Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 11

In the eleventh chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, QUIDDITCH and DRAMA and OLIVER WOOD and FLUFFY. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to re-read Harry Potter.

CHAPTER ELEVEN: QUIDDITCH

Wow, I really didn’t like this chapter the first time around. Hindsight is a funny thing, because now I feel the exact opposite about chapter eleven. Of course, I was limited in my scope when I first read this, and there was no way I could ever know how important this was to the entire book, nor did I see how much character development was placed here.

There are some obvious differences in opinion right from start. I don’t think Rowling’s use of the passage of time is sloppy at all, but it’s taken reading the full series for me to appreciate why she needs to do that. It works for me now because of the mental images I’m able to create. I like seeing Hagrid dressed in warm clothing out on the school grounds, preparing the broomsticks, the lake in the distance. It isn’t until later in the series that I get a better idea of how large the Hogwarts grounds are, so it’s nice to be able to know that as I re-read this and picture it so perfectly.

Even as far back as this chapter, we see how Hermione is positioned to provide support to Harry and Ron, and it’s here that Rowling begins to seed an incredibly long character arc. There was that post going around on Tumblr a month or two ago that repositioned the series as being truly about Hermione; while it was hilarious, there was an air of truth to it. Of course, of the trio, I relate to Hermione the most, as I was the overly-smart and morally-sure person in junior high and high school, the one kid others turned to constantly for help. To be fair, sometimes I was threatened with bodily harm as a coercion method to do someone’s homework. It took me a few years to figure out that I could charge people for doing their work, and when I was supporting myself my junior and senior years, it was actually a way to leverage more control on my end.

Here, though, it serves a more basic purpose: it’s the beginning of the powerful friendship between Ron, Hermione, and Harry. It starts off with Hermione chipping away at her own behavior, characterized by her willingness to bend the rules. (Seriously, think how often she breaks the “rules” in Deathly Hallows. HHHNNNNGGG.) It becomes a problem later, but for now, Hermione helps Harry because they are friends. And it’s just that simple. I enjoy how simple things can be in Sorcerer’s Stone because I have had enough moral complexity lately to last a lifetime.

On that note, while I do love the “adult” nature of the latter books, I do enjoy just how downright silly the first couple books can be. For example:

Harry learned that there were seven hundred ways of committing a Quidditch foul and that all of them had happened during a World Cup match in 1473; that Seekers were usually the smallest and fastest players, and that the most serious Quidditch accidents seemed to happen to them; that although people rarely died playing Quidditch, referees had been known to vanish and turn up months later in the Sahara.

As the mythology of the series became more complex, I feel like the absurdity inherent in the magic world took a backseat. I could totally see myself at age twelve thinking this was the funniest paragraph I’d ever read. I still think it’s pretty amusing, and then I just wish Hogwarts was real, and then I just feel sad. Oh well. I’ll take Pigfarts, too.

SNAPE. SNAPE. SEVERUS SNAPE. Wow, I seriously bought into Rowling’s attempts to initially paint Snape as the most evil villain who has ever villain’d. I’m almost embarrassed that I fell for this so easily. CLEARLY HE WAS TRYING TO STEAL SOMETHING AND THAT’S WHY FLUFFY BIT HIM. or yeah. That being said, it is still hard to ignore how irritating he can be, even when he’s saving Harry’s life in the same chapter. And it speaks to the larger character of Snape in the context of the full series. Snape does do good things, and he certainly looks out for Harry during times of need. (Not all of them, mind you, but some of them.) I don’t think it’s fair to ignore this, but then I see how quick he is to pick on Harry and it just SENDS ME INTO A RAGE. The guy is an adult. He’s an adult! What is he doing? Harry is what…eleven? Snape, he is willingly reading books. You are punishing a child for being interested in reading. I’m with Ron on this one: I think Snape invents rules that the trio “broke” in order to bully them. And let’s not kid ourselves: He is bullying Harry, Ron, and Hermione. (And he bullies other kids as well, especially Neville.) He has all of the power in this dynamic, and he uses this power to shame these kids and to make them feel miserable.

I have a lot of feelings about Snape. CAN YOU TELL.

I’m still not the biggest fan of Quidditch or the scenes in the novel, but I’ll rescind my previous statements because I’ve come to really like the first Quidditch match of the whole series. For Harry, it’s a real chance to prove himself and to boost his own self esteem. He still feels like he’s been thrust into a strange world that everyone else is used to, and it makes him feel left out. However, if he can help win a Quidditch match, it could help him integrate into the magical world better than he has in the past. On top of this, I’m impressed by how much this feels like the first time you compete for something in school. Rowling captures the nervous energy and anticipation rather well, but we all know that there are large parts of these books that remind us of our schooling experience, regardless of where we went to school.

(For the record: I wish the American school system had houses. Seriously.)

I think that I got the idea for writing a review entirely from the point of view of Lee Jordan from this chapter, or at least I’d like to think so. It’s so fun to read a second time because it’s so easy to hear Lee’s voice in my head. It’s an interesting choice, though, because Rowling entirely relies on the fact that we should understand Quidditch at a basic level, and that we can imagine what’s going on. It helps that Lee is both descriptive and hilarious because it gives an interesting perspective on the chaos. (A side note: There are a lot of names/characters we don’t ever see again. WHERE IS THE FANDOM SUPPORT FOR ADRIAN PUCEY?)

