Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 16

In the sixteenth chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling is a genius. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to re-read Harry Potter.

CHAPTER SIXTEEN: THROUGH THE TRAPDOOR

Oh, I love this. I LOVE THIS.

Even though chapter seventeen provides the actual mind-numbing conclusion to Sorcerer’s Stone, Rowling finds a way to tie up so much of the character growth present in this first book before she gets to the endgame. She deals with the logistics of exams first, yes, but so much of this chapter is about showing us how these three characters have changed from their first day at Hogwarts. In the case of Harry, he’ll come face-to-face with his past, but we’ll get to that. (Technically, isn’t it “face-to-face-to-face”? GET IT? GET IT?)

It sort of feels like these characters, aside from Hermione, haven’t even really been going to school, and Rowling acknowledges that by combining Harry’s stress. Exams stress everyone out, but he has another layer on top of that. His scar hurts, he know Voldemort is destined to come back, and nightmares about the death of his parents plague him. (He doesn’t quite know what the dreams mean yet, but he’ll learn soon.) I like the Rowling acknowledges that by having realize that Ron and Hermione simply wouldn’t be as bothered by Harry’s epiphany/info-dumpstravaganza. They don’t have the personal experience that he does, though, again, he doesn’t quite know of his true connection to it all.

“That was far easier than I thought it would be,” said Hermione as they joined the crowds flocking out onto the sunny grounds. “I needn’t have learned about the 1637 Werewolf Code of Conduct or the uprising of Elfric the Eager.”

I AM SO HERMIONE. Also, I want to know what these are! FINISH THE HARRY POTTER ENCYCLOPEDIA, PLEASE.

But these stressful and contemplative moments that open the chapter are but the brief respite from OH SHIT, OH FUCK that is to come. It really is a treat to read this again, and I was not bored in the slightest by any of this. It’s exciting to go through this because it’s pulled off so well. I know this is not the height of weirdness (again, watch FLCL or some David Lynch for a taste of what weird can truly be), but the magical world becomes completely absurd in chapter sixteen, and that sense of fantasy gives the book life. We (sadly) know that these are things that don’t happen in our world, and that’s part of the fun. A room full of flying keys? An elaborate set of tricks and puzzles that could end in death being completed by eleven year olds? Yeah, this is how you entertain me.

While I will still maintain the head canon that Viserys somehow sold Hagrid the dragon age, I want to praise how quickly this all moves. It’s a pattern that Rowling follows for all her books, and it’s one I’m perfectly fine accepting. Every book builds to this crescendo of chaos and when it reaches the point of NO RETURN, things just feel so real. The second that Hagrid reveals that he accidentally told the strange dragon egg salesman how to disarm Fluffy, chapter sixteen hits the ground running and doesn’t stop. The group finally takes Hermione’s advice and head’s for Dumbledore’s office. Or…well, they try to, anyway. They don’t know where it is! I laughed so hard at the idea that there would be a sign for his office because OH DEAR, THAT IS NOT HOW HOGWARTS WORKS. Thankfully, they run into Professor McGonagall, and then I suddenly want to read all the books from her perspective. Wouldn’t that be fascinating? I imagine she’d complain about Snape a lot, or wonder why Potter and his friends are always getting into shenanigans, or there’d be long passages where she brags about having Hermione in Gryffindor and the other teachers would express their admiration for the genius. Plus, I’d love to read her side of the scene where Harry outright confirms that he knows about the Sorcerer’s Stone. He shocks her into confusion, literally! But once she composes herself, she denies them the opportunity. That’ll change soon, won’t it? Oh, everyone has no idea how real shit will get in the future, or that there will come a day when Harry tells McGonagall some ridiculous thing and she’ll just believe him. (I think my favorite McGonagall/Harry scene is when he returns to Hogwarts in Deathly Hallows. ALL THE TEARS.)

And then Snape is all creeping’ around the school because why not and then he says he’ll personally make sure Harry is expelled next time and SHUT THE FUCK UP, SNAPE. God, we get it, you hate Harry before he’s ever done anything to you and he reminds you of the man Lily actually fell in love with. YOU ARE A GROWN ASS MAN. LET IT GO.

Let’s talk about Harry’s thunderous speech that gets Hermione and Ron to come along with him to get the Stone before Snape or Voldemort. Even though he knew very, very little about Voldemort’s past, he’s still pretty spot on. Hogwarts did become a school for the Dark Arts in a way when the Death Eaters took it over in Deathly Hallows. He’s able to put it all in perspective for them: House points won’t matter if he gets the Stone. There won’t even be a Hogwarts, let alone Houses. And must he remind you that Voldy killed his parents??? HE WAS THEIR FRIEND! Oh, wait, no. No, he wasn’t.

You know who was their friend? Neville. Oh, Neville, your badassery starts right here in Sorcerer’s Stone. It’s unfortunate you had to stand up to your friends because you were bound to lose against Hermione, but I instantly respect Neville for making such a difficult decision. He’s right; they are risking even more points from Gryffindor, and they’ve already caused enough damage as it is. I don’t blame him in the slightest for standing up to the trio.

From here on out, chapter sixteen is about creativity, fast-thinking, loyalty, and courage, and Rowling executes it with masterful brilliance. I love how she does this. I love the excitement it brings. I love that each character gets their own moment to shine, I love how suspenseful it is, and I love that Rowling still manages to stick some humor in here.

“I know what this is–it’s Devil’s Snare!”

