The Legend of Sleepy Hollow & other selections

We begin with The Author’s Account of Himself, which describes of he having enjoyed discovering new places, which bothered his parents, but he exploring all the spots known for robbery, murder, or ghosts, one day viewing a vast scenery from a hill, impressing him with its many miles. From then on studying books about travel and neglecting his school work, he traveling to watch ships sail away and fantasizing of the adventures they’d had so far away. He goes on to contemplate, after seeing parts of America, to go to Europe to see the history of his origin. He concludes with having and not knowing whether it was luck or not of being able to travel many countries and studying the scenery like a tourist rather than a “philosopher”, he going so far as to sketch a few scenes from the places he’d been for friends and how differently his choice for sketches would be from a landscape painter, whom would choose the secret, lesser known spots rather than the tourist attraction areas.

Then The Legend of Sleepy Hollow begins with a description of Tarry Town (not important), which explains where the name stems from: housewives in the next town, caused by their spouses going to the bar, then we learn of an especially quiet spot a short distance from the town, the only noise coming from a brook and birds. Inhabitants of this area coming from the Dutch and the glen known as Sleepy Hollow. The town had rumors surrounding it which indicated there were hex-like powers within it. Many odd sightings and feelings being experienced by the people, one leading apparition being the Headless Horseman. The story behind the Horseman’s origins is of he being a Hessian trooper whom was hit by a cannon-ball in the Revolutionary War, the ghost having some space to ride, it being said to go as far as a churchyard where he was supposedly buried. We then are told of Ichabod Crane whom had stayed there some thirty years previous to teach the children, then receiving description of his physical character (which reminds me of Johnny Depp’s version more than the TV show version). His school house is shown and how it was easy to enter, but if closed, was rigged for being difficult to escape from, as well as the sort of teacher he was when it came to corporal punishment, but had a “justice” about whom he’d target. He also tended to chum about with the older boys and made rounds of the children’s homes when it came to room and board. The scene painted of Crane is wildly different than those portrayed, except, again with perhaps Depp’s role, if only he’d been focused on multiple ladies, as mentioned in the story; the boy’s eye wandered, for sure. 

Crane attempted to make himself useful for his staying though, doing chores in and outside of the property’s of the farmers hosting him. He also orchestrated and taught the local church choir, he being quite popular among the ladies for his fancy dress and speech, but also having the latest news to share with each home he entered. He also enjoyed reading a book of witchcraft by the brook until dark after he taught class, singing as he made his way to whichever home he stayed. He also enjoyed spending time with the wives as they spun clothes, sharing ghost and scary stories, Crane doing the same with his choice of reading and scientific facts. Crane did become spooked by his walk home some nights due to sounds or mistaken view of shrubbery. One day he’s running into a barely legal girl whom was daughter to a man of prominent stature, Crane having been to the man’s home once, he imagining what his dinners must look like with such meaty variety, he then viewing the inside of the farmer’s home. Crane contemplated how he’d win Katrina, the girl’s heart, especially since there was already plenty of contenders and the main one being a young man called Brom, a tough, mischievous, good-humored hooligan whom sometimes did horse ride-bys with his buddies late at night making loud whooping noises, waking the ladies up who knew the culprit immediately upon listening. Back to Crane’s woo, though, even knowing Brom was testing his luck with Katrina, Crane couldn’t give up and made his move as well, but more toned down, Brom hearing about it anyways, and his threat of what he’d do to Crane getting back to him, he making sure to avoid Brom, but he getting at Crane other ways, like his school house being vandalized. Besides these happenings, one afternoon Crane receives an invitation to a party at the Van Tassel’s, Katrina’s family, this happening on a school day and prompting Crane to rush the rest of the lessons and let the kids out early so he could prepare.

