Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 5

In the fifth chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry visits Diagon Alley for the first time and we all fall in love with Rowling’s world again. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to re-read Harry Potter.

This truly is some magical shit. Do you get the pun do you get it. It’s really hard not to have a huge smile plastered on your face while reading this chapter. It’s Harry’s first real introduction to the magical world AND it’s littered with so much foreshadowing and character introduction by Rowling that it’s like a gift that simply keeps on giving. Forever.

He sat up and Hgrid’s heavy coat fell off him. The hut was full of sunlight, the storm was over, 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 was swelling inside him.

I definitely didn’t pick up on this the first time around, but this moment signifies something huge for Harry: It’s the first time he feels hope. Hope that he will be able to escape the world the Dursleys have given him and hope that there’s more to life than what he knows. I’m reminded of the day I woke up and realized I was moving away to college, away from all the people in my hometown who I hated and away from a city so far from where I wanted to be. It opens up a world before you and, as I said before, is a truly magical sensation.

Ok, no more magical puns, I swear.

Hagrid’s 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.

Hahahaha oh man, I love Hagrid. Also I wish I could carry tea with me at all times.

If you quizzed me, I would absolutely fail at attempting to explain Wizarding money. I’m still rather proud of that image I used in my original “Diagon Alley” review of Diddy being perplexed by a one dollar bill because even in this chapter, as Knuts are introduced and later explained, I have the exact look on my face. Like, stick with the metric system, wizards. Don’t try to rebel like the United States did and create a system NO ONE ELSE USES that makes LITTLE TO NO SENSE IN MOST CONTEXTS.

This chapter also serves the purpose of us living through Harry and I don’t think I ever commented on how neat it was that Rowling tackled so many different mystical creatures and tropes from the fantasy world. Goblins and witches and werewolves and vampires and basilisks and…well, you get the picture. Obviously, she invented some of her own (OMG DEMENTORS), but it’s neat how she managed to stick so many of them into the series.

I also didn’t notice that Hagrid steals the Dursleys’ boat and I don’t believe it’s ever explained how they get off that island. OH WELL, THEY DESERVE.

“But what does a Ministry of Magic do?”

“Well, their main job is to keep it from the Muggles that there’s still witches an’ wizards up an’ down the country.”


“Why? Blimey, Harry, everyone’d be wantin’ magic solutions to their problems. Nah, we’re best left alone.”

Kind of an interesting reason. It’s so brief and I completely ignored it the first time around. Makes me wonder: Do wizards think they shouldn’t intervene at all if there isn’t something to do that could save a Muggle? I wonder how far their tenets stretch in terms of how much magic is allowed in specific situations. I guess it doesn’t really matter, but it’s one of those things where I just want to know more about the world of Harry Potter.

Harry had never been to London before. Although Hagrid seemed to know where he was going, he was obviously not used 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 trains too slow.

Oh, Hagrid. You are so very special never change. Also, I would have had a very public breakdown had he died in Deathly Hallows because I love Hagrid forever.

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 Hagrid could see it.

So how does this work? Do wizards put an enchantment on the place so that only other wizards can see it? How does this work for Harry since he’s never willingly done magic before? PLZ ANSWER BECAUSE YOU CAN.

The scene where the entirety of the Leaky Cauldron has a heart attack is still pretty awesome, only now I know OMG QUIRRELL WATCH OUT HARRY.

Harry grinned at Harry.

“Told yeh, didn’t i? Told yeh you was famous. Even Professor Quirrell was tremblin’ ter meet yeh—mind you, he’s usually tremblin’.”

That is probably not why he was trembling, Hagrid. JUST AN FYI.

“Is he always that nervous?”

“Oh yeah. Poor bloke. Brilliant mind. He was fine while he 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. Scared of the students, scared of his own subject—now, where’s me umbrella?”

What you mean to say is that he TOTALLY FOUND VOLDY OUT IN THE ALBANIAN FOREST. Oh shit guys.

I still maintain that the first moments we step into Diagon Alley are among the finest moments in the entire series. Rowling loves detail, but not in a manner that weighs down passages for inordinate amounts of time. She tells us enough to give us a picture in our mind, but has no problem moving on when she’s ready.

A low, soft hooting came from a dark shop with a sign saying Eeylops Owl Emporium—Tawny, Screech, Barn, Brown, and Snowy. Several boys of about Harry’s age had their noses pressed against a window with broomsticks in it. “Look,” Harry heard one of them say, “the new Nimbus Two Thousand—fastest ever—“ There were shops selling robes, shops selling telescopes and strange silver instruments Harry had never seen before, windows stacked with barrels of bat spleends and eels’s eyes, tottering piles of spell books, quills, and rolls of parchment, potion bottles, globes of the moon…

What works so well here is the way Rowling drifts from object to object, person to person. It overwhelms us, just like it overwhelms Harry, and we too wish we had about eight more eyes.

They head to Gringotts, where Rowling sets out to drop many details that would become important throughout this book and the rest of the series. Hagrid picks up the Sorcerer’s Stone in vault seven hundred and thirteen, we meet Griphook for the first time, and she makes a point to note the complexity of Gringotts, which is going to be a conflict in Deathly Hallows.

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—they plunged even deeper, passing an underground lake where huge stalactites and stalagmites grew from ceiling to floor.

Is it silly of me to think this might be the dragon they deal with when they rob the Lestrange vault? I can dream, right?

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.

“All yours,” smiled Hagrid.

All Harry’s—it was incredible. The Dursleys couldn’t have known about this or they’d have had it from him faster than blinking. How often they complained how much Harry cost them to keep? And all the time there had been a small fortune belonging to him, buried deep under London.

Here’s an interesting thought: when Harry lives with the Dursleys, he is poor, but when he is at Hogwarts, he’s not. I can’t think of a book that’s ever dealt with that separation before. Harry clashes with Ron because Ron’s family doesn’t have a lot of money, but his suffering with the Dursleys is very, very real.

Just something to think about.

“Stand back,” said Griphook importantly. He stroked the door gently with one of his long fingers and it simply melted away.

“If anyone but a Gringotts goblin tried that, they’d be sucked through the door and trapped in there,” said Griphook.

“How often do you check to see if anyone’s inside?” Harry asked.

“About once every ten years,” said Griphook with a rather nasty grin.

I LOVE THE GOBLINS. Oh, why couldn’t we have more time inside Gringotts? It such an awesome place. I’d love to know what other measures they’ve taken to protect the vaults. (Well, we all know the TOTALLY FUCKED UP way that the Lestrange vault is protected.)

Let’s talk about Draco Malfoy, shall we?

Harry runs into him inside Madam Malkin’s shop. It’s funny that we’re not ever told his name and it’s even more interesting the parallel here to when Harry first meets Hermione. On first impression, Hermione and Draco both act like know-it-alls. But the key difference is that Hermione generally comes from a good place and has good intentions too.

Oh, and Draco is a bigoted dumbface. That too.

I think I still believe that Draco is a product of his environment, of being white and well-off and born into a pureblood family. It (sadly) makes sense why he turned out the way he did. Still, I don’t think that after all that happens to him, he’s all that redeemed in the end. It’s more a decision to be inactive on the part of his family (save Narcissa, who probably does more to attempt to redeem her family than anyone else.)

“And what are Slytherin and Hufflepuff?”

“School houses. There’s four. Everyone says Hufflepuff are a lot o’ duffers, but—“

“I bet I’m in Hufflepuff,” said Harry gloomily.

“Better Hufflepuff than Slythering,” said Hagrid darkly.

That’s right, the only thing worse than Hufflepuff is the house full of evil bigots. I laughed so hard at this. Even Hagrid is a Hufflepuff-hater.

After Harry gets Hedwig (!!!!!!! OH GOD ALREADY SAD), they head to Ollivanders, where Rowling sows the seeds for the complicated wandlore plot in Deathly Hallows and Goblet of Fire. (Well, not so complicated in GoF, but you get the point.)

The wand chooses the wizard, says Ollivander, so I wonder why he says this:

“I’m sorry to say I sold the wand that did it,” he said softly. “Thirteen-and-a-half inches. Yew. Powerful wand, very powerful, and in the wrong hands…well, if I’d known what that wand was going out into the world to do…”

Would you have not sold it? THE WAND CHOOSES THE WIZARD, DUDE. I’m kidding, but still. There’s nothing Ollivander could have done.

Harry’s wand fitting proves to be ironic, of course, because the wand that chooses him contains a phoenix feather from a bird that produced only one other feather, which went to Voldemort’s wand. We now know about the Prophecy we hear in Order of the Phoenix, so does this mean that this is just further evidence that the Prophecy is true? What kind of wand does Neville have? Or by choosing Harry all those nights ago, did he affect what wand Harry would end up with?

Just a thought.

When Harry bids goodbye to Hagrid at the end of the chapter, it’s much sadder than usual. I don’t know, I think it might be because I know he’s heading back to be with those miserable people when he could be at the Burrow and enjoying himself. HATE.

Onwards we go!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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386 Responses to Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 5

  1. Silverilly says:

    I feel like we need to have some more Hedwig reviews.

  2. pennylane27 says:

    OMG Mark I was very pleasantly surprised when I saw this!

    So how does this work? Do wizards put an enchantment on the place so that only other wizards can see it? How does this work for Harry since he’s never willingly done magic before? PLZ ANSWER BECAUSE YOU CAN.

    I think it's like Hogwarts or Grimauld Place or the World Cup Quidditch pitch. Muggles can't see it, and it's not necessary that wizards are trained before they can 'see' those places.

    • DTDRC says:

      "If Hagrid hadn’t pointed it out, Harry wouldn’t have noticed it was there." So maybe there's secret keeping going on? I feel like it can't be only open to wizards, because how else would people like Hermione's parents get in? The entrance to St. Mungos and the visitor entrance to the Ministry are both visible to muggles, so maybe they just make the Leaky Cauldron look old and dumpy so no one ever goes in.

      I've also wondered about how muggles and wizards interact and if wizards ever step in to help muggles. I'm also really confused about how muggles would ever marry wizards/witches (like Seamus's parents, for example). Where would they meet? Do you need approval before showing them magic (since you're not supposed to do magic in front of muggles)? Can you tell any of the muggle's family? Maybe I've thought about it too much.