“Oh, I’m so glad we know what it’s called, that’s a great help,” snarled Ron, leaning back, trying to stop the plant from curling around his neck.

RON HAS ALL THE BEST LINES IN THIS CHAPTER. And it’s true, sometimes Hermione is so lost in her own mind that she’s oblivious to what she’s saying or doing. I mean:

“So light a fire!” Harry choked.

“Yes–of course–but there’s no wood!” Hermione cried, wringing her hands.

“HAVE YOU GONE MAD?” Ron bellowed. “ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT?”

PERFECTION. This is still one of the best parts of the whole book. God, it’s so obvious they were meant to be together that I’m surprised it took me so long to hop on board.

Each room that they come across is, by design, meant to represent what each character is best at. In the first room, Harry, the youngest Seeker in a century, is naturally predisposed to being talented at capturing a tiny, flying object that glints in the light. Ron gets to act out his knowledge of wizard chess in order to get them into the next room, and event that has the unspoken message of sacrificing yourself to help those you care about. The room with the potions is one that only Hermione could solve because it relies so heavily on logic. (Every so often, I wish Hermione was a Ravenclaw just so we could be even better friends, though I do totally understand why she’s a Gryffindor.)

Oh, and then there’s this:

“Harry–you’re a great wizard, you know.”

“I’m not as good as you,” said Harry, very embarrassed, as she let go of him.

“Me!” said Hermione. “Books! And cleverness! There are more important things–friendship and bravery and–oh Harry–be careful!

That’s why she’s a Gryffindor, and that’s why she and Harry are such good friends.

And that leads us to one of my favorite reveals of anything EVER. We won’t talk about that quite yet, but I don’t want to leave y’all hanging, so there will be a review to go up Monday morning. I’m posting my predictions for A Storm of SwordsΒ on Tuesday, then starting my “mystery” book on Wednesday!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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190 Responses to Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 16

  1. Inseriousity. says:

    I was reading your first review for this chapter the other day and when it got to potions room you were like 'eh snape's again?' haha so unprepared.

    completely forgot that HDM (:() is over now, excited to learn of the "mystery" book. I'd have never read The Book Thief or Hunger Games without it so look forward to finding out!

  2. James says:

    "An elaborate set of tricks […] being completed by eleven year olds?"
    Actually, by this point, only Harry's eleven. It's still freakin' awesome, of course, I'm just being pedantic.

    "he says he’ll personally make sure Harry is expelled next time and SHUT THE FUCK UP, SNAPE."
    I completely agree that his attitude and conduct towards Harry are excessive in their assholery, but at this point he's actually trying to help Harry by dissuading him from running around unsupervised when Voldy's on the loose. Of course, that would go down better if he hadn't been a complete TOOL all year and made them suspect him, or if he knew Harry at all because AHAHAHA fastest way to get him into danger is to tell him to stay out of it or else. *pets*

  3. Patrick721 says:

    Somehow, Viserys sold Hagrid the dragon age…
    But how's Hagrid going to play the game without a console, given that he's in 1992?

    I have nothing else to say, so I'll just stick to joking about your unintentionally funny typos.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      I now have a mental image of Hagrid and Viserys playing Dragon Age together.

      • Hagrid would insist on bringing Barkspawn along in every mission. Viserys would be really confused by Alistair not wanting to be king.

        The real question is, what Wardens would they make?

        • enigmaticagentscully says:

          Barkspawn? Really?

          I called my dog Mr Woofles, which seems more like Hagrid kind of name. But who would they try to…ah…romance? That's the real question here. πŸ˜‰

    • EldaTaluta says:

      He's a wizard. He'll find a way. But that is a hilarious idea. Someone needs to draw this.

    • arctic_hare says:

      My mind went there too!

    • Gillyweed says:

      Hah, you've read my mind. πŸ˜€
      Poor Hagrid, he could never bring himself to kill Archdeamon, or all those mabari, but can you imagine the awesomeness of Hagrid- Oghren camp parties? Everybody ever should play DA, that's all. πŸ™‚

    • affableevil says:

      Omg I love Dragon Age so much. So, so, so much.

      I still haven't managed to get my hands on a copy of DA2 but I still plan to play it eventually. The reason I loved DA:O so much was really because of the characters (arg fuck the Deep Roads jfalkdjfkldajfldjfldkfdsj), and it looks like the DA2 characters are just as amazing, even if the game as a whole is not as stunning as the first – which is what I've gleaned from reviews? IDK, anyone here have any strong feelings about DA2?

      (I'm pretty sure I'm already in love with Merrill just from the banter I've looked up on youtube gah why am I so broke)

      • Gillyweed says:

        I love DA! It took some time to really grow on me, since it's not as epic as DA:O, and I can't be an elf, and I loved being an elf and all that angst.. sorry. The point is, without spoiling, fights are soooo much better and faster, companions are amazing, and so real. Varric is my best friend, I hate Anders, words can't describe how much, Isabela is my BFF, I always want to hug Merril, and just the sound of Fenris' voice does things to me. Also, I loved playing as a female Hawke.

        You can't not care about people around you, one way or another, and that for me is the best part. Not to say I didn't have problems with some plots, but all in all, I loved it but not as much as Origins.
        Sorry for suich a long OT rant, just can't stop talking about DA πŸ™‚

  4. HieronymusGrbrd says:

    I love this ambigous little scene that follows Harry’s thunderous speech before the action starts.

    “You are right, Harry.” What does Hermione mean?