And then we come upon Snape casting a spell on Harry. Again, I fell for it, hook, line, and sinker. I completely glossed over Hermione running over Quirrell, and put not a moment of thought into this. Even beyond that, think about what a huge risk Hermione takes to save her new friend. They’ve been friends for like…two months. And she is already setting a professor’s cloak on fire. This book should be re-named Hermione Granger and the Beginning of My Quest To Constantly Save My Friends With Little Credit.

The “mystery” at the center of this book is really well composed, I must add, because of the way that Rowling plays on our perception. We are inclined to believe the trio’s claims that Snape is behind this all because that’s the structure of these fantasy stories. Our heroic characters can’t convince the world that the villain is real, so they must face them on their own! Except OOOPS YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE THE RIGHT VILLAIN. Rowling plays with this trope multiple times throughout this series, but it’s a huge reason why I expected this particular book to end differently than it did.

And let’s end this proper: Few things bring me joy quite like Hagrid accidentally spilling secrets. Love that man.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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128 Responses to Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 11

  1. Kiwi says:

    I can't really remember liking or disliking quiddich all that much. I love the the fact that nowadays you could probably get a bunch of random people together and start throwing replicas at them and they would totally get how it works and probably start complaining how the snitch was broken. Ahhh fandom.

    I'm pretty sure I fell for Snape too though, first time around. Actually I was so young and innocent that I had to re-read the book to figure out who Quirell was because SNAPE WAS EVIIIIIIL and who was this other guy suddenly turning up at the end that I barely even paid attention to. Back in the days when everything I read had the hero's paranoia being spot on.

    So glad you're posting again Mark, this makes my HP related week even better after getting into Pottermore at last! Sad to see my fellow snakes lose, but we're awesome anyway. BRING ON SOME MORE RE-READS!

  2. marsh says:

    I'm curious about the Tumblr Hermione thing- does anyone have a link to that?

    I love that you're going back to reanalyze Snape's character. I don't like him and I really don't like that Harry named his kid after that guy who started bulling him when he was ELEVEN. That's not brave, that's horrible.

  3. Lauren says:

    Well, I live in CT and some schools do have houses. I've never gone to a school that did, but they seem to just have unimaginative color names and mostly determine which teachers you have and other stuff. Though in one of my friend's classes they all sorted themselves into the Hogwarts houses. ๐Ÿ˜€
    Also, I love going back and reading how unprepared you were, and this is a great way for you to both re-evaluate the series, catch things that you totally missed the first time around, and generaly just make us all chuckle.

    • cait0716 says:

      At my college, the dorms functioned a bit like house. Everyone lived on campus all four years in coed, multi-class dorms and each one had a whole personality and social structure. You weren't locked into one for 4 years, though, so it worked well for people who did or didn't want to be part of that system

      • Kiwi says:

        I had Houses in High School (well, from just before I was 11… heh). Really they're not as awesome in real life since the only time the really matter is on the sporting day or the house music day. Nothing else was ever decided by houses and they certainly weren't personality based.

        I think Hall of Residence life was much more like it though. We were in a 10 level building and the level you lived on was your floor and you had a colour and were expected to earn points (although no one actually had a clue what points were based on, only that if you got drunk and broke stuff you lost points) and you pretty much did do everything together, especially at first. I miss my brothers and sisters! Then you would support your hall of residence against the other halls as well. Which was pretty easy since we were clearly the best. Somehow the vollyball games didn't quite live up to Quiddich…

        Either way, it has never seemed as IMPORTANT as it was at Hogwarts.

    • monkeybutter says:

      I was going to say, I thought some schools in the NE have houses. And at my middle school, each year was divided into two teams, and we sort of competed against each other, and against teams in other grades, but it wasn't really like the British house system. I think it'd have been fun if it was.

    • Rainicorn says:

      I went to an old-fashioned British prep school in Nairobi, and our house system was super-duper important: your P.E. kit was in your house colors, you met with a group of kids and a teacher from your house twice a week, you competed for your house in sports day and swimming gala and house music and house drama. Best of all, if you won the house cup, everyone in your house got a day out at the local waterslides while the rest of the school had an ordinary school day. My house color was red, and our main rival for the house cup was the green house, so naturally we framed ourselves as Gryffindor and them as Slytherin (the houses were actually named after East African rivers).

      At high school in Britain, OTOH, no one could give a crap about the house cup. It took me a couple of years to even figure out which house I was in.

    • sabra_n says:

      My middle school had houses, but they never competed at anything IIRC, and the children were redistributed into different houses every year.

      Weirdly, I think law school actually came closer to the Hogwarts house experience – all the first-year students were split into sections, and sections took all their classes together in the first year (except for second semester electives). Which, considering the boot campish nature of 1L year, does actually lead to some bonding. The sections even each got a slight personality reputation – mine was the nerdiest one of my year, apparently, while Section 1 was a bunch of slackers. ๐Ÿ˜› But of course, the sections all get totally split up in the second year when all classes are elective and your "club" is more likely to be your journal office, so there isn't time for things to get quite so clannish as in Hogwarts. Also, competition is within sections (to get a high grade on the curve) rather than between them.