    • andreah1234 says:

      I agree. I think it's a *MAGIC* thing, the magic that there is in their bloods might help them see it, even if they are not trained to do so yet . Or something.

    • Jennifer says:

      Actually, in one of the books, it mentions that muggles CAN see Hogwarts, but to them, it appears to be an old broken down mansion. Some kind of charm, I suspect.
      So muggles CAN see it, but it probably looks like some old dumpy place, so they never go in.

    • Anjemon says:

      Yes, that's how I think it works too. That there is magic on the building (Leaky Cauldron) that makes it inconsequential to muggles. They forget it about the instant they see it. Or a "muggle-repelling charm" like the Quidditch World Cup area. But if it the area/building means something to you, or if you're looking for it, you don't get repelled because the charm isn't that strong. And I think people like the Grangers can see through it because they are trying. It's not that a muggle couldn't walk into the pub (there's a reason the actual entrance to Diagon Alley is even more secret) it's just that they make it unlikely they would want to.

  3. Esther says:

    Muggles can't see Diagon Alley because there's an enchantment (probably a Muggle-Repelling charm) on it to prevent their noticing it.

    When Voldemort decided to go after Harry instead of Neville, he essentially made Harry the boy spoken of in the prophecy. The connection was strengthened when the bit of Voldemort's soul landed in Harry. My guess is that that specific wand chose Harry because it sensed his bond with Voldemort.

    I can think of at least one case where wizards used magic to protect muggles, and I believe it is referenced in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. A dragon attacked a beach full of muggles, but one wizarding family happened to be there. They got rid of the dragon and modified the muggles' memories, and were presented with awards in honor of their actions.

  4. Cailtin says:

    We now know about the Prophecy we hear in Order of the Phoenix, so does this mean that this is just further evidence that the Prophecy is true? What kind of wand does Neville have? Or by choosing Harry all those nights ago, did he affect what wand Harry would end up with?

    I was under the impression that the reason Harry got that wand was because he has part of voldemort in him, and the wand probably recognized that. It isn't directly related to the prophecy.

    • True, though Harry wouldn't have part of Voldie in him if it weren't for Voldemort fulfilling the prophesy by going after Harry and his parents in the first place. 😛

    • Arione says:

      But everything’s related to the prophecy! 🙂 As Dumbly the magnificent said, it’s not the prophecy that holds the power but the choices of those involved and the general wyrding of events. So if wands can make choice their choices are part of Harry and Voldy’s prophecy wyrding. (Wyrd is kind of like fate, but messier, and more contrary.)

    • blessthechildren says:

      Maybe the wand is part of the prophesy because the prior incatatem is what allowed Harry to live long enough to defeat Voldemort.

  5. xbelle89x says:

    "So how does this work? Do wizards put an enchantment on the place so that only other wizards can see it? How does this work for Harry since he’s never willingly done magic before? PLZ ANSWER BECAUSE YOU CAN."

    Fidelius Charm? And all wizards are Secret-Keepers, and by pointing it out, hagrid let Harry in on it, yes?

    • Pseudonymph says:

      Wow that's a really interesting theory, I never considered it. That actually makes complete sense, though. I kind of always thought that the magical "gene" just gave witches and wizards the ability to see past enchantments that are designed to repel Muggles. But one big, continuous Fidelius Charm would actually be a more elegant explanation.

      • MowerOfLorn says:

        I don't know….it seems a bit extravegent to me, that the /entire wizarding world/ is a secret keeper. I always thought it worked more like a 'Perception Filter', for those who know Doctor Who. Basically, a magical field which distracts you unless you know what you're looking for, or have magical blood.

        • bookling says:

          Muggle-Repelling Charm! They use charms and enchantments to keep Muggles from noticing wizardy things during the Quidditch World Cup and again in Deathly Hallows. Whenever I watch DW and they talk about Perception Filters I basically think of the magic that keeps Muggles from noticing things in HP.

          • paulineparadise says:

            But how about Hermione's parents? They're muggles but they're able to enter Diagon Alley, too.

            • Hon says:

              They could have got in a different entrance eg. using Floo powder.

            • Anjemon says:

              Yes, but I would say the big distinction is that the Grangers were brought there by wizards. Or Hermione was given directions in the Hogwarts letter that brought them to the Leaky Cauldron, where a wizard could let them in to Diagon Alley. I don't think they could have stumbled into Diagon Alley totally on their own.

        • DTDRC says:

          Well it could have started with just one secret keeper. When that person dies, all he/she have told become secret keepers, so that could be what makes it spread?

          • MowerOfLorn says:

            Possibly, but if I think back to when Diagon Alley was first created (…that point must have existed, right?) it seems a little bit too limiting. If you're making a wizard shopping center, you're going to want all wizards in the area to find you. But in a city like London, where presumably many shoppers are foreign tourists, you're really cutting off your market if the wizard needs to be told by someone else who already knows where the three broomsticks is.

            • Enigmaticrose4 says:

              I think you mean the Leaky Cauldron, not the Three Broomsticks, that's in Hogsmeade…

            • DTDRC says:

              Yeah, that's a good point. You could enter by floo powder too, so The Leaky Cauldron is not the only way in. You might be able to apparate too, I don't remember.

    • hazelwillow says:

      No, I think the Fidelius Charm is much more powerful, it really hides you completely and is impossible to breach. Flitwick describes it as "rare" and "tricky", if i remember right. I think the Leaky Cauldron has some kind of Muggle Repelling Charm on it that makes it, not invisible or inaccessible to Muggles, but simply un-noticed.

  6. Kari says:

    I really need to re-read this book.. I don't even own the first four books though… I must rectify this!

  7. geekingses says:

    "If Hagrid hadn’t pointed it out, Harry wouldn’t have noticed it was there."

    I think that's the most important part of it. Like with Grimmauld Place, although the security involved with secret-keepers and such is much more intense, it's a similar sort of situation. You don't see it unless you already know it's there. Hagrid had to actively draw Harry's attention to it, and since he's a wizard (got his Hogwarts letter, can do magic accidentally, etc) he can see it where the muggles can't.

    A similar sort of thing comes up in Doctor Who at one point regarding perception and I would go into more detail, but I'll wait for you to discover it on your own, since it's pretty damn cool. It's such a minor detail, though, that I don't feel like it's a spoiler otherwise I wouldn't have mentioned it at all!

    It's so cool seeing you do these re-reads, since your first reading was kind of like a re-read for me, and you're picking up on a bunch of things that I hadn't quite noticed the first time either. It says a lot about the series that it's got enough depth that you still discover things on a second, third, or even further read-through.

    • xbelle89x says:

      Yeah, it's the fact that it had to be pointed out to him that made me think Fidelius Charm.

      • blessthechildren says:

        I think it's a "Wizards-only" enchantment, like the muggle repelling charm, because otherwise wizards from other places who had been "given" the secret wouldn't be able to find it.

  8. Aimee says:

    I'd say the wand chose him because he has a piece of Voldemort inside him.

    • kaleidoscoptics says:

      This! I think that since both wands had Fawkes' tail feathers for a core, they would go to people who were very closely linked. Harry was already 'linked' to Voldemort by the Horcrux shard.

    • hazelwillow says:

      I disagree, actually. That may have been a factor, but I DO think the wand truly chose Harry (I mean, Harry's soul, not that bit of Voldy-soul).

  9. Cally_Black says:

    What the hell is a Huffelpuff?

    Sorry, had to add that in there. Also, as people have already said, I think the wand chose Harry because he had the Horcux inside him.

    Which STILL gets to me! There are moments when I'm re-reading the book, when I pull up short and remember that the whole time I was reading this series, Harry had Voldemort's soul in him! It just…blows my mind all over again at times. Even 3 years later!

  10. monkeybutter says:

    Wizard money. I get the 17:1 for sickles to galleons, because that's about the distribution of the metals on Earth, and it's close to the 16:1 I remember from US history back when we were on the gold standard (oh God, bimetallism, shoot me now), but fuck knuts. I do not want to think about converting to knuts. If I were a wizard, I would end up with a million knuts in my purse because I just would not deal with them. I have to make enough of an effort to use pennies, and those are at least based on a 1/100 scale.

    Okay, that was a dumb comment, so: yay, magic! This is where Rowling is strongest. I love the wizarding world and Diagon Alley is where the series really becomes fun. And Draco is a product of his environment, but he also chooses to be the way he is. He takes the easy way out and decides to abuse his privilege, in contrast with purebloods like the Weasleys and Longbottoms who do good even though it's hard, or Sirius who isn't perfect but still rebels against his bigoted family. Draco's a jerkass.

    • pennylane27 says:

      About the pennies, my wallet's put-your-coins-in-thingy was full of them, I couldn't bring myself to count them when I paid for stuff. I spent them all in Heathrow on chocolates 😉

      • Andrew says:

        I served a woman where I work and she paid for a £9.60 item in 20 pence coins. She just dumped them all on the counter.

    • Pseudonymph says:

      The metals ratio is interesting. I think I read an interview in which Rowling states that she actually just chose prime numbers but I forget her reason for doing so.

      I love how pervasive the themes of nature, nurture, and choice are in this series. How responsible are people for their choices? Can Voldemort help it that he's a sociopath? Can Draco help it that he was raised to be the kind of person he is at this point? I go back and forth all the time on how harshly I judge all of the characters for their various actions.

    • notemily says:

      I'm pretty sure the Wizarding money system is just supposed to be a parody of the old (pre-metric) British monetary system, much like Quidditch is a parody of soccer/football. You can read up on it at Wikipedia but the gist is: 12 pence in a shilling, 20 shillings in a pound, making 240 pence per pound. A penny is divided into four farthings, a guinea is 21 shillings, a florin is 2 shillings, 5 shillings makes a crown, etc, etc. When you read up on it, the wizarding system starts to look simpler. 😛

      • monkeybutter says:

        Yeah, I know! We all used to be on hard money. I just like that she kept the ratios about what they're supposed to be. The goblins are obviously only keeping it around to fuck with humans.

  11. naive_wanderer says:

    "Like, stick with the metric system, wizards. Don’t try to rebel like the United States did and create a system NO ONE ELSE USES that makes LITTLE TO NO SENSE IN MOST CONTEXTS."

    Wait, how is money based on the metric system? Hahaha.

    I always assumed that Harry has the same wand core as Voldemort because of the part of Voldemort's soul in him?

