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Welcome to the Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter, a collaborative effort towards providing an extensive guidebook to the Harry Potter series.
What This Book Will Cover
This book wishes to provide in-depth analysis and specific detailing of all things in the Harry Potter series. Readers should be able to learn more about the —> characters, —> places, —> events, and —> magic than what is merely present in the —> books. Critical commentary on each chapter, character, place, and event is provided in an effort to help the reader better understand detailed content and realize possible underlying connections to a greater storyline.
This book is meant to cover only the actual series, the seven books that make up the actual story. There are a number of additional publications that are only indirectly related to the main story; some of these are:
•A number of issues of The Daily Prophet were issued to fans, containing short "news stories" about happenings in the Wizarding world. Apparently copyright by J. K. Rowling, the events these newspapers cover are outside the events of the main story and thus are not covered here.
•"Chocolate Frog" candy was produced for a while, containing Famous Wizard cards; additionally, a Famous Wizards trading card game was produced at one point. These cards were written by the author of the series. In at least a few instances, the text from these cards has enhanced understanding of the series, and thus has been referenced in this work.
•Three books were published to raise money for charity.
•Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, by "Newt Scamander", which has details of magical creatures that improve our understanding of the role they play in the main books, is included in this study.
•Quidditch Through the Ages has little to tell us that we cannot learn through the primary seven books, and so is largely excluded. Some information from this book appears in the article on -> Quidditch.
•The Tales of Beedle the Bard includes some information that sheds light on some characters and some magic in the main story arc. This information is included in this study.
•The author's web site contains rather a lot of authoritative information about the overlooked comers of the wizarding world. While much of its content is irrelevant to our study, those areas that cast some illumination on the books and on the creative process are referenced herein.
•Various interviews with the author have appeared, both during production of the books and afterwards.
Transcripts of these interviews have appeared on some fan sites. Where these interviews have improved understanding of the books, they have been referenced, though it is not always possible to provide links.
This book will explicitly not cover the Harry Potter films, video games, fan fiction, or other authorized or unauthorized works in the same fiction universe.
This book is built to handle several different levels of readers of the Harry Potter series. Therefore, the book has several pages available that detail suggested reading guides for specific levels of reading:
•—> Beginner - Readers who are new to the Harry Potter series in general. This page should be used by readers who have read only a small amount of the Harry Potter books or are just interested in a general overview of the storyline and biographical information.
•—> Intermediate - Readers who have read most of the Harry Potter series and are clued in to many of the principal characters and places. Analysis for characters, places, and events and detailed summaries of the books.
•—> Advanced - Readers who have read all of the series and are looking to develop detailed knowledge of much of the books' content and realize the greater picture. A slight step up from the intermediate level, almost every topic in the book is covered, providing a comprehensive view of the series.
[ 1 ] http://www.jkrowling.com
The Beginner reader is not expected to have fully explored the Harry Potter storyline. A Beginner reader is assumed to have read perhaps one or two of the books (maybe even none at all). Pages marked for Beginners include some short synopses of the book plots, brief introductions to some of the key characters in the series, and overviews of several important locations where many important events happen in the series.
Much of the Harry Potter series has yet to be explored. A great majority of the character list as well as all of the chapter summaries are beyond the Beginner level.
The Intermediate reader is expected to be rather well-versed in the Harry Potter storyline. Much of the plot is known to the reader and he/she wishes to expand on that with analysis and commentary. Most of the character pages and sections are open to the Intermediate reader. In addition, Intermediate readers have access to chapter summaries for referencing specific details.
Not much is kept from the Intermediate reader. Most major content is covered and filling in the gaps is all that is left. An Intermediate reader should feel knowledgeable about the topics covered in the books, but perhaps not quite grasping the full importance of scenes and character actions, referred to as the Greater Picture which is excluded until the reading of the series can be finished.
Once the reader has completed the entire Harry Potter series, the next step is the —> Advanced level. The Advanced level details the entire storyline. Advanced readers have access to the Greater Picture section seen on many pages that connects all the pieces together.
The Advanced reader should be knowledgeable in all areas of the Harry Potter series. No topic has been left unaddressed and all commentary/analysis is understood. Every page and section is accessible, including Greater Picture, to make sure that all aspects of the plot have been covered and understood in order to realize the full magnitude of scenes and relationships in the storyline.
Nothing is kept from the Advanced reader. The Advanced reader has free reign over all content in the Guide.
There is no step past the Advanced level. Advanced readers are asked to review analysis and questions to make sure content is understood. The —> Index page should prove most useful for reference purposes.
Detailed Plot Summaries
A full overview of the books and the content contained within them.
•—> Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
•—> Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
•-> Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
•-> Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
•-> Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
•-> Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
•-> Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Supplementary material regarding the end of the series.
• Extended Analysis
—> Chapter 1: The Boy Who Lived
—> Chapter 2: The Vanishing Glass
—> Chapter 3: The Letters From No One
—> Chapter 4: The Keeper of the Keys
—> Chapter 5: Diagon Alley
—> Chapter 6: The Journey from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters
—> Chapter 7: The Sorting Hat
—> Chapter 8: The Potions Master
—> Chapter 9: The Midnight Duel
—> Chapter 10: Hallowe'en
—> Chapter 11: Quidditch
—> Chapter 12: The Mirror of Erised
—> Chapter 13: Nicholas Flamel
—> Chapter 14: Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback
—> Chapter 15: The Forbidden Forest
—> Chapter 16: Through the Trapdoor
—> Chapter 17: The Man with Two Faces
The first book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the US) is written from the point of view of the 11-year-old Harry Potter. While its prime audience is children aged 8 to about 11, the story has enough depth to make it a satisfying, if short, read for even adult readers, and the characters show realistic development over the course of the book.
