When Harry is finally allowed out, it's the beginning of the summer holidays. Even though he is not at school, Harry still can't escape Dudley and his gang , who regularly visit the house. To keep out of their way, Harry usually wanders around Privet Drive. One day during the summer, Harry is told to get the post for Uncle Vernon.
When Harry goes to get the mail, there are three letters: a postcard from Uncle Vernon's sister , who is on holiday in the Isle of Wight, a letter that looks like a bill, and a letter for Harry. Harry takes the letter, studies the yellow parchment it is made of, then reads the address:. The Cupboard Under the Stairs. Harry can't believe it. He has never had a letter in his life. Harry returns to the kitchen and gives Uncle Vernon the other two letters as he sits down and starts to open the letter.
Uncle Vernon tells Harry and Dudley to get out of the kitchen, so they both go and stand in the hall. The two fight over who gets to look through the keyhole. Dudley wins, so Harry resorts to looking through the gap between the floor and the door. Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia are discussing the seal on the back. Uncle Vernon says that they should just ignore it.
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Later, when Harry is in his cupboard, Uncle Vernon comes in and says that he has burned the letter, and that they are moving him up to Dudley's second bedroom. Slightly surprised, Harry moves all of his things up to the bedroom, wishing he had his letter. The next morning at breakfast, Dudley is asked to get the post by Uncle Vernon. After banging things all the way down the hall with his Smeltings stick, Dudley calls out that there is another letter addressed to Harry, this time in '''The Smallest Bedroom''', rather than '''The Cupboard Under the Stairs'''.
Both Harry and Uncle Vernon rush to the hallway in an attempt to get the letter. After a minute of confused fighting, Uncle Vernon emerges clutching the letter in his hand. Determined to see what his letter says, Harry creeps down the stairs early the next morning and approaches the door. He is going to camp there until the post arrives, then he will finally get to read his letter. When he reaches the door, however, he stands on Uncle Vernon - who had the very same idea. Every day, letters appear addressed to Harry, and they are doubling in number.
Eventually, there are so many letters arriving that Uncle Vernon resorts to nailing shut the letter box. But they begin to appear in the strangest of places: under the door, squeezed through the window, and Aunt Petunia even finds some while cracking open eggs. Finally, they get attacked by thirty or forty letters being fired out of the fireplace. Despite the sender's efforts, Harry still does not manage to get his hands on one of the letters for long enough to read it and a furious Uncle Vernon states that they are leaving the house. They get into their car and leave ten minutes later.
They travel for miles until they eventually stop in front of a gloomy hotel on the brink of the city. Vernon's attempt to shake the sender off are not successful, however, as more letters come for Harry to the hotel the very next morning. Again, they get back in the car and finally stop get on a boat that takes them to an island with a small hut on it. Harry remembers that the next day will be his eleventh birthday.
When they get there, Harry can't sleep with the raging storm outside, so he counts down the time until his birthday. When his watch turns to the next day, there is a loud knocking at the door - something wants to get in Uncle Vernon tells Hagrid that Harry won't be going, but the giant knows that a great Muggle like him wouldn't be able to stop Harry from going to Hogwarts.
Uncle Vernon reveals he knew that Harry's a wizard, and Aunt Petunia tells Harry that her sister, Harry's mother, was a witch. Petunia said they were killed by another wizard and Harry screams that Petunia said they got killed in a car crash. Hagrid is as outraged as Harry is that the Dursleys have lied that much. But the spell he used backfired, only leaving Harry his scar. Hagrid tells him that he brought Harry from the ruins of the house and brought him to the Dursleys' house on 4 Privet Drive.
Uncle Vernon says it's a load of rubbish and tries to persuade Harry that whatever happened to his parents was deserved anyway, but Hagrid pulls an umbrella out of his coat and threatens Uncle Vernon. Harry asks what happened to Voldemort and Hagrid tells him he vanished and hasn't been seen since.
Harry doubts that he is a wizard until Hagrid asks him if he ever made anything happen he couldn't explain when he was angry or scared. Uncle Vernon makes the mistake of mocking Dumbledore and Hagrid swishes the umbrella, in Dudley's direction, and Dudley sprouts a curly pig's tail. Hagrid asks Harry not to mention it at Hogwarts because Hagrid isn't allowed to do magic , as he had been expelled.
Hagrid takes off his coat and Harry sleeps under that for the night, for the day ahead. When Harry wakes the next morning, he tries to tell himself that what happened the previous night had all been a dream and that Hagrid taking him to a school for Wizards called Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has never happened.
