My first experience with this story must have been colored by the fact I wasn’t reading it in paperback form, but on my computer at the time; I knew my feelings must have been harsh for a reason since this time around I am reading it in the way I’m most comfortable and it happens to be more enjoyable.
We begin with Mr. and Mrs. Dursley being introduced and how they’re quite normal, then going over Mr. Dursley’s career and Mrs. Dursley’s pastimes of snoopery, as well as their perfect son, Dudley. They also harbored a secret, it being Mrs. Dursley’s sister and her husband, the Potters who were no longer visitors of the Dursley’s and shunned as being family at all. We then learn the day the story truly begins being a normal one, but an owl passes their window and none notice, proving otherwise. Mr. Dursley is the first to notice, but not accepting the oddness of the day, as he’s driving and seeing a cat looking at a map and then reading the street sign, he going along and looking forward to setting drills for himself.
The next thing Mr. Dursley notices was the excess of people in cloaks, which seemed unnatural and invaded his eyes, but when the light turns, he again forgets about it for having arrived at work. He goes to his office where he sits away from the window which helped make his morning quite normal, but if he had looked out the window, he would’ve noticed the surplus of owls swooping down and it wasn’t until he goes off to lunch does he notice the cloaked people again and overhears their conversation of the Potters and specifically of their son, Harry, Mr. Dursely almost pausing to say something to them, but deciding against it and continuing on his way.
Mr. Dursley is ready to call his wife about the hearsay, but again decides against it, knowing his wife would become upset and when leaving work for the day, almost knocks an old man down, who also is in a cloak, the old man not phased and speaking to Mr. Dursley of how he should be happy You-Know-Who has departed and he, as a Muggle, should be glad of it and then getting a quick hug, which completely puts him off and has become so unsettled, he gets home as quickly as he can. When he reaches his drive-way, he notices the same cat on his wall and he tries to shoo it off, it not being bothered by his loudness and so leaves the cat be, entering to be greeted by his wife who’d had a normal day, he watching the news after Dudley is put down to bed.
The news announces of the strange owl behavior and how their seemed to be a meteor shower rather than the rain the weatherman had reported, the man again promising rain, after which Mr. Dursely succumbs to his notion of needing to ask his wife whether she’d heard from her sister recently, she reacting badly as expected. They both then prepare for bed, Mr. Dursley still noticing the cat on the ledge and wondering whether all the strange happenings had anything to do with the Potters. Before he goes to sleep, deciding regardless of the signs proving otherwise, his family couldn’t be affected and we being told of the reality of his belief.
We then see the cat, seemingly waiting for someone, an old man in a robe appearing, he being introduced as Albus Dumbledore and not noticing the cat at first, but being amused upon seeing her, he proceeding to put the lights out of all the nearby lamp lights and then sitting next to the cat and speaking to her presence there, naming Professor McGonagall. She transforms and begins to rant of how obvious some were being as to how they were celebrating and the Muggles noticing, Professor Dumbledore being exceptionally reasonable about it all. Professor McGonagall questions whether You-Know-Who’s disappearance was true, Dumbledore believing it was. As Professor McGonagall tries to continue speaking of him, Dumbledore dissuades her from continuing not saying his true name, Voldemort. Professor McGonagall acquiesces to his familiarity and tries to confirm the rumors of Lily and James Potter being dead, Dumbledore’s reaction to her mention of this proving the rumor to be true.
Professor McGonagall continues to wonder aloud how Voldemort could have been overcome by their son, Harry Potter and being unable to kill him, Dumbledore asserting they may not uncover the answer. Dumbledore then checks his strange watch and declares Hagrid being late and how he planned on leaving Harry with his Aunt and Uncle, Professor McGonagall aghast at such a thought since she’d surveyed them the whole day. Dumbledore insisted, though and told of a letter he’d written to them explaining his reasoning of they being the best placement for Harry and how he must be told of his past when he got older. He going on to explain it would be better for Harry to grow up in an environment which didn’t suggest of his fame at such an early age.
Professor McGonagall accepts his reasoning and wonders why Dumbledore had entrusted Hagrid to spirit Harry to the Dursley’s home, they then hearing a loud noise getting louder until a motorcycle drops from the sky in front of them. Dumbledore makes certain everything had gone accordingly and inquires as to where Hagrid had gotten the hog, he having borrowed it from Sirius Black. Dumbledore then gets down to the business of leaving Harry at the Dursley’s doorstep, Hagrid giving the boy a tearful farewell which scares the bajoolies out of Professor McGonagall and tries to comfort the giant man. We see the trio leave one by one and watch as Harry has a few more hours of blissful sleep, to be woken later by a screaming Mrs. Dursley and unknowing of all the toasts to his survival.
We then go forward ten years, the only signs of time passing being the pictures on the walls, none of which showed Harry existed, he then soon being awoken by Mrs. Dursely’s shrill voice. She wanted Harry to keep an eye on the bacon for Dudley’s birthday, Harry getting ready and going into the kitchen where Mr. Dursley barks at him to fix his hair. When Dudley walks in and counts his presents, he’s on the verge of throwing a fit for not having the amount he thought proper, his mother alleviating the rise to tantrum-mode by bargaining there would be many more later on. After, Mrs. Dursely gets a distressing call which will make it so Harry won’t have a sitter during the time of Dudley’s outing. Dudley tries to get his parents to keep Harry from going, but in the end there isn’t any other choice and Mr. Dursely makes sure the threat of Harry doing anything odd is going to have dire repercussions. Harry was determined to have the day go correctly for wanting to be able to enjoy himself at the zoo, as well.
When they arrive, everything works out fairly well and Harry even gets a few treats inadvertently from the Durselys since Dudley was being a picky brat. After eating, Dudley goes in search for the biggest snake in the reptile room, when it doesn’t move even after the demand of pounding on the glass by Dudley to his father, Harry steps up and communicates, to his surprise with the snake, Dudley’s friend being first to notice the snake was moving and calling Dudley back over, he knocking Harry to the ground and the upcoming incident beginning. Harry is, of course blamed by Mr. Dursley who promptly sends Harry to the cupboard with no meals upon their return home. As Harry waited in the cupboard for the Dursley’s to fall asleep so he could sneak into the kitchen for a meal, he remembered confusing images from his early childhood which he believed must have been part of the car accident his parents were killed in and then he remembers the odd people who would sometimes display respectful gestures in the street, they vanishing before he could get a good look at them.
