Rereading Harry Potter – Week 10
Hello fellow bookworms and welcome to week 10(!) of Rereading Harry Potter as an adult. I guess we made it to our first milestone! I never would have dreamed that so many people would actually want to read what I have to say about books and this book in particular, so thank you so much for that and keep reading!
We left off with Harry arriving at the Leaky Cauldron by Knight Bus. Fudge was there to receive him and tell him to stay in the Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley for the next few weeks until school starts. Harry complies, for once in his life. He roams through Diagon Alley and does the remainder of his homework (isn’t it a little cruel to give children homework during summer vacation?) at Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour. I stumbled across a page on Florean Fortescue on the Wizarding World Website and apparently Rowling had originally intended Florean to be Harry’s source of information on a couple of the Horcruxes. He was supposed to be kidnapped by Voldemort and rescued by the golden trio, but Rowling finally decided that it would be much more fun to get the information they needed straight from the Grey Lady and Phineas Nigelus Black, so she had Florean kidnapped and killed. He is the descendant of a former Hogwarts headmaster, so he just knew too much..
Harry goes to Flourish and Blotts to collect the rest of his books (the Monster Book of Monsters is already in his possession, to the manager’s relief) and sees a book about Death Omens with a large black dog on the front cover. I feel like the whole grim omen is a lot less prominently present than it is in the movie. But then again, it isn’t really an omen anymore in the movies, more of a flashing neon sign yelling “DANGER DANGER”. Speaking of omens and warnings, Harry’s room in the Leaky Cauldron has a talking mirror.. I mean if that isn’t a red flag for your privacy, I don’t know what is.
Harry finally meets up with Hermione and the Weasleys on the last day before they have to leave for school. Ron is telling Harry and Hermione that Scabbers is looking funny, so they walk to the Magical Menagerie to get it looked at. While they’re inside the shop, the trio is attacked by a huge orange cat named Crookshanks. Crookshanks made such a great first impression, that Hermione decides to buy him. After all, no one wanted him. Poor thing.
Harry and Hermione have dinner with the (almost) complete Weasley family that night. They are leaving for Hogwarts in the morning. The Ministry has arranged for cars to take the whole gang to King’s Cross. Mr. Weasley tells them that it’s because they don’t have a car anymore, but we know better, don’t we? Late that night, Harry overhears Mr. and Mrs Weasley arguing about telling him that Harry is Sirius Black’s target. Nobody has said anything about Sirius being Harry’s godfather, I think, but I don’t think he will find out about that until he slips into the Three Broomsticks with his invisibility cloak. A little piece of information you don’t get from the movies: apparently Sirius has been whispering “he’s at Hogwarts, he’s at Hogwarts” in his sleep, which everyone of course assumed meant that he was going to kill Harry.
The Weasleys, Harry and Hermione are getting ready for the Hogwarts Express the next morning. Ron is having another argument with Percy, probably caused by some prank of Fred and George’s. I always hated Percy in the movies, he is so shallow and flat. Don’t get me wrong, book-Percy is still a Humungous Bighead (Fred and George’s words, not mine), but there is just so much more to the character than there is in the movies. He even has a girlfriend! That’s a big deal for a Humungous Bighead like Percy.
Just before the train leaves, Mr. Weasley makes Harry swear that he will not go looking for Sirius Black. Harry is confused as to why he would go looking for someone who wants to kill him. I was also a little confused, until I realised that Mr. Weasley probably knows that Sirius is Harry’s godfather, so he is afraid that when Harry finds out, he will go looking for him.
“I don’t go looking for trouble,’ said Harry, nettled. ‘Trouble usually finds me.”
When Harry, Ron and Hermione get on the Hogwarts Express, there is only one compartment left with room for them, the compartment with Professor Lupin in it. Hemione, being the misses smartypants that she is, quickly guesses that Lupin is the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. He is also the world’s deepest sleeper, seeing that three 13-year-olds are yapping away for hours next to him and he doesn’t wake up. Only when the Hogwarts Express stops, all of the lights go out and Ginny and Neville stumble into the compartment, does Lupin wake up. Before he can reach the door, it opens and the Dementor enters. Harry faints like a big wuss after hearing someone scream (his mother, obviously). Lupin gives him a large chunk of chocolate, so that he will feel better. I love that Rowling thought of chocolate as a remedy after a Dementor attack, since Dementors suck all of the happiness out of you and chocolate does actually trigger the production of endorphines, one of the hormones that makes you happy. So the chocolate makes actual scientific sense (if you leave out the Dementor part, because luckily they are still fictional).
When they arrive at Hogwarts, there are at least a hundred stagecoaches waiting for them. I love how Rowling describes Harry thinking they are probably being pulled by some invisible horse or something. We all know it’s a Thestral, of course. It just goes to show how much thought was put into building this entire world and every creature in it.
“They are stationed at every entrance to the grounds and while they are with us, I must make it plain that nobody is to leave school without permission. Dementors are not to be fooled by tricks or disguises – or even Invisibility Cloaks. It is not in the nature of a Dementor to understand pleading or excuses. I therefore warn each and every one of you to give them no reason to harm you.”Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
At the beginning-of-the-year feast, Dumbledore gives another one of his epic speeches (I typed it out above). I always loved this speech in the movie, until right now. Turns out, 80% of this speech was made up. Even the WORLD FAMOUS quote and one of my favourite quotes ever, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” was made up. It doesn’t appear anywhere in the books. I am so disappointed. Anyway, Dumbledore also announces two new additions to the teaching staff: Remus Lupin and Hagrid. When Lupin is announced as the new DADA teacher, Snape is apparently looking at him like he wants him dead. The trio assumes that this is because Snape wants the DADA job, but we know better, right? I just can’t really imagine a young Lupin bullying Snape.
The feast ends and Percy, as new Head Boy, leads the Gryffindors to their common room and tells them the new password. Not many of you may know this, but I have a degree in Safety and Security and AS a security expert, I have to say that using passwords doesn’t really seem like a watertight security method.. especially with people like Neville Longbottom walking around Hogwarts, oh and of course Sirius Black..
That’s it for this week! We’re picking up next week with Harry’s first classes of the year, including Professor Trelawney’s class, divination. Spoiler alert: he finds out he’s soon going to die. Oh well, plenty of other great books out there. Thank you all so much for reading and I’ll see you guys next week for week 11!