Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

THE BOY WHO LIVED

 

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say

that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last

ed in anything strange or mysterious,

because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.

 

Mr. Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings, which made

drills. He was a big, beefy man with hardly any neck, although he did

he. Mrs. Dursley was thin and blonde and had

nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in very useful as she

spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the

neighbors. The Dursleys had a small son called Dudley and in their

opinion there was no finer boy anywhere.

 

The Dursleys had everything they wanted, but they also had a secret, and

their greatest fear was that somebody would discover it. They didn’t

think they could bear it if anyone found out about the Potters. Mrs.

Potter was Mrs. Dursley’s sister, but they hadn’t met for several years;

in fact, Mrs. Dursley pretended she didn’t have a sister, because her

sister and her good-for-nothing husband were as unDursleyish as it was

d to think what the neighbors would

say if the Potters arrived in the street. The Dursleys knew that the

Potters had a small son, too, but they had never even seen him. This boy

was another good reason for keeping the Potters away; they didn’t want

ley mixing with a child like that.

 

When Mr. and Mrs. Dursley woke up on the dull, gray Tuesday our story

starts, there was nothing about the cloudy sky outside to suggest that

strange and mysterious things would soon be happening all over the

. Mr. Dursley hummed as he picked out his most boring tie for

work, and Mrs. Dursley gossiped away happily as she wrestled a screaming

Dudley into his high chair.

 

None of them noticed a large, tawny owl flutter past the window.

 

Mr. Dursley picked up his briefcase, pecked Mrs.

Dursley on the cheek, and tried to kiss Dudley good-bye but missed,

because Dudley was now having a tantrum and throwing his cereal at the

He got

into his car and backed out of number four’s drive.

 

It was on the corner of the street that he noticed the first sign of

something peculiar — a cat reading a map. For a second, Mr. Dursley

head around to

look again. There was a tabby cat standing on the corner of Privet

Drive, but there wasn’t a map in sight. What could he have been thinking

of? It must have been a trick of the light. Mr. Dursley blinked and

back. As Mr. Dursley drove around the

corner and up the road, he watched the cat in his mirror. It was now

reading the sign that said Privet Drive — no, looking at the sign; cats

couldn’t read maps or signs. Mr. Dursley gave himself a little shake and

put the cat out of his mind. As he drove toward town he thought of

nothing except a large order of drills he was hoping to get that day.

 

But on the edge of town, drills were driven out of his mind by something

affic jam, he couldn’t help

noticing that there seemed to be a lot of strangely dressed people

about. People in cloaks. Mr. Dursley couldn’t bear people who dressed in

funny clothes — the getups you saw on young people! He supposed this

d new fashion. He drummed his fingers on the steering

wheel and his eyes fell on a huddle of these weirdos standing quite

close by. They were whispering excitedly together. Mr. Dursley was

that man

had to be older than he was, and wearing an emerald-green cloak! The

nerve of him! But then it struck Mr. Dursley that this was probably some

silly stunt — these people were obviously collecting for something…

ffic moved on and a few minutes later, Mr.

Dursley arrived in the Grunnings parking lot, his mind back on drills.

 

Mr. Dursley always sat with his back to the window in his office on the

ntrate

on drills that morning. He didn’t see the owls swoop ing past in broad

daylight, though people down in the street did; they pointed and gazed

open- mouthed as owl after owl sped overhead. Most of them had never

Dursley, however, had a perfectly

normal, owl-free morning. He yelled at five different people. He made

several important telephone calls and shouted a bit more. He was in a

very good mood until lunchtime, when he thought he’d stretch his legs

k across the road to buy himself a bun from the bakery.

 

He’d forgotten all about the people in cloaks until he passed a group of

them next to the baker’s. He eyed them angrily as he passed. He didn’t

whispering

excitedly, too, and he couldn’t see a single collecting tin. It was on

his way back past them, clutching a large doughnut in a bag, that he

caught a few words of what they were saying.

 

 

Mr. Dursley stopped dead. Fear flooded him. He looked back at the

whisperers as if he wanted to say something to them, but thought better

of it.

 

He dashed back across the road, hurried up to his office, snapped at his

ot to disturb him, seized his telephone, and had almost

finished dialing his home number when he changed his mind. He put the

receiver back down and stroked his mustache, thinking… no, he was

re there were

lots of people called Potter who had a son called Harry. Come to think

of it, he wasn’t even sure his nephew was called Harry. He’d never even

seen the boy. It might have been Harvey. Or Harold. There was no point

; she always got so upset at any mention of her

sister. He didn’t blame her — if he’d had a sister like that… but all

the same, those people in cloaks…

 

He found it a lot harder to concentrate on drills that afternoon and

g at five o’clock, he was still so worried that

he walked straight into someone just outside the door.

 

was a few seconds before Mr. Dursley realized that the man was wearing a

et cloak. He didn’t seem at all upset at being almost knocked to the

ground. On the contrary, his face split into a wide smile and he said in

ice, for You-Know-Who has gone at

last! Even Muggles like yourself should be celebrating, this happy,

 

And the old man hugged Mr. Dursley around the middle and walked off.

 

plete

stranger. He also thought he had been called a Muggle, whatever that

was. He was rattled. He hurried to his car and set off for home, hoping

he was imagining things, which he had never hoped before, because he

didn’t approve of imagination.

 

he pulled into the driveway of number four, the first thing he saw —

and it didn’t improve his mood — was the tabby cat he’d spotted that

morning. It was now sitting on his garden wall. He was sure it was the

its eyes.

 

stern look. Was this normal cat behavior? Mr. Dursley wondered. Trying

to pull himself together, he let himself into the house. He was still

anything to his wife.

 

Mrs. Dursley had had a nice, normal day. She told him over dinner all

about Mrs. Next Door’s problems with her daughter and how Dudley had

ut to bed, he went into the living room in time to

catch the last report on the evening news:

 

owls have been behaving very unusually today. Although owls normally

d are hardly ever seen in daylight, there have been

hundreds of sightings of these birds flying in every direction since

sunrise. Experts are unable to explain why the owls have suddenly

grin.

 

ers as far apart as

Kent, Yorkshire, and Dundee have been phoning in to tell me that instead

of the rain I promised yesterday, they’ve had a downpour of shooting

stars! Perhaps people have been celebrating Bonfire Night early — it’s

 

Mr. Dursley sat frozen in his armchair. Shooting stars all over Britain?

Owls flying by daylight? Mysterious people in cloaks all over the place?

And a whisper, a whisper about the Potters…

 

ursley came into the living room carrying two cups of tea. It was

no good. He’d have to say something to her. He cleared his throat

 

ley looked shocked and angry. After all,

they normally pretended she didn’t have a sister.

 

 

 

 

 

Mrs. Dursley sipped her tea through pursed lips. Mr. Dursley wondered

 

 

 

 

 

He didn’t say another word on the subject as they went upstairs to bed.

While Mrs. Dursley was in the bathroom, Mr. Dursley crept to the bedroom

window and peered down into the front garden. The cat was still there.

It was staring down Privet Drive as though it were waiting for

something.

 

Was he imagining things? Could all this have anything to do with the

that they were related to a pair of

— well, he didn’t think he could bear it.

 

The Dursleys got into bed. Mrs. Dursley fell asleep quickly but Mr.

Dursley lay awake, turning it all over in his mind. His last, comforting

was that even if the Potters were

involved, there was no reason for them to come near him and Mrs.

Dursley. The Potters knew very well what he and Petunia thought about

them and their kind…. He couldn’t see how he and Petunia could get

nything that might be going on — he yawned and turned over

— it couldn’t affect them….

 

How very wrong he was.

 

Mr. Dursley might have been drifting into an uneasy sleep, but the cat

itting as

still as a statue, its eyes fixed unblinkingly on the far corner of

Privet Drive. It didn’t so much as quiver when a car door slammed on the

In fact, it was nearly

at all.

 

A man appeared on the corner the cat had been watching, appeared so

suddenly and silently you’d have thought he’d just popped out of the

ground. The cat’s tail twitched and its eyes narrowed.

 

vet Drive. He was tall,

thin, and very old, judging by the silver of his hair and beard, which

were both long enough to tuck into his belt. He was wearing long robes,

a purple cloak that swept the ground, and high-heeled, buckled boots.

ere light, bright, and sparkling behind half-moon

spectacles and his nose was very long and crooked, as though it had been

broken at least twice. This man’s name was Albus Dumbledore.

 

a

street where everything from his name to his boots was unwelcome. He was

busy rummaging in his cloak, looking for something. But he did seem to

realize he was being watched, because he looked up suddenly at the cat,

om the other end of the street. For

some reason, the sight of the cat seemed to amuse him. He chuckled and

 

He found what he was looking for in his inside pocket. It seemed to be a

it open, held it up in the air, and

clicked it. The nearest street lamp went out with a little pop. He

clicked it again — the next lamp flickered into darkness. Twelve times

he clicked the Put-Outer, until the only lights left on the whole street

two tiny pinpricks in the distance, which were the eyes of the cat

watching him. If anyone looked out of their window now, even beady-eyed

Mrs. Dursley, they wouldn’t be able to see anything that was happening

he Put-Outer back inside his

cloak and set off down the street toward number four, where he sat down

on the wall next to the cat. He didn’t look at it, but after a moment he

spoke to it.

 

 

smile at the tabby, but it had gone. Instead he was smiling

at a rather severe-looking woman who was wearing square glasses exactly

the shape of the markings the cat had had around its eyes. She, too, was

was drawn into a tight

bun. She looked distinctly ruffled.

 

 

 

gall.

 

 

Professor McGonagall sniffed angrily.

 

a bit more careful, but no — even the Muggles

upid. They

were bound to notice something. Shooting stars down in Kent — I’ll bet

 

 

reason to lose our heads. People are being downright careless, out on

the streets in broad daylight, not even dressed in Muggle clothes,

 

at Dumbledore here, as though hoping

fine thing it would be if, on the very day YouKnow-Who seems to have

disappeared at last, the Muggles found out about us all. I suppose he

 

 

 

 

McGonagall coldly, as though she didn’t

 

or eleven years I

have been trying to persuade people to call him by his proper name:

Know-Who.’ I have never seen any reason

to be frightened of saying Voldemort’s name.

 

 

 

 

ey

 

are nothing next to the rumors that are flying around. You know what

everyone’s saying? About why he’s disappeared? About what finally

 

It seemed that Professor McGonagall had reached the point she was most

anxious to discuss, the real reason she had been waiting on a cold, hard

wall all day, for neither as a cat nor as a woman had she fixed

g stare as she did now. It was plain that

Dumbledore told her it was true. Dumbledore, however, was choosing

another lemon drop and did not answer.

 

turned up in Godric’s Hollow. He went to find the Potters. The rumor is

 

Dumbledore bowed his head. Professor McGonagall gasped.

 

I can’t believe it… I didn’t want to believe it…

 

 

he tried to kill the Potter’s son, Harry. But — he

couldn’t. He couldn’t kill that little boy. No one knows why, or how,

but they’re saying that when he couldn’t kill Harry Potter, Voldemort’s

power somehow broke — and that’s why he’s gone.

 

dore nodded glumly.

 

done… all the people he’s killed… he couldn’t kill a little boy?

It’s just astounding… of all the things to stop him… but how in the

 

 

Professor McGonagall pulled out a lace handkerchief and dabbed at her

eyes beneath her spectacles. Dumbledore gave a great sniff as he took a

examined it. It was a very odd watch.

It had twelve hands but no numbers; instead, little planets were moving

around the edge. It must have made sense to Dumbledore, though, because

 

 

 

Professor McGonagall, jumping to her feet and pointing at number four.

they’ve got this son — I saw

him kicking his mother all the way up the street, screaming for sweets.

 

him when he’s older. I’ve

 

famous — a

legend — I wouldn’t be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter day

in the future — there will be books written about Harry — every child

 

top of his

before he can walk and talk! Famous for something he won’t even

remember! CarA you see how much better off he’ll be, growing up away

 

Professor McGonagall opened her mouth, changed her mind, swallowed, and

nderneath it.

 

 

 

 

 

A low rumbling sound had broken the silence around them. It grew

steadily louder as they looked up and down the street for some sign of a

welled to a roar as they both looked up at the sky — and

a huge motorcycle fell out of the air and landed on the road in front of

them.

 

If the motorcycle was huge, it was nothing to the man sitting astride

man and at least five times

as wide. He looked simply too big to be allowed, and so wild — long

tangles of bushy black hair and beard hid most of his face, he had hands

the size of trash can lids, and his feet in their leather boots were

phins. In his vast, muscular arms he was holding a bundle

of blankets.

 

 

 

 

before the Muggles started swarmin’ around. He fell asleep as we was

 

Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall bent forward over the bundle of

blankets. Inside, just visible, was a baby boy, fast asleep. Under a

tuft of jet-black hair over his forehead they could see a curiously

t of lightning.

 

 

 

 

f

above my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground. Well

 

Dumbledore took Harry in his arms and turned toward the Dursleys’ house.

 

great, shaggy head over Harry and gave him what must have been a very

scratchy, whiskery kiss. Then, suddenly, Hagrid let out a howl like a

wounded dog.

 

 

 

yourself, Hagrid, or

on the arm as Dumbledore stepped over the low garden wall and walked to

the front door. He laid Harry gently on the doorstep, took a letter out

tucked it inside Harry’s blankets, and then came back to

the other two. For a full minute the three of them stood and looked at

the little bundle; Hagrid’s shoulders shook, Professor McGonagall

one from

Dumbledore’s eyes seemed to have gone out.

 

 

 

Wiping his streaming eyes on his jacket sleeve, Hagrid swung himself

onto the motorcycle and kicked the engine into life; with a roar it rose

.

 

nodding to her. Professor McGonagall blew her nose in reply.

 

Dumbledore turned and walked back down the street. On the corner he

e clicked it once, and

twelve balls of light sped back to their street lamps so that Privet

Drive glowed suddenly orange and he could make out a tabby cat slinking

around the corner at the other end of the street. He could just see the

ts on the step of number four.

 

of his cloak, he was gone.

 

A breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which lay silent and

u would expect

astonishing things to happen. Harry Potter rolled over inside his

blankets without waking up. One small hand closed on the letter beside

him and he slept on, not knowing he was special, not knowing he was

woken in a few hours’ time by Mrs.

Dursley’s scream as she opened the front door to put out the milk

bottles, nor that he would spend the next few weeks being prodded and

pinched by his cousin Dudley… He couldn’t know that at this very

meeting in secret all over the country were holding up

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

 

THE VANISHING GLASS

 

Nearly ten years had passed since the Dursleys had woken up to find

ir nephew on the front step, but Privet Drive had hardly changed at

all. The sun rose on the same tidy front gardens and lit up the brass

number four on the Dursleys’ front door; it crept into their living

ad been on the night when

Mr. Dursley had seen that fateful news report about the owls. Only the

photographs on the mantelpiece really showed how much time had passed.

Ten years ago, there had been lots of pictures of what looked like a

h ball wearing different-colored bonnets — but Dudley

Dursley was no longer a baby, and now the photographs showed a large

blond boy riding his first bicycle, on a carousel at the fair, playing a

y his mother.

The room held no sign at all that another boy lived in the house, too.

 

Yet Harry Potter was still there, asleep at the moment, but not for

long. His Aunt Petunia was awake and it was her shrill voice that made

.

 

 

Harry woke with a start. His aunt rapped on the door again.

 

the sound of the frying pan being put on the stove. He rolled onto his

member the dream he had been having. It had been a

good one. There had been a flying motorcycle in it. He had a funny

feeling he’d had the same dream before.

 

His aunt was back outside the door.

 

 

y.

 

 

Harry groaned.

 

 

 

s birthday — how could he have forgotten? Harry got slowly out

of bed and started looking for socks. He found a pair under his bed and,

after pulling a spider off one of them, put them on. Harry was used to

s was full of them, and

that was where he slept.

 

When he was dressed he went down the hall into the kitchen. The table

was almost hidden beneath all Dudley’s birthday presents. It looked as

mention the

second television and the racing bike. Exactly why Dudley wanted a

racing bike was a mystery to Harry, as Dudley was very fat and hated

exercise — unless of course it involved punching somebody. Dudley’s

t he couldn’t often catch him. Harry

didn’t look it, but he was very fast.

 

Perhaps it had something to do with living in a dark cupboard, but Harry

had always been small and skinny for his age. He looked even smaller and

ecause all he had to wear were old clothes

of Dudley’s, and Dudley was about four times bigger than he was. Harry

had a thin face, knobbly knees, black hair, and bright green eyes. He

wore round glasses held together with a lot of Scotch tape because of

all the times Dudley had punched him on the nose. The only thing Harry

liked about his own appearance was a very thin scar on his forehead that

was shaped like a bolt of lightning. He had had it as long as he could

could ever remember asking his Aunt

Petunia was how he had gotten it.

 

 

Don’t ask questions — that was the first rule for a quiet life with the

Dursleys.

 

ernon entered the kitchen as Harry was turning over the bacon.

 

 

About once a week, Uncle Vernon looked over the top of his newspaper and

ad more haircuts

than the rest of the boys in his class put

 

together, but it made no difference, his hair simply grew that way —

all over the place.

 

Harry was frying eggs by the time Dudley arrived in the kitchen with his

lot like Uncle Vernon. He had a large pink face,

not much neck, small, watery blue eyes, and thick blond hair that lay

smoothly on his thick, fat head. Aunt Petunia often said that Dudley

ike a

pig in a wig.

 

Harry put the plates of egg and bacon on the table, which was difficult

as there wasn’t much room. Dudley, meanwhile, was counting his presents.

His face fell.

 

two

 

 

m coming on, began wolfing down

his bacon as fast as possible in case Dudley turned the table over.

 

Aunt Petunia obviously scented danger, too, because she said quickly,

n? Two more presents. Is that all right»

 

Dudley thought for a moment. It looked like hard work. Finally he said

 

 

 

 

At that moment the telephone rang and Aunt Petunia went to answer it

d Uncle Vernon watched Dudley unwrap the racing bike, a

video camera, a remote control airplane, sixteen new computer games, and

a VCR. He was ripping the paper off a gold wristwatch when Aunt Petunia

worried.

 

 

Dudley’s mouth fell open in horror, but Harry’s heart gave a leap. Every

him and a friend out for the

day, to adventure parks, hamburger restaurants, or the movies. Every

year, Harry was left behind with Mrs. Figg, a mad old lady who lived two

streets away. Harry hated it there. The whole house smelled of cabbage

igg made him look at photographs of all the cats she’d ever

owned.

 

planned this. Harry knew he ought to feel sorry that Mrs. Figg had

reminded himself it would be

a whole year before he had to look at Tibbles, Snowy, Mr. Paws, and

Tufty again.

 

 

 

this, as though he wasn’t

there — or rather, as though he was something very nasty that couldn’t

understand them, like a slug.

 

 

 

watch what he wanted on television for a change and maybe even have a go

on Dudley’s computer).

 

Aunt Petunia looked as though she’d just swallowed a lemon.

 

 

 

 

 

Dudley began to cry loudly. In fact, he wasn’t really crying — it had

been years since he’d really cried — but he knew that if he screwed up

his face and wailed, his mother would give him anything he wanted.

 

t let him spoil your special

 

her’s arms.

 

Petunia frantically — and a moment later, Dudley’s best friend, Piers

Polkiss, walked in with his mother. Piers was a scrawny boy with a face

ally the one who held people’s arms behind their

backs while Dudley hit them. Dudley stopped pretending to cry at once.

 

Half an hour later, Harry, who couldn’t believe his luck, was sitting in

e way to the

zoo for the first time in his life. His aunt and uncle hadn’t been able

to think of anything else to do with him, but before they’d left, Uncle

Vernon had taken Harry aside.

 

ight up

anything at all — and you’ll be in that cupboard from now until

 

 

one ever did.

 

The problem was, strange things often happened around Harry and it was

just no good telling the Dursleys he didn’t make them happen.

 

Once, Aunt Petunia, tired of Harry coming back from the barbers looking

all, had taken a pair of kitchen scissors

and cut his hair so short he was almost bald except for his bangs, which

y,

where he was already laughed at for his baggy clothes and taped glasses.

Next morning, however, he had gotten up to find his hair exactly as it

had been before Aunt Petunia had sheared it off He had been given a week

hough he had tried to explain that he

couldn’t explain how it had grown back so quickly.

 

Another time, Aunt Petunia had been trying to force him into a revolting

old sweater of Dudley’s (brown with orange puff balls) — The harder she

t over his head, the smaller it seemed to become, until

finally it might have fitted a hand puppet, but certainly wouldn’t fit

Harry. Aunt Petunia had decided it must have shrunk in the wash and, to

his great relief, Harry wasn’t punished.

 

er hand, he’d gotten into terrible trouble for being found on

the roof of the school kitchens. Dudley’s gang had been chasing him as

usual when, as much to Harry’s surprise as anyone else’s, there he was

a very angry letter

from Harry’s headmistress telling them Harry had been climbing school

buildings. But all he’d tried to do (as he shouted at Uncle Vernon

through the locked door of his cupboard) was jump behind the big trash

n doors. Harry supposed that the wind must have

caught him in mid- jump.

 

But today, nothing was going to go wrong. It was even worth being with

Dudley and Piers to be spending the day somewhere that wasn’t school,

-smelling living room.

 

While he drove, Uncle Vernon complained to Aunt Petunia. He liked to

complain about things: people at work, Harry, the council, Harry, the

bank, and Harry were just a few of his favorite subjects. This morning,

es.

 

motorcycle overtook them.

 

 

right

around in his seat and yelled at Harry, his face like a gigantic beet

 

Dudley and Piers sniggered.

 

 

ere was one thing the

Dursleys hated even more than his asking questions, it was his talking

about anything acting in a way it shouldn’t, no matter if it was in a

dream or even a cartoon — they seemed to think he might get dangerous

ideas.

 

very sunny Saturday and the zoo was crowded with families. The

Dursleys bought Dudley and Piers large chocolate ice creams at the

entrance and then, because the smiling lady in the van had asked Harry

ey bought him a cheap

lemon ice pop. It wasn’t bad, either, Harry thought, licking it as they

watched a gorilla scratching its head who looked remarkably like Dudley,

except that it wasn’t blond.

 

was careful to

walk a little way apart from the Dursleys so that Dudley and Piers, who

were starting to get bored with the animals by lunchtime, wouldn’t fall

back on their favorite hobby of hitting him. They ate in the zoo

had a tantrum because his knickerbocker

glory didn’t have enough ice cream on top, Uncle Vernon bought him

another one and Harry was allowed to finish the first.

 

Harry felt, afterward, that he should have known it was all too good to

last.

 

lunch they went to the reptile house. It was cool and dark in

there, with lit windows all along the walls. Behind the glass, all sorts

of lizards and snakes were crawling and slithering over bits of wood and

oisonous cobras and thick,

man-crushing pythons. Dudley quickly found the largest snake in the

place. It could have wrapped its body twice around Uncle Vernon’s car

and crushed it into a trash can — but at the moment it didn’t look in

t, it was fast asleep.

 

Dudley stood with his nose pressed against the glass, staring at the

glistening brown coils.

 

glass, but the snake didn’t budge.

 

red. Uncle Vernon rapped the glass smartly

with his knuckles, but the snake just snoozed on.

 

 

Harry moved in front of the tank and looked intently at the snake. He

had died of boredom itself — no

company except stupid people drumming their fingers on the glass trying

to disturb it all day long. It was worse than having a cupboard as a

bedroom, where the only visitor was Aunt Petunia hammering on the door

e you up; at least he got to visit the rest of the house.

 

The snake suddenly opened its beady eyes. Slowly, very slowly, it raised

its head until its eyes were on a level with Harry’s.

 

It winked.

 

if anyone was

watching. They weren’t. He looked back at the snake and winked, too.

 

The snake jerked its head toward Uncle Vernon and Dudley, then raised

its eyes to the ceiling. It gave Harry a look that said quite plainly:

 

e.

 

 

The snake nodded vigorously.

 

 

next to the glass. Harry

peered at it.

 

Boa Constrictor, Brazil.

 

 

The boa constrictor jabbed its tail at the sign again and Harry read on:

 

As the snake shook its head, a deafening shout behind Harry made both of

them jump.

 

 

Dudley came waddling toward them as fast as he could.

 

surprise, Harry fell hard on the concrete floor. What came next happened

so fast no one saw how it happened — one second, Piers and Dudley were

apt back with

howls of horror.

 

Harry sat up and gasped; the glass front of the boa constrictor’s tank

had vanished. The great snake was uncoiling itself rapidly, slithering

out onto the floor. People throughout the reptile house screamed and

running for the exits.

 

As the snake slid swiftly past him, Harry could have sworn a low,

 

The keeper of the reptile house was in shock.

 

 

The zoo director himself made Aunt Petunia a cup of strong, sweet tea

while he apologized over and over again. Piers and Dudley could only

gibber. As far as Harry had seen, the snake hadn’t done anything except

ls as it passed, but by the time they were

all back in Uncle Vernon’s car, Dudley was telling them how it had

nearly bitten off his leg, while Piers was swearing it had tried to

squeeze him to death. But worst of all, for Harry at least, was Piers

 

Uncle Vernon waited until Piers was safely out of the house before

starting on Harry. He was so angry he could hardly speak. He managed to

chair, and Aunt Petunia had to run and get him a large brandy.

 

Harry lay in his dark cupboard much later, wishing he had a watch. He

didn’t know what time it was and he couldn’t be sure the Dursleys were

l they were, he couldn’t risk sneaking to the kitchen

for some food.

 

He’d lived with the Dursleys almost ten years, ten miserable years, as

long as he could remember, ever since he’d been a baby and his parents

remember being in the car when

his parents had died. Sometimes, when he strained his memory during long

hours in his cupboard, he came up with a strange vision: a blinding

flash of green light and a burn- ing pain on his forehead. This, he

as the crash, though he couldn’t imagine where all the green

light came from. He couldn’t remember his parents at all. His aunt and

uncle never spoke about them, and of course he was forbidden to ask

ouse.

 

When he had been younger, Harry had dreamed and dreamed of some unknown

relation coming to take him away, but it had never happened; the

Dursleys were his only family. Yet sometimes he thought (or maybe hoped)

d to know him. Very strange strangers

they were, too. A tiny man in a violet top hat had bowed to him once

while out shopping with Aunt Petunia and Dudley. After asking Harry

furiously if he knew the man, Aunt Petunia had rushed them out of the

thout buying anything. A wild-looking old woman dressed all in

green had waved merrily at him once on a bus. A bald man in a very long

purple coat had actually shaken his hand in the street the other day and

thing about all these

people was the way they seemed to vanish the second Harry tried to get a

closer look.

 

At school, Harry had no one. Everybody knew that Dudley’s gang hated

that odd Harry Potter in his baggy old clothes and broken glasses, and

nobody liked to disagree with Dudley’s gang.

 

 

CHAPTER THREE

 

THE LETTERS FROM NO ONE

 

The escape of the Brazilian boa constrictor earned Harry his

longest-ever punishment. By the time he was allowed out of his cupboard

had started and Dudley had already broken his

new video camera, crashed his remote control airplane, and, first time

out on his racing bike, knocked down old Mrs. Figg as she crossed Privet

Drive on her crutches.

 

here was no escaping Dudley’s gang,

who visited the house every single day. Piers, Dennis, Malcolm, and

Gordon were all big and stupid, but as Dudley was the biggest and

stupidest of the lot, he was the leader. The rest of them were all quite

join in Dudley’s favorite sport: Harry Hunting.

 

This was why Harry spent as much time as possible out of the house,

wandering around and thinking about the end of the holidays, where he

ng off

to secondary school and, for the first time in his life, he wouldn’t be

with Dudley. Dudley had been accepted at Uncle Vernon’s old private

school, Smeltings. Piers Polkiss was going there too. Harry, on the

gh, the local public school. Dudley

thought this was very funny.

 

 

thing as

Dudley could work out what he’d said.

 

One day in July, Aunt Petunia took Dudley to London to buy his Smeltings

s bad as

usual. It turned out she’d broken her leg tripping over one of her cats,

and she didn’t seem quite as fond of them as before. She let Harry watch

television and gave him a bit of chocolate cake that tasted as though

ars.

 

That evening, Dudley paraded around the living room for the family in

his brand-new uniform. Smeltings’ boys wore maroon tailcoats, orange

knickerbockers, and flat straw hats called boaters. They also carried

h other while the teachers weren’t

looking. This was supposed to be good training for later life.

 

As he looked at Dudley in his new knickerbockers, Uncle Vernon said

gruffly that it was the proudest moment of his life. Aunt Petunia burst

nd said she couldn’t believe it was her Ickle Dudleykins, he

looked so handsome and grown-up. Harry didn’t trust himself to speak. He

thought two of his ribs might already have cracked from trying not to

laugh.

 

en the next morning when Harry

went in for breakfast. It seemed to be coming from a large metal tub in

the sink. He went to have a look. The tub was full of what looked like

dirty rags swimming in gray water.

 

lips tightened as they always

did if he dared to ask a question.

 

 

Harry looked in the bowl again.

 

 

some of Dudley’s old

things gray for you. It’ll look just like everyone else’s when I’ve

 

Harry seriously doubted this, but thought it best not to argue. He sat

down at the table and tried not to think about how he was going to look

first day at Stonewall High — like he was wearing bits of old

elephant skin, probably.

 

Dudley and Uncle Vernon came in, both with wrinkled noses because of the

smell from Harry’s new uniform. Uncle Vernon opened his newspaper as

nged his Smelting stick, which he carried everywhere,

on the table.

 

They heard the click of the mail slot and flop of letters on the

doormat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry dodged the Smelting stick and went to get the mail. Three things

lay on the doormat: a postcard from Uncle Vernon’s sister Marge, who was

f Wight, a brown envelope that looked like a

bill, and — a letter for Harry.

 

Harry picked it up and stared at it, his heart twanging like a giant

elastic band. No one, ever, in his whole life, had written to him. Who

er relatives — he didn’t belong to the

library, so he’d never even got rude notes asking for books back. Yet

here it was, a letter, addressed so plainly there could be no mistake:

 

Mr. H. Potter

 

The Cupboard under the Stairs

 

4 Privet Drive

 

ttle Whinging

 

Surrey

 

The envelope was thick and heavy, made of yellowish parchment, and the

address was written in emerald-green ink. There was no stamp.

 

Turning the envelope over, his hand trembling, Harry saw a purple wax

f arms; a lion, an eagle, a badger, and a snake

surrounding a large letter H.

 

 

l staring at his letter. He handed

Uncle Vernon the bill and the postcard, sat down, and slowly began to

open the yellow envelope.

 

Uncle Vernon ripped open the bill, snorted in disgust, and flipped over

the postcard.

 

 

 

Harry was on the point of unfolding his letter, which was written on the

same heavy parchment as the envelope, when it was jerked sharply out of

by Uncle Vernon.