    1)“I understand why you have to do this and will no longer try to stop you.”?
    2)“I see now why this has to be done. Let’s go and fetch the stone.”?
    3)Hermione (low voice, insecure) still doesn’t know what Harry being right means for herself?

    Harry (did he even hear her?) continues to talk about how he will use the invisibility cloak, Ron asks the crucial question, Harry is puzzled: all three?. Hermione …

    What happens here?
    1)Ron understands and listens to Hermione much better than Harry (foreshadowing the ship)?
    2)When Ron feels so sure, Hermione doesn’t want to hurt him by saying “I didn’t volunteer!” (foreshadowing the ship)?
    3)Harry wouldn’t matter much, but when Ron volunteers, Hermione has to join the team to protect him (heavily foreshadowing the ship)?

    No, I don’t really believe in Nr. 3. Let’s try again (keeping PoA’s You'll have to kill all three of us! in mind:

    When logic fails, because all the reasonable arguments feel terribly bad, then and only then Rons heart can not be wrong, and Hermione will follow whereever he goes. Because Ron never has to think about it, he just knows what is right, and he will be eternally loved for this. (Rons epic fails usually occur when he spent too much time on thinking about it, and got it all wrong.)

    • @sab39 says:

      Interesting – I'd never noticed there was ambiguity in that scene. You're right that there are several explanations that could make sense, but I still feel like the one that JKR intended is fairly clear – basically, that *both Ron and Hermione* had the same response to Harry's speech – your #2 in your first list, "I see now why this has to be done. Let's go and fetch the stone." And that Ron and Hermione understood *each other* well enough to see in each other that they were thinking the same thing. So they both, together, understood that the consequence of Harry's speech was that obviously all three of them *would* be going, and started working on the practical implications of that, like the cloak.

  5. sparadigm says:

    I'm so excited to find out what your mystery book is!

  6. Peg says:

    The potion logic puzzle that Rowling describes actually is real and it shows the incredible level of detail she's put into the books. You can read an indepth explanation working it out here: http://www.hp-lexicon.org/essays/essay-potionridd

  7. cait0716 says:

    I really love that it takes all three of them to make it through the various barriers. The necessity of friends and teamwork is just beautiful. None of them could have done this on their own, but together they can take on everything.

    I did laugh back in the original review when you thought the troll was Snape's. I don't think I suspected Quirrell, but I'm sure I never suspected Snape, since the potions were so clearly his.

  8. knut_knut says:

    I remember having my little eleven year old mind BLOWN when I got to this chapter (especially the end). ALL THE SHIT GOT SO REAL AND I WAS SO UNPREPARED! I recently went back and reread your original Chapter 1 review (Oh, Mark, so young! So naïve!) where you proceeded to rip the cover to shreds, but the cover IS pretty misleading. When I first bought the book, I NEVER thought it would be like this. I thought it was just going to be silly, trivial adventures of a wizard named Harry Potter, and that it would be a good and entertaining book, but ultimately forgettable. I COULDN’T HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG.

    This is also one of my favourite Harry Potter chapters of all time. I love that they each have their own room where they get to shine, and it really drives home the point that Harry needs his friends! Even though in the later books he might feel alone, like no one else understands his burdern (looking at you, OoTP), he can’t win the fight against Voldemort on his own. Plus, the trio are so cute! I love Hermione’s mini THERE’S NO FIREWOOD break down.

    • knut_knut says:

      ETA: By the way, did we ever find out what those Hufflepuff cookies were yesterday? You can’t leave us hanging! I am super excited for your Storm of Swords review (how far along are you?) and your mystery book!!!

      • Elexus Calcearius says:

        *coughs* I may be writing a piece of fanfiction where Eleven and the Team TARDIS goes to Hogwarts and the Doctor laments that the cookies are Hufflepuff cookies. Possibly.

        Don't judge me, I was procrastinating.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      I don't like the cover for the first book, at least not the British cover. Young!Me was like "Er, that's a boy. With a train. And he looks ugly." Yes, little me was shallow, but she had a point; where's the whimsy in that? I'm not big on the American book covers as a whole, I just don't like the style.

      Ooh, but have you guys seen the new covers? Those are so beautiful. They're all white with these very styilised, old style designs of whimsy. I think the first book has Ron as a Knight piece.

      • I'm intrigued by the mention of these new covers so did a quick search.
        These?
        http://hprr.co/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/harry-p

        I hope it works!

      • knut_knut says:

        I think the American covers worked for the first 3, especially since those are the ones aimed at a younger audience. GoF, though, was TERRIBLE. What the fuck is Harry so happy about? AND WHAT IS THAT CREEPY BLACK THING PEERING OVER THE HEDGES?

        • monkeybutter says:

          It's Sirius! He's always creeping about, watching over Harry.

          GoF is my least favorite of the HP covers, but it's also my second least favorite book, so I don't really care. It took me some time, but Mary GrandPré's covers really grew on me and I adore them. It's probably sacrilege to say so, but I prefer them to the UK covers. I think the 4th is pretty transitional, which might be why I like it less than the other 6. Oddly enough, I think it's also a transition point in Rowling's writing, which is why I don't really enjoy the book. The weird cover is oddly appropriate!

          • knut_knut says:

            What an unfortunate looking dog. It looks like a giant black snake! Or a panther!

            I haaaaaaaaated GoF when I first read it because it was such a change from the earlier books and I thought it was too long (I liked from the third task on). I definitely like it a lot more now that I know how important it is to the series and can see how it fits in, but it’s still one of my least favs :/ It’s also the only HP book at home that belongs to my sister and not me, so I think that adds to my rejection of it.