There is also multiple reference of Crane being similar to the “knight-errant”, he again having this air as he rode to Katrina’s, looking quite a figure atop the horse he’d borrowed. When he’d arrived, the other guests were noted in attempting to look their smartest, Crane noticing, but not acknowledging Brom, the two entering, and Crane bringing his attention to all the yummy goodness around him (the man loved his food). Then he has a dance with Katrina, as Brom watched, and afterwards goes to listen to a conversation with her father, officially losing his momentum by leaving Katrina alone, the loser. Crane heard the group sharing terrifying tales of every kind, soon landing on the Horseman, Crane hears the latest of a man’s run in and where the Horseman was seen most often, as well as a story from Brom with his encounter. After a bit more stories are related, the party breaks up, people go home, except for Crane, whom waits for a moment to speak with Katrina, whom he thought he was at the top of the game with. The Narrator doesn’t know the details of the conversation though, only knowing Crane didn’t stay long after and wasn’t happy. He waking his horse with disrespect and riding by the gnarly tree, but having another moment of uncertainty when coming to a brook where the man of the namesaked tree had been held up. Crane attempts to rush by the obstacle, but now the horse resists stubbornly, unwilling to obey his savagely made demands. Then he notices a presence in the dark, Crane calling out for an answer and getting none, so begins humming a psalm (hilariously), the creature moving into the horse’s blind spot, and Crane realizing it was the Horseman.

Crane rides off, attempting to lose him, but regardless of speeding up or slowing down, the Horseman matches his pace. When Crane notices where his head was though, it renewed his energy to flee, the horse taking a route of his own decision, it leading past a “goblin bridge” and the church. Crane’s saddle then comes loose and he slides back and forth as the horse runs in a panic. Crane then notices he’s approaching the bridge Brom had lost the Horseman, Crane not as lucky since getting across, he looking behind him and seeing the Horseman readying to chuck his head at him, Crane attempts to avoid it, but the Horseman has some spot on aim, for it connecting directly with his head. Crane falls hard, and all ride on without him, his horse scampering home and no one noticing Crane missing until after he’d missed his class, they tracking his hat down first, but nothing of the man was found, his school house closing. Someone visiting Sleepy Hollow from the city however, knew Crane was alive and doing well for himself, but the wives preferred to remember his disappearance being related to the Horseman’s doing, a farm boy claiming to have heard psalm singing at the deserted school house. Definitely unlike the adaptations; an alright tale, but does read like an overview, and knowing how much of a butt Crane is, definitely makes his horrendous scare much more satisfying.

There is then a Postscript where we learn the Narrator heard the story at a meeting, the man sharing of getting the response of amused laughter except for one whom asked of the moral, the man responding of life having ups and downs and he himself not believing parts of the story either, the man having a confused expression by the answer.

Rip Van Winkle is then related by introducing the story being discovered in a deceased Diedrich Knickbocker’s papers. The man having written the tale and how it was either loved or dismissed, it being said he should’ve spent his time in some other way, but since he wasn’t alive, there being no harm in sharing the story now. We truly begin with mention of the Kaatskill mountains, which changed color and shape depending on the hour and weather. This story also following descendants of the Dutch, who lived in a village at the bottom of the mountain. We discover Rip Van Winkle lives among them and is a pleasant sort. He marrying an opposite personality from himself, so when his domestic tiffs were gossiped about, he consistently had the unanimous support for his side. Even the children of the village “sang his praises” since he’d teach them new games, make them toys, and told all sorts of stories. The one area he lacked was the motivation to keep up with his own household chores, but offering assistance to others, as well as having abundant patience with the most mind-dulling pastimes, i.e. fishing, hunting were his shtick. Rip didn’t have any luck when it came to the weather being on his side when necessary to do farm work, and so his was the lease successful in the village. His children weren’t any better for him, his son looking like a street rat, and his wife constantly berating his laziness, so to escape, he would walk about outside. Wolf, his dog was looked with the same contempt as Rip by his wife since she believed the dog wasn’t helping her husband’s lackadaisical ways. His marriage didn’t get any easier with time, so Rip began attending a club of sorts where the great thinkers of the neighborhood would meet.

The men of the group weren’t safe from Mrs. Van Winkle though, she going after all of them when it came to sharing the blame for Rip’s kickback lifestyle. It was this kind of situation where Rip would go off to the woods with Wolf, one day he going squirrel hunting, getting higher onto the Kaatskills, soon tiring himself and resting, then realizing it would be well dark by the time he returned to the village, he not excited by the reception he expected from his wife, but when planning on descending, hears his name being called, surprised anyone would be in such a deserted spot, but he thinking it was a villager in need, going to meet the stranger and helping him with his load, they walking higher into the mountain. Rip is curious of why this man carried liquor and was complacent with the diversion. They reach the man’s desired location where other oddly attired men were passing their time playing a bowling game. Whilst their actions conveyed good times, it was quiet, and none were smiling. Rip was put off by their behavior, he helping divvy out the drink upon request, the men accepting and going back to their game.