 

 

with one hand and glancing at it. His face went from red to green faster

nd it didn’t stop there. Within seconds

it was the grayish white of old porridge.

 

 

Dudley tried to grab the letter to read it, but Uncle Vernon held it

t

line. For a moment it looked as though she might faint. She clutched her

throat and made a choking noise.

 

 

They stared at each other, seeming to have forgotten that Harry and

ey wasn’t used to being ignored. He

gave his father a sharp tap on the head with his Smelting stick.

 

 

on, stuffing the letter back

inside its envelope.

 

Harry didn’t move.

 

 

 

into the hall, slamming the

kitchen door behind them. Harry and Dudley promptly had a furious but

silent fight over who would listen at the keyhole; Dudley won, so Harry,

his glasses dangling from one ear, lay flat on his stomach to listen at

between door and floor.

 

address — how could they possibly know where he sleeps? You don’t think

 

red Uncle Vernon

wildly.

 

 

Harry could see Uncle Vernon’s shiny black shoes pacing up and down the

kitchen.

 

‘t get an

answer… Yes, that’s best… we won’t do anything….

 

 

 

on did something he’d

never done before; he visited Harry in his cupboard.

 

 

n shortly.

 

 

ceiling. He took a few deep breaths and then forced his face into a

which looked quite painful.

 

thinking… you’re really getting a bit big for it… we think it might

be nice if you moved into Dudley’s second bedroom.

 

 

 

The Dursleys’ house had four bedrooms: one for Uncle Vernon and Aunt

Petunia, one for visitors (usually Uncle Vernon’s sister, Marge), one

ept all the toys and things

that wouldn’t fit into his first bedroom. It only took Harry one trip

upstairs to move everything he owned from the cupboard to this room. He

sat down on the bed and stared around him. Nearly everything in here was

he month-old video camera was lying on top of a small, working

tank Dudley had once driven over the next door neighbor’s dog; in the

corner was Dudley’s first-ever television set, which he’d put his foot

ed; there was a large

birdcage, which had once held a parrot that Dudley had swapped at school

for a real air rifle, which was up on a shelf with the end all bent

because Dudley had sat on it. Other shelves were full of books. They

in the room that looked as though they’d never been

touched.

 

From downstairs came the sound of Dudley bawling at his mother, I don’t

 

y he’d have given

anything to be up here. Today he’d rather be back in his cupboard with

that letter than up here without it.

 

Next morning at breakfast, everyone was rather quiet. Dudley was in

ng stick, been

sick on purpose, kicked his mother, and thrown his tortoise through the

greenhouse roof, and he still didn’t have his room back. Harry was

thinking about this time yesterday and bitterly wishing he’d opened the

Vernon and Aunt Petunia kept looking at each

other darkly.

 

When the mail arrived, Uncle Vernon, who seemed to be trying to be nice

to Harry, made Dudley go and get it. They heard him banging things with

 

With a strangled cry, Uncle Vernon leapt from his seat and ran down the

hall, Harry right behind him. Uncle Vernon had to wrestle Dudley to the

get the letter from him, which was made difficult by the fact

that Harry had grabbed Uncle Vernon around the neck from behind. After a

minute of confused fighting, in which everyone got hit a lot by the

ing for breath, with

Harry’s letter clutched in his hand.

 

 

Harry walked round and round his new room. Someone knew he had moved out

hey seemed to know he hadn’t received his first

letter. Surely that meant they’d try again? And this time he’d make sure

they didn’t fail. He had a plan.

 

The repaired alarm clock rang at six o’clock the next morning. Harry

ressed silently. He mustn’t wake the

Dursleys. He stole downstairs without turning on any of the lights.

 

He was going to wait for the postman on the corner of Privet Drive and

get the letters for number four first. His heart hammered as he crept

ss the dark hall toward the front door —

 

Harry leapt into the air; he’d trodden on something big and squashy on

the doormat — something alive!

 

Lights clicked on upstairs and to his horror Harry realized that the

s uncle’s face. Uncle Vernon had been

lying at the foot of the front door in a sleeping bag, clearly making

sure that Harry didn’t do exactly what he’d been trying to do. He

shouted at Harry for about half an hour and then told him to go and make

of tea. Harry shuffled miserably off into the kitchen and by the

time he got back, the mail had arrived, right into Uncle Vernon’s lap.

Harry could see three letters addressed in green ink.

 

rs into

pieces before his eyes. Uncle Vernon didnt go to work that day. He

stayed at home and nailed up the mail slot.

 

 

 

piece of fruitcake Aunt Petunia had just brought him.

 

ve letters arrived for Harry. As they

couldn’t go through the mail slot they had been pushed under the door,

slotted through the sides, and a few even forced through the small

window in the downstairs bathroom.

 

r burning all the letters, he got

out a hammer and nails and boarded up the cracks around the front and

as he worked, and jumped at small noises.

 

t out of hand. Twenty-four letters to

Harry found their way into the house, rolled up and hidden inside each

of the two dozen eggs that their very confused milkman had handed Aunt

Petunia through the living room window. While Uncle Vernon made furious

telephone calls to the post office and the dairy trying to find someone

to complain to, Aunt Petunia shredded the letters in her food processor.

 

amazement.

 

le Vernon sat down at the breakfast table looking

tired and rather ill, but happy.

 

 

ey as he spoke and caught

him sharply on the back of the head. Next moment, thirty or forty

letters came pelting out of the fireplace like bullets. The Dursleys

ducked, but Harry leapt into the air trying to catch one.

 

 

zed Harry around the waist and threw him into the hall.

When Aunt Petunia and Dudley had run out with their arms over their

faces, Uncle Vernon slammed the door shut. They could hear the letters

floor.

 

great tufts out of his mustache at the same time. I want you all back

here in five minutes ready to leave. We’re going away. Just pack some

 

ked so dangerous with half his mustache missing that no one dared

argue. Ten minutes later they had wrenched their way through the

boarded-up doors and were in the car, speeding toward the highway.

it him round the

head for holding them up while he tried to pack his television, VCR, and

computer in his sports bag.

 

They drove. And they drove. Even Aunt Petunia didn’t dare ask where they

arp turn and

 

They didn’t stop to eat or drink all day. By nightfall Dudley was

was hungry, he’d

missed five television programs he’d wanted to see, and he’d never gone

so long without blowing up an alien on his computer.

 

Uncle Vernon stopped at last outside a gloomy-looking hotel on the

shared a room with twin beds

and damp, musty sheets. Dudley snored but Harry stayed awake, sitting on

the windowsill, staring down at the lights of passing cars and

wondering….

 

They ate stale cornflakes and cold tinned tomatoes on toast for

fast the next day. They had just finished when the owner of the

hotel came over to their table.

 

 

ink address:

 

Mr. H. Potter

 

Room 17

 

Railview Hotel

 

Cokeworth

 

Harry made a grab for the letter but Uncle Vernon knocked his hand out

of the way. The woman stared.

 

from the dining room.

 

timidly, hours later, but Uncle Vernon didn’t seem to hear her. Exactly

what he was looking for, none of them knew. He drove them into the

got out, looked around, shook his head, got back in

the car, and off they went again. The same thing happened in the middle

of a plowed field, halfway across a suspension bridge, and at the top of

a multilevel parking garage.

 

afternoon. Uncle Vernon had parked at the coast, locked them all inside

the car, and disappeared.

 

It started to rain. Great drops beat on the roof of the car. Dud ley

sniveled.

 

 

Monday. This reminded Harry of something. If it was Monday — and you

could usually count on Dudley to know the days the week, because of

tomorrow, Tuesday, was Harry’s eleventh birthday. Of

course, his birthdays were never exactly fun — last year, the Dursleys

had given him a coat hanger and a pair of Uncle Vernon’s old socks.

Still, you weren’t eleven every day.

 

ck and he was smiling. He was also carrying a long,

thin package and didn’t answer Aunt Petunia when she asked what he’d

bought.

 

 

g at what

looked like a large rock way out at sea. Perched on top of the rock was

the most miserable little shack you could imagine. One thing was

certain, there was no television in there.

 

lapping his

 

A toothless old man came ambling up to them, pointing, with a rather

wicked grin, at an old rowboat bobbing in the iron-gray water below

them.

 

 

It was freezing in the boat. Icy sea spray and rain crept down their

necks and a chilly wind whipped their faces. After what seemed like

nd sliding,

led the way to the broken-down house.

 

The inside was horrible; it smelled strongly of seaweed, the wind

whistled through the gaps in the wooden walls, and the fireplace was

damp and empty. There were only two rooms.

 

ons turned out to be a bag of chips each and four

bananas. He tried to start a fire but the empty chip bags just smoked

and shriveled up.

 

 

ought nobody stood a chance

of reaching them here in a storm to deliver mail. Harry privately

agreed, though the thought didn’t cheer him up at all.

 

As night fell, the promised storm blew up around them. Spray from the

of the hut and a fierce wind rattled the

filthy windows. Aunt Petunia found a few moldy blankets in the second

room and made up a bed for Dudley on the moth-eaten sofa. She and Uncle

d

the softest bit of floor he could and to curl up under the thinnest,

most ragged blanket.

 

The storm raged more and more ferociously as the night went on. Harry

couldn’t sleep. He shivered and turned over, trying to get comfortable,

bling with hunger. Dudley’s snores were drowned by the

low rolls of thunder that started near midnight. The lighted dial of

Dudley’s watch, which was dangling over the edge of the sofa on his fat

lay and

watched his birthday tick nearer, wondering if the Dursleys would

remember at all, wondering where the letter writer was now.

 

Five minutes to go. Harry heard something creak outside. He hoped the

ht be warmer if it did.

Four minutes to go. Maybe the house in Privet Drive would be so full of

letters when they got back that he’d be able to steal one somehow.

 

Three minutes to go. Was that the sea, slapping hard on the rock like

nutes to go) what was that funny crunching noise? Was

the rock crumbling into the sea?

 

One minute to go and he’d be eleven. Thirty seconds… twenty … ten…

nine — maybe he’d wake Dudley up, just to annoy him — three… two…

one…

 

BOOM.

 

The whole shack shivered and Harry sat bolt upright, staring at the

door. Someone was outside, knocking to come in.

 

 

CHAPTER FOUR

 

THE KEEPER OF THE KEYS

 

said stupidly.

 

There was a crash behind them and Uncle Vernon came skidding into the

room. He was holding a rifle in his hands — now they knew what had been

in the long, thin package he had brought with them.

 

 

There was a pause. Then —

 

SMASH!

 

The door was hit with such force that it swung clean off its hinges and

with a deafening crash landed flat on the floor.

 

A giant of a man was standing in the doorway. His face was almost

long, shaggy mane of hair and a wild, tangled

beard, but you could make out his eyes, glinting like black beetles

under all the hair.

 

The giant squeezed his way into the hut, stooping so that his head just

the door, and fitted it

easily back into its frame. The noise of the storm outside dropped a

little. He turned to look at them all.

 

 

ey sat frozen with fear.

 

 

Dudley squeaked and ran to hide behind his mother, who was crouching,

terrified, behind Uncle Vernon.

 

 

wild, shadowy face and saw that the

beetle eyes were crinkled in a smile.

 

 

Uncle Vernon made a funny rasping noise.

 

 

the back of the sofa, jerked the gun out of Uncle Vernon’s hands, bent

had been made of rubber, and threw it

into a corner of the room.

 

Uncle Vernon made another funny noise, like a mouse being trodden on.

 

er yeh here — I mighta sat on

 

From an inside pocket of his black overcoat he pulled a slightly

squashed box. Harry opened it with trembling fingers. Inside was a

irthday Harry written on it in

green icing.

 

Harry looked up at the giant. He meant to say thank you, but the words

 

The giant chuckled.

 

self. Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of Keys and

 

He held out an enormous hand and shook Harry’s whole arm.

 

 

His eyes fell on the empty grate with the shriveled chip bags in it and

he snorted. He bent down over the fireplace; they couldn’t see what he

was doing but when he drew back a second later, there was a roaring fire

hut with flickering light and Harry felt

the warmth wash over him as though he’d sunk into a hot bath.

 

The giant sat back down on the sofa, which sagged under his weight, and

began taking all sorts of things out of the pockets of his coat: a

ettle, a squashy package of sausages, a poker, a teapot, several

chipped mugs, and a bottle of some amber liquid that he took a swig from

before starting to make tea. Soon the hut was full of the sound and

while the giant was

working, but as he slid the first six fat, juicy, slightly burnt

sausages from the poker, Dudley fidgeted a little. Uncle Vernon said

 

The giant chuckled darkly.

 

uddin’ of a son don’ need fattenin’ anymore, Dursley, don’

 

He passed the sausages to Harry, who was so hungry he had never tasted

anything so wonderful, but he still couldn’t take his eyes off the

lain anything, he said,

 

The giant took a gulp of tea and wiped his mouth with the back of his

hand.

 

rts — yeh’ll know all about Hogwarts, o’ course.

 

 

Hagrid looked shocked.

 

 

orry! I knew yeh weren’t

gettin’ yer letters but I never thought yeh wouldn’t even know abou’

Hogwarts, fer cryin’ out loud! Did yeh never wonder where yet parents

 

 

 

He had leapt to his feet. In his anger he seemed to fill the whole hut.

The Dursleys were cowering against the wall.

 

 

Harry thought this was going a bit far. He had been to school, after

all, and his marks weren’t bad.

 

n. Your

 

 

Hagrid looked as if he was about to explode.

 

 

Uncle Vernon, who had gone very pale, whispered something that sounded

Harry.

 

 

 

y with a bewildered stare.

 

 

Uncle Vernon suddenly found his voice.

 

 

quailed under the furious

look Hagrid now gave him; when Hagrid spoke, his every syllable trembled

with rage.

 

left fer him? I was there! I saw Dumbledore leave it, Dursley! An’

 

 

 

Aunt Petunia gave a gasp of horror.

 

 

There was silence inside the hut. Only the sea and the whistling wind

could be heard.

 

 

say, once

yeh’ve been trained up a bit. With a mum an’ dad like yours, what else

 

Harry stretched out his hand at last to take the yellowish envelope,

H. Potter, The Floor, Hut-on-the-Rock,

The Sea. He pulled out the letter and read:

 

HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY

 

Headmaster: ALBUS DUMBLEDORE

 

(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock, Supreme

onfed. of Wizards)

 

Dear Mr. Potter,

 

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts

School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all

necessary books and equipment.

 

ur owl by no later than July 31.

Yours sincerely,

 

Minerva McGonagall,

 

Deputy Headmistress

 

Questions exploded inside Harry’s head like fireworks and he couldn’t

 

his forehead with enough force to knock over a cart horse, and from yet

another pocket inside his overcoat he pulled an owl — a real, live,

owl — a long quill, and a roll of parchment.

With his tongue between his teeth he scribbled a note that Harry could

read upside down:

 

Dear Professor Dumbledore,

 

Given Harry his letter.

 

Taking him to buy his things tomorrow.

 

le. Hope you’re Well.

 

Hagrid

 

Hagrid rolled up the note, gave it to the owl, which clamped it in its

beak, went to the door, and threw the owl out into the storm. Then he

came back and sat down as though this was as normal as talking on the

ne.

 

Harry realized his mouth was open and closed it quickly.

 

ashen-faced but looking very angry, moved into the firelight.

 

 

Hagrid grunted.

 

 

 

An’ it’s your bad luck you grew up in a family o’ the biggest Muggles I

 

 

 

we knew! How

could you not be, my dratted sister being what she was? Oh, she got a

letter just like that and disappeared off to that-that school-and came

home every vacation with her pockets full of frog spawn, turning teacups

one who saw her for what she was — a freak!

But for my mother and father, oh no, it was Lily this and Lily that,

 

She stopped to draw a deep breath and then went ranting on. It seemed

nting to say all this for years.

 

had you, and of course I knew you’d be just the same, just as strange,

just as — as — abnormal — and then, if you please, she went and got

 

 

James Potter? It’s an outrage! A scandal! Harry Potter not knowin’ his

 

ace. He looked suddenly anxious.

 

idea, when Dumbledore told me there might be trouble gettin’ hold of

yeh, how much yeh didn’t know. Ah, Harry, I don’ know if I’m the right

er tell yeh — but someone’s gotta — yeh can’t go off ter

 

He threw a dirty look at the Dursleys.

 

 

begins, I suppose, with — with a person called — but it’s incredible

 

 

 

 

difficult. See, there was this wizard who went… bad. As bad as you

 

ed, but no words came out.

 

 

make me say it again. Anyway, this — this wizard, about twenty years

ers. Got ’em, too — some were

afraid, some just wanted a bit o’ his power, ’cause he was gettin’

himself power, all right. Dark days, Harry. Didn’t know who ter trust,

didn’t dare get friendly with strange wizards or witches… terrible

d. He was takin’ over. ‘Course, some stood up to him —

an’ he killed ’em. Horribly. One o’ the only safe places left was

Hogwarts. Reckon Dumbledore’s the only one You-Know-Who was afraid of.

Didn’t dare try takin’ the school, not jus’ then, anyway.

 

Head boy an’ girl at Hogwarts in their day! Suppose the myst’ry is why

You-Know-Who never tried to get ’em on his side before… probably knew

want anythin’ ter do with the

Dark Side.

 

outta the way. All anyone knows is, he turned up in the village where

.

 

Hagrid suddenly pulled out a very dirty, spotted handkerchief and blew

his nose with a sound like a foghorn.

 

 

the thing — he tried to kill you, too. Wanted ter make a clean job of

it, I suppose, or maybe he just liked killin’ by then. But he couldn’t

you got that mark on yer forehead? That was no

ordinary cut. That’s what yeh get when a Powerful, evil curse touches

yeh — took care of yer mum an’ dad an’ yer house, even — but it didn’t

d after

he decided ter kill ’em, no one except you, an’ he’d killed some o’ the

best witches an’ wizards of the age — the McKinnons, the Bones, the

 

ind. As Hagrid’s story

came to a close, he saw again the blinding flash of green light, more

clearly than he had ever remembered it before — and he remembered

something else, for the first time in his life: a high, cold, cruel

laugh.

 

ching him sadly.

 

 

o

have got back his courage. He was glaring at Hagrid and his fists were

clenched.

 

strange about you, probably nothing a good beating wouldn’t have cured

ut your parents, well, they were weirdos, no

denying it, and the world’s better off without them in my opinion —

asked for all they got, getting mixed up with these wizarding types —

 

But at that moment, Hagrid leapt from the sofa and drew a battered pink

umbrella from inside his coat. Pointing this at Uncle Vernon like a

 

n the end of an umbrella by a bearded giant,

Uncle Vernon’s courage failed again; he flattened himself against the

wall and fell silent.

 

own to the floor.

 

Harry, meanwhile, still had questions to ask, hundreds of them.

 

 

ous. That’s the biggest myst’ry, see…

he was gettin’ more an’ more powerful — why’d he go?

 

human left in him to die. Some say he’s still out there, bidin’ his

on’ believe it. People who was on his side came back

ter ours. Some of ’em came outta kinda trances. Don~ reckon they

could’ve done if he was comin’ back.

 

ause somethin’ about you finished him, Harry.

There was somethin’ goin’ on that night he hadn’t counted on — I dunno

what it was, no one does — but somethin’ about you stumped him, all

 

in his eyes, but

Harry, instead of feeling pleased and proud, felt quite sure there had

been a horrible mistake. A wizard? Him? How could he possibly be? He’d

spent his life being clouted by Dudley, and bullied by Aunt Petunia and

as really a wizard, why hadn’t they been turned

into warty toads every time they’d tried to lock him in his cupboard? If

he’d once defeated the greatest sorcerer in the world, how come Dudley

had always been able to kick him around like a football?

 

 

To his surprise, Hagrid chuckled.

 

 

me to think about it… every odd

thing that had ever made his aunt and uncle furious with him had

happened when he, Harry, had been upset or angry… chased by Dudley’s

gang, he had somehow found himself out of their reach… dreading going

with that ridiculous haircut, he’d managed to make it grow

back… and the very last time Dudley had hit him, hadn’t he got his

revenge, without even realizing he was doing it? Hadn’t he set a boa

constrictor on him?

 

ing, and saw that Hagrid was positively

beaming at him.

 

 

But Uncle Vernon wasn’t going to give in without a fight.

 

High and he’ll be grateful for it. I’ve read those letters and he needs

 

Lily an’ James Potter’ s son goin’ ter Hogwarts! Yer mad.

His name’s been down ever since he was born. He’s off ter the finest

school of witchcraft and wizardry in the world. Seven years there and he

wn sort, fer a

change, an’ he’ll be under the greatest headmaster Hogwarts ever had

 

yelled Uncle Vernon.

 

brella and whirled

 

He brought the umbrella swishing down through the air to point at Dudley

— there was a flash of violet light, a sound like a firecracker, a

sharp squeal, and the next second, Dudley was dancing on the spot with

his hands clasped over his fat bottom, howling in pain. When he turned

his back on them, Harry saw a curly pig’s tail poking through a hole in

his trousers.

 

Pulling Aunt Petunia and Dudley into the other

room, he cast one last terrified look at Hagrid and slammed the door

behind them.

 

Hagrid looked down at his umbrella and stroked his beard.

 

t work

anyway. Meant ter turn him into a pig, but I suppose he was so much like

 

He cast a sideways look at Harry under his bushy eyebrows.

 

he

allowed ter do a bit ter follow yeh an’ get yer letters to yeh an’ stuff

— one o’ the reasons I was so keen ter take on the job

 

Harry.

 

tell yeh the truth. In me third year. They snapped me wand in half an’

everything. But Dumbledore let me stay on as gamekeeper. Great man,

 

 

He took off his thick black coat and threw it to Harry.

 

gles a bit, I

 

 

CHAPTER FIVE

 

DIAGON ALLEY

 

Harry woke early the next morning. Although he could tell it was

daylight, he kept his eyes shut tight.

 

Hagrid came to tell me I was going to a school for wizards. When I open

 

There was suddenly a loud tapping noise.

 

his heart

sinking. But he still didn’t open his eyes. It had been such a good

dream.

 

Tap. Tap. Tap.

 

 

He sat up and Hagrid’s heavy coat fell off him. The hut was full of

Hagrid himself was asleep on the collapsed

sofa, and there was an owl rapping its claw on the window, a newspaper

held in its beak.

 

Harry scrambled to his feet, so happy he felt as though a large balloon

the window and jerked it

open. The owl swooped in and dropped the newspaper on top of Hagrid, who

didn’t wake up. The owl then fluttered onto the floor and began to

attack Hagrid’s coat.

 

 

but it snapped its beak

fiercely at him and carried on savaging the coat.

 

 

 

 

coat seemed to be made of nothing but pockets — bunches of

keys, slug pellets, balls of string, peppermint humbugs, teabags…

finally, Harry pulled out a handful of strange-looking coins.

 

 

 

 

Harry counted out five little bronze coins, and the owl held out his leg

so Harry could put the money into a small leather pouch tied to it. Then

he flew off through the open window.

 

ched.

 

 

Harry was turning over the wizard coins and looking at them. He had just

thought of something that made him feel as though the happy balloon

nside him had got a puncture.

 

 

 

 

d Hagrid, standing up and scratching his

 

 

age, they’re not bad cold — an’ I

 

 

 

Harry dropped the bit of sausage he was holding.

 

 

d ter try an’ rob it, I’ll tell yeh that. Never

mess with goblins, Harry. Gringotts is the safest place in the world fer

anything yeh want ter keep safe — ‘cept maybe Hogwarts. As a matter o’

ts

important stuff fer him. Fetchin’ you gettin’ things from Gringotts —

knows he can trust me, see.

 

 

he sky was quite clear now and

the sea gleamed in the sunlight. The boat Uncle Vernon had hired was

still there, with a lot of water in the bottom after the storm.

 

rid.

 

 

 

They settled down in the boat, Harry still staring at Hagrid, trying to

imagine him flying.

 

rry another of

 

de of the boat, and

they sped off toward land.

 

 

then yeh gotta find yer way — Gringotts is hundreds of miles under

London, see. Deep under the Underground. Yeh’d die of hunger tryin’ ter

 

ead his newspaper, the

Daily Prophet. Harry had learned from Uncle Vernon that people liked to

be left alone while they did this, but it was very difficult, he’d never

had so many questions in his life.

 

Hagrid muttered, turning

the page.

 

himself.

 

course, but he’d never leave Hogwarts, so old Cornelius Fudge got the

job. Bungler if ever there was one. So he pelts Dumbledore with owls

 

 

 

 

 

At this moment the boat bumped gently into the harbor wall. Hagrid

stone steps onto the

street.

 

Passersby stared a lot at Hagrid as they walked through the little town

to the station. Harry couldn’t blame them. Not only was Hagrid twice as

tall as anyone else, he kept pointing at perfectly ordinary things like

 

 

 

 

 

They had reached the station. There was a train to London in five

e could buy their tickets.

 

People stared more than ever on the train. Hagrid took up two seats and

sat knitting what looked like a canary-yellow circus tent.

 

nvelope out of his pocket.

 

 

Harry unfolded a second piece of paper he hadn’t noticed the night

before, and read:

 

HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY

 

UNIFORM

 

r students will require:

 

1. Three sets of plain work robes (black)

 

2. One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear

 

3. One pair of protective gloves (dragon hide or similar)

 

4. One winter cloak (black, silver fastenings)

 

pils’ clothes should carry name tags

 

COURSE BOOKS

 

All students should have a copy of each of the following:

 

The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1) by Miranda Goshawk

 

A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot

 

Magical Theory by Adalbert Waffling

 

A Beginners’ Guide to Transfiguration by Emetic Switch

 

One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi by Phyllida Spore

 

Magical Drafts and Potions by Arsenius Jigger

 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander

 

Self-Protection by Quentin Trimble

 

OTHER EQUIPMENT

 

wand cauldron (pewter, standard size 2) set

 

glass or crystal phials

 

telescope set

 

brass scales

 

Students may also bring an owl OR a cat OR a toad

 

RE NOT ALLOWED THEIR OWN

BROOMSTICKS

 

 

 

Harry had never been to London before. Although Hagrid seemed to know

ed to getting there in an

ordinary way. He got stuck in the ticket barrier on the Underground, and

complained loudly that the seats were too small and the trains too slow.

 

broken-down escalator that led up to a bustling road lined

with shops.

 

Hagrid was so huge that he parted the crowd easily; all Harry had to do

was keep close behind him. They passed book shops and music stores,

nowhere that looked as if it

could sell you a magic wand. This was just an ordinary street full of

ordinary people. Could there really be piles of wizard gold buried miles

beneath them? Were there really shops that sold spell books and

ght this not all be some huge joke that the Dursleys had

cooked up? If Harry hadn’t known that the Dursleys had no sense of

humor, he might have thought so; yet somehow, even though everything

help

trusting him.

 

 

It was a tiny, grubby-looking pub. If Hagrid hadn’t pointed it out,

Harry wouldn’t have noticed it was there. The people hurrying by didn’t

glance at it. Their eyes slid from the big book shop on one side to the

record shop on the other as if they couldn’t see the Leaky Cauldron at

all. In fact, Harry had the most peculiar feeling that only he and

on this, Hagrid had steered

him inside.

 

For a famous place, it was very dark and shabby. A few old women were

sitting in a corner, drinking tiny glasses of sherry. One of them was

smoking a long pipe. A little man in a top hat was talking to the old

bartender, who was quite bald and looked like a toothless walnut. The

low buzz of chatter stopped when they walked in. Everyone seemed to know

Hagrid; they waved and smiled at him, and the bartender reached for a

 

hand on Harry’s shoulder and making Harry’s knees buckle.

 

 

 

 

ne completely still and silent.

 

 

He hurried out from behind the bar, rushed toward Harry and seized his

hand, tears in his eyes.

 

 

Harry didn’t know what to say. Everyone was looking at him. The old

woman with the pipe was puffing on it without realizing it had gone out.

Hagrid was beaming.

 

Then there was a great scraping of chairs and the next moment, Harry

shaking hands with everyone in the Leaky Cauldron.

 

 

 

 

ter, just can’t tell you, Diggle’s the name, Dedalus

 

 

Doris Crockford kept coming back for more.

 

A pale young man made his way forward, very nervously. One of his eyes

was twitching.

 

arry, Professor Quirrell will be

 

 

 

new b-book on vampires,

 

But the others wouldn’t let Professor Quirrell keep Harry to himself. It

took almost ten minutes to get away from them all. At last, Hagrid

the babble.

 

 

Doris Crockford shook Harry’s hand one last time, and Hagrid led them

through the bar and out into a small, walled courtyard, where there was

nothing but a trash can and a few weeds.

 

grid grinned at Harry.

 

 

 

was

 

studyin’ outta books but then he took a year off ter get some firsthand

experience…. They say he met vampires in the Black Forest, and there

was a nasty bit o’ trouble with a hag — never been the same since.

his own subject now, where’s me

 

Vampires? Hags? Harry’s head was swimming. Hagrid, meanwhile, was

counting bricks in the wall above the trash can.

 

 

ee times with the point of his umbrella.

 

The brick he had touched quivered — it wriggled — in the middle, a

small hole appeared — it grew wider and wider — a second later they

were facing an archway large enough even for Hagrid, an archway onto a

cobbled street that twisted and turned out of sight.

 

 

He grinned at Harry’s amazement. They stepped through the archway. Harry

looked quickly over his shoulder and saw the archway shrink instantly

o solid wall.

 

The sun shone brightly on a stack of cauldrons outside the nearest shop.

Cauldrons — All Sizes — Copper, Brass, Pewter, Silver — Self-Stirring

— Collapsible, said a sign hanging over them.

 

 

Harry wished he had about eight more eyes. He turned his head in every

direction as they walked up the street, trying to look at everything at

once: the shops, the things outside them, the people doing their

pping. A plump woman outside an Apothecary was shaking her head as

 

A low, soft hooting came from a dark shop with a sign saying Eeylops Owl

arn, Brown, and Snowy. Several boys of

about Harry’s age had their noses pressed against a window with

g telescopes and strange silver instruments Harry had never seen

before, windows stacked with barrels of bat spleens and eels’ eyes,

tottering piles of spell books, quills, and rolls of parchment, potion

bottles, globes of the moon….

 

aid Hagrid.

 

They had reached a snowy white building that towered over the other

little shops. Standing beside its burnished bronze doors, wearing a

uniform of scarlet and gold, was —

 

e white

stone steps toward him. The goblin was about a head shorter than Harry.

He had a swarthy, clever face, a pointed beard and, Harry noticed, very

long fingers and feet. He bowed as they walked inside. Now they were

silver this time, with words engraved

upon them:

 

Enter, stranger, but take heed

 

Of what awaits the sin of greed,

 

For those who take, but do not earn,

 

Must pay most dearly in their turn.

 

So if you seek beneath our floors

 

as never yours,

 

Thief, you have been warned, beware

 

Of finding more than treasure there.

