HP Chapter-A-Long: Sorcerer’s Stone Chapter 5

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Chapter 5: Diagon Alley

I am going to keep doing this, I promise! Sure, it’s been a bit sporadic, but I’m trying to get better. My goal is to do this on Fridays now. We’ll see how that goes.

We last left young Harry after being completely shocked that a gigantic man came to hand deliver the letter that Harry’s uncle had refused to let him see. The next day when he wakes up:

“It was a dream,” he told himself firmly. “I dreamed a giant called Hagrid came to tell me I was going to a school for wizards. When I open my eyes I’ll be at home in my cupboard.”

Aw, sweetie. It’s not a dream. It’s only beginning.

Harry discovers quickly that it wasn’t a dream and he and Hagrid set off, but not before Hagrid drops the bomb that Harry actually has money that his parents left for him, and it’s at a wizarding bank run by goblins. It’s really a wonder that this poor kid didn’t drop dead from the shock of it all.

They travel to London, which of course leads them to the Leaky Cauldron, and soon to Diagon Alley. Harry is in for another shock when all the people in the Leaky Cauldron pub not only recognize him, but are thrilled and honored to finally meet him. For a kid who’s always been treated like dirt, suddenly being the center of adoration must have been completely foreign and slightly uncomfortable. Harry also meets a character who I like to call “J.K.-Rowling’s-First-Masterful-Misdirection.” Also known as Professor Quirrell, the current Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.

“D-Defense Against the D-D-Dark Arts,” muttered Professor Quirrell, as though he’d rather not think about it. “N-not that you n-need it, eh, P-P-Potter?” He laughed nervously. “You’ll be g-getting all your equipment, I suppose? I’ve g-got to p-pick up a new b-book on vampires, m-myself.” He looked terrified at the very thought.

Who, when the first read this book, pegged this guy as the villain? Anyone? I sure didn’t. Although, to be fair, my introduction with the Harry Potter world started with the Sorcerer’s Stone movie, which was immediately followed by the book, but even in the movie – I never suspected Quirrell of anything at first. It wasn’t until the end when he was revealed that she BLEW MY MIND.

But anyway.

Harry and Hagrid make their way to Diagon Alley, which I have to say, is one of the things I wish I had seen in the movie after reading the book instead of before. I can’t imagine how exciting it must have been to see this magical wonderful place brought to life. I had no expectations of it, so it was still really cool, but not something I had been waiting and waiting to see. I want to visit Diagon Alley so much, especially Flourish and Blotts (the bookstore, naturally).

While at Diagon Alley, we do meet another character who becomes slightly important later on, and unlike Quirrell, I had this one pegged as a pain in the butt from the start.

In the back of the shop, a boy with a pale, pointed face was standing on a footstool while a second witch pinned up his long black robes.

Enter Draco Malfoy, snobby rich kid and bigot extraordinaire. We don’t learn his name here, but it’s obvious that we aren’t done with him.

“Where are your parents?”

“They’re dead,” said Harry shortly. He didn’t feel much like going into the matter with this boy.

“Oh, sorry,” said the other, not sounding sorry at all. “But they were our kind, weren’t they?

“They were a witch and wizard, if that’s what you mean.”

“I really don’t think they should let the other sort in, do you? They’re just not the same, they’ve never been brought up to know our ways. Some of them have never even heard of Hogwarts until they get the letter, imagine. I think they should keep it in the old wizarding families. What’s your surname anyway?”

Yeah, he’s a real peach, isn’t he. And I have to wait two more books before Hermione slaps him upside his stupid face. Darn.

Harry and Hagrid continue their shopping, including a stop at Ollivander’s to buy Harry his wand. Mr. Ollivander is creepy as can be, but finds the perfect wand for Harry, a wand that has a very unique property. Each wand has a special substance in the core: unicorn hair, dragon heartstring, phoenix feather. The wand that chooses Harry has a phoenix feather inside it and, according to Ollivander, the phoenix that gave that feather gave one other feather – which happened to be the core of Voldemort’s wand. That’s not traumatic to drop on the kid, no not at all.

Have I mentioned again how amazed I am that Harry is such a well-adjusted child?

Once they are done with their shopping, Hagrid takes Harry back to the train station to send him back to the Dursleys for the rest of the summer. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall when Harry arrived back home again, after all the insanity that happened in the house on the rocks. Harry is feeling, understandably, overwhelmed

“Everyone thinks I’m special,” he said at last. “All those people in the Leaky Cauldron, Professor Quirrell, Mr. Ollivander . . . but I don’t know anything about magic at all. How can they expect great things? I’m famous and I can’t even remember what I’m famous for.”