This book came out with different titles in the UK and in the US. In the UK, and in most other English editions, it was named Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Apparently the US publisher felt that his audience would not have sufficient background into classical mythology to know what the Philosopher's Stone was, and so titled the book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. While many fan sites, mostly in the US, have chosen the latter title, and the film and video games have done likewise, this book uses the UK title as being somewhat closer to the author's intent.
•New places visited: ->Privet Drive, ->Diagon Alley, -> Hogwarts,
•Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher: ->Quirrell
•Title refers to: -> the Philosopher's Stone
Chapter 1: The Boy Who Lived
Mr and Mrs Dursley, of —> number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn't hold with such nonsense.
—> Mr Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings, which made drills. He was a big, beefy man with hardly any neck, although he did have a very large moustache. —> Mrs Dursley was thin and blond and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in very useful as she spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the neighbours. The Dursleys had a small son called —> Dudley and in their opinion there was no finer boy anywhere.
Mr Dursley notices strange events on his way to work: a cat on Privet Drive happens to be reading a map, and people dressed in colourful robes are walking in the streets. Mr Dursley attempts to disregard these oddities. During his lunch break, he sees another group of curiously robed people, and hears mention of the Potters and their son, Harry. He is reminded of the Dursleys' shameful secret, and the reason why they pretend the Potters don't exist. When Mr Dursley arrives home, he hears reports of unforeseen shooting stars and flocks of owls flying during the daytime. Previously unwilling to discuss the Potters with Mrs Dursley, he finally verifies with her that their nephew's name is Harry. Mr Dursley sleeps uneasily.
Later that night, a mysterious man by the name of —> Albus Dumbledore appears in Privet Drive. He removes from his robes a —> Put-Outer with which he extinguishes the street lights. Dumbledore addresses the cat which seemed to be reading a map earlier as —> Professor McGonagall, prompting the cat to transform into a robed woman. The couple talk about how recent celebrations have left > Muggles" inquisitive. Dumbledore confirms with McGonagall that -> James and —> Lily Potter are dead, and their infant son —> Harry was apparently involved in the defeat of their assailant, an entity named "You-Know-Who" or —> Voldemort. Harry, according to Dumbledore, is due to arrive at Privet Drive soon by means of someone named ->Hagrid.
Hagrid arrives transporting himself and Harry on a flying motorbike. Dumbledore leaves the baby on the doorstep of number four with a letter. McGonagall despairs at the fact that Harry, a definite celebrity, will spend his childhood with such people. Hagrid re-mounts his motorcycle, McGonagall once again becomes a cat, and Dumbledore reilluminates the streetlights, and they all depart.
This is one of five chapters in the series that is not written from Harry's point of view. The other chapters are -> Chapter
1 of ->Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, ->Chapter 1 and —> Chapter 2 of ->-> Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and —> Chapter 1 of —> Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Evidence in the series indicates that Harry is bom on 31 July, 1980, and orphaned on ->31 October, 1981 — Hallowe'en night — when he is one year and three months old. Critics point out a lack of "trick-or-treating" and similar festivities on Privet Drive that night, but it should be mentioned that we don't actually see Privet Drive on the 31st; it is the 1st of November when Vernon Dursley drives off to work, and the night of the 1st when Dumbledore and Hagrid arrive.
Evidence also suggests that there is a day between the death of Harry's parents, and his arrival at Privet Drive; Harry is orphaned on 31 October, 1981, and the story opens with Vernon Dursley leaving for work on the morning of 1 November. This has sparked speculation amongst readers; is there an accident of dates, or is the "missing day" a purposeful addition by the author? It was believed by many readers that the occurrences during that day would be important, possibly even pivotal, to events in the seventh book.
There is also a contradiction: 1 November, 1981 was, in reality, a Sunday, and the book states that that day is a Tuesday. Much of the series has minor internal conflicts of this sort. These errors or oversights do not detract from the sweep of the story, so while they may be mentioned, they are provided more as a curiosity than as something for the readers to concern themselves with.
1.What caused the Dursleys' embarrassment of the Potters? Why is it a secret to the Dursleys that they are related?
2.What exactly is the cat on Privet Drive?
3.Who are the robed people Mr Dursley sees in the streets?
4.Who is "You-Know-Who"?
1.While many people seem to be celebrating the defeat of this Voldemort, Dumbledore seems to think the celebrations premature. What would make him think this?
This chapter provides the framework for the contrast that will be echoed throughout the series between the magical and the mundane.
The events that immediately result in Harry's being orphaned are not discussed in this chapter, but are gradually revealed throughout the series. They are included here by way of reference.
Harry Potter is orphaned when the Dark —> Lord Voldemort murders his wizarding parents, —> Lily and —> James Potter. Voldemort breaks into the Potters' house in the village of ->Godric's Hollow and duels with James. Voldemort kills James and attempts to do the same to Lily and Harry. He is successful in killing Lily, ignoring her pleas to spare their lives, but his attempt to kill Harry backfires and Voldemort is apparently killed instead. When Harry is older and, during his first year at Hogwarts, ->meets with Voldemort, Voldemort states that Harry's mother need not have died. Lily's sacrificial attempt to save Harry, however, causes the ->curse, which Voldemort consequently attempts on Harry, to backfire. This forms a connection between attacker and victim, during which, parts of Voldemort's powers are transferred to the infant, and give Harry a lightning-bolt shaped scar on his forehead. The protection that Lily gives her son — which ->Albus Dumbledore later explains as her "love" for Harry — destroys Voldemort's physical body and would have killed him completely had it not been for the Dark magic he had been using to split his soul, called -> Horcruxes. The downfall of Voldemort renders Harry an extremely popular figure in the wizarding world.