 

 

A pair of goblins bowed them through the silver doors and they were in a

out a hundred more goblins were sitting on high

stools behind a long counter, scribbling in large ledgers, weighing

coins in brass scales, examining precious stones through eyeglasses.

e

goblins were showing people in and out of these. Hagrid and Harry made

for the counter.

 

 

 

said Hagrid, and he started emptying his

pockets onto the counter, scattering a handful of moldy dog biscuits

over the goblin’s book of numbers. The goblin wrinkled his nose. Harry

watched the goblin on their right weighing a pile of rubies as big as

glowing coals.

 

 

The goblin looked at it closely.

 

 

 

The goblin read the letter carefully.

 

 

goblin. Once Hagrid had crammed all the dog

biscuits back inside his pockets, he and Harry followed Griphook toward

one of the doors leading off the hall.

 

asked.

 

business. Dumbledore’s trusted me. More’n my job’s worth ter tell yeh

 

Griphook held the door open for them. Harry, who had expected more

ne passageway lit with

flaming torches. It sloped steeply downward and there were little

railway tracks on the floor. Griphook whistled and a small cart came

hurtling up the tracks toward them. They climbed in — Hagrid with some

off.

 

At first they just hurtled through a maze of twisting passages. Harry

tried to remember, left, right, right, left, middle fork, right, left,

but it was impossible. The rattling cart seemed to know its own way,

because Griphook wasn’t steering.

 

Harry’s eyes stung as the cold air rushed past them, but he kept them

wide open. Once, he thought he saw a burst of fire at the end of a

passage and twisted around to see if it was a dragon, but too late — —

ground lake where huge

stalactites and stalagmites grew from the ceiling and floor.

 

 

 

He did look very green, and when the cart stopped at last beside a small

door in the passage wall, Hagrid got out and had to lean against the

bling.

 

Griphook unlocked the door. A lot of green smoke came billowing out, and

as it cleared, Harry gasped. Inside were mounds of gold coins. Columns

of silver. Heaps of little bronze Knuts.

 

 

redible. The Dursleys couldn’t have known about

this or they’d have had it from him faster than blinking. How often had

they complained how much Harry cost them to keep? And all the time there

London.

 

Hagrid helped Harry pile some of it into a bag.

 

a Galleon and twenty-nine Knuts to a Sickle, it’s easy enough. Right,

ll keep the rest safe

 

 

They were going even deeper now and gathering speed. The air became

r as they hurtled round tight corners. They went

rattling over an underground ravine, and Harry leaned over the side to

try to see what was down at the dark bottom, but Hagrid groaned and

pulled him back by the scruff of his neck.

 

and thirteen had no keyhole.

 

one of his long fingers and it simply melted away.

 

 

 

 

Something really extraordinary had to be inside this top security vault,

, and he leaned forward eagerly, expecting to see fabulous

jewels at the very least — but at first he thought it was empty. Then

he noticed a grubby little package wrapped up in brown paper lying on

ide his coat. Harry

longed to know what it was, but knew better than to ask.

 

 

n the sunlight outside

Gringotts. Harry didn’t know where to run first now that he had a bag

full of money. He didn’t have to know how many Galleons there were to a

pound to know that he was holding more money than he’d had in his whole

ney than even Dudley had ever had.

 

slipped off fer a pick-me-up in the Leaky Cauldron? I hate them

Malkin’s shop alone, feeling nervous.

 

Madam Malkin was a squat, smiling witch dressed all in mauve.

 

 

In the back of the shop, a boy with a pale, pointed face was standing on

a footstool while a second witch pinned up his long black robes. Madam

ver his

head, and began to pin it to the right length.

 

 

 

I’m going to drag them off to took at racing brooms. I don’t see why

first years can’t have their own. I think I’ll bully father into getting

 

Harry was strongly reminded of Dudley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll be in Slytherin, all our family have been — imagine being in

he could say something a bit more interesting.

 

front window. Hagrid was standing there, grinning at Harry and pointing

reams to show he couldn’t come in.

 

 

 

s liking the boy less and less

every second.

 

school grounds and every now and then he gets drunk, tries to do magic,

 

 

 

the matter with this boy.

 

 

 

ow our ways. Some

of them have never even heard of Hogwarts until they get the letter,

imagine. I think they should keep it in the old wizarding families.

 

e, my

hopped down from the footstool.

 

 

Harry was rather quiet as he ate the ice cream Hagrid had bought him

hocolate and raspberry with chopped nuts).

 

 

cheered up a bit when he found a bottle of ink that changed color as you

 

 

boy in Madam Malkin’s.

 

Muggle families shouldn’t even be allowed

 

up knowin’ yer name if his parents are wizardin’ folk. You saw what

ay, what

does he know about it, some o’ the best I ever saw were the only ones

with magic in ’em in a long line 0′ Muggles — look at yer mum! Look

 

 

e soccer in the Muggle

world — everyone follows Quidditch — played up in the air on

 

puff are a lot o’

 

 

single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn’t in Slytherin.

 

 

 

They bought Harry’s school books in a shop called Flourish and Blotts

where the shelves were stacked to the ceiling with books as large as

oks the size of postage stamps in

covers of silk; books full of peculiar symbols and a few books with

nothing in them at all. Even Dudley, who never read anything, would have

been wild to get his hands on some of these. Hagrid almost had to drag

away from Curses and Countercurses (Bewitch Your Friends and

Befuddle Your Enemies with the Latest Revenges: Hair Loss, Jelly-Legs,

Tongue- Tying and Much, Much More) by Professor Vindictus Viridian.

 

 

anyway, yeh couldn’ work any of them curses yet, yeh’ll need a lot more

 

potion ingredients and a collapsible brass telescope. Then they visited

nough to make up for its horrible

smell, a mixture of bad eggs and rotted cabbages. Barrels of slimy stuff

stood on the floor; jars of herbs, dried roots, and bright powders lined

the walls; bundles of feathers, strings of fangs, and snarled claws hung

from the ceiling. While Hagrid asked the man behind the counter for a

supply of some basic potion ingredients for Harry, Harry himself

examined silver unicorn horns at twenty-one Galleons each and minuscule,

op).

 

Outside the Apothecary, Hagrid checked Harry’s list again.

 

 

Harry felt himself go red.

 

 

t yer animal. Not a toad,

toads went outta fashion years ago, yeh’d be laughed at — an’ I don’

like cats, they make me sneeze. I’ll get yer an owl. All the kids want

 

y left Eeylops Owl Emporium, which had been

dark and full of rustling and flickering, jewel-bright eyes. Harry now

carried a large cage that held a beautiful snowy owl, fast asleep with

her head under her wing. He couldn’t stop stammering his thanks,

ounding just like Professor Quirrell.

 

presents from them Dursleys. Just Ollivanders left now — only place fer

 

d… this was what Harry had been really looking forward to.

 

The last shop was narrow and shabby. Peeling gold letters over the door

read Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 B.C. A single wand lay

on a faded purple cushion in the dusty window.

 

A tinkling bell rang somewhere in the depths of the shop as they stepped

inside. It was a tiny place, empty except for a single, spindly chair

that Hagrid sat on to wait. Harry felt strangely as though he had

wed a lot of new questions that

had just occurred to him and looked instead at the thousands of narrow

boxes piled neatly right up to the ceiling. For some reason, the back of

his neck prickled. The very dust and silence in here seemed to tingle

ome secret magic.

 

jumped, too, because there was a loud crunching noise and he got quickly

off the spindly chair.

 

ike

moons through the gloom of the shop.

 

 

herself, buying her first wand. Ten

and a quarter inches long, swishy, made of willow. Nice wand for charm

 

Mr. Ollivander moved closer to Harry. Harry wished he would blink. Those

silvery eyes were a bit creepy.

 

hand, favored a mahogany wand. Eleven inches.

Pliable. A little more power and excellent for transfiguration. Well, I

say your father favored it — it’s really the wand that chooses the

 

Harry were almost nose to

nose. Harry could see himself reflected in those misty eyes.

 

 

Mr. Ollivander touched the lightning scar on Harry’s forehead with a

long, white finger.

 

the wrong hands… well, if I’d known what that wand was going out into

 

He shook his head and then, to Harry’s relief, spotted Hagrid.

 

ubeus! Rubeus Hagrid! How nice to see you again…. Oak, sixteen

 

 

ern.

 

 

 

umbrella very tightly as he spoke.

 

 

 

finger, then wrist to elbow, shoulder to floor, knee to armpit and round

magical substance, Mr. Potter. We use unicorn hairs, phoenix

tail feathers, and the heartstrings of dragons. No two Ollivander wands

are the same, just as no two unicorns, dragons, or phoenixes are quite

good results with

 

Harry suddenly realized that the tape measure, which was measuring

between his nostrils, was doing this on its own. Mr. Ollivander was

flitting around the shelves, taking down boxes.

 

id, and the tape measure crumpled into a heap on

heartstring. Nine inches. Nice and flexible. just take it and give it a

 

around a bit, but Mr.

Ollivander snatched it out of his hand almost at once.

 

 

Harry tried — but he had hardly raised the wand when it, too, was

snatched back by Mr. Ollivander.

 

no -here, ebony and unicorn hair, eight and a half inches, springy.

 

Harry tried. And tried. He had no idea what Mr. Ollivander was waiting

for. The pile of tried wands was mounting higher and higher on the

ut the more wands Mr. Ollivander pulled from the

shelves, the happier he seemed to become.

 

somewhere — I wonder, now — — yes, why not — unusual combination —

 

Harry took the wand. He felt a sudden warmth in his fingers. He raised

the wand above his head, brought it swishing down through the dusty air

rk,

throwing dancing spots of light on to the walls. Hagrid whooped and

 

ed it in brown paper,

 

 

Mr. Ollivander fixed Harry with his pale stare.

 

phoenix whose tail feather is in your wand, gave

another feather — just one other. It is very curious indeed that you

should be destined for this wand when its brother why, its brother gave

 

Harry swallowed.

 

lf inches. Yew. Curious indeed how these things

happen. The wand chooses the wizard, remember…. I think we must expect

great things from you, Mr. Potter…. After all, He-

 

hivered. He wasn’t sure he liked Mr. Ollivander too much. He paid

seven gold Galleons for his wand, and Mr. Ollivander bowed them from his

shop.

 

The late afternoon sun hung low in the sky as Harry and Hagrid made

k through the wall, back through

the Leaky Cauldron, now empty. Harry didn’t speak at all as they walked

down the road; he didn’t even notice how much people were gawking at

them on the Underground, laden as they were with all their funny-shaped

es, with the snowy owl asleep in its cage on Harry’s lap. Up

another escalator, out into Paddington station; Harry only realized

where they were when Hagrid tapped him on the shoulder.

 

 

He bought Harry a hamburger and they sat down on plastic seats to eat

them. Harry kept looking around. Everything looked so strange, somehow.

 

 

best birthday of

his life — and yet — he chewed his hamburger, trying to find the

words.

 

Leaky Cauldron, Professor Quirrell, Mr. Ollivander… but I don’t know

magic at all. How can they expect great things? I’m

famous and I can’t even remember what I’m famous for. I don’t know what

 

brows he

wore a very kind smile.

 

beginning at Hogwarts, you’ll be just fine. just be yerself. I know it’s

a

 

Hagrid helped Harry on to the train that would take him back to the

Dursleys, then handed him an envelope.

 

— it’s all on yer ticket. Any problems with the Dursleys, send me a

letter with yer owl, she’ll know where to find me…. See yeh soon,

 

The train pulled out of the station. Harry wanted to watch Hagrid until

s seat and pressed his nose against

the window, but he blinked and Hagrid had gone.

 

 

CHAPTER SIX

 

THE JOURNEY FROM PLATFORM NINE AND THREE-QUARTERS

 

Harry’s last month with the Dursleys wasn’t fun. True, Dudley was now so

n’t stay in the same room, while Aunt Petunia

and Uncle Vernon didn’t shut Harry in his cupboard, force him to do

anything, or shout at him — in fact, they didn’t speak to him at all.

rry

in it were empty. Although this was an improvement in many ways, it did

become a bit depressing after a while.

 

Harry kept to his room, with his new owl for company. He had decided to

school

books were very interesting. He lay on his bed reading late into the

night, Hedwig swooping in and out of the open window as she pleased. It

was lucky that Aunt Petunia didn’t come in to vacuum anymore, because

ce. Every night before he went to

sleep, Harry ticked off another day on the piece of paper he had pinned

to the wall, counting down to September the first.

 

On the last day of August he thought he’d better speak to his aunt and

King’s Cross station the next day, so he went

down to the living room where they were watching a quiz show on

television. He cleared his throat to let them know he was there, and

Dudley screamed and ran from the room.

 

 

Vernon grunted to show he was listening.

 

 

Uncle Vernon grunted again.

 

 

Grunt. Harry supposed that meant yes.

 

 

He was about to go back upstairs when Uncle Vernon actually spoke.

 

 

Harry didn’t say anything.

 

 

Harry, realizing this for the first time. He pulled

the ticket Hagrid had given him out of his pocket.

 

 

His aunt and uncle stared.

 

 

 

 

 

to King’s Cross. We’re going up

 

friendly.

 

 

Harry woke at five o’clock the next morning and was too excited and

nervous to go back to sleep. He got up and pulled on his jeans because

he didn’t want to walk into the station in his wizard’s robes — he’d

on the train. He checked his Hogwarts list yet again to make sure

he had everything he needed, saw that Hedwig was shut safely in her

cage, and then paced the room, waiting for the Dursleys to get up. Two

loaded into the

Dursleys’ car, Aunt Petunia had talked Dudley into sitting next to

Harry, and they had set off.

 

They reached King’s Cross at half past ten. Uncle Vernon dumped Harry’s

hought

this was strangely kind until Uncle Vernon stopped dead, facing the

platforms with a nasty grin on his face.

 

built it

 

He was quite right, of course. There was a big plastic number nine over

one platform and a big plastic number ten over the one next to it, and

in the middle, nothing at all.

 

en nastier smile. He

left without another word. Harry turned and saw the Dursleys drive away.

All three of them were laughing. Harry’s mouth went rather dry. What on

earth was he going to do? He was starting to attract a lot of funny

Hedwig. He’d have to ask someone.

 

He stopped a passing guard, but didn’t dare mention platform nine and

three-quarters. The guard had never heard of Hogwarts and when Harry

couldn’t even tell him what part of the country it was in, he started to

annoyed, as though Harry was being stupid on purpose. Getting

desperate, Harry asked for the train that left at eleven o’clock, but

the guard said there wasn’t one. In the end the guard strode away,

d not to panic.

According to the large clock over the arrivals board, he had ten minutes

left to get on the train to Hogwarts and he had no idea how to do it; he

was stranded in the middle of a station with a trunk he could hardly

f wizard money, and a large owl.

 

Hagrid must have forgotten to tell him something you had to do, like

tapping the third brick on the left to get into Diagon Alley. He

wondered if he should get out his wand and start tapping the ticket

nd between platforms nine and ten.

 

At that moment a group of people passed just behind him and he caught a

few words of what they were saying.

 

 

to four

boys, all with flaming red hair. Each of them was pushing a trunk like

Harry’s in front of him — and they had an owl.

 

Heart hammering, Harry pushed his cart after them. They stopped and so

ing.

 

 

 

 

What looked like the oldest boy marched toward platforms nine and ten.

Harry watched, careful not to blink in case he missed it — but just as

the boy reached the dividing barrier between the two platforms, a large

ming in front of him and by the time the last

backpack had cleared away, the boy had vanished.

 

 

 

 

after him to hurry up, and he must have done so, because a second later,

he had gone — but how had he done it?

 

briskly toward the barrier he was

almost there — and then, quite suddenly, he wasn’t anywhere.

 

There was nothing else for it.

 

 

 

pointed at the last and youngest of her sons. He was tall, thin, and

gangling, with freckles, big hands and feet, and a long nose.

 

 

ndly, and Harry nodded.

 

barrier between platforms nine and ten. Don’t stop and don’t be scared

you’ll crash into it, that’s very important. Best do it at a bit of a

 

 

He pushed his trolley around and stared at the barrier. It looked very

solid.

 

He started to walk toward it. People jostled him on their way to

quickly. He was going to smash

right into that barrier and then he’d be in trouble — leaning forward

on his cart, he broke into a heavy run — the barrier was coming nearer

and nearer — he wouldn’t be able to stop — the cart was out of control

e was a foot away — he closed his eyes ready for the crash —

 

It didn’t come… he kept on running… he opened his eyes. A scarlet

steam engine was waiting next to a platform packed with people. A sign

Harry looked behind him

and saw a wrought-iron archway where the barrier had been, with the

words Platform Nine and Three-Quarters on it, He had done it.

 

Smoke from the engine drifted over the heads of the chattering crowd,

wound here and there between their legs. Owls

hooted to one another in a disgruntled sort of way over the babble and

the scraping of heavy trunks.

 

The first few carriages were already packed with students, some hanging

heir families, some fighting over seats.

Harry pushed his cart off down the platform in search of an empty seat.

 

 

eadlocks was surrounded by a small crowd.

 

 

The boy lifted the lid of a box in his arms, and the people around him

shrieked and yelled as something inside poked out a long, hairy leg.

 

until he found an empty compartment

near the end of the train. He put Hedwig inside first and then started

to shove and heave his trunk toward the train door. He tried to lift it

up the steps but could hardly raise one end and twice he dropped it

fully on his foot.

 

the barrier.

 

 

 

With the twins’ help, Harry’s trunk was at last tucked away in a corner

ompartment.

 

 

lightning scar.

 

 

e added to Harry.

 

 

 

 

The two boys gawked at him, and Harry felt himself turning red. Then, to

in’s open door.

 

 

 

With a last look at Harry, the twins hopped off the train.

 

Harry sat down next to the window where, half hidden, he could watch the

hey were saying. Their

mother had just taken out her handkerchief.

 

 

The youngest boy tried to jerk out of the way, but she grabbed him and

began rubbing the end of his nose.

 

ee.

 

twins.

 

 

 

 

The oldest boy came striding into sight. He had already changed into his

lack Hogwarts robes, and Harry noticed a shiny silver badge

on his chest with the letter P on it.

 

 

f the twins, with an air of

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the cheek and he left. Then she turned to the twins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

and his nose was still pink where his mother had rubbed it.

 

 

Harry leaned back quickly so they couldn’t see him looking.

 

 

 

 

girl’s voice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ery stern.

 

 

 

A whistle sounded.

 

o the

train. They leaned out of the window for her to kiss them good-bye, and

their younger sister began to cry.

 

 

 

 

 

began to move. Harry saw the boys’ mother waving and their

sister, half laughing, half crying, running to keep up with the train

until it gathered too much speed, then she fell back and waved.

 

ain rounded the

corner. Houses flashed past the window. Harry felt a great leap of

excitement. He didn’t know what he was going to but it had to be better

than what he was leaving behind.

 

ed boy

came in.

 

 

Harry shook his head and the boy sat down. He glanced at Harry and then

. Harry saw

he still had a black mark on his nose.

 

 

The twins were back.

 

 

 

id we introduce ourselves? Fred and

George Weasley. And this is Ron, our brother. See you later, then.

 

behind them.

 

 

Harry nodded.

 

 

He pointed at Harry’s forehead.

 

Harry pulled back his bangs to show the lightning scar. Ron stared.

 

-Who

 

 

 

 

d what he was doing, he looked quickly out

of the window again.

 

interesting as Ron found him.

 

 

 

The Weasleys were clearly one of those old wizarding families the pale

boy in Diagon Alley had talked about.

 

 

 

ve got a lot to live up

to. Bill and Charlie have already left — Bill was head boy and Charlie

was captain of Quidditch. Now Percy’s a prefect. Fred and George mess

around a lot, but they still get really good marks and everyone thinks

funny. Everyone expects me to do as well as the others,

but if I do, it’s no big deal, because they did it first. You never get

anything new, either, with five brothers. I’ve got Bill’s old robes,

 

inside his jacket and pulled out a fat gray rat, which was

asleep.

 

got an owl from my dad for being made a prefect, but they couldn’t aff

 

n’s ears went pink. He seemed to think he’d said too much, because he

went back to staring out of the window.

 

Harry didn’t think there was anything wrong with not being able to

afford an owl. After all, he’d never had any money in his life until a

nth ago, and he told Ron so, all about having to wear Dudley’s old

clothes and never getting proper birthday presents. This seemed to cheer

Ron up.

 

 

Ron gasped.

 

 

 

r knew you shouldn’t. See what I mean? I’ve got loads to

 

Muggle families and

 

While they had been talking, the train had carried them out of London.

Now they were speeding past fields full of cows and sheep. They were

quiet for a time, watching the fields and lanes flick past.

 

Around half past twelve there was a great clattering outside in the

corridor and a smiling, dimpled woman slid back their door and said,

 

Harry, who hadn’t had any breakfast, leapt to his feet, but Ron’s ears

again and he muttered that he’d brought sandwiches. Harry went

out into the corridor.

 

He had never had any money for candy with the Dursleys, and now that he

had pockets rattling with gold and silver he was ready to buy as many

carry — but the woman didn’t have Mars Bars. What

she did have were Bettie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, Drooble’s Best

Blowing Gum, Chocolate Frogs. Pumpkin Pasties, Cauldron Cakes, Licorice

n in his

life. Not wanting to miss anything, he got some of everything and paid

the woman eleven silver Sickles and seven bronze Knuts.

 

Ron stared as Harry brought it all back in to the compartment and tipped

it onto an empty seat.

 

 

 

Ron had taken out a lumpy package and unwrapped it. There were four

 

 

 

thing to share

before or, indeed, anyone to share it with. It was a nice feeling,

sitting there with Ron, eating their way through all Harry’s pasties,

cakes, and candies (the sandwiches lay forgotten).

 

pack of Chocolate Frogs.

nothing would surprise him.

 

 

 

s have cards, inside

them, you know, to collect — famous witches and wizards. I’ve got about

 

Harry unwrapped his Chocolate Frog and picked up the card. It showed a

lasses, had a long, crooked nose, and

flowing silver hair, beard, and mustache. Underneath the picture was the

name Albus Dumbledore.

 

 

g? I might get Agrippa — thanks

 

Harry turned over his card and read:

 

ALBUS DUMBLEDORE

 

CURRENTLY HEADMASTER OF HOGWARTS

 

Considered by many the greatest wizard of modern times, Dumbledore is

Grindelwald in

1945, for the discovery of the twelve uses of dragon’s blood, and his

work on alchemy with his partner, Nicolas Flamel. Professor Dumbledore

enjoys chamber music and tenpin bowling.

 

nishment, that

Dumbledore’s face had disappeared.

 

 

back. No, I’ve got Morgana again and I’ve got about six of her… do you

 

Ron’s eyes strayed to the pile of Chocolate Frogs waiting to be

unwrapped.

 

 

 

Harry stared as Dumbledore sidled back into the picture on his card and

gave him a small smile. Ron was more interested in eating the frogs than

looking at the Famous Witches and Wizards cards, but Harry couldn’t keep

only Dumbledore and Morgana, but

Hengist of Woodcroft, Alberic Grunnion, Circe, Paracelsus, and Merlin.

He finally tore his eyes away from the druidess Cliodna, who was

scratching her nose, to open a bag of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans.

 

every flavor, they mean every flavor — you know, you get all the

ordinary ones like chocolate and peppermint and mar- malade, but then

he had a booger-

 

Ron picked up a green bean, looked at it carefully, and bit into a

corner.

 

 

They had a good time eating the Every Flavor Beans. Harry got toast,

urry, grass, coffee, sardine, and was

even brave enough to nibble the end off a funny gray one Ron wouldn’t

touch, which turned out to be pepper.

 

The countryside now flying past the window was becoming wilder. The neat

woods, twisting rivers, and dark green

hills.

 

There was a knock on the door of their compartment and the round-faced

boy Harry had passed on platform nine and threequarters came in. He

looked tearful.

 

 

 

 

 

He left.

 

I’d brought a toad I’d

lose it as quick as I could. Mind you, I brought Scabbers, so I can’t

 

The rat was still snoozing on Ron’s lap.

 

w yesterday to make him more

 

He rummaged around in his trunk and pulled out a very battered-looking

wand. It was chipped in places and something white was glinting at the

end.

 

n hair’s nearly poking out. Anyway

 

He had just raised his ‘wand when the compartment door slid open again.

The toadless boy was back, but this time he had a girl with him. She was

already wearing her new Hogwarts robes.

 

sort of voice, lots of bushy brown hair, and rather large front teeth.

 

wasn’t listening, she was looking at the wand in his hand.

 

 

She sat down. Ron looked taken aback.

 

 

He cleared his throat.

 

 

stayed gray and fast

asleep.

 

good, is it? I’ve tried a few simple spells just for practice and it’s

all worked for me. Nobody in my family’s magic at all, it was ever such

prise when I got my letter, but I was ever so pleased, of course, I

mean, it’s the very best school of witchcraft there is, I’ve heard —

I’ve learned all our course books by heart, of course, I just hope it

e way, who are you.

 

She said all this very fast.

 

Harry looked at Ron, and was relieved to see by his stunned face that he

hadn’t learned all the course books by heart either.

 

 

 

got a few extra books. for background reading, and you’re in Modern

Magical History and The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts and Great

Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century.

 

said Harry, feeling dazed.

 

I’ve been asking around, and I hope I’m in Gryffindor, it sounds by far

st; I hear Dumbledore himself was in it, but I suppose Ravenclaw

wouldn’t be too bad…. Anyway, we’d better go and look for Neville’s

toad. You two had better change, you know, I expect we’ll be there

 

h her.

 

 

 

and Dad were in it, too. I don’t know what they’ll say if I’m not. I

don’t suppose Ravenclaw would be too bad, but imagine if they put me in

 

 

 

 

Harry was wondering what a wizard did once he’d finished school.

 

 

but I don’t suppose you

get that with the Muggles — someone tried to rob a high security

 

Harry stared.

 

 

owerful Dark wizard to get round Gringotts,

but they don’t think they took anything, that’s what’s odd. ‘Course,

everyone gets scared when something like this happens in case

 

starting to get a

prickle of fear every time You- Know-Who was mentioned. He supposed this

was all part of entering the magical world, but it had been a lot more

 

.

 

 

been to

with his brothers and the broomstick he’d like to get if he had the

money. He was just taking Harry through the finer points of the game

when the compartment door slid open yet again, but it wasn’t Neville the

this time.

 

Three boys entered, and Harry recognized the middle one at once: it was

the pale boy from Madam Malkin’s robe shop. He was looking at Harry with

a lot more interest than he’d shown back in Diagon Alley.

 

aying all down the train that Harry

 

thickset and looked extremely mean. Standing on either side of the pale

e bodyguards.

 

 

Ron gave a slight cough, which might have been hiding a snigget. Draco

Malfoy looked at him.

 

told me all the Weasleys have red hair, freckles, and more children than

 

r than others, Potter. You don’t want to go making friends

 

He held out his hand to shake Harry’s, but Harry didn’t take it.

 

coolly.

 

Draco Malfoy didn’t go red, but a pink tinge appeared in his pale

cheeks.

 

bit politer you’ll go the same way as your parents. They didn’t know

You hang around with riffraff like the

 

Both Harry and Ron stood up.

 

 

 

Crabbe and Goyle were a lot bigger than him or Ron.

 

 

Chocolate Frogs next to Ron — Ron leapt

forward, but before he’d so much as touched Goyle, Goyle let out a

horrible yell.

 

Scabbers the rat was hanging off his finger, sharp little teeth sunk

s Goyle swung

Scabbers round and round, howling, and when Scabbets finally flew off

and hit the window, all three of them disappeared at once. Perhaps they

thought there were more rats lurking among the sweets, or perhaps they’d

e a second later, Hermione Granger had come in.

 

floor and Ron picking up Scabbers by his tail.

 

 

And so he had.

 

 

Harry explained about their meeting in Diagon Alley.

 

side after You-Know-Who disappeared. Said

they’d been bewitched. My dad doesn’t believe it. He says Malfoy’s

 

nd put your robes on, I’ve just been up to the

front to ask the conductor, and he says we’re nearly there. You haven’t

 

 

did you

 

Ron glared at her as she left. Harry peered out of the window. It was

getting dark. He could see mountains and forests under a deep purple

sky. The train did seem to be slowing down.

 

heir long black robes.

Ron’s were a bit short for him, you could see his sneakers underneath

them.

 

minutes’ time. Please leave your luggage on the train, it will be taken

 

Harry’s stomach lurched with nerves and Ron, he saw, looked pale under

his freckles. They crammed their pockets with the last of the sweets and

joined the crowd thronging the corridor.

 

opped. People pushed their way

toward the door and out on to a tiny, dark platform. Harry shivered in

the cold night air. Then a lamp came bobbing over the heads of the

 

Hagrid’s big hairy face beamed over the sea of heads.

 

 

Slipping and stumbling, they followed Hagrid down what seemed to be a

ow path. It was so dark on either side of them that Harry

thought there must be thick trees there. Nobody spoke much. Neville, the

boy who kept losing his toad, sniffed once or twice.

 

ver

 

 

The narrow path had opened suddenly onto the edge of a great black take.

Perched atop a high mountain on the other side, its windows sparkling in

castle with many turrets and towers.

 

boats sitting in the water by the shore. Harry and Ron were followed

 

And the fleet of little boats moved off all at once, gliding across the

lake, which was as smooth as glass. Everyone was silent, staring up at

sailed nearer

and nearer to the cliff on which it stood.

 

all bent their heads and the little boats carried them through a curtain

. They were carried

along a dark tunnel, which seemed to be taking them right underneath the

castle, until they reached a kind of underground harbor, where they

clambered out onto rocks and pebbles.

 

o was checking the

boats as people climbed out of them.

 

clambered up a passageway in the rock after Hagrid’s lamp, coming out at

the castle.

 

They walked up a flight of stone steps and crowded around the huge, Oak

front door.

 

 

Hagrid raised a gigantic fist and knocked three times on the castle

door.

 

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

 

ORTING HAT

 

The door swung open at once. A tall, black-haired witch in emerald-green

robes stood there. She had a very stern face and Harry’s first thought

was that this was not someone to cross.

 

 

 

She pulled the door wide. The entrance hall was so big you could have

fit the whole of the Dursleys’ house in it. The stone walls were lit

g was too

high to make out, and a magnificent marble staircase facing them led to

the upper floors.

 

They followed Professor McGonagall across the flagged stone floor. Harry

could hear the drone of hundreds of voices from a doorway to the right

rest of the school must already be here — but Professor McGonagall

showed the first years into a small, empty chamber off the hall. They

crowded in, standing rather closer together than they would usually have

done, peering about nervously.

 

banquet will begin shortly, but before you take your seats in the Great

Hall, you will be sorted into your houses. The Sorting is a very

use will be

something like your family within Hogwarts. You will have classes with

the rest of your house, sleep in your house dormitory, and spend free

time in your house common room.