I can’t imagine how hard it must be to go from being the house pariah to being hailed as the greatest wizard boy in the world. Harry’s head must be spinning. Hagrid is quick to reassure him that everyone starts from the beginning at Hogwarts and that Harry will be absolutely fine. He gives Harry is train ticket to get to school and, as Harry heads back to the Dursley’s, Hagrid disappears.

Whew! So many things happen to Harry so fast, but he’s nothing if not a survivor. Next chapter, we meet more important characters and get on the train to Hogwarts!

 

HP Chapter-A-Long: Sorcerer’s Stone Chapter 4

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Chapter 4 – The Keeper of the Keys

I love this chapter, I really do! The Dursleys needed to be put in their place and, gosh darn it, Hagrid is the perfect person to do it!

And besides, it’s Hagrid! Hagrid Hagrid Hagrid! I love Hagrid, I truly do.

But let’s start this off by looking at it from Harry and the Dursley’s point of view. Something is banging on the door, so hard that the door completely falls off the hinges and crashes to the floor. Then this enormous man comes through said door and asks for a cup of tea. I might be a little freaked out about this, especially since he recognizes Harry immediately.

I also found in incredibly funny that Vernon is packing. Have you ever seen anyone less likely to know how to handle a gun?

Vernon tells Hagrid in no uncertain terms to leave, but Hagrid will have none of it. He destroys the gun, showing just how strong and powerful he is – don’t let those friendly crinkly eyes fool you. Sure, he’s a big ole teddy bear, but if you get on his bad side, Hagrid can tear you apart.

This part of the chapter also begins the list of things that Hagrid manages to fit into the pockets of his coat. This is one amazing coat and we’re going to keep a tally of what all he can pull out of that thing.

  • A slightly squashed box containing a birthday cake
  • A copper kettle
  • A package of sausages
  • A fireplace poker
  • A teapot
  • Several mugs
  • A bottle of booze

Harry is, of course, confused by all this. Hagrid explains that he’s the Keeper of Keys for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which just confuses Harry even more. He has no idea what Hagrid is talking about. And now we have another example of why, even though Hagrid is a sweetheart, you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.

Hagrid is livid when he discovers that the Dursleys have kept Harry completely in the dark about his past, about what he is, and particularly about who his parents were and what they did. Vernon tries to step in, but you really don’t want to try and interrupt Hagrid, now do you?

“Harry – yer a wizard.”

And now Harry’s life will completely change. Hagrid gives him a copy of the letter that Harry has been trying so hard to receive (and now its addressed to “Mr. H. Potter, The Floor, Hut-on-the-Rock, The Sea” – this will never stop being funny). It is the now famous Hogwarts letter, the one eleven year olds all over the world now hope to get. Oh, and we need  to add a few more things to our list of what’s in Hagrid’s coat.

  • Harry’s Hogwarts letter
  • An owl
  • A roll of parchment
  • A quill

The Dursleys give one more try to reassert their . . . something. Vernon says that Harry is not going to wizard school and, when questioned further, Petunia looses it. She vents her feelings about her sister, who was clearly the favorite in their family growing up (and for good reason it seems), about how she was accepted into Hogwarts and always came home doing weird things. Petunia thought Lilly was a freak and hated the fact that everyone else loved that Lilly could do magic. Petunia also lets slip that the Potters got “blown up” instead of dying in a car crash, which leads Hagrid to explain to Harry what really happened to his parents.

I can’t imagine what this was like for Harry. It’s sad enough to be orphaned, to loose both of your parents before you can even remember their faces. It’s bad enough to be left with horrible family members that treat you like dirt. But then to find out that your parents were murdered by the equivalent of Wizard Hitler, who tried to also kill you, and for some reason couldn’t do it. Something about Harry completely destroyed Wizard Hitler (or Voldemort, which is his actual name). Oh, and by the way Harry, you’re completely famous.

As Hagrid keeps talking, Harry realizes that a number of things are starting to make more sense – how he had been able to do seemingly impossible things whenever he was angry or scared (remember the snake at the zoo!!). Of course, Vernon has to be there to mess it all up. He insists that Harry will not be going to school, finally taking things a step too far.

“I AM NOT PAYING FOR SOME CRACKPOT OLD FOOL TO TEACH HIM MAGIC TRICKS!” yelled Uncle Vernon.