            • arctic_hare says:

              Yeah, I didn't like GoF much my first time through either. I appreciate more now, but it's still one of my least favorites. It didn't help that the importance of the SPEW subplot doesn't really manifest for a few more books, so it felt like an unnecessary drag on the action. I still think PoA was the best plotted one of the series, since EVERYTHING ties into the main plot about Sirius Black; one of the reasons I still love that one the most.

            • myshadow says:

              GoF was what made me want to read the other books and it was my favorite, but now it's almost my least favorite.

  9. stellaaaaakris says:

    Such a good book. I pretty much have this entire book memorized from reading it so many times.

    Your mysteries always make me anxious. It's a constant state of "OMG what if I haven't read it? I might get spoiled! But I want to read the review…oh noes." I am in a struggle with myself. Can you tell us if it's a stand-alone post or are you doing chapter by chapter and just the book selection is a mystery? Because if it's the latter, I might be able to hunt down this book and follow along.

    Harry, the youngest Seeker in a century, is naturally predisposed to being talented at capturing a tiny, flying object that glints in the light.
    Haha I love that Harry's skill at catching shiny flying things helps delay the return of a dark wizard. Awesome.

    • monkeybutter says:

      "Oo, shiny" saves the day! Actually, it helps bring Voldy down, too, since that's how Harry caught the goblet horcrux.

  10. Maya says:

    All I have to say is that I was clearly the most trope-ignorant ten year old in the world when I started reading this, since it took me until the third book to realize how Ron and Hermione were meant for each other. The thought didn't even cross my MIND until the whole Scabbers incident. Of course by then I was like 12/13 and more ~grown up~

    • cait0716 says:

      It didn't click for me until the debacle at the Yule Ball.

    • Becky says:

      I read the first four books in the summer of 2000 when I turned 16 and I never even thought about it until over two years later when I went off to college and met my new best friend who said, "Well, Ron and Hermione are obviously going to end up together." Duh! I think it was just that, before then, in that long gap between books four and five, the books were something I had enjoyed once but never dwelt on or thought too much about. So I was a late-blooming shipper.

      • Quincy Morris says:

        Yeah, I've known Ron and Hermione were going to get together for so long, I can't even remember where I got the idea. I think my mom thought it was super obvious and told me, but I can't be sure. I snuck a peek at the back of GOF before I read it and I read the part where Hermione kisses Harry and I was just like "Ahhh! Harry can't be with Hermione! That's weird!"

        Honestly, I always thought Harry would end up with Cho. Well, that's probably because I really didn't understand what exactly was going on in chapter 25 of OOTP at all when I first read it, so I got into the habit of skipping the chapter whenever I read the book. (Seriously, I read it before Part 2, and I was just like: Holy shit, a Harry Potter chapter from another universe!) I thought they would make up in the end or something, but nope. Harry got with his best friend's sister.

        • notemily says:

          I knew Harry and Ginny were going to be together from as early as book 2. Ron and Hermione, I'm not so sure about. I definitely knew by the end of book 3, but I'm not sure exactly when I got it.

    • monkeybutter says:

      I got it in the first book when I read it at 13 or 14 (and then shamefully cast it aside because I thought it was too ~popular~ and simply written…OH ME). Same for Harry and Ginny.

      Thirteen is obviously the magical age when you understand everything.

    • knut_knut says:

      I didn’t pick up on it until the Yule Ball -_- I hate how there are people who think that Ron isn’t good enough for Hermione, that he’s too stupid and immature for her. CLEARLY Ron and Hermione are soul mates <3

    • Marie says:

      Ha, I didn't get it until like, Order of the Phoenix / The Half Blood Prince. I honestly thought that Ron was ACTUALLY upset that Hermione was "fraternizing with the enemy" at the Yule Ball.

      When Order of the Phoenix came out I heard "rumours" at school that J K Rowling was planning on getting Ron and Hermione together, and I really didn't want it to happen because I thought it would mess up the friendship between all three of them, so I was super relieved when the book ended and they weren't together yet.

      I guess I made my piece with it before the sixth book (well, also I was getting older and rereading the books many many times, so I think I clued in too) because by then I was egging it on (with some Harry shared nervousness of course)

    • fizzybomb says:

      I didn't get it until I read HBP at age 13, when it was spelled out in the text. Yeah. I thought those kids making predictions that they'd get together in OotP were just seeing things.

    • Lady X says:

      I was a bit differant in that aspect:) I remember being a wee little one when the first three movies came out and I assumed they were always just a item and then getting to the books and being”Well they’re going to get together in the next book then right?Right?” I think by DH I just had given up.

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

    • Aslee says:

      I was a shipper of them in the third grade. My teacher, who was reading us the first book, told me that they were just eleven, I was only seven and I quite possibly needed to shut up.

      I got the first four books for my birthday- we were on the Mirror of Erised in class, still -finished them in a night, and then lent them to my teacher.

      She agreed a week later.

  11. MsSmeagol says:

    I love this chapter so much because it is one of the few times in the series where we see Ron being better than Harry and Hermione at something. Both Harry and Hermione get to excel in so many things (quidditch and dark arts, and academics, respectively) throughout the series, but the moments where Ron saves the day through skill and talent are pretty rare, and therefore it's always a special treat to see him lead the way and take charge instead of just trailing along and following the lead of Harry or Hermione.

    • stellaaaaakris says:

      "Always the tone of surprise."