It is entirely possible that, because of the ->Fidelius charm that was meant to protect the Potters from Voldemort still being active, Hagrid would have been unable to find the place until one of the parties to the secret was there. We can safely assume that Sirius, as one of James' closest friends, would have been aware of the Potters' location; in fact, he does say, in ->Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, that he had seen "the bodies and the destruction" of the house, so he must have known the secret, either before the Fidelius charm was performed, or by -> Peter Pettigrew (who we will not meet until ->the third book) informing him of it afterwards. It has been conjectured that Hagrid was unable to enter the remains of the house to recover Harry until Sirius appeared on the scene, and it could have been Sirius who actually removed Harry from the wreckage and passed him to Hagrid to carry back to Little Whinging. Hagrid does say, however, in ->Chapter 4, that he took Harry from the wreckage himself, so we have to assume either that Hagrid was in on the secret, or else that the Fidelius charm ends automatically when the secret it is designed to protect (in this case, the whereabouts of James and Lily) is no longer operative. We could speculate as to
which it is, but given that the house is apparently visible to all wizards by the tune of -> the seventh book, it is most likely that the charm had simply ended with Lily's death.
The fact that Sirius had seen "the wreckage" was also thought to be significant; the Killing Curse does not affect things, only people, and so does not leave wreckage. So the house would have been intact when Voldemort died, giving us a standing house, three dead bodies, and Harry. Add to this the fact that in ->Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Voldemort had his wand back, and we are drawn inescapably to the conclusion that someone, most likely Peter Pettigrew, was there with Voldemort, was aware of his downfall, recovered his wand (and perhaps concealed his body), and destroyed the house, either in revenge or in frustration, while leaving Harry untouched, likely out of fear that whatever had felled Voldemort would kill anyone who tried to attack Harry. We have found out since that the destruction in the house was restricted to the room in which Lily was killed and Harry was sleeping; it is possible that Pettigrew blasted his way out of the house carrying Voldemort's body rather than trying to cany it back down the stairs. The fact that Voldemort, in his memory of that night as viewed in ->the seventh book, does not recall Peter accompanying him is inconclusive; Voldemort does not seem to pay much attention to his Death Eaters, unless they are directly in his way.
Chapter 2: The Vanishing Glass
Ten years have passed since baby ->Harry was left with ->the Dursleys. The living room is full of pictures of —> Dudley, but none of Harry.
Harry, who sleeps in a spidery cupboard, is awakened by his ->aunt Petunia, who is telling him to cook breakfast. It is Dudley's birthday and the kitchen table is covered with presents. We are told that Dudley enjoys punching Harry but doesn't usually catch him. Harry is described in detail. Dudley comes into the kitchen and almost throws a tantrum because he has fewer presents than the year before.
The Dursleys find out that —> Mrs. Figg, the cat-obsessed lady nearby who usually watches Harry while the Dursleys take Dudley on his birthday trip, has broken her leg. They discuss what to do with Harry, and Dudley wails that he doesn't want him to come. Dudley's friend, Piers Polkiss, arrives and because they don't know what else to do with him, Harry gets to come along to the zoo. —> Uncle Vernon warns Harry that if anything strange happens, Harry will be in major trouble. (Strange things seem to happen around Harry, and the Dursleys don't believe him when he says he didn't cause them.)
On the way to the zoo, Uncle Vernon becomes angry when Harry mentions he dreamed about a flying motorcycle.
The zoo goes well at first, and Harry even gets some ice cream. When they get to the reptile house, Harry has a conversation with a large boa constrictor. When Dudley pushes Harry out of the way so he can see the snake's strange behavior, the glass enclosing the snake vanishes. The snake slides out, saying that it will go to his natural environment in Brazil and thanking Harry.
In the car, Dudley and Piers greatly exaggerate their encounter with the snake, and when they are home and Piers is gone, Harry is sent to his cupboard by a furious Uncle Vernon.
Later, Harry is lying in his cupboard, thinking. The only thing he remembers about his past is a flash of green light and a pain in his forehead. He also remembers how sometimes, when he's out with the Dursleys, strange-looking people seem to recognize him.
This is the first chapter in which we see how the Dursleys are treating Harry. They treat him as if he was a slave, and they show him no respect at all. Importantly, however, Harry has been made neither timid nor bitter by this treatment, an early sign of the admirable qualities which are so vital to his destiny.
This is also the chapter in which we see Harry's magical talents being shown, such as being able to talk to snakes (this will be explained more fully in this book's successor, ->Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets). Rowling has said that this uncontrolled magical ability is normal for wizarding children who haven't yet learned to control their magical powers. Strangely, Harry does not seem frightened by these bizarre incidents, and only casually questions them. This suggests an innate acceptance of magic, and perhaps an unconscious awareness of his true magical nature.
1.Why did Dudley pretend to cry?
2.Why did Dudley stop his fake crying when his friend came?
3.What kinds of strange things happen around Harry?
1.What do these strange things that happen around Harry teach us about his character?
The scene with the snake could be construed as a hint of what is to come in the next two chapters. Harry and the snake are in almost the same position, as both are prisoners and are cut off from the world in which they belong: Harry, stuck with the Dursleys, is being prevented from joining the Wizarding world, just as the snake, captive in the zoo, cannot enter the world of the Amazon jungle. Also, both were raised away from their home, and so have no knowledge of their native worlds. And finally, each in turn is released from their prison, and head for an unknown future, somehow believing that it must be better then what they are leaving behind.