But he had finally gone too far. Hagrid seized his umbrella and whirled it over his head, “NEVER – ” he thundered, ” – INSULT – ALBUS – DUMBLEDORE – IN – FRONT – OF – ME!”

While I would have loved to see Hagrid do something to Vernon, who clearly needs to be taken down a peg or two (or five), Hagrid instead gives Dudley a nice curly pigs tail. That’s it for the Dursleys. They scream and run into the next room, slamming the door. Hagrid tells Harry that he really isn’t supposed to do magic because he was expelled from Hogwarts in his third year. Harry asks why, but Hagrid changes the subject. He gives Harry is coat to use as a blanket, which leaves us with the last thing to add to our list of stuff Hagrid has in his coat.

  • mice

I’m a little concerned for these mice, since Hagrid usually carries an owl as well. But that brings us to the end of the chapter. Next week, we’ll read chapter 5!

HP Chapter-A-Long: Sorcerer’s Stone Chapter 3

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Chapter 3 – Letters From No One

In this chapter, Harry receives not one, but many letters that his uncle is determined to keep from him. This is the part where we get to see Uncle Vernon go completely bonkers. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer fella. 🙂

Before we get too far though, let’s take a look at the first paragraph. Because I have issues with this.

The escape of the Brazilian boa constrictor earned Harry his longest-ever punishment. By the time he was allowed out of his cupboard again, the summer holidays had started and Dudley had already broken his new video camera, crashed his remote control airplane, and, first time out on his racing bike, knocked down old Mrs. Figg as she crossed Privet Drive on her crutches.

So . . . it doesn’t really say when Dudley’s birthday is, but . . . they locked Harry in his cupboard until summer vacation? Does this mean that he didn’t go to school? Did the school have anything to say about that? Did they even feed the boy? Remember, he is living in a tiny closet. He spent weeks, if not months, locked in there. THESE PEOPLE ARE HORRIBLE!!!!

Also, I’m going to guess that even though Dudley is being reckless and destructive, he’s not being punished AT ALL. Lock that one in a cupboard for a while, won’t ya? Sheesh.

The nice thing is that next year, for the first time, Dudley and Harry will be going to different schools. This is still true, although Harry goes to a far more different school than planned. Harry is glad that he will finally be able to escape Dudley and his friends, although Dudley has told him horrible things about Stonewall High. But it couldn’t be any worse than going to school with Dudley, could it? The mail comes and here’s the bit we’ve all been waiting for.

Harry gets a letter.

Mr. H. Potter

The Cupboard Under the Stairs

4 Privet Drive

Little Whinging

Surrey

See, when I first read these, I was already an adult. So there was never any anticipation about whether or not I would ever get a Hogwarts letter. My kids are still hoping though, so I guess I will live vicariously through them.

Vernon sees the letter and freaks out. He takes it away and, after a hurried talk with Petunia, burns it. Harry is obviously none too happy about it, but there isn’t much he can do. This also leads to the Dursleys deciding to actually give Harry a bedroom, since they think that whoever sent the letter is watching the house because they knew where Harry sleeps. They give Harry Dudley’s second bedroom. Yes, you read that right. SECOND bedroom. Because Dudley is such a wretched little spoiled brat that all his crap can’t fit in just one room. Dudley, as expected, throws an absolute fit about this, but is bewildered when his fit does absolutely nothing. The room is filled with all the toys and things that Dudley has broken over the years, including a television that he put his foot through during a tantrum when his favorite show got cancelled.

Sigh.

None of this does the Dursleys any good though, because another letter arrives, this time addressed to “The Smallest Bedroom.” Vernon once again takes the letter and destroys it, so Harry decides to get up early and wait for the postman to come himself. Unfortunately Vernon expects this and sleeps in front of the door in order to catch him. That day, three letters arrive.

And here comes my favorite bit of the chapter – Uncle Vernon completely loses his mind.

He stays home and boards up the mail slot, using a piece of fruitcake at one point as a hammer (wow, that’s some really bad fruitcake). Does this work?

On Friday, no less than twelve letters arrived for Harry. As they couldn’t go through the mail slot they had been pushed under the door, slotted through the sides, and a few even forced through the small window in the downstairs bathroom.

Now Vernon boards up the entire door, and the back door too for good measure. No one can get in or out of the house. The milkman has to deliver the eggs through the window. At this point, I can’t help but guess that the neighbors are starting to notice that something strange is going on and, since the Dursleys worry so much about what people think . . . yeah, it makes me smile a little.