      • MsSmeagol says:

        Exactly πŸ™‚ Poor Ron, always overshadowed, and those few precious times when he gets to be the hero, his friends and family are all "Ron can be awesome? Gosh, we never knew!", and as a reader you go "I KNEW! I KNEW! I'VE KNOWN IT SINCE BOOK ONE!".

    • Quincy Morris says:

      Ron is the greatest Ginger in literary history.

      That is all.

      • knut_knut says:

        what about Anne of Green Gables? Or Pippi Longstocking? I can't think of any male gingers at the moment… so maybe Ron can be the greatest MALE Ginger in literary history!

        • monkeybutter says:

          Uriah Heep?

          Yeaaaaah, the list of male redheads is pretty short, even moreso if you limit it to good guys. :/

          • knut_knut says:

            ooooo, right! I had to consult google and the only non-Weasley I got was Tintin (is he really ginger, though? I always thought he was blonde, maaaaaybe strawberry blonde)

    • Remy Lane says:

      THANK YOU! Ron never gets the proper appreciation. As stellaaaaakris aptly said, "Always the tone of surprise." Poor guy is always so underestimated. When he is the knight and directing how things have to be – I think it has to be one of my favorite scenes from the books AND the films. Rupert Grint OWNED that scene (not to mention the intense music). It may have been still a "kiddie" film then, but that scene was rife with intensity and good acting. Weasley is our King, indeed.

  12. Elexus Calcearius says:

    I love this chapter, for all the reasons you posted.Its a combination of excitement and fear and humour, and oh God, its just fun reading about.

    I absolutely adore the part where they're like "we totes know about the p-stone, k? Where's Dumbly?" McGonagall is thrown in such a loop, and you're right, its hilarious when compared to later books. (I'm also reminded of the sixth movie where she's just like "Why is it always you three")

    My favourite of the challenges was always the riddle puzzle. I loved the idea of using brains, not power, to solve it, and the concept of the two fires. When I was little I was so sad that it didn't get in the movie, but now I'm older I understand why it wouldn't have worked in that medium. Still, Hermione being badass and word puzzles? I wouldn't mind it too much.

    And yes, the reveal is brilliant. "It wasn't Snape. It wasn't even Voldemort." THEN WHO THE FUCK IS IT?

    You were never prepared.

    • hpfish13 says:

      So…I'm currently in a children's theatre show (The Sorcerer's Apprentice) where a magician (Merlin) has to go on a journey in order to have the skills to be the (and I quote) "Superbly Singular Sorcerer of the Universal Solar System." In the process he learns to do 5 different things: 1) to master all the magical tools around him, 2) to have the heart to be a caretaker of the human race, 3) to have the courage to defeat all the monsters in life, 4) to have the wisdom to use his brain and not his muscle to win in all conflict, and 5) to believe in the magic within himself. At the end of the show all the kids in the audience get to take the "Sorcerer's Oath" where they pledge to do the above things.

      It's funny because until your line "I loved the idea of using brains, not power, to solve it" that this is the entire message of the Harry Potter books. No wonder I love this show so much.

      (Plus I get to play a rabbit, who gets pulled out a hat and then I get to be a magician's assistant–how often does that happen?)

    • Quincy Morris says:

      To be honest, the riddle made no sense to me. Last time I read the book I spent an hour trying to figure out how Hermione could have possibly figured out how to solve it. I then realized that it's the sort of thing you would have to 'see' to be able to figure it out.

      Personally, I think Jo was really lazy at that point in the book, or she just didn't want to spend pages and pages describing a puzzle that would be solved a few pages later. This is a children's book, after all. A rather brilliant one, but still a Kid's book.

    • notemily says:

      "we totes know about the p-stone, k? Where's Dumbly?"

      LOLOL forever.

  13. bingo0007 says:

    anybody here worked out the puzzle in pottermore?i am a ravenclaw but i cheated..sigh

    • Kira Wonrey says:

      The potions puzzle? Actually, I found it very easy… I'm a Slytherin btw

    • cait0716 says:

      I didn't mean to cheat, but I grabbed the book so I could look at the hints and bottles at the same time and the answer was on the same page. Oops.

    • SteelMagnolia80 says:

      I figured one bottle correctly, then guessed the other one by chance. I admit it… I'm a Gryffindor.

      • echinodermata says:

        I did the same. Only going by the given clues from the site, I could figure out one then had a 50/50 chance of the other. (I did get it right the first time, though.)(Also, I'm a Ravenclaw.)

    • pennylane27 says:

      I think I remembered how the bottles looked and their positions from the book, and I guessed correctly! I'm Hufflepuff, but I don't think it means anything. πŸ˜‰

    • myshadow says:

      I remembered the purple potion from the book and made a guess for the other one.

    • monkeybutter says:

      I do the puzzle every time I read the books, so I kind of have it down. πŸ™‚ Gryffindor!

      • echinodermata says:

        I'm not looking at the book, but I remember when I tried working it out once that I thought it couldn't be figured out from the books unless you're given a diagram/positioning information.

        • monkeybutter says:

          lol I must have deluded myself then! I think I accurately guessed where nettle wine was, and went from there. Lucky? lol this is like sudoku puzzles where I just guess a number and it magically works. Maybe I memorized that the last on the right couldn't be poison or nettle wine? I didn't know which one was the smallest or the largest, but I "knew" the positions in line of the potions that would take you forward and back. When it came to Pottermore, I just clicked on the right bottles.

          But now that I think about it, you might have to see where the largest and smallest bottles are to do it. Not so much genius as luck after all!