Harry ended up getting his worst punishment which left him in his cupboard until summer, Dudley then getting ready to go to a private school and Harry going to the local public school. He also wasn’t as tortured at the house of the old lady who had broken her leg since she didn’t suffer him through cat pictures anymore and Harry had a great time seeing Dudley in his school uniform which could make any boy look like one of the characters in Blandings or an eccentric person going fishing. Then Harry is sent to fetch the incoming mail where he notices a letter addressed to him, but dazedly brings them all with him into the kitchen, it being taken from him before he could unfold the paper to read it, Dudley and Harry both getting thrown out of the kitchen where the Dursleys discussed what to do about it, Mr. Dursley deciding nothing being the best policy.
Harry then gets a visit from Mr. Dursely inside his cupboard to inform him he’ll be using Dudley’s second bedroom from then on instead of the cupboard as a sleeping area, Mr. and Mrs. Dursely believing they could be spied somehow due to the specifics of how the addressed letter to Harry had been written. The stakes slowly get higher as the amount of letters increases, finally breaking the record when a torrent rain down the chimney on a Sunday pushes the family packing up and going to a hotel, but even there not being left alone, Mr. Dursley then taking them on a road trip which concluded to a hut on a rock a bit of a ways at sea. Everyone’s asleep but Harry, who is awaiting his birthday-to-be in a few minutes and when he’s on the last second, someone has knocked on the door.
Mr. Dursley soon comes in after the crash of the door, threatening the intruder with his rifle, but Hagrid having entered, decided he would take the rifle out of the game by bending it, he then greeting Harry, introducing himself and giving him a slightly sat-on birthday cake. Hagrid then explaining his job at Hogwarts, surprised to learn Harry hasn’t heard of it. Hagrid then having to confess the story which had made Harry and his parents famous. Hagrid shares how know one knows how Harry had saved himself, but the possibility it had weakened Voldemort somehow has excited conversations amongst the wizarding world since it happened. When Hagrid circles around to Harry going to Hogwarts, Mr. Dursley makes another attempt of stopping Harry, but doesn’t win and withdraws himself and his family from the room. Hagrid then dodges a question from Harry about how he’d gotten expelled from Hogwarts, he giving Harry his coat to keep warm in response.
When Harry is conscious the next morning, he doesn’t want to open his eyes for thinking last night was a dream, but then believes his Aunt was tapping his cupboard door to get him up so when he looks to glimpse an owl at the window, tapping and Hagrid asleep on the couch, Harry is pleased to realize it was all true and goes to open the window for the owl, Hagrid advising him to pay him for bringing the newspaper with coins in his coat. They then get on their way to first stop at Gringotts to pick up something for Dumbledore and some cash for Harry’s supplies for school. When they go through the Leaky Cauldron and are stopped by everyone within so they could greet Harry they also meet one of Harry’s soon-to-be professors, Professor Quirrell, a stuttering man who taught Defense Against the Dark Arts.
Harry and Hagrid move along after everyone had their chance to meet Harry, then going out the back so Hagrid could uncover the archway which connected to Diagon Alley. Harry was fascinated by all the shops, but their first stop still being Gringotts they don’t stop to window-shop, getting to the bank and entering to see a second door with an inscription to any thief and then Hagrid directing Harry to one of the goblins so they could get inside the vaults for Dumbledore and Harry, we not being privy to what Hagrid needed to pick up for Dumbledore. They stop at Harry’s vault first and get enough money to last him two terms, they moving down deeper to Dumbledore’s vault to pick up the package requested, the trip making Hagrid sick.
When they exit Diagon Alley, Hagrid leaves Harry for a revitalizing drink at the Leaky Cauldron whilst Harry got his uniform, his first stop. He meets another student whom he grows to dislike the more he speaks to him and when his fitting is finished, is glad to go out to meet Hagrid who’d brought ice cream. They next pick up his quills, parchment, school books, and all the while Hagrid explaining Quidditch and the school houses, which were brought up by the boy in the uniform shop.
After going to a couple more shops for his supplies, Hagrid decides before they continued on to get Harry’s wand, he’d get a birthday present for him, insisting he’ll buy his animal after which, they go to Ollivander’s, Harry being a bit unnerved by the man’s eyes since he didn’t seem to blink. Once they begin the search for Harry’s wand, though (it taking longer than the movie made it seem) Mr. Ollivander detects Harry’s wand was the brother to the one which gave him his scar. They get burgers before Harry’s train leaves to take him back to the Dursley’s, Hagrid giving Harry some security with the words of being there for him if he needed help with the Dursley’s, giving Harry his ticket for when the start of school begun and Harry watching Hagrid as his train left the station.
Harry is treated differently by the Dursley’s after this, which made Harry’s last month there a conflicting experience for him since the family essentially ignored him, a bit of an improvement, but left him feeling more isolated, as well. The day before Harry is to go to the train station, he asks for his Uncle to give him a ride, which he allows only because they were heading in the same direction to get Dudley’s tail removed. When Mr. Dursley takes Harry inside, he becomes his old dreadful self again and leaves Harry to locate his platform himself, he trying to figure out where his platform was and not getting help from the guard, instead noticing a family talking familiarly and following close enough to hear them, but still couldn’t see how they were getting to the platform desired. He eventually asks the mother of the boys, she informing him how it was done, he surprised after discovering she was right, seeing the platform and the train he would be taking to Hogwarts. As Harry is trying to get his case on the train, the twins who he’d seen go through the barrier to the platform asked if he needed help, he accepting and they noticing his scar and going back to their mother to let her know who they’d all had met.
When the train leaves, Harry is visited by Ron, one of the boys he’d gone through the barrier with and his twin brothers, George and Fred Weasely introducing themselves as well, they going off to see what the hairy animal one of the other boys had brought and Ron sitting with Harry, the two talking of concerns of Harry’s about school and the two then sharing Harry’s newly bought stash of snacks. When Ron is about to test out turning his rat, Scabbers yellow again Hermione walks in with Neville who had already stopped by to ask if they’d seen his toad, she staying to watch Ron try his hand with the spell and it not working again. Ron was in the middle of explaining the game of Quidditch when Draco Malfoy introduces himself with his cronies, he being the boy from the robe shop and disbelieving Harry Potter was in the compartment. Harry makes it clear to Malfoy he knew what kind of people he wanted to be friends with and before the train gets to Hogwarts, Ron and he change into their robes and are escorted with the other first year students by Hagrid to the door of Hogwarts.
