Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Chapter 3

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Welcome to my first post (although not for the first chapter) of my Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Chapter-A-Long! I did this several years ago, first on this blog and then on its own separate blog – neither of which lasted long. In this series, as part of my #PotterheadReadAlong19 with The Perks of Being Noura, I will post each day about the chapter that I am reading for that day (or multiple chapters, in the bigger books).

And since I just decided this morning that I was going to do this, I will not be going back to do the first two chapters of Chamber of Secrets, nor will I go back and review Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone. I will probably post a regular review of that one, since I know I’ve never actually sat down and reviewed it.

So, here we go! And of course, spoilers will abound, so if you haven’t read this, proceed at your own risk.

Chapter 3

In this chapter, Harry finally gets released from the Dursleys, after finding out that a house elf has been preventing him from getting letters from his friends over the summer.

To be fair, for anyone who hasn’t read these books, that is one odd sentence! The first two chapters really set up how miserable Harry has been over the summer, and just how absolutely awful the Dursleys are. Let’s be real: they treat him worse than a servant and, after the pudding incident, lock him up and basically starve him. Sure, he’s given “food,” but not much. So when the flying car shows up with the Weasleys, ready to break him out, it is such a relief, both to Harry and to the reader. Anything to get him out of that house!

I also love Fred and George in this chapter, especially how they have learned the “Muggle trick” of picking locks with a hair pin, just in case.

One thing I have always wondered is why the Dursleys, Vernon in particular, is so adamant to keep Harry there. He tries to drag Harry out of the car and back in the window (literally falls out the window trying to do so in the movie). Why? If they hate him so much, wouldn’t they be glad he’s leaving? Just a thought.

The car ride leads to the speculation of who might have sent the house elf. Re-reading this for the umpteenth time, it’s funny that they immediately think of Malfoy, since we do find out later that Dobby worked for the Malfoy family, although they did not send him there. Makes Dobby’s freedom towards the end of the book all the more sweet.

We also meet the rest of the Weasley family and see their house. I love the Weasleys so much! I love how they immediately take Harry in and treat him like one of their own, from the very beginning. There is a reason why Harry comes to think of them as his own family, and that’s because they treat him as such. I can’t imaging coming from a situation like Harry’s into the warmth of the Weasley’s house. Polar opposites. While Ron is a bit embarassed of the shabbiness of his home, Harry loves it. You can tell that this is a real family, who loves each other more than anything, and it radiates through the whole house.

Quote of the chapter:

Your sons flew that car to Harry’s house and back last night!” shouted Mrs. Weasley. “What have you got to say about that, eh?”

“Did you really?” said Mr. Weasley eagerly. “Did it go all right? I – I mean,” he faltered as sparks flew from Mrs. Weasley’s eyes, “that – that was very wrong, boys – very wrong indeed . . .”


Cursed Child #3: Act 1, Scenes 7-9


Welcome to this week’s installment of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. This week, Harry and Albus share a heartbreaking moment and Harry has a terrifying dream that may have much bigger consequences.

Scene 7 – Harry & Ginny Potter’s House, Albus’s Room

We’ve seen in previous scenes how isolated Albus has become, especially in regards to his own family. This scene begins with what appears to be the Potters getting ready to head off for Albus’s fourth year at Hogwarts. There is a great deal of commotion, but Albus stays tucked in his room, ignoring it all. James is bellowing across the hall (his hair has turned pink?), Lily is trying to convince her mother to let her take fairy wings to school (“They’re fluttery!”), Ginny is trying her darnedest to get rooms cleaned and trunks packed. Harry stops in Albus’s room.

HARRY: Just delivering a pre-Hogwarts gift – gifts – Ron’s sent this . . .

ALBUS: Okay. A love potion. Okay.

HARRY: I think it’s a joke about – I don’t know what. Lily got farting gnomes, James got a comb that’s made his hair turn a shade of pink. Ron – well, Ron’s Ron, you know?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Oh Ron, don’t ever change! I guess Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes is still in business!

You can tell that Harry is struggling with something and he eventually pulls out his gift to Albus for the year – and it’s one of the most heart wrenching things I think I’ve ever seen.