      • jenesaispas21 says:

        haha, I had the same thought about sections in law school being similar to the Hogwarts houses, at least for the first year…

  4. cait0716 says:

    Oh man, Harry Potter double-whammy this morning. I got my Pottermore email just before checking back here, and now I get to spend all day on that wonderful site. ๐Ÿ™‚

    One of my favorite parts about this book is all the little hints about Quirrel you pick up on the re-read. Rowling definitely did a masterful sleight of hand here.

  5. (For the record: I wish the American school system had houses. Seriously.)
    Rice has the college system: there are no fraternities or sororities, but you are assigned to a "college," which is where you live and associate with. Each college has its own cheers and rivalries and general personality.

    It was basically like Hogwarts.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      Sounds awesome. My uni dorm sort of feels like a house, partly because its small, partly because we all opted in for the 'quiet residence' so we have similar personalities. Unfortunately, we're rather lacking any old stone buildings to complete the illusion.

    • notemily says:

      Huh. I wonder which one my dad was in.

  6. HieronymusGrbrd says:

    Slytherin observation Nr. 6:

    Why seemed MadamHooch to be speaking particularly to the Slytherin captain, when she wanted a nice fair game? Pick your choice:
    a)While all the other players are well kown for their fair play or did, like Harry, never participate in a match, Madame Hooch observed during previous games that Marcus Flint does not always play fair.
    b)All Slytherins have a very bad reputation; Madame Hooch adressed specifically Marcus Flint because he is the captain and responsible for every member of his team.
    c)Madame Hooch never bothered to compare the number of fouls commited by Marcus Flint to the number of fouls comitted by others; she is a speciesist biased against half-trolls and just expects that a Slytherin looking like Marcus will always be more brutal and mean than anybody else.

    Now watch this wonderfull circulus diabolus at work. There is an obvious lack of detailed information, but since we already expect the worst from Slytherins, we imagine that they act in the worst possible way and from these imagined actions we conclude that it is totally justified to assume that every Slytherin is a terrible person.

    How many readers would swear they learned from this chapter that the Slytherin team didn’t play fair and every Slytherin comitted multiple fouls? Actually we have seen only one foul. What would we think of Ravenclaw if we read that Roger Davies blocked Terence Higgs? Isn’t it funny when Ginny foules Zacharias Smith, who is not even in the game, because he deserves it? (Oops, bad example. Harmonians may claim that Ginny is evil.)

    A Hufflepuff would probably have joined everybody watching Harry’s struggle, but technically the game is not paused unless Madame Hooch says it is. So I’m not sure if there are sufficient reasons to add Marcus Flint to my list of Slytherins I don’t like.

    Also there is a serious warning in this chapter:
    Even Hagrid, the man who told us that all evil sorcerers are Slytherins doesn’t believe that all Slytherins are evil, so why should we?

    ETA The second link should be to Slytherin Observation Nr. 1. It doesnt seem to work right, but my comment should be somwere on this page.

    • tigerpetals says:

      Good observations, and while I have been feeling that Slytherins are generally portrayed as bad in the books, there is more ambiguity there than maybe I have given credit to. Some of it is that we are seeing from the point of view of someone who desperately didn't want to be in Slytherin- and we know that team rivalries can be very important to school children (and adults even). And fouling someone in a sport isn't so horrible to me.

    • Kiryn says:

      While I do agree with most of your points, in the specific case of Marcus Flint, I'm inclined to go with the first option you presented. I mean, he is the one that creates the greatest foul in this Quidditch game, nearly knocking Harry off of his broom.

      Mind you, I'm a big Slytherin supporter, especially in the cases of Regulus, Draco, Theodore Nott, and I frequently play devil's advocate for Snape. But Marcus Flint? I think he leans more into the category of 'bad' Slytherins.

      • HieronymusGrbrd says:

        As Hermione will say in the future, Quidditch brings out the worst in everybody. It may not be totally fair to judge Marcus Flint based only on what we have seen in a Quidditch match. I don't think that we have enough information to put him in any category at this point. (Of course I remember that we will see him again, and I hope Mark will reread Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.)

        • Kiryn says:

          True, but I still tend to think that Quidditch CONSISTENTLY brings out this 'worse' side to Marcus Flint, and THAT is why Madam Hooch is calling him out in particular. I just don't think Madam Hooch is the kind of person to be unfairly biased.

          Also, re:Ginny running into Smith, I will say that's not one of her finer moments, in my opinion, but what could Hooch do about that? The match was already over, and McGonagall, the errant student's Head of House, was already yelling at her (and presumably punishing her); so if I was Hooch, I'd figure that the matter was now out of my hands.

  7. Noybusiness says:

    I went to school in Dundee (Dundee High School, Braveheart's alma mater) for four years and was in a house, but it was never quite clear to me what the difference between them was.

  8. leighzzz31 says:

    Lee Jordan's description of the Quidditch match remains one of th funniest things J.K.R. has ever written. I giggle every time I read this chapter. Obvious Gryffindor bias is obvious, Lee.