          • echinodermata says:

            Someone linked to the lexicon's page for working out the riddle elsewhere in the comments.

            To quote it: "I am happy to say that it can be logically proven that she [JKR] did put forth the time and effort to create a real puzzle. The riddle leads inexorably to two and only two possible solutions. If we knew the location of the smallest bottle, we would be able to narrow it down to one."

            So they came to the conclusion I did, which is that there is more than one solution given only the info provided.

            • monkeybutter says:

              Yeah, S8 was the one I always came up with, and I was satisfied that it worked, so I didn't explore any farther. This is why I'm not a Ravenclaw!

    • plaidpants says:

      I was super excited when I came across it! I've always wanted to solve the puzzle, but without visual representations of the bottles I knew it would be impossible. My roommate thought I had gone crazy because when I saw it I literally screamed, ran across the room to get my copy of PS, and read through the message. Its probably my favorite thing from Pottermore right now haha

      • echinodermata says:

        Please don't use "crazy" on this site.

        • xpanasonicyouthx says:

          And for the person who reported my own mod's comment…

          No one is saying plaidpants is awful or gross or anything. It's just a friendly reminder that it's a word that is considered a slur by the mental health community and we don't use it around here so that people can read the comments without feeling left out or triggered, among other reactions.

          Yes, there are ways to use "crazy" that do not have inherently negative connotations, but it's much easier to just ask the community to not use one word on one site on the whole Internet than to argue the intent/meaning of a usage every single time.

          Make sense? It's not a judgment on a person's character, as I'm sure plaidpants is pretty awesome! It's just a thing we do here in the community to make sure everyone feels welcome.

          Thanks!!

  14. Quincy Morris says:

    Yeah, Hermione and Ron getting together was always super obvious. So was Harry and Ginny.

    Okay, enough about the shipping.

    You know, I kind of find it weird the Dumbledore LET 3 ELEVEN YEAR OLDS TACKLE HIS CHALLENGES WHEN HE APPARENTLY KNEW WHAT THEY WERE TRYING TO DO. I mean, seriously. That's probably the most What the fuck moment from Dumbledore in the entire series.

    • notemily says:

      Dude, those challenges (except maybe the troll) are DESIGNED for people to be able to get through them. It's pretty silly when you think about it–if you actually wanted to keep something under absolute magical protection, you wouldn't give thieves a chance to steal it if they were smart and resourceful enough to figure out your puzzles.

  15. Purpledoll says:

    'While I will still maintain the head canon that Viserys somehow sold Hagrid the dragon age'

    Didn't Quirrel sell Hagrid the egg? I thought that was how Quirrelmort got the knowledge about Fluffy's weakness for music. By wearing a face hiding cloak, getting Hagrid drunk and pretending to bond with him over a love of magical creatures. Hagrid is so trusting because he's lonely. I'm actually starting to cry thinking about it now.

  16. It sort of feels like these characters, aside from Hermione, haven’t even really been going to school
    Whereas it dawned on me during HBP that this is basically a book series about GOING TO SCHOOL.

    “HAVE YOU GONE MAD?” Ron bellowed. “ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT?”
    Hey!! There's a callback in DH when they're trying to get past the Whomping Willow to get to the Shrieking Shack and Ron is like I WISH WE HAD CROOKSHANKS AGAIN and Hermione is like ARE YOU A WIZARD OR NOT?

  17. hick says:

    One of my favourite parts, which is often overlooked, is that McGonagall was actually totally right, when she said, that the Philosopher's Stone is safe. Quirrell would never have gotten it out of the mirror.

  18. Starsea28 says:

    SHUT THE FUCK UP, SNAPE. God, we get it, you hate Harry before he’s ever done anything to you and he reminds you of the man Lily actually fell in love with.

    Harry's very EXISTENCE pisses Snape off and rubs salt into his permanently open wound. So yeah, life would be easier if Harry were expelled and Snape wasn't constantly reminded of the two biggest mistakes of his life (calling Lily a Mudblood and telling Voldemort about the prophecy). But you know what? TOUGH SHIT. This is an eleven year-old boy, you sadistic git. I'm sure Lily would be overjoyed to hear you are threatening to expel him from the only home he's ever had.

    Let’s talk about Harry’s thunderous speech that gets Hermione and Ron to come along with him to get the Stone before Snape or Voldemort. Even though he knew very, very little about Voldemort’s past, he’s still pretty spot on. Hogwarts did become a school for the Dark Arts in a way when the Death Eaters took it over in Deathly Hallows. He’s able to put it all in perspective for them: House points won’t matter if he gets the Stone. There won’t even be a Hogwarts, let alone Houses.

    I adore this speech. It's the first glimpse of Harry's ferocious temper (though certainly not the last). It's the first indication that neither Hermione nor Ron are good at handling him when he's angry. It's true. It's funny and sad at the same time: "D'you think he'll leave you and your families alone if Gryffindor wins the house cup?" Oh Harry. You still think it's about the House Cup… I miss how innocent you used to be.

    Rupert Grint said the chess game was his favourite scene out of all eight movies. Not hard to see why.

  19. plunderb says:

    Can you really imagine Hermione in Ravenclaw? Just try to imagine her answering the riddles to open the door — Where do vanished objects go? Which came first, the phoenix or the flame? — with logical answers, rather than the poetry Luna and McGonagall offer. We would get so tired of that bullshit. Unless, of course, the Ravenclaw door recognizes many forms of intelligence and also accepts logical answers.

    • plunderb says:

      "She" would get tired, not "we."