In this chapter we learn of Harry's —> ability to speak to snakes, a fact that will be extremely important in future books. While it seems that these early signs of magic could be the trigger which sent the active phase of Albus Dumbledore's great plan into action, we must recall that Harry is about to turn 11, and it is in the September after they reach the age of 11 that magical children are invited to attend school. The author has stated that Hogwarts is the only Wizarding school in the UK, thus every magical child will receive the opportunity to attend when he or she reaches 11. Not all children do attend; some, like —> Marvolo Gaunt, who we will meet later, likely would not trust the established school system with their children.
Under the pretext of telling us why the Dursleys are afraid to leave Harry home alone, we learn how Harry used his powers before he knew he was a Wizard, basically in self-defense. This story is contrasted in —> Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince with the story of how the boy —> Tom Riddle (later known as —> Lord Voldemort) used his powers to terrorize others before he knew he was a wizard. This comparison adds another layer to the good vs. evil theme.
Chapter 3: The Letters From No One
-> Harry is finally let out of the cupboard after being punished for the boa constrictor episode. The summer holidays have started and -> Dudley and his friends harass Harry daily, enjoying their favorite sport, "Harry Hunting". Dudley finds he has been accepted to -> Uncle Vernon's old public school (US: private school), Smeltings, whereas Harry will be going to a local comprehensive (US:public school), Stonewall High.
In July, -> Petunia takes Dudley shopping for his school clothes. The next morning Harry finds her dyeing some of Dudley's old clothes grey, to make him a "school uniform". As everyone sits down for breakfast the mail arrives. Harry has a short fight with Dudley over who has to retrieve the mail. Harry loses. Picking up the mail, Harry sees there is a letter addressed to him:
Mr. H. Potter
The Cupboard under the Stairs 4 Privet Drive Little Whinging Surrey
Harry had never received mail before and wasn't sure who this could be from. The envelope was a thick, heavy, yellow parchment with a strange wax seal on the back. Back in the kitchen, Uncle Vernon snatches the letter from Harry as he tries to read it. Uncle Vernon is shocked at the contents of the letter and immediately sends Dudley and Harry out of the kitchen so he and Petunia can discuss it. Dudley and Harry listen to the conversation through the keyhole and the gap under the door, and overhear them decide to ignore the letter and not respond.
Uncle Vernon moves Harry up into Dudley's second room. Day after day more letters show up for Harry, but they are now addressed to him in "The Smallest Bedroom", despite Vernon's attempts to prevent their entering the house. Vernon does manage to prevent Harry from getting any of the letters. On Sunday, when Uncle Vernon is sure no post is coming, the letters come streaming out of the fireplace. Vernon decides enough is enough, packs everyone into the car and drives all day to a run-down hotel on the outskirts of some city. The next day "about a hundred letters" show up at the hotel for Harry. Next, Uncle Vernon finds a rickety old shack out on a rocky island off the coast, accessible only by boat. As they settle in for the night Harry stares at Dudley's watch, counting down the minutes to midnight and his eleventh birthday. A storm is raging outside but Harry thinks he hears something else outside the shack. Just as he counts the final second down to his birthday a huge BOOM shakes the shack. Someone is knocking on the door.
Uncle Vernon’s attempts to shut out, and then run away from, the letters can be seen as an analogy with people's tendency to try to ignore facts. The tendency to try to avoid unpleasant truth is a common human weakness. The idea that if you refuse to admit something to yourself, then it can’t be true, may be very comforting sometimes. The problem is that, just like the letters that burst out of the fireplace, the truth has a tendency to come back and strike you in the face. Unfortunately, this is a lesson that Vernon Dursley never seems to learn, as determined denial and brutish ignorance are the key qualities of his character. This chapter has an enjoyably tense atmosphere, as it almost as if Harry's true identity and destiny is rushing toward him, and no matter how hard the Dursleys try to outrun it, with a "BOOM!" on the door it catches up, and nothing will ever be the same again.
As mentioned in —> Chapter 1, there are a few places in the stories where days and dates don't line up. We have already seen that this book covers events largely in 1991 and 1992. The Dursleys leave Privet Drive for the hotel on
Sunday, leave the hotel and drive to the island on Monday (Dudley complains because he is missing The Great Umberto on TV), and so Harry's birthday falls on Tuesday. However, July 31, 1991 is a Wednesday. This trivial error does not truly affect the story in any way, and is included here more as a curiosity than as something for the scholar to concern himself with.
1. Why does Uncle Dursley decide to move Harry out of the cupboard? What does Dudley think of this change? Further Study
1.How could the writer of the letters know where Harry's room/place was at any given moment?
2.Who is the person that is sending these letters?
3.Who is the person that comes to get Harry?
4.Does Harry get to read his letter? And when?
This chapter shows the great lengths that the Dursleys are willing to go to in order to appear normal to neighbors and not to draw attention to themselves. Their need to appear normal in front of others is the reason they hide Harry in his room and is also the reason they keep him at their home after the dramatic events at the ->beginning of Harry's fifth year.
Chapter 4: The Keeper of the Keys
BOOM! The knockings continue outside the door. —> Vernon comes running in with a rifle as the door is smashed in. A huge man with a bearded face enters. He twists Uncle Vernon's gun like a pretzel, sits down and wishes —> Harry happy birthday, and gives him a squished cake. The giant man makes himself at home, starts a fire and makes tea and sausages. He introduces himself as —> Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts. Hagrid is dismayed to find the Dursleys have told Harry nothing of his past or of his parents, and furious that they told Harry that his parents died in a car crash. Hagrid explains that Harry is a wizard, a very famous wizard. He gives Harry his letter, now addressed to him at the shack. The letter explains that Harry has been accepted to —> Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Hagrid sends an owl to —> Professor Dumbledore saying he found Harry and will be taking him to get his school supplies. —> Petunia begins ranting and Harry learns that she and Uncle Vernon have lied to him about his past. Hagrid tells Harry about a very dark wizard, by the name of —> Voldemort (though Hagrid seems to have enormous difficulty saying the name, apparently out of fear), who ten years ago (when Harry was only one year old) tracked down and killed Harry's parents, —> James and —> Lily Potter. He tried to kill Harry too, but failed, and that is how Harry got the scar on his forehead. Harry asks Hagrid what happened to Voldemort and Hagrid tells him that no one is sure, but something happened to him (on the Hallowe'en night he tried to kill Harry) that drove him into hiding.