    Oliver Wood's QUIDDITCH IS SRS BZNS speech is very endearing in hindsight. Or it would have been if the twins didn't insist on interrupting. XD

    Also, I've noticed this before; this has to be the only chapter in which we get to see Ron and Hermione's perspective. It was really weird to reread (after reading all seven books) and to get an insight on something Harry's not around for, like watching the match and setting Snape on fire.

    • episkey825 says:

      I agree! I love Lee Jordan's commentary! And McGonagall yelling at him for being biased, though I think she secretly loved and agreed with everything he said.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Yeah, I thought it was interesting that Rowling switched perspectives briefly here to show us what Ron and Hermione were doing while Harry was playing; I don't think that happens again outside this book (I know it happens in the other Quidditch match in this one).

      • leighzzz31 says:

        I think it's a sign of her early writing because it definitely doesn't happen again in the other books. But I actually do love that we get a brief spell in Ron and Hermione's heads and it's a perfect way to read about the match.

    • Pseudonymph says:

      The dynamic between Wood and the rest of the team is one of my favorite things from the first few books.
      Wood's seriousness contrasted with the twins' complete lack-of-serious was soooo hilarious to me as an eleven-year-old and it's continued to be hilarious on every re-read. I love how vivid a character Oliver Wood is despite not having a major role in the series overall.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Oliver Wood and Lee Jordan are my favorite minor characters, so quidditch chapters are always gold.

      I never really thought about the perspective switch, but you're right, it's odd. I adore the first chapter of HBP, and it's another example of that, but you're right, those moments are few and far between. It's neat seeing how Rowling changed as a writer.

      • Kiryn says:

        Actually, I believe that you do get a tiny moment in Ron and Hermione's POV apart from this one, in HBP. When Harry is off to his first lesson with Dumbledore, one of them comments that they hope he'll be okay (I think it's Ron that says this, but I could be wrong). It couldn't have been in Harry's POV, because he'd already left the common room by that point.

  9. Elexus Calcearius says:

    Ah, yes. It was very amusing to see how much you were taken in by how evil Snape was. I actually really love when a piece of media does that; makes a character obviously evil or good, than twists your expectations. Zuko is another great example. I mean, he comes in with a bald head, shoulder spikes, a giant scar and ranting about killing our heros….and then he's the most morally complex guy in the show. That's good writing, and it goes for Snape,too.

    On the topic of Houses- they're not that great. I went through the British school system (but not in the UK, weirdly enough) and I had houses. Admittedly, there were six, not four, named after explorers, not kick-ass wizards and witches, and there was no singing hat. Maybe that's all very important to the process. But mostly I felt that it limited the friends I could have for the first three years, where little communications was encouraged between houses, and that the inter-house rivalry seemed trite and boring compared to Hogwarts.

    Actually, speaking from the perspective of someone who's read the books…I wonder. Is the House system actually that good for Hogwarts? I think it might really limit children. Instead of being incouraged to try new things, they're lumped with a bunch of people with incredibly similar personalities. Wouldn't it be better to allow for more cross-pollination, so Gryffindor kids learn the importance of dutiful study, or Slytherin kids become more helpful to others? It seems like you're purposely building a myopia in a way.

    It also really seems to increase discrimination and make people play into steerotypes. Would pure-blood superiority be so rampant in Slytherins didn't spend all there time with Slytherins, spend so much energy making their 'better' house beat the rest, and have the image in their head of what their house was meant to be like? I think that goes for all the houses, just for different traits. And I mean, we all like the concept of Houses. That's why we're constantly taking quizes, and (for me, at least) waiting for Pottermore. Its fun to find out more about yourself, but that doesn't mean its practical.

    • arctic_hare says:

      I tend to agree with you on the houses; I like the concept, and it's fun to see what House we'd be sorted into, but in practice within the story, it only seems to divide and hurt people. These kids might be better off with daemons or something instead to show what they're like. (Ahahaha, look at me, still got HDM on the brain!)

    • tigerpetals says:

      I like the Houses for quizzes and things, but not as things that shape you live your life for a set period of time, and who you make friends with- like how I wouldn't want to have to be set apart because I'm a Cancer and not a Scorpio or a Gemini. Or a Horsie.

    • monkeybutter says:

      I think you have a good point about the Slytherin pure-blood obsession being mitigated if there was more socialization between the houses. That's what the sorting hat seemed to be trying to encourage by the later books, at least. I think there's actually a lot of variety inside of the houses, but you really only notice the general tendencies of each house, and maybe the kids do make each other worse. Diverse groups make better decisions than homogeneous groups, so you definitely have a point.

      I guess I like the idea of sorting by broad personality traits, but those traits shouldn't be all you focus on, and there should be more intermingling encouraged by the houses. I'm hoping that after Snape is gone, Slytherin will get a better head of house who can encourage friendliness, and simultaneously that his sacrifice in fighting Voldemort makes the Slytherins more respectable.

      • arctic_hare says:

        Maybe Slughorn gets the job! I think that could work out, since he DID come back to help fight Voldemort in the very last portion of the battle. He always struck me as a decent fellow, too – flawed, but decent, and not likely to bully kids based on their House.