ALBUS: An old blanket?

HARRY: I thought a lot about what to give you this year. James – well, James has been going on about the Invisibility Cloak since time itself, and Lily – I knew she’d love wings – but you. You’re fourteen years old now, Albus, and I wanted to give you something which – meant something. This . . . is the last thing I had from my mum. The only thing. I was given to the Dursleys wrapped in it. I thought it had gone forever and then, when your great-aunt Petunia died, hidden amongst her possessions, surprisingly, Dudley found this and he kindly sent it on to me, and ever since then – well, anytime I’ve wanted luck I’ve found it and just tried to hold it and I wondered if you . . .

The blanket. The blanket from the beginning of Sorcerer’s Stone that Baby Harry was wrapped in when Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Hagrid left him on the Dursleys’ doorstep all those years ago. The only thing left of the parents that had loved him, that had gone with him that horrible night.

I can’t believe they kept it. It doesn’t seem in character for them at all. Harry speculates that Petunia must have wanted him to have it, even after everything that happened. Also, I guess we now know that Petunia is no longer living, although Dudley is (which would make sense, since he’s Harry’s age). No word on Vernon yet.

Albus, being 14 and a bit of a prat, doesn’t see this gift as meaningfully as Harry does. Harry mentions that he would like to be with Albus, holding the blanket on Halloween night, the night his parents died, to honor them. He believes that his mother would have wanted Albus to have the blanket. Instead, Albus sees this as another affront. James got a cool gift, Lily got a cool gift, and all he got was a blanket. He tries to brush Harry off, but Harry is really trying to reach out and connect with his son. He instead offers to help pack because he always loved packing for Hogwarts.

ALBUS: For you, it’s the greatest place on earth. I know. The poor orphan, bullied by his uncle and aunt Dursley . . .

HARRY: Albus, please – can we just –

ALBUS: . . . traumatized by his cousin, Dudley, saved by Hogwarts. I know it all, Dad. Blah, blah, blah.

Clearly Harry Potter’s origin story isn’t as exciting when you’re his kid. Or when you’ve heard it a million times.

Harry is trying to keep his temper, he really is, but Albus knows just how to get under his skin. Albus taunts him, making light of this gift, and finally it’s too much.

HARRY: (finally losing his temper): You know what? I’m done with being made responsible for your unhappiness. At least you’ve got a dad. Because I didn’t, okay?

ALBUS: And you think that was unlucky? I don’t.

HARRY: You wish me dead?

ALBUS: No! I just wish you weren’t my dad.

HARRY (seeing red): Well, there are times I wish you weren’t my son.

Oh no. Oh no no no no. I understand this. I really do. As a parent, there are times when my daughter says or does something that puts me just to the limits of what I can tolerate. But you can’t do that. You have to be the bigger person in this case. You can’t say things like this to your kids, even if you mean it at the time. That kind of thing will stick with a child forever, even if they pretend like it’s nothing.

Which is what Albus does. He says he doesn’t blame his dad for feeling that way and asks that he leave, throwing the blanket after him. Harry realizes what a terrible mistake he’s made, but once words are said, they can’t be unsaid. I feel sorry for both of them.

Scene 8 – Dream, Hut-on-the-Rock

I’m assuming this is Harry’s dream, since no one in his family would know about the Hut on the Rock. It’s the scene from Sorcerer’s Stone when Hagrid comes to give him his Hogwarts letter. Hagrid is banging on the door. Dudley, Petunia and Vernon are all cowering in the corner. Vernon has his rifle. There is one part that I don’t remember in the original book.

AUNT PETUNIA: We’re cursed! He’s cursed us! The boy has cursed us! (Seeing YOUNG HARRY) This is all your fault. Get back in your hole.

I don’t remember Petunia ever saying anything about Harry being a curse, although maybe she thought it a few times.