 

d

Slytherin. Each house has its own noble history and each has produced

outstanding witches and wizards. While you are at Hogwarts, your

triumphs will earn your house points, while any rulebreaking will lose

use with the most points is

awarded the house cup, a great honor. I hope each of you will be a

credit to whichever house becomes yours.

 

en yourselves up as much as

 

Her eyes lingered for a moment on Neville’s cloak, which was fastened

under his left ear, and on Ron’s smudged nose. Harry nervously tried to

flatten his hair.

 

 

She left the chamber. Harry swallowed.

 

 

 

Harry’s heart gave a horrible jolt. A test? In front of the whole

school? But he didn’t know any magic yet — what on earth would he have

to do? He hadn’t expected something like this the moment they arrived.

everyone else looked terrified,

too. No one was talking much except Hermione Granger, who was whispering

very fast about all the spells she’d learned and wondering which one

she’d need. Harry tried hard not to listen to her. He’d never been more

s, never, not even when he’d had to take a school report home to

the Dursleys saying that he’d somehow turned his teacher’s wig blue. He

kept his eyes fixed on the door. Any second now, Professor McGonagall

would come back and lead him to his doom.

 

hen something happened that made him jump about a foot in the air —

several people behind him screamed.

 

 

He gasped. So did the people around him. About twenty ghosts had just

transparent,

they glided across the room talking to one another and hardly glancing

at the first years. They seemed to be arguing. What looked like a fat

 

y dear Friar, haven’t we given Peeves all the chances he deserves? He

gives us all a bad name and you know, he’s not really even a ghost — I

 

A ghost wearing a ruff and tights had suddenly noticed the first years.

 

Nobody answered.

 

 

A few people nodded mutely.

 

 

 

Professor McGonagall had returned. One by one, the ghosts floated away

through the opposite wall.

 

 

s though his legs had turned to lead, Harry got into line

behind a boy with sandy hair, with Ron behind him, and they walked out

of the chamber, back across the hall, and through a pair of double doors

into the Great Hall.

 

ed such a strange and splendid place. It was

lit by thousands and thousands of candles that were floating in midair

over four long tables, where the rest of the students were sitting.

the

top of the hall was another long table where the teachers were sitting.

Professor McGonagall led the first years up here, so that they came to a

halt in a line facing the other students, with the teachers behind them.

at them looked like pale lanterns in the

flickering candlelight. Dotted here and there among the students, the

ghosts shone misty silver. Mainly to avoid all the staring eyes, Harry

looked upward and saw a velvety black ceiling dotted with stars. He

ard

 

 

It was hard to believe there was a ceiling there at all, and that the

Great Hall didn’t simply open on to the heavens.

 

ed down again as Professor McGonagall silently placed

a four-legged stool in front of the first years. On top of the stool she

put a pointed wizard’s hat. This hat was patched and frayed and

e.

 

Maybe they had to try and get a rabbit out of it, Harry thought wildly,

that seemed the sort of thing — noticing that everyone in the hall was

now staring at the hat, he stared at it, too. For a few seconds, there

at twitched. A rip near the brim opened

wide like a mouth — and the hat began to sing:

 

 

But don’t judge on what you see,

 

I’ll eat myself if you can find

 

A smarter hat than me.

 

ck,

 

Your top hats sleek and tall,

 

For I’m the Hogwarts Sorting Hat

 

And I can cap them all.

 

There’s nothing hidden in your head

 

The Sorting Hat can’t see,

 

So try me on and I will tell you

 

Where you ought to be.

 

yffindor,

 

Where dwell the brave at heart,

 

Their daring, nerve, and chivalry Set Gryffindors apart;

 

You might belong in Hufflepuff,

 

Where they are just and loyal,

 

Those patient Hufflepuffis are true And unafraid of toil;

 

Ravenclaw,

 

if you’ve a ready mind,

 

Where those of wit and learning,

 

Will always find their kind;

 

Or perhaps in Slytherin

 

You’ll make your real friends,

 

Those cunning folk use any means

 

To achieve their ends.

 

afraid!

 

And don’t get in a flap!

 

You’re in safe hands (though I have none)

 

 

The whole hall burst into applause as the hat finished its song. It

bowed to each of the four tables and then became quite still again.

 

 

Harry. smiled weakly. Yes, trying on the hat was a lot better than

having to do a spell, but he did wish they could have tried it on

without everyone watching. The hat seemed to be asking rather alot;

Harry didn’t feel brave or quick-witted or any of it at the moment. If

only the hat had mentioned a house for people who felt a bit queasy,

that would have been the one for him.

 

fessor McGonagall now stepped forward holding a long roll of

parchment.

 

 

on the

hat, which fell right down over her eyes, and sat down. A moments pause

 

 

The table on the right cheered and clapped as Hannah went to sit down at

aving

merrily at her.

 

 

to Hannah.

 

 

 

The table second from the left clapped this time; several Ravenclaws

nds with Terry as he joined them.

 

became the first new Gryffindor, and the table on the far left exploded

with cheers; Harry could see Ron’s twin brothers catcalling.

 

imagination, after all he’d heard about Slytherin, but he thought they

looked like an unpleasant lot. He was starting to feel definitely sick

at his old school.

He had always been last to be chosen, not because he was no good, but

because no one wanted Dudley to think they liked him.

 

 

 

ce, but at

sandy-haired boy next to Harry in the line, sat on the stool for almost

a whole minute before the hat declared him a Gryffindor.

 

 

o the stool and jammed the hat eagerly on her head.

 

 

A horrible thought struck Harry, as horrible thoughts always do when

you’re very nervous. What if he wasn’t chosen at all? What if he just

h the hat over his eyes for ages, until Professor

McGonagall jerked it off his head and said there had obviously been a

mistake and he’d better get back on the train?

 

When Neville Longbottom, the boy who kept losing his toad, was called,

on his way to the stool. The hat took a long time to decide

still wearing it, and had to jog back amid gales of laughter to give it

 

when his name was called and got his wish at

 

Malfoy went to join his friends Crabbe and Goyle, looking pleased with

himself.

 

 

As Harry stepped forward, whispers suddenly broke out like little

hissing fires all over the hall.

 

 

 

The last thing Harry saw before the hat dropped over his eyes was the

hall full of people craning to get a good look at him. Next second he

was looking at the black inside of the hat. He waited.

 

of courage, I see. Not a bad mind either. There’s talent, A my goodness,

yes — and a nice thirst to prove yourself, now that’s interesting….

 

thought, Not Slytherin, not

Slytherin.

 

great, you know, it’s all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you

sure

 

Harry heard the hat shout the last word to the whole hall. He took off

the hat and walked shakily toward the Gryffindor table. He was so

relieved to have been chosen and not put in Slytherin, he hardly noticed

was getting the loudest cheer yet. Percy the Prefect got up and

Harry the sudden,

horrible feeling he’d just plunged it into a bucket of ice-cold water.

 

He could see the High Table properly now. At the end nearest him sat

Hagrid, who caught his eye and gave him the thumbs up. Harry grinned

e center of the High Table, in a large gold chair,

sat Albus Dumbledore. Harry recognized him at once from the card he’d

gotten out of the Chocolate Frog on the train. Dumbledore’s silver hair

as the

ghosts. Harry spotted Professor Quirtell, too, the nervous young man

from the Leaky Cauldron. He was looking very peculiar in a large purple

turban.

 

er than Ron, joined Harry at the Gryffindor table.

pale green by now. Harry crossed his fingers under the table and a

 

loudly with the rest as Ron collapsed into the chair next

to him.

 

y.

 

Harry looked down at his empty gold plate. He had only just realized how

hungry he was. The pumpkin pasties seemed ages ago.

 

Albus Dumbledore had gotten to his feet. He was beaming at the students,

pleased him more than to

see them all there.

 

our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit!

Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!

 

 

. Everybody clapped and cheered. Harry didn’t know

whether to laugh or not.

 

 

 

mouth fell open. The dishes in front of him were now piled with

food. He had never seen so many things he liked to eat on one table:

roast beef, roast chicken, pork chops and lamb chops, sausages, bacon

, Yorkshire pudding,

peas, carrots, gravy, ketchup, and, for some strange reason, peppermint

humbugs.

 

The Dursleys had never exactly starved Harry, but he’d never been

allowed to eat as much as he liked. Dudley had always taken anything

eally wanted, even if It made him sick. Harry piled his

plate with a bit of everything except the peppermints and began to eat.

It was all delicious.

 

cut up his steak,

 

 

need to, of course, but one does miss it. I don’t think I’ve in troduced

myself? Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington at your service. Resident ghost

 

 

stiffly, but sandy-haired Seamus Finnigan interrupted.

 

 

Sir Nicholas looked extremely miffed, as if their little chat wasn’t

going at all the way he wanted.

 

l onto his shoulder as if it was on

a hinge. Someone had obviously tried to behead him, but not done it

properly. Looking pleased at the stunned looks on their faces, Nearly

Headless Nick flipped his head back onto his neck, coughed, and said,

ew Gryffindors! I hope you’re going to help us win the house

championship this year? Gryffindors have never gone so long without

winning. Slytherins have got the cup six years in a row! The Bloody

 

Harry looked over at the Slytherin table and saw a horrible ghost

sitting there, with blank staring eyes, a gaunt face, and robes stained

with silver blood. He was right next to Malfoy who, Harry was pleased to

ith the seating arrangements.

 

 

 

When everyone had eaten as much as they could, the remains of the food

tes, leaving them sparkling clean as before. A moment

later the desserts appeared. Blocks of ice cream in every flavor you

could think of, apple pies, treacle tarts, chocolate eclairs and jam

 

As Harry helped himself to a treacle tart, the talk turned to their

families.

 

him she was a witch ’til after they were married. Bit of a nasty shock

 

d.

 

 

family thought I was all- Muggle for ages. My Great Uncle Algie kept

e

pushed me off the end of Blackpool pier once, I nearly drowned — but

nothing happened until I was eight. Great Uncle Algie came round for

dinner, and he was hanging me out of an upstairs window by the ankles

eringue and he accidentally let

go. But I bounced — all the way down the garden and into the road. They

were all really pleased, Gran was crying, she was so happy. And you

should have seen their faces when I got in here — they thought I might

magic enough to come, you see. Great Uncle Algie was so pleased

 

On Harry’s other side, Percy Weasley and Hermione were talking about

ed in Transfiguration, you know, turning something

 

y, looked up at

 

the High Table again. Hagrid was drinking deeply from his goblet.

Professor McGonagall was talking to Professor Dumbledore. Professor

Quirrell, in his absurd turban, was talking to a teacher with greasy

sallow skin.

 

It happened very suddenly. The hook-nosed teacher looked past Quirrell’s

turban straight into Harry’s eyes — and a sharp, hot pain shot across

the scar on Harry’s forehead.

 

 

ked Percy.

 

 

The pain had gone as quickly as it had come. Harder to shake off was the

feeling Harry had gotten from the teacher’s look — a feeling that he

didn’t like Harry at all.

 

he asked Percy.

 

nervous, that’s Professor Snape. He teaches Potions, but he doesn’t want

to — everyone knows he’s after Quirrell’s job. Knows an awful lot about

 

Harry watched Snape for a while, but Snape didn’t look at him again.

 

At last, the desserts too disappeared, and Professor Dumbledore got to

his feet again. The hall fell silent.

 

. I

have a few start-of-term notices to give you.

 

all pupils. And a few of our older students would do well to remember

 

he direction of the Weasley

twins.

 

that no magic should be used between classes in the corridors.

 

ed in playing for their house teams should contact Madam Hooch.

 

on the right-hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to

 

, but he was one of the few who did.

 

 

usually gives us a reason why we’re not allowed to go somewhere — the

asts, everyone knows that. I do think he

 

Dumbledore. Harry noticed that the other teachers’ smiles had become

rather fixed.

 

his wand a little flick, as if he was trying to get a

fly off the end, and a long golden ribbon flew out of it, which rose

high above the tables and twisted itself, snakelike, into words.

 

And the school bellowed:

 

 

Teach us something please,

 

Whether we be old and bald

 

Or young with scabby knees,

 

Our heads could do with filling

 

With some interesting stuff,

 

bare and full of air,

 

Dead flies and bits of fluff,

 

So teach us things worth knowing,

 

Bring back what we’ve forgot,

 

just do your best, we’ll do the rest,

 

And learn until our brains all rot.

 

At last, only the

Weasley twins were left singing along to a very slow funeral march.

Dumbledore conducted their last few lines with his wand and when they

had finished, he was one of those who clapped loudest.

 

 

The Gryffindor first years followed Percy through the chattering crowds,

out of the Great Hall, and up the marble staircase. Harry’s legs were

so tired and full of food. He

was too sleepy even to be surprised that the people in the portraits

along the corridors whispered and pointed as they passed, or that twice

Percy led them through doorways hidden behind sliding panels and hanging

es. They climbed more staircases, yawning and dragging their

feet, and Harry was just wondering how much farther they had to go when

they came to a sudden halt.

 

A bundle of walking sticks was floating in midair ahead of them, and as

toward them they started throwing themselves at him.

 

 

A loud, rude sound, like the air being let out of a balloon, answered.

 

 

There was a pop, and a little man with wicked, dark eyes and a wide

mouth appeared, floating cross- legged in the air, clutching the walking

sticks.

 

 

He swooped suddenly at them. They all ducked.

 

Percy.

 

Peeves stuck out his tongue and vanished, dropping the walking sticks on

rattling coats of armor as

he passed.

 

 

ung a portrait of a very fat woman in a

pink silk dress.

 

swung forward to reveal a round hole in the wall. They all scrambled

selves in the

Gryffindor common room, a cozy, round room full of squashy armchairs.

 

Percy directed the girls through one door to their dormitory and the

boys through another. At the top of a spiral staircase — they were

s — they found their beds at last: five

four-posters hung with deep red, velvet curtains. Their trunks had

already been brought up. Too tired to talk much, they pulled on their

pajamas and fell into bed.

 

y through the hangings.

 

Harry was going to ask Ron if he’d had any of the treacle tart, but he

fell asleep almost at once.

 

Perhaps Harry had eaten a bit too much, because he had a very strange

was wearing Professor Quirrell’s turban, which kept talking to

him, telling him he must transfer to Slytherin at once, because it was

his destiny. Harry told the turban he didn’t want to be in Slytherin; it

off but it tightened

painfully — and there was Malfoy, laughing at him as he struggled with

it -then Malfoy turned into the hook-nosed teacher, Snape, whose laugh

became high and cold — there was a burst of green light and Harry woke,

aking.

 

He rolled over and fell asleep again, and when he woke next day, he

didn’t remember the dream at all.

 

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

 

THE POTIONS MASTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whispers followed Harry from the moment he left his dormitory the next

day. People lining up outside classrooms stood on tiptoe to get a look

n, staring.

Harry wished they wouldn’t, because he was trying to concentrate on

finding his way to classes.

 

There were a hundred and forty-two staircases at Hogwarts: wide,

sweeping ones; narrow, rickety ones; some that led somewhere different

Friday; some with a vanishing step halfway up that you had to

remember to jump. Then there were doors that wouldn’t open unless you

asked politely, or tickled them in exactly the right place, and doors

ust pretending. It

was also very hard to remember where anything was, because it all seemed

to move around a lot. The people in the portraits kept going to visit

each other, and Harry was sure the coats of armor could walk.

 

ther. It was always a nasty shock when one of

them glided suddenly through a door you were trying to open. Nearly

Headless Nick was always happy to point new Gryffindors in the right

direction, but Peeves the Poltergeist was worth two locked doors and a

trick staircase if you met him when you were late for class. He would

drop wastepaper baskets on your head, pull rugs from under your feet,

pelt you with bits of chalk, or sneak up behind you, invisible, grab

 

Even worse than Peeves, if that was possible, was the caretaker, Argus

Filch. Harry and Ron managed to get on the wrong side of him on their

very first morning. Filch found them trying to force their way through a

the entrance to the out-of-bounds

corridor on the third floor. He wouldn’t believe they were lost, was

sure they were trying to break into it on purpose, and was threatening

to lock them in the dungeons when they were rescued by Professor

was passing.

 

Filch owned a cat called Mrs. Norris, a scrawny, dust-colored creature

with bulging, lamp like eyes just like Filch’s. She patrolled the

corridors alone. Break a rule in front of her, put just one toe out of

r Filch, who’d appear, wheezing, two seconds

later. Filch knew the secret passageways of the school better than

anyone (except perhaps the Weasley twins) and could pop up as suddenly

st

ambition of many to give Mrs. Norris a good kick.

 

And then, once you had managed to find them, there were the classes

themselves. There was a lot more to magic, as Harry quickly found out,

than waving your wand and saying a few funny words.

 

y had to study the night skies through their telescopes every

Wednesday at midnight and learn the names of different stars and the

movements of the planets. Three times a week they went out to the

dumpy little

witch called Professor Sprout, where they learned how to take care of

all the strange plants and fungi, and found out what they were used for.

 

Easily the most boring class was History of Magic, which was the only

Professor Binns had been very old

 

indeed when he had fallen asleep in front of the staff room fire and got

up next morning to teach, leaving his body behind him. Binns droned on

and on while they scribbled down names and dates, and got Emetic the

l and Uric the Oddball mixed up.

 

Professor Flitwick, the Charms teacher, was a tiny little wizard who had

to stand on a pile of books to see over his desk. At the start of their

first class he took the roll call, and when he reached Harry’s name he

ave an excited squeak and toppled out of sight.

 

Professor McGonagall was again different. Harry had been quite right to

think she wasn’t a teacher to cross. Strict and clever, she gave them a

talking-to the moment they sat down in her first class.

 

 

ere all very

impressed and couldn’t wait to get started, but soon realized they

weren’t going to be changing the furniture into animals for a long time.

After taking a lot of complicated notes, they were each given a match

into a needle. By the end of the lesson,

only Hermione Granger had made any difference to her match; Professor

McGonagall showed the class how it had gone all silver and pointy and

gave Hermione a rare smile.

 

ng forward to was Defense

Against the Dark Arts, but Quirrell’s lessons turned out to be a bit of

a joke. His classroom smelled strongly of garlic, which everyone said

was to ward off a vampire he’d met in Romania and was afraid would be

get him one of these days. His turban, he told them, had

been given to him by an African prince as a thank-you for getting rid of

a troublesome zombie, but they weren’t sure they believed this story.

hear how Quirrell

had fought off the zombie, Quirrell went pink and started talking about

the weather; for another, they had noticed that a funny smell hung

around the turban, and the Weasley twins insisted that it was stuffed

so that Quirrell was protected wherever he went.

 

Harry was very relieved to find out that he wasn’t miles behind everyone

else. Lots of people had come from Muggle families and, like him, hadn’t

as so much to

learn that even people like Ron didn’t have much of a head start.

 

Friday was an important day for Harry and Ron. They finally managed to

find their way down to the Great Hall for breakfast without getting lost

once.

 

porridge.

 

Slytherin House. They say he always favors them — we’ll be able to see

 

d Harry. Professor McGonagall was head

of Gryffindor House, but it hadn’t stopped her from giving them a huge

pile of homework the day before.

 

Just then, the mail arrived. Harry had gotten used to this by now, but

the first morning, when about a

hundred owls had suddenly streamed into the Great Hall during breakfast,

circling the tables until they saw their owners, and dropping letters

and packages onto their laps.

 

She sometimes flew in to

nibble his ear and have a bit of toast before going off to sleep in the

owlery with the other school owls. This morning, however, she fluttered

down between the marmalade and the sugar bowl and dropped a note onto

e. Harry tore it open at once. It said, in a very untidy

scrawl:

 

 

Dear Harry,

 

I know you get Friday afternoons off, so would you like to come and have

a cup of tea with me around three?

 

r back with

Hedwig.

 

Hagrid

 

 

Harry borrowed Ron’s quill, scribbled Yes, please, see you later on the

back of the note, and sent Hedwig off again.

 

It was lucky that Harry had tea with Hagrid to look forward to, because

out to be the worst thing that had happened to

him so far.

 

At the start-of-term banquet, Harry had gotten the idea that Professor

Snape disliked him. By the end of the first Potions lesson, he knew he’d

ted him.

 

Potions lessons took place down in one of the dungeons. It was colder

here than up in the main castle, and would have been quite creepy enough

without the pickled animals floating in glass jars all around the walls.

 

tarted the class by taking the roll call, and

like Flitwick, he paused at Harry’s name.

 

 

Draco Malfoy and his friends Crabbe and Goyle sniggered behind their

ing the names and looked up at the class. His

eyes were black like Hagrid’s, but they had none of Hagrid’s warmth.

They were cold and empty and made you think of dark tunnels.

 

he began. He spoke in barely more than a whisper, but

they caught every word — like Professor McGonagall, Snape had y caught

every word — like Professor McGonagall, Snape had the gift of keeping a

sh wand-waving

here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don’t expect you

will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with

its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through

g the mind, ensnaring the senses…. I can teach

you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death — if you aren’t

 

More silence followed this little speech. Harry and Ron exchanged looks

with raised eyebrows. Hermione Granger was on the edge of her seat and

looked desperate to start proving that she wasn’t a dunderhead.

 

 

Powdered root of what to an infusion of what? Harry glanced at Ron, who

looked as stumped as he was; Hermione’s hand had shot into the air.

 

 

Snape’s lips curled into a sneer.

 

 

He ignored Hermione’s hand.

 

 

Hermione stretched her hand as high into the air as it would go without

test idea what a

bezoar was. He tried not to look at Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle, who were

shaking with laughter.

 

e

cold eyes. He had looked through his books at the Dursleys’, but did

Snape expect him to remember everything in One Thousand Magical Herbs

and Fungi?

 

Snape was still ignoring Hermione’s quivering hand.

 

 

At this, Hermione stood up, her hand stretching toward the dungeon

ceiling.

 

 

Seamus winked.

Snape, however, was not pleased.

 

asphodel and wormwood make a sleeping potion so powerful it is known as

stomach

of a goat and it will save you from most poisons. As for monkshood and

wolfsbane, they are the same plant, which also goes by the name of

 

ment. Over the noise,

 

Things didn’t improve for the Gryffindors as the Potions lesson

continued. Snape put them all into pairs and set them to mixing up a

otion to cure boils. He swept around in his long black cloak,

watching them weigh dried nettles and crush snake fangs, criticizing

almost everyone except Malfoy, whom he seemed to like. He was just

stewed his horned

slugs when clouds of acid green smoke and a loud hissing filled the

dungeon. Neville had somehow managed to melt Seamus’s cauldron into a

twisted blob, and their potion was seeping across the stone floor,

es. Within seconds, the whole class was

standing on their stools while Neville, who had been drenched in the

potion when the cauldron collapsed, moaned in pain as angry red boils

sprang up all over his arms and legs.

 

ing the spilled potion away with one

 

Neville whimpered as boils started to pop up all over his nose.

 

t at Seamus. Then he

rounded on Harry and Ron, who had been working next to Neville.

 

he’d make you look good if he got it wrong, did you? That’s another

 

This was so unfair that Harry opened his mouth to argue, but Ron kicked

him behind their cauldron.

 

 

mind

was racing and his spirits were low. He’d lost two points for Gryffindor

 

t five to three they left the castle and made their way across the

grounds. Hagrid lived in a small wooden house on the edge of the

forbidden forest. A crossbow and a pair of galoshes were outside the

front door.

 

ic scrabbling from inside and

 

Hagrid’s big, hairy face appeared in the crack as he pulled the door

open.

 

 

ling to keep a hold on the collar of an enormous

black boarhound.

 

There was only one room inside. Hams and pheasants were hanging from the

ceiling, a copper kettle was boiling on the open fire, and in the corner

uilt over it.

 

straight at Ron and started licking his ears. Like Hagrid, Fang was

clearly not as fierce as he looked.

 

ater into a

large teapot and putting rock cakes onto a plate.

 

 

t almost broke their

teeth, but Harry and Ron pretended to be enjoying them as they told

Hagrid all about their first -lessons. Fang rested his head on Harry’s

knee and drooled all over his robes.

 

 

sometime. D’yeh know, every time I go up ter the school, she follows me

 

ape’s lesson. Hagrid, like Ron, told Harry not

to worry about it, that Snape liked hardly any of the students.

 

 

 

eet his eyes

when he said that.

 

 

Harry wondered if Hagrid had changed the subject on purpose. While Ron

ry picked up a

piece of paper that was lying on the table under the tea cozy. It was a

cutting from the Daily Prophet:

 

GRINGOTTS BREAK-IN LATEST

 

Investigations continue into the break-in at Gringotts on 31 July,

ark wizards or witches unknown.

 

Gringotts goblins today insisted that nothing had been taken. The vault

that was searched had in fact been emptied the same day.

 

afternoon.

 

Harry remembered Ron telling him on the train that someone had tried to

rob Gringotts, but Ron hadn’t mentioned the date.

 

rthday!

 

There was no doubt about it, Hagrid definitely didn’t meet Harry’s eyes

this time. He grunted and offered him another rock cake. Harry read the

act been emptied

earlier that same day. Hagrid had emptied vault seven hundred and

thirteen, if you could call it emptying, taking out that grubby little

package. Had that been what the thieves were looking for?

 

stle for dinner, their pockets

weighed down with rock cakes they’d been too polite to refuse, Harry

thought that none of the lessons he’d had so far had given him as much

to think about as tea with Hagrid. Had Hagrid collected that package

? Where was it now? And did Hagrid know something about

Snape that he didn’t want to tell Harry?

 

 

CHAPTER NINE

 

THE MIDNIGHT DUEL

 

Harry had never believed he would meet a boy he hated more than Dudley,

ill, first-year

Gryffindors only had Potions with the Slytherins, so they didn’t have to

put up with Malfoy much. Or at least, they didn’t until they spotted a

notice pinned up in the Gryffindor common room that made them all groan.

d be starting on Thursday — and Gryffindor and

   would be learning together.

 

 

fly more than anything else.

 

 

a lot. He complained loudly about

first years never getting on the house Quidditch teams and told long,

boastful stories that always seemed to end with him narrowly escaping

Muggles in helicopters. He wasn’t the only one, though: the way Seamus

n told it, he’d spent most of his childhood zooming around the

countryside on his broomstick. Even Ron would tell anyone who’d listen

about the time he’d almost hit a hang glider on Charlie’s old broom.

ditch constantly. Ron

had already had a big argument with Dean Thomas, who shared their

dormitory, about soccer. Ron couldn’t see what was exciting about a game

with only one ball where no one was allowed to fly. Harry had caught Ron

ster of West Ham soccer team, trying to make the

players move.

 

Neville had never been on a broomstick in his life, because his

grandmother had never let him near one. Privately, Harry felt she’d had

raordinary number of

accidents even with both feet on the ground.

 

Hermione Granger was almost as nervous about flying as Neville was. This

was something you couldn’t learn by heart out of a book — not that she

she bored them all stupid with

flying tips she’d gotten out of a library book called Quidditch Through

the Ages. Neville was hanging on to her every word, desperate for

anything that might help him hang on to his broomstick later, but

s very pleased when Hermione’s lecture was interrupted

by the arrival of the mail.

 

Harry hadn’t had a single letter since Hagrid’s note, something that

Malfoy had been quick to notice, of course. Malfoy’s eagle owl was

sweets from home, which he opened

gloatingly at the Slytherin table.

 

A barn owl brought Neville a small package from his grandmother. He

opened it excitedly and showed them a glass ball the size of a large

oke.

 

tells you if there’s something you’ve forgotten to do. Look, you hold it

ed scarlet,

 

 

Neville was trying to remember what he’d forgotten when Draco Malfoy,

who was passing the Gryffindor table, snatched the Remembrall out of his

hand.

 

oping for a reason

to fight Malfay, but Professor McGonagall, who could spot trouble

quicker than any teacher in the school, was there in a flash.

 

 

 

emembrall back on the table.

 

him.

 

At three-thirty that afternoon, Harry, Ron, and the other Gryffindors

hurried down the front steps onto the grounds for their first flying

esson. It was a clear, breezy day, and the grass rippled under their

feet as they marched down the sloping lawns toward a smooth, flat lawn

on the opposite side of the grounds to the forbidden forest, whose trees

were swaying darkly in the distance.

 

The Slytherins were already there, and so were twenty broomsticks lying

in neat lines on the ground. Harry had heard Fred and George Weasley

complain about the school brooms, saying that some of them started to

ew slightly to the left.

 

Their teacher, Madam Hooch, arrived. She had short, gray hair, and

yellow eyes like a hawk.

 

 

broom. It was old and some of the twigs stuck

out at odd angles.

 

 

 

the few

that did. Hermione Granger’s had simply rolled over on the ground, and

Neville’s hadn’t moved at all. Perhaps brooms, like horses, could tell

when you were afraid, thought Harry; there was a quaver in Neville’s

that he wanted to keep his feet on the

ground.

 

Madam Hooch then showed them how to mount their brooms without sliding

off the end, and walked up and down the rows correcting their grips.

ng it

wrong for years.

 

straight back down by leaning forward slightly. On my whistle — three

 

But Neville, nervous and jumpy and frightened of being left on the

ground, pushed off hard before the whistle had touched Madam Hooch’s

lips.

 

e feet — twenty feet. Harry saw his

scared white face look down at the ground falling away, saw him gasp,

slip sideways off the broom and —

 

WHAM — a thud and a nasty crack and Neville lay facedown on the grass

ising higher and higher, and

started to drift lazily toward the forbidden forest and out of sight.

 

Madam Hooch was bending over Neville, her face as white as his.

 

.

 

She turned to the rest of the class.

 

leave those brooms where they are or you’ll be out of Hogwarts before

 

streaked, clutching his wrist, hobbled off with

Madam Hooch, who had her arm around him.

 

No sooner were they out of earshot than Malfoy burst into laughter.

 

 

The other Slytherins joined in.

 

 

 

 

The Remembrall glittered in the sun as he held it up.

 

to watch.

 

Malfoy smiled nastily.

 

here for Longbottom to find — how about —

 

and taken off. He hadn’t been lying, he could fly well. Hovering level

and get it,

 

Harry grabbed his broom.

 

 

Harry ignored her. Blood was pounding in his ears. He mounted the broom

the ground and up, up he soared; air rushed

through his hair, and his robes whipped out behind him -and in a rush of

fierce joy he realized he’d found something he could do without being

ick up

a little to take it even higher, and heard screams and gasps of girls

back on the ground and an admiring whoop from Ron.

 

He turned his broomstick sharply to face Malfoy in midair. Malfoy looked

stunned.

 

 

Harry knew, somehow, what to do. He leaned forward and grasped the broom

tightly in both hands, and it shot toward Malfay like a javelin. Malfoy

out of the way in time; Harry made a sharp about-face and

held the broom steady. A few people below were clapping.

 

 

The same thought seemed to have struck Malfoy.

 

high into the air and streaked back toward the ground.

 

Harry saw, as though in slow motion, the ball rise up in the air and

n

— next second he was gathering speed in a steep dive, racing the ball

— wind whistled in his ears, mingled with the screams of people

watching — he stretched out his hand — a foot from the ground he

ght, and he toppled

gently onto the grass with the Remembrall clutched safely in his fist.