Once Rip no longer felt he was being watched, he tastes the keg, it being a flavor he enjoyed, soon having enough to put him to sleep. He awakens at the spot he originally sees the stranger when it’s light, he thinking he’d slept there the night and what excuse he’d need for wifey. He looks for his gun and discovers an old one falling apart, concluding the men of the night before must have robbed him. He then decides to return to the place where they’d been, the route now containing a stream which was dry before. When he gets to the spot where there should be a place to enter the clearing, there was none, Rip having to resign himself to being without gun or dog, and needing to put up with the confrontation his wife would surely bring to him since he couldn’t put off going home for being famished. When he reaches town he was baffled by not recognizing anyone he saw, and upon copying the gesture of the men to rub their chins, he realizes is beard had grown quite a bit. He also notices the houses and names over the doors weren’t familiar, as well as the building he knew no longer standing, but the landscape having stayed unchanged.

Rip locates his home which had decayed greatly, as well as a skinny dog which must’ve been Wolf hanging around the property, but no longer knew him. He then goes to his club’s meeting place, discovering a different scene with a man talking about politics, the place no longer lazy, but busy with people. When the politicians notice his odd appearance and being noticed by the women and children, they each inquire how he voted, and the like, Rip responding with confusion. When another man asks whom he was looking for, Rip names his friends, their fates ranging from death to holding a place in Congress. Rip felt so forlorn to the changes he blurts of anyone knowing “Rip Van Winkle”, some immediately recognizing the name and pointing to a man standing against a tree, Rip now questioning his own identity, he relating this when someone asks his name, he not knowing what to say. He having forgotten he had a son with his moniker, apparently. When a young lady approaches him with her child, also speaking the name of Rip, her child’s name, Rip asks whom she was, he learning about his wife, how long he’d been missing, twenty years, and what they’d thought had become of him. Rip then informs her of whom he was to her, an older woman walking up and recognizing him as her neighbor. He then finally gets his chance to share his short story of what happened to him.

Everyone had trouble believing his story until the local historian vouched for Rip about the Kaatskills being haunted by odd entities, the man relating how his father had seen a similar scene, and he himself had heard the noise of their bowling. After this, the party disperses to resume their election, Rip’s daughter inviting him to stay with her and her husband, he one of the boy’s whom would climb on his back all those years past, Rip’s son employed on their farm, but maintaining the disposition of his father, doing all work, but his own. Rip began to continue his old ways, and whilst seeing some old friends, preferred making new ones with the younger age group, he becoming a fixture of the neighborhood, but also having to become updated about the war and he now being a U.S. citizen. Rip did take up his post once more outside the inn to share his story with those who hadn’t heard, the details being on the minds of similarly nagged husbands, hoping for a fate like his. Mr Knickerbocker then corroborates the story by having spoken with Rip Van Winkle, himself and seeing a certificate stamped by a justice’s hand as proof of the truth. Fairly how I remember it the from the first time I’d heard it, odd tale upon rereading. 

We next have a Postscript of a story of a squaw whom managed the day and night, doing all the work of making the new moon and what happened with the old (basically recycled). She was in charge of the snow and storms, as well, and there was also a mischievous spirit whom would trick Indian hunters, we learning where the spirit liked to stay, Indians respecting the spot by leaving it unmarred by hunting animals there, etc. One Indian didn’t do so and paid for the slight when he touched something which shouldn’t have been moved, ending in his death and was connected to a stream which is still joined by the Hudson, the stream called the Kaaterskill. I do enjoy Native American mythology and due to this also being short, is a nice little break before the next.