And there were letters hidden inside each of the two dozen eggs, by the way. How the heck did they do that? Oh yeah, magic. Moving on.

On Sunday, Vernon feels like he can relax. Mail isn’t delivered on Sunday, right? Right? WRONG!!!

Something came whizzing down the kitchen chimney as he (Vernon) spoke and caught him sharply on the back of the head. Next moment, thirty or forty letters came pelting out of the fireplace like bullets. The Dursleys ducked, but Harry leapt into the air trying to catch one –

This scene has become so iconic because of the movie, almost a symbol for the entire series – Harry jumping into the air as letters fly all around him.

The Dursleys (and Harry) take to the road. Vernon spends most of the time muttering to himself and trying to shake off some invisible pursuer. The mind, it is gone. They stop at a hotel, where a bunch of the letters are waiting at the desk.  Oh and have I mentioned that throughout this whole trip Dudley is completely miserable? He can’t eat everything in sight, he can’t loaf around and watch television. He has made himself cry, but to no avail. His misery delights me.

Their final destination is a small rental house on a rock out off the coast. Vernon is thrilled that there are storm warnings, thinking that nothing could possibly get to them here in the middle of nowhere. They settle down for the night, Harry sleeping on the floor with the only blanket he could find, when Harry realizes something. The next day is his birthday. He will be turning eleven. He can see Dudley’s watch and sees that it’s almost midnight, which means that his birthday is almost here.

One minute to go and he’d be eleven. Thirty seconds . . . twenty . . . ten . . . nine – maybe he’d wake Dudley up, just to annoy him – three . . . two . . . one . . .

BOOM.

The whole shack shivered and Harry sat bolt upright, staring at the door. Someone was outside, knocking to come in.

Thus ends the chapter, with the arrival of someone who will turn out to be one of the most beloved characters in the entire series. This is the point where young Harry’s life will be irrevocably changed forever. Hey, even without the whole magic thing, I’m just glad he gets to get away from the Dursleys.

HP Chapter-A-Long: Sorcerer’s Stone Chapter 2

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Greetings one and all! And welcome to Chapter 2 of my re-read of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. In this chapter, we get our first look at what Harry Potter is really like (since all we saw was a baby in Chapter 1).

Here’s my take: Harry Potter is a nice, thoughtful, normal boy (magic aside, of course). As far as I’m concerned, that is a bloody miracle.

And yes, in honor of good ole HP, I will be interjecting Britishisms throughout these posts. Because they’re bloody brilliant. Good? Good.

Harry has lived with his aunt, uncle and cousin for ten years. That has been ten years of being abused, neglected, and treated like he was dirt on the bottom of their shoes. How on earth did he end up without severe emotional issues? How? The Dursleys never even gave him a bedroom in their house – the poor kid has to sleep in a tiny closet (excuse me, Britishisms here, that’s a cupboard) under their stairs. Not to mention the fact that he is constantly made to do all the chores and pretty much wait on them hand and food. His cousin Dudley routinely beats Harry up at school (which I’m sure goes unpunished). But let’s talk for a second about Dudley.

It’s Dudley’s birthday (um, yay?). He has received thirty-seven presents. My birthday is directly after Christmas, and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten thirty-seven presents for those two holidays COMBINED, especially not a whole heap of expensive presents, like a new computer, a second television (emphasis on SECOND), and a racing bike. But this is not good enough for Dudders here, because it’s less than he had last year. He’s about to throw a fit until his mother says that they will buy him TWO MORE PRESENTS so that he has more. Let me tell you right now – if I had acted that way towards my parents, every single one of those presents would have gone back to the store (amirite, Mom? I know you read these!). But instead, let’s placate the little selfish spoiled brat. UGH!!

Sorry. Dudley Dursley brings out the CAPSLOCK in me. But here’s a lovely quote that sums him up:

Aunt Petunia often said that Dudley looked like a baby angel – Harry often said that Dudley looked like a pig in a wig.

*giggle*

But here’s where we start to see that while Harry is remarkably well adjusted despite the life he has led so far, he’s not the most normal kid in the world. Weird things happen to him. His hair grows back really fast after his aunt gives him a horrible haircut. She tries to make him wear a hideous sweater, but it keeps shrinking until he can’t wear it anymore. He runs away from Dudley’s friends at school and somehow ends up on the roof. Of course, whenever something weird happens around Harry, he is always punished for it, whether there’s any explanation for it at all.