        • monkeybutter says:

          He'd definitely be an improvement, especially since he seems to learned from his mistakes with Tom Riddle, but I'm sure he ran back to his cozy retirement as soon as the battle was over. But maybe McGonagall could bribe him to come back for a year with his weight in crystallized pineapple. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Kiryn says:

            One of my favorite fanfics is one in which Harry ends up going back to Hogwarts to teach DADA, and McGonagall ends up roping him into being the Head of Slytherin.

  10. Kate says:

    I don't know if any of you guys have come across this on the internet but I LOVED going through the chapter by chapter section.
    http://hpcompanion.com/

    It's a huge compilation of fan art and discussion things organized by chapter, it filled the void for me when Mark Reads Harry Potter had finished. I haven't explored the rest of the site yet, but everyone should go visit the chapter by chapter part!

  11. Laura says:

    I never did quite follow why you were so dismissive of the "change of seasons" language JKR used. It certainly helps describe the setting, and give a sense of the flow of the school year. I like it, though I didn't really notice it until my 2nd or 3rd time through.

    Agree on the silliness. This is actually still one of my favorite books in the series, because it's just laugh-out-loud absurd in a way that only "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" is in my experience. A sense of absurdity that appeals equally to children and adults.

    Snape. I am so deeply conflicted about Snape. For all the good he did, for all his suffering, he was a bully, and I hate bullies, especially when the bully is an adult (and a teacher, no less) and the target is a child.

    *Sigh* JKR, how could you do this to me.

    Can't wait for more re-reads, Mark.

  12. arctic_hare says:

    I still think itโ€™s pretty amusing, and then I just wish Hogwarts was real, and then I just feel sad.

    I KNOW, RIGHT? It’s been a while since I read the books, and I read this chapter this morning so I could read along with you as you finished your reread of this book, and I was just… overwhelmed with a rush of nostalgia. It’s only the beginning, so it’s a rather simple book, but I remember being so utterly charmed by it all and that comes back to me when I read it again. I too love how downright silly the early ones can be, those moments of absurdity; it’s part of what pulled me into it all in the first place. I still want Hogwarts to be real. I still want to do magic. I want it all. Well, maybe not the Death Eaters and the Dark Lord, but everything else! The awesome school, the spells, all the fantastic creatures… it tugs at my heart and makes me sad we don’t actually have any of this. WHY CAN’T IT BE REAL. THIS SERIES SHOULD BE A BIOGRAPHY.

    I have lots of feelings about Snape too. I think he’s a fascinating character, because he’s so obviously a HUGE JERK but he’s also doing some very good things. But they’re not for very noble reasons at all, it all started due to selfishness. That’s very human, though. I don’t think Snape is any great hero, but – well, nowadays, especially right now, it makes me think of what Mary said in Marzipan:

    “And I came to believe that good and evil are names for what people do, not for what they are. All we can say is that this is a good deed, because it helps someone, or that’s an evil one, because it hurts them. People are too complicated to have simple labels.”

    I realized during the reread of that chapter that that passage perfectly described Snape. He’s too complicated for a simple label, but we can identify and define the things he does. So to me, Snape is a human being who does both good and bad things. The bad things are, of course, his bullying of these kids and his past misdeeds; and the good things are everything he does to protect Harry, everything he does in the service of the Order. In a way, that quote from HDM actually helped me sort out my feelings on Snape somewhat.

    As for Quidditch – I think it’d be hella fun to go to a match in real life. If only actual Quidditch with brooms was real. ๐Ÿ™ I liked it in the first three books, when it was so important to Harry and actually figured in the overall plot, though I obviously didn’t know at the time just how much this one would later on. OMG THE SNITCH! I open at the close! It’s all I can think about when Harry catches that Snitch to win the game. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I love that she went back to that – Rowling’s writing isn’t perfect, especially here early on (the thing with Harry “muttering angrily” followed directly by Ron “saying bitterly” when you don’t need those adverbs bugs me), but one of the things she’s REALLY good at is tying everything together and making seemingly small things early on so important later. <3 I did get bored with Quidditch in the later books, but that's because it wasn't so important and didn't really tie into the plot too much. One exception would be when Luna did the commentary, though, but Luna makes everything better, so yeah. I did have fun with them early on, though, and I agree with what you said about Rowling really capturing how it feels to compete at school for the first time. I completely sympathize with Harry being unable to eat anything, because when I'm really nervous like that, I can't eat either and may lose whatever I do eat anyway.Poor kid!

    Hagrid just wins forever, as far as I'm concerned. I'll always love him for many reasons, but one of the ones that helped really solidify that love is right here at the end of this chapter: his choice of names for a giant three-headed dog. Fluffy. Is that not amazing? I <3 you, Hagrid, for all time. And as a myth geek, I adore that he says he bought him off a "Greek chappie" he met in the pub. I had already thought "OMG CERBERUS!" when the kids first encountered dear old Fluffy, and this just confirms it. So there's apparently lots of them in Greece? Or is this THE Cerberus? I NEED TO KNOW MORE.

    • episkey825 says:

      That quote in TAS immediately reminded me of Snape too when I read it.

    • notemily says:

      Yeah, when you think about it, the concept of one person BEING Good or Evil and never doing anything outside of those boxes is pretty simplistic. We're used to seeing that in fiction, but I like it better when the same person can do both good and bad things. How many of us can say we've never hurt anyone?