Hagrid breaks through the door and the scene goes mostly like we expect. Vernon tries to be menacing with the rifle (and fails miserably). Hagrid ties the barrel of the gun into a bow. He also sees Harry, tells him he looks like his parents, and wishes him a happy birthday, giving him his cake. Hagrid starts telling Harry about Hogwarts, taking offense at the fact that the Dursleys had never told him about it. As I said, it all goes as planned until we get to the famous “Harry – yer a wizard” line. Then this happens.

And then, right from the back of the room, whispering around everyone.

Words said with an unmistakable voice. The voice of VOLDEMORT. . .

Haaarry Pottttter

It’s been over twenty years and Harry is still haunted by this. I guess I had hoped, after reading the Deathly Hallows epilogue, that Harry had put all that behind him, but I guess he hasn’t. Being upset from the Albus situation probably doesn’t help either.

Scene 9 – Harry & Ginny Potter’s House, Bedroom

Harry jerks awake and we get the idea that this was more than just a nightmare. His forehead hurts him and he can see Dark Magic swirling around the room. Ginny wakes up, but Harry tells her to go back to sleep. She doesn’t listen and tries to talk to him about it. He grudgingly tells her that it was a dream about the Dursleys, but that it turned into something else.

Ginny is a good wife. I really love their relationship. She is supportive, even though she knows that he behaved badly, both with Albus and with Amos Diggory.

GINNY:Because I know that when the time is right you’ll say sorry. That you didn’t mean it. That what you said concealed . . . other things. You can be honest with him, Harry . . . That’s all he needs.

HARRY: I wish he was more like James or Lily.

GINNY (dry): Yeah, maybe don’t be that honest.

Harry clarifies it, saying that it’s not that he wants Albus to change, he just wishes he could understand him.

I know the feeling. Actually, my issues are usually that when my daughter is behaving badly, I understand her exactly. She is so much like me, it’s scary. Seriously scary.

Ginny tells Harry that he needs to be honest with Albus, that Albus knows when Harry is putting on a front and doesn’t want to deal with that.

HARRY: “The truth is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.”

GINNY looks at him, surprised.


GINNY: A strange thing to say to a child.

HARRY: Not when you believe that child will have to die to save the world.

It’s times like this that I really hate Dumbledore. The way that he played Harry . . . I know he had his reasons, and those reasons were to save the world, but still. Harry was a child. What did I say earlier about adults knowing better and should behave better than children? Really, it’s amazing that Harry is as well-adjusted as he is. I don’t know how he made it.

Harry tries to pretend that his forehead isn’t still in intense pain, but Ginny isn’t buying it. Harry brushes it off and says they should go back to sleep. Ginny asks how long it’s been since his scar hurt. Twenty-two years. That’s how long.

This can’t be good.

Chapter-A-Long · Uncategorized

Cursed Child #2: Act 1, Scenes 4-6


Hiya folks! It’s time for my next installment of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Chapter-A-Long read! I really enjoyed doing this last time and hope you enjoyed it as well. I’m moving these posts to Mondays because schedule-wise, that’s easier for me.

This week, we are taking a look at Act 1, Scenes 4 through 6. Let’s jump in!

Scene 4 – Transition Scene

The stage direction of at the beginning of this scene states that “there are no individual scenes, but fragments, shards that show the constant progression of time.” From reading it, I really wish I could have seen how they staged this, especially as someone who has done a bit of theater. It must have been fascinating to design.

First up: Albus’s arrival at Hogwarts, and the hubbub it creates. Everyone is excited to see him and everyone has something to say.

POLLY CHAPMAN: Albus Potter.

KARL JENKINS: A Potter. In our year.

YANN FREDERICKS: He’s got his hair. He’s got hair just like him.

Imagine starting your first year at a new school and having everyone talking about you. Even if they weren’t saying anything bad, it still has to be a lot of pressure!

Moving on to the Sorting. Rose gets sorted into Gryffindor, which she is very happy about. Scorpious gets sorted into Slytherin, which everyone was expecting. And Albus, well . . . he has to face his worst fear as he is also sorted into Slytherin. Everyone is shocked and dismayed, especially Rose. Everyone except for Scorpious, who seems delighted to have a friend. Albus himself seems to have no reaction at all, except for the stage direction that says he is “thoroughly discombobulated.”