Harry questions whether he is really a wizard, but Hagrid asks whether he had ever made things happen when he was angry or scared. Harry remembers things he had done, most recently the boa constrictor, and smiles. Uncle Vernon cuts in and says Harry isn't going to a magic school. He then insults Albus Dumbledore, calling him a crackpot. This sends Hagrid into a fit of rage and he causes a pig's tail to grow out of —> Dudley's back side. The Dursleys scramble
into the other room, terribly afraid of Hagrid. Hagrid asks Harry not to mention the magic he performed to anyone at Hogwarts, as he isn't supposed to do magic anymore. Harry asks why not, and Hagrid explains that he had been expelled from Hogwarts during his third year. Harry questions him further, but Hagrid changes the subject saying it's late and they have lots of things to do the next day. At that they go to sleep, Hagrid on the couch, Harry under Hagrid's huge coat on the floor.
In this chapter, we learn a bit more of what happened the night Lord Voldemort came to Godric's Hollow. We also get a feeling for the dread that most wizards have for Voldemort, or even his name.
The Dursley's behaviour here is a classic example of the human tendency for ignorance and fear to go hand in hand. In a vicious circle, their ignorance about magic makes them afraid of it, and their fear prevents them from developing a better understanding. In contrast, Harry's willingness to accept his magical nature when the evidence is shown to him, clearly indicates his open-minded intelligence.
One of the central themes to these books is the danger of prejudice and divisiveness, and this chapter, particularly Petunia's tirade, gives a picture of the prejudiced view from the Muggle side of the Muggle/Magic divide.
1.What does this chapter tell us about Aunt Petunia's character?
2.Why do Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon hide Harry's secret?
3.Do they tell him what his secret is? Why or why not?
1. Can you think of a reason, aside from ignorance and fear, for Petunia's apparent hatred of her sister Lily?
This chapter briefly mentions Hagrid's expulsion from Hogwarts, which will be important to the plot of the next book,
—> Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Hagrid's fear of saying Voldemort's name will be echoed through almost all of the series, with people referring to Voldemort as "you-know-who" and variants on that theme. This dread, though constant, will be greatly reinforced in —> the seventh book, where we will learn that Voldemort has, in fact, placed a taboo on his name, such that anyone who speaks it will be immediately detected and subject to reprisals. We will find that the taboo is specifically aimed at those who would fight him, as they are the only ones who dare speak his name. While this is never mentioned, it is entirely likely that a similar taboo was in place in Voldemort's initial time in power, and it would be this taboo which had engendered a fear of speaking the name among the Wizarding populace.
In this chapter, by learning his true nature, Harry has taken the first step on the path of his eventual destiny. He will continue on this path throughout the entire series, with occasional setbacks.
Chapter 5: Diagon Alley
—> Harry wakes up to find an owl attacking —> Hagrid's coat. Hagrid tells him to give the owl five Knuts, which turn out to be odd-looking coins, and they set off for London. Walking down the street, Harry notices —> Muggles (non-magical folk) are looking at them strangely and are scrambling to let Hagrid pass.
After climbing broken down escalators to the London Underground and getting Hagrid stuck at the ticket barrier (and after complaints from Hagrid that the seats were too small and trains too slow), they finally reach Central London.
Soon, they reach a place called the Leaky Cauldron. Harry notices the Muggles' gaze traveling from the record shop on one side to the bookstore on the other side, not noticing the pub in-between. He has a feeling that of those present, only Hagrid and himself can see it.
On entering the pub, Harry is greeted enthusiastically by many excited people, including one ->Quirrell, who Hagrid says will be teaching Harry about -> Defence Against the Dark Arts. Leaving the Leaky Cauldron, Harry and Hagrid find themselves in a small courtyard behind the pub. While Harry thinks over the responses of the people, Hagrid starts counting the bricks on top of the bin with his umbrella. He then taps a brick three times and a hole appears, getting bigger and bigger, and turns into an archway. They enter ->Diagon Alley.
Harry and Hagrid walk past the wizard shops to the end of the street, where -> Gringotts, the wizard bank, stands. At Gringotts, Hagrid provides the key to Harry's parents' vault, and a note authorizing him to enter another vault on behalf of -> Dumbledore. After a high-speed cart ride with —> Griphook the goblin (which makes Hagrid queasy), they reach Harry's vault, which is fijll of ->wizard money (galleons, sickles and knuts). Hagrid helps Harry draw enough for school supplies and a year at school, and educates him on the wizard monetary system. After another cart ride, Hagrid removes the only contents of vault seven hundred thirteen, a small grubby parcel, without explaining what it is.
Back on the surface, Harry, with Hagrid's assistance, buys school supplies. He meets another first-year Hogwarts student who seems quite full of himself; but before introductions can be completed, Harry's robes are finished and he moves on to buy other supplies: books, a cauldron, a telescope, and potion supplies. For his birthday, Hagrid buys him an owl, —> Hedwig. Finally, at —> Ollivander's, Harry buys a wand, which turns out, according to Mr. Ollivander, to be twin to the one sold to —> Voldemort, each being made with one of the only two tail-feathers ever given by one particular —> phoenix.