Professor McGonagall then takes over, leading the students to a small room where they would soon enter the Great Hall, the place they would dine and be sorted into their houses. All the first years were nervous of this process, but soon found it would be easy enough to take part in, Harry having to wait awhile before his turn came up, but ultimately pleased with the results, Ron soon seated next to him and everyone beginning to make conversation as their dinner plates filled with food. Hermione was conversing with Ron’s older brother Percy who was a prefect, about what they’d start learning in class and others were getting background on who came from a Muggle family. When their meal ended they had a few words from Dumbledore of what was forbidden on the grounds and a warning to stay away from a particular corridor for it being dangerous, then the houses were led to their dorms.
Harry now was dealing with students gawking at him and doubling back to get a good look at him whilst he tried to navigate where his classrooms were, the halls changing and doors not being doors all of the time as well as having certain requirements to open. We then get a background of the kinds of classes Harry had and how Professor McGonagall was impressed with only Hermione’s ability to change her toothpick into a needle-like shape, no one else having succeeded. Harry gets a message from Hagrid setting up tea for later in the afternoon and also learning how Professor Snape hated him when he’d gotten to his Potions class. Harry ended up losing two points for Gryffindor, but Ron saves Harry from making it worse when goaded by Snape, the two then going to Hagrid’s after class. Harry is reassured by Hagrid as well, of Snape not liking most students and Harry then read an article about Gringotts break-in which brings more questions to Harry’s mind.
Harry then likens Malfoy to Dudley with the similarity of they seeming to be equally hated by him, going on to mention how they only shared one class until learning to fly being added, the only other class which Gryffindor and Slytherin both would be learning together. When the class starts, Malfoy gets a sobering taste of reality which Harry and Ron both savor whilst Neville, scared at even trying to fly, is first to get off the ground and come back down quickly with an injury. When their teacher had left with Neville in tow, Malfoy takes the opportunity to make more trouble by going off to throw Neville’s fallen Remembrall into a tree, Harry following with skill he didn’t know he had and Malfoy making it a little more difficult for Harry to retrieve the item, but doing so with grace, tumbling to the ground when he lands, Professor McGonagall calling him out when he does and Malfoy with cronies have a good smirk at his expense as he’s led off by McGonagall, he thinking he’s surely about to be expelled and instead both going to collect another boy from a class to confide to both privately of Harry being perfect as the new Seeker, which confuses him.
When Harry reports the news quietly to Ron and is congratulated by Ron’s brothers a little time after, Malfoy comes to taunt Harry a bit and they both end their conversation with a meeting later which would involve a duel, Hermione showing up to notify how risky it was to be accepting something so blatantly against the rules, Harry and Ron both ignoring her. Later during the night they get caught by Hermione on their way out, she informing them she’d tattle to whomever caught them since she was stuck with them now, the Fat Lady from the painting having wandered off leaving her barred from the dorm with them, Neville turning up also having been locked out for not knowing the new password, the two following Ron and Harry.
When they reach the destination agreed upon and Malfoy not being seen, they do notice Mr. Filch nearby, Hermione taking the opportunity to disclose what Malfoy’s plan must’ve been all along, the group runs off only to be given away by a mischievous ghost, but being saved begrudgingly by Hermione who used magic to open the locked door they’d stopped at and learned after was occupied by a humongous three-headed dog, the bunch running out and not spotting Mr. Filch, he having gone to look for them elsewhere once being strung along by the ghost, everyone making it back to their common room in one peace, Hermione being the only one to notice the dog had been standing on a hidden door in the floor and Harry thinking he’d discovered where the small package Hagrid had withdrawn must be, the group then going off to bed.
We see Malfoy has been watching Ron and Harry, they having stayed at Hagrid’s all night discussing if the secret package which had been stolen was dangerous or valuable in some way. After this, they all agree they desired only to pay revenge upon Malfoy, which comes a week later when the mail arrives with a package and letter for Harry. Ron and Harry ascertain the package held his new broomstick which Malfoy was ready to out Harry for in front of a professor outside their dorm, but is thwarted by the chosen professor for already knowing the circumstances Harry was allowed the broomstick, Harry giving Malfoy the credit for having the opportunity, Ron and he getting a good laugh out of it once walking off. Their good spirits are interrupted by Hermione breaking her vow of silence to question whether Harry believed the outcome of his breaking the rules was a reward, the two essentially ignoring her.
After their classes Harry finally unwraps the Nimbus, Ron and he properly impressed by its awesomeness. Harry prepares for his evening practice and first good look at the Quidditch field. Since Oliver Wood hadn’t shown up yet, Harry gets some flying in and when Wood appears and Harry lands, he then realizes Harry’s talent, they then focusing on the rules of Quidditch which Harry picks up fairly easily, getting an example of how the Bludgers and then the Golden Snitch acted once released from their bonds. When the rules were explained and understood, the two then practice with tennis balls in lieu of the Snitch since darkness was falling, Wood pleased with Harry’s performance, the two calling it a night after they’d finished.
We then go two months into the future when Harry had been practicing Quidditch with the team and not noticing time passing for being so busy, then seeing their Charms professor pairing everyone off to finally try making physical targets fly, the students all excited at the prospect. Hermione and Ron were a bit peeved to get paired with each other though, since she’d not spoken to them since the broomstick debacle and Harry getting paired with another student. Hermione puts Ron in his place when she tries to fix his pronunciation and then demonstrates successfully once he goads her, but after class Ron speaks with Harry loudly enough for Hermione to hear his hurtful words which Harry makes him aware of as Hermione pushes him out of the way, he noticing the look on her face, and Ron ill at ease once he’s told. The two then hear of Hermione crying in the girls restroom from another student, but the boys are distracted by the Halloween decorations to go alleviate the situation yet.