By the way, I love the word “discombobulated.” It’s awesome. But I digress. Next scene.

And suddenly a flying lesson is happening with MADAM HOOCH.

I have to admit, Madam Hooch is one of my favorite minor characters from the original books. I don’t know why, but I’ve always wanted to know more about her. Did she ever play professional Quidditch before retiring to teach? Why does she have yellow eyes like a cat? Is it significant that she is described like a hawk? I want to know these things!

But anyway, the flying lesson is a disaster for Albus, as he is the only one in class to have trouble getting their broom to fly up to their hands. Now the rumor is circulating that not only is Albus a Slytherin, but he’s a Squib as well.

(For any muggles reading this, a Squib is a person born of a magical family who does not have any magical abilities. Notable Squibs in the Harry Potter-verse include Argus Filtch, the dreaded caretaker of Hogwarts. Hmmm. Wonder if he’s still around anywhere?).

The scene segues again into what I thought was a dream sequence, but is actually where Albus arrives at King’s Cross before his second year. Albus is afraid that everyone is saying something about how disappointing he is as a Potter, although Harry is quick to tell him that none of that matters.

HARRY: Look, as long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters to me.

I really find it awesome that Harry is such a good dad, considering the fact that he grew up with the worst of examples in the Dursleys. Of course, he also had a lot of influence by the Weasleys, so I guess it evens out. Plus, anyone with half a brain should know not to lock their kids in a cupboard under the stairs.

There is also a weird exchange with Draco Malfoy. He approaches Harry asking for help because the rumors surrounding Scorpious aren’t going away. Harry doesn’t feel the need to do anything about this.

HARRY: If you answer the gossip, you feed the gossip. There’ve been rumors Voldemort had a child for years, Scorpious is not the first to be accused. The Ministry, for your sake as well as ours, needs to steer well clear.

It does make me wonder who else may have been accused of being Voldemort’s child. I imagine there couldn’t be that long of a list (really, who would have gotten THAT close to him??? – don’t want to know  . . .)

Also mentioned is the fact that Astoria is sick.

Next scene is in the Great Hall, where Professor McGonagall is announcing that Rose has made the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Scorpious claps along with Albus, and when questioned, he just shrugs and says that he’s doing it because she’s Albus’s cousin. He also thinks that she’s brilliant, so maybe someone has a little crush? Maybe?

Side note: Minerva McGonagall is life. I adore her more than most things.

Next scene is in potions class, where Albus and Scorpious are partners. The other students avoid them and make snide remarks. Things aren’t going well in potions though – their potion explodes! Hey, something of Harry that Albus inherited!

Next up: third year. We’re moving along at a good clip! It’s King’s Cross again, where Harry is handing Albus his permission slip to go to Hogsmeade. Albus is not interested, even going so far to light the permission slip on fire with a surprisingly good Incendio spell. Harry tells him of his concerns, that Professor McGonagall had been sending owls. Albus responds in a proper thirteen year-old way.

ALBUS: So what would you like me to do? Magic myself popular? Conjure myself into a new House? Transfigure myself into a better student? Just cast a spell, Dad, and change me into what you want me to be, okay? It’ll work better for both of us.

Yikes. What a change from the soft, sensitive kid who got on the train two years earlier! Even though he’s kind of being a brat, I feel really bad for Albus. He’s had a rough, rough time of it, and I’m watching right now with my own kid how bullying at school can completely change a person. It’s really, really sad, especially since Albus is isolating himself from his family.

He still has Scorpious though, but Scorpious has his own issues to deal with. When Albus finds him on the train, Scorpious tells him that his mother has died. Albus doesn’t know what to do or say. Scorpious is quick to tell him that he doesn’t need much.

SCORPIOUS: Come to the funeral.

ALBUS: Of course.

SCORPIOUS: And be my good friend.

The last little bit of this very long, very complicated scene is the Sorting for this year. And guess what – it’s Lilly’s first year at Hogwarts. She is sorted into Gryffindor and Albus is, well . . . I’m not sure how he feels about it.