    • Emily says:

      Apparently, the old British money system with guineas and sovereigns and such-like was very random and complicated before they converted to a decimal money system, so this could be another of JKR's way of making the wizarding world seem old-fashioned.

    • EofS says:

      Because it’s based on 1:100.

      [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

      • naive_wanderer says:

        Oh, I feel extremely stupid now for not realizing that!

        American money uses the same 1:100 system for money, though, at least.

        • EofS says:

          For what it's worth, the wizarding world in general uses imperial still – parchment lengths, wand lengths etc are always given in inches and feet. Which fits with the old fashioned feel of their world.

          • notemily says:

            Yeah, I always got the feeling that the wizards were stuck in the past with some stuff. Part of that is because they can't really use electricity (right? Or did I read that in a fanfic somewhere?) but part of it is just that when the wizarding world split off from the Muggle one, they naturally advanced in different ways. I would imagine that wizards would spend more time thinking up new spells than worrying about whether their measurement system is easily understood.

            • accio doublestuff says:

              right. everything is candles for wizards – no electricity. hermione talks about how harry's watch can't work at hogwarts because there is too much magic in the air, she says something like "all those substitutes that muggles use for magic don't work at hogwarts" or something like that in GoF when she's trying to explain bugging to Ron. which i always found fascinating…no electricity even though they're magic! no computers! just "old fashioned" stuff + magic. but they live in our world. awesome!

              • Openattheclose says:

                And they still use parchment and quills. One of my favorite fanfics ever has Harry trying to get Hogwarts students to use pens and paper on the basis that it's harder to write with a quill and parchment is made from animal skin.

                • Andrew says:

                  Parchment is made from animal skin? How did I not know that?!?!

                  • hazelwillow says:

                    Hm… actually, Vellum used to be made from animal skin (sheepskin) –that's the stuff old manuscripts copied in Monasteries were made from, like the Book of Kells. Parchment on the other hand definitely suggests "paper," at least to me.

                • kellythered says:

                  But what if a vegan goes to Hogwarts?! What do they do?

              • kellythered says:

                But what about the radio? The Weasleys have a wireless, and there's the WWN…

              • Ellalalala says:

                How much simpler it would have been if they'd just been able to google Nicolas Flamel and causes of petrification and how to beat a dragon. And how much more boring!

                Oh I'm sorry, if they had consulted their favourite search engine.

                • Anjemon says:

                  Madam Pince?

                  Also, I still think that even a magical librarian would have had some system of organizing information by subject. Maybe not a computer system, but something else to make her life (and student's research) easier.

                  • EofS says:

                    Presumably card catalogues and the dewey decimal system, same as muggle librarians.

                    • Ellalalala says:

                      A much more complicated dewey decimal system, in which the numbers periodically change and the cards shuffle and the shelves realign… and there's a section in which you will find the exact book you need if only you pace back and forth three times in front of it thinking about EXACTLY what you require… it's just no one's yet discovered it yet… Aww man, that would be SO Hogwartsian!! MAKE IT BE REAL

  12. myownmetaphor says:

    I am so glad you posted a rereview today, after the mindfuck that was THG we really needed it. Not that this isn't a mindfuck, just in a different way.

    I wonder if JK Rowling had already thought of the dragon escape scene? If she knew she was going to kill Hedwig (TEARS FOREVER)? If Ollivander was going to become as important as he ends up being?

    Um, can we have a pity party for all this not being real? Because for realz, WHY ISN'T THIS REAL?!?!!?!?!

  13. Phoebe says:

    yay! ive been refreshing alot just in case there was another hp reread!

  14. Phoebe says:

    mark, you said "harry grinned at harry" and i literally spent 5 minutes trying to imagine that. good times.

  15. stellaaaaakris says:

    "The books a thousand years old! It still refers to dementors as ringwraiths!"

    I love how detailed this review is and how into it you so obviously are.

    On Entertainment Weekly's website, there is (was?) an article about the best things we discovered in 2010 that weren't published/distributed/aired in 2010. I immediately thought of your whole franchise (um, I don't know what to call this awesomeness) because they mentioned THG and Doctor Who. I also skimmed through the first page of comments and soooo many people were mentioning Firefly (and other Whedon projects). I'm gonna go ahead and assume HP would be on your list. My list would include Firefly, AVPM/AVPS, maybe Skins, and The Tudors. I'd also include MRHP but you were in 2010! So much goodness in the future for the next year!

    • Are you saying you're smarter den… Merlin? ::glares::

    • bibliotrek says:

      What is AVPM/AVPS? I keep seeing references to it!

      • stellaaaaakris says:

        A Very Potter Musical/A Very Potter Sequel! They are both full length musicals produced by University of Michigan students. The guy who plays Harry is now on Glee. They're parodies that can be found on Youtube. I personally really enjoy them, but they're also a bit hard to listen to because of sound quality (I'd recommend ear phones for the first time and then it's pretty easy to follow along if you ever rewatch). I think Mark has plans to make them a Mark Watches project, but I don't know when.

        • amandajane5 says:

          Oh yes! I couldn't hear them the first time I tried with my computer's speakers and was very frustrated, but when I plugged in some external speakers that I could actually turn up, I loved the musicals to pieces. You will too, because they're TOTALLY AWESOME! 🙂

    • blessthechildren says:

      Mark needs to watch these – he promised a liveblog!

  16. mariekp says:

    Yeah, you are already sad because of Hedwig so guess what are my feelings when Harry is almost exploding of happiness in book three when he finds out Sirius is his godfather and he has a house and Sirius' happiness and… omg are these tears rolling down my cheeks?

    [youtube ZGes7FDmHAM youtube]

    • Silverilly says:

      I'm just laughing! Ha. Ha. Hahaha.

    • The Queen of Harts says:

      Yeah that…that happens to me. Reading PoA (my favourite of the series) is now so bitter-sweet because…noooo, Sirius, noooooo D:

      • mariekp says:

        I can't reread any of the earlier books after reading Deathly Hallows. I tried rereading PH during Mark's first round of reviews… But I couldn't get past the Weasley's bit in Platform 9 3/4. Freeeeeeeeeeeeeed )= It didn't help that I was still in denial about his death.

    • paulineparadise says:

      you know, I have a really really really big imagination, and I can think of a story/movie/plot/scene EVERYWHERE. So last night I couldn't sleep and I just read a Dorcas Meadowes/Sirius Black fanfiction (I like Marauder fanfic don't judge me) so a story came up in my head. Dorcas had been given Draught of the Living Dead and therefore people thought she was dead, but then, just after the battle in DH, she was 'alive' again. (Do people wake up from that potion? In my mind, they do after a lot of years). So she heard what happened and that everyone of her friends was dead, and then she was 'invited' to Remus' and Tonks' funeral, and she started talking about how great Lily, James, Marlene and Emmeline were, how Peter betrayed the Potters, how Sirius was innocent, how Remus deserved more than the life he had (before Tonks, with Tonks he was a bit more happy). And after the funeral she just got all depressed and sad and stuff, and in the end she killed herself because she wanted to be with her friends again.

      I honestly made myself cry with a story I made up myself. But now I can't read Marauder fanfiction anymore because it's just so sad.

      … How can fictional characters make me cry? WHYYY?

  17. simply_shipping says:

    Well, Ollivander totally could have refused to sell him that wand. There's no law (that we know of) saying that Ollivander has to sell any of his wands, or that he has to sell the wand that suits the customer. That said, why would he refuse a sale unless he knew what the wand could do? He's got to stay in business somehow.

    And Britain used to have a messed up money system, and we get our messed-up units of measure from them (of course, the US is too stubborn to change even though Britain's mostly managed it, but that's a different complaint), so I don't find the wizards having a screwed-up money ratio too odd.

    That said, I agree with the earlier poster who said that they'd never bother to use Knuts because of the annoyance.

  18. For Hedwig I shed ALL THE TEARS.

    Who else wants to hold a "sob over the owl" party? We can sing about Odo the Unlucky.

  19. Emily says:

    Guess what! I was reading "The Elves and the Shoemaker" to a class today, and I was always familiar with the reworked story in which the now-wealthy shoe-maker thanks the elves very much and tells them that he can make his own shoes now that he's back on his feet, and they go off to help someone else. Do you know what happens in the original story?

    HE GIVES THEM CLOTHES! He notices that they're dressed in rags when he spies on them, so his wife makes them clothes and he makes them shoes which they leave for the elves to find. Then the elves sing about how, now that they're dressed so nicely, they don't feel like being cobblers any more and they leave, never to be seen again.

    Which, everyone else probably already knows this and maybe I should have waited until we met Dobby to mention it anyway but – CLOTHES! MIND BLOWN, OVER HERE!

    • kytten says:

      It's actually based on old fairies stories.

      Elves (can't remember their names) would help around the house; but could cause mischief and trouble. If you no longer wanted their help/ or the mischief they caused was too much, you would leave clothes out for them, and that would stop them helping.

      Obviously, there were a few mistakes on that.

      There are usually two different reasons for them no longer helping once they have clothes; for some the giving of clothes is an insult. Not only will they no longer help; but they will actively cause trouble.
      For others, being dressed so nicely means they don't want to do any more work, ever.

    • ldwy says:

      Oh wow! I haven't read that story in ages, I had totally forgotten about that!

    • Emmy says:

      OH MY GOD.

      I love you, JK ROWLING

  20. Pan says:

    “Why? Blimey, Harry, everyone’d be wantin’ magic solutions to their problems. Nah, we’re best left alone.”

    Oh, yes of course. It is so exhausting to flick your wand once or – god forbid – even twice to cure a sick muggle. To make a leg regrow. To reconnect nerves in a spine. To kill the unbearable pain, cancer can cause. We're all disgusted by the Capitol in the Hunger Games, that has superior medicine and technical devices, but doesn't share them. There is (nearly) no difference to the wizard-muggle-relationship here. In the Hunger Games it is cruelty, in Harry Potter it is ignorance. But the result is the same.
    And it's not as if muggles don't have anything to offer. I would have found out who Nicolas Flamel was in a matter of seconds. Contrary to Bella Swan, I know how to google…

  21. MichelleZB says:

    "Don’t try to rebel like the United States did and create a system NO ONE ELSE USES that makes LITTLE TO NO SENSE IN MOST CONTEXTS."