The Dursleys are horrible people, let’s face it. I understand that getting your nephew dumped on your doorstep is difficult, but it’s not Harry’s fault! And to treat any child the way that they’ve treated Harry is horrible, but Harry is part of their family! You should never treat family like this!

So Harry gets to go to the zoo with the Dursleys for Dudley’s birthday because the lady who was supposed to babysit broke her leg and can’t take him (this is something else that they subconsciously blame Harry for). Also funny – that lady is Mrs. Figg, who we find out later is a MEMBER OF THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX!!I love the fact that there are these little tiny things dropped into these first books that become blindingly important in later ones. Although, this does beg another question. Mrs. Figg moved onto Privet Drive to keep an eye on Harry, yes? She’s a squib, so she can’t do magic, but she has been in contact with Dumbledore and, as I said, is a member of the Order. Doesn’t she realize that Harry is being mistreated? She can’t be that blind, can she? And if she knows, why doesn’t she alert Dumbledore?!?!? Dumbledore knows about the prophesy at this point, and has known for a while. He knows that, down the road, Harry will be responsible for the final downfall of Voldemort. He knew Voldy wasn’t gone for good at this point, didn’t he? Why did he let the prophesied savior of wizardkind be abused like this?

It’s so frustrating, knowing what we know now. But oh well. Moving on.

This is where we get the famous snake scene. They visit the reptile house and Harry finds out that he can talk to the snake, sort of. When Dudley and his friend Piers see that, they take over the window to the case where they snake is. The glass to the case disappears and the snake escapes. Naturally Harry is blamed for this too (even though he did technically do it, although he doesn’t realize it yet). The zoo employees can’t explain it, but Piers mentions that Harry was talking to the snake, so that makes him officially a weirdo, right? Later, this will come back, once we learn about Parceltongue, and find out that yes, Harry actually can talk to snakes (and this is unusual, even for magic folk).

As Harry is confined to his cupboard for the night as punishment, he tries to remember his parents. Of course, he can’t, since he was only a baby when he came to the Dursleys, but this just made me feel so sad for him. He knows that he has no other family than these nasty, nasty people who treat him so badly. He has noticed over the years that other people seem to know him, strangers who have come up to him and spoken with him or shook his hand. But he has no idea who these people are and they always seemed to fade away (one of these people being Dedalus Diggle, another Order member). It’s sad that Harry looks at all of these people as possible family members that he didn’t know about because he knows nothing of what being in a family is supposed to feel like.

This kid! I just want to hug him and give him an ice cream sundae!

Before I go, here’s another little gem I would like to share:

“I had a dream about a motorcycle,” said Harry, remembering suddenly. “It was flying.”

Uncle Vernon nearly crashed into the car in front. He turned right around in his seat and yelled at Harry, his face like a gigantic beet with a mustache: “MOTORCYCLES DON’T FLY!”

Dudley and Piers sniggered.

“I know they don’t,” said Harry. “It was only a dream.”

Aw, pumpkin. It wasn’t a dream at all.

So that’s my post for Chapter 2! Is anyone else reading along with me? Let me know in comments!

A New (Surprise) Project

So since I have all the free time in the world, and no books at all on my TBR pile, ur, mountain, I’ve decided to embark on a new project. Most likely, as with my other projects, this one will last a little over a month and then disappear, but I hope not. Some of you might remember that I had started another blog called “Chapter’d” where I thought I would try tackling the review-a-book-chapter-by-chapter thing that I had loved following on other blogs, like Mark Reads and Reading With Avengeance.

All well and good, except that keeping up a schedule like that is hard! I was honestly surprised by just how difficult it was.

I have decided, however, to give it a go again. I’ve recently started following the blogs of a few of the folks over at Tor.com, one of which is Emily Asher-Perrin. She is awesome. I have posted a few links to her blogs before. She has also recently started doing a Harry Potter re-read over at Tor and has inspired me to attempt to do the same. Posts will be once a week, probably on Thursday or Friday, and will feature one or two chapters, depending on length.

Why am I doing this? Who knows. I can certainly think of worse ways to spend my time.

So, without further ado, here’s chapter one. 🙂

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First of all, be very aware that spoilers will abound with these posts. If you haven’t read any of the Harry Potter books, well . . . what are you waiting for!

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

It’s funny, but this first sentence of the entire Harry Potter saga tells you everything you need to know about the Dursleys. It was funny, but when I read this again this time, it reminded me of a similar statement from another fantasy series.