ALBUS: Great.

SCORPIOUS: Did you really think she’d come to us? Potters don’t belong in Slytherin.

ALBUS: This one does.

So in two years, Albus has become completely different that anyone else in his family. Rebellious, in trouble with the school, with an attitude that will not quit. In fact, it feels like he is rejecting his family, even though it is clear from Harry’s responses that his family is not pushing him away. Some of that could seem like typical early-teen behavior, but this is Hogwarts, and nothing is that simple.

Scene 5 – Ministry of Magic, Harry’s Office

Yes! I’ve always wanted to know what Harry & Co. did after Book 7! It appears that Harry is indeed an Auror working at the Ministry. Harry arrives, bleeding, to find Hermione going through stacks of papers.

HERMIONE: How did it go?

HARRY: It was true.

HERMIONE: Theodore Nott?

HARRY: In custody.

I remember the name Theodore Nott from the original books, but don’t know anything about him other than the fact that he was a Slytherin student who was there during the same time Harry & Co. was. Turns out Nott had a Time-Turner. This is illegal, as all Time-Turners were destroyed, but even before that they were kept under lock and key at the Department of Mysteries. Back in Prisoner of Azkaban, it was very, very, VERY rare that Hermione was given permission to use one – a really big deal. It does make one wonder what Nott was doing with one in the first place.

Harry asks Hermione what she’s doing there, and she responds that she is checking to see if he is keeping up with his paperwork. Of course, he is not. This seems to be a reoccurring discussion with the two of them.

HERMIONE: You know, there’s some interesting stuff in here . . . There are mountain trolls riding Graphorns through Hungary, there are giants with winged tattoos on their backs walking through the Greek Seas, and the werewolves have gone entirely underground –

Okay, here’s what I want. You know all those cop procedural shows on TV? Criminal Minds, CSI, Law & Order, etc? I want one of those, but featuring the Auror department. Can we do that? How awesome would that be!!

Harry gets irritated that Hermione is getting on his case about paperwork, when he is the one going out in the field and getting results. He doesn’t need to read anything – he hears about things going on while he’s working. That’s how he found out about Nott in the first place. Hermione offers him a piece of candy and tells him that she’s not upset, and doesn’t mean to come off that way.

HERMIONE: I just need you to look at your paperwork every now and again, that’s all. Consider this a gentle – nudge – from the Minister for Magic.

Wait a sec.

Does that mean what I think it does?


Okay, that’s brilliant. Who else would be better! Heck, she was better for the job than Fudge was back when she was sixteen! This is awesome!

Hermione asks after his family, but Harry is clearly worried. He doesn’t know what to do about Albus. Despite getting on Harry’s case for not getting his work done, Hermione urges him to go home and spend time with his family.

Scene 6 – Harry and Ginny Potter’s House

This scene opens with Albus sitting at the top of the stairs listening in on a conversation below. Harry has just gotten home, but has a surprise visitor – Amos Diggory. This is Cedric Diggory’s father, for anyone who didn’t remember. He is very old at this point and is in a wheelchair. He seems very frustrated because he has been trying to get an appointment to speak to Harry and keeps getting that appointment rescheduled.

Harry is very put-off by the fact that Diggory just showed up in the middle of the night when he’s supposed to be dealing with family matters. Personally, I agree. He should be allowed to leave his work at the office. I don’t know what Diggory wants, but these seems like it’s crossing a line.

Oh, and Harry isn’t just an Auror. He’s the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. So he’s THE Auror.

AMOS: There’s plenty you’re responsible for.

HARRY: Sorry?

AMOS: My son, Cedric, you do remember Cedric, don’t you?

HARRY (remembering Cedric hurts him): Yes, I remember your son. His loss –

AMOS: Voldemort wanted you! Not my son! You told me yourself, the words he said were, “Kill the spare.” The spare. My son, my beautiful son, was a spare.