Harry is amazed that he is so respected by these people. Without realizing it, he is famous, a hero to an entire people. In this chapter, we see Harry's reaction to fame; mostly, he is a bit embarrassed, because he feels he has done nothing to deserve the adulation that is being cast his way. We will be contrasting this with the behaviour of someone who lives for fame in the next book, —> Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
We are also here, for the first time, exposed to the parallel Wizarding economy, and to the magical creatures that exist in the Wizarding world. We meet goblins, and hear about phoenixes, dragons, unicorns, hags, and vampires; this is our first intimation that these creatures out of mythology may have a real, parallel existence.
Harry finds that having a wand related to Voldemort's makes him uneasy; while Ollivander sees it as an indication that Harry will be a great wizard, Harry finds it disturbing that he could have even that small a similarity to a wizard who is universally seen as evil, further evidence of his admirable character. The provenance of the magical core of Harry's wand will become important in ->Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and in -> Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
1. Hagrid says that the Wizarding monetary system is simple. Is it?
1.We see that Harry and Hagrid get off the island by using the same boat that Harry and the Dursleys used to get there. If Harry and Hagrid take the only boat on the whole island, how did the Dursleys get home?
2.When asked how he had gotten to the island, Hagrid reported that he had flown there. Apparently, wizards cannot fly without equipment such as a broom, a flying car or motorcycle, or a flying carpet. How could Hagrid fly there?
The "small, grubby parcel" that Hagrid removes from the vault will turn out to be the titular ->Philosopher's Stone (US: Sorcerer's Stone), which will be the effective center of this book's plot. Harry, with his limited classical education, does not understand why this stone should be so prized, but its function will be explained to him by a classmate, —> Hermione Granger.
Mention is made of Harry's humility, above. While this character trait will serve him well, it will for a long time be masked by his unique position as "the Boy Who Lived". Harry will defeat Voldemort repeatedly, and in the process will begin to believe that he is the only one who can perform certain activities. Close examination will reveal that while he accepts, to some extent, the description of himself as a hero, he does not use this as a way of increasing status; rather, he sees it as increasing his obligations. Late in the series, he becomes known as The Chosen One, as the Ministry tries to use him as a means of showing that they are doing something; despite being thrust into the limelight in this manner, Harry does not use his fame as a way of improving his lot, instead shunning it so that he can continue the mission he has been given.
It is mentioned in the description of Ollivander's that the window display consists of a single wand on a cushion. We will find out in later books, notably —> Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, that Voldemort has been hunting artifacts of the Founders in order to make them into —> Horcruxes. It was suggested that the wand in Ollivander's window is —> Rowena Ravenclaw's; this might have had something to do with Ollivander's disappearance in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince as well. It turns out, however, that the artifact of Ravenclaw's that Voldemort was after had been found by him many years before; he had located her lost diadem, and had turned it into a Horcrux before he met Harry.
The idea that "The wand chooses the wizard" will also become a key point in the larger story, ft will become particularly important in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Chapter 6: The Journey from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters
Back —> at the Dursleys', —> Harry now has to wait out the month before he can go to —> Hogwarts. —> Uncle Vernon agrees to take him to London only because he has to take —> Dudley to a surgeon to get his pig's tail removed. The Dursleys then leave him standing in the station, unable to find —> Platform 9-3/4 where his train is supposed to leave.
Harry then spots another apparent wizarding family, and tags along with them to get to the Hogwarts Express. This family, who recognize him for who he is, turn out to be ->the Weasleys, and Harry is introduced to three of the four Weasley children who are currently attending Hogwarts: ->Fred, George, and -> Ron, who ends up sharing a compartment with him. (—> Percy Weasley is also attending, but he is a ->Prefect and so rides in the special Prefects compartment at the head of the train.) Ron tells him about the treat, Chocolate Frogs, and the enclosed Famous Wizard cards; Harry gets —> Albus Dumbledore's card, among others. Ron also happens to mention that there had been a break-in at Gringotts Wizarding Bank in ->Diagon Alley; Harry is interested in this because of his own recent trip there.
During the trip to school, various other students introduce themselves to him. ->Neville stops by looking for his toad, —> Trevor; —> Hermione Granger stops by shortly afterwards trying to help Neville find Trevor. -> Draco Malfoy, flanked by —> Crabbe and ->Goyle, tries to coerce Harry into an alliance, and when that fails, in part because of Malfoy's bad-mouthing the Weasley family, the three try to steal some of Harry's snacks; in this, they are stopped by —> Scabbers, Ron's pet rat, who attacks Goyle. Finally, Hermione returns, to let them know that they are about to arrive and should get into uniform.
At Hogsmeade Station, -> Hagrid reappears to shepherd the first-years down to a fleet of small boats that carry the students across the lake to ->Hogwarts castle.
Hermione, here in her first appearance of the series, is portrayed as a true grind - a girl whose "know-it-all" attitude is
immediately off-putting. Both Harry and Ron dislike her at once... though not in the same way that they dislike the anti-trio, Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle, who they immediately despise. It is interesting how Hermione mellows during the course of the series; this ongoing maturation of the characters, especially Hermione and, to a slightly lesser extent, Harry, is a significant part of what makes the overall story so compelling.
Draco's attitude to Ron gives us our first glimpse of the lineage-related prejudice which plagues the wizard world, and is the obsession of Voldemort and most of his followers.
Albus Dumbledore's "Famous Wizards" card is the key that provides a major clue to the riddle that needs to be solved in the course of this book.