    • Kiryn says:

      I took a Greek Myth class in my first year of college, and when we covered the Labors of Heracles, the last of which is to capture Cerberus from the Underworld, the professor commented that nothing is said about what happened to Cerberus after that. The girl sitting next to me leaned over and whispered into my ear, "Hagrid bought him and named him Fluffy." I had to work very hard to not burst out laughing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Wang Fire says:

    Ah, Snape. He's ultimately working on the right side in the grand scheme of things and Dumbledore's trust in him was justified. That still doesn't excuse him from being a giant git throughout the series.

    And the end of the match brings probably the longest-reaching plot point that no one saw coming: The method of opening the snitch at the end of Deathly Hallows. When saying that she did plan this, JKR mentioned that the original intention was for Hedwig to catch the snitch but her editor made her change it. That would have been a powerful image for the walk in the forest.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Your username makes me miss Mark Watches Avatar. ๐Ÿ™

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      That would have been a powerful image. From an in-game perspective, though, I wonder how fair it would have been. XD

      I miss MWA, too.

    • plaidpants says:

      But but, does this mean Hedwig wouldn't have died in the earlier chapters?? Or would Harry had to have like take her beak or something to use to open the snitch. I am now freaked out.

      WHAT ARE THESE DISTURBING THOUGHTS…….

    • tigerpetals says:

      He would have had to carry Hedwig's corpse around to open the Snitch. How degrading for her.

  14. guest_age says:

    I used to wish that we'd had houses, too, until I thought about my own graduating class, and then I decided I was pretty glad I wasn't grouped in with those idiots.

    My first girlfriend grew up in Australia and her school had houses, though. They seemed to be less of a big deal to her than they were to me, maybe because she was used to them as a part of life?

  15. lossthief says:

    WHERE IS THE FANDOM SUPPORT FOR ADRIAN PUCEY?
    Sorry, but for this fandom, the only way a rarely mentioned background character gets any attention is if they have a "cool" name that fanfic writers can turn into their super awesome amazing OC, like Blaise Zabini.

    Now if this were the "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" fandom, Pucey would have an entire backstory, a love interest, a family by the end of the 6th book, and it would all be considered canon by the fans.

  16. HieronymusGrbrd says:

    Shameless advertising:

    I had to be offline for several days, so you may or may not like to read my very belated comments on the last two chapters of HDM. It should be easy to find them.

  17. cobaltazure says:

    Somehow I fell for Snape being the villain despite the fact that I had already read the second book, which Snape obviously appeared in and Quirrell just as obviously didn't appear in. There's magic. Little things like continuity are so much less interesting.

  18. Andrew says:

    WHERE IS THE FANDOM SUPPORT FOR ADRIAN PUCEY?

    I've encountered a handful fanfics in which he's a major character. He tends to get paired with Marcus Flint, if I recall correctly.

    So, you touched on it briefly but I want to go a bit further with it: I love this chapter for giving Harry a sense of purpose and confidence in his abilities. Every time I reread the books, what strikes me more than anything else in the earlier books – even some moments as late as OotP – is how deceptively little confidence Harry possesses. It's hidden sometimes by the brashness of some of his actions, which people sometimes accuse of being arrogance (Snape), but it's always there if you pay close enough attention. Rowling doesn't beat us over the head with it – not only does she as the author, but I think Harry himself sort of makes the conscious effort to move forward and not dwell on certain things and instead always be trying to move forward (and in essence, further and further away from his life with the Dursleys). But there are just enough touches to remind us that yeah, Harry actually has some issues from the way he grew up.

    Also I love Lee Jordan.

    Re: Snape, I'm sure I'll get into more in more depth later but yeah, I mean. Yeah. He's an asshole. But I definitely love him from an objective standpoint – I think he's a brilliantly-drawn character – and from a subjective standpoint, although I don't like him the vast majority of the time (there are a couple moments – I mean, even Harry takes Snape's side against Lockhart in CoS), I do feel bad for him in a lot of ways. He made a very bad choice at a young age, and suffered for it for the rest of his life trying to rectify it (whether or not his reasons for doing so were the 'proper' ones).

  19. Peg says:

    Re: Snape's hatred of Neville: you do realize now where that comes from, right?

    He hates Neville because Voldemort didn't go after the Longbottoms when he heard the (incomplete) prophecy, but instead chose to go after Harry. In other words, Snape blames Neville, indirectly, for the death of Lily.

    SO much about the book–the whole series, really–falls into place when you truly understand Snape's hidden backstory.

  20. monkeybutter says:

    I love Lee Jordan's announcing, especially when McGonagall pipes up, but I can't read his parts without thinking

    <img src="http://i52.tinypic.com/2yp19bb.gif"&gt;
    I had no idea that something that annoying would make such a lasting impression. ๐Ÿ˜€

    And yeah, three cheers to Hermione for keeping her friends alive! She's the one I empathize with the most as well, so I love it when she saves the day, or is acting like an obsessive student, or doling out unwarranted advice. The best.

    And I agree, I like how simple SS and CS are, not only because the later books are so dark, but also because the tone fits the characters' ages. They're not my favorites, but they're still fun to read, and do a great job setting up the wizarding world.