Oh oh oh. Oh no. You don’t blame Harry for that. Cedric’s death was an awful, awful thing, but Harry certainly didn’t want it to happen. He had nothing to do with it. Cedric was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and sure, if Harry hadn’t been involved Cedric would probably still be alive (or not – he could have died at any point, it’s not like Voldemort was picky), but you can’t blame Harry for Cedric’s death. He didn’t kill him!

Amos’s grief goes even deeper than that though. He has heard about the Time-Turner the Ministry has confiscated. He wants to use it to go get Cedric back.

That is one of the most depressing things I’ve ever heard.

Harry is quick to tell him that the story about Nott and the Time-Turner is not true, that all the Time-Turners were destroyed and they haven’t found any others. At this point, we switch our attention back to Albus and his eavesdropping because he suddenly gets a visitor.

ALBUS jumps a mile as DELPHI – a twenty-something, determined-looking woman – is revealed, looking through the stairs at him.

This is Delphi Diggory, Amos’s niece. Albus is quite taken aback and Delphi jokes that she’s there to steal everything he has (especially the Chocolate Frogs!) She asks who he is and, unlike most everyone at Hogwarts, seems genuinely pleased when she finds out that he is Albus Potter. She asks if it’s awesome to have the famous Harry Potter for a dad, but at Albus’s unenthusiastic answer, she realizes that she has made things uncomfortable.

DELPHI: Ah. Have I just put my foot in it? It’s what they used to say about me at school. Delphi Diggory – there isn’t a hole she couldn’t dig herself into.

Okay, I already love Delphi, and I just met her. Albus seems to like her as well, or at least, sees her as something of a kindred spirit. He mentions that people make fun of his name too. Delphi mentions that she takes care of her uncle at St. Oswald’s Home for Old Witches and Wizards and invites Albus to come visit. He doesn’t have a chance to respond before Amos yells for her to come down so they can leave.

AMOS: Meet the once-great Harry Potter, now a stone-cold Ministry man. I will leave you in peace, sir. If peace I the right word for it.

I think there are many things that Harry has had to deal with that he has not, and may never, make peace with. Cedric’s death has to be one of them. I feel sorry for Amos – losing a child must be the most terrible thing in the world. I can’t imagine the pain that he feels. But this is a low blow, and you can tell that it hurts Harry a great deal. Albus watches all this “thoughtfully.” Maybe he’s starting to realize that being the famous Harry Potter is not always such a good thing. It will probably take a while for that fact to get through all his teenage angst, but maybe it’s a start.

Next review will cover scenes 7 through 13. Seems like a lot, but they are fairly short. See you then!


Chapter-A-Long · Uncategorized

Cursed Child #1: Act 1, Scenes 1-3


Oh my gosh, you guys, I am so excited about this! I’ve been wanting to read this play ever since it came out in book form. There’s no way that I would be able to get to London to see it in person, so this is the best that I have.

Here’s what I know about the production:

  • There was some sort of controversy because they cast a Black actress as Hermione.

Here’s what I know about the story:

  • It has something to do with the kids of the original kids from the books.

That’s really all I know. I have been strangely unspoiled for this story. I know next to nothing about it. Which is exciting! I know it won’t match the feeling of getting the original books back in the day, but it’s still pretty cool.

Also, just briefly, because I feel obligated to do so: SPOILER WARNING! I will be going in depth about what happens in the play, but also discussing how they relate to the books. The last Harry Potter book was published 10 years ago, so if you’re spoiled by my reviews, well, you should have read them before now. So there.

I can already tell that this is going to be a very different experience, just because of the format. I’m used to reading scripts, both from being in community theater productions and from studying Shakespeare and other playwrights in college, but having those scripts being part of a Harry Potter story . . . it’s a bit odd, I won’t lie. It means that I had to plan out how to do this, since I can’t rely on doing a chapter at a time – there are no chapters! So let’s jump in.

Scene 1 – King’s Cross

The first scene is only two pages long, so it’s a good thing I’m not doing a review for each scene. That would take forever! Still, this scene is sweet. It takes place just before the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. We see Harry Potter, his wife Ginny (Weasley, of course), and their kids: James (the oldest), Albus (age 11, headed for his first year at Hogwarts), and Lilly (the youngest, riding on Harry’s shoulders). I’m not sure how old the other two kids are. It doesn’t say, although it does mention that Harry is 37 at this point.