While much of what Harry reads on Dumbledore's Chocolate Frog card will prove important to the story of this book, it will turn out that it will be somewhat important up until the very end of the series. In part of what will be an almost stunning amount of interconnection between the first of the series and the last, we will find that —> Grindelwald, mentioned on Dumbledore's Chocolate Frog card, was in fact an influence on the young Dumbledore, and has a large, though not central, role in the final book of the series.
Chapter 7: The Sorting Hat
Upon reaching the school, —> Hagrid hands the new students over to a teacher, —> Professor McGonagall. She leads the students to an anteroom, where they wait to be sorted into Houses. They are understandably nervous about this process, and are further unnerved by a small crowd of ghosts who pass through the anteroom on their way to the Great Hall. Shortly, Professor McGonagall returns, leads them into the Great Hall, and places them, one by one, under the —> Sorting Hat, which calls out the house to which they are assigned. There are four houses in Hogwarts, each with very specific characteristics. —> Slytherin is filled with ambitious, cunning witches and wizards. —> Ravenclaw is home to the most intelligent witches and wizards. —> Gryffindor houses only the brave, and —> Hufflepuff is where the most fair and honest go. The Sorting Hat suggests quietly that Harry might fit well in Slytherin, but when Harry balks at this, it places him instead in Gryffindor House.
—> Ron and —> Hermione also are Sorted into Gryffindor, along with several others. —> Professor Dumbledore then makes a few eccentric prefatory remarks, and the feast begins. In the course of the feast, we are introduced to —> Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington, the Gryffindor house ghost, who is nicknamed Nearly Headless Nick; and to some of the other students in Harry's year: —> Neville, who had almost lost his toad on the train; —> Seamus; and —> Dean, who is mentioned in the US editions of the book as being a "tall, black boy," but is not described in the British editions of the book. Harry also has an episode of pain in his scar when he is scrutinized by —> Professor Snape, the Potions teacher.
After the meal, there are a few start-of-term announcements, including one that catches Harry's ear: "this year, the third floor corridor on the right-hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death." Harry asks —> Percy if Dumbledore is serious, and Percy replies that he must be.
Now that the meal is finished, it is time to sing the school song: "everyone pick their favorite tune", said Dumbledore, "and off we go!". Afterwards, they leave for their dormitories. Percy leads the first-year Griffindors through a very convoluted path, though all paths through Hogwarts seem convoluted; Harry is bemused by the paintings on the walls, whose occupants are aware of the passing students and comment on them. They are briefly harassed by -> Peeves, but eventually reach the entrance to the Gryffindor common room, which is guarded by ->a portrait of a fat lady. Percy gives the password ("Caput Draconis"), and everyone goes up to their dormitories and to bed. During the night, Harry has a dream, involving Quirrell's turban and Malfoy turning into Snape. Harry wakes up sweating, and goes back to sleep, and when he wakes up the next morning he doesn't even remember the dream.
The purpose of this chapter seems to be to introduce us to the houses in Hogwarts; to give us our first taste of the character of the Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, and to introduce us also to the idea that Harry's scar can be a barometer, if you will, of the passing scene. We are also given another indication of Harry's fame in the Wizarding world, through the response made by the rest of the school when his name is called out for Sorting.
We are also given some ideas about how the Wizarding world differs from the Muggle world that Harry has been trapped in so far. The understanding of the operation of the Wizarding world here is not only appropriate to Harry's age level (11), but also is at about the level of detail that would be comprehended by someone of that age who was suddenly introduced to the magical world. For instance, the food of the banquet fades in on the plates; Harry doesn't stop to wonder who prepared it or how it got placed on the plates. That curiosity and the resultant understanding doesn't come about for another three years.
Harry's dream is, of course, foreshadowing of the main plot line of this book. At this point, the reader does not know enough to interpret this dream, but may understand that there is some connection between the pain Harry is feeling in
his scar, and Quirrell's turban.
1. Do you think Dumbledore is really as "barmy" as seems to be popularly believed? If not, is his behaviour an affectation, or does he have wisdom that other wizards don't understand and thus dismiss as eccentricity?
In this book, we see half of a timeline contradiction. At Nearly Headless Nick's ->deathday parly, commemorating the five-hundredth anniversary of his death, in ->Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, his death is stated to have been on 1492-10-31. However, in this chapter, Nearly Headless Nick states that he has been dead for nearly 400 years. It is assumed that this is an error on the part of the author, and in fact the author has corrected this, by making Nick say that he has been dead for nearly 500 years, in later editions of this book.
As mentioned in the Greater Picture section for that Deathday Party chapter, the date of Nearly Headless Nick's death can be used to determine a timeline for the entire series, leading us to all the specific dates of the book. However, this timeline is not critical to the plot or events of the books, as it only affects the interactions between the events in the books and the Muggle world, and those interactions are very few.
The byplay between Harry and the Sorting Hat becomes more germane in the course of the second book, -> Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and later in illustrating the difference between Harry and Voldemort. While the Hat recognizes qualities in Harry bestowed on him by the connection between him and Voldemort, it is ultimately Harry's exercising of choice and free will that leads to his assignment to Gryffindor.
Harry's dream may actually be a foreshadowing of events in the entire series, rather than in just this book. It may be that his dream is actually an unconscious attempt by —> Voldemort to influence Harry's actions by means of —> Legilimency, as he will do again in —> Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. While this is neither confirmed nor refuted by later events, it is unlikely that it is a conscious use of Legilimency by Voldemort; Voldemort did not start deliberately using Legilimency on Harry in that book until he became aware of the existing connection -> at about Christmas.