The Spectre Bridegroom takes place in Germany and follows a Baron Von Landshort, whom comfortably lived in his family home, his neighbors keeping up with the feud their families had fueled for two centuries or so. The Baron had one daughter, whom was smart and beautiful, being given her education by her two aunts. This knowledge not as spectacular as made out to be, but considering the era, I suppose was still a fine enough accomplishment. When further explanation of her ability to follow instruction is given, it makes aware how she wouldn’t fall for a man without explicit measure to do so. We learn as well, of the family he would invite to his parties, praising his greatness and would agreeably listen to his tales relating to the portraits on the walls. Reminds me of my grandfather, hopefully my interpretation is wrong in thinking the Baron’s family enjoyed his company only for his sharing of the wealth. The story moves to the main point of when the Baron was expecting his daughter’s bridegroom to arrive. The marriage was arranged by the Baron and another agreeable dignitary, the two being betrothed and not meeting until right before the wedding day. The young man, for being in the Army and delayed for unknown reason, gave mention of when to expect him. Whilst the household was preparing for his arrival, the aunts prepared the girl’s dress and counseled her on how to carry herself when they first met, but the day drags on and soon into night with no Count in sight.

The Count’s perspective is then shown, his blasé attitude of not feeling rushed to make his appearance and how he’d waylaid himself in preference to visiting a friend in arms, nearby. The two catch up and decide to accompany each other due to their destinations lying in the same direction a ways. They unhurriedly journey through a forest and are molested (older definition) by robbers, they almost being overpowered until the Count’s men join in, the Count sustaining a terrible wound which a doctor attempts to heal, but making clear the Count’s odds not being good. The Count gives his friend his dying wish for him to travel to his bride’s home and explain why he hadn’t shown up. His buddy, Starkenfaust held trepidation in going through with the Count’s last request since his family were enemies of the Baron’s family and also due to his news not being fortuitous. Starkenfaust was intrigued by setting his own eyes on the beauty of this bride, though and couldn’t deny his inclination for escapades of these kind.

Meanwhile the Baron endeavored to postpone the feast, the meat already overdone for the evening getting later, he ready to reluctantly proceed when he finally hears sounds of approach from the gate. When the Baron sets eyes on the stranger whom he presumes to be his late guest, he babbles on and interrupts the man so often, he decides to wait to explain, the bride then making her appearance. The man becomes mesmerized and no longer fights to make his explanation known, the group proceeding to the banquet hall. The groom then only entertains himself with conversation with the blushing bride, she taken with her groom’s handsome countenance. The party starts well, but the man seemed to become weighed down with his secret, the bride soon becoming affected. After one of the Baron’s tales, the groom decides to leave, the Baron surprised since he’d prepared for the man to rest there for the night. The man shares of having other plans and when the Baron follows him out, the man claims he’s a ghost, he riding off for his funeral and the Baron sharing the news with his guests. The story of the Count’s demise is confirmed next day, the Baron’s guests staying for his “comfort”, and the bride downcast by the news.

The second night of the bride’s mourning, one of her aunts had stayed with her in her room, the woman falling asleep, and the widow-bride then hearing music, going to her window to again see the specter, the aunt having awoken due to the music and seeing the same, fainting straight away. The aunt thenceforth refused to sleep in the room, the girl not wishing to sleep in any other, the aunt vowing not to relate their supernatural visit until one morning, the girl goes missing and the aunt spills the frightful tale, two workers supporting the possibility of the specter carrying her off for hearing hooves at midnight. The Baron sends scouts to search for her, but was joined by the specter and his daughter as he was readying to search, as well. The man then explains fully what had occurred the previous nights of his visits and had wedded the girl, since. The Baron accepts this in preference to the alternative, everything working out to their advantages in the end. If not for the criss-cross, this story reminds me of Corpse Bride. Quick and entertaining, if not a bit corny.

English Writers on America states the mentality of English views on American writing, of which they are biased due to the English reviewers. I’d also agree with Irving’s opinion of the English being top dog with “graphical descriptions”. He also states we, as Americans also offer the “worst” of the Englishmen, the “good” ones going to more exciting and remote locales. Those whom travel here, getting a small-minded view of the world’s greatest “political experiments”. The ideas being attempted to relate getting lost by the minor viewpoint of “surface…interests”. The disappointment of these viewpoints colored by their idea of money falling in their laps, etc. The true beauty of America lost in translation. I’m hesitant to agree with Irving’s view here. He lets his rant end with this, wanting to address it due to other Americans apparently dwelling on this. He then attempts to calm aching egos with words of optimism about America. He goes on to mention the differences of writers between England and the U.S., claiming England is bashing the U.S. in their news articles. Haven’t researched, can’t comment. Irving claims England will regret their words when they need the U.S. as compatriots. This is where I begin to skim since Irving seems to have been writing this as a political piece during his time of not accepting his place in the government, but sharing strong opinions. The last bit describes of extricating wisdom from England’s perspective of the U.S. to make Americans stronger. Not my favorite, if I had more experience with multiple time periods politics, perhaps.