But when he opens his eyes, Hagrid had fallen asleep on the couch and he finds that it has all happened. He hears a tapping noise coming from the window and lets in an Owl. The owl drops a newspaper on Hagrid's lap and begins to claw Hagrid's coat. Hagrid tells Harry to pay the owl so Harry does what he says and the owl leaves. Hagrid tells him they have to go and buy his things, but Harry worries because he hasn't got any money. Hagrid tells him his parents didn't leave him without money and that their first stop is Gringotts , the wizard's bank.
He explains that it is run by Goblins and that "you'd be mad to try and rob it". They step outside the hut and step into their boat. Hagrid uses a bit of magic to speed things up for them. Hagrid says there are Enchantments guarding the vaults in Gringotts. Gringotts is all under London , and you would die of starvation trying to get out. Harry wonders what the Ministry of Magic does, and Hagrid explains that they handle everything to do with magic. He says they wanted Dumbledore for Minister , but Cornelius Fudge got the job. Harry asks if there are Dragons guarding Gringotts.
Hagrid says yes and mutters that he would like a dragon. Harry takes out his list and reads it out. It says he needs a set of robes , a pointed hat , Dragon hide gloves, and a winter coat. There is a list of his books and stationary equipment. Hagrid leads them both into a pub called the Leaky Cauldron that Harry did not notice was there. It is dark and shabby and everyone greets Hagrid as he enters. They talk for a bit then Hagrid steers them out a back door into a small enclosed area with a few barrels. Hagrid takes out his umbrella and taps bricks with it, counting an order.
Once he is done, a hole appears in the brick wall, slowly getting bigger, until the wall disappears fully, revealing a crowded street with people wearing robes everywhere with shops left and right. Hagrid tells Harry the street is called Diagon Alley. When they are walking down the street, Harry is trying to look everywhere around him, taking in as much as possible. At the end of Diagon Alley, there is a snowy white building, huge in size: Gringotts. As they enter, a warning echoes through telling them rob at your own risk. Harry and Hagrid go up to a Goblin and explain they need to take some money out of Harry's vault.
The Goblin asks for Harry's key and Hagrid presents it, after sorting through many other keys. The Goblin calls upon another Goblin named Griphook to take them down to the vault. Hagrid also states they need to be taken down to remove the You-Know-What in Vault Griphook takes them to Vault in question, and Hagrid removes the grubby little package there but can't tell Harry what it is. Griphook then takes them to Harry's vault, where there is a large amount of money piled up there that Harry owns.
Harry and Hagrid take a bit of the money for Harry's list, then leave Gringotts. Madam Malkin measures him then he sits on a chair next to a pale-faced boy getting his robes. The boy starts to talk about smuggling a Broomstick into Hogwarts somehow, then about something called Quidditch. Harry feels very out of place with him, as he is talking about houses called Slytherin and Hufflepuff. The boy points out Hagrid, then says the other kind shouldn't be allowed in.
When Harry leaves, he tells Hagrid and Hagrid says there are four houses at Hogwarts, Quidditch is a game played on Broomsticks and then leave to buy Harry the rest of his things. Mr Ollivander comes round, scaring them both, and greeting Harry and Hagrid.
Ollivander begins to talk about Harry's parents' wands, and how he remembers selling them. Ollivander touches Harry's scar and apologises for the fact that he sold the wand that caused it. Ollivander gives Harry a wand and tells him to give it a wave. Harry did so, but it isn't suitable for him, so Ollivander takes it back. Harry tries many wands, but none of them seem to work well enough for him. Eventually, he picks up a wand and he feels warmth in his fingers.
Ollivander states that it is very curious that Harry should be destined for that wand when its brother gave Harry his scar. Hagrid takes Harry to get something to eat in the Muggle world but Harry is worried that he isn't going to fit in at Hogwarts as everyone expects great things from him. For Harry's birthday, Hagrid buys Harry an snowy owl named Hedwig. Hagrid provides Harry with a train ticket , giving him the date, time, and location to catch the Hogwarts Express and tells Harry that if he ever needs anything, he is to write a letter, and Hedwig will know where to find him.
Harry then catches a train back to the Dursleys. Despite how furious his aunt and uncle are after he found out about his wizard heritage, they hardly speak to him and instead pretend that Harry isn't even were they see he is. At first it was an upgrade, but then becomes depressing for Harry after a while, and Dudley has become so scared of his cousin that he refuses to be anywhere near him. Above all that, Harry is allowed to keep the smallest bedroom with only Hedwig and his new school books as company. He would lay on is bed and read through the interesting books late at night with Hedwig swooping in and out of the window as she pleases, bringing back dead mice that she leaves lying around the room to make them the main reason Aunt Petunia avoids coming in to vacuum.