Once they are ready to eat though, Professor Quirrell comes in with unsettling news of a troll in the castle which Dumbledore then orders all Prefects to guide their Houses back to their dormitories and as Harry and Ron are walking back with the others, Harry remembers about Hermione’s whereabouts and informs Ron, the two then going back to warn her. They don’t get far when they hide behind a stone griffin, seeing Snape rushing past and then smelling nastiness and seeing a large shadow heading towards them, the creature moving through a doorway before reaching them and the boys locking the door behind the monstrosity, happy to have the troll trapped until realizing it was in the girls restroom and the boys needing to return and unlock it once hearing Hermione scream.
The two try to distract the troll from Hermione to give her time to escape, but she is by this point too terrified to move, the troll now going after Ron who has trapped himself in a corner which is when Harry goes after the troll and sticks his wand up the troll’s nose, giving Ron a chance to try the levitation charm, it working and having the troll’s club knock himself out, the teachers soon coming to investigate and Hermione taking the blame, they all returning to their dormitory with five more points for Gryffindor and the three, now friends after undergoing such a dangerous fiasco.
We then make it to November when the chill is quite clearly frosting everything including the broomsticks, Quidditch season starting and Harry playing in his first game on Saturday against Slytherin. Hermione was a great help to Harry, for homework and history on Quidditch which he actually found useful and interesting. The trio are seated outside on the benches near the Quidditch field when they see Snape limping past and notice the three huddling together, they trying to hide a jar of flame they’d been using to keep warm, but he looking for a reason to get them in trouble, spotting the library book in Harry’s hands and not only taking points, but confiscating the book as he limps off, Harry not shocked taking a book outside was truly against the rules.
Later, as Hermione checked the boys homework, Harry decides he’s going to try to get the book back, going to the staff room and knocking, then due to not receiving an answer and thinking Snape could have left the book inside, opens the door for a peek, seeing Snape and Filch tending to the former’s wounded leg. Harry tries to shut the door again, but isn’t quick enough before Snape notices him, Harry asking for his book anyways and Snape shouting at him to get out. When Harry informs his buddies of what he sees and his thoughts on what Snape was up to, included his theory of Snape having something to do with the troll getting into the school, Hermione believing he may be getting ahead of himself, but Ron thinking Harry could be on to something.
Harry is riddled with questions which impedes his sleep, but also the look of Snape when he saw Harry, kept him pretty well rattled as well, the next morning bringing only more dread to him in knowing the Quidditch match would begin soon and not having the stomach to eat anything. Next we see Harry and his team-mates prepare to go out on the field, he still plagued with nerves until he sees his friends sign for him and the game starting, Hagrid joining Hermione and Ron once the Gryffindors had scored, wanting a better view of the game. Harry still wasn’t doing much for following the game plan, which was to be inconspicuous so he wouldn’t get attacked, waiting until he saw the Snitch. When another Bludger is followed, Harry then notices the Snitch and goes after it with the other Seeker following, the Slytherin team leader blocking Harry and making him go off course, Gryffindor getting a penalty shot.
Harry then notices something odd was happening with his broom, he realizing not long after, he couldn’t control it and it began to take him higher in to the air and buck him, Hagrid being the first to notice, before the whole crowd sees as well, Hermione taking Hagrid’s binoculars and seeing Snape whispering to himself, she believing him to be the culprit. She goes off to deal with Snape and once her plan is completed, Harry regains control and rides to the ground, spitting up the Snitch and winning Gryffindor the game. When Harry, Hermione and Ron get together after the game with Hagrid and discuss what they’d seen, Hagrid doesn’t believe for a moment Snape would jinx a student, Harry deciding to confide in Hagrid what they’d seen, Hagrid letting the information of “Fluffy” being his pet and accidentally revealing to the three whatever Fluffy was guarding was between Dumbledore and Nicholas Flamel.
Christmas was (Bill) nigh and the snow was getting thick and the hallways at Hogwarts were suffering as well, but Harry was fairly happy, even though Draco had gone back to taunting Harry about having no family since no one seemed to agree with his insults about his obviously skilled playing of Quidditch; Ron and his siblings would be spending Christmas at Hogwarts like Harry since their parents were off to visit one of their brothers in Romania. After their class with Snape in the dungeons and Ron costing Gryffindor five points for becoming exacerbated by Draco mouthing off, Hagrid invites he, Harry and Hermione to the Great Hall to see the progress of the Christmas decorations, they being impressed until Hermione reminds them of their date with the library books, Hagrid getting a surprise by what they were looking up.
After a search leading nowhere, they took a break for lunch, promising Hermione they would continue searching over the holidays. Ron also tries teaching Harry wizards chess, Harry borrowing pieces from another student which made the chessmen distrust him and would shout advice to him during the game for his lack of knowledge. The next morning being Christmas, Harry knew it would be a fun day, but didn’t consider the presents he’d get, they appearing at the end of his bed in the morning.
Ron and Harry opened presents from Ron’s mother and Harry gets a mysterious gift as well as one from his Aunt and Uncle before George and Fred burst in wearing their gifted sweaters and attacking Percy with his sweater when he comes in to investigate the noise, leading him away and talking of how despite Percy’s position as Prefect, he would be sitting with the family for meals, it being the holidays. The dinner was unbelievably impressive, as usual and even the teachers and Hagrid had loosened up for the festivities. Harry also got party favors which included his own wizards chess set which he and Ron, after having a snowball fight, play in the common room and Harry losing, this time blaming the bad advice he was given by Percy.
When everyone was ready for bed, Ron passes out almost immediately, whilst Harry couldn’t sleep for the mysteriously gifted present, realizing this was his chance to try the item out, letting Ron sleep. At first he couldn’t decide where to go until he remembered the library, heading there and getting into the restricted section, but when opening a book getting a terrible scare which got Filch to come, Harry fleeing and not paying attention to where he was going, soon hearing Filch behind him speaking with Snape, the two conversing about whomever had gotten into the library and locating them, Harry moved backward as they came toward him, due to the narrow passage, detecting an open door and being fortunate to not getting noticed, realizing he was in an abandoned classroom.
Harry then noticed a mirror in the corner of the room and made his way over to take a closer look at it, determining not only did he see himself, to his horror and surprise, but a crowd behind him as well, he looking around and observing he was still alone. It took him a few moments to come up with a feasible reason why he was seeing these people, believing perhaps they were invisible, at first. He then came to realize he was staring at his family, unable to tear himself away until hearing a sound which made him remember he couldn’t stay there much longer and promising himself he’d return.