 

 

His heart sank faster than he’d just dived. Professor McGonagall was

running toward them. He got to his feet, trembling.

 

 

Professor McGonagall was almost speechless with shock, and her glasses

 

 

 

 

 

Harry caught sight of Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle’s triumphant faces as he

left, walking numbly in Professor McGonagall’s wake as she strode toward

ew it. He wanted to

say something to defend himself, but there seemed to be something wrong

with his voice. Professor McGonagall was sweeping along without even

looking at him; he had to jog to keep up. Now he’d done it. He hadn’t

. He’d be packing his bags in ten minutes. What

would the Dursleys say when he turned up on the doorstep?

 

Up the front steps, up the marble staircase inside, and still Professor

McGonagall didn’t say a word to him. She wrenched open doors and marched

along corridors with Harry trotting miserably behind her. Maybe she was

taking him to Dumbledore. He thought of Hagrid, expelled but allowed to

stay on as gamekeeper. Perhaps he could be Hagrid’s assistant. His

ng Ron and the others becoming

wizards, while he stumped around the grounds carrying Hagrid’s bag.

 

Professor McGonagall stopped outside a classroom. She opened the door

and poked her head inside.

 

 

Wood? thought Harry, bewildered; was Wood a cane she was going to use on

him?

 

But Wood turned out to be a person, a burly fifth-year boy who came out

of Flitwicles class looking confused.

 

agall, and they marched on up

the corridor, Wood looking curiously at Harry.

 

 

Professor McGonagall pointed them into a classroom that was empty except

for Peeves, who was busy writing rude words on the blackboard.

 

rked. Peeves threw the chalk into a bin, which

clanged loudly, and he swooped out cursing. Professor McGonagall slammed

the door behind him and turned to face the two boys.

 

 

ession changed from puzzlement to delight.

 

 

I’ve never seen anything like it. Was that your first time on a

 

ently. He didn’t have a clue what was going on, but he

didn’t seem to be being expelled, and some of the feeling started coming

back to his legs.

 

scratch himself. Charlie Weasley

 

Wood was now looking as though all his dreams had come true at once.

 

 

all explained.

 

decent broom, Professor — a Nimbus Two Thousand or a Cleansweep Seven,

 

peak to Professor Dumbledore and see if we can’t bend the

first-year rule. Heaven knows, we need a better team than last year.

Flattened in that last match by Slytherin, I couldn’t look Severus Snape

 

ered sternly over her glasses at Harry.

 

 

Then she suddenly smiled.

 

 

 

It was dinnertime. Harry had just finished telling Ron what had happened

when he’d left the grounds with Professor McGonagall. Ron had a piece of

steak and kidney pie halfway to his mouth, but he’d forgotten all about

it.

 

house player in about a century, said Harry, shoveling pie into his

mouth. He felt particularly hungry after the excitement of the

 

so impressed, he just sat and gaped at Harry.

 

 

Fred and George Weasley now came into the hall, spotted Harry, and

hurried over.

 

 

good, Harry, Wood was almost skipping

 

 

 

Fred and George had hardly disappeared when someone far less welcome

turned up: Malfoy, flanked by Crabbe and Goyle.

 

 

re back on the ground and you’ve got

nothing at all little about Crabbe and Goyle, but as the High Table was

full of teachers, neither of them could do more than crack their

and scowl.

 

Wizard’s duel. Wands only — no contact. What’s the matter? Never heard

 

his second, who’s

 

Malfoy looked at Crabbe and Goyle, sizing them up.

 

 

 

getting started at last on his cold pie. Catching the look on Harry’s

die in proper duels, you know,

with real wizards. The most you and Malfoy’ll be able to do is send

sparks at each other. Neither of you knows enough magic to do any real

 

 

 

They both looked up. It was Hermione Granger.

 

 

Hermione ignored him and spoke to Harry.

 

 

 

points you’ll lose Gryffindor if you’re caught, and you’re bound to be.

 

 

 

All the same, it wasn’t what you’d call the perfect end to the day,

Harry thought, as he lay awake much later listening to Dean and Seamus

eep (Neville wasn’t back from the hospital wing). Ron had

ht by Filch or

Mrs. Norris, and Harry felt he was pushing his luck, breaking another

school rule today. On the other hand, Malfoys sneering face kept looming

up out of the darkness — this was his big chance to beat Malfoy

it.

 

 

They pulled on their bathrobes, picked up their wands, and crept across

the tower room, down the spiral staircase, and into the Gryffindor

in the fireplace, turning

all the armchairs into hunched black shadows. They had almost reached

 

Granger, wearing a pink bathrobe

and a frown.

 

 

 

Harry couldn’t believe anyone could be so interfering.

 

and climbed through the hole.

 

Hermione wasn’t going to give up that easily. She followed Ron through

the portrait hole, hissing at them like an angry goose.

 

about Gryffindor, do you only care about yourselves, I

don’t want Slytherin to win the house cup, and you’ll lose all the

points I got from Professor McGonagall for knowing about Switching

 

member what I said

 

But what they were, they didn’t find out. Hermione had turned to the

portrait of the Fat Lady to get back inside and found herself facing an

e on a nighttime visit and Hermione

was locked out of Gryffindor tower.

 

 

 

r when Hermione caught up

with them.

 

 

 

If he finds all three of us I’ll tell him the truth, that I was trying

 

 

 

It was a sort of snuffling.

 

 

was Neville. He was curled up on the floor,

fast asleep, but jerked suddenly awake as they crept nearer.

 

 

ille. The password’s ‘Pig snout’ but it won’t

 

 

 

to be somewhere, we’ll see you

 

 

Ron looked at his watch and then glared furiously at Hermione and

lle.

 

Curse of the Bogies Quirrell told us about, and used it on you.

 

Hermione opened her mouth, perhaps to tell Ron exactly how to use the

d at her to be quiet and beckoned

them all forward.

 

They flitted along corridors striped with bars of moonlight from the

high windows. At every turn Harry expected to run into Filch or Mrs.

third floor

and tiptoed toward the trophy room.

 

Malfoy and Crabbe weren’t there yet. The crystal trophy cases glimmered

where the moonlight caught them. Cups, shields, plates, and statues

walls,

keeping their eyes on the doors at either end of the room. Harry took

out his wand in case Malfoy leapt in and started at once. The minutes

crept by.

 

 

hem jump. Harry had only just raised

his wand when they heard someone speak -and it wasn’t Malfoy.

 

 

It was Filch speaking to Mrs. Norris. Horror-struck, Harry waved madly

e to follow him as quickly as possible; they scurried

silently toward the door, away from Filch’s voice. Neville’s robes had

barely whipped round the corner when they heard Filch enter the trophy

room.

 

 

creep down a long gallery full of suits of armor. They could hear Filch

getting nearer. Neville suddenly let out a frightened squeak and broke

tripped, grabbed Ron around the waist, and the pair of

them toppled right into a suit of armor.

 

The clanging and crashing were enough to wake the whole castle.

 

o see whether Filch was following — they swung around the

doorpost and galloped down one corridor then another, Harry in the lead,

without any idea where they were or where they were going — they ripped

den passageway, hurtled

along it and came out near their Charms classroom, which they knew was

miles from the trophy room.

 

g and

spluttering.

 

 

 

ize that, don’t

you? He was never going to meet you — Filch knew someone was going to

 

Harry thought she was probably right, but he wasn’t going to tell her

that.

 

 

ing to be that simple. They hadn’t gone more than a dozen

paces when a doorknob rattled and something came shooting out of a

classroom in front of them.

 

It was Peeves. He caught sight of them and gave a squeal of delight.

 

 

Peeves cackled.

 

 

 

a saintly voice, but his

 

big mistake.

 

 

Ducking under Peeves, they ran for their lives, right to the end of the

corridor where they slammed into a door — and it was locked.

 

could hear footsteps, Filch running as

fast as he could toward Peeves’s shouts.

 

 

h it, shut

it quickly, and pressed their ears against it, listening.

 

 

 

 

annoying singsong voice.

 

 

away and Filch cursing in rage.

 

 

ent, he

was sure he’d walked into a nightmare — this was too much, on top of

everything that had happened so far.

 

They weren’t in a room, as he had supposed. They were in a corridor. The

t was

forbidden.

 

They were looking straight into the eyes of a monstrous dog, a dog that

filled the whole space between ceiling and floor. It had three heads.

Three pairs of rolling, mad eyes; three noses, twitching

 

n; three drooling mouths, saliva hanging

in slippery ropes from yellowish fangs.

 

It was standing quite still, all six eyes staring at them, and Harry

knew that the only reason they weren’t already dead was that their

surprise, but it was quickly getting

over that, there was no mistaking what those thunderous growls meant.

 

Harry groped for the doorknob — between Filch and death, he’d take

Filch.

 

they

almost flew, back down the corridor. Filch must have hurried off to look

for them somewhere else, because they didn’t see him anywhere, but they

hardly cared — all they wanted to do was put as much space as possible

They didn’t stop running until they

reached the portrait of the Fat Lady on the seventh floor.

 

bathrobes hanging off their shoulders and their flushed, sweaty faces.

 

portrait swung forward. They scrambled into the common room and

collapsed, trembling, into armchairs.

 

It was a while before any of them said anything. Neville, indeed, looked

n.

 

 

what it was standing on.

 

 

 

She stood up, glaring at them.

 

I hope you’re pleased with yourselves. We could all have been killed —

 

Ron stared after her, his mouth open.

 

hink we dragged her along,

wouldn’t you.

 

But Hermione had given Harry something else to think about as he climbed

back into bed. The dog was guarding something…. What had Hagrid said?

nted to

hide — except perhaps Hogwarts.

 

It looked as though Harry had found out where the grubby littie package

from vault seven hundred and thirteen was.

 

 

CHAPTER TEN

 

HALLOWEEN

 

n were

still at Hogwarts the next day, looking tired but perfectly cheerful.

Indeed, by the next morning Harry and Ron thought that meeting the

three-headed dog had been an excellent adventure, and they were quite

ime, Harry filled Ron in about the

package that seemed to have been moved from Gringotts to Hogwarts, and

they spent a lot of time wondering what could possibly need such heavy

 

 

But as all they knew for sure about the mysterious object was that it

was about two inches long, they didn’t have much chance of guessing what

it was without further clues.

 

terest in what lay

underneath the dog and the trapdoor. All Neville cared about was never

going near the dog again.

 

Hermione was now refusing to speak to Harry and Ron, but she was such a

ey really

wanted now was a way of getting back at Malfoy, and to their great

delight, just such a thing arrived in the mail about a week later.

 

As the owls flooded into the Great Hall as usual, everyone’s attention

package carried by six large screech

owls. Harry was just as interested as everyone else to see what was in

this large parcel, and was amazed when the owls soared down and dropped

it right in front of him, knocking his bacon to the floor. They had

ly fluttered out of the way when another owl dropped a letter on top

of the parcel.

 

Harry ripped open the letter first, which was lucky, because it said:

 

 

DO NOT OPEN THE PARCEL AT THE TABLE.

 

want everybody

knowing you’ve got a broomstick or they’ll all want one. Oliver Wood

will meet you tonight on the Quidditch field at seven o’clock for your

first training session.

 

Professor McGonagall

 

ded the note to Ron to

read.

 

 

They left the hall quickly, wanting to unwrap the broomstick in private

before their first class, but halfway across the entrance hall they

found the way upstairs barred by Crabbe and Goyle. Malfoy seized the

package from Harry and felt it.

 

 

Ron couldn’t resist it.

 

ot in the same

 

 

peared at Malfoy’s elbow.

 

 

 

e special circumstances,

 

 

d upstairs, smothering their laughter at Malfoy’s

 

angry voice from just behind them. Hermione was stomping up the stairs,

looking disapprovingly at the package in Harry’s hand.

 

 

 

Hermione marched away with her nose in the air.

 

Harry had a lot of trouble keeping his mind on his lessons that day. It

kept wandering up to the dormitory where his new broomstick was lying

d, or straying off to the Quidditch field where he’d be

learning to play that night. He bolted his dinner that evening without

noticing what he was eating, and then rushed upstairs with Ron to unwrap

the Nimbus Two Thousand at last.

 

, as the broomstick rolled onto Harry’s bedspread.

 

Even Harry, who knew nothing about the different brooms, thought it

looked wonderful. Sleek and shiny, with a mahogany handle, it had a long

n in gold

near the top.

 

As seven o’clock drew nearer, Harry left the castle and set off in the

dusk toward the Quidditch field. Held never been inside the stadium

before. Hundreds of seats were raised in stands around the field so that

s were high enough to see what was going on. At either end

of the field were three golden poles with hoops on the end. They

reminded Harry of the little plastic sticks Muggle

 

children blew bubbles through, except that they were fifty feet high.

 

eager to fly again to wait for Wood, Harry mounted his broomstick

and kicked off from the ground. What a feeling — he swooped in and out

of the goal posts and then sped up and down the field. The Nimbus Two

ghtest touch.

 

 

Oliver Wood had arrived. fie was carrying a large wooden crate under his

arm. Harry landed next to him.

 

I’m just going to teach you the rules

 

He opened the crate. Inside were four different-sized balls.

 

s not too easy to play. There are seven players on each side.

 

about the size of a soccer ball.

 

Chasers throw the

Quaffle to each other and try and get it through one of the hoops to

score a goal. Ten points every time the Quaffle goes through one of the

 

 

quickly.

 

r for Gryffindor. I have to fly around our hoops and stop the other

 

at the three balls left inside the box.

 

 

He handed Harry a small club, a bit like a short baseball bat.

 

 

ed Harry two identical balls, jet black and slightly smaller than

the red Quaffle. Harry noticed that they seemed to be straining to

escape the straps holding them inside the box.

 

dgers.

 

At once, the black ball rose high in the air and then pelted straight at

Harry’s face. Harry swung at it with the bat to stop it from breaking

his nose, and sent it zigzagging away into the air — it zoomed around

Wood, who dived on top of it and managed to

pin it to the ground.

 

ou have two Beaters on each

team — the Weasley twins are ours — it’s their job to protect their

side from the Bludgers and try and knock them toward the other team. So

 

e Keeper guards the

reeled off.

 

 

sounded offhand.

 

couple of broken jaws but nothing worse

than that. Now, the last member of the team is the

 

Seeker. That’s you. And you don’t have to worry about the Quaffle or the

 

a match for the Bludgers — I

 

Wood reached into the crate and took out the fourth and last ball.

Compared with the Quaffle and the Bludgers, it was tiny, about the size

s bright gold and had little fluttering silver

wings.

 

ball of the lot. It’s very hard to catch because it’s so fast and

got to weave

in and out of the Chasers, Beaters, Bludgers, and Quaffle to get it

before the other team’s Seeker, because whichever Seeker catches the

Snitch wins his team an extra hundred and fifty points, so they

 

s get fouled so much. A game of

Quidditch only ends when the Snitch is caught, so it can go on for ages

— I think the record is three months, they had to keep bringing on

 

Harry shook his head. He understood what he had to do all right, it was

doing it that was going to be the problem.

 

t. Let’s try

 

He pulled a bag of ordinary golf balls out of his pocket and a few

minutes later, he and Harry were up in the air, Wood throwing the golf

balls as hard as he could in every direction for Harry to catch.

 

arry didn’t miss a single one, and Wood was delighted. After half an

hour, night had really fallen and they couldn’t carry on.

 

be surprised if you

turn out better than Charlie Weasley, and he could have played for

 

Perhaps it was because he was now so busy, what with Quidditch practice

ework, but Harry could hardly

believe it when he realized that he’d already been at Hogwarts two

months. The castle felt more like home than Privet Drive ever had. His

lessons, too, were becoming more and more interesting now that they had

basics.

 

On Halloween morning they woke to the delicious smell of baking pumpkin

wafting through the corridors. Even better, Professor Flitwick announced

in Charms that he thought they were ready to start making objects fly,

en dying to try since they’d seen him make

Neville’s toad zoom around the classroom. Professor Flitwick put the

class into pairs to practice. Harry’s partner was Seamus Finnigan (which

,

however, was to be working with Hermione Granger. It was hard to tell

whether Ron or Hermione was angrier about this. She hadn’t spoken to

either of them since the day Harry’s broomstick had arrived.

 

squeaked Professor Flitwick, perched on top of his pile of books as

words properly is very important, too — never forget Wizard Baruffio,

of ‘f’ and found himself on the floor with a

 

It was very difficult. Harry and Seamus swished and flicked, but the

feather they were supposed to be sending skyward just lay on the

d it with his wand and

set fire to it — Harry had to put it out with his hat.

 

Ron, at the next table, wasn’t having much more luck.

 

 

 

 

 

Hermione rolled up the sleeves of her gown, flicked her wand, and said,

 

the desk and hovered about four feet above their

heads.

 

 

e said to Harry as they pushed their way into the

 

Someone knocked into Harry as they hurried past him. It was Hermione.

Harry caught a glimpse of her face — and was startled to see that she

ars.

 

 

 

Hermione didn’t turn up for the next class and wasn’t seen all

lloween feast,

Harry and Ron overheard Parvati Patil telling her friend Lavender that

Hermione was crying in the girls’ bathroom and wanted to be left alone.

Ron looked still more awkward at this, but a moment later they had

re the Halloween decorations put Hermione out

of their minds.

 

A thousand live bats fluttered from the walls and ceiling while a

thousand more swooped over the tables in low black clouds, making the

suddenly on the

golden plates, as it had at the start-of-term banquet.

 

Harry was just helping himself to a baked potato when Professor Quirrell

came sprinting into the hall, his turban askew and terror on his face.

ssor Dumbledore’s chair, slumped

 

He then sank to the floor in a dead faint.

 

There was an uproar. It took several purple firecrackers exploding from

Professor Dumbledore’s wand to bring silence.

 

 

Percy was in his element.

 

tay close behind me, now. Make way, first years

 

 

 

They passed different groups of people hurrying in different directions.

As they jostled their way through a crowd of confused Hufflepuffs, Harry

suddenly grabbed Ron’s arm.

 

 

 

 

Ron bit his lip.

 

 

Ducking down, they joined the Hufflepuffs going the other way, slipped

he girls’

bathroom. They had just turned the corner when they heard quick

footsteps behind them.

 

 

Peering around it, however, they saw not Percy but Snape. He crossed the

disappeared from view.

 

 

 

Quietly as possible, they crept along the next corridor after Snape’s

fading footsteps.

 

hand.

 

 

Harry sniffed and a foul stench reached his nostrils, a mixture of old

socks and the kind of public toilet no one seems to clean.

 

low grunting, and the shuffling footfalls of

gigantic feet. Ron pointed — at the end of a passage to the left,

something huge was moving toward them. They shrank into the shadows and

watched as it emerged into a patch of moonlight.

 

sight. Twelve feet tall, its skin was a dull, granite

gray, its great lumpy body like a boulder with its small bald head

perched on top like a coconut. It had short legs thick as tree trunks

e. It was

holding a huge wooden club, which dragged along the floor because its

arms were so long.

 

The troll stopped next to a doorway and peered inside. It waggled its

long ears, making up its tiny mind, then slouched slowly into the room.

 

 

 

They edged toward the open door, mouths dry, praying the troll wasn’t

about to come out of it. With one great leap, Harry managed to grab the

or, and lock it.

 

 

Flushed with their victory, they started to run back up the passage, but

as they reached the corner they heard something that made their hearts

stop — a high, petrified scream — and it was coming from the chamber

ust chained up.

 

 

 

 

It was the last thing they wanted to do, but what choice did they have?

to the door and turned the key,

fumbling in their panic. Harry pulled the door open and they ran inside.

 

Hermione Granger was shrinking against the wall opposite, looking as if

she was about to faint. The troll was advancing on her, knocking the

ks off the walls as it went.

 

threw it as hard as he could against the wall.

 

The troll stopped a few feet from Hermione. It lumbered around, blinking

the noise. Its mean little eyes saw

Harry. It hesitated, then made for him instead, lifting its club as it

went.

 

pipe

hitting its shoulder, but it heard the yell and paused again, turning

its ugly snout toward Ron instead, giving Harry time to run around it.

 

e, she was still flat against the wall,

her mouth open with terror.

 

The shouting and the echoes seemed to be driving the troll berserk. It

roared again and started toward Ron, who was nearest and had no way to

escape.

 

was both very brave and very stupid: He

took a great running jump and managed to fasten his arms around the

troll’s neck from behind. The troll couldn’t feel Harry hanging there,

but even a troll will notice if you stick a long bit of wood up its

, and Harry’s wand had still been in his hand when he’d jumped — it

had gone straight up one of the troll’s nostrils.

 

Howling with pain, the troll twisted and flailed its club, with Harry

rip him

off or catch him a terrible blow with the club.

 

Hermione had sunk to the floor in fright; Ron pulled out his own wand —

not knowing what he was going to do he heard himself cry the first spell

 

The club flew suddenly out of the troll’s hand, rose high, high up into

the air, turned slowly over — and dropped, with a sickening crack, onto

its owner’s head. The troll swayed on the spot and then fell flat on its

hole room tremble.

 

Harry got to his feet. He was shaking and out of breath. Ron was

standing there with his wand still raised, staring at what he had done.

 

It was Hermione who spoke first.

 

 

 

He bent down and pulled his wand out of the troll’s nose. It was covered

in what looked like lumpy gray glue.

 

 

He wiped it on the troll’s trousers.

 

e the three of them look up.

They hadn’t realized what a racket they had been making, but of course,

someone downstairs must have heard the crashes and the troll’s roars. A

moment later, Professor McGonagall had come bursting into the room,

lowed by Snape, with Quirrell bringing up the rear. Quirrell

took one look at the troll, let out a faint whimper, and sat quickly

down on a toilet, clutching his heart.

 

Snape bent over the troll. Professor McGonagall was looking at Ron and

ry had never seen her look so angry. Her lips were white.

Hopes of winning fifty points for Gryffindor faded quickly from Harry’s

mind.

 

who was still standing with

 

Snape gave Harry a swift, piercing look. Harry looked at the floor. He

wished Ron would put his wand down.

 

me out of the shadows.

 

 

 

Hermione had managed to get to her feet at last.

 

I went looking for the troll because I — I thought I could deal with it

 

Ron dropped his wand. Hermione Granger, telling a downright lie to a

up its nose and Ron knocked it out with its own club. They didn’t have

ime to come and fetch anyone. It was about to finish me off when they

 

Harry and Ron tried to look as though this story wasn’t new to them.

 

ou foolish girl, how could you think of

 

Hermione hung her head. Harry was speechless. Hermione was the last

person to do anything against the rules, and here she was, pretending

ble. It was as if Snape had started

handing out sweets.

 

Students are finishing

 

Hermione left.

 

Professor McGonagall turned to Harry and Ron.

 

five

 

They hurried out of the chamber and didn’t speak at all until they had

climbed two floors up. It was a relief to be away from the smell of the

else.

 

 

 

 

if we hadn’t locked the thing in with

 

They had reached the portrait of the Fat Lady.

 

 

The common room was packed and noisy. Everyone was eating the food that

e, however, stood alone by the door, waiting

for them. There was a very embarrassed pause. Then, none of them looking

 

There are

some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and

knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.

 

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN

 

QUIDDITCH

 

As they entered November, the weather turned very cold. The mountains

school became icy gray and the lake like chilled steel. Every

morning the ground was covered in frost. Hagrid could be seen from the

upstairs windows defrosting broomsticks on the Quidditch field, bundled

es, and enormous

beaverskin boots.

 

The Quidditch season had begun. On Saturday, Harry would be playing in

his first match after weeks of training: Gryffindor versus Slytherin. If

Gryffindor won, they would move up into second place in the house

pionship.

 

Hardly anyone had seen Harry play because Wood had decided that, as

their secret weapon, Harry should be kept, well, secret. But the news

that he was playing Seeker had leaked out somehow, and Harry didn’t know

ling him he’d be brilliant or people

telling him they’d be running around underneath him holding a mattress.

 

It was really lucky that Harry now had Hermlone as a friend. He didn’t

know how he’d have gotten through all his homework without her, what

ith all the last-minute Quidditch practice Wood was making them do. She

had also tent him Quidditch Through the Ages, which turned out to be a

very interesting read.

 

Harry learned that there were seven hundred ways of committing a

that all of them had happened during a World Cup

match in 1473; that Seekers were usually the smallest and fastest

players, and that most serious Quidditch accidents seemed to happen to

had

been known to vanish and turn up months later in the Sahara Desert.

 

Hermione had become a bit more relaxed about breaking rules since Harry

and Ron had saved her from the mountain troll, and she was much nicer

Quidditch match the three of them

were out in the freezing courtyard during break, and she had conjured

them up a bright blue fire that could be carried around in a jam jar.

They were standing with their backs to it, getting warm, when Snape

he yard. Harry noticed at once that Snape was limping. Harry,

Ron, and Hermione moved closer together to block the fire from view;

they were sure it wouldn’t be allowed. Unfortunately, something about

r. He hadn’t seen

the fire, but he seemed to be looking for a reason to tell them off

anyway.

 

 

It was Quidditch Through the Ages. Harry showed him.

 

id Snape.

 

 

 

r common room was very noisy that evening. Harry, Ron, and

Hermione sat together next to a window. Hermione was checking Harry and

h, they got the right

answers anyway.

 

Harry felt restless. He wanted Quidditch Through the Ages back, to take

his mind off his nerves about tomorrow. Why should he be afraid of

Snape? Getting up, he told Ron and Hermione he was going to ask Snape if

he could have it.

 

Snape wouldn’t refuse if there were other teachers listening.

 

He made his way down to the staffroom and knocked. There was no answer.

He knocked again. Nothing.

 

Perhaps Snape had left the book in there? It was worth a try. He pushed

the door ajar and peered inside — and a horrible scene met his eyes.

 

Snape and Filch were inside, alone. Snape was holding his robes above

dy and mangled. Filch was handing

Snape bandages.

 

 

Harry tried to shut the door quietly, but —

 

 

ry as he dropped his robes quickly to

hide his leg. Harry gulped.

 

 

 

Harry left, before Snape could take any more points from Gryffindor. He

sprinted back upstairs.

 

 

In a low whisper, Harry told them what he’d seen.

 

past that three-headed dog at Halloween! That’s where he was going when

we saw him — he’s after whatever it’s guarding! And Id bet my

 

Hermione’s eyes were wide.

 

 

 

with the same question. Neville

was snoring loudly, but Harry couldn’t sleep. He tried to empty his mind

— he needed to sleep, he had to, he had his first Quidditch match in a

few hours — but the expression on Snape’s face when Harry had seen his

g wasn’t easy to forget.

 

The next morning dawned very bright and cold. The Great Hall was full of

the delicious smell of fried sausages and the cheer ful chatter of

everyone looking forward to a good Quidditch match.

 

 

 

 

 

Harry felt terrible. In an hour’s time he’d be walking onto the field.

 

 

sausages.

 

By eleven o’clock the whole school seemed to be out in the stands around

eats might be

raised high in the air, but it was still difficult to see what was going

on sometimes.

 

Ron and Hermione joined Neville, Seamus, and Dean the West Ham fan up in

the top row. As a surprise for Harry, they had painted a large banner on

e of the sheets Scabbers had ruined. It said Potter for President, and

Dean, who was good at drawing, had done a large Gryffindor lion

underneath. Then Hermione had performed a tricky little charm so that

the paint flashed different colors.

 

, in the locker room, Harry and the rest of the team were

changing into their scarlet Quidditch robes (Slytherin would be playing

in green).

 

Wood cleared his throat for silence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry followed Fred and George out of the locker room and, hoping his

es weren’t going to give way, walked onto the field to loud cheers.

 

Madam Hooch was refereeing. She stood in the middle of the field waiting

for the two teams, her broom in her hand.

 

re all

gathered around her. Harry noticed that she seemed to be speaking

particularly to the Slytherin Captain, Marcus Flint, a sixth year. Harry

thought Flint looked as if he had some troll blood in him. Out of the

ing banner high above, flashing

Potter for President over the crowd. His heart skipped. He felt braver.

 

 

Harry clambered onto his Nimbus Two Thousand.

 

Madam Hooch gave a loud blast on her silver whistle.

 

Quaffle is taken immediately by Angelina Johnson of Gryffindor — what

 

 

 

‘ friend, Lee Jordan, was doing the commentary for the

match, closely watched by Professor McGonagall.

 

a good find of Oliver Wood’s, last year only a reserve — back to

and — no, the Slytherins have taken the Quaffle, Slytherin

Captain Marcus Flint gains the Quaffle and off he goes — Flint flying

like an eagle up there — he’s going to sc- no, stopped by an excellent

take the Quaffle —

that’s Chaser Katie Bell of Gryffindor there, nice dive around Flint,

off up the field and — OUCH — that must have hurt, hit in the back of

the head by a Bludger — Quaffle taken by the Slytherins — that’s

off toward the goal posts, but he’s blocked by a

second Bludger — sent his way by Fred or George Weasley, can’t tell

which — nice play by the Gryffindor Beater, anyway, and Johnson back in

s — she’s

really flying — dodges a speeding Bludger — the goal posts are ahead

— come on, now, Angelina — Keeper Bletchley dives — misses —

 

Gryffindor cheers filled the cold air, with howls and moans from the

Slytherins.

 

 

 

Ron and Hermione squeezed together to give Hagrid enough space to join

them.

 

n the

 

 

binoculars and peering skyward at the speck that was Harry.

 

hem, Harry was gliding over the game, squinting about for

some sign of the Snitch. This was part of his and Wood’s game plan.

 

 

When Angelina had scored, Harry had done a couple of loop-the-loops to

let off his feelings. Now he was back to staring around for the Snitch.

Once he caught sight of a flash of gold, but it was just a reflection

es, and once a Bludger decided to

come pelting his way, more like a cannonball than anything, but Harry

dodged it and Fred Weasley came chasing after it.

 

int.

 

two Bludgers, two Weasleys, and Chaser Bell, and speeds toward the —

 

le, too

busy looking over his shoulder at the flash of gold that had passed his

left ear.

 

Harry saw it. In a great rush of excitement he dived downward after the

streak of gold. Slytherin Seeker Terence Higgs had seen it, too. Neck

tled toward the Snitch -all the Chasers seemed to have

forgotten what they were supposed to be doing as they hung in midair to

watch.

 

Harry was faster than Higgs — he could see the little round ball, wings

an extra spurt of speed —

 

WHAM! A roar of rage echoed from the Gryffindors below — Marcus Flint

had blocked Harry on purpose, and Harry’s broom spun off course, Harry

holding on for dear life.

 

 

e angrily to Flint and then ordered a free shot at the

goal posts for Gryffindor. But in all the confusion, of course, the

Golden Snitch had disappeared from sight again.

 

 

 

 

 

Hagrid, however, was on Dean’s side.

 

a change the rules. Flint coulda knocked Harry outta the

 

Lee Jordan was finding it difficult not to take sides.

