Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 17

In the seventeenth and final chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry faces the man responsible for attempting to steal the Sorcerer’s Stone. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to re-read Harry Potter.


It was Quirrell.


BEST REVEAL OR BEST REVEAL. I don’t care that I know how this ends, this is still one of the best literary endgames I’ve ever read. Still. It’s so terribly exciting to read this now, as I can see how well the pieces fit together, and I can see all the tiny plot crumbs that Rowling leaves behind that I never picked up the first time around.

I think out of all the expository villain dialogues, this one and the one at the end of Goblet of Fire are the most sensical in terms of how well they fit into the narrative and into the characters we’ve been given. What’s so shocking about the Quirrell reveal is that we find out he’s been lying about his own character. He’s not the bumbling, stuttering coward we were given the entire book. (He is a coward, but for a completely different reason.) It’s a nifty sleight of hand on Rowling’s part because we could never possibly believe that this man would willingly do such a thing. In that sense, after having pretending to be a frightened fool the entire time, doesn’t it seem likely that he’d stretch out his ego to prove to Harry that he has the upper hand? It’s almost as if his villainous monologue is more of a pat on the back from himself than an explanation for us.

Beyond that, this final moment is so genius it hurts. Of course, people like myself bought into the notion that Snape was the villain because of his blatant repulsion with Harry Potter. I mean, seriously:

“Yes, Severus does seem the type, doesn’t he? So useful to have him swooping around like an overgrown bat.”

WHY IS THIS SUDDENLY THE FUNNIEST LINE EVER? Oh, because it is very deeply true. Sorry, Snape fans, sometimes my personal head canon is that Snape mopes about the castle listening to Joy Division and the Sisters of Mercy and wishes he could go to Blue Monday in Los Angeles and stand on the edges of the room staring wistfully at other folks dressed in black and combat boots while Bauhaus blares out of speakers in the bar.

I’m sorry that I’ve put that in your head.

I can’t ignore that this book is written with an eleven-year-old as the main character, and that other children the same age read this. This is a compliment, because this shit is scary. Quirrell just outright tells Harry he’s going to kill him, and in his most villainous-like monologue, he says some disturbing things:

“Lord Voldemort showed me how wrong I was. There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it….”

Right there, she sets up Voldemort to fail, and she sets up one of her biggest themes for all seven books, that the pursuit of power for the mere sake of it is inherently destructive and immoral. A life in pursuit of power and control is devoid of love, and there’s no character who’s more devoid of love than Voldemort. These themes are right here! In the first book! SHE FUCKING KNEW. I mean, of course she did, but this re-read thing….damn, this is so fun.

And let’s just talk about the shit-getting-realer here in the final chapter. Rowling brings in the Mirror of Erised, a creepy disembodied voice of Voldemort (well, at the time, I didn’t think it had a body OH MARK, HOW LITTLE YOU KNEW), and uses them to build dread. We know the Stone is in that room somewhere, and we know that the mirror shows a person’s deepest desires. Would it show Quirrell how to find the Sorcerer’s Stone? Strangely, it doesn’t; instead, the mirror seems to magically place the stone in Harrys pocket, something that utterly perplexed me. I now know how this was pulled off, and it’s a way for Rowling to use all of these details we believed were disconnected in order to show us just how silly our predictions were. SHE LAUGHS AT YOU. SHE CACKLES FROM HER WRITING DESK.

But really, this chapter’s emotional high comes from the reveal that Voldemort is basically living on the back of Quirrell’s head. I seriously love the moment I realized that the name of this chapter was literal. I think I am finally seeing how ridiculous it must be to follow me sometimes, especially when things this obvious completely escape me. I like to imagine this scene in my own head, rather than how it was portrayed in the movie, if only because I think it’s the only small detail that’s not spot-on. I may have laughed a bit during that part. May have. But this scene in the book is legitimately creepy to me, and a reveal so far from my expectations that I didn’t even know how to process it for a few minutes. There’s a dark lord living on the back of someone’s head. However, I find the way that Voldemort teases Harry about his parents’ death to be the worst of this all. At this point in time, Harry only vaguely knows some details of what happened, and now Voldemort is telling him what can only be the truth: his father died fighting to save him, and his mother died in a final effort to protect him.

This is fucked up.

Well, someone’s skin burning another person just by touching them is also pretty darn awesome. Sometimes, I wish I could turn on this power for presumptive assholes who see that I’m tattooed and think that this is an invitation for them to walk up to me and grab my arms in order to get a better look at them. Well…then I suppose my mother would have to die saving me from Voldemort, so maybe this is not the best thing to wish for. But then….would that make this world real? MORAL DILEMMA. Oh god, mom, if you’re reading this I AM NOT SERIOUSLY CONSIDERING SACRIFICING YOU IN ORDER TO MAKE HARRY POTTER REAL.

Dumbledore arrives to save the day, and this might be the only time he does so blatantly. I think Harry (and a combination of Hermione and Ron) generally handle things on their own. (Well, maybe not the case in Order of the Phoenix. ugh, that wand fight…SO GOOD.) Of all the moments where Dumbledore just explains what’s happened, I may like this one the most. (Does the King’s Cross chapter count? That one’s a doozy, too.) Harry’s eleven, and he needs a figure like Dumbledore in the moments that he wakes up from a three day rest. He slept for three days!!! I WANT TO DO THAT. Or do I?

Even if you find book-ending monologues/explain-a-thons irritating (and