Uncle Vernon agrees to take him but ridicules him for saying he is to leave from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters, as is marked on the ticket Hagrid gave him. The following day, Harry arrives at the station and stands between platforms nine and ten , wondering how to find platform nine and three quarters. The Dursleys leave him, and as they pulled away in their car, started laughing, leaving Harry quite stumped. Finally, he overhears some people mention Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry ; it is a family of red-haired children who seem to be bound for the school.
He asks the mother for help, and she tells him to run through the barrier between platforms nine and ten. Harry does so, and he is astonished to find the train to Hogwarts on the other side of the station. Harry, then, boards the Hogwarts Express. On the train, Harry is introduced to Fred and George Weasley , twins who are returning to school for their third year, and to their younger brother Ron , another student who will be starting at Hogwarts.
They have another brother, Percy, who is returning for his fifth year as a Prefect, and there are two elder Weasley brothers who have already left school.
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The Weasley family is poor, and Ron cannot afford the pastries sold on the train, so Harry buys a lot with his newfound wealth and shares them with Ron discarding the corned beef sandwiches his mother gave him, which may have been eaten by Trevor, Neville's toad, according to an article on Pottermore called 35 Thoughts Trevor The Toad May Have Had during the Philosopher's Stone. One of the cards bears the picture of Albus Dumbledore. Harry also meets a somewhat annoying, overachieving girl named Hermione Granger and sees again the unpleasant boy from the uniform shop, whose name is Draco Malfoy , this time with his buddies, Crabbe and Goyle.
After Draco makes some rude comments about Ron, Harry rejects Draco's offer to advise him about associating with the right kind of wizards. All the students have heard of Harry, and Harry is not sure how to respond to his fame. Arriving at the station, the newcomers are led by Hagrid onto boats which they sail to the castle of Hogwarts. The new students are greeted at the castle door by Professor Minerva McGonagall , who tells them they will soon be sorted into their houses. All Hogwarts students live in one of four residences: Gryffindor , Hufflepuff , Ravenclaw , or Slytherin , with each house having its own team for Quidditch.
The houses are in a yearlong competition with one another to acquire the most points, which are earned by success in Quidditch games and given by teachers for academic achievement, and lost for student infractions, in order to win the House Cup awarded at the end of the year. As the students enter Hogwarts, ghosts appear in the hallway. The students are led to the Great Hall , where the entire school waits for them.
They see an old pointy hat on a stool. When the students try on the Sorting Hat , it announces the house in which they are placed. Harry becomes very nervous. He has learned that he does not care for Slytherin house, as the students in it are unpleasant and Voldemort once belonged to Slytherin.
The annoying girl Hermione from the train is Sorted into Gryffindor, much to Ron's displeasure. He quietly says to himself "not Slytherin, not Slytherin! After a brief mental discussion with the hat in which it tries to suggest Slytherin to him, the hat places Harry in Gryffindor. Harry is pleased to find that Ron joins in Gryffindor with him. Draco Malfoy is placed in Slytherin.
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Everyone sits down to a grand feast to begin the year. Harry is overwhelmed by the variety of luscious food served. Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington , the resident ghost of Gryffindor popularly known as Nearly Headless Nick because of a botched decapitation , introduces himself to the first-year students and tells them he hopes they will win the house championship this year. Over dessert, the discussion turns to the students' upbringings. Another student, Seamus Finnigan , talks about how his father, a Muggle, was shocked when he found out his wife Seamus' mother was a witch.
Harry glances around the room and notices a few of the teachers talking to one another. One of them, while speaking to Quirrell, stares malevolently at Harry, who immediately feels a sharp pain in his forehead scar. Harry asks Percy the prefect who he is, and finds out that this man is Professor Severus Snape , who teaches Potions. After dessert, Dumbledore gets up to make his welcome speech. He adds a few warnings about staying away from the Forbidden Forest and avoiding the 3rd-floor corridor on the right side of the school before sending everyone off to bed in their Common rooms.
On the way, the Gryffindors run into Peeves the Poltergeist and upon arriving, meet the Fat Lady who lets them into Gryffindor Tower after Percy gives her the password. Harry has trouble sleeping due to dream he has. In it, he is wearing Professor Quirrell's turban, which is demanding him to transfer to Slytherin. He refuses, and the headwear becomes more heavier on his head. Harry finds life at Hogwarts unfamiliar and strange. Everyone talks about him, and an adult always seems to be around when he is doing something wrong. It is hard to find his way to classes due to the forty-two changing staircases and tricky doorways.