The Bagginses had lived in the neighbourhood of The Hill for time out of mind, and people considered them very respectable, not only because most of them were rich, but also because they never had any adventures or did anything unexpected.

Believe me, I am NOT comparing Bilbo Baggins to Vernon Dursley, not by a long shot. What I don’t understand is this pride in being “normal,” that being predictable and keeping your head down is the main way to be a respected member of society.

I mean really, how boring is that!

In the Dursley’s case, it also means shunning those who don’t fit into their brand of normal, which includes Mrs. Dursley’s sister. The thing is though, I can’t imagine that anyone particularly likes the Dursleys all that much, even in the normal world. Vernon is loud and overbearing and yells at his coworkers. Petunia spends most of her time gossiping and spying on her neighbors to see what sordid things they are up to. Who would want to hang out with these people?

And then there’s Dudley. Don’t even get me started on Diddy Dinkums.

When their happy little hum drum life starts to get turned upside down, I can’t help but be happy about it. Vernon is being stalked by a tabby cat (who we all know by now is Professor McGonagall), he sees people wearing brightly colored cloaks walking all over the place (and even gets hugged by one of them). There are shooting stars and owls flying everywhere. You know something strange is going on, but you don’t know exactly what.

And then, over on her blog post at Tor, Emily makes a valid point that shuts down all the fun:

Everything was upbeat and dandy and silly the first time around, and I recall being so curious about this family and the You-Know-Who business and what the cloaked people were fussing over and what a Muggle could possibly be. Then I was rereading it and suddenly it was all, OH RIGHT, JAMES AND LILY POTTER ARE DEAD, IT HAPPENED LAST NIGHT AND THEY WERE ONLY 20 YEARS OLD, AND SIRIUS GAVE HIS BIKE TO HAGRID AND IS CURRENTLY BEING CARTED OFF TO AZKABAN PRISON, NOTHING WILL EVER BE OKAY AGAIN.

The Wizarding World has much to celebrate. Lord Voldemort is gone, at least for now, impossibly vanquished by a tiny baby boy. But also, the most tragic thing in the entire book has just happened – Harry Potter’s life has been changed forever, his parents ripped away from him before he ever has the chance to know them – and the first time reading this, WE HAD NO IDEA HOW AWFUL THIS IS.

It’s also interesting how the movies have changed how I picture certain characters in the books. Take James and Lily, for example. We learn in Deathly Hallows that they were both 20 or 21 when they died, but I never picture them as being that young because the actors in the movies don’t look that young. They were only a few years out of school. It’s also interesting to think that other characters we meet later, Snape for example, are the same age as James and Lily would have been, which would make Snape in his 30’s throughout Harry’s time at Hogwarts. Since Alan Rickman, who plays him so brilliantly in the movies, is a bit older than that, I always picture Snape as being much older than he should be.

Whoa, getting way ahead of myself. Jeez.

So we meet Albus Dumbledore, who you can tell right away is more awesome than the Dursleys will ever be. A powerful wizard, the only person Voldemort ever feared, lemon drop connoisseur . . . but I do have to question his judgment about leaving Harry with the Dursleys in the first place. I understand that he wants Harry to grow up away from all the fame and pressure of being the one who defeated the Dark Lord. “Famous before he can walk and talk! Famous for something he won’t even remember!” Dumbledore explains. But really, the Dursleys? I know they are Harry’s only relatives, but still, couldn’t they find anyone else? The giant squid in the lake at Hogwarts has more kindness and compassion than these people! But Dumbledore is there and I’m not, so my opinion clearly doesn’t matter.

Harry is brought to the Dursley’s by Hagrid, who borrowed Sirius Black’s motorcycle to bring him there. The motorcycle that Sirius won’t need anymore because he will be spending the next thirteen years in Azkaban. Oh my heart. Again, tragedy at every turn! Why did I enjoy this book so much? Oh yeah, because when you first read it, you don’t realize who these people are and the future that is in store for them. Sigh. It’s from Hagrid that we realize that not everyone is celebrating. The lovable giant is in tears thinking of the Potters’ fate, and of poor Harry being abandoned. I love Hagrid so much.

The only thing we do know is that something will be happening in Harry’s future. Left on the doorstep of his “normal” relatives, when he is anything but. Nothing can go wrong with this plan, can it? Well, not wrong exactly, but it’s not going to be an easy life. We’ll find out just how difficult it has been, but not until the next chapter. 🙂

Be sure to check out Emily’s post about Chapter 1. She’s much better at this than I am.