In the morning he catches Ron up on his adventures of the night before and promises he’d be taking Ron along in the evening to see his family, Ron a little peeved Harry hadn’t woken him, but excited to see Harry’s family, then confessing to Harry how peculiar he looked. Later, Harry almost can’t locate the room again, but as Ron is complaining about turning around for literally having cold feet, he discovers the spot and shows Ron the mirror, Ron viewing a different sight from what Harry had seen, the two arguing about who got to look in the mirror after only a short time, then leaving when Mrs. Norris comes in to look around. When Ron sees Harry’s face the next morning he knows what he’s thinking about and tries to dissuade him from going back again, Harry ignoring him and again going to the room, this time Dumbledore there awaiting his arrival and making himself known when Harry goes straight to the mirror and sits in front of it, Dumbledore then confiding to Harry what the mirror actually did and how it wouldn’t be in the classroom anymore, telling Harry not to go seeking it out since he now understood it’s purpose.
Harry made good his promise, not using his invisibility cloak for the rest of the holiday season, but he having nightmares about his parents disappearing due to the experience of having seen them in the mirror. When Hermione comes back from break, she was shocked and disappointed at Harry breaking the rules and the boys not having figured out who Nicholas Flamel was, everyone continuing their search on breaks between classes, Harry having to juggle Quidditch practice on top of everything, which is where he found out the terrible news of Snape refereeing their next game.
After practice, Harry discovers Ron and Hermione playing chess in the Gryffindor common room, one of the only skills Hermione didn’t excel at. After Harry mentions Snape’s new position as referee, Neville joins them due to having been cursed by Malfoy, Harry comforting his looking a fool by giving him a chocolate frog, Neville returning the card, knowing Harry collected them which Harry then realized why he’d remembered seeing Flamel’s name, Hermione running off to get a book where she found an entry with Flamel listed, Harry and Ron reading the details. As the Quidditch match gets closer, Harry gets more nervous of Snape’s role and becomes paranoid of Snape following him and running into him in hallways, waiting for Harry to mess up, class being no picnic either.
Harry makes it to game day in one peace, though and is relieved to learn Dumbledore has decided to watch, knowing Snape wouldn’t do anything to him with the professor there, the game starting and Hermione and Ron sitting next to Neville, the two having practiced a spell in case Snape tried anything on Harry. Malfoy soon joins them and starts poking fun at everyone in his vicinity, getting on Ron’s nerves until he can’t take it anymore and jumps him, this happening right when Harry dives for what is presumably the Snitch. The stands erupt with shouts of happiness, Harry having caught the Snitch in what would seem to be record time, the game lasting barely five minutes.
As Harry was getting ready to leave the locker room, he spots Snape briskly walking toward the Forbidden Forest, Harry not being able to let it go and deciding to follow him on his broomstick. When he uncovers Snape had met Quirrell in the forest, he began overhearing talk of the Sorcerer’s Stone and threats to Quirrell if he didn’t help Snape in getting past Hagrid’s dog. Harry gets Hermione and Ron alone to share the news, they realizing the graveness of Quirrell being the only person between Snape and getting past the dog, regardless of the other enchantments protecting what they assume is the Sorcerer’s Stone.
Meanwhile, Quirrell seemed to be holding it together, but though his outer appearance seemed to show a slowly weakening bravery, he’d surpassed what would’ve been assumed his normal capacity. As this was happening Harry, Hermione, and Ron were checking periodically to be certain Fluffy was still present at his station and Snape was in his usual mood, which was presumed to mean the Stone was safe. Harry now tried to show his support to Quirrell with a smile of support whilst Ron started sticking up for him if someone found amusement in his stutter.
Hermione though, was too busy coordinating schedules and organizing her notes to spare any attention on the Sorcerer’s Stone, which Ron and Harry could have overlooked if she hadn’t been hassling them to follow suit. She maintained the upcoming exams were too important not to have begun studying for them earlier than she already was and the boys believed there was still plenty of time, but the professors were reacting similarly to Hermione, so the boys began to have no other choice, but to fall in line. Ron was the first to break since he protested loudly of the impossibility of remembering all which would be required on one of the first nice days they’d had since winter began.
Harry wasn’t paying attention until Ron acknowledged the presence of Hagrid and why he would be in the library, he hedging an answer and inquiring why the three were studying, thinking it was to do with Flamel, Ron easing his mind by confirming they’d figured the secret out long ago as well as what Fluffy was guarding, Hagrid trying to hush them for speaking too loudly and offering the group to join him later for a possible explanation, Hermione wondering what Hagrid had been trying to hide behind his back. Ron decides to investigate the section Hagrid had come from and comes back with books on dragons. Harry remembers how Hagrid had mentioned wanting one whilst Ron informed it was against the magical world’s law to own one due to the danger and being an obvious eye catcher which would counteract staying under cover from Muggles as Hermione continues to wonder what Hagrid could be planning.
An hour after they go to Hagrid’s place and are immediately greeted with a fire blazing in the little room on the still warm day, Harry gets straight down to the topic of who else besides Hagrid was helping Professor Dumbledore keep the Sorcerer’s Stone safe, Hermione playing on his ego to get him to share. Harry is then comforted by the fact no one but Hagrid and Dumbledore knew how to get past Fluffy, Harry then noticing the egg near the hearth and after, asking to have a window opened, being shot down forthrightly. The three then began wondering how Hagrid would be able to keep his secret, whilst Hermione was now making homework schedules for the boys besides herself.
The one day Harry receives a message from Hagrid confirming of the egg hatching, Ron wanting to skip class to see, but Hermione keeping them in line regardless of the rarity of it. Harry tries to shut the two up for seeing Malfoy trying to overhear them and not liking their odds of succeeding in keeping their conversation between the three of them. The two continued arguing until agreeing to all go on their break to meet with Hagrid and he greeting them, flushed and excited at the door, updating them on the hatchling’s progress. The four gathered around the table to continue the watch of the dragon’s struggle into the world. The dragon made a quick exit from the egg not long after, Harry unimpressed with its features, but Hagrid gushing like a new mother until noticing a face in the window looking in, then running off.