 

 

 

revolting foul

 

 

could happen to anyone, I’m sure, so a penalty to Gryffindor, taken by

Gryffindor

 

It was as Harry dodged another Bludger, which went spinning dangerously

past his head, that it happened. His broom gave a sudden, frightening

lurch. For a split second, he thought he was going to fall. He gripped

broom tightly with both his hands and knees. He’d never felt

anything like that.

 

It happened again. It was as though the broom was trying to buck him

off. But Nimbus Two Thousands did not suddenly decide to buck their

back toward the Gryffindor goal- posts

— he had half a mind to ask Wood to call time-out — and then he

realized that his broom was completely out of his control. He couldn’t

turn it. He couldn’t direct it at all. It was zigzagging through the

nd every now and then making violent swishing movements that

almost unseated him.

 

Lee was still commentating.

 

s nose

— only joking, Professor — Slytherins score — A no…

 

The Slytherins were cheering. No one seemed to have noticed that Harry’s

broom was behaving strangely. It was carrying- him slowly higher, away

went.

 

 

His

broom had started to roll over and over, with him only just managing to

hold on. Then the whole crowd gasped. Harry’s broom had given a wild

jerk and Harry swung off it. He was now dangling from it, holding on

with only one hand.

 

 

with a broomstick except powerful Dark magic — no kid could do that to

 

seized Hagrid’s binoculars, but instead of

looking up at Harry, she started looking frantically at the crowd.

 

 

 

he middle of the stands

opposite them. He had his eyes fixed on Harry and was muttering nonstop

under his breath.

 

 

 

 

word, Hermione had disappeared. Ron turned

the binoculars back on Harry. His broom was vibrating so hard, it was

almost impossible for him to hang on much longer. The whole crowd was on

ull

Harry safely onto one of their brooms, but it was no good — every time

they got near him, the broom would jump higher still. They dropped lower

and circled beneath him, obviously hoping to catch him if he fell.

Marcus

 

nd scored five times without anyone noticing.

 

 

Hermione had fought her way across to the stand where Snape stood, and

was now racing along the row behind him; she didn’t even stop to say

ocked Professor Quirrell headfirst into the row in front.

Reaching Snape, she crouched down, pulled out her wand, and whispered a

few, well- chosen words. Bright blue flames shot from her wand onto the

hem of Snape’s robes.

 

onds for Snape to realize that he was on fire.

A sudden yelp told her she had done her job. Scooping the fire off him

into a little jar in her pocket, she scrambled back along the row —

Snape would never know what had happened.

 

the air, Harry was suddenly able to clamber back on

to his broom.

 

Hagrid’s jacket for the last five minutes.

 

Harry was speeding toward the ground when the crowd saw him clap his

to his mouth as though he was about to be sick — he hit the field

on all fours — coughed — and something gold fell into his hand.

 

game ended in complete confusion.

 

twenty minutes later, but it made no difference — Harry hadn’t broken

any rules and Lee Jordan was still happily shouting the results —

sixty. Harry

heard none of this, though. He was being made a cup of strong tea back

in Hagrid’s hut, with Ron and Hermione.

 

 

 

Harry, Ron, and Hermione looked at one another, wondering what to tell

truth.

 

that three-headed dog on Halloween. It bit him. We think he was trying

 

Hagrid dropped the teapot.

 

e said.

 

 

las’ year — I lent him to Dumbledore to guard the

 

 

 

 

 

 

mind about

Snape.

 

I know a jinx when I see one, Hagrid, I’ve read all about them!

 

You’ve got to keep eye contact, and Snape wasn’t blinking at all, I saw

 

ed like that, but Snape wouldn’ try an’ kill a student!

Now, listen to me, all three of yeh — yer meddlin’ in things that don’

concern yeh. It’s dangerous. You forget that dog, an’ you forget what

Nicolas Flamel

 

 

Hagrid looked furious with himself.

 

 

CHAPTER TWELVE

 

THE MIRROR OF ERISED

 

to find

itself covered in several feet of snow. The lake froze solid and the

Weasley twins were punished for bewitching several snowballs so that

they followed Quirrell around, bouncing off the back of his turban. The

heir way through the stormy sky to

deliver mail had to be nursed back to health by Hagrid before they could

fly off again.

 

No one could wait for the holidays to start. While the Gryffindor common

corridors had

become icy and a bitter wind rattled the windows in the classrooms.

Worst of all were Professor Snape’s classes down in the dungeons, where

their breath rose in a mist before them and they kept as close as

possible to their hot cauldrons.

 

those people who have to stay at Hogwarts for Christmas because they’re

 

He was looking over at Harry as he spoke. Crabbe and Goyle chuckled.

measuring out powdered spine of lionfish, ignored them.

Malfoy had been even more unpleasant than usual since the Quidditch

match. Disgusted that the Slytherins had lost, he had tried to get

lacing

Harry as Seeker next. Then he’d realized that nobody found this funny,

because they were all so impressed at the way Harry had managed to stay

on his bucking broomstick. So Malfoy, jealous and angry, had gone back

no proper family.

 

It was true that Harry wasn’t going back to Privet Drive for Christmas.

Professor McGonagall had come around the week before, making a list of

students who would be staying for the holidays, and Harry had signed up

t feel sorry for himself at all; this would probably be

the best Christmas he’d ever had. Ron and his brothers were staying,

too, because Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were going to Romania to visit

Charlie.

 

they found a large

fir tree blocking the corridor ahead. Two enormous feet sticking out at

the bottom and a loud puffing sound told them that Hagrid was behind it.

 

branches.

 

 

to be gamekeeper yourself when you leave Hogwarts, I suppose — that hut

grid’s must seem like a palace compared to what your family’s used

 

Ron dived at Malfoy just as Snape came up the stairs.

 

 

Ron let go of the front of Malfoy’s robes.

 

uge hairy

 

 

Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle pushed roughly past the tree, scattering

needles everywhere and smirking.

 

 

 

 

So the three of them followed Hagrid and his tree off to -the Great

essor Flitwick were busy with

the Christmas decorations.

 

 

The hall looked spectacular. Festoons of holly and mistletoe hung all

ristmas trees stood

around the room, some sparkling with tiny icicles, some glittering with

hundreds of candles.

 

 

 

Flitwick, who had golden bubbles blossoming out of his wand and was

trailing them over the branches of the new tree.

 

 

 

 

 

must’ve been through hundreds of books already and we can’t find him

 

 

n, and they left

Hagrid looking disgruntled and hurried off to the library.

 

They had indeed been searching books for Flamel’s name ever since Hagrid

had let it slip, because how else were they going to find out what Snape

uble was, it was very hard to know where to

begin, not knowing what Flamel might have done to get himself into a

book. He wasn’t in Great Wizards of the Twentieth Century, or Notable

Magical Names of Our Time; he was missing, too, from Important Modern

Magical Discoveries, and A Study of Recent Developments in Wizardry. And

then, of course, there was the sheer size of the library; tens of

thousands of books; thousands of shelves; hundreds of narrow rows.

 

les she had decided to

search while Ron strode off down a row of books and started pulling them

off the shelves at random. Harry wandered over to the Restricted

Section. He had been wondering for a while if Flamel wasn’t somewhere in

ly, you needed a specially signed note from one of the

teachers to look in any of the restricted books, and he knew he’d never

get one. These were the books containing powerful Dark Magic never

g advanced

Defense Against the Dark Arts.

 

 

 

Madam Pince the librarian brandished a feather duster at him.

 

 

hinking up some story, Harry left

the library. He, Ron, and Hermione had already agreed they’d better not

ask Madam Pince where they could find Flamel. They were sure she’d be

able to tell them, but they couldn’t risk Snape hearing what they were

.

 

Harry waited outside in the corridor to see if the other two had found

anything, but he wasn’t very hopeful. They had been looking for two

weeks, after A, but as they only had odd moments between lessons it

hat they really needed was a

nice long search without Madam Pince breathing down their necks.

 

Five minutes later, Ron and Hermione joined him, shaking their heads.

They went off to lunch.

 

 

 

 

y were having too good a time

to think much about Flamel. They had the dormitory to themselves and the

common room was far emptier than usual, so they were able to get the

good armchairs by the fire. They sat by the hour eating anything they

r on a toasting fork — bread, English muffins, marshmallows

— and plotting ways of getting Malfoy expelled, which were fun to talk

about even if they wouldn’t work.

 

Ron also started teaching Harry wizard chess. This was exactly like

cept that the figures were alive, which made it a lot

like directing troops in battle. Ron’s set was very old and battered.

Like everything else he owned, it had once belonged to someone else in

chessmen

weren’t a drawback at all. Ron knew them so well he never had trouble

getting them to do what he wanted.

 

Harry played with chessmen Seamus Finnigan had lent him, and they didn’t

t

send me there, can’t you see his knight? Send him, we can afford to lose

expecting any presents at all.

When he woke early in the morning, however, the first thing he saw was a

small pile of packages at the foot of his bed.

 

pulled on his bathrobe.

 

 

was a lot bigger than Harry’s.

 

Harry picked up the top parcel. It was wrapped in thick brown paper and

scrawled across it was To Harry, from Hagrid. Inside was a roughly cut

wooden flute. Hagrid had obviously whittled it himself. Harry blew it —

it sounded a bit like an owl.

 

A second, very small parcel contained a note.

 

d enclose your Christmas present. From Uncle

Vernon and Aunt Petunia. Taped to the note was a fifty-pence piece.

 

 

Ron was fascinated by the fifty pence.

 

 

 

 

Harry had torn open the parcel to find a thick, hand-knitted sweater in

emerald green and a large box of homemade fudge.

 

 

very tasty.

 

His next present also contained candy — a large box of Chocolate Frogs

from Hermione.

 

picked it up and felt it. It was very

light. He unwrapped it.

 

Something fluid and silvery gray went slithering to the floor where it

lay in gleaming folds. Ron gasped.

 

 

 

Harry picked the shining, silvery cloth off the floor. It was strange to

the touch, like water woven into material.

 

 

Harry threw the cloak around his shoulders and Ron gave a yell.

 

 

e

mirror. Sure enough, his reflection looked back at him, just his head

suspended in midair, his body completely invisible. He pulled the cloak

over his head and his reflection vanished completely.

 

 

Harry pulled off the cloak and seized the letter. Written in narrow,

loopy writing he had never seen before were the following words: Your

father left this in my possession before he died. It is time it was

returned to you. Use it well.

 

A Very Merry Christmas to you.

 

 

There was no signature. Harry stared at the note. Ron was admiring the

cloak.

 

 

t the cloak? Had

it really once belonged to his father?

 

Before he could say or think anything else, the dormitory door was flung

open and Fred and George Weasley bounded in. Harry stuffed the cloak

with anyone else

yet.

 

 

 

Fred and George were wearing blue sweaters, one with a large yellow F on

it, the other a G.

 

up Harry’s

 

 

is head.

 

thinks you don’t forget your name. But we’re not stupid — we know we’re

 

 

, looking disapproving. He

had clearly gotten halfway through unwrapping his presents as he, too,

carried a lumpy sweater over his arm, which

 

Fred seized.

 

 

I — don’t — want said Percy thickly, as the twins forced the sweater

over his head, knocking his glasses askew.

 

 

 

m the room, his arms pinned to his side by

his sweater.

 

Harry had never in all his life had such a Christmas dinner. A hundred

fat, roast turkeys; mountains of roast and boiled potatoes; platters of

of thick, rich gravy

and cranberry sauce — and stacks of wizard crackers every few feet

along the table. These fantastic party favors were nothing like the

feeble Muggle ones the Dursleys usually bought, with their little

paper hats inside. Harry pulled a wizard

cracker with Fred and it didn’t just bang, it went off with a blast like

a cannon and engulfed them all in a cloud of blue smoke, while from the

Up at

the High Table, Dumbledore had swapped his pointed wizard’s hat for a

flowered bonnet, and was chuckling merrily at a joke Professor Flitwick

had just read him.

 

Flaming Christmas puddings followed the turkey. Percy nearly broke his

silver sickle embedded in his slice. Harry watched Hagrid

getting redder and redder in the face as he called for more wine,

finally kissing Professor McGonagall on the cheek, who, to Harry’s

amazement, giggled and blushed, her top hat lopsided.

 

Harry finally left the table, he was laden down with a stack of

things out of the crackers, including a pack of nonexplodable, luminous

balloons, a Grow-Your-Own-Warts kit, and his own new wizard chess set.

a nasty feeling they were

going to end up as Mrs. Norris’s Christmas dinner.

 

Harry and the Weasleys spent a happy afternoon having a furious snowball

fight on the grounds. Then, cold, wet, and gasping for breath, they

findor common room, where Harry broke in

his new chess set by losing spectacularly to Ron. He suspected he

wouldn’t have lost so badly if Percy hadn’t tried to help him so much.

 

After a meal of turkey sandwiches, crumpets, trifle, and Christmas cake,

everyone felt too full and sleepy to do much before bed except sit and

watch Percy chase Fred and George all over Gryffindor tower because

they’d stolen his prefect badge.

 

It had been Harry’s best Christmas day ever. Yet something had been

t the back of his mind all day. Not until he climbed into bed

was he free to think about it: the invisibility cloak and whoever had

sent it.

 

Ron, full of turkey and cake and with nothing mysterious to bother him,

awn the curtains of his

four-poster. Harry leaned over the side of his own bed and pulled the

cloak out from under it.

 

His father’s… this had been his father’s. He let the material flow

the note

had said.

 

He had to try it, now. He slipped out of bed and wrapped the cloak

around himself. Looking down at his legs, he saw only moonlight and

shadows. It was a very funny feeling.

 

Use it well.

 

hole of Hogwarts was open to him

in this cloak. Excitement flooded through him as he stood there in the

dark and silence. He could go anywhere in this, anywhere, and Filch

would never know.

 

eld him back

— his father’s cloak — he felt that this time — the first time — he

wanted to use it alone.

 

He crept out of the dormitory, down the stairs, across the common room,

and climbed through the portrait hole.

 

Fat Lady. Harry said nothing. He walked

quickly down the corridor.

 

Where should he go? He stopped, his heart racing, and thought. And then

it came to him. The Restricted Section in the library. He’d be able to

took to find out who Flamel was.

He set off, drawing the invisibility cloak tight around him as he

walked.

 

The library was pitch-black and very eerie. Harry lit a lamp to see his

ng

in midair, and even though Harry could feel his arm supporting it, the

sight gave him the creeps.

 

The Restricted Section was right at the back of the library. Step ping

carefully over the rope that separated these books from the rest of the

ry, he held up his lamp to read the titles.

 

They didn’t tell him much. Their peeling, faded gold letters spelled

words in languages Harry couldn’t understand. Some had no title at all.

he

hairs on the back of Harry’s neck prickled. Maybe he was imagining it,

maybe not, but he thought a faint whispering was coming from the books,

as though they knew someone was there who shouldn’t be.

 

carefully on the floor,

he looked along the bottom shelf for an interestinglooking book. A large

black and silver volume caught his eye. He pulled it out with

difficulty, because it was very heavy, and, balancing it on his knee,

let it fall open.

 

piercing, bloodcurdling shriek split the silence — the book was

screaming! Harry snapped it shut, but the shriek went on and on, one

high, unbroken, earsplitting note. He stumbled backward and knocked over

he heard footsteps coming

down the corridor outside — stuffing the shrieking book back on the

shelf, he ran for it. He passed Filch in the doorway; Filch’s pale, wild

eyes looked straight through him, and Harry slipped under Filch’s

nd streaked off up the corridor, the book’s shrieks

still ringing in his ears.

 

He came to a sudden halt in front of a tall suit of armor. He had been

so busy getting away from the library, he hadn’t paid attention to where

se it was dark, he didn’t recognize where he

was at all. There was a suit of armor near the kitchens, he knew, but he

must be five floors above there.

 

body’s been in the library Restricted

 

Harry felt the blood drain out of his face. Wherever he was, Filch must

know a shortcut, because his soft, greasy voice was getting nearer, and

ection? Well,

 

Harry stood rooted to the spot as Filch and Snape came around the corner

ahead. They couldn’t see him, of course, but it was a narrow corridor

m — the cloak

didn’t stop him from being solid.

 

He backed away as quietly as he could. A door stood ajar to his left. It

was his only hope. He squeezed through it, holding his breath, trying

the room

without their noticing anything. They walked straight past, and Harry

leaned against the wall, breathing deeply, listening to their footsteps

dying away. That had been close, very close. It was a few seconds before

he room he had hidden in.

 

It looked like an unused classroom. The dark shapes of desks and chairs

were piled against the walls, and there was an upturned wastepaper

basket — but propped against the wall facing him was something that

f it belonged there, something that looked as if someone

had just put it there to keep it out of the way.

 

It was a magnificent mirror, as high as the ceiling, with an ornate gold

frame, standing on two clawed feet. There was an inscription carved

und the top: Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi. His panic

fading now that there was no sound of Filch and Snape, Harry moved

nearer to the mirror, wanting to look at himself but see no reflection

again. He stepped in front of it.

 

clap his hands to his mouth to stop himself from screaming. He

whirled around. His heart was pounding far more furiously than when the

book had screamed — for he had seen not only himself in the mirror, but

him.

 

But the room was empty. Breathing very fast, he turned slowly back to

the mirror.

 

There he was, reflected in it, white and scared-looking, and there,

reflected behind him, were at least ten others. Harry looked over his

, no one was there. Or were they all invisible,

too? Was he in fact in a room full of invisible people and this mirror’s

trick was that it reflected them, invisible or not?

 

He looked in the mirror again. A woman standing right behind his

as smiling at him and waving. He reached out a hand and felt

the air behind him. If she was really there, he’d touch her, their

reflections were so close together, but he felt only air — she and the

others existed only in the mirror.

 

pretty woman. She had dark red hair and her eyes — her

eyes are just like mine, Harry thought, edging a little closer to the

glass. Bright green — exactly the same shape, but then he noticed that

he tall, thin,

black-haired man standing next to her put his arm around her. He wore

glasses, and his hair was very untidy. It stuck up at the back, just as

Harry’s did.

 

Harry was so close to the mirror now that his nose was nearly touching

his reflection.

 

 

They just looked at him, smiling. And slowly, Harry looked into the

faces of the other people in the mirror, and saw other pairs of green

ked as

though he had Harry’s knobbly knees — Harry was looking at his family,

for the first time in his life.

 

The Potters smiled and waved at Harry and he stared hungrily back at

them, his hands pressed flat against the glass as though he was hoping

to fall right through it and reach them. He had a powerful kind of ache

inside him, half joy, half terrible sadness.

 

How long he stood there, he didn’t know. The reflections did not fade

k to his

senses. He couldn’t stay here, he had to find his way back to bed. He

and hurried from the room.

 

 

t, I’m going back, I want to show you the mirror.

 

 

 

this summer. Anyway, maybe it only shows dead people. Shame about not

finding Flamel, though. Have some bacon or something, why aren’t you

 

ld be seeing them

again tonight. He had almost forgotten about Flamel. It didn’t seem very

important anymore. Who cared what the three headed dog was guarding?

What did it matter if Snape stole it, really?

 

 

What Harry feared most was that he might not be able to find the mirror

room again. With Ron covered in the cloak, too, they had to walk much

more slowly the next night. They tried retracing Harry’s route from the

k passageways for nearly an hour.

 

 

 

They passed the ghost of a tall witch gliding in the opposite direction,

started moaning that his feet were dead

with cold, Harry spotted the suit of armor.

 

 

They pushed the door open. Harry dropped the cloak from around his

shoulders and ran to the mirror.

 

and father beamed at the sight of him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

with Ron in front of the mirror, he couldn’t

see his family anymore, just Ron in his paisley pajamas.

 

Ron, though, was staring transfixed at his image.

 

 

 

— but I’m different — I look older — and I’m head

 

 

house cup and the Quidditch cup — I’m Quidditch captain, too.

 

ight to look excitedly at

Harry.

 

 

 

 

tch cup, what’s interesting about that? I

 

 

A sudden noise outside in the corridor put an end to their discussion.

They hadn’t realized how loudly they had been talking.

 

 

ack over them as the luminous eyes of Mrs. Norris

came round the door. Ron and Harry stood quite still, both thinking the

same thing — did the cloak work on cats? After what seemed an age, she

turned and left.

 

for Filch, I bet she heard us.

 

And Ron pulled Harry out of the room.

 

The snow still hadn’t melted the next morning.

 

 

 

 

 

know what you’re thinking about, Harry, that mirror. Don’t go back

 

 

too many close shaves already. Filch, Snape, and Mrs. Norris are

what if they can’t see you? What if they walk into

 

 

 

But Harry only had one thought in his head, which was to get back in

on wasn’t going to stop him.

 

That third night he found his way more quickly than before. He was

walking so fast he knew he was making more noise than was wise, but he

didn’t meet anyone.

 

d one of

his grandfathers nodding happily. Harry sank down to sit on the floor in

front of the mirror. There was nothing to stop him from staying here all

night with his family. Nothing at all.

 

Except —

 

 

though his insides had turned to ice. He looked behind

him. Sitting on one of the desks by the wall was none other than Albus

Dumbledore. Harry must have walked straight past him, so desperate to

get to the mirror he hadn’t noticed him.

 

 

and Harry was relieved to see that he was smiling.

 

, have discovered the delights of

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry shook his head.

 

Mirror of Erised like a normal mirror, that is, he would look into it

 

 

It shows us nothing more or less

than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts. You, who have

never known your family, see them standing around you. Ronald Weasley,

who has always been overshadowed by his brothers, sees himself standing

the best of all of them. However, this mirror will give us

neither knowledge or truth. Men have wasted away before it, entranced by

what they have seen, or been driven mad, not knowing if what it shows is

real or even possible.

 

ved to a new home tomorrow, Harry, and I ask you

not to go looking for it again. If you ever do run across it, you will

now be prepared. It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live,

k on and

 

Harry stood up.

 

 

 

 

 

Harry stared.

 

has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on

 

when he was back in bed that it struck Harry that Dumbledore

might not have been quite truthful. But then, he thought, as he shoved

Scabbers off his pillow, it had been quite a personal question.

 

 

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

 

NICOLAS FLAMEL

 

convinced Harry not to go looking for the Mirror of

Erised again, and for the rest of the Christmas holidays the

invisibility cloak stayed folded at the bottom of his trunk. Harry

wished he could forget what he’d seen in the mirror as easily, but he

uldn’t. He started having nightmares. Over and over again he dreamed

about his parents disappearing in a flash of green light, while a high

voice cackled with laughter.

 

Harry told him about these drearns.

 

Hermione, who came back the day before term started, took a different

view of things. She was torn between horror at the idea of Harry being

Nicolas Flamel was.

 

They had almost given up hope of ever finding Flamel in a li- brary

book, even though Harry was still sure he’d read the name somewhere.

y were back to skimming through books for ten

minutes during their breaks. Harry had even less time than the other

two, because Quidditch practice had started again.

 

Wood was working the team harder than ever. Even the endless rain that

the snow couldn’t dampen his spirits. The Weasleys

complained that Wood was becoming a fanatic, but Harry was on Wood’s

side. If they won their next match, against Hufflepuff, they would

seven

years. Quite apart from wanting to win, Harry found that he had fewer

nightmares when he was tired out after training.

 

Then, during one particularly wet and muddy practice session, Wood gave

gry with the

Weasleys, who kept dive-bombing each other and pretending to fall off

their brooms.

 

thing that’ll lose us the match! Snape’s refereeing this time, and he’ll

 

George Weasley really did fall off his broom at these words.

 

e

 

The rest of the team landed next to George to complain, too.

 

 

hought Harry, but he had another reason for

not wanting Snape near him while he was playing Quidditch….

 

The rest of the team hung back to talk to one another as usual at the

end of practice, but Harry headed straight back to the Gryffindor common

oom, where he found Ron and Hermione playing chess. Chess was the only

thing Hermione ever lost at, something Harry and Ron thought was very

good for her.

 

 

Speaking quietly so that no one else would hear, Harry told the other

two about Snape’s sudden, sinister desire to be a Quidditch referee.

 

ne at once.

 

 

 

 

 

eville toppled into the common room. How he had managed

to climb through the portrait hole was anyone’s guess, because his legs

had been stuck together with what they recognized at once as the

up to

Gryffindor tower.

 

Everyone fell over laughing except Hermione, who leapt up and performed

the countercurse. Neville’s legs sprang apart and he got to his feet,

and Ron.

 

 

 

Neville shook his head.

 

 

walking all over people, but that’s no reason to lie down in front of

 

ndor,

 

Harry felt in the pocket of his robes and pulled out a Chocolate Frog,

the very last one from the box Hermione had given him for Christmas. He

y.

 

 

Neville’s lips twitched in a weak smile as he unwrapped the frog.

 

to bed…. D’you want the card, you

 

As Neville walked away, Harry looked at the Famous Wizard card.

 

 

up at Ron

and Hermione.

 

the name somewhere before, I read it on the train coming here — listen

to this: ‘Dumbledore is particularly famous for his defeat of the dark

indelwald in 1945, for the discovery of the twelve uses of

dragon’s blood, and his work on alchemy with his partner, Nicolas

 

Hermione jumped to her feet. She hadn’t looked so excited since they’d

iece of homework.

 

dormitories. Harry and Ron barely had time to exchange mystified looks

before she was dashing back, an enormous old book in her arms.

 

 

something up, and started flicking frantically through the pages,

to herself.

 

At last she found what she was looking for.

 

 

 

 

This didn’t have quite the effect she’d expected.

 

 

 

She pushed the book toward them, and Harry and Ron read: The ancient

cerned with making the Sorcerer’s Stone, a

legendary substance with astonishing powers. The stone will transform

any metal into pure gold. It also produces the Elixir of Life, which

will make the drinker immortal.

 

Sorcerer’s Stone over the centuries,

but the only Stone currently in existence belongs to Mr. Nicolas Flamel,

the noted alchemist and opera lover. Mr. Flamel, who celebrated his six

n

with his wife, Perenelle (six hundred and fifty-eight).

 

guarding Flamel’s Sorcerer’s Stone! I bet he asked Dumbledore to keep it

ew someone was after it,

 

 

Study of Recent

 

The next morning in Defense Against the Dark Arts, while copying down

were still

discussing what they’d do with a Sorcerer’s Stone if they had one. It

wasn’t until Ron said he’d buy his own Quidditch team that Harry

remembered about Snape and the coming match.

 

all the

Slytherins will think I’m just too scared to face Snape. I’ll show

 

 

ry became more and more nervous,

whatever he told Ron and Hermione. The rest of the team wasn’t too calm,

either. The idea of overtaking Slytherin in the house championship was

wonderful, no one had done it for seven years, but would they be allowed

, with such a biased referee?

 

Harry didn’t know whether he was imagining it or not, but he seemed to

keep running into Snape wherever he went. At times, he even wondered

whether Snape was following him, trying to catch him on his own. Potions

were turning into a sort of weekly torture, Snape was so

horrible to Harry. Could Snape possibly know they’d found out about the

Sorcerer’s Stone? Harry didn’t see how he could — yet he sometimes had

the horrible feeling that Snape could read minds.

 

Harry knew, when they wished him good luck outside the locker rooms the

next afternoon, that Ron and Hermione were wondering whether they’d ever

see him alive again. This wasn’t what you’d call comforting. Harry

as he pulled on his Quidditch

robes and picked up his Nimbus Two Thousand.

 

Ron and Hermione, meanwhile, had found a place in the stands next to

Neville, who couldn’t understand why they looked so grim and worried, or

ands to the match. Little did Harry

know that Ron and Hermione had been secretly practicing the Leg-Locker

Curse. They’d gotten the idea from Malfoy using it on Neville, and were

ready to use it on Snape if he showed any sign of wanting to hurt Harry.

 

slipped his wand up his sleeve.

 

 

Back in the locker room, Wood had taken Harry aside.

 

ed an early

capture of the Snitch it’s now. Finish the game before Snape can favor

 

 

a somersault.

 

There was no mistaking that silver beard.

 

Harry could have laughed out loud with relief He was safe. There was

him if Dumbledore was

watching.

 

Perhaps that was why Snape was looking so angry as the teams marched

onto the field, something that Ron noticed, too.

 

 

poked Ron in the back of the head. It was Malfoy.

 

 

Malfoy grinned broadly at Crabbe and Goyle.

 

 

Ron didn’t answer; Snape had just awarded Hufflepuff a penalty because

George Weasley had hit a Bludger at him. Hermione, who had all her

fingers crossed in her lap, was squinting fixedly at Harry, who was

the Snitch.

 

Malfoy loudly a few minutes later, as Snape awarded Hufflepuff another

no parents, then there’s the Weasleys, who’ve

got no money — you should be on the team, Longbottom, you’ve got no

 

Neville went bright red but turned in his seat to face Malfoy.

 

 

Crabbe, and Goyle howled with laughter, but Ron, still not

 

 

stretched to the breaking point with anxiety

about Harry.

 

 

 

 

Harry had suddenly gone into a spectacular dive, which drew gasps and

crowd. Hermione stood up, her crossed fingers in her

mouth, as Harry streaked toward the ground like a bullet.

 

 

ppening, Ron was on top of

him, wrestling him to the ground. Neville hesitated, then clambered over

the back of his seat to help.

 

otice Malfoy and Ron

rolling around under her seat, or the scuffles and yelps coming from the

whirl of fists that was Neville, Crabbe, and Goyle.

 

Up in the air, Snape turned on his broomstick just in time to see

ing him by inches — the next

second, Harry had pulled out of the dive, his arm raised in triumph, the

Snitch clasped in his hand.

 

The stands erupted; it had to be a record, no one could ever remember

the Snitch being caught so quickly.

 

Where are you? The game’s over! Harry’s won! We’ve won!

her seat and hugging Parvati Patil in the row in front.

 

eve

it. He’d done it — the game was over; it had barely lasted five

minutes. As Gryffindors came spilling onto the field, he saw Snape land

nearby, white-faced and tight-lipped — then Harry felt a hand on his

smiling face.

 

 

Snape spat bitterly on the ground.

 

some time later, to take his Nimbus Two

Thousand back to the broomshed. He couldn’t ever remember feeling

happier. He’d really done something to be proud of now — no one could

say he was just a famous name any more. The evening air had never

so sweet. He walked over the damp grass, reliving the last hour

in his head, which was a happy blur: Gryffindors running to lift him

onto their shoulders; Ron and Hermione in the distance, jumping up and

down, Ron cheering through a heavy nosebleed.

 

Harry had reached the shed. He leaned against the wooden door and looked

up at Hogwarts, with its windows glowing red in the setting sun.

Gryffindor in the lead. He’d done it, he’d shown Snape….

 

And speaking of Snape…

 

ly down the front steps of the castle. Clearly

not wanting to be seen, it walked as fast as possible toward the

forbidden forest. Harry’s victory faded from his mind as he watched. He

t

while everyone else was at dinner — what was going on?