The Mutability of Literature begins with the ideas of partial dreaming and our Narrator in such a state whilst hanging about Westminster Abbey, his lazy thoughts being interrupted by loud, happy boys from Westminster School playing football in the passages, our Narrator withdrawing to the library to escape their noise. The church officer unlocks the rarely used room to the library, it being above ground level, the Narrator barely hearing the boys now, and even less after the bells for prayer were rung, he viewing the small table and unused inkwells, pens, and a few books sitting atop it. Our Narrator pays these no mind as he takes a quarto and settles in an elbow chair, but then is overcome by the somber air of the place, and how futile the lives of authors be! As he thought this, the quarto “yawned” awake and began to speak in its archaic tongue, our Narrator attempting a modern translation. The book complained of not being read for two hundred years and would prefer the dean open the library to the school so the books had better chance of being opened and aired, but the Narrator argues the bright side of the book not being worn out so often, the quarto’s counterparts most likely already dust. The book didn’t see the value of this since it had been meant to circulate many hands, but the Narrator maintains the luck of the book being it hadn’t been constantly used, but preserved. He goes on to compare other authors works having already been forgotten, the book noting those mentioned being quite older than it. The Narrator then mentions an author of whom’s work has helped the mutability of literature, but a public library making him cry in knowing the books within would most likely be forgotten in a century.

The book mentions a few popular titles from its day, but the Narrator informs how their time had passed. He spoke of how long before the printing press, works of literature weren’t so common and works of genius would have their time and fade out, whilst now, if those works were to stay, the new wonders of literature combined would leave the reader “in the endless maze of literature.” Doesn’t sound terrible, to me. The Narrator mentions how the expanse of choices overwhelms people, so we only end up reading reviews, and critics are helpful for what they do, by weeding out the failures. The quarto then asks after Shakespeare, the Narrator denying his work had been forgotten due to unparalleled originality, but commentators of his collection were drowning out his work from only knowing its pure beauty. The quarto laughed its back cover off (not literally), the Narrator taking slight offense and defending the poet as being a writer whom wrote from the heart, which helps gain immortality. Due to his poetic style, he has an edge over prose writers (they going on too long), he able to capture the essence of the spirit. (The Narrator is wrong about settings needing to possibly be changed, even though his mention of Chaucer in regards to this is true) he launching into another speech when interrupted by the church officer whom was there to close the library, the Narrator noticing the book had stopped responding, and even when returning a couple times after this, didn’t hear a peep from the book again, uncertain whether he dreamt it all up. Fascinating, usually I’m a sucker for literature-themed literature, and it certainly wasn’t bad, but I do believe I’m tiring of Irving’s style. His talk of archaic language makes me respond with “ain’t you the pot calling the kettle”, etc.