    Mark, you do know that the US didn't invent the imperial system, right? Britain invented it.

    In fact, many of their old-fashioned measuring systems make even less sense than the imperial system, and I feel like that's what Rowling is getting at here. She's given the wizards the most nonsensical monetary system ever, which not only gives us a mad-cap wizardy feeling, but invokes old-time Britain, giving us the idea that wizards are sort of old-fashioned or stuck in the past in some ways.

  22. SCWLC says:

    Okay, I wouldn't comment on this, but I just can't help it. The issue of galleons, sickles and knuts has entirely to do with the *old* British monetary system. Sometime in the 1950s, I think it was, they shifted to 100 pennies to the pound. Before that, however, there were, if I recall correctly, 240 pennies to the pound, and an inodrdinate number of other coins, such as the ha'panney, the whatever-the-quarter-of-a-cent-was-called, shillings – which were six pennies, groats – which were twenty, guineas – which were some bizarre number like six pounds and a shilling (they actually had coins for that kind of thing) – and it all made absolutely no sense at all.

    When they switched to a decimal system on their money, people were, naturally, upset, because it was just so hard to figure out their change now that pounds weren't 240 pennies to the total.

    That's my theory on wizarding money. Rowling's making a dig at her own people.

  23. lossthief says:

    I am making it my life's mission to discover the real Diagon Alley.

  24. Kristina says:

    I love how you are discovering these small hints as you go along and read the series with completely different eyes now that you know what happens; just wait until shit gets real :).

    At this pace, you will not be done with the reread by 2015, though :D. I think I started over the minute I closed the last book, I just could not help but revel in the story and the world JKR had created.

    And what a world it is… in tune with some other commenters above: WHY IS THIS NOT REAL??? After all these years, I still want an owl, a wand, a freakin' FIrebolt, I want to be friends with half the characters and punch the other half in the face, starting with Malfoy, the little git, and the Dursleys. Five chapters in and I am seriously contemplating extreme physical violence on fictional people. And I am loving it :D!

  25. dvtd2hp says:

    i actually think that the wand choosing Harry is probably directly tied to the prophecy. What i mean is, if Voldy had chosen to mark Neville instead of Harry, I think the wand would have gone to Neville instead. I believe that it was another way for JK Rowling to level the playing field a little for Harry.

    As for Olivander, would he have kept the wand? No. But he could have warned the right people, had he had foreknowledge of what the wand would be used for. Would he have done it? IDK.

    And as for the bar, i think it's like the enchantments on Hogwarts or the world cup stadium. People don't see whats there, and when they get close, they think of something else that they're supposed to be doing. Besides, people (muggles) tend to see what they expect to see. *shrugs*

  26. Ang says:

    I would have had a very public breakdown had he died in Deathly Hallows because I love Hagrid forever.

    In an interview after the 7th book, JKR said that people begged her not to kill Hagrid, but he was always safe, she specifically planned to not to kill him–because she wanted him to be the one to carry Harry's body out of the forest. I love that, it's such a poetic but omg-so-heartbreaking detail.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      omg which is symbolic because Hagrid was the first to take him ~into~ the magical world, and he'd be the last to take him out.

      hearts shattering forever

      • Great, now that you've said that I'm going to go to Moaning Myrtle's bathroom to have a good cry.

      • Ang says:

        Exactly. 🙁 I mean he woke up again but still so tragic.

      • I think JKR was deliberately writing Hagrid to be the half-wild, half-civilized character who can cross boundaries between different states of being — beast and human, life and death, and so on — according to Levi-Strauss' theories of "the raw and the cooked" and other folklore studies. You can see her signaling this intention with the kind of food Hagrid serves, especially with the time the super-civilized Hermione found a talon in her stew and abruptly lost her appetite. So Hagrid can induct first-years by rowing them across the lake, he can move freely in the Forest, he can try to educate Grawp, he can move Harry from being a protected underage wizard to being a hunted adult wizard, he can move toddler Harry to live with the Muggles, and he can carry Dumbledore's body. Since JKR put the balance of nature and culture within this character, I at least knew she'd need him to survive the end of DH (even if I was WRONG, WRONG, WRONG that she'd see the majesty of letting Snape survive).

      • hazelwillow says:

        Yes. Hagrid and trains/train stations both are important markers of transition between two worlds. Hagrid carrying Harry's body… it looks like it's a transition into death and despair, but really its a transition into a world where Harry doesn't have any of Voldemort in him anymore, a better world. Interesting that JK Rowling herself had the idea for HP on a train (and her parents met on one!).

    • blessthechildren says:

      We all needed Hagrid to live!

  27. hogwarts13 says:

    I’m a big fan of your reviews btw!

    Did you know that the phoenix feather in Harry’s and Voldermort’s wands are from Fawkes? I thought I’d mention that 🙂

    There are so many other little details that you don’t notice until you read it again, like te Vanishing Cabinet and the Locket will be mentioned before knowing what they are 🙂 I’ll point them out when we get to those parts! But it’s not till the later books, keep an eye out though 🙂

    And I’ve always thought Hufflepuffs are losers, the only good thing that came from there is Tonks and maybe Cedric hahah…. I’d actually rather be in Slytherin then that house! What the he’ll is a Hufflepuff indeed!

    I definitely suggest you watch A Very Potter Musical and A Very Potter Sequel on YouTube, it’s really funny 🙂 Just don’t take it seriously haha

    • Indigo says:

      Seconded! Uh, not to nag, Mark… but you've GOT to get on AVPM. It fills my heart with joy. And we haven't steered you wrong so far, have we?


    • Elise says:

      seriously w/ avpm. When he was talking about Draco I just kept thinking about AVPS when Draco says, "My name is Draco Malfoy. I am a racist. I despise gingers and mudbloods. I hate ALL of the Gryffindor house. And my parents work for the guy who killed your parents. Do you want to be my friend?"

      love it!

      • Cee says:

        Hilarious! I have to say, I find it astonishing that Draco actually comes right out and says "you want to be careful…or you'll end up like your parents." I mean WTF, Draco! What an awful thing to say–and not exactly a persuasive argument for friendship!

  28. Pan says:

    I agree that Draco is a product of his environment. Of his entire family, I consider him the least guilty. At that point, he's eleven years old and has – probably – never met anyone, who doesn't share the opinions of his parents. Let alone a mudblood or a muggle. His worldview has never been questioned (and this won't change as he'll end up in Slytherin) and most people don't even change their racist/ableist/homophobic "opinion", if they have access to all the contradicting evidence. Sometimes, personal experience might wake them, but Draco doesn't fall in love with Hermione Granger, he will never be poor and he doesn't have a sibling who might wander off the "right path", like e.g. Sirius.
    So, he is still a disgusting person during his childhood, but I can't really blame him for that. However, I WILL blame him for everything he does in his later life. Won't he see for the next years, what an awesome student Hermione is? How great the Weasley twins (and the entire rest of the family) are, despite the fact, that they are poor? That Hufflepuff's Cedric will be chosen for the TT?
    It is ALL THERE. If he doesn't see it, it is because he doesn't want to. And I'm judging him on that, like any other racist.

    There is another thing, which I will never forgive. In the last book, after the defeat of Voldemort, when the Malfoy family is just turning around and leaving. I hate this scene so much. There are so much parallels to european/world history (The first wizarding war. The short time of – fake – peace, when everything seems perfect, but nothing is. Then the second wizarding war when EVERYTHING is just fucked up, when racism is officially taught at school and torture rebellious wizards is perfectly ok. Then, finally, the defeat of the evil forces and slow steps towards freedom.), why DOES IT HAVE TO END THE SAME WAY IT ENDED IN REALITY? Why is there no justice? Why do they only get the worst of the worst (Umbridge) some sort of punishment? Draco was a child, but Lucius Malfoy was an evil and dangerous adult. Throw him into jail! Don't let him live his happy, joyful life with his family, just because he realized at the very last moment, that Voldemort won't win this? He didn't change a bit. He's still evil, he's still a pure-blood supremacist.
    Let there be justice. What happened after WWII in our world was already depressing enough. This is fiction. It could've ended differently. I doubt, that I will ever get over this.

  29. Kkruger says:

    Olivander has always been an interesting character. Especially considering the re-read because here, in times of peace, Olivander is all about defying hatred–saying how awful Voldemort is and how bad he feels about the acts done by one of his wands. But think about him in Deathly Hallows, the odd kind of sick reverence he has for Voldemort and the power of one of his wands. He may be interesting, but Ollivander is one weird dude.

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      Even here, though, I think we get a little inkling that Ollivander cares too much about the power of the wand, when he calls what Voldemort has done "great." The "terrible" part seemed to be more of an afterthought.

      I really wished his power-hungriness would have been played up more, so the story could have included some vague references to the Elder Wand before Deathly Hallows. I would have been a lot happier with the Hallows storyline if there'd just been a throwaway line from Ollivander, maybe of him being jealous of Gregorovitch because of the rumors.

      • dvtd2hp says:

        i'm not sure that Ollivander meant the "great" as "look at that really cool stuff that he did!" I think he meant it more as "great in magnitude". In this sense, the magic that was done WAS great. Was Voldy accomplished, powerful, and a "great" wizard? Yep, undoubtedly. Was he so "great" that you'd invite him to your wedding/baby shower/birthday party? Abso-fucking-lutely not. At least i wouldn't. Totally different greats.

        that being said, Ollivander was a little strange. But Luna liked him. And i think i trust her judgement, unconventional as she may be. 🙂

        • Mauve_Avenger says:

          Harry said he wasn't sure he liked him the first time they met, and I think his unease with Ollivander might have been brought up again in both of Harry's other two meetings with him. I don't think that would be mentioned if it weren't relevant to how we're supposed to see Ollivander.

          And I wasn't suggesting that if it weren't for the whole disembodied-presumed-dead thing Ollivander and Voldemort would be best friends. In fact, I'm saying exactly what you're saying (aside from your last paragraph) and exactly what the OP was saying about "sick reverence."

      • sabra_n says:

        I think he was just really into wands and wandlore, not power-hungry for himself. Wands were his craft and his life's work.

        • Mauve_Avenger says:

          I should clarify: Power-hungry in the same sense that Slughorn is. He doesn't actually need to use the power himself, he just needs to know that he's the one *creating* the power for others.