    • HieronymusGrbrd says:

      IMO the point of the Ravenclaw door is not to give the "right" answer. The task is to think about the problem and come up with a solution that satisfies you. "The flame was first, because it obviously doesn't need the phoenix" would be as right as "Oh well, there seems to be an analogy to the hen and the egg, and everybody knows this".

      As long as you can defend your answer, you pass. Only people who refuse to think, like the Carrows, are lost.

      • echinodermata says:

        This would have been my answer too, except one thing puts a wrench in that for me.

        Info from Pottermore below:

        "It’s not unusual to find twenty people standing outside the common room door, all trying to work out the answer to the day’s question together." – Ravenclaw house welcome message

        It could be that when there's multiple people around giving different answers, the group tries to convince everyone of which answer is most correct so that's what they're doing standing outside. Basically, I figure coming up with an answer that satisfies you shouldn't be too hard, so I'm not sure why a group outside the door would form with people working out an answer together. But it's not exactly contradictory, so I'm just rambling, I guess.

    • Pseudonymph says:

      The answer McGonagall gives is perfectly logical as well as poetic. I can't remember what Luna's answer was, though.

  20. pennylane27 says:

    Oh man, I missed yesterday's review too! I just read it and I tears from laughter in my eyes.

    This chapter is way too awesome. I think it's amazing how Rowling managed to mantain the same level of suspense and tension throughout the chapter. Like I said a couple of reviews ago, I had already read CoS and PoA when I read PS for the first time, and I was still worried sick about Ron when he got knocked out, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out that Quirrel was the bad guy and Snape was… er, ambiguous?

    Also, I shipped Ron and Hermione since I first read CoS, and PoA just confirmed it.

    Also also, I am super excited because I have finally convinced my little brother to read this book together, in English! (We're Spanish speakers, btw). I think I'm way more excited than he is though. Whatever, I'm sure I'll suck him in the fandom in no time.

    Mark YOU ARE KILLING ME WITH THE MYSTERY BOOK THING. I JUST NEED TO KNOW. UGH.

  21. arctic_hare says:

    I think my favorite McGonagall/Harry scene is when he returns to Hogwarts in Deathly Hallows. ALL THE TEARS.

    YES. And then she's so heartbroken when it seems like Harry's dead. :'(

    I love you, Neville. <3 You are the best. This is why you're a true Gryffindor: you're brave enough not just to stand up to your enemies, but to your friends too. That takes a special kind of courage, and not everyone is capable of it, but you did it. Dumbledore is right to commend him at the feast in the next chapter, because that is a commendable act, even if it was technically the wrong time to do it. Ron's line to him about "Yes, but not to us" stands out to me on reread because I think it's important that Neville be able to stand up to his friends. It's this show of such courage right now that makes Neville's growth into the total badass we see in DH completely believable for me. Hell, earlier than that, even – up until the slaying of Nagini, my favorite Neville moment was far and way that scene in the Department of Mysteries: "He's not alone! He's still got me!" Oh, he was so amazing in that book. <3 This is why he's one of my favorite characters.

    The path to get the Stone is brilliant, it's one of my favorite "endgame" sequences in the series because it's fun, exciting, and tailored to each character's unique strengths. And you just know Hermione's not gonna hear the end of it with "There's no wood!" I wish they hadn't left that out of the movie, it was so funny and made Hermione even more relatable to me, because I have those silly brain fart moments too. Who doesn't? I also love the mental image of the room filled with keys, and the way all three work together to get the right one. Sure, they needed Harry as Seeker to spot it, but he also needed them to help him corner it. Trying with him alone would've been endless frustration, methinks, and taken a lot longer. I'm having odd flashbacks to sequences in video games where I had to chase something around and catch it and it would've been so much less aggravating with others to help. I'm picturing a solo chase of the key as working out to be just as annoying.

    And oh, Hagrid. πŸ™ πŸ™ πŸ™ I always felt so bad for him when he found out it was Quirrell that sold him the egg. First he has to give up Norberta, and then it turns out that he was being manipulated for info on Fluffy anyway. Poor Hagrid.

    • Laura says:

      I *love* Neville. I use oh_Neville as my screenname on HP- (and other) related sites, because that was consistently my response to him — when he lost Trevor (again), when he took off too soon (and without control) in the flying lesson, when he forgot the missing step on the stairway, and had to be pulled out by Harry and Ron. It was an affectionate sigh of an "Oh, Neville," but an "Oh, Neville" nonetheless. He quite clearly was a good-hearted boy who just lacked confidence, and my heart ached for him.

      It was on a re-read that I spotted that the first words said to Neville — by his gran, naturally, on Platform 9 3/4 — were, "Oh, Neville." Cool.

      Or maybe it makes me a grandmother.

      Or a cool grandmother? Hmmmmm. Anyway.

  22. Remy Lane says:

    Why yes, Ron Weasley, I did fall madly in love with you as soon as you uttered your first sarcastic comment. Be still my heart. And you are totally right, Mark – the seeds for Ron and Hermione were planted so early, and feel so obvious now. They have always been perfect for each other. Ron knows exactly how to get through to Hermione when she's lost in her own brilliance, and Hermione has always known the little ways to give Ron recognition when he has his own fits of brilliance (even if it comes across a bit incredulous on her part sometimes). I ship these crazy kids so hard. OTP always.

    AND THE REVEAL! I never pick up on clues in books, so this one was just – WOW. Just plain stunned. JK Rowling, I still bow at your masterful writing and how I never saw anything coming, even when it was right in front of our oblivious faces.