Harry goes to look and identifies Malfoy, whom has a smug look on his face which makes he, Hermione, and Ron uneasy. Harry then tries to convince Hagrid to set his new little adopted son free, but Hagrid staying strong, believing the dragon was still too small to look after himself. Soon after, Hagrid comes up with a name and Harry continues his campaign to prove to Hagrid he must make a move soon for not knowing when Malfoy will out Hagrid’s (for now little) secret. Harry then remembers Ron’s older brother, Charlie could possibly look after Norbert the dragon until he’d be ready to go back into the wild, Ron excitedly agreeing to set it up with Hagrid’s blessing, he sadly acquiescing.
At night, Harry and Hermione were hanging out in the common room when Ron bursts in to report of his new bite given to him by Norbert, showing off and reporting of Hagrid defending “little” Norbert’s chomp, Hedwig then tapping the window for having brought the return letter from Charlie. They learn Charlie had agreed, but would need to have friends pick up the dragon discreetly due to the legality issues, the three coming up with a plan to deliver Norbert successfully. The next morning, Ron had a problem which he struggled whether to search for help at the nurses office regarding his hand and the possibility of Norbert’s bite being poisonous due to the affect of it changing Ron’s hand drastically, soon not having a choice but to take his chances with the nurse.
When Harry and Hermione go to visit him, Ron remembers through a conversation with Malfoy, he had taken a book from Ron and it had been a book which had the letter from Charlie within, the two now having to figure out how they were going to stop Malfoy from thwarting their plans. The night they planned on implementing their plans started late due to a hiccup with Peeves and his game of tennis on a wall, Hagrid taking his separation from Norbert hard and the two not as sensitive as they usually would be due to the gravity of the situation they were about to willingly walk.
Hagrid had Norbert properly prepared for the trip and the duo couldn’t figure out how they’d made it back to the castle in one piece with the crate between them, when they run into Professor McGonagall dealing with Malfoy in the hall, the group silently retreating toward darkness and once the professor had led Malfoy away, got to the roof without issue and made their hand-off to Charlie’s friends. Harry and Hermione going back down, believing all couldn’t get any better when they see Filch materialize to inform them of their true state, they having left the invisibility cloak on the roof, the goofs.
The two are immediately led to Professor McGonagall’s office where Harry tried to come up with a cover story and failing miserably. Harry realized the magnanimity of their situation and kicked himself for not remembering the one item which would’ve kept them under cover, the professor having every reason to expel them. Professor McGonagall was leading Neville out of her office and Neville, upon seeing the two, burst out with what Malfoy had tried to do, but was stopped due to the way Harry reacted and the professor noticing and stating how she couldn’t believe the story was true and they needing to explain the reasons for their actions for being out of bed at such a late hour, but upon not receiving an answer, trying to fill the blanks and after still not getting a response, gives the four detention as well as taking a significant amount of points from their house, leaving them in last place. Harry didn’t sleep at all as he listened to Neville’s sorrow from his bed and dreading what the other students would make of the terrible news.
It didn’t turn out well with either their classmates nor those from two other houses. Harry was so ashamed he vowed not to interfere in affairs which didn’t concern him and offered to resign from the Quidditch team, but Wood didn’t accept for the possibility of not being able to make up the points without Harry, and due to his terrible part in losing the points, the team was barely acknowledging him, making practice no fun. Hermione and Neville weren’t having an easy time either, but Harry took the brunt due to his celebrity. Meanwhile Harry, Hermione, and Ron instead focused on studying for the upcoming exam, which kept the two’s minds off their new statuses as pariahs.
Harry then had a moment which would test his recent vow to not get involved in situations which didn’t concern him a week before exams. Harry heard Quirrell inside a classroom sounding upset, rushing out and seeing his face was matching his voice, he not noticing Harry, whom looking in the classroom and detecting no one but a slightly ajar door on the other side of the room, had the opportunity to investigate when remembering his resolution and instead going to see Ron and Hermione in the library to express what he’d heard and believed whom Quirrell had been talking. Ron was getting caught up in the possibility of adventure when Hermione suggests the safer route of confiding in Dumbledore, Harry talking down the idea as well as getting involved at all and instead focusing on studying.
The next morning the two received notes detailing the time, place, and person they’d be meeting for their detention. Hermione and Harry go to the designated meeting place and join Neville, Malfoy, and Filch, they being led out into the night and Harry soon realizing Hagrid would be joining their group, thinking his detention may not be as bad, but Filch killing his spark of hope when coming out with where they were headed: the forest. Neville and Malfoy’s reactions were on par with what Filch expected: fear, but Hagrid was now taking over as their detention leader, Filch stating he’d return in the morning. Malfoy then refusing to step into the forest, but Hagrid listing why he would if he wanted to stay at Hogwarts. Hagrid then going into what they’d be doing, which was to spot an injured unicorn, splitting them into two groups to search.
As Hagrid, Harry, and Hermione walked down one path, Neville, Fang, and Malfoy go down another and both follow a trail of unicorn blood, Hagrid soon having Harry and Hermione hiding behind a tree for having heard something slither close by. Hagrid then considers what it could have been and knowing it shouldn’t be in the forest, Harry thinking it could be a werewolf and Hagrid declining this as a possibility, then seeing something come out from the shadows and revealing to be a centaur. Hermione and Harry are properly in awe whilst Hagrid tried to unearth anything about unusual happenings in the forest, Ronan the centaur speaking cryptically. When another centaur comes up and gives similar answers, Hagrid gives in and simply states if anything is seen, for them to let him know, leading the two away from the clearing and explaining how unhelpful centaurs can be. Then Harry notices the sign of trouble and reports what he’s seen to Hagrid who commands the two to stay put whilst he ran to investigate.
When he returns with the other group to announce Malfoy had caused the spark to go up because he’d scared Neville, Hagrid changes the groups so Harry would now be with “the idiot”, Malfoy and Fang, they heading off again and following a trail of blood seemingly getting thicker, both trail as well as the blood. Harry is first to see the unicorn in a clearing, holding Malfoy back to observe, they soon hearing a slithering and then a hooded figure approaching the creature to drink its blood, Malfoy letting out a scream, taking off, Fang doing the same and Harry being left transfixed in fear, the creature approaching him and his scar, searing pain. Harry then noticing a centaur jump over him to fight the hooded figure, the creature having disappeared by the time Harry could see through his pain. The centaur whom saved him didn’t answer Harry’s question as to what the creature was, but instead advised he return to Hagrid and offering Harry a ride, it being the quickest way back and being met by Ronan and the other centaur before taking off, they indignant he’d offered Harry to ride on his back and wondering what he could have told him due to he being a Potter.