      • notemily says:

        Yeah it reminds me of the way Harry says Snape talks about the Dark Arts, as if with reverence instead of revulsion. I thought it was interesting that he DIDN'T get more of a part in the story, that we didn't ever find out his "true" loyalties. It just kind of hints that there are people out there who aren't completely afraid of/horrified by Voldemort. More of Rowling's grey areas.

        • hazelwillow says:

          I'm not sure Ollivander *has* true loyalties, in terms of ideology. Ollivander is the one who makes the wands… and wands only offer raw power, they're amoral in themselves –morality only comes in how you use them. So it makes sense that Ollivander is fascinated by power itself, even if it's amoral. I think Ollivander *has* to have a suggestion of frightening possibilities to his personality, because what he offers –wands –have that possibility of being frightening, too.

  30. EofS says:

    Galleons, sickles and knuts is meant to be incomprehensible and bizarre. It's a very obvious reference to the pre-decimalised currency used in the UK until 1971. Just read that agian. Nineteen. Seventy. One. JKR was 6 when the UK finally switched to a decimalised currency. With great reluctance.

    <blockquote cite="Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Good Omens ">"NOTE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE AND AMERICANS: One shilling = Five Pee. It helps to understand the antique finances of the Witchfinder Army if you know the original British monetary system:

    Two farthings = One Ha'penny. Two ha'pennies = One Penny. Three pennies = A Thrupenny Bit. Two Thrupences = A Sixpence. Two Sixpences = One Shilling, or Bob. Two Bob = A Florin. One Florin and one Sixpence = Half a Crown. Four Half Crowns = Ten Bob Note. Two Ten Bob Notes = One Pound (or 240 pennies). One Pound and One Shilling = One Guinea.

    The British resisted decimalized currency for a long time because they thought it was too complicated."

    (I've nicked TVTropes' version of the quote, so any errors in it are theirs, not mine. I don't have Good Omens to hand.)

    Of course JKR takes it to the point of ridiculousness – incomprehensible though it appears, old British currency was basically structured around the beautiful divisibility of the number 12, stretching right up to 240 pence in a pound. Obviously basing stuff on 10 is much easier, but there was some logic behind our old system. Slightly more than behind the wizarding one. But only slightly.

    It says so much that Harry has never been to London, since he grew up right on the outskirts. You can bet Dudley's been more than a few times.

    As for Muggles not seeing the Leaky Cauldron as they walk down Charing Cross Road… I think it's protected by anti-muggle charms like Hogwarts (though I think we see Hermione's parents there some time). I assume they were a bit like an SEP field from H2G2. Sadly the best explanation I can find is on wiki, so stop after the paragraph on bistromathics because the next paragraphette relates to New Who, albeit in a very minor, meaningless to you currently way.

    Have you read Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy? Could be another to consider reading/watching/listening to. It was a radio series first and foremost, but since has been a tv programme, an "increasingly inaccurately named" trilogy of five books, a film, a couple of games, a towel and so many other things. (Another suggestion, Life on Mars – the original, not the American version. It's 16 sublime hours of television.)

  31. Revolution64 says:

    "Harry grinned at Harry.

    “Told yeh, didn’t i? Tod yeh you was famous. Even Professor Quirrell was tremblin’ ter meet yeh—mind you, he’s usually tremblin’.”

    I laughed so fucking hard at that type-o.

  32. Stephanie says:

    Three things!
    1) I always thought that The Leaky Cauldron must have had the same type of spell that 12 Grimmauld Place had. They said that all the muggles believed that it was just a mistake because 12 never existed.
    2) JK Rowling said that when her sister first read the 7th book, as she opened it, she just looked at Jo and said, "If you kill Hagrid, I'll never forgive you."
    3) I got the impression that Harry's wand chose him partly because of his connection with Voldemort and the other wand. I think that if Harry didn't have part of Voldemort's soul inside him, he might not have been chosen by the same wand.

  33. kajacana says:

    This is fantastic. I want to go to Diagon Alley RIGHT NOW.
    I remember being so damn impressed by Gringotts the first time it showed up. It's creepy and magnificent and terrifying and dizzyingly complicated.
    Also, reading the series a second (or third, fourth, tenth, millionth) time is like… you are SURE that the attack is coming from the north, so you put all your defensive forces at the north side of your brain, but then JKR travels through space and time and ATTACKS FROM THE SOUTH OMG.
    In closing, "What the hell is a Hufflepuff?"

  34. Quizzical says:

    mark, would you ever do a review of these where you just blast through the books as you would have if you weren't doing a chapter by chapter thinger? it would be interesting to me to see what stuck out to you when you read it that way.

    not complaining about this, though. the first time you go back and see all the details is a real joy. <3

    • blessthechildren says:

      I was thinking that re-reading sections might be more enjoyable, chapter by chapter re-reads seem to be a fail, we haven't gotten a new HP review in over a month. :[

      • Quizzical says:

        he has so much going on now. it would be cool if in a break for all those other things he just read the whole book in a sitting, taking notes as he goes.

        we'll have to see! 🙂

  35. Mauve_Avenger says:

    Hagrid's (admittedly half-hearted) defense of Hufflepuffs that you quoted is the reason a lot of us believed that he was a Hufflepuff himself. That, and he was knitting a canary yellow something or other on the Underground.

  36. Emily says:

    REQUEST: Mark, could you possibly link back to your original reviews of each chapter as you post the re-reads. I'd like to compare.

    P.S. I suggest Leviathan and Behemoth as post-HG MarkReads. I know there's only two right now, but they're fantastic!

  37. Kylie says:


    • bell_erin_a says:


  38. shoroko says:

    Regarding what wizards can do for Muggles – we know that in immediate life-threatening situations, magic can be used in view of Muggles; in OotP Harry got off for underage wizardry and use of magic in the presence of Muggle because it was a life-threatening situation. Wizards can also use magic to protect Muggles in unseen ways – in DH, they suggest on "Potterwatch" that wizards put up protective enchantments on Muggle homes. It's still kind of problematic, but it's also a reasonable point that every attempt to integrate the Muggle and wizarding worlds has gone, um, less than well.

  39. qwopisinthemailbox says:

    "So how does this work? Do wizards put an enchantment on the place so that only other wizards can see it?"
    i imagine it's like the perception filter from Doctor Who (because that's the only way i know how to think now)…unless you're looking for it (or in this case probably, magic), it just convinces you (muggles) to look away and ignore it…

  40. bookling says:

    Neville had his dad's old wand until it was broken in OotP! So Neville never had a wand choose him at all until after that. OMG maybe that was because of the prophecy too.

  41. Emily says:

    Mind you, the U.S. didn't make up a new system to be spiteful, that was why the Metric system was created. Can you imagine life with the metric clock?

    I just finished reading all of your Harry Potter reviews and it's like reliving the excitement all over again, and it's fucking amazing. I always felt so cool as a little kid rereading the books between releases and looking for all of the little hints and I love watching someone else do that.
    I also just think that you should review everything ever because your commentary is great.

  42. bell_erin_a says:

    Chapter 5 is exactly what I needed after that awful HG chapter today! This chapter never gets old, and seeing Diagon Alley through eleven-year-old Harry's eyes is always so ~magical~. There's not much else to say, just that I love how all of this is so innocent. Just makes it that much more heartbreaking when we see Diagon Alley in shambles in later books. 🙁

    Draco Malfoy is an eleven-year-old bigot. What.

    Brb, watching the first movie like I've wanted to for a month now. Yay for winter break and doing absolutely nothing!

  43. Katherine says:

    I think I still believe that Draco is a product of his environment, of being white and well-off and born into a pureblood family.

    I feel like you could skip "white" here. We see no indication in the books that ethnicity is an issue in the wizarding world – it's overshadowed by the issue of wizarding parentage.

    Somehow the Diagon Alley chapter never felt overly interesting to me – probably because I read Chamber of Secrets first, and so was already familiar with all of the things that are introduced as new and fascinating. It always felt vaguely repetitive, like the chapters later on in the series that recap previous events (eg, chapter 2 of GoF).

    • pennylane27 says:

      Yeah, it's sort of weird how families like the Malfoys seem to be totally ok with different ethnics but when it comes to purity of blood they get all "Ew, get away from me". And by weird I mean totally genius, because JKR managed to put the concept of discrimination and racism in a completely different context and the message remains "Discrimination is wrong kids, we are all the same".

    • Openattheclose says:

      Agree. I think Draco would be just as entitled, smug, and bigoted no matter what color he was. Also, they are in Britain, not the U.S. and I believe that that issue is a little different there.

    • Sail says:

      I agree that I don't think "white" is part of the equation in Rowling's world. While Draco admittedly never truly redeems himself in the story, I feel like at this point he could easily go either way. Keep in mind that wizarding children are home-schooled and, therefore, likely only exposed to people that their parents associate with. Knowing that the Malfoys as a whole are caught up in their pureblood mania, Draco has never been exposed to anything but the bigotry his parents have displayed his entire life. At the age of 11, he is doing nothing more than parroting his own parents' beliefs. If you've never been exposed to the other parts of society, it would be difficult to realize the fault in what you've been taught. Sadly, once exposed, he continues to parrot these beliefs and adopts them as his own (at least to a large degree), but for this chapter at least, I have some sympathy for Draco's bigotry.

  44. sarah says:

    can i just be immature for a moment and say that if you read harry potter and replace every "wand" with "wang" it provides hours of entertainment.

    “I’m sorry to say I sold the wang that did it,” he said softly. “Thirteen-and-a-half inches. Yew. Powerful wang, very powerful, and in the wrong hands…well, if I’d known what that wang was going out into the world to do…”


  45. andreah1234 says:


    This is the chapter I felt in love with this series. The fact that Jo actually took the job to CREATE whole world, with it's rules and it's money and all it's perks just makes you think how much care and thought she actually put into this series, and then out of the sudden BAM! MIND BLOWN. And then you get sad because it's been TEN years since you first felt that magic. Brb, crying over my lost childhood :'(

  46. duckrebel21 says:

    hey, dunno if anyone showed you this yet, but it just came out today and I laughed so hard. Now you can watch it too, cuz you finished it!

  47. Andrew (Chagrin) says:

    I know a bunch of us pointed it out toward the end of DH, but Draco's Hufflepuff comment is a perfect parallel to James's which Harry sees in flashback much later on.