  21. lizziecharlton says:

    What I think I particularly enjoy about Snape as a character now that I didn't get when I was first reading the books is that he embodies that a man can be good but that that doesn't necessarily mean he's nice. Within Snape are all the complexities and grey areas that litter the Harry Potter books – especially the later ones. And I kind of love him for that.

  22. firelizardkimi says:

    (Snape, he is willingly reading books. You are punishing a child for being interested in reading.)

    You wrote this and I flashed back to my pre-school/elementary school days at a Montessori school where my teacher asked me, while I was reading, why I wasn't doing anything. And when I said I was, I was reading, she told me to go do something else. I never understood why exactly it was so bad that I was reading instead of stacking pink cubes to make a tower or buttoning buttons (I was like 4). Admittedly, I had read all of the books available and was re-reading them, but still. Montessori is based on letting kids explore. I wanted to explore reading, but it wasn't good for me?

    • stefb says:

      That's terrible–as an English education major the very idea that a teacher would stop a student reading is appalling.

      • notemily says:

        My parents tried to get me to stop reading at the dinner table. I was always like "But I'm READING! Isn't that GOOD?" Heh.

        • drippingmercury says:

          My family had a strict No Reading at the Dinner Table policy because otherwise most of us would have just read all the time and never ever talked to each other. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • hpfish13 says:

        My teacher in fourth grade used to stop me from reading, but that was because I was reading the book I was holding under my desk, during the time when the teacher was supposed to be reading to us (I couldn't take the suspense of reading a chapter a day and always finished the book at home long before the class did), or during other subjects I found less interesting than the book I had on hand. In this instance, my teacher may have been justified………….

    • Rainicorn says:

      The only time I ever lost a housepoint at prep school was for reading a book in art class instead of helping to build a paper-mache volcano. The whole class was already crowded around the volcano and there was no room for me there anyway ๐Ÿ™

    • Hanah_banana says:

      Reminds me of some English lessons I had when I was 12. Once a week for an hour we had 'reading hour', which was this awesome concept in which we all brought in a book from home to read for an hour. When we finished a book in class we had to write a review of it, and once a term we'd all do presentations about our favourite book we'd read over the classes. Epic concept, right?

      Except for one time. One time when for some reason that morning I had decided I didn't feel like reading a novel, I wanted to read something else. So I scanned my mum's bookshelves and found a comedy guide to parenthood. It looked funny and okay, at the age of twelve it was totally out of my life experience but interesting to read right? So I took it in and read it in class and was laughing away at this woman telling hilarious anecdotes about trying to teach her children the concept of naptimes, and my teacher asks me what I'm reading. I showed her and she had a MASSIVE go at me for reading non-fiction. At the time, scared little child that I was, I apologised over and over and promised I usually read fiction books like crazy and she made me swear to bring in a 'proper book' next week and for the rest of the term she checked every week that I was reading Jacqueline Wilson or Harry Potter or something instead.

      But looking back on it now I'm appalled at her behaviour. I mean it wasn't a big deal for me because I loved reading fiction books, but some kids just don't find novels interesting. They want to read non-fiction and learn stuff instead. And if it's reading, what's wrong with that? She didn't know that I was a crazy-mad reader of fiction – by yelling at me for DARING to read something outside 'children's book' she could have stopped me from reading altogether, if non-fiction was all I wanted to read.

      It was a massively small incident in my life, but it upsets me every time I think about it because as an English teacher, she should have known better than to discourage a child from reading anything at all.

  23. enigmaticagentscully says:

    "For the record: I wish the American school system had houses. Seriously.

    Awww, that's cute Mark, but both schools I went to had houses and seriously, no-one gave half a shit. Seriously, no one cared about who won the most house points, except the really sporty people on sports day. Speaking as someone who always skipped school and went to the theme park on sports day…

    My first school had the houses Jamison, Walter, Lewis and Selwyn. Interestingly enough, they had the same house colours as the Hogwarts houses. I was in Jamison, which was green so…I was Slytherin? We always lost though.

    My second school had seven houses called…let me see…Spinners, Weavers, Lacemakers, Tanners, Goldsmiths, Clothworkers, and Haberdashers. I remember no-one ever knew what Haberdashers were, but they always won anyway. I was in Weavers. I'm pretty sure we always lost too. See a pattern emerging here?

    • notemily says:

      I love the names of your second school's houses. Haberdashers!

      Were these boarding schools?

      • enigmaticagentscully says:

        Ohhhhhh nononono, just regular schools! I'm not posh/rich enough to go to boarding school! I think all schools in England have houses? I've never come across one without.

        My Dad says his old school only had two houses – Raleigh and Drake, which struck me as pretty cool.

        • notemily says:

          Haha, I was just thinking that in boarding schools your house might matter more because you would live with them, not just go to school with them. Like Harry's dorm with the other Gryffindors from his year in it.

    • arctic_hare says:

      HABERDASHERS.

      Those are all great names, but that has to be the best one.

  24. ChronicReader91 says:

    I can never read the part where Harry catches the Snitch in his mouth without thinking about "I open at the close." :'(

    I’m one of those who can take or leave the Quidditch scenes. They do add a lot of flavor to the Wizarding World, and I love Lee’s (or Luna’s) commentaries, but I guess since I’m not a fan of any sports in my world, I just can’t get terribly excited about it.