The two brothers are behaving just how brothers do. James is ribbing Albus about the possibility of getting sorted into Slytherin (I’m assuming at this point that James is another Potter Gryffindor). They are at Kings Cross station, heading to the brick wall that will lead them to Platform 9 3/4.

There’s a cute moment where Albus asks his parents to write to him, but not TOO much because according to James (who naturally knows everything), he should only expect letters from home once a month.

HARRY: We wrote to your brother three times a week last year.

ALBUS: What? James!

Hee hee! So it sounds like maybe James is only one year ahead of Albus in school? Maybe had first year jitters of his own?

I had to admit, this last bit of the scene made me smile. Heading into the platform, Harry gives Albus this bit of advice.

HARRY: Best to do it at a run if you’re nervous.

That’s the same advice Mrs. Weasley gave him all those years ago! All the feels!

Scene 2 – Platform Nine and Three Quarters

They make it to the Platform, and all the children are suitably impressed. They also meet up with more familiar faces: Ron, Hermione and their daughter, Rose.

LILLY: Uncle Ron! Uncle Ron!

RON turns towards them as LILLY goes barreling up to him. He picks her up into his arms.

RON: If it isn’t my favorite Potter.

This is so cute! I have a feeling that Ron is a very good dad and uncle, in a silly bad-dad-joke sort of way.

There’s also this:

HARRY: Parked all right, then?

RON: I did. Hermione didn’t believe I could pass a Muggle driving test, did you? She thought I’d have to Confund the examiner.

HERMIONE: I thought nothing of the kind, I have complete faith in you.

ROSE: And I have complete faith he did Confund the examiner.

Seems like Rose inherited some sass! I love it!

This scene is interesting because a lot of the dialogue is from the epilogue of Deathly Hallows, pretty much word for word. There’s more added to it, fleshing the scene out even more. For example, we see more of Albus’s fear that he will be sorted into Slytherin, but we also see Harry reassure him that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Harry tells him, just like in Deathly Hallows that he was named after a Slytherin, who was one of the bravest men that he had ever known, but that also, the Sorting Hat will take your feelings into account.

Remembering back to The Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry was also terrified about being sorted into Slytherin and begged the Hat to put him anywhere else. I’ve often wondered, knowing what we know now, what would have happened if Harry had been sorted into Slytherin. Would he have ended up friends with Draco Malfoy? I can’t imagine that Harry would have participated in the bullying that seemed prevalent with that group, especially since he was bullied so much by his cousin. I just wonder how his relationship with Dumbledore would have been different, not to mention his relationship with Snape. Imagine if he had to have Snape as his Head of House! Would that have made Snape go a bit easier on him? Probably not, given Snape’s history, but you never know. Maybe Snape would have actually given Harry more of a chance. I’ve often wondered how different things would have been if Snape could have moved past his bitterness towards Harry’s father (which, of course, Harry had no control over) and actually been more of a mentor to Harry.

I’m sure there are fanfictions a plenty that speculate on this in greater detail. I’ve learned that when it comes to Harry Potter, there is a fanfiction about everything. Every. Thing. It’s a bit scary.

As the kids board the train to leave, Harry thinks for a moment that it’s odd that Albus is so scared about being sorted into Slytherin. Then there’s this moment.

RON: You know, Gin, we always thought there was a chance you could be sorted into Slytherin.

GINNY: What?

RON: Honestly, Fred and George ran a book.

My first reaction is laughter because this is really funny and totally something the twins would do. My second reaction is absolute devastation because FRED!!!! Pardon me while I go cry in the corner for a while. Seriously, worst death of the series. Worse than Dumbledore for me.

They get ready to leave, because people are looking – these are famous war heroes, after all.

GINNY: Harry . . . He’ll be all right, won’t he?

HARRY: Of course he will.

This makes me wonder why they are so concerned about Albus. Were they this worried about James when he left for Hogwarts the first time? I’m sure each kid is different, but maybe James was just more confident in a rough-and-tumble way. Maybe Albus is just the more quiet and sensitive of the two, which would make them worry more.

