Rereading Harry Potter as an Adult – Week 3
Hi again fellow bookworms and welcome to week 3 of my journey of rereading Harry Potter as an adult. I finished Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone this week! I think I finished this weeks pages on Tuesday, so I spent the rest of the week trying to keep myself from starting on the Chamber of Secrets.
We have left off last week with Harry finding out about the existence of the alchemist Nicholas Flamel. Now it’s time for Christmas at Hogwarts. Chapter twelve: The Mirror of Erised starts off with Fred and George bouncing snowballs off of Quirrells turban. I remember this from the first time I read Harry Potter and I’ve always loved that they were literally bouncing snowballs off of Voldemort’s face.. Now if that isn’t the greatest flex I’ve ever seen, I don’t know what is. Harry spends his first Christmas at Hogwarts and receives tons of gifts from his friends. He receives a knitted sweater from Molly Weasley (I’ve always loved that gesture, she is such a wonderful woman) and the Invisibility Cloak from Dumbledore, though he doesn’t know who sent it to him yet. Obviously my first adult thought (or maybe it’s an anxiety thought) is, did Harry get anyone any presents? Also where do they get these presents if they’re not allowed into Hogsmeade yet?
After Christmas dinner, Harry decides to test out his invisibility cloak and goes to the Restricted Section of the library to find information about Nicholas Flamel. He accidentally opens up the screaming book and has to hide from Filch and Snape in an abandoned classroom. It is there that he encounters the Mirror of Erised. The inscription carved around the top reads: Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi. When you mirror that, it says: I show not your face but your hearts desire. I absolutely love J.K. Rowling’s creativity.
Harry goes back to see his family in the mirror a couple of times during the Christmas vacation, until one night Dumbledore is waiting for him. It occurred to me that this is actually the first time Harry and Dumbledore have a conversation. They’ve never spoken before until this point, which feels weird, because they’re so close in the rest of the books. I suppose that has to start somewhere. Dumbledore tells Harry that the mirror is going to be moved somewhere (of course we already know whereto) and tells him not to go looking for it, with the legendary words:
“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”Albus Dumbledore
Now that I’m writing this post, I notice that I have highlighted absolutely nothing in the next two chapters. That usually means that I lost myself in these chapters so much, I forgot to highlight and take notes. One of my most annoying habits, if I dare say so myself. Anyway, Harry, Ron and Hermione continue their search for Nicholas Flamel and finally find him in a book Hermione got from the library for a bit of “light reading” (I was like this when I was eleven. Very annoying. People always used to compare me to Hermione. I don’t think it was meant as a compliment, but I’m just going to take it as one anyway). Harry has another Quidditch match that Snape is refereeing. I didn’t remember that part and when I was reading it, I kind of wondered why on earth Snape would want to referee. During the showdown with Quirrell, it becomes clear that he was actually the one jinxing Harry’s broom during the last Quidditch match and that Snape was trying to stop him. Snape wanted to referee the game, so that Quirrell wouldn’t try again. The first stepping stone for Snape becoming a loveable character has been placed (I’m not crying, you’re crying).
At the start of chapter fourteen: Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback, Harry, Ron and Hermione run into Hagrid checking out some books on dragons in the library. They go to see him at his hut and he does, indeed, have a dragon egg in his fireplace that he won from a stranger at a bar. I’m actually still not sure if that stranger was indeed Quirrell/Voldemort. I suppose it has to have been, since he accidentally told the stranger how to get past Fluffy and Quirrell did indeed get past Fluffy. Harry, Ron and Hermione urge Hagrid to get rid of the dragon and arrange for him to be sent to Ron’s brother Charlie in Romania. After a while, Hagrid gives in. Problem is, Charlie’s letter was in a book Malfoy “borrowed” from him, so he was aware of the fact that Harry and Hermione would be transporting an illegal dragon to the highest tower at midnight. Lucky for them, they had the Invisibility Cloak. Malfoy got caught waiting for them to rat them out. After having dropped of Norbert, Harry and Hermione go back to their dorms, but forget the Invisibility Cloak at the top of the stairs (everybody, I present to you: the brightest witch of their age). Of course that is the moment they run into Filch.