After hearing their intolerant words for as long as Firenze, the centaur could handle, he defends his reasons for helping Harry and whisks him away. Harry then inquires about why Bane was angry and what the creature was once more, Firenze not responding until further along and then asking Harry if he knew how unicorn blood could be used, he only learning of how the tail hair and horn could be applied in his Potions class. Firenze then hints to whom could possibly want to drink unicorn blood and what it could do for the user, Harry putting it together and then being approached by Hermione and Hagrid. Harry shares where Hagrid could locate the dead unicorn and Harry and Hermione, once returning to the common room and waking Ron, he listening to Harry’s story of what happened to him. Through his explanation, Harry discovers he’s shaken from the experience and what he believes the centaur’s half answers meant about his fate, making Ron nervous as to Harry repeatedly saying the “V” name. Hermione puts in her logical explanation as to the centaur’s words and when they all retired to bed, light was coming out and Harry found his invisibility cloak folded within his blanket upon his bed with accompanying note.
We learn Harry doesn’t remember how he got through his exams in the future, what with Voldemort looming around every corner and Fluffy being ready at his post. We then learn of how the exams were given, some being the normal way of testing and others being “practical” testing, the student needing to perform the spell requested. Harry, in the mean time, was still having physical pain from the after effects of his experience in the woods, Neville thinking it was jitters caused by their exams, but then revealing Harry was having nightmares related to the hooded figure covered in blood. By the end of the last exam, Harry showed his exultation with the rest of his classmates, knowing they’d have a week to rest before receiving their test results. Harry is still troubled by the pain of his scar and confides in Ron of his worry, Hermione suggesting he should see the school nurse. Ron then tries to talk sense of Harry not having anything to worry about with Hagrid protecting Dumbledore and the Stone being safe after Harry voices what he believes his throbbing scar meant.
Harry then remembered something the group had to go see Hagrid about urgently, since Harry remembered how convenient it was Hagrid had found someone to sell him a dragon’s egg; the trio seeing Hagrid sitting outside his house. Harry gets right down to asking where Hagrid had met the dragon dealer and what he’d looked like, Hagrid being unable to answer due to the stranger wearing a hood, shocking the kids and then goes on to mention how they had spoken about Hogwarts and details of Fluffy which the kids now knew more of, Hagrid trying to make sure they kept their mouths shut about, the group heading off from Hagrid’s and discussing the need of approaching Dumbledore with this new found information.
Harry and Ron stake out the third floor corridor which doesn’t go accordingly, running into Professor McGonagall who by this point loses her patience, threatening to take more points away from Gryffindor if she discovers they’ve gone anywhere near the corridor again. Harry and Ron go back to the common room and run into Hermione who doesn’t have good news either, Snape having confronted her and calling her bluff about she waiting for Professor Flitwick, he going to retrieve him and she taking off, not following Snape as planned. Harry then decides his only course of action is to go after the Stone himself. Hermione and Ron try to dissuade him, but Harry is set and certain if he doesn’t locate the Stone before Snape, it’ll get into Voldemort’s hands and he’d be dead once Voldemort caught up with him, Hermione being the first to relent, then Ron adding they’d have to join him in order to aid his success.
The three sat apart from each other after dinner, Hermione focusing on looking up enchantments and the boys thinking of the night they had ahead of them. Once all their classmates began heading to bed, Ron suggests Harry grab his invisibility cloak and once returning to discuss how they should see if the cloak could cover them all, Neville appears from behind an armchair and calls them out on their plans of sneaking out, Hermione trying to convince him it wasn’t the case and Harry aware of the time they were wasting. Neville was now readying himself to keep them from leaving, threatening to put up a fight against Ron, whom had stepped forward first, Harry asking Hermione to step in, she apologizing to Neville before putting a spell on him and leaving the room, cloaked. Along the way to their destination they run into Mrs. Norris and then Peeves the ghost, whom felt their presence, but couldn’t see them, so Harry pretends to be the Bloody Baron so as to intimidate Peeves from calling Mr. Filch, which seems to work, Peeves leaving the hallway as requested, the group reaching the door to Fluffy, and seeing it slightly open.
The trio go inside to notice Fluffy awake and growling, a harp abandoned on the floor. Harry whips out the flute and immediately tries a tuneless note, they seeing an immediate affect on Fluffy, eyes drooping and dropping to the floor, asleep. They approach the guarded door cautiously, Ron opening it and relaying it was too black to see how far down it was and no steps being seen, Harry motioning he’d go first and ready to give the flute to Hermione to continue playing. They make the switch and Harry makes the drop blind, landing softly and shouting to the others it was safe to jump, Hermione coming last and noticing first the plant which had begun to entangle them all, she escaping safely to a wall, Harry and Ron not so lucky.
As the boys struggled, Hermione identified what the plant was and tried to remember how to kill it, Harry making a suggestion which reminded Hermione and then getting the boys released with another of her handy dandy spells. They continue down a passage, Ron hearing something rustling up ahead, the group approaching carefully and stepping in to a room filled with birds. Harry makes the first attempt across the room to the door on the other side, not being attacked, but discovering the door locked, soon realizing the “birds” were keys and the three having to scan around to detect the right one. After getting the broomsticks leaning against one wall, they searched through the bird-keys more closely, Harry spotting the one they were after and yelling a game plan to the others which is executed sloppily, but works in their favor since Harry did the snatching.
Harry quickly unlocks the door and the three continue onward, being surprised to notice the next room looked like a large chessboard. Ron was first to voice the obvious way they were meant to get to the next door, his thoughts being confirmed by the black knight, whom nodded his agreement. Ron designated where Hermione and Harry would stand and awaited the white pieces move. Seeing what happened to a piece when removed from the board was violent enough to make the others a bit nervous in losing, but Ron expected to lose the piece, although still unnerved about how it played out, having Hermione capture the opposing team’s bishop.