    Usually people point that out to show what an arse James was, but sometimes I wonder if the opposite isn't also true: that maybe Draco does have the chance to grow up and leave behind some of his arrogance and prejudice. He and Harry seem civil enough to one another in the epilogue, after all.

    (I can not believe I am defending Draco Fucking Malfoy. I am really not a fan.)
    (… although I'm going to have so much fun being able to talk freely about Severus. Yesssss.)

  48. sabra_n says:

    Even though Rowling's writing clearly got better as she went along, this chapter exemplifies why I'll always have a giant soft spot for Sorcerer's Stone, and why it's my most-read HP book. It's that shiny newness of the magical world and Harry's sense of wonderment and discovery throughout. I love it.

  49. Elise says:

    A few things…

    "My name is Draco Malfoy. I am a racist. I despise gingers and mudbloods. I hate ALL of the Gryffindor house. And my parents work for the guy who killed your parents. Do you want to be my friend ?" (A very potter sequel)

    Also, has anyone else read James Potter and the Hall of Elders Crossing??? It was so hugely popular that the author was sued before WB and JKR decided to let the fandom evolve on its own as long as no one tried to profit (documented in "We are Wizards" which is a great documentary)

    Anyway, you can read it at and one of the main plots deals w/ the issue of the separation between magical and muggle worlds. It also deals a lot with how things are concealed. It has 3 books and they are all HP size so it is a fun and extensive read.

    Seriously, check it out. I've read a lot of fanfiction, but this is not fanfiction.

  50. Jenna says:

    When I read the bit about how Mark is realizing that Harry has hope for the first time, I immediately thought "and for the first time in my liiiife, I don't feel so aloooooooone." SO excited for AVPM/AVPS :D:D

  51. Openattheclose says:

    WHO, HARRY, and the craziest chapter of the Hunger Games all in one day? Mark, you have outdone yourself.

  52. Newbia says:

    It's so funny to go from reading your review of the Hunger Games to your review of Harry Potter.

    First review:
    Next review:
    "Awww! Hagrid! Hedwig! Magic! It's so adorable. Hugs for everyone!"

  53. Xocolatl. says:


    Can you please do a Mark Watches A Very Potter Musical!?!? That would be so awesome and cool and awesome and I would love you forever IT WOULD BE SO COOL PLEASE?! I mean, I know for sure people post tons of quotes from it and you would finally understand where we're getting the quotes, not to mention since you've finished all the books you would understand all the references! PLEASE?

  54. cjazzle says:

    1) why can only wizards see the leaky cauldron? a simple theory: anti-muggle spell, one we learn about in goblet of fire, and one we hear quite often in movie 7 part 1.

    2) why hide from muggles? yes, muggles would want magic solutions all the time, but i think the further implication, that perhaps rowling wasn't given the space to explain, because at that point the books were just trying to get sold and i can imagine her editors telling her to keep things short and sweet, is that ultimately the muggles would become quite fearful of wizards, that they would never be able to truly access or harness the power of magic, and they would act out in hostility towards wizards. if they can't have it, nobody should. as wise master yoda once said, "fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to the dark side."

  55. gredandforge says:

    This is one of my favorite chapters, when Harry goes to Diagon Alley and is exposed to the wizarding world for the first time 😀 I felt like I was walking through the streets with him, looking at everything!

  56. leaenalittera says:

    The issue with how wizards respond to using magic to help Muggles is actually addressed a few more times in the series. Two jump to my mind immediately: Harry was cleared of breaking the Statute of Secrecy in book 5 because he was acting to protect his own and Dudley's lives; and the Potterwatch crew encouraged listeners to cast protective charms over Muggle dwellings in their neighbourhoods. Both of these facts suggest to me that the wizarding world at the very least looks favourably on using magic to protect Muggles, and at the very most actively encourages it, as long as it's discreet.

  57. Button says:

    Continuity error?

    Hagrid talks like Professor Quirrell has been teaching DADA for multiple years. He took a year off of being the DADA teacher to go to the Black Forest.

    In book 6, Dumbledore says that they’ve not been able to keep a DADA professor for more than a year since Voldemort went after the position.

    Hagrid definitely makes it sound like Quirrell was teaching *DADA* (else why would he take a year off to get experience defending against the dark arts?) before he left, so it’s not a Snape-like situation. What gives?

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

    • Kiryn says:

      Actually, I think JKR said that Quirrell taught Muggle Studies, and then he took a year off before taking the post of DADA. He may have taken the year off to do what you said, gain some experience in fighting the Dark Arts. But I'm pretty sure he was originally the Muggle Studies professor.

    • blessthechildren says:

      Interesting comment is interesting. But I think the other commenters are correct in that he didn't teach DADA before, or he took a year of in between years of teaching it,

  58. Lolua says:

    Harry must be wondering…<img src="; border="0" alt="SwTodd/HP crossover macro">

  59. paulineparadise says:

    Background Information Time:
    Just as Knockturn Alley becomes "Nocturnally" (Knockturnally) when you put the two words together, Diagon alley becomes "Diagonally". According to Gretchen, "Diagon Alley" is actually "diagonal ley." A ley line is a line connecting ancient sites of Britain and was thought to have magical powers.
    "Briefly, the idea, first propounded by Alfred Watkins, a Herefordshire amateur archaeologist in the early 1920's, holds that the early inhabitants of Britain deliberately placed mounds, camps and standing stones across the landscape in straight lines. As time went by later structures were added to these sites. Some Roman roads followed the leys, Christian churches were built on what had been ley markers in order to take advantage of the age and sanctity already attached to them, and the keeps of mediaeval castles were sited on mounds that had marked leys millennia before. As a result it is still possible to trace these alignments on maps."
    –Sister Mary Lunatic of HP4GU

    "Gringots" is an angram of "g storing". Possibly "galleon storing" or "gold storing". Or, Christina points out that it could be G + R + Ingots (bars of metal, often gold). The G and R are open for interpretation. A possibility could be "Goblin-Run"
    (too bad it's Gringotts, not Gringots)


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  60. lindseytinsey says:

    I too wished he could have stayed at the Burrow but at this point he doesn't even know the Weasley's.

  61. HieronymusGrbrd says:

    Mark, did you notice that Hagrid doesn’t exactly say the truth concerning: “There’s not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn’t in Slytherin.”?

    So the marauder who betrayed the Potters to Voldemort never went bad?

    I’m reading this book for the fourth or fifth time, but only now I wonder: May JKR have done this on purpose, building our and Harry’s prejudice on information that is revealed to be inaccurate when we learn more, to show how wrong this and every prejudice is?

    Slytherin observation Nr. 1 (I will have to watch if there is more of this).

    • Phoebe says:

      Actually, he's saying that all of the bad wizards and witches were in Slytherin, not all the Slytherins are bad.

      • notemily says:

        That's not the point the original commenter was making. The point is that someone betrayed the Potters to Voldemort and that person was in Gryffindor, not Slytherin.

      • HieronymusGrbrd says:

        Judging from your comment to anahera below I think you got it now: Peter Pettigrew is a bad wizard (actually a death eater) who was not in Slytherin, so Hagrid doesn't know all bad wizards and their house.

    • Starsea28 says:


      Thank you so much. Tears in my eyes from the laughter.

    • Andrew (Chagrin) says:

      There's another Andrew about?

      Good thing I had already committed to the parantheses so people would recognise my username from the buzznet blogs..

      • Andrew says:

        Oh yes. I didn't ever comment on Buzznet and I didn't think about using a more recognisable name. Oh well, at least we have different pictures.

    • blessthechildren says:

      This is funny!

  62. lisra says:

    I'm with Mark on Malfoy… throughout the series it becomes apparent that he is has a very weak self. He has received a huge feeling of importance from his background but as the series progresses it all dribbles away. The "influence" his dad has, the money and his own feeling of superiority never stop him from failling because he is just not that good. Instead of humility he develops pretence and cowardice. He is in events that are much beyond him. Unlike Snape he really deserves pity, because he is nothing.

  63. Sarah says:

    "If Hagrid hadn’t pointed it out, Harry wouldn’t have noticed it was there."

    It's not a Fidelius Charm, because the secret keeper has to reveal the exact location to a person in order for them to see it. Hagrid never says "The Leaky Cauldron is located at … " I'm more inclined to believe it's some kind of Muggle-Repelling charm. Just like the Quidditch World Cup and Hogwarts. It's certainly there, but the Muggles' mind will suddenly think of something else they must do, etc. In GoF, Rowling goes into detail about how these charms work. Also, keep in mind the charms that are cast in DH when they're camping.

    I think I enjoyed the second read of the series even more than the first. You get to take your time to appreciate the detail and foreshadowing. During the first read, I was so desperate to find out what was going to happen that I skipped over a lot of these details. I had lots of time between books to do this too; go to websites, read fan-written books, reread, etc. But the first time I could reread the entire series without stopping… that was magical! 🙂

  64. ldwy says:

    Hahahaha oh man, I love Hagrid. Also I wish I could carry tea with me at all times.

    Ok, so I don't actually have teabags in my pockets, but I'm about one step removed from this.
    YESSSSSS Hagrid and I are kindred spirits on the astral plane!!!

  65. Squee! Another HP re-read chapter! Here I go (despite my anxieties that I am the most boring and pedantic of Mark's commenters ever)….

    I know a lot of people, quite rightly, have problems with the class/money issues of Harry conveniently inheriting a fortune — makes it a lot easier to be the Chosen One when you've got a trust fund plus a professor and a rich godfather who will buy you brooms — but there is an inarguable magic about the moment we, and Harry, see the piles of wealth for the first time. No amount of hard-eyed realism can take away my feeling that it's about the riches of discovering your true self, your connectedness to your dead but loving parents, your gifts, the memories that are lying there waiting for you to claim them, things that will always be yours and no one else's even if you never know about them. Like the feelings Harry gets from Lily's letter in DH: the cat. The first birthday present. Those treasures are his. The piles of money are what the Dursleys stole from Harry: his memories that they deny or withhold.

    It's painful, later, to contrast these easy riches with the empty vault of the Weasleys, but I found that reading it on an emotional level helps, since the Weasleys are obviously abundant in emotional wealth (and Draco's family wealth doesn't protect him from the terrible anxiety of not living up to his father's expectations).

