The most evil and powerful dark wizard in history, Lord Voldemort, murdered married couple James and Lily Potter but mysteriously disappeared after failing to kill their infant son, Harry. While the wizarding world celebrates Voldemort’s apparent downfall, Professor Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall and half-giant Rubeus Hagrid place the one-year-old orphan in the care of his surly and cold Muggle uncle and aunt, Vernon and Petunia Dursley and their spoilt and bullying son, Dudley.
For ten years, living at number Four Privet Drive, Harry is treated by the Dursleys more like a servant than a member of the family and is forced to live in a cupboard under the stairs. Shortly before his eleventh birthday, a series of letters addressed to Harry arrive, but Uncle Vernon Dursley destroys them before Harry can read them, leading to an influx of more and more letters. To evade the pursuit of these letters, Vernon first takes the family to a hotel, but when the letters arrive there too, he hires a boat out to a hut on a small island.
It is Harry’s eleventh birthday and at midnight, Hagrid bursts through the door to deliver the letter and to tell Harry what the Dursleys have kept from him: Harry is a wizard and has been accepted into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Hagrid takes Harry to a hidden London street called Diagon Alley, where he is surprised to discover how famous he is among the witches and wizards, who refer to him as “the boy who lived.” He also finds that his parents’ inheritance is waiting for him at Gringotts Wizarding Bank. Guided by Hagrid, he buys the equipment he will need for his first year at Hogwarts and as a birthday gift Harry receives a pet owl from Hagrid (which he names “Hedwig”).