The people in the Hogwarts portraits have been no help to him, for they ignore some students and visit each other, nor have the ghosts, whom always scare Harry when they glide through a door he is trying to open. Only Nearly-Headless Nick points new Gryffindors in the right direction, but Peeves is worth two locked doors and a tricky staircase whenever Harry runs into him when late for class. Even worse than Peeves if anyhow possible is the school caretaker Argus Filch , who both Harry and Ron get on the bad side of on their very first morning, when he finds them trying to force their way through a door which turns out to be entrance of the out-of-bounds third floor corridor.
He threatens to lock them in the dungeons, but the two boys are luckily rescued by Quirrell, who is passing by. All the classes become very interesting to Harry, with the only exception being History of Magic , and he learns that there is a lot more to magic other than waving his wand and saying a few funny words. In his first Transfiguration class on Thursday, Professor McGonagall transfigures her desk into a pig and then back again while explaining how Transfiguration itself is some of the most complex and dangerous magic to be learned, and anyone who will get caught messing around with it will have to banned from the class.
The entire class is very impressed, but soon realise that they are not going to be changing furniture into animals.
Only Hermione is able to make any progress at turning a match into a needle, for which McGonagall gives her a rare smile, but Harry is relieved to see that his peers are just as lost as he is. When time comes to transition to Defence Against the Dark Arts class the class everyone is looking forward to every morning, the lesson turns into more of a joke, as Quirrell keeps going on with stories about his travels in the year prior, such as when he had ward off a vampire in Romania whom he is afraid will come back and get him , and when he had earned his turban from an African prince for saving him from a troublesome zombie.
During breakfast the first Friday, Hedwig arrives with a tea invitation from Hagrid. Later, in his Potions class, Harry discovers that Professor Snape hates him, mocking Harry as "our new celebrity" and then humiliating Harry for his ignorance of potion-making materials. Harry happens to notice an article from the wizard newspaper, the Daily Prophet , detailing a break-in that occurred at Gringotts bank in a vault that had been emptied earlier in the day.
He realises that it happened on his birthday, the day he and Hagrid went to Gringotts. Furthermore, he remembers that Hagrid emptied vault seven hundred and thirteen, taking a small package with him as he left. Harry has been at Hogwarts for around two weeks when he finds out that the Gryffindors will have flying lessons with the Slytherins , much to his disliking. Harry does not want to spend more time with Malfoy than he has to. However, Harry finds that he is quite a natural at flying. Madam Hooch leads the class, gently sending the new fliers off the ground.
Neville has an accident when his broom runs amok and breaks his wrist.
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Madam Hooch takes him to the hospital , telling everyone to stay on the ground while she is away. Malfoy notices a Remembrall belonging to Neville, picks it up, and begins to fly around with it. Harry goes after Malfoy, who throws the ball in the air. Harry catches it spectacularly and lands safely back on ground. Just then, Professor McGonagall arrives, reprimanding Harry and ordering him to follow her.
But instead of punishing him, McGonagall introduces him to Oliver Wood , captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team , and makes him the Gryffindor team's new Seeker. At dinner, Harry excitedly tells Ron about joining the Quidditch team but tells him that Wood wants it to be a secret. Malfoy comes over with his cronies Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle and teases Harry about getting in trouble earlier.
As Harry and Ron sneak out later that night, Hermione tries to stop them but gets locked out of the dorm the Fat Lady has gone for an evening stroll and must tag along.
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Neville also joins them, as he has forgotten the password to the common room and ended up sleeping on the floor outside. They arrive at the Trophy Room , the site of the duel, but Malfoy is nowhere to be found. Suddenly, they hear Argus Filch and his cat, Mrs Norris , enter the room. With it obvious that Malfoy tricked them, they begin to hide and then run away. Not sure where they are going, they accidentally end up in the forbidden area on the third floor, staring at a large and scary three-headed dog.
The children manage to get back to their dorm safely, though they are terrified. Hermione reprimands Harry, but stirs his curiosity by pointing out that the dog was standing on a trapdoor. The next morning, Harry and Ron are discussing what the dog could be guarding when the mail arrives. Harry receives a Nimbus , along with a note from Professor McGonagall summoning him to Quidditch practise.