Scene 3 – The Hogwarts Express

We get to know Albus and Rose a bit more in this scene and, to be honest, I’m not sure I like Rose all that much. I want to like her. She’s Ron and Hermione’s daughter. I love Ron and Hermione is my spirit sister, so I should like their kid, right?


We see in the previous seen that Rose is a bit ambitious (no idea where she got that from *cough*Hermione*cough*). She wants to score well in school and be a star on the Quidditch team.

But then there’s this:

ROSE: Al. We need to concentrate.

ALBUS: Concentrate on what?

ROSE: On who we choose to be friends with. My mum and dad met your dad on their first Hogwarts Express, you know . . .

ALBUS: So we need to choose now who to be friends with for life? That’s quite scary.

ROSE: On the contrary, it’s exciting. I’m a Granger-Weasley, you’re a Potter – everyone will want to be friends with us, we’ve got the pick of anyone we want.

Oh, Rose, Rose, Rose. I love how she assumes that because their parents all met on the train that that’s where they became friends. So not the case, sweetie. Your mum and dad may have met on the train, but they HATED each other. She has so much confidence and is just so smug about it. She knows everyone will want to be their friends because of their status and who their parents are. That sure doesn’t sound like Ron and Hermione. That sounds more like another peer of theirs back in the day . . .

Rose decides that they should check out all the compartments, rate all the occupants on whether or not they would be suitable friends, and then decide where to sit. Okay, I’m just calling it – Rose gets sorted into Slytherin. The ambition on this girl is astronomical!

The first compartment the open only has one occupant – a young kid who introduces himself as Scorpious. Albus doesn’t know who he is, but Rose recognizes him immediately. Scorpious seems like a nice kid, who offers them some of his candy stash because he mum told him that sharing candy would help him make friends. Aw! I feel bad for this kid already! Albus immediately takes him up on the offer, and immediately Rose starts hitting him to try and get him to leave with her. Unfortunately, her ambition does not come with any sort of stealth, because Scorpious notices immediately.

SCORPIOUS: She’s hitting you because of me.

Naturally, Albus doesn’t know what he’s talking about, because it’s crazy. Scorpious reveals that he knows exactly who Albus and Rose are and who their families are. He also reveals that he is the son of Astoria and Draco Malfoy.

Rose, being Rose, doesn’t want to talk about anything, but Scorpious is quick to say that “the rumor” is not true.

SCORPIOUS: The rumor is that my parents couldn’t have children. That my father and my grandfather were so desperate for a powerful heir, to prevent the end of the Malfoy line, that they . . . that they used a Time-Turner to send my mother back . . .

ALBUS: To send her back where?

ROSE: The rumor is that he’s Voldemort’s son, Albus.

A horrible, uncomfortable silence.

It’s probably rubbish. I mean . . . look, you’ve got a nose.

That last part made me laugh out loud, but seriously, this poor kid! Imagine starting school with that hanging over you! It’s terrible! I know that the pure bloods were very concerned with their family lines and, let’s face it, that does sound like something that Lucius might have considered if he found out Draco couldn’t produce an heir. I can’t imagine that Draco would go that far though. By the end of Deathly Hallows, Draco seemed pretty disillusioned with the whole Death Eater thing. Not to mention that he would have to live with the fact that he sent his wife back in time to . . . you know . . . EEWWWWW!!!!

Rose says that they should probably sit somewhere else, but Albus doesn’t want to go. She storms off in a bit of a huff, leaving Albus and Scorpious to share their sweets and start to become friends. It was cute. Reminiscent of Harry and Ron meeting on the train their first year, although some very clear differences, of course.

All right, for an opening, it’s definitely got my attention. And I have to admit, it feels good to be riding on the Hogwarts Express again! I’m going to try to update these every Friday, so check back next week to see the next bit! If you’ve read this, let me know what you thought of the first scenes!


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


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


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.


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


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


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.


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 . . .


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


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.


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, 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. 🙂


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.