Westminster Abbey first describes the Fall being gloomy and our Narrator walking through the Abbey describing his course of seeing a church officer making him imagine the man was a ghost drifting through the corridors. He then details the age of tombstones and walls, but then a sliver of sunlight makes the building itself show some elegance. He then ponders over three abbots’ gravestones, reading their names. Once the bell tolls the hour, he moves on to another part of the inside of the abbey, impressed by its enormity and how it made one aware of the noise made by walking through. He then considers how once great men fought for a place among the dead for their tombstone to be among so many others. He relating Poet’s Corner where monuments and such, house sculptures of Shakespeare and others. The Narrator gives homage to the sacrifice authors make for their work and how it services humanity for their thoughts preserved. After, he goes to the burial chamber of kings which used to be chapels. Each room carried a different statuary scene which brought to the Narrator’s mind one was seeing an estate which showed a legendary city with the inhabitants turned into stone (so, Medusa’s lair?). He is also affected by how the people of those times had a direct and proud way of writing the inscriptions of those who died. The Narrator then describing a monument across from Poet’s Corner which he didn’t find incredible, since it was a terrible display of wife being targeted by death with her husband watching. As the Narrator experiences this, he’s periodically struck with the noise of life from outside which confuses the sadness of the place. It was getting closer to dark and the sounds begin to lessen as evening prayers were starting. He stood outside Henry VII’s chapel, it located up some steps and looking through a depressing, but impressive arch, the place seeming hesitant to allow anyone to walk through such a dazzling place. More detail of the inside is given, its Gothic and magnificent surroundings (one would probably be better off experiencing it in person, but the usefulness of this text lies in the inability to go or its eventual destruction). The Narrator contemplates how once this place had looked new and lighter, now dreary and deserted with birds nesting in the ornamental corners of the ceiling. He then shows the room with Queen Elizabeth, and the other, her “victim”, Mary, resting on a bench for all of his walking. He hears the priest speaking his sermon, and the organ playing giving the place another side of nuance. He sits and allows the music to entrance him as the day grew later. Before leaving the abbey, he visits Edward the Confessor’s shrine, where other kings and queens are also housed. When viewing the tomb, he noted it had been vandalized, he leaving the way he came in, noticing the jolting sound of the closing door, and its echoes within. The Narrator then realizes only the moment after stepping out, the memories of what he’d seen were fading, like a joke of death. The Narrator also has revelation to the history of the place eventually falling and being forgotten. Fascinating only if one enjoys architectural and Gothic description.

The Creole Village is an overview of the mixed population in Louisiana of French, Spanish, and Indian, the French characteristics seeming to surface to the top of the other genetics as most prominent. The language also being the main form of communication, which makes them indifferent to politics and would follow blindly to whatever rules the government implemented, and the few older men who were followed simply because they were authoritative. The people lived with a lack of money lust which was also confusing to our Narrator. He mentioning having met an unofficial leader of one of these villages, he describing the man as having original Gallic features, and traveled with a black servant, whom looked quite content, we learning our Narrator’s thoughts on this being atypical for black men, contrasting this with Indians. We are also introduced to another man of the village, he being a school teacher, playing sports, and surveying land, we learning the men’s opposite personality to their canine companions. The group was heading back to these two men’s village, upon arrival, they receiving a warm welcome by the townspeople. Each man goes off with their families, the Narrator following the teacher home, where he and his family chatted of gossip. The Narrator then walks about town, seeing how most everything was French in architecture and clothing, with some Gallic construction. He heard the fiddle of the teacher which he would’ve returned to hear and see the festivities involved, but the steamboat was close to disembarking, he hoping the village stayed as it was, unmarred by money and greed, the next stop being a place of which the opposite was occurring. The village was expanding and life was richer and more complicated, the Narrator desperately wondering the fate of the Creole village. Surprise there, I suppose. Easy read and interesting viewpoint.

English and French Character has the Narrator explaining how he saw his role of viewership and being an important judge of character between the French and English, he relating how the English stuck with their own; the French and English staying unmixed. We then get a braid of facts, of the English and French personalities, the former being consistent and precise, whilst the latter is fast to conclusions, etc. The French seize the day whilst the English prepare for the worst. The French social, the English reserved and prefer solitude. French are masters of wit, English, humor (Agreed), as well as the former having more decadent taste, the latter having a vast imagination (Agreed, again). We then get the correlation of their political stances. This one is short, but interesting with its simplicity. Especially good for those interested in Sociology/History.

The Tuileries & the Windsor Castle gives the impression of being similar to “Westminster Abbey” and the previous essay, the Narrator entertaining himself by giving French character to national buildings. In the Tuileries, the Narrator describes the military doing their usual fare on base, we learning some men lounged whilst others patrolled, and detailing the building itself being quite sophisticated, but every nook having an occupant, whether they be court employees or royalty and their families. The royalty varied in status, those who having fallen in stature, living modestly within their rooms. It goes on about how surprisingly many children and nursemaids resided inside, this description before Windsor Castle had its repairs and additions since the author made it sound as if the place was crumbling. I called it, easy read, pleasant enough if wanting detail of military and royalty living in a castle like a motel.