 

Harry jumped back on his Nimbus Two Thousand and took off. Gliding

silently over the castle he saw Snape enter the forest at a run. He

followed.

 

e Snape had gone. He flew in

circles, lower and lower, brushing the top branches of trees until he

heard voices. He glided toward them and landed noiselessly in a towering

beech tree.

 

is

broomstick, trying to see through the leaves. Below, in a shadowy

clearing, stood Snape, but he wasn’t alone. Quirrell was there, too.

Harry couldn’t make out the look on his face, but he was stuttering

they were saying.

 

 

 

leaned forward. Quirrell was mumbling something. Snape interrupted

him.

 

 

 

toward him.

 

 

 

An owl hooted loudly, and Harry nearly fell out of the tree. He steadied

 

 

you’ve had time to think things over and decided where your loyalties

 

He threw his cloak over his head and strode out of the clearing. It was

could see Quirrell, standing quite still as

though he was petrified.

 

 

rabbe and Goyle

single-handed! He’s still out cold but Madam Pomftey says he’ll be all

right — talk about showing Slytherin! Everyone’s waiting for you in the

common room, we’re having a party, Fred and George stole some cakes and

 

 

He made sure Peeves wasn’t inside before shutting the door behind them,

then he told them what he’d seen and heard.

 

t, it is the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Snape’s trying to

force Quirrell to help him get it. He asked if he knew how to get past

Fluffy — and he said something about Quirrell’s ‘hocus pocuss— I reckon

ffy, loads of

enchantments, probably, and Quirrell would have done some anti-Dark Arts

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

 

NORBERT THE NORWEGIAN RIDGEBACK

 

Quirrell, however, must have been braver than they’d thought. In the

weeks that followed he did seem to be getting paler and thinner, but it

cracked yet.

 

Every time they passed the third-floor corridor, Harry, Ron, and

Hermione would press their ears to the door to check that Fluffy was

still growling inside. Snape was sweeping about in his usual bad temper,

tone was still safe. Whenever Harry passed

Quirrell these days he gave him an encouraging sort of smile, and Ron

had started telling people off for laughing at Quirrell’s stutter.

 

Hermione, however, had more on her mind than the Sorcerer’s Stone. She

had started drawing up study schedules and colorcoding all her notes.

Harry and Ron wouldn’t have minded, but she kept nagging them to do the

same.

 

 

second to

 

 

year? They’re very important, I

should have started studying a month ago, I don’t know what’s gotten

 

Unfortunately, the teachers seemed to be thinking along the same lines

as Hermione. They piled so much homework on them that the Easter

holidays weren’t nearly as much fun as the Christmas ones. It was hard

to relax with Hermione next to you reciting the twelve uses of dragon’s

blood or practicing wand movements. Moaning and yawning, Harry and Ron

library with her, trying to get

through all their extra work.

 

his quill and looking longingly out of the library window. It was the

sky was a clear,

forget-me-not blue, and there was a feeling in the air of summer coming.

 

 

Hagrid shuffled into view, hiding something behind his back. He looked

very out of place in his moleskin overcoat.

 

 

ing.

 

 

me later, I’m not

promisin’ I’ll tell yeh anythin’, mind, but don’ go rabbitin’ about it

in here, students aren’ s’pposed ter know. They’ll think I’ve told yeh

 

 

Hagrid shuffled off.

 

 

 

working. He came back a minute later with a pile of books in his arms

d them down on the table.

 

Look at these: Dragon Species of Great Britain and Ireland; From Egg to

 

o the first time I ever

 

the Warlocks’ Convention of 1709, everyone knows that. It’s hard to stop

ack garden —

anyway, you can’t tame dragons, it’s dangerous. You should see the burns

 

 

n

Blacks. The Ministry of Magic has a job hushing them up, I can tell you.

Our kind have to keep putting spells on Muggles who’ve spotted them, to

 

 

the gamekeeper’s hut an hour later,

they were surprised to see that all the curtains were closed. Hagrid

quickly behind them.

 

m day, there

was a blazing fire in the grate. Hagrid made them tea and offered them

stoat sandwiches, which they refused.

 

 

you could tell us what’s guarding the Sorcerer’s Stone

 

Hagrid frowned at him.

 

yeh know too much already, so I wouldn’ tell yeh if I could. That

re fer a good reason. It Was almost stolen outta Gringotts — I

s’ppose yeh’ve worked that out an’ all? Beats me how yeh even know abou’

 

flattering voice. Hagrid’s beard twitched and they could tell he was

 

Hagrid’s chest swelled at these last words. Harry and Ron beamed at

Hermione.

 

borrowed Fluffy from me… then some o’ the teachers did enchantments…

himself did somethin’, o’ course. Hang on, I’ve forgotten someone. Oh

 

 

still on abou’ that, are yeh? Look, Snape helped

 

Harry knew Ron and Hermione were thinking the same as he was. If Snape

had been in on protecting the Stone, it must have been easy to find out

ther teachers had guarded it. He probably knew everything —

except, it seemed, Quirrell’s spell and how to get past Fluffy.

 

e, would you?

 

 

 

Hagrid. Harry noticed him glance at the

fire. Harry looked at it, too.

 

 

But he already knew what it was. In the very heart of the fire,

underneath the kettle, was a huge, black egg.

 

 

 

got into a game o’ cards with a stranger. Think he was

 

 

for Pleasure and Profit — it’s a bit outta date, o’ course, but it’s

all in here. Keep the egg in the fire, ’cause their mothers breathe on I

bucket o’ brandy mixed with

chicken blood every half hour. An’ see here — how ter recognize

diff’rent eggs — what I got there’s a Norwegian Ridgeback. They’re

 

He looked very pleased with himself, but Hermione didn’t.

 

 

But Hagrid wasn’t listening. He was humming merrily as he stoked the

fire.

 

So now they had something else to worry about: what might happen to

Hagrid if anyone found out he was hiding an illegal dragon in his hut.

after evening they struggled through all the extra homework they were

getting. Hermione had now started making study schedules for Harry and

Ron, too. It was driving them nuts.

 

hen, one breakfast time, Hedwig brought Harry another note from Hagrid.

He had written only two words: It’s hatching.

 

Ron wanted to skip Herbology and go straight down to the hut. Hermione

wouldn’t hear of it.

 

are we going to see a dragon

 

 

 

had stopped dead to listen. How

much had he heard? Harry didn’t like the look on Malfoy’s face at all.

 

Ron and Hermione argued all the way to Herbology and in the end,

Hermione agreed to run down to Hagrid’s with the other two during

When the bell sounded from the castle at the end of their

lesson, the three of them dropped their trowels at once and hurried

through the grounds to the edge of the forest. Hagrid greeted them,

looking flushed and excited.

 

ed them inside.

 

The egg was lying on the table. There were deep cracks in it. Something

was moving inside; a funny clicking noise was coming from it.

 

They all drew their chairs up to the table and watched with bated

breath.

 

a scraping noise and the egg split open. The baby

dragon flopped onto the table. It wasn’t exactly pretty; Harry thought

it looked like a crumpled, black umbrella. Its spiny wings were huge

nostrils,

the stubs of horns and bulging, orange eyes.

 

It sneezed. A couple of sparks flew out of its snout.

 

.

 

 

 

Hagrid was about to answer when the color suddenly drained from his face

ow.

 

 

 

Harry bolted to the door and looked out. Even at a distance there was no

mistaking him.

 

ragon.

 

Something about the smile lurking on Malfoy’s face during the next week

made Harry, Ron, and Hermione very nervous. They spent most of their

free time in Hagrid’s darkened hut, trying to reason with him.

 

 

 

They looked at the dragon. It had grown three times in length in just a

week. Smoke kept furling out of its nostrils. Hagrid hadn’t been doing

was keeping him so busy. There

were empty brandy bottles and chicken feathers all over the floor.

 

 

 

 

Hagrid bit his lip.

 

ep him forever, but I can’t jus’ dump him, I

 

Harry suddenly turned to Ron. Charlie, he said.

 

 

bert to him. Charlie can take care of him and then put

 

 

And in the end, Hagrid agreed that they could send -an owl to Charlie to

ask him.

 

ay night found Hermione and Harry

sitting alone in the common room, long after everyone else had gone to

bed. The clock on the wall had just

 

chimed midnight when the portrait hole burst open. Ron appeared out of

ibility cloak. He had been down at

Hagrid’s hut, helping him feed Norbert, who was now eating dead rats by

the crate.

 

or a

week. I tell you, that dragon’s the most horrible animal I’ve ever met,

but the way Hagrid goes on about it, you’d think it was a fluffy little

bunny rabbit. When it bit me he told me off for frightening it. And when

 

There was a tap on the dark window.

 

 

The three of them put their heads together to read the note.

 

Dear Ron,

 

be glad to take the Norwegian

Ridgeback, but it won’t be easy getting him here. I think the best thing

will be to send him over with some friends of mine who are coming to

visit me next week. Trouble is, they mustn’t be seen carrying an illegal

dragon.

 

Could you get the Ridgeback up the tallest tower at midnight on

Saturday? They can meet you there and take him away while it’s still

dark.

 

Send me an answer as soon as possible.

 

Love,

 

Charlie

 

They looked at one another.

 

difficult — I think the cloaks big enough to cover two of us and

 

It was a mark of how bad the last week had been that the other two

d Malfoy.

 

There was a hitch. By the next morning, Ron’s bitten hand had swollen to

twice its usual size. He didn’t know whether it was safe to go to Madam

Pomfrey — would she recognize a dragon bite? By the afternoon, though,

ut had turned a nasty shade of green. It looked

as if Norbert’s fangs were poisonous.

 

Harry and Hermione rushed up to the hospital wing at the end of the day

to find Ron in a terrible state in bed.

 

hat feels like it’s

about to fall off. Malfoy told Madam Pomfrey he wanted to borrow one of

my books so he could come and have a good laugh at me. He kept

threatening to tell her what really bit me — I’ve told her it was a

elieves me -I shouldn’t have hit him at the

 

Harry and Hermione tried to calm Ron down.

 

sat bolt upright and broke

into a sweat.

 

just remembered — Charlie’s letter was in that book Malfoy took, he’s

 

didn’t get a chance to answer. Madam Pomfrey came

over at that moment and made them leave, saying Ron needed sleep.

 

nly chance

to get rid of Norbert. We’ll have to risk it. And we have got the

 

They found Fang, the boarhound, sitting outside with a bandaged tail

to talk to them.

 

 

When they told him about Charlie’s letter, his eyes filled with tears,

he

leg.

 

 

The baby banged its tail on the wall, making the windows rattle. Harry

and Hermione walked back to the castle feeling Saturday couldn’t come

kly enough.

 

They would have felt sorry for Hagrid when the time came for him to say

good-bye to Norbert if they hadn’t been so worried about what they had

to do. It was a very dark, cloudy night, and they were a bit late

use they’d had to wait for Peeves to get

out of their way in the entrance hall, where he’d been playing tennis

against the wall. Hagrid had Norbert packed and ready in a large crate.

 

in

 

From inside the crate came ripping noises that sounded to Harry as

though the teddy was having his head torn off.

 

e covered the

crate with the invisibility cloak and stepped underneath it themselves.

 

How they managed to get the crate back up to the castle, they never

knew. Midnight ticked nearer as they heaved Norbert up the marble

staircase in the entrance hall and along the dark corridors. UP another

staircase, then another — even one of Harry’s shortcuts didn’t make the

work much easier.

 

tallest tower.

 

Then a sudden movement ahead of them made them almost drop the crate.

Forgetting that they were already invisible, they shrank into the

shadows, staring at the dark outlines of two people grappling with each

other ten feet away. A lamp flared.

 

fessor McGonagall, in a tartan bathrobe and a hair net, had Malfoy by

the ear.

 

 

‘s coming — he’s got a

 

 

The steep spiral staircase up to the top of the tower seemed the easiest

ot until they’d stepped out into the

cold night air did they throw off the cloak, glad to be able to breathe

properly again. Hermione did a sort of jig.

 

 

 

they waited, Norbert thrashing about in his

crate. About ten minutes later, four broomsticks came swooping down out

of the darkness.

 

Charlie’s friends were a cheery lot. They showed Harry and Hermione the

nd Norbert between them.

They all helped buckle Norbert safely into it and then Harry and

Hermione shook hands with the others and thanked them very much.

 

At last, Norbert was going… going… gone.

 

ir hearts as light as

their hands, now that Norbert was off them. No more dragon — Malfoy in

detention — what could spoil their happiness?

 

The answer to that was waiting at the foot of the stairs. As they

med suddenly out of the

darkness.

 

 

They’d left the invisibility cloak on top of the tower.

 

 

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

 

THE FORIBIDDEN FOREST

 

Things couldn’t have been worse.

 

n to Professor McGonagall’s study on the first floor,

where they sat and waited without saying a word to each other. Hermione

was trembling. Excuses, alibis, and wild cover- up stories chased each

st. He couldn’t

see how they were going to get out of trouble this time. They were

cornered. How could they have been so stupid as to forget the cloak?

There was no reason on earth that Professor McGonagall would accept for

reeping around the school in the dead of

night, let alone being up the tallest astronomy tower, which was

out-of-bounds except for classes. Add Norbert and the invisibility

cloak, and they might as well be packing their bags already.

 

t that things couldn’t have been worse? He was wrong.

When Professor McGonagall appeared, she was leading Neville.

 

o

 

Harry shook his head violently to shut Neville up, but Professor

McGonagall had seen. She looked more likely to breathe fire than Norbert

as she towered over the three of them.

 

t of any of you. Mr. Filch says you were

up in the astronomy tower. It’s one o’clock in the morning. Explain

 

It was the first time Hermione had ever failed to answer a teacher’s

atue.

 

Malfoy some cock-and-bull story about a dragon, trying to get him out of

dy caught him. I suppose you think it’s

 

Harry caught Neville’s eye and tried to tell him without words that this

wasn’t true, because Neville was looking stunned and hurt. Poor,

ring Neville — Harry knew what it must have cost him to try and

find them in the dark, to warn them.

 

one night! I’ve never heard of such a thing before! You, Miss Granger, I

ought you had more sense. As for you, Mr. Potter, I thought Gryffindor

meant more to you than this. All three of you will receive detentions —

yes, you too, Mr. Longbottom, nothing gives you the right to walk around

ys, it’s very dangerous — and fifty

 

the last Quidditch match.

 

her long, pointed nose.

 

 

 

 

indor in last place. In

one night, they’d ruined any chance Gryffindor had had for the house

cup. Harry felt as though the bottom had dropped out of his stomach. How

could they ever make up for this?

 

e sobbing into his

pillow for what seemed like hours. Harry couldn’t think of anything to

say to comfort him. He knew Neville, like himself, was dreading the

dawn. What would happen when the rest of Gryffindor found out what

they’d done?

 

ryffindors passing the giant hourglasses that recorded the

house points the next day thought there’d been a mistake. How could they

suddenly have a hundred and fifty points fewer than yesterday? And then

mous Harry Potter,

their hero of two Quidditch matches, had lo st them all those points,

him and a couple of other stupid first years.

 

From being one of the most popular and admired people at the school,

laws and Hufflepuffs

turned on him, because everyone had been longing to see Slytherin lose

the house cup. Everywhere Harry went, people pointed and didn’t trouble

to lower their voices as they insulted him. Slytherins, on the other

 

Only Ron stood by him.

 

of points in all the time they’ve been here, and people still like

 

 

 

It was a bit late to repair the damage, but Harry swore to himself not

rom now on. He’d had it

with sneaking around and spying. He felt so ashamed of himself that he

went to Wood and offered to resign from the Quidditch team.

 

 

But even Quidditch had lost its fun. The rest of the team wouldn’t speak

to Harry during practice, and if they had to speak about him, they

 

as bad a time

as Harry, because they weren’t as well-known, but nobody would speak to

them, either. Hermione had stopped drawing attention to herself in

class, keeping her head down and working in silence.

 

t far away. All the studying

he had to do kept his mind off his misery. He, Ron, and Hermione kept to

themselves, working late into the night, trying to remember the

ingredients in complicated potions, learn charms and spells by heart,

es of magical discoveries and goblin rebellions….

 

Then, about a week before the exams were due to start, Harry’s new

resolution not to interfere in anything that didn’t concern him was put

own one

afternoon, he heard somebody whimpering from a classroom up ahead. As he

drew closer, he heard Quirrell’s voice.

 

 

It sounded as though someone was threatening him. Harry moved closer.

 

 

Next second, Quirrell came hurrying out of the classroom straightening

his turban. He was pale and looked as though he was about to cry. He

strode out of sight; Harry didn’t think Quirrell had even noticed him.

ed until Quirrell’s footsteps had disappeared, then peered into

the classroom. It was empty, but a door stood ajar at the other end.

Harry was halfway toward it before he remembered what he’d promised

himself about not meddling.

 

ve gambled twelve Sorcerer’s Stones that Snape had

just left the room, and from what Harry had just heard, Snape would be

walking with a new spring in his step — Quirrell seemed to have given

in at last.

 

e was testing Ron on

Astronomy. Harry told them what he’d heard.

 

 

 

there’s a book somewhere in here telling you how to get past a giant

 

kindling again in Ron’s eyes, but Hermione

answered before Harry could.

 

 

cared to back us

up. Snape’s only got to say he doesn’t know how the troll got in at

Halloween and that he was nowhere near the third floor — who do you

think they’ll believe, him or us? It’s not exactly a secret we hate him,

de it up to get him sacked. Filch wouldn’t help

us if his life depended on it, he’s too friendly with Snape, and the

more students get thrown out, the better, he’ll think. And don’t forget,

ake a lot

 

Hermione looked convinced, but Ron didn’t.

 

 

 

He pulled a map of Jupiter toward him and started to learn the names of

its moons.

 

The following morning, notes were delivered to Harry, Hermione, and

Neville at the breakfast table. They were all the same:

 

Your detention will take place at eleven o’clock tonight. Meet Mr. Filch

in the entrance hall.

 

nagall Harry had forgotten they still had detentions to do

in the furor over the points they’d lost. He half expected Hermione to

complain that this was a whole night of studying lost, but she didn’t

hey’d got.

 

At eleven o’clock that night, they said good-bye to Ron in the common

room and went down to the entrance hall with Neville. Filch was already

there — and so was Malfoy. Harry had also forgotten that Malfoy had

gotten a detention, too.

 

 

I bet you’ll think twice about breaking a school rule again, won’t you,

pity they let the old

punishments die out… hang you by your wrists from the ceiling for a

few days, I’ve got the chains still in my office, keep ’em well oiled in

case they’re ever needed…. Right, off we go, and don’t think of

 

They marched off across the dark grounds. Neville kept sniffing. Harry

wondered what their punishment was going to be. It must be something

really horrible, or Filch wouldn’t be sounding so delighted.

 

right, but clouds scudding across it kept throwing them

into darkness. Ahead, Harry could see the lighted windows of Hagrid’s

hut. Then they heard a distant shout.

 

 

were going to be working with Hagrid it

wouldn’t be so bad. His relief must have showed in his -face, because

oaf? Well, think again, boy — it’s into the forest you’re going and I’m

 

At this, Neville let out a little moan, and Malfoy stopped dead in his

tracks.

 

l sorts of things in there

 

Neville clutched the sleeve of Harry’s robe and made a choking noise.

 

t in trouble,

 

Hagrid came striding toward them out of the dark, Fang at his heel. He

was carrying his large crossbow, and a quiver of arrows hung over his

shoulder.

 

l

 

 

at. Yeh’ve done yer bit,

 

nastily, and he turned and started back toward the castle, his lamp

bobbing away in the darkness.

 

id.

 

the note of panic in his voice.

 

 

t stuff, it’s not for students to do. I thought we’d

be copying lines or something, if my father knew I was doing this, he’d

 

r Yeh’ll get out.

If yeh think yer father’d rather you were expelled, then get back off

 

Malfoy didn’t move. He looked at Hagrid furiously, but then dropped his

gaze.

 

y, ’cause it’s dangerous

what we’re gonna do tonight, an’ I don’ want no one takin’ risks. Follow

 

He led them to the very edge of the forest. Holding his lamp up high, he

ared into the

thick black trees. A light breeze lifted their hair as they looked into

the forest.

 

Silvery stuff? That’s unicorn blood. There’s a unicorn in there bin hurt

mat. This is the second time in a week. I found one dead

last Wednesday. We’re gonna try an’ find the poor thing. We might have

 

r out of his voice.

 

gonna split inter two parties an’ follow the trail in diff’rent

ll over the place, it must’ve bin staggerin’

 

 

‘ Draco, Neville, an’ Fang’ll go the other.

Now, if any of us finds the unicorn, we’ll send up green sparks, right?

Get yer wands out an’ practice now — that’s it — an’ if anyone gets in

so, be

 

The forest was black and silent. A little way into it they reached a

fork in the earth path, and Harry, Hermione, and Hagrid took the left

path while Malfoy, Neville, and Fang took the right.

 

eir eyes on the ground. Every now and then a

ray of moonlight through the branches above lit a spot of silver-blue

blood on the fallen leaves.

 

Harry saw that Hagrid looked very worried.

 

 

 

They walked past a mossy tree stump. Harry could hear running water;

here were still spots of

unicorn blood here and there along the winding path.

 

gone far if it’s this badly hurt, an’ then we’ll be able ter — GET

 

d Harry and Hermione and hoisted them off the path behind a

towering oak. He pulled out an arrow and fitted it into his crossbow,

raising it, ready to fire. The three of them listened. Something was

cloak trailing

along the ground. Hagrid was squinting up the dark path, but after a few

seconds, the sound faded away.

 

 

 

 

They walked more slowly, ears straining for the faintest sound.

Suddenly, in a clearing ahead, something definitely moved.

 

 

And into the clearing came — was it a man, or a horse? To the waist, a

man, with red hair and beard, but below that was a horse’s gleaming

chestnut body with a long, reddish tail. Harry and Hermione’s jaws

dropped.

 

 

He walked forward and shook the centaur’s hand.

 

 

agrid, patting his crossbow.

Hermione Granger, by the way. Students up at the school. An’ this is

Ronan, you two. He’s a centaur.))

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ronan didn’t answer immediately. He stared unblinkingly upward, then

sighed again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ronan made Hagrid raise his bow again,

but it was only a second centaur, black-haired and -bodied and

wilder-looking than Ronan.

 

 

 

bin askin’ Ronan, you seen anythin’ odd in

here lately? There’s a unicorn bin injured — would yeh know anythin’

 

 

 

Harry and Hermione followed him out of the clearing, staring over their

shoulders at Ronan and Bane until the trees blocked their view.

 

centaur. Ruddy stargazers. Not interested in anythin’ closer’n the

 

 

hey’re

good enough about turnin’ up if ever I want a word. They’re deep, mind,

 

 

k me, that was what’s

 

They walked on through the dense, dark trees. Harry kept looking

nervously over his shoulder. He had the nasty feeling they were being

hey had Hagrid and his crossbow with them.

They had just passed a bend in the path when Hermione grabbed Hagrid’s

arm.

 

 

 

They heard him crashing away through the undergrowth and stood looking

at each other, very scared, until they couldn’t hear anything but the

rustling of leaves around them.

 

 

 

The minutes dragged by. Their ears seemed sharper than usual. Harry’s

seemed to be picking up every sigh of the wind, every cracking twig.

hat was going on? Where were the others?

 

At last, a great crunching noise announced Hagrid’s return. Malfoy,

Neville, and Fang were with him. Hagrid was fuming. Malfoy, it seemed,

had sneaked up behind Neville and grabbed him as a joke. Neville had

anicked and sent up the sparks.

 

makin’. Right, we’re changin’ groups — Neville, you stay with me an’

 

So Harry set off into the heart of the forest with Malfoy and Fang. They

walked for nearly half an hour, deeper and deeper into the forest, until

th became almost impossible to follow because the trees were so

thick. Harry thought the blood seemed to be getting thicker. There were

splashes on the roots of a tree, as though the poor creature had been

see a clearing ahead,

through the tangled branches of an ancient oak.

 

 

Something bright white was gleaming on the ground. They inched closer.

 

Harry had never seen

anything so beautiful and sad. Its long, slender legs were stuck out at

odd angles where it had fallen and its mane was spread pearly-white on

the dark leaves.

 

Harry had taken one step toward it when a slithering sound made him

freeze where he stood. A bush on the edge of the clearing quivered….

Then, out of the shadows, a hooded figure came crawling across the

ground like some stalking beast. Harry, Malfoy, and Fang stood

lowered its head

over the wound in the animal’s side, and began to drink its blood.

 

 

Malfoy let out a terrible scream and bolted — so did Fang. The hooded

figure raised its head and looked right at Harry — unicorn blood was

bling down its front. It got to its feet and came swiftly toward

Harry — he couldn’t move for fear.

 

Then a pain like he’d never felt before pierced his head; it was as

though his scar were on fire. Half blinded, he staggered backward. He

s behind him, galloping, and something jumped clean over

Harry, charging at the figure.

 

The pain in Harry’s head was so bad he fell to his knees. It took a

minute or two to pass. When he looked up, the figure had gone. A centaur

, not Ronan or Bane; this one looked younger; he

had white-blond hair and a palomino body.

 

 

 

eyes, like pale

sapphires. He looked carefully at Harry, his eyes lingering on the scar

that stood out, livid, on Harry’s forehead.

 

lly for you. Can you ride?

It will be quicker this way.

 

legs so that Harry could clamber onto his back.

 

There was suddenly a sound of more galloping from the other side of the

learing. Ronan and Bane came bursting through the trees, their flanks

heaving and sweaty.

 

 

 

are sworn not to set ourselves against the heavens. Have we not read

 

 

Bane kicked his back legs in anger.

 

what has been foretold! It is not our business to run around like

 

Firenze suddenly reared on to his hind legs in anger, so that Harry had

to grab his shoulders to stay on.

 

understand why it was killed? Or have the planets not let you in on that

secret? I set myself against what is lurking in this forest, Bane, yes,

 

th Harry clutching on as best he could,

they plunged off into the trees, leaving Ronan and Bane behind them.

 

Harry didn’t have a clue what was going on.

 

 

owed to a walk, warned Harry to keep his head bowed in case of

low-hanging branches, but did not answer Harry’s question. They made

their way through the trees in silence for so long that Harry thought

re passing through a

particularly dense patch of trees, however, when Firenze suddenly

stopped.

 

 

 

would commit such a crime. The blood of a unicorn will keep you alive,

h, but at a terrible price. You have

slain something pure and defenseless to save yourself, and you will have

but a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your

 

silver in

the moonlight.

 

 

hing that will bring you back to

full strength and power — something that will mean you can never die.

Mr. Potter, do you know what is hidden in the school at this very

 

 

 

It was as though an iron fist had clenched suddenly around Harry’s

ed to hear once more what

Codswallop, in my opinion. Dunno if he had enough human left in him to

 

 

 

Hermione was running toward them down the path, Hagrid puffing along

behind her.

 

 

urmured as Hagrid hurried off to

 

Harry slid off his back.

 

wrongly before now, even by centaurs. I hope this is one of those

 

turned and cantered back into the depths of the forest, leaving Harry

shivering behind him.

 

Ron had fallen asleep in the dark common room, waiting for them to

return. He shouted something about Quidditch fouls when Harry roughly

a matter of seconds, though, he was wide-eyed as

Harry began to tell him and Hermione what had happened in the forest.

 

Harry couldn’t sit down. He paced up and down in front of the fire. He

was still shaking.

 

and Voldemort’s waiting in the

forest… and all this time we thought Snape just wanted to get

 

thought Voldemort could hear them.

 

Harry wasn’t listening.

 

d me, but he shouldn’t have done so…. Bane was furious…

he was talking about interfering with what the planets say is going to

happen…. They must show that Voldemort’s coming back…. Bane thinks

pose that’s written

 

 

 

Hermione looked very frightened, but she had a word of comfort.

 

afraid of With Dumbledore around, You-Know-Who won’t touch you. Anyway,

rs are right? It sounds like fortune-telling to me,

 

The sky had turned light before they stopped talking. They went to bed

weren’t over.

 

When Harry pulled back his sheets, he found his invisibility cloak

folded neatly underneath them. There was a note pinned to it:

 

Just in case.

 

 

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

 

THROUGH THE TRAPDOOR

 

emember how he had managed to

get through his exams when he half expected Voldemort to come bursting

through the door at any moment. Yet the days crept by, and there could

be no doubt that Fluffy was still alive and well behind the locked door.

 

s sweltering hot, especially in the large classroom where they did

their written papers. They had been given special, new quills for the

exams, which had been bewitched with an AntiCheating spell.

 

alled them one by

one into his class to see if they could make a pineapple tapdance across

a desk. Professor McGonagall watched them turn a mouse into a snuffbox

— points were given for how pretty the snuffbox was, but taken away if

nape made them all nervous, breathing down their necks

while they tried to remember how to make a Forgetfulness potion.

 

Harry did the best he could, trying to ignore the stabbing pains in his

into the

forest. Neville thought Harry had a bad case of exam nerves because

Harry couldn’t sleep, but the truth was that Harry kept being woken by

his old nightmare, except that it was now worse than ever because there

od in it.

 

Maybe it was because they hadn’t seen what Harry had seen in the forest,

or because they didn’t have scars burning on their foreheads, but Ron

and Hermione didn’t seem as worried about the Stone as Harry. The idea

red them, but he didn’t keep visiting them in

dreams, and they were so busy with their studying they didn’t have much

time to fret about what Snape or anyone else might be up to.

 

Their very last exam was History of Magic. One hour of answering

ons about batty old wizards who’d invented selfstirring cauldrons

and they’d be free, free for a whole wonderful week until their exam

results came out. When the ghost of Professor Binns told them to put

rry couldn’t help

cheering with the rest.

 

f

 

Hermione always liked to go through their exam papers afterward, but Ron

said this made him feel ill, so they wandered down to the lake and

flopped under a tree. The Weasley twins and Lee Jordan were tickling the

could look more cheerful, Harry, we’ve got a week before we find out how

 

arry was rubbing his forehead.

 

 

 

a warning… it means danger’s

 

Ron couldn’t get worked up, it was too hot.

 

Dumbledore’s around. Anyway, we’ve never had any proof Snape found out

nearly had his leg ripped off once, he’s not

going to try it again in a hurry. And Neville will play Quidditch for

 

Harry nodded, but he couldn’t shake off a lurking feeling that there was

rgotten to do, something important. When he tried to

night and was halfway through my Transfiguration notes before I

 

d feeling didn’t have anything to do

with work, though. He watched an owl flutter toward the school across

the bright blue sky, a note clamped in its mouth. Hagrid was the only

one who ever sent him letters. Hagrid would never betray Dumbledore.

would never tell anyone how to get past Fluffy… never… but —

 

Harry suddenly jumped to his feet.

 

 

 

 

s pocket? How

many people wander around with dragon eggs if it’s against wizard law?

 

est, didn’t answer.

 

Hagrid was sitting in an armchair outside his house; his trousers and

sleeves were rolled up, and he was shelling peas into a large bowl.