    I've been trying to read wandlore from an emotional level, too (because it just gives me a headache to try to map it out literally). In this chapter that's all about what 11-year-olds bring with them to Hogwarts — abusive neglect plus unknown wealth, or Pureblood wealth and prejudice, or cultural ignorance or sophistication — we see on re-read that at least Dumbledore guaranteed, by placing Harry with Muggles, that nobody would try to pervert Harry's magic according to the family agenda. Neville wasn't allowed the Ollivander experience as an 11-year-old, and even though it's so pat to say that his Gran forcing Neville to use Frank Longbottom's wand was damaging to Neville's identity and magic, it just keeps resonating anyway. That said, do I think the holly and phoenix wand would have gone to Neville, had Voldemort made Neville into the Chosen One? I don't think that's necessarily the case, because I don't think Harry ONLY got that wand because the shared core would equip him to fight Voldemort — that's not the sole purpose of his life, and Voldemort doesn't have the power to define Harry's existence that way, and the wand responds to who Harry is even after the Horcrux is gone out of his scar, to Harry's basic self. The phoenix feather means the ability to regenerate from death and loss, and the life-magic associations with holly mean that this is Harry's innate tendency. The phoenix feather in Voldemort's wand is the thing that makes him vulnerable to Harry, the vestiges of his longing for mother-love (the jealousy of it that led him to take Harry's blood, the closest he could get to a mother caring about him and wanting to protect him), his almost-dead desire for healing that will fight against and overcome his attempt to stave off death (and therefore rebirth). Voldemort was so attracted to the power and death associations of the yew that he overlooked the power of the phoenix feather (= rejected Dumbledore's attempts to reach him or the fact that as long as he was alive, he'd never be able to kill the desire for healing and love). I think that shows that Voldemort's defeat was in himself and it didn't make that much difference what wand was battling him.

    Okay, I'll stop rambling and spamming now. Thanks for the morning discussion, Mark!

    • Starsea28 says:

      I love this comment. It's interesting to think that Voldemort had the potentital to regenerate from the death and loss that marked the beginning of his life (and his family history) but he chose to embrace them instead (the yew). It's trite but holly comes from "holy" and so Harry's wand is 'blessed'. Holly berries represent Christ's blood in Christian symbology, which is of course a symbol of rebirth.

    • gredandforge says:

      Wow, love this comment.
      You made a good point about the benefit of Harry growing up with Muggles — "nobody would try to pervert Harry's magic according to the family agenda." So he came into the wizarding world unbiased and as a blank slate, which is why he turned out as awesome as he did. I never thought about that before! Man, Dumbledore knew what he was doing 😛

  66. Phoebe says:

    There are. Example, Peter Pettigrew.

    • Anahera says:

      But he's there because he's a coward and was threatened by Voldemort. I mean.. why couldn't there be a Ravenclaw who believes in pureblood supremacy? Or simply interested in the Dark Arts? hmm?

      • Phoebe says:

        probably because if you had those traits the sorting hat would recognize that and put you in slytherin

        • paulineparadise says:

          Slytherin stands for people who are cunning, smart, good leaders, consider all options and choose the best. Whether they choose the best for themselves or for everyone depends on what kind of person that person is.

          I like fanon!Slytherin because they realise those things, and canon!Slytherin makes it look like Slytherin stands for 'EVIL PEOPLE, GO HIDE OR DIE!'

  67. peacockdawson says:

    Okay. The reason Harry gets that wand is because of the connection between him and Voldemort. From the moment Voldy picked Harry he MADE the prophecy true. It doesn't need proof that it's true, it just is. Maybe you just didn't pay enough attention to those monologue scenes you always liked to complain about.

    Also, Fawkes was totally the pheonix, which is super awesome.

  68. Claretts says:

    The thing that troubles me about this chapter, though, is that this is the part where the students in the Houses get stereotyped. I mean, Hagrid becomes an important character in Harry's life because he's essentially plucking Harry from his horrible world and putting him in a new one, and Hagrid just mentions that there isn't a single wizard who went bad who wasn't put in Slytherin, automatically creating a bias against the House. Of course, I understand that it's a plot device JK used to have Harry arguing with the Sorting Hat so he wouldn't be put in Slytherin, but the prejudice still remains. Not all Slytherins are bad, just in the same way that not all Gryffindors, Hufflepuffs of Ravenclaws are good. That's probably the reason why Hogwarts is so divided. Then again, having Houses and purposely separating kids into groups isn't exactly the brightest idea.

    It's one of the things I'm dissatisfied with in the series, to be honest. I was glad that the Sorting Hat spoke of inter-House unity but was kind of disappointed when JK left out the Slytherins. I can't imagine all of them being evil, even if they are more available to Voldemort.

    I sort of wish Harry went back to school and followed all those eighth-year fics where he tried to make inter-House unity a reality.


    • gredandforge says:

      Insightful comment. I think that partly the stereotypes are there because they're pretty much true. Kids are sorted into Houses based on their character and traits, so stereotypes about Gryffindors being brave and Ravenclaws being clever, etc, have some truth to them. The majority of Dark wizards ARE from Slytherin, rather than from any other house, so we can assume that most kids from the other houses do turn out "good" in the sense that they don't become Dark wizards (even if they're not saints in other aspects). The traits/beliefs that Slytherin House values (like pure-blood supremacy) kind of contribute to their reputation and the Sorting Hat recognizes kids with these traits/beliefs and sorts them into Slytherin. These wizards go bad not because they ARE in Slytherin; they're in Slytherin because they have certain traits that might, if cultivated, later lead them to become "bad." So I don't think being in Slytherin itself and its stereotype is necessarily the problem – they are who they are 😛
      And it's the kids in these houses that cultivate the division or the unity — the kids in Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff seem to get along fine because they treat each other civilly, whereas the current batch of Slytherins treat others poorly so they don't come off as very likeable people.

  69. Yusra says:

    Quick question: does tapping your wand onto the bricks at the Leaky Cauldron constitute as underage magic? I mean, why not? *chuckleatchildishumour*
    [could the fact that there is SO MUCH magic around them protect them from the Minsitry's trace (I'm thinking to DH where I think Hermione mentioned it, or summat like that)]

    • HieronymusGrbrd says:

      Late answer: The Trace detects magic that is performed in the vicinity of kids, not necessarily by the kids themselves (this is the reason why it is so difficult to move Harry from 4PD while he is still under age), but the trace doesn't tell who did it.

      Without further investigation the ministry could not know if kids tapped the brick, accompanied an adult who tapped the brick or asked Tom the barkeeper to open the door for them, but the ministry doesn't have the capacity to investigate every single trace message. So the ministry ignores essentially all signals from places that are frequently visited by adult wizards and witches.

      For all practical purposes underage magic is only a problem in muggle environments.

      • Yusra says:

        That's pretty much what I guessed – and what I was trying to convey through my ~square brackets~. But, I obviously failed at that. 🙂
        Thank you anyway, I give you thumb up, yesh?

  70. Arianny says:

    Mark, quit your Hufflepuff-hatin'! We are a badass bunch, believe it or not. We have Tonks! *snap*
    …oh god, Tonks :((((((((((((

  71. Starsea28 says:

    Everyone says Hufflepuff are a lot o’ duffers, but—“

    Actually, Hagrid's sticking up for Hufflepuffs here but Harry doesn't realise it. And a lot of people seem to take this as confirmation that Hufflepuffs are useless when it's actually supposed to indicate there's more to them than meets the eye. Witness Cedric Diggory.

    Also, notice how Harry compares Draco to Dudley before even knowing his name? That, right there, is an indication that Draco has already lost out. Harry won't ever want to be friends with someone who reminds him of Dudley (ironically, Dudley manages to get past his upbringing and Draco doesn't). It's like him saying that Tonks looks like Ginny's older sister when she has red hair – simulatenously shows that he likes Tonks and finds her (or maybe her resemblance to Ginny) attractive.

  72. lindseytinsey says:

    Hey! Maybe this is a bit off topic but…
    On this day (21 December) in 2006 JK Rowling revealed the title "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" to us on her website. I just remember trying to figure out what a hallow is or where it is, if it was a place. Googled my life away on that day haha.

  73. Blabbla says:

    I love that he mentions the stalagmites in DH, too.

  74. blessthechildren says:

    Neville had his Dad's old wand (until some douchebag Death Eater broke it in the Ministry of Magic). Neville gets a replacement before HBP, and it's the last wand Ollivander sold before he disappeared. NEVILLE! 🙂

  75. Ms Katonic says:

    Why can't the Muggles see the Leaky Cauldron? Easy, it's covered in Muggle-Repelling Charms! The same ones mentioned in GoF that are used to hide the World Cup stadium.

    I'm sure many other people mentioned this, but Britain's currency used to consist of pounds, shillings and pence right up until 1968 or so, when we finally went decimal. The Wizarding World, of course, never did.

  76. blessthechildren says:

    Hm, I think if the wizards revealed themselves, it would be very similar to the plot of X-Men. They'd be trying to save the world, but instead of being allowed to do so, we'd be trying to kill, cure, or at least capture and study the only people who could save us from the enemy. Not to mention, I am betting the hyper-conservative right wing politicians and ultra-conservative fundamentalist people of all religions (making us normal faithful look like monsters) would protest them to death or drown them in hold water.
    <img src="; />

    • blessthechildren says:

      I totally posted this on the Twilight page by accident becuase I had both windows open, and Intensedebate copies the comments for you. Who knew?

  77. JaneMarple9 says:

    I love the detailed descriptions in this chapter, so much to take in. I don't think it's silly that the Dragon mentioned in Book one might be the same dragon featuring in book seven – it brings the series full circle. I took a instant dislike to Malfoy,

  78. haelia says:

    "Harry grinned at Harry."

    I love you Mark, never ever change. <3

  79. marylacey says:

    Draco Malfoy is the fiercest bitch ever.

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Harry Potter Deals With It">

  80. Cee says:

    "Also, I would have had a very public breakdown had he died in Deathly Hallows because I love Hagrid forever."

    I was TERRIFIED reading DH that Hagrid would be killed. As awful as Fred’s death was (I cried for days), Hagrid would’ve been worse because he’s such an innocent. At least Fred went out fighting like a warrior.

    "The Dursleys couldn’t have known about this or they’d have had it from him faster than blinking."