We are meant to believe that the explosion of pain in Harry's scar is because Snape is looking at him. It is true that Snape is not pleased to see him; at that distance, Snape can only see the similarity between Harry and his father -> James. We will find out that James and Snape were in the same year at Hogwarts, and that they did not get along. In actual fact, the pain in Harry's scar is because Voldemort, then riding Quirrell, is either looking at Harry through Quirrell's turban, or is using Legilimency to observe the room, and has just detected Harry.
Harry's scar did not hurt when he first met Quirrell in the Leaky Cauldron, and Quirrell's skin did not bum when they shook hands there (see —> The Man with Two Faces), because he wasn't wearing the turban at the time, and hence Voldemort was not possessing him from the back of his head. Quoting from the text, at the welcoming feast, "Harry spotted Quirrell, too, the nervous young man from from the Leaky Cauldron. He was looking very peculiar in a large purple turban." (Emphasis ours.) This implies that this is the first time Harry has seen him wearing the turban.
Chapter 8: The Potions Master
—> Harry finds his first few days at ->Hogwarts very trying indeed. The other students keep looking at him as though he is some kind of celebrity, which makes him nervous. The castle itself is very convoluted and he and —> Ron repeatedly get lost on their way to class and are late, or are caught accidentally trying to enter forbidden areas, which puts them (on the very first day at Hogwarts) on the wrong side of —> the caretaker, Argus Filch. And the lessons themselves are difficult.
Harry meets his teachers for the first time: —> Professor Sprout for Herbology, —> Professor Binns for History of Magic, and —> Professor Flitwick for Charms. He also has —> Professor McGonagall for Transfiguration, and —> Professor Quirrell for Defence Against the Dark Arts, though of course he has met them before.
At breakfast on Friday, Harry receives his first message by owl post, from —> Hagrid, inviting him to tea after class; he then attends his first Potions class with —> Professor Snape, a double length class shared with Slytherin first-years. This class does not go at all well, with Snape singling Harry out, and ridiculing him for his lack of magical knowledge. Snape, who apparently disapproves of Harry's celebrity status, continues to be harder on Harry than even the other Gryffindors in the class. In particular, when —> Neville melts the cauldron he shares with ->Seamus, Snape unjustly holds Harry partly responsible and penalizes Gryffindor House one point because of it.
When Harry (and Ron) get to Hagrid's hut for tea, Harry finds a clipping from —> the Daily Prophet, which mentions the robbery from Gringotts Wizarding Bank. Hagrid refuses to talk about it, and Harry ends up coming to the conclusion that the vault that was burglarized was in fact the one that Hagrid himself had emptied during their trip to —> Diagon Alley.
In this chapter we meet most of the Hogwarts teachers, at least most of the ones who will be major characters in this and later books. We discover that while most of the teachers are delighted to have Harry in their classes, Snape is less than impressed. As we progress through the books, Snape's singling out of Harry becomes a regular occurrence. Later we find out precisely why Snape hates Harry so much; for now, we are led to believe that it is Harry's celebrity that Snape dislikes. This will be reinforced in the next book, where we will see Snape's reaction to a celebrity teacher.
In the conversation with Hagrid at the end of this chapter, we see Harry's urge to understand and investigate, a quality which equips him to solve (with help) the many mysteries which will be put before him throughout his seven-year story.
1.Why didn't Snape call on Hermione when she raised her hand?
2.Why does Snape hate Harry so much?
Snape's great dislike for Harry becomes a main feature in many of the later books.
This first ever Potions class will actually foreshadow a lot of the events in the books. Snape says, in his introduction, that he can teach the students to "brew fame, bottle fortune, and even stopper death." The sheer number of
connections of this scene, as described below, to later parts of the series, had led many fans to speculate, following the events at the end of -> the sixth book, that -> Dumbledore and Snape had conspired to fake Dumbledore's death. In fact, the potion mentioned had been used in that book, although we do not find out about that until -> late in the final book; Snape had, in fact, prevented or reversed Dumbledore's death lfom his touching a cursed ring. The discussion of aconite or monkshood, and the associated Draught of Living Death, reappear in the sixth book, first when -> Professor Slughom has Harry's class brew this potion, and possibly (in the US edition only) on the top of the Astronomy tower, when Dumbledore is trying to convince ->Draco to switch sides, and tells him that can make Draco and all his family appear to be dead. The -> bezoar that Snape asks Harry to describe will play a small role in —> the fourth book, and a much larger one in ->the sixth book.
The fact that Harry and Ron constantly get lost shows the magical qualities and enormity of the castle. Hogwarts has many secrets, many of which will become very important later in the series.
Chapter 9: The Midnight Duel
—> Harry is dismayed to find out, in his second week of ->school, that flying lessons are also going to be shared with —> Slytherin house, and because he has no idea about how to fly, he will be subject to ridicule lfom ->Draco Malfoy, who has become as well-loved by Harry as —> cousin Dudley.
—> Neville receives a —> Remembrall from his grandmother, which Draco attempts to steal, but is prevented from doing so by the arrival of —> Professor McGonagall.
At the flying lesson, Neville falls off his broom and injures himself. The instructor, ->Madam Hooch, takes him off to the hospital wing, ordering the rest of the class to stay on the ground. Draco spots Neville's Remembrall on the ground, and takes off to place it in a tree for Neville to fetch later. Harry flies off after him, and finds that flying on a broomstick is something he is naturally good at. Draco changes his mind and throws the Remembrall away in the air, but Harry dives after it and catches it mid-air, just inches above the ground. He is immediately accosted by Professor McGonagall, who has been watching from her office. Professor McGonagall drags him away from the lesson, apparently in disgrace, but then introduces him to the captain of the Gryffindor —> Quidditch team, ->Oliver Wood, and tells him Harry's the new Seeker.