The Field of Waterloo immediately makes known of this essay expanding on the French and English character. The two opposites and both fit for the other’s competition, the best example being by their armed forces, each having long pasts filled with wins, the Battle of Waterloo then being referenced as the latest in their facing off, one side showing courage and the other stubborn motivation. Then we are given how the English, since not receiving the command to fire, stood in their ranks bravely as the French came at them. A moment of humanity is relived by how a French soldier spares an Englishman since he’d dropped his weapon. Both sides fight exemplarily to the point of not being able to figure who’s side showed the most ‘character’, the Narrator painting a pleasant and worn picture of the time he’d visited the war-zone. The essay concluding with details of a man called De Latour d’Auvergne. Enjoyable one, giving some extra insight to go with the reading of Les Miserables.

I hate to do this, but due to the next story, Knickerbocker’s History of New York being a part of a much larger work, I must wait until I get my hands on the entirety.

Also, to prelude the start of A Tour on the Prairies, since I read some favorable reviews and one which made me question whether I’d want to read the full volume, I’ll be using these excerpted stories before deciding to commit to the whole collection.

A Bee Hunt gives location as being in a spectacular forest, camp near dead trunks where non-farmed bees reside nearby, a search party soon goes off in search of one of the bee hives, our Narrator accompanying when invited. They soon come across the lure for the bees so the group could be lead to their honey stores, they choosing a destructive way of getting to the honey, chopping the tree down. As the group and neighboring hives utilizing the honey, the bees returned to the hive, at first confused by the change to location of their hive, then fly to a nearby tree, possibly considering their next move (the queen most likely smooshed). The group leaves a lot of the honey there, discussing how animals of the forest would clean it out, especially bears. Depressing, well written, and having me question whether I’m a fair-weather fan of this style and period of writing, but definitely have decided I’m not enjoying these topics, so will go straight to the Crayon Miscellany.

On Astoria, due to there apparently being better resources out there (this being repetitious in style), I’ll be a’skippin’ ahead, didn’t sit well with it being another excerpt, anyways.

Since I can’t say I care about Oliver Goldsmith, the man, or the history, moving ahead. Plus, there’s Wikipedia for a reason, right? *wink*

Here I go again, I’d prefer reading Tales of a Traveller in it’s full text, which will now take longer, since Phoenix Public Library is a joke.

Might as well add The Alhambra to the ever elongating list, as well.

The Guests from Gibbet Island relates of a well known village called Communipaw where a building looking dilapidated and evil-looking has been standing for many years, where gangs of malnourished dogs roamed about, and in front of the building stood a platform looking like the sort one lynchings were performed on, but was only a post to hang signs, the building before being used as a bar, where a well-remembered meeting of men was held, they having discovered New Amsterdam. The owner of the establishment would hang mysterious signs and was entertained by the mystery it instigated among the patrons. Then introduction to Yon Yost Vanderscamp is given, he the prankster variety, pulling tricks like putting gunpowder secretly in pipes of the regulars, Vanderscamp was the nephew of the proprietor, Tuenis Van Gieson, and he looking upon him as a son, took this with humor. Gieson, however would have his patience tried by a man called Pluto, he a mystery himself since arriving during a storm in bad shape, no one knowing his origins. Gieson revived him to health, but soon learned Pluto didn’t speak the same language, since when asking his home, he would point to Gibbet Island, which everyone knew wasn’t populated. He stayed long enough to learn some Dutch and was seen as a goblin of the bar, he doing odd jobs when he felt charitable. Pluto enjoyed most being in a boat or raft, fishing, and wouldn’t be detoured by stormy weather, he also having bonded to only Vanderscamp, he tutoring the boy to be the most irritating mischief-maker, the two riding off in the ocean until Vanderscamp was cultured on all the bays and islands in the area. During one of these excursions, the two disappear for longer than usual, no one minding since their village was quiet for once. When Gieson died, the bar closed, Vanderscamp the heir, but years passed with no return. Until he did many years later, looking grizzled and with a crew of like demeanor. Vanderscamp had plans on reopening the bar for he and his fellows, well-off merchants, he changing the bar to a raucous place. The men essentially turning the place into a piratical resting house.