    • @GalFawkes says:

      And then there's an echo in Deathly Hallows of Ron's "ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT" line, when Ron says "but we don't have Crookshanks" and Hermione says "ARE YOU A WIZARD OR NOT?"
      Love how R/Hr mirror each other. I shipped these kids ever since Hermione said "You've got dirt on your nose, by the way."

      • Laura says:

        What about Hermione and Mrs. Weasley? Mrs. Weasley is trying to rub the spot off Ron's nose on Platform 9 3/4; one of the first things Hermione says to Ron is, "And you've got dirt on your nose, by the way, did you know?"

  23. pudding says:

    can the mystery book be series of unfortunate events?

  24. MsSmeagol says:

    Can the mystery book please be Chamber of Secrets? πŸ™‚

  25. Noybusiness says:

    "While I will still maintain the head canon that Viserys somehow sold Hagrid the dragon age"

    I want to buy my own dragon age! Come on, age of dragons!

  26. nanceoir says:

    The opening of this chapter convinced me — convinced me — that Harry would not die.

    "In years to come, Harry would never quite remember how he had managed to get through his exams when he half expected Voldemort to come bursting through the door at any moment."

    I mean, right? That's clearly a much older Harry reflecting on his life and being astonished that at 11 he had to deal with that crap. It's not the reflection of, say, a 15 or 16 year old who's been dealing with bigger and badder things every year since.

    I think I latched onto this sentence the summer of '03 or something? In all the uncertainty of the prophecy and the horcruxes, this was my lifeline: Harry's going to live because he's got to have enough distance from his life at Hogwarts to reflect on them and to be amazed (and perhaps boggled) at his dealing with these huge, momentous things so well at so young an age.

    I love how I was so very right… and so very wrong, too.

    (But mostly right, right? Right.)

    πŸ˜€

  27. Shay_Guy says:

    I know this is not the height of weirdness (again, watch FLCL or some David Lynch for a taste of what weird can truly be)

    I knew you'd seen FLCL — think you said so in a comment on the MW suggestions post, and Google indicates that you also mentioned it in an Amber Spyglass post a few weeks back — but I don't think you ever said much of what you thought about it beyond "man, that was weird." Which, well, is everyone's reaction. πŸ™‚

  28. Becky_J_ says:

    "YOU ARE A GROWN ASS MAN. LET IT GO."

    I, for some reason, choose the most ridiculous phrases from your reviews to comment on. So here goes!

    I read it as "Grown ass-man" instead of "grown-ass man" and spent about ten minutes going "What the hell is an assman????"

  29. Julephenia says:

    Mark, I don't know if you're on Pottermore, yet, but I am, and I got sorted into Ravenclaw. (I am such a Hermione, though… well, as you say, she should be a Ravenclaw.)

    I'm not willing to put my Pottermore name out, yet, but I hope I run into you over there!

  30. Lady X says:

    That’s one of the things that I really love about this chapter. Had harry not brought ron and hermione it well…wouldn’t have worked. Rowling sets up the dependence for one another with the trio quite well and establishes the fact that they work best as a team πŸ™‚

  31. Quizzical says:

    &neville; &ron; &mcgonnagal; &the trio;

    &mark;

  32. EmmylovesWho says:

    I'm loving the re-reads πŸ™‚

  33. EmmylovesWho says:

    Excellent PoA movie reference πŸ˜‰

  34. Andrew says:

    I love that exchange between Hermione and Harry. It highlights so much about both of their characters – of course, I will continue to harp on Harry's self-esteem issues, but also Hermione's (sometimes) astonishingly mature perspective. Not just her book smarts, but moments like that she shows she really understands things that most people don't get, let alone people her age. (Of course, she has her moments of, well, teenage girl *cough*Lockhart*cough* too, but that just means she's real.) Harry shares that quality, too, for different reasons and in different ways – you cited the speech so I needn't, but yeah.

    So Pottermore fun: you get to do the logic puzzle when you get to this chapter! Now, of course, you could always just pull the book out for the answers, but I had actually forgotten the solution and I FUCKING LOVE that type of puzzle so I was ridiculously pleased I got to work it out. It's a relatively simple one as far as those go, but I still enjoyed it immensely.

  35. Mel says:

    I don’t exactly remember when exactly did I realize that Ron and Hermione were going to end up togeter, but it was during the first book.

    When re-reading, their very first scene together and Ron’s “Whatever house she’s in, I hope I’m not in it” makes it obvious. The two knew how to get under each other’s skin and did so frequently while remaining best friends and caring for each other through it all.

    • MsSmeagol says:

      I'm so impressed with everyone who realized so early on that Ron and Hermione were gonna end up together!!!
      It honestly took me four books and the whole Yule Ball drama to figure out that they were headed in that direction.
      (And then I spent the next three books waiting for them to kiss. I remember I was so sure it was gonna happen in book 5, and then in book 6, and when it finally happened in book 7, I cried and cried and re-read that part like twenty times).

  36. klmnumbers says:

    While I will still maintain the head canon that Viserys somehow sold Hagrid the dragon egg

    Someone write that fic, imo.

  37. hassibah says:

    "I AM SO HERMIONE. Also, I want to know what these are! FINISH THE HARRY POTTER ENCYCLOPEDIA, PLEASE."

    Okay so I might not be the only one on Pottermore who got all kinds of pissed that you couldn't open the textbooks and read their content even though I really know in my head that that's a totally unreasonable expectation? Still just me? Ok!

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