    I actually first read the books out of order, starting with CoS and not getting to SS until after GoF (I KNOW), so a lot of things weren’t a big surprise to me. I KNEW that Snape couldn’t be doing something evil, or at least not evil enough to get him kicked out, and I knew Quirrel wasn’t in the later books, but it was still engaging just to see how it all unfolded.

    Speaking of Snape…. I agree with the "close, but no redemption" position. Yes, he ultimately turned out be on the side of good, and he had so much tragic heartbreaking shit in his backstory, and he was a lot more complicated than I gave him credit for. BUT that doesn’t change the fact that he was a bully, and that he basically continually punished on Harry for things that were beyond his control. I’m not still on the “Snape is Evil” team, like I was in the pre DH debates, but I don’t think he should get a free pass on all his behavior because he was doing something brave at the same time.

    • stefb says:

      You read the books in the exact same order as me! I had gotten CoS for my 10th birthday, but never got around to reading it, and so when the first movie came out a year later I immediately started reading the second book, then bought the third, and had to wait for GoF for Christmas and then it was time to read SS…of course, followed by the AGONIZINGLY long wait for OotP (oh god that was terrible–hello fanfiction).

      I wouldn't excuse Snape's behavior (to children) either. He's redeemed, but only as not being "evil", not for being an asshole.

      Sometimes I go back to read the Forest chapter in DH (because I'm a masochist apparently and want to be depressed forever) and even if I'm just skimming it on it's own w/o going through the rest of the story, I still sob like a baby. I do the same thing with Fred's death (WHY WHYYY)

  25. stellaaaaakris says:

    SNAPE. SNAPE. SEVERUS SNAPE.

    Did anybody else's mind just break out in song? It was such a gut reaction. I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about but it's a video worth rewatching every once in a while.
    [youtube Tx1XIm6q4r4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tx1XIm6q4r4 youtube]

  26. Susan says:

    LOVE Lee Jordan’s Quidditch commentary, and McGonegal’s reaction to it!

  27. Many Rainbows says:

    Here ya go. For all of us who never received our Hogwarts letters, there is the Rocky Mountain Institute for Magical enlightenment! http://www.rmimagic.com/ (I just heard of it today) looks/sounds like fun! :>)

  28. Dani says:

    I don't remember whether you said you were going to track down the companion "books" (Quidditch Through the Ages, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), but you probably should – if only because QTTA is this chapter but more fantastic.

  29. Mark's Watcher says:

    "(For the record: I wish the American school system had houses. Seriously.)"

    I'm sure there must be some high schools there that have houses (Having read the other comments, it appears they do exist.)

    In my current school there are three Houses, which are only really used to encourage competition during sports days, charity shows and the Eisteddfod.

    Our three houses are all named after people from Welsh mythology, we had 'Glyndwr', which is the house that always wins sports days and is filled with the most sports-oriented people. Then there's 'Llywellyn', which is the house that rarely wins at any event, but contains some of the most popular kids in the school. And finally there's 'Madoc', which is the house that most often wins the Eisteddfod competitions and contains the smartest kids in the school.

    Most of the year, however, people are happy to ignore the house they're in when it comes to making friends and such.

  30. enigmaticagentscully says:

    As a point of interest, I think houses didn't make much difference in my school because we were only sorted into classes by house in the first year. After that, we were put into classes by ability anyway, so the houses were all mixed up most of the time.
    But I imagine it would make a much bigger impact if you were sorted by actual personality, rather than it being completely random.

  31. bookgal12 says:

    I wish my college had houses, then it would be a lot cooler at least to me. My dorm celebrates Harry Potter every year in November and for two weeks we have houses and its so much fun. Back to the book, I remember being surprised at how mean Snape is to Harry in particular. I knew then that he must have some motivation and now that I've read all the books, I still don't see it as justified. I know Snape is haunted by the memory of Lily but I still don't think that gives him an excuse. Granted, I knew that not all of Harry's teachers would like him and that he was bound to get a few strict ones. As for Quidditch, I thought it was fun and exciting in the first few books because it provided Harry the foundation of self confidence he needed. I also think Lee Jordan is a wonderful side character and I was happy to see him developed throughout the series. I love his back and forth with Mcgonagall, it's classic!

  32. Pelleloguin says:

    I can not beleive I missed the start up of these reviews! This is what happens when my new job and college decide to eat my life. Now that I know, I shall return and go along with the journey once again!

  33. EmmylovesWho says:

    I love these book revisits!

  34. lex says:

    Some Ivy League schools have houses. At Yale we called them residential colleges. Whenever i tried to explain to someone the residential college system I would just ask if they were a Harry Potter fan and compare it to that haha (because I knew that most people would be more familiar with Harry Potter than the British school system).

    I absolutely loved being in a particular "house". I lived in the same building for 4 years and got really close to everyone in my "house". We even played intramural sports against the other houses (we had 12) and whoever had the most points at the end of the year won the Tyng Cup! Good times…

  35. misterbernie says:

    Late to the party, but I couldn't let this slide:

    I have a lot of feelings about Snape.
    He doesn't even go to Hogwarts!

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