Pluto, looking more rough for the passing years was treated roughly, but seemed to enjoy the put downs and abuse, he egging on the violent behavior until the men took their wild night out on the town, the locals withdrawing indoors. Vanderscamp would insist on renewing old acquaintances though, until the day his crew and he would leave, when next to return, to be a surprise. The locals realized Vanderscamp’s new role as a successful pirate, their town now his safe-haven. The British government soon took notice to the piracy though, and on Gibbet Island, hung some of Vanderscamp’s crew, he and Pluto escaping capture, the townspeople hoping his demise had been delivered elsewhere. Unfortunately, their return is made, but Vanderscamp had found himself a wife, of ill-temper, he having changed his ways and ready to retire in his hometown. Vanderscamp was soon seen dealing with shady, but unassuming men, the idea being he was trafficking stolen goods. One night, a trade had occurred and Vanderscamp was a bit on the alcoholically toasty side, as a storm began to brew, Pluto rowing them past Gibbet Island, where the bodies of his comrades still hung, Vanderscamp regarding the dead kindly, the two getting to shore at midnight, he knowing his wife wouldn’t greet him kindly, but not expecting the news of guests awaiting inside, he going up to see them, and shocked to discover the gallows-men, he backing out and falling down the stairs, losing his life. From then on the house was considered haunted. Pluto acted more off his rocker, and one night the town heard screams, but ignored them, some brave enough, checking the next day to see the place a mess supposedly, by the storm, and Vanderscamp’s wife strangled. Later, fishermen discovered Pluto’s boat and he close to Gibbet Island, all seeming to have received terrible fates.

Surprisingly engaging, not much of a ghost story, but I’m no longer expecting much from Irving.

The Legend of Don Munio Sancho de Hinojosa begins with a convent at Silos in Castile, a decomposing, but majestic memorial of the Hinojosa family. A scene where a knight conquers men and women, and they repenting is shown, but due to its age, the meaning harder to understand for anyone other than an expert. The tale was protected in Spanish texts and is as follows. Long ago, many hundred years previous, there lived a courtly man named Don Munio, etc., he owner of a castle along the borders, and making a name for himself as being known for brutality, he having many trophies of his conquests, and when he wasn’t off to war (Shout out to Curtis! Showed me and my buddy the proper way to go to war is with metal bowl upon head, and spoon in hand!), he enjoying hunting of all sorts, being married to a gentle soul, not cut out for his daredevil lifestyle. One day as he’s on the hunt, a group of Moors both male and female, wearing expensive accessories were walking in his line of sight, they not carrying weapons, as well as a young man and woman, quite taking in the looks department, on a horse, Don Munio took advantage of this happy coincidence, calling his men, and they taking them as prisoners, the young man, once learning whom had captured them, praising Don Munio for his successes and offering all their possessions if he allowed them to continue forward to their wedding, Don Munio then offering for they to stay with him, as guests for fifteen days, Don Munio’s wife greeting the new bride with sisterly affection and led her inside, and as promised, they celebrating for two weeks and a day, Don Munio gifting them wonderful handmade trinkets (presumably), and got them safely on their way. Years later,Don Munio answers the call of war against the Moors once more, his wife distraught, he promising to make this his final fight, the battle was a lengthy and wound-heavy one, Don Munio rallying the troops so their king could flee, Don Munio and many of his men dying in the effort, Don Munio taken out by a familiar face, and upon realizing whom he’d slain, felt deep regret. Meanwhile, Don Munio’s wife waited anxiously, and on one night, a guard sounded the sign for a party on the road, they believing Don Munio had returned (true) with Moorish prisoners (not so much), the young man kneels guiltily before Don Munio’s wife, and the ancient scene erected was made at the young Moor’s expense. The ghostly part happening the same day of Don Munio’s death, he and his men seen at a church, they disappearing when approached. It concludes by mentioning if there’s any doubt to the story, check History of the Kings of Castile and Leon by Fray Prudencio de Sandoval, Bishop of Pamplona, in the History of the King Alonzo VI on page 102.

I do give props for the specificity, this one a charming way to end an up and down collection. Recommended to history and or sociology buffs.

 

 

 

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Year One)

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.