Ron matches the other team in pieces taken until he realizes he had to sacrifice himself so Harry could win the game, insisting if Harry wanted to catch up to Snape this would be the only way. So upon making his move, Ron is bopped on the head (which I found entertaining), leaving Harry able to go on as directed, winning, and the next door cleared for the two to continue forward. Hermione advised what professors spells could be expected ahead and they then go through the next door and perceive a fight had already taken place letting them pass unhindered to a room with a table and bottles lined up.
When the duo reach the table their path is blocked with magical fire, Hermione seeing a paper with hints on how to pass, taking a few more moments to work out the puzzle and after Harry makes sure she’s certain, plans to have her drink the bottle which would allow her to return to Ron so they could send an owl to Dumbledore whilst he continued forward to try and hold Snape off until reinforcements arrived. Hermione complimented his efforts, making him feel awkward, she drinking first as requested and leaving. Harry readies himself for what may be ahead and drinks the bottle, moving to the next room and identifying the person within was neither Snape nor Voldemort.
We then learn Quirrell is the shocking reveal and his demeanor being surprising as well since he completely changed to someone quite sure of himself and didn’t stutter or seemed nervous whatsoever. Harry is in such denial, Quirrell also reveals whom had actually been trying to kill him not being Snape and how Hermione had helped Harry, but not by setting Snape aflame. Quirrell then confides Snape’s true intentions toward Harry and how it had completely backfired on him, then binding Harry with a spell and sharing how he’d be killing him due to his nosiness. Whilst Quirrell proceeded explaining his failed plans (the obvious evil villain mistake), he then notices the Mirror of Erised behind Harry and goes to have a closer look. Harry tries to keep Quirrell talking to distract him from getting any closer to the Stone’s whereabouts, Quirrell not as interested anymore upon examining the mirror more closely.
Harry states how Snape had seemed to dislike him and Quirrell agreed, but it not including Snape wanting him killed. Quirrell partly disclosed his relationship to Voldemort and Harry began remembering the moments he’d seen Quirrell when he was first shown Diagon Alley, then coming up with a plan which involved he thinking of something to have the mirror reveal, but due to his hands and ankles being too tightly bound, fell over, still being ignored by Quirrell, but not for much longer since after Quirrell seemed to be asking for help from Voldemort, Harry heard an answer and it consisted of using him to solve the mirror’s puzzle. Harry steps forward, believing he’d have to lie about what he saw, but the image of himself and then realizing where the Stone was hidden took him off guard, he coming up with a lie which Quirrell believed, but the voice he heard coming nearby stating it was untrue, requesting to speak to Harry directly, Quirrell acquiescing and unwrapping his turban.
The sight Harry saw was horrifying and so overwhelming he couldn’t move nor speak, even upon being greeted by the terrible growth. What gets Harry moving is the statement which disparages his parents, stepping backwards and then dashing away, but not before Quirrell gets a hand on his wrist. Harry feels a searing pain from his scar, Quirrell seeming to be affected by this as well, letting go for a moment until being commanded to kill Harry, Quirrell knocking him down, but again not long enough, for the pain being so great. When Harry realized Quirrell couldn’t stand contact with him, he tried to keep him in his grasp, but passed out before understanding where the other voices he was hearing was coming from.
When Harry regained consciousness, Dumbledore’s face slowly came into focus, Harry was soon getting too excited, believing danger was still near, Dumbledore advising he calm himself or the nurse would kick him out, Harry soon being updated to the happenings after he’d lost consciousness. Harry didn’t realize how close to death he had been, but Dumbledore also assured him of the Stone having been destroyed before being used. Harry inquired after Flamel, Dumbledore sharing the fate of he and his wife, Harry surprised, but Dumbledore rationalizing why they were agreeable to their impending fates. Harry then inquires to what could have happened to Voldemort, Dumbledore predicting the possibilities of Voldemort not succeeding to gain power. Harry then goes on to ask Dumbledore questions concerning areas he still wanted answers to, some being given, others needing to be passed, Dumbledore noting it wasn’t the time to reveal some of them yet.
Harry uncovers why Snape hated him though, Dumbledore shedding some light as to the relationship Snape and Harry’s father had so long ago. By the end of their conversation, Dumbledore decides to try an all-flavored bean, it not working out as well as he’d hoped. Harry then had to plead in order to be allowed five minutes with Hermione and Ron, who upon finally being able to come and visit, immediately began asking what had truly happened with Quirrell.
Hermione and Ron then reported what Harry had missed when they finally made it back to the owlery and then told Harry of the feast to come the next day and he should definitely attend at least for the good food, after which Ron and Hermione are directed to leave for having stayed well over five minutes, leaving Harry to rest and he feeling much better the next day. Madam Pomfrey confirms Harry had been given permission to attend the feast and then informs him of his next visitor, Hagrid, whom upon sitting, bursts in to tears for guilt of almost getting Harry killed. After Harry sets him straight, Hagrid remembers he brought Harry a thoughtful gift, which upon opening, Harry realizing the trouble Hagrid had gone through so he could have an official family album.
We then see Harry walking to the feast and everyone upon seeing him, hush and then go back to normal conversation until Dumbledore enters a few moments later, he starting a speech regarding the past year. He then gives the final total of all the houses points, but then lists last minute points being given to Ron, Hermione, Harry, and Neville the latter’s points pushing Gryffindor ahead of Slytherin for the house cup, each announcement receiving more cheers than the last. After the change in decorations and Harry seeing Snape and knowing their relationship wasn’t going to change, was looking forward to the future “normalcy” of attending Hogwarts next year and the best night of his life being the feast.
Everyone also received their grades for exams, everyone passing and Hermione getting the highest of the first years. The students then prepared for their return to their homes and Ron expecting Harry and Hermione to come over during summer, the three stepping through the gate and first Harry and Ron being greeted by Ron’s family whilst Harry’s Aunt and Uncle stood and looked perplexed at his appearance. After Harry’s Uncle Vernon snubs Mrs. Weasley and begins walking off, expecting Harry to follow, he lets everyone know he would have some fun during summer since his relatives didn’t know he wasn’t allowed to use magic and would be able to use their lack of knowledge on Dudley whilst he was with them.
I quite enjoyed my second reading of this book, which confirms reading on one’s old computer doesn’t make for an enjoyable experience. I’m looking forward to starting the second.