Malfoy tells Harry that first-year students are not allowed broomsticks. Harry later meets Oliver Wood to learn the basics of Quidditch, including the various positions on a standard Quidditch team and the implements used in the game. Oliver explains Harry's role as a Seeker : his job is to avoid other players and catch the Golden Snitch.
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A Quidditch game cannot end until the Snitch is caught, making the Seeker the most important player on a team. On Hallowe'en, Flitwick begins teaching his students how to make things fly, using the Wingardium Leviosa spell. Only Hermione succeeds; Ron, offended by her air of superiority, utters a nasty comment that Hermione overhears. Harry notices her running off in tears. Harry and Ron arrive at the Hallowe'en feast to hear Professor Quirrell , the teacher of Defence Against the Dark Arts , give a terrifying announcement about a twelve-foot troll in the building. As the prefects lead the students back to their dorms, Harry realises that Hermione does not know about the troll.
They head off to warn her and come upon the troll. Unwittingly, they lock it in the girls' bathroom only to realise that Hermione is trapped in there with the troll. Using teamwork, magic, and a lot of luck, the two of them manage to knock out the troll. Professor McGonagall finds them and begins to scold the boys.
Hermione interjects that Harry and Ron were looking for her. She then lies, saying that she went to face the troll herself and that Ron and Harry had been trying to save her from it. At this point, Hermione befriends them. As November begins, so does the Quidditch season, and Harry is about to play in his first match against Slytherin. Professor Snape discovers Ron, Harry, and Hermione out with the book one evening and confiscates it from Harry on the feeble pretext that library books may not be taken outside of the school. Harry starts to notice that Snape is limping. Going off to retrieve the book from Snape, Harry overhears Snape talking to Argus Filch about the fact that the three-headed dog has attacked him, leaving a cut on his leg, which makes Harry even more suspicious.
The next morning, the Quidditch match begins. Harry spots the Golden Snitch early in the game, and is flying toward it when the Slytherin Captain pushes him out of the way and is penalised. Hagrid comments that only Dark magic could make a broomstick so hard to manage. Hermione notices that Snape is staring at Harry and muttering to himself, signs of casting a curse. As two of Harry's teammates, the Weasley twins, try to rescue Harry in the air, Hermione rushes over to Snape in such a hurry that she knocks Quirrell over, sneaks behind Snape, and sets his robe on fire.
He starts speeding toward the ground and lands, catching the Snitch in his mouth and nearly swallowing it. Hagrid takes Harry back to his hut with Hermione and Ron, who tells Harry that Snape was putting a curse on his broomstick. Hagrid does not believe this, asking why Snape would try to kill Harry. Harry tells Hagrid about Snape getting injured by the dog in the third-floor corridor. Hagrid involuntarily reveals that the three-headed dog, Fluffy , is his, and that what the dog is guarding is a secret known only to Albus Dumbledore and a man named Nicolas Flamel.
Christmas is approaching. Malfoy teases Harry about having to stay at Hogwarts for the holiday, as he does not have parents. Harry, however, is looking forward to spending Christmas away from the Dursleys, especially because Ron is also staying at Hogwarts, as Mr and Mrs Weasley are going to visit Ron's older brother Charlie in Romania.
The day before the holidays, Hermione tears Ron and Harry away from a conversation with Hagrid to look in the library for more information about Nicolas Flamel. Death is obviously big in Harry Potter. Death recurs throughout the series, but recurrence is not enough to constitute a theme. We apprehend the theme by inference — it is the rationale of the images and symbols, not their quantity.
Thus, a theme is a comprehensible viewpoint that emerges from a pattern of recurrence — a statement, if you will, that we perceive through progressive repetition and associated symbolism. Without that statement, a pattern is just a motif. If the author is using that pattern to say something, however, the pattern becomes a theme. At the end of that story, Harry is only able to obtain the stone from the Mirror of Erised because he does not want to use it.
This contrast is again the pivot-point of the mortality theme that Rowling develops. The entire series is then the story of an antagonist struggling to deny death, matched against a protagonist who is maturing toward accepting it. In spite of this objection, Snape is willing to die for the cause of righteousness, just as James and Lilly were, just as Sirius was, just as Dumbledore was, and just as all the casualties of the Battle of Hogwarts were.
When perceived as a pattern, heroism in Harry Potter means accepting death. Tolkien writes that:. For the fairy-story is specially apt to teach such things, of old and still today. He refers to his own example, the elves of Middle Earth, to show how he portrays immortality as undesirable. Three brothers face death and respond in three different ways. Only the one who ultimately accepts death is spared a brutal and humiliating end.
To fly from death is to relinquish all the things that make life worth living.