    Interesting—because if they’d taken his money they would’ve had to voluntarily interact with the wizarding community (in order to exchange the money). Maybe that’s what kept him safe. Surely Petunia must’ve known her brother-in-law had money. OR DID SHE.

    "After Harry gets Hedwig (!!!!!!! OH GOD ALREADY SAD),"

    Are we allowed to discuss the movie of DH?

    • blessthechildren says:

      I think we can reasonably discuss the DH Part1 movie under the statute of spoiler limitations act. The movie came out over a month ago, so I feel it safe to say anyone who was sirius about "no spoilerz geiz!" will have been to see it at least once. 🙂

  81. corporatecake says:

    Kind of an interesting reason. It’s so brief and I completely ignored it the first time around. Makes me wonder: Do wizards think they shouldn’t intervene at all if there isn’t something to do that could save a Muggle? I wonder how far their tenets stretch in terms of how much magic is allowed in specific situations.

    Nerdy comment warning.

    But this is something that I have explored a lot in Harry Potter roleplay (YES, I AM A NERD) — at least, my Harry Potter roleplay. I was in a game that took place during World War II (it was about Tom Riddle and the snake in his chamber of secrets, mostly), but a big issue was the debate about whether or not wizards should intervene in World War II, with opinions ranging from everything to a lift of the Statute of Secrecy, to people saying that wizards should stay out of Muggle problems and let them fight it out themselves.

    Obviously, the reason that wizards don't interfere in Muggle affairs is to explain how this world can exist alongside the real one without having changed the entire course of history, but it was a really interesting exercise.

    • blessthechildren says:

      Interestingly enough, JK Rowling has said that wizard wars and Muggle wars coincide with each other for a reason, they seem to have similar causes or to fuel each other. Dumbledore's defeat of Gindelwald took place in 1945, and world war II officially ended September 2, 1945. I think the wizarding community was far too deeply embroiled in it's own conflict with Grindelwald and other Dark forces that would have risen around him to have been able to blow their cover and deal with the Muggles.

      <img src=""/img&gt;

      Harry Potter, '1945' by ~homarusrex

  82. Tilja says:

    First of all, the big difference between Hermione and Draco is that Hermione doesn't insult people. She never acts insultingly. She talks in her mental superiority but doesn't insult other people for not being as intelligent; she only gets exasperated. Draco, on the other hand, always finds a reason for insult and slander, walks and talks acting superior to anybody else, yet that is never followed either by words or actions. Draco struts, Hermione walks tall.

    One thing I noticed you forgot to mention in the whole wandlore business: the phoenix who gave the feather for those two wands is Fawkes, Dumbledore's phoenix. Probably his phoenix even from before he gave the feathers. So what does that make Dumbledore in the whole wand equation? His own phoenix helped both sides of the conflict from the very beginning. That could be an interesting side to see.

    • blessthechildren says:

      That is interesting. Dumbledore taught everyone without discrimination, even when perhaps he should have remove some students from the school becuase they were pre-dispositioned to evil, he taught all anyway. That why Dumbly is a bit Hufflepuff, he takes anyone. He's Slytherin when he uses others, he's Gryffindor when he is brave, and he is totes a Ravenclaw for his mind. Dumbledore isn't really just one house, he is all of Hogwarts.

  83. Madii says:

    Ahh, you've got me wanting to re-read the entire series now! >< And then re-watch all the movies… xD
    I have to say, the bit about the Hufflepuffs is amusing. It kinda sucks that the Slytherins are pretty much all asses considering the actual qualities of a Slytherin aren't bad… stillfancydracotho.

    God, why am I not a witch?! h8 lyf.

    I wonder if Rowling had actually planned some aspects of the later books when she wrote Philosopher's Stone or if it's just coincidence that everything came together like that >< I can just imagine if she hadn't fully decided whether Snape was good or bad herself so she kept switching between books XD

    • Rosalie says:

      "I wonder if Rowling had actually planned some aspects of the later books when she wrote Philosopher's Stone or if it's just coincidence that everything came together like that"

      lol, no, in a lot of interviews she's said that she spent years working on Harry Potter. And JKR is basically brilliant, she's done a lot of research for it. But I suppose some things might be coincidences. 🙂

  84. PigRescuer says:

    Since you are big on the punning today –

    Did you ever spot the pun of Diagon Alley – diagonally? 😀

  85. Nikki says:

    Really getting tired of the Hufflepuff jibes, man. Really. It's not entertaining.

    And no, Hagrid doesn't hate Hufflepuffs. Why do so many people get this wrong? He says, " Everyone says Hufflepuff are a lot o’ duffers, but—“ Note the "everyone says" not "I say." And most important the "but" before he's cut off by Harry. He was arguing against the general bad opinion because he knows better. And yet I still see tons of things claim he's prejudiced against Hufflepuff. Slytherins sure, but not Hufflepuffs.

  86. Jane says:

    Huffle is a state of confusion, i.e. "i'm in such a huff…" and puff, well a puff is an expelled breath right. So I think that means a Hufflepuff is a confused sigh.

  87. blackrose says:

    I don't like how Hagrid encourages Harry to dislike Slytherin house. It makes Harry prejudiced against Slytherin before he even meets any of them. I mean, yes he meets Draco who tells him that he wants to be in Slytherin and Draco is an asshole, but still. Not all Slytherins are like Draco, but Harry never takes the time to try to get to know any of them and determine if Hagrid's prejudice is justified. He just assumes that all Slytherins are assholes from the very beginning. Imagine how different the story could have been if Harry had been more open-minded. It's not until the end of the series when he's learned about Snape's story, Regulus's story, and been saved by Narcissa that he's convinced that Slytherin isn't all bad. Yes, many of the Slytherins we see in the story are horrible people, but I don't think the reverse prejudice against Slytherins and purebloods in general should be ignored.

    • Nikki says:

      I agree with you completely. But, Hagrid was a Gryffindor, so of course with the house rivalry you have bad blood there. Such a shame really because he seems really empathetic and understanding in other areas. After all, he won't let any dangerous creatures' bad reputations stop him from caring for and respecting them.

      I really wish all of the students were more encouraged to see past house differences and accept others.

    • blessthechildren says:

      True, Slughorn and Snape were Slytherins, and they fought on the good side.

  88. rebelsfire says:

    Well, yes, he did change Harry's wand outcome that night. Because Voldy's soul is inside Harry, it would more likely attract a wand as similar to Voldemort's as possible. Also, I think Neville's wand is cherry wood, 13 inches and unicorn hair. Also, food for thought: Voldemort's wand is Yew and Phoenix feather, both symbolizing rebirth. Harry's wand is Holly and Phoenix feather, symbolizing rebirth and, according to legend, eternal life. So by the Holly wand choosing Harry, it symbolizes and imbues Harry with not only rebirth (as occured in DH) but also a much more rewarding and positive outcome, eternal life.

    • gizmo1 says:

      I feel like I've only just begun remotely comprehending the amount of clues and facts Rowling has put in the series.

  89. Mel says:


    You need to read the three extra mini-books Rowling put out: Quidditch Through the Ages, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Tales of Beadle the Bard. Beadle the Bard especially gives a certain insight to wizarding culture that we otherwise would not have gotten, like what life was like before the Statute of Secrecy and generally the kind of lessons wizarding kids were brought up with. QTtA does this as well. FBaWtFT is just fun because there are Harry and Ron's scribbles and notes all over it. (It also helps that when you buy Quidditch and Fantastic Beasts, all proceeds go to the charity Comic Relief that's for…sick children or something idk).

  90. gizmo1 says:

    'All I want for Christmas… is a review!' SORRY FOR THE RANDOMNESS

    Mark, you are totally awesome. I just finished (!) reading Mark Reads Harry Potter and re-reading those series just seems logical to me now. Oh, the joy I had reading all of your OH MY GOD SHIT GETS REAL WTF-ery. AND NOW WE CAN SPOIL ALL OVER THE PLACE. WOOHOOO.

    About Diagon Alley: I think it's the fact that wizards are magical people, which is why Muggles just can't see it. I do think that there are some spells involved protecting it (since, well, it actually IS there and Muggles might accidentally run into it). However it's not like, for example, the Quidditch Championship in GoF.


  91. Shanon says:

    Hi. My first comment! You asked about Neville's wand, so… Neville carries his father's wand until the end of book five, when it's broken. More evidence of how his grandmother wishes he was like his father, I guess. In book six, he finally gets his own wand. The core is unicorn hair. Besides Harry and Voldy, no one is mentioned as having a phoenix feather wand, though I imagine Dumbledore had one before acquiring the Elder wand.

  92. Tasneemoo says:

    omg dr.who/harry potter paralell! when you see it, your mind will asplode. but I can't tell you it, because it's season 11 doctor. I'll tell you then, so your mind can doubly asplode.
    it's to do with the whole not being able to see the leaky cauldron thing… 😀 eep.

  93. Tinybit92 says:

    Mark, stop bashing the poor Hufflepuffs. Tonks man, TONKS! (is only defending them cause she scored Hufflepuff on more than on quiz) XD

    Also, now that spoilers aren't a problem, I thought you might want to read this. JKR wrote an 800 word prequel story to Harry Potter as part of a charity thing. James and Sirius. 🙂 I just found out about it a couple days ago.

  94. Emmy says:

    This is glorious. I will read the shit out of all these rereads jsyk Mark.

  95. Jmanhobbs says:

    I find it odd that you identify his being white as one of the characteristics that lead to him being bigoted. After at least 4 complete re-reads of the series and considerably more of my prefered books, I haven’t detected any discrimination or prejudice from any character, nevermind Draco, that hints the ethnicity is even considered an issue. I think the fact that you consider Draco’s race to be an issue says a lot about how you perceive white people yourself, I wouldn’t go as far as to say you’re racist but the fact that when you were listing possible causes for his bigotry you included his race, despite him not showing any racist (in the sense of skin colour, rather than magical bloodline or species) tendencies throughout is very telling.

  96. blessthechildren says:

    *dances around waiting for another review*

  97. mkftweet says:

    In case you have not seen this:

  98. hallowsnothorcruxes says:

    Yay! Very soon our favourite trio will meet.

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

  99. James Padfoot says:

    "Or by choosing Harry all those nights ago, did he affect what wand Harry would end up with?"

    Oh wow. I did NOT think about this. I just. Mind blown.

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