 

 

id Ron, but Harry cut him off.

 

that night you won Norbert? What did the stranger you were playing cards

 

 

He saw the three of them look stunned and raised his eyebrows.

 

that’s the pub down in the village. Mighta bin a dragon dealer, mightn’

 

 

gamekeeper here….

He asked a bit about the sorta creatures I took after… so I told

him… an’ I said what I’d always really wanted was a dragon… an’

then… I can’ remember too well, ’cause he kept buyin’ me drinks….

said he had the dragon egg an’ we could play

cards fer it if I wanted… but he had ter be sure I could handle it, he

didn’ want it ter go ter any old home…. So I told him, after Fluffy, a

 

to keep his voice calm.

 

Hogwarts? So I told him, Fluffy’s a piece o’ cake if yeh know how to

ll go straight off

 

Hagrid suddenly looked horrified.

 

 

Harry, Ron, and Hermione didn’t speak to each other at all until they

in the entrance hall, which seemed very cold and gloomy

after the grounds.

 

how to get past Fluffy, and it was either Snape or Voldemort under that

once he’d got Hagrid drunk. I just hope

Dumbledore believes us. Firenze might back us up if Bane doesn’t stop

 

They looked around, as if hoping to see a sign pointing them in the

told where Dumbledore lived, nor

did they know anyone who had been sent to see him.

 

the hall.

 

 

pile of books.

 

Harry and Ron thought.

 

 

— now what?

 

Professor McGonagall’s nostrils flared.

 

w off for

 

 

demands on his time —

 

 

istry of Magic,

Potter.

 

 

Whatever Professor McGonagall had expected, it wasn’t that. The books

n’t pick them up.

 

 

She eyed him with a mixture of shock and suspicion.

 

know how you found out about the Stone, but rest assured, no one can

 

 

aid shortly. She bent down

and gathered up the fallen books. I suggest you all go back outside and

 

But they didn’t.

 

he trapdoor tonight. He’s found

out everything he needs, and now he’s got Dumbledore out of the way. He

sent that note, I bet the Ministry of Magic will get a real shock when

 

 

n wheeled round.

 

Snape was standing there.

 

 

They stared at him.

 

twisted smile.

 

ng to say.

 

 

like this, people will think you’re up to something. And Gryffindor

 

lled them back.

 

 

He strode off in the direction of the staffroom.

 

Out on the stone steps, Harry turned to the others.

 

has got to keep an eye on Snape — wait outside the staff room and

 

 

o be waiting for Professor

 

Snape.

 

 

But that part of the plan didn’t work. No sooner had they reached the

door separating Fluffy from the rest of the school than Professor

she lost her temper.

 

come anywhere near here again, I’ll take another fifty points from

in.

 

what I was

doing, so I said I was waiting for Flitwick, and Snape went to get him,

 

 

glittering.

 

 

 

 

you understand? If Snape gets hold of

the Stone, Voldemort’s coming back! Haven’t you heard what it was like

when he was trying to take over? There won’t be any Hogwarts to get

expelled from! He’ll flatten it, or turn it into a school for the Dark

s! Losing points doesn’t matter anymore, can’t you see? D’you think

he’ll leave you and your families alone if Gryffindor wins the house

cup? If I get caught before I can get to the Stone, well, I’ll have to

t to find me there, it’s

only dying a bit later than I would have, because I’m never going over

to the Dark Side! I’m going through that trapdoor tonight and nothing

 

t them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

the Stone without us? I’d better go and took through my books, there

 

 

secret that I got a hundred and twelve percent on his exam. They’re not

 

After dinner the three of them sat nervously apart in the common room.

Nobody bothered them; none of the Gryffindors had anything to say to

Harry any more, after all. This was the first night he hadn’t been upset

by it. Hermione was skimming through all her notes, hoping to come

bout to try to break. Harry

and Ron didn’t talk much. Both of them were thinking about what they

were about to do.

 

Slowly, the room emptied as people drifted off to bed.

 

and yawning. Harry ran upstairs to their dark dormitory. He

putted out the cloak and then his eyes fell on the flute Hagrid had

given him for Christmas. He pocketed it to use on Fluffy — he didn’t

feel much like singing.

 

on room.

 

 

mchair, clutching Trevor the toad, who looked

as though he’d been making another bid for freedom.

 

behind his back.

 

Neville stared at their guilty faces.

 

 

 

Harry looked at the grandfather clock by the door. They couldn’t afford

to waste any more time, Snape might even now be playing Fluffy to sleep.

 

 

 

But Neville was clearly steeling himself to do something desperate.

 

aid, hurrying to stand in front of the

 

 

ules! And you were the one who told me to stand up to

 

 

He took a step forward and Neville dropped Trevor the toad, who leapt

out of sight.

 

 

Harry turned to Hermione.

 

 

Hermione stepped forward.

 

 

.

 

 

Neville’s arms snapped to his sides. His legs sprang together. His whole

body rigid, he swayed where he stood and then fell flat on his face,

stiff as a board.

 

ver. Neville’s jaws were jammed together so he

couldn’t speak. Only his eyes were moving, looking at them in horror.

 

 

 

 

and pulled on the invisibility cloak.

 

But leaving Neville lying motionless on the floor didn’t feel like a

heir nervous state, every statue’s shadow looked

like Filch, every distant breath of wind sounded like Peeves swooping

down on them. At the foot of the first set of stairs, they spotted Mrs.

Norris skulking near the top.

 

Harry shook his head. As they climbed carefully around her, Mrs. Norris

turned her lamplike eyes on them, but didn’t do anything.

 

They didn’t meet anyone else until they reached the staircase up to the

floor. Peeves was bobbing halfway up, loosening the carpet so that

people would trip.

 

 

He rose up in the air and floated there, squinting at them.

 

 

Harry had a sudden idea.

 

has his own

 

Peeves almost fell out of the air in shock. He caught himself in time

and hovered about a foot off the stairs.

 

dn’t see you — of course I didn’t, you’re

 

 

he air

 

And he scooted off

 

 

A few seconds later, they were there, outside the third-floor corridor

— and the door was already ajar.

 

 

Seeing the open door somehow seemed to impress upon all three of them

what was facing them. Underneath the cloak, Harry turned to the other

two.

 

 

 

 

Harry pushed the door open.

 

As the door creaked, low, rumbling growls met their ears. All three of

sniffed madly in their direction, even though it

couldn’t see them.

 

 

 

here

 

He put Hagrid’s flute to his lips and blew. It wasn’t really a tune, but

from the first note the beast’s eyes began to droop. Harry hardly drew

breath. Slowly, the dog’s growls ceased — it tottered on its paws and

hen it slumped to the ground, fast asleep.

 

crept toward the trapdoor. They could feel the dog’s hot, smelly breath

the

 

 

legs. He bent and pulled the ring of the trapdoor, which swung up and

n.

 

 

 

Harry, who was still playing the flute, waved at Ron to get his

attention and pointed at himself.

 

 

Harry handed the flute over. In the few seconds’ silence, the dog

to play, it fell

back into its deep sleep.

 

Harry climbed over it and looked down through the trapdoor. There was no

sign of the bottom.

 

He lowered himself through the hole until he was hanging on by his

me, don’t follow. Go straight to the owlery and send Hedwig to

 

 

 

And Harry let go. Cold, damp air rushed past him as he fell down, down,

FLUMP. With a funny, muffled sort of thump he landed on

something soft. He sat up and felt around, his eyes not used to the

gloom. It felt as though he was sitting on some sort of plant.

 

amp,

 

Ron followed right away. He landed, sprawled next to Harry.

 

 

 

The distant music stopped. There was a loud bark from the dog, but

Hermione had already jumped. She landed on Harry’s other side.

 

 

on.

 

 

She leapt up and struggled toward a damp wall. She had to struggle

because the moment she had landed, the plant had started to twist

ir legs

had already been bound tightly in long creepers without their noticing.

 

Hermione had managed to free herself before the plant got a firm grip on

her. Now she watched in horror as the two boys fought to pull the plant

ey strained against it, the tighter and faster

the plant wound around them.

 

 

ck, trying to stop the plant from curling around his

 

curled around his chest.

 

are… what did Professor Sprout say? — it

likes the dark and the damp

 

 

hands.

 

 

muttered something, and sent a jet of the same bluebell flames she had

used on Snape at the plant. In a matter of seconds, the two boys felt it

from the light and warmth.

Wriggling and flailing, it unraveled itself from their bodies, and they

were able to pull free.

 

joined her by the wall, wiping sweat off his face.

 

 

only way forward.

 

drip of

water trickling down the walls. The passageway sloped downward, and

Harry was reminded of Gringotts. With an unpleasant jolt of the heart,

he remembered the dragons said to be guarding vaults in the wizards’

grown dragon — Norbert had been bad

enough…

 

 

Harry listened. A soft rustling and clinking seemed to be coming from up

ahead.

 

 

 

 

They reached the end of the passageway and saw before them a brilliantly

lit chamber, its ceiling arching high above them. It was full of small,

nd the room. On the

opposite side of the chamber was a heavy wooden door.

 

 

, there’s no other choice… I’ll

 

He took a deep breath, covered his face with his arms, and sprinted

across the room. He expected to feel sharp beaks and claws tearing at

him any second, but nothing happened. He reached the door untouched. He

pulled the handle, but it was locked.

 

The other two followed him. They tugged and heaved at the door, but it

wouldn’t budge, not even when Hermione tried her Alohomora charm.

 

 

 

They watched the birds soaring overhead, glittering — glittering?

 

 

 

Ron examined the lock on the door.

 

the

 

They each seized a broomstick and kicked off into the air, soaring into

the midst of the cloud of keys. They grabbed and snatched, but the

bewitched keys darted and dived so quickly it was almost impossible to

catch one.

 

ing, though, was Harry the youngest Seeker in a century. He

had a knack for spotting things other people didn’t. After a minute’s

weaving about through the whirl of rainbow feathers, he noticed a large

dy been caught and

stuffed roughly into the keyhole.

 

 

pointing, crashed into

the ceiling, and nearly fell off his broom.

 

n and I’ll try and catch it. Right,

 

Ron dived, Hermione rocketed upward, the key dodged them both, and Harry

streaked after it; it sped toward the wall, Harry leaned forward and

e

hand. Ron and Hermione’s cheers echoed around the high chamber.

 

They landed quickly, and Harry ran to the door, the key struggling in

his hand. He rammed it into the lock and turned — it worked. The moment

light again, looking very

battered now that it had been caught twice.

 

nodded. He pulled the door open.

 

The next chamber was so dark they couldn’t see anything at all. But as

y stepped into it, light suddenly flooded the room to reveal an

astonishing sight.

 

They were standing on the edge of a huge chessboard, behind the black

chessmen, which were all taller than they were and carved from what

ng them, way across the chamber, were the

white pieces. Harry, Ron and Hermione shivered slightly — the towering

white chessmen had no faces.

 

 

ss

 

Behind the white pieces they could see another door.

 

 

 

He walked up to a black knight and put his hand out to touch the

once, the stone sprang to life. The horse pawed the

ground and the knight turned his helmeted head to look down at Ron.

 

nodded. Ron turned to the other two.

 

   he said. I suppose we’ve got to take the

 

Harry and Hermione stayed quiet, watching Ron think. Finally he said,

 

 

 

 

 

o have been listening, because at these words a

knight, a bishop, and a castle turned their backs on the white pieces

and walked off the board, leaving three empty squares that Harry, Ron,

and Hermione took.

 

Ron, peering across the board.

 

A white pawn had moved forward two squares.

 

Ron started to direct the black pieces. They moved silently wherever he

sent them. Harry’s knees were trembling. What if they lost?

 

 

Their first real shock came when their other knight was taken. The white

queen smashed him to the floor and dragged him off the board, where he

lay quite still, facedown.

 

 

Every time one of their men was lost, the white pieces showed no mercy.

Soon there was a huddle of limp black players slumped along the wall.

rry and Hermione were in

danger. He himself darted around the board, taking almost as many white

pieces as they had lost black ones.

 

 

oward him.

 

 

 

e to checkmate

 

 

 

 

 

There was no alternative.

 

now,

 

He stepped forward, and the white queen pounced. She struck Ron hard

across the head with her stone arm, and he crashed to the floor —

Hermione screamed but stayed on her square — the white queen dragged Ron

to one side. He looked as if he’d been knocked out.

 

Shaking, Harry moved three spaces to the left.

 

The white king took off his crown and threw it at Harry’s feet. They had

won. The chessmen parted and bowed, leaving the door ahead clear. With

last desperate look back at Ron, Harry and Hermione charged through

the door and up the next passageway.

 

 

 

the Devil’s Snare; Flitwick must’ve put

charms on the keys; McGonagall transfigured the chessmen to make them

 

They had reached another door.

 

 

 

d it open.

 

A disgusting smell filled their nostrils, making both of them pull their

robes up over their noses. Eyes watering, they saw, flat on the floor in

front of them, a troll even larger than the one they had tackled, out

on its head.

 

 

He pulled open the next door, both of them hardly daring to look at what

there was nothing very frightening in here, just a table

with seven differently shaped bottles standing on it in a line.

 

 

They stepped over the threshold, and immediately a fire sprang up behind

in the doorway. It wasn’t ordinary fire either; it was purple. At

the same instant, black flames shot up in the doorway leading onward.

They were trapped.

 

er to read it:

 

Danger lies before you, while safety lies behind,

 

Two of us will help you, which ever you would find,

 

One among us seven will let you move ahead,

 

Another will transport the drinker back instead,

 

nettle wine,

 

Three of us are killers, waiting bidden in line.

 

Choose, unless you wish to stay here forevermore,

 

To help you in your choice, we give you these clues four:

 

First, however slyly the poison tries to hide

 

on nettle wine’s left side;

 

Second, different are those who stand at either end,

 

But if you would move onward, neither is your friend;

 

Third, as you see clearly, all are different size,

 

Neither dwarf nor giant holds death in their insides;

 

Fourth, the second left and the second on the right

 

Are twins once you taste them, though different at first sight.

 

Hermione let out a great sigh and Harry, amazed, saw that she was

smiling, the very last thing he felt like doing.

 

A lot of the greatest wizards haven’t got an ounce of logic, they’d be

 

aper. Seven bottles: three are poison; two are

wine; one will get us safely through the black fire, and one will get us

 

 

 

n she walked up and down the

line of bottles, muttering to herself and pointing at them. At last, she

clapped her hands.

 

 

tle.

 

 

They looked at each other.

 

 

Hermione pointed at a rounded bottle at the right end of the line.

 

brooms from the flying- key room, they’ll get you out of the trapdoor

and past Fluffy — go straight to the owlery and send Hedwig to

pe off for a while,

 

 

 

ashed at Harry and threw her

arms around him.

 

 

 

him.

 

portant

 

 

at the end, and shuddered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hermione turned and walked straight through the purple fire.

 

smallest bottle. He turned to

face the black flames.

 

 

It was indeed as though ice was flooding his body. He put the bottle

ck flames licking

his body, but couldn’t feel them — for a moment he could see nothing

but dark fire — then he was on the other side, in the last chamber.

 

There was already someone there — but it wasn’t Snape. It wasn’t even

Voldemort.

 

 

R SEVENTEEN

 

THE MAN WITH TWO FACES

 

It was Quirrell.

 

 

Quirrell smiled. His face wasn’t twitching at all.

 

 

 

he? So useful to have him swooping around like an overgrown bat. Next to

 

Harry couldn’t take it in. This couldn’t be true, it couldn’t.

 

 

at Quidditch

match. She broke my eye contact with you. Another few seconds and I’d

have got you off that broom. I’d have managed it before then if Snape

 

 

referee your next match? He was trying to make sure I didn’t do it

again. Funny, really… he needn’t have bothered. I couldn’t do anything

hought Snape was

trying to stop Gryffindor from winning, he did make himself unpopular…

and what a waste of time, when after all that, I’m going to kill you

 

Quirrell snapped his fingers. Ropes sprang out of thin air and wrapped

s tightly around Harry.

 

Halloween like that, for all I knew you’d seen me coming to look at what

 

 

with trolls — you must have seen what

I did to the one in the chamber back there? Unfortunately, while

everyone else was running around looking for it, Snape, who already

suspected me, went straight to the third floor to head me off — and not

d my troll fail to beat you to death, that three-headed dog

didn’t even manage to bite Snape’s leg off properly.

 

 

rrell.

It was the Mirror of Erised.

 

something like this… but he’s in London… I’ll be far away by the

 

All Harry could think of doing was to keep Quirrell talking and stop him

from concentrating on the mirror.

 

 

He suspected me all along. Tried to frighten me — as though he could,

 

to

it.

 

 

Harry struggled against the ropes binding him, but they didn’t give. He

had to keep Quirrell from giving his whole attention to the mirror.

 

 

with your father, didn’t you know? They loathed each other. But he never

 

 

For the first time, a spasm of fear flitted across Quirrell’s face.

 

 

 

traveled around the world. A foolish young man I was then, full of

ridiculous ideas about good and evil. Lord Voldemort showed me how wrong

s no good and evil, there is only power, and those too

weak to seek it…. Since then, I have served him faithfully, although I

sily. When I

failed to steal the stone from Gringotts, he was most displeased. He

 

Quirrell’s voice trailed away. Harry was remembering his trip to Diagon

been so stupid? He’d seen Quirrell there that

very day, shaken hands with him in the Leaky Cauldron.

 

Quirrell cursed under his breath.

 

 

Harry’s mind was racing.

 

want more than anything else in the world at the moment, he

thought, is to find the Stone before Quirrell does. So if I look in the

mirror, I should see myseff finding it — which means I’ll see where

lizing what I’m up

to?

 

He tried to edge to the left, to get in front of the glass without

Quirrell noticing, but the ropes around his ankles were too tight: he

tripped and fell over. Quirrell ignored him. He was still talking to

 

And to Harry’s horror, a voice answered, and the voice seemed to come

from Quirrell himself

 

 

Quirrell rounded on Harry.

 

 

ped his hands once, and the ropes binding Harry fell off. Harry

got slowly to his feet.

 

 

Harry walked toward him.

 

ie about what I

see, that’s all.

 

Quirrell moved close behind him. Harry breathed in the funny smell that

seemed to come from Quirrell’s turban. He closed his eyes, stepped in

front of the mirror, and opened them again.

 

and scared-looking at first. But a moment

later, the reflection smiled at him. It put its hand into its pocket and

pulled out a blood-red stone. It winked and put the Stone back in its

pocket — and as it did so, Harry felt something heavy drop into his

real pocket. Somehow — incredibly — he’d gotten the Stone.

 

 

Harry screwed up his courage.

 

 

Quirrell cursed again.

 

Sorcerer’s Stone against his leg. Dare he make a break for it?

 

But he hadn’t walked five paces before a high voice spoke, though

his lips.

 

 

 

The high voice spoke again.

 

 

 

 

Harry felt as if Devil’s Snare was rooting him to the spot. He couldn’t

move a muscle. Petrified, he watched as Quirrell reached up and began to

unwrap his turban. What was going on? The turban fell away. Quirrell’s

ead looked strangely small without it. Then he turned slowly on the

spot.

 

Harry would have screamed, but he couldn’t make a sound. Where there

should have been a back to Quirrell’s head, there was a face, the most

t was chalk white with glaring red

eyes and slits for nostrils, like a snake.

 

 

Harry tried to take a step backward but his legs wouldn’t move.

 

ave form only when I can share another’s body… but there have always

been those willing to let me into their hearts and minds…. Unicorn

blood has strengthened me, these past weeks… you saw faithful Quirrell

once I have the Elixir of Life,

I will be able to create a body of my own…. Now… why don’t you give

 

So he knew. The feeling suddenly surged back into Harry’s legs. He

stumbled backward.

 

me… or you’ll meet the same end as your parents…. They died begging

 

 

Quirrell was walking backward at him, so that Voldemort could still see

e evil face was now smiling.

 

parents were brave…. I killed your father first; and he put up a

courageous fight… but your mother needn’t have died… she was trying

you…. Now give me the Stone, unless you want her to have

 

 

and the next second, Harry felt Quirrell’s hand close on his wrist. At

pain seared across Harry’s scar; his head felt as

though it was about to split in two; he yelled, struggling with all his

might, and to his surprise, Quirrell let go of him. The pain in his head

had gone, and

saw him hunched in pain, looking at his fingers — they were blistering

before his eyes.

 

knocking Harry clean off his feet’ landing on top of him, both hands

Harry’s neck — Harry’s scar was almost blinding him with pain,

yet he could see Quirrell howling in agony.

 

 

And Quirrell, though pinning Harry to the ground with his knees, let go

d stared, bewildered, at his own palms — Harry could see

they looked burned, raw, red, and shiny.

 

 

Quirrell raised his hand to perform a deadly curse, but Harry, by

rabbed Quirrell’s face —

 

 

Quirrell rolled off him, his face blistering, too, and then Harry knew:

Quirrell couldn’t touch his bare skin, not without suffering terrible

ugh

pain to stop him from doing a curse.

 

Harry jumped to his feet, caught Quirrell by the arm, and hung on as

tight as he could. Quirrell screamed and tried to throw Harry off — the

ly

 

He felt Quirrell’s arm wrenched from his grasp, knew all was lost, and

… down… down…

 

Something gold was glinting just above him. The Snitch! He tried to

catch it, but his arms were too heavy.

 

He blinked. It wasn’t the Snitch at all. It was a pair of glasses. How

strange.

 

Albus Dumbledore swam into view

above him.

 

 

 

 

 

Harry swallowed and looked around him. He realized he must be in the

lying in a bed with white linen sheets, and next

to him was a table piled high with what looked like half the candy shop.

 

Quirrell is a

complete secret, so, naturally, the whole school knows. I believe your

friends Misters Fred and George Weasley were responsible for trying to

send you a toilet seat. No doubt they thought it would amuse you. Madam

it might not be very hygienic, and confiscated

 

 

 

 

re not to be distracted. Very well, the Stone. Professor

Quirrell did not manage to take it from you. I arrived in time to

prevent that, although you were doing very well on your own, I must say.

 

 

ve crossed in midair. No sooner had I reached London than it

became clear to me that the place I should be was the one I had just

 

 

 

 

one terrible moment there, I was afraid it had. As for the Stone, it has

 

 

 

 

 

Dumbledore smiled at the look of amazement on Harry’s face.

 

credible, but to Nicolas

and Perenelle, it really is like going to bed after a very, very long

day. After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great

adventure. You know, the Stone was really not such a wonderful thing. As

nd life as you could want! The two things most human beings

would choose above all — the trouble is, humans do have a knack of

led at the

ceiling.

 

 

 

 

killed.

He left Quirrell to die; he shows just as little mercy to his followers

as his enemies. Nevertheless, Harry, while you may only have delayed his

return to power, it will merely take someone else who is prepared to

tle next time — and if he is delayed

 

Harry nodded, but stopped quickly, because it made his head hurt. Then

 

and should therefore be treated with great caution. However, I shall

answer your questions unless I have a very good reason not to, in which

 

to stop him from killing me. But why would he want to kill me in the

 

is time.

 

now. You will know, one day… put it from your mind for now, Harry.

When you are older… I know you hate to hear this… when you are

 

knew it would be no good to argue.

 

 

understand, it is love. He didn’t realize that love as powerful as your

ark. Not a scar, no visible sign… to

have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone,

will give us some protection forever. It is in your very skin. Quirrell,

full of hatred, greed, and ambition, sharing his soul with Voldemort,

could not touch you for this reason. It was agony to touch a person

 

Dumbledore now became very interested in a bird out on the windowsill,

which gave Harry time to dry his eyes on the sheet. When he had found

 

sneaking off to the kitchens to steal food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ds work,

isn’t it? Professor Snape couldn’t bear being in your father’s debt….

I do believe he worked so hard to protect you this year because he felt

that would make him and your father even. Then he could go back to

 

Harry tried to understand this but it made his head pound, so he

stopped.

 

 

 

 

e brilliant

ideas, and between you and me, that’s saying something. You see, only

one who wanted to find the Stone — find it, but not use it — would be

able to get it, otherwise they’d just see themselves making gold or

ain surprises even me sometimes…. Now,

enough questions. I suggest you make a start on these sweets. Ah! Bettie

Bott’s Every Flavor Beans! I was unfortunate enough in my youth to come

ost

my liking for them — but I think I’ll be safe with a nice toffee, don’t

 

He smiled and popped the golden-brown bean into his mouth. Then he

 

Madam Pomfrey, the nurse, was a nice woman, but very strict.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And she let Ron and Hermione in.

 

 

Hermione looked ready to fling her arms around him again, but Harry was

glad she held herself in as his head was still very sore.

 

e were sure you were going to — Dumbledore was so worried

 

 

It was one of those rare occasions when the true story is even more

arry told them everything:

Quirrell; the mirror; the Stone; and Voldemort. Ron and Hermione were a

very good audience; they gasped in all the right places, and when Harry

told them what was under Quirrell’s turban, Hermione screamed out loud.

 

 

the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.

 

ooking quite impressed

at how crazy his hero was.

 

 

that took a while — and we were dashing up to the owlery to contact

we met him in the entrance hall — he already knew — he

just said, ‘Harry’s gone after him, hasn’t he?’ and hurtled off to the

 

 

 

I think he sort of wanted to give me a chance. I think he knows more or

thing that goes on here, you know. I reckon he had a pretty

good idea we were going to try, and instead of stopping us, he just

taught us enough to help. I don’t think it was an accident he let me

ght I had the

 

the last

Quidditch match, we were steamrollered by Ravenclaw without you — but

 

At that moment, Madam Pomfrey bustled over.

 

 

t nearly back to normal.

 

 

bledore didn’t realize

 

 

Hagrid sidled through the door as he spoke. As usual when he was

o Harry,

took one look at him, and burst into tears.

 

I told the evil git how ter get past Fluffy! I told him! It was the only

died! All fer a

dragon egg! I’ll never drink again! I should be chucked out an’ made ter

 

out somehow, this is Voldemort we’re talking about, he’d have

 

 

him and I’m calling him by his name. Please cheer up,

Hagrid, we saved the Stone, it’s gone, he can’t use it. Have a Chocolate

 

 

yesterday ter fix it. ‘Course, he shoulda sacked me instead — anyway,

 

dsome, leather-covered book. Harry opened it

curiously. It was full of wizard photographs. Smiling and waving at him

from every page were his mother and father.

 

 

Harry couldn’t speak, but Hagrid understood.

 

Harry made his way down to the end-of-year feast alone that night. He

had been held up by Madam Pomfrey’s fussing about, insisting on giving

eat Hall was already full. It was decked

out in the Slytherin colors of green and silver to celebrate Slytherin’s

winning the house cup for the seventh year in a row. A huge banner

showing the Slytherin serpent covered the wall behind the High Table.

 

When Harry walked in there was a sudden hush, and then everybody started

talking loudly at once. He slipped into a seat between Ron and Hermione

at the Gryffindor table and tried to ignore the fact that people were

standing up to look at him.

 

ately, Dumbledore arrived moments later. The babble died away.

 

with an old man’s wheezing waffle before we sink our teeth into our

ully your heads are all a

little fuller than they were… you have the whole summer ahead to get

them nice and empty before next year starts….

 

Gryffindor, with three hundred and

twelve points; in third, Hufflepuff, with three hundred and fifty-two;

Ravenclaw has four hundred and twenty-six and Slytherin, four hundred

 

therin table.

Harry could see Draco Malfoy banging his goblet on the table. It was a

sickening sight.

 

 

smiles faded a little.

 

Let me see. Yes…

 

 

Ron went purple in the face; he looked like a radish with a bad sunburn.

 

yed game of chess Hogwarts has seen in many years, I

 

Gryffindor cheers nearly raised the bewitched ceiling; the stars

overhead seemed to quiver. Percy could be heard telling the other

now! My youngest brother! Got past

 

At last there was silence again.

 

 

face in her arms; Harry strongly suspected she had

burst into tears. Gryffindors up and down the table were beside

 

The din was deafening. Those who could add up while yelling themselves

hoarse knew that Gryffindor now had four hundred and seventy-two points

tied for the house cup — if

only Dumbledore had given Harry just one more point.

 

Dumbledore raised his hand. The room gradually fell silent.

 

to our enemies, but just as much to

stand up to our friends. I therefore award ten points to Mr. Neville

 

Someone standing outside the Great Hall might well have thought some

erupted

from the Gryffindor table. Harry, Ron, and Hermione stood up to yell and

cheer as Neville, white with shock, disappeared under a pile of people

hugging him. He had never won so much as a point for Gryffindor before.

d Ron in the ribs and pointed at Malfoy, who

couldn’t have looked more stunned and horrified if he’d just had the

Body-Bind Curse put on him.

 

 

He clapped his hands. In an instant, the green hangings became scarlet

and the silver became gold; the huge Slytherin serpent vanished and a

e. Snape was shaking Professor

McGonagall’s hand, with a horrible, forced smile. He caught Harry’s eye

and Harry knew at once that Snape’s feelings toward him hadn’t changed

one jot. This didn’t worry Harry. It seemed as though life would be back

rmal next year, or as normal as it ever was at Hogwarts.

 

It was the best evening of Harry’s life, better than winning at

Quidditch, or Christmas, or knocking out mountain trolls… he would

never, ever forget tonight.

 

t the exam results were still to come, but

come they did. To their great surprise, both he and Ron passed with good

marks; Hermione, of course, had the best grades of the first years. Even

is

abysmal Potions one. They had hoped that Goyle, who was almost as stupid

as he was mean, might be thrown out, but he had passed, too. It was a

shame, but as Ron said, you couldn’t have everything in life.

 

their trunks were packed,

Neville’s toad was found lurking in a corner of the toilets; notes were

handed out to all students, warning them not to use magic over the

grid was there to take them down to the fleet of boats

that sailed across the lake; they were boarding the Hogwarts Express;

talking and laughing as the countryside became greener and tidier;

gle towns;

pulling off their wizard robes and putting on jackets and coats; pulling

into platform nine and three-quarters at King’s Cross Station.

 

It took quite a while for them all to get off the platform. A wizened

rrier, letting them go through the gate

in twos and threes so they didn’t attract attention by all bursting out

of a solid wall at once and alarming the Muggles.

 

 

jostled them as they moved forward toward the gateway back to the Muggle

world. Some of them called:

 

 

 

him.

 

 

 

It was Ginny Weasley, Ron’s younger sister, but she wasn’t pointing at

Ron.

 

 

 

Mrs. Weasley smiled down at them.

 

 

 

 

 

It was Uncle Vernon, still purple-faced, still mustached, still looking

furious at the nerve of Harry, carrying an owl in a cage in a station

full of ordinary people. Behind him stood Aunt Petunia and Dudley,

t the very sight of Harry.

 

 

 

Harry hung back for a last word with Ron and Hermione.

 

 

uncertainly after Uncle Vernon, shocked that anyone could be so

unpleasant.

 

 

THE END

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2018