I don’t remember ANY of this. I remember Norbert‘s egg hatching, of course and I remember them getting detention and having to go into the forest, but I don’t really remember why they got detention in the movie. I don’t remember Charlie offering to take the dragon, I don’t remember Ron getting bitten by Norbert and having to go to Madam Pomfrey. I don’t remember them transporting a dragon in the middle of the night. I also do not remember Neville getting detention. Apparently I watched the movie a few too many times.
In chapter fifteen, Harry, Hermione, Neville and Malfoy go into the Forbidden Forest for their detention. This seems a little extreme for a school that keeps telling everyone that Hogwarts is the safest place in the whoooole world. Also, they already lost 50 house points each, so.. And then there’s the fact that the whole staff knows someone dangerous is trying to steal the Philosopher’s Stone. But sure, let’s send a couple of 11-year-olds into a dangerous forest, I’ll bite. Harry has his first encounter with Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest. A hooded creature is drinking the blood of the unicorn they were looking for. He is saved by the centaur Firenze, who tells him about the use of unicorn blood. The moment unicorn blood touches your lips, you’ll be cursed forever. I haven’t really found out what that curse entails yet, though.
In chapter sixteen: Through the Trapdoor, Harry, Ron and Hermione have to get through their exams without getting killed by Voldemort in the meantime. To be honest, I didn’t even know they had to take exams before the O.W.L.s in their fifth year. You learn something new everyday. Harry, Ron and Hermione find out that Hagrid has blabbed to Voldemort that you can get past Fluffy if you just play him a tune to make him fall asleep. They figure Snape/Voldemort now knows everything they need to know to get to the Philosopher’s Stone and decide to go to Dumbledore. Only, he just left on urgent business with the Ministry of Magic. Naturally, that means the only option left is to face Voldemort on your own without any adult supervision.
I LOVE the various rounds of protection thought up by the different professors. What puzzled me is that they determined that Flitwick must have put a charm on the flying keys, even though it was a task they had to complete on broomsticks, so I figured it must have been Madam Hooch’s round of protection. Did they work together then? Snape’s potions puzzle was probably my favourite. I don’t mean to sound like Hermione, but I am proud to say that I solved it without any help from her. Harry steps into the last chamber and sees Quirrell standing in front of the mirror of Erised.
I didn’t really remember how Quirrell came to have Voldemort’s face attached to the back of his head. For those who were also wondering the same thing, the two met while Quirrell was a young man traveling the world and Voldemort showed him that there was no such thing as good and evil, there was only power and those and those too weak to see it (a quote that would’ve been famous around the globe if it had been said by Trump or some (other) rich idiot). We all know how this ends. Harry finds the Philosopher’s Stone in his pocket, because only someone who wanted to find the Stone, not use it, would be able to retrieve it from the mirror. Quirrell tries to take it from him and is reduced to ashes because Harry is still protected by his mother’s love (wonderful sentiment).
Dumbledore visits Harry in the hospital wing and catches him up on the events of the past few days. He fills him in on Nicholas and Pernelle agreeing to destroy the Stone and finally dying after 650 years. Dumbledore describes it as “going to sleep after a very long day”, which I thought was a lovely description. Dumbledore also tells Harry about the relationship between Snape and Harry’s father. I never knew he saved Snape’s life. He doesn’t really elaborate on the circumstances of what happened, but I really hope we find out more in the next few books. Hagrid visits and gives Harry the album full of pictures he collected from his parents old school friends. Hagrid, you big softie.
Of course the book ends with Dumbledore awarding the House Cup, but not before awarding about a trazillion house points to Gryffindor. The beginning of a wonderful tradition. The End.
Next week, we will talk about the first part of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I have to admit, The Chamber of Secrets has always been my least favourite Harry Potter movie, though I’m not sure about the book. I guess we’ll see next week..
Have a great weekend, my bookworms and hopefully I’ll see you next week for week 4!