, interweaving moments of danger and tension after tranquil scenes or scenes where Harry and his friends have experienced some kind of win.
It is comical but also dark at times. Most of the exposition is told in lengthy lines, which takes away from the possible immersion. Still, truly remarkable is the distinction in the kids’ voices and their authenticity.
The school is the best and most developed element of the script. Hogwarts is magnificent, filled with magic and whimsical in nature. It is the place where everything is possible and yet things are governed by consistent magic rules. Some of the many captivating elements of this setting appear in the moving staircases, the talking pictures, and the ghosts roaming around. The darkness surrounding the plot’s climax is visibly portrayed through the three-headed dog and caverns leading to the Sorcerer’s Stone.
Excellent Very Good Good Fair Needs Work Artistic X Commercial X
Premise X Story X Main Characters X Minor Characters X Dialogue X
Structure X Visual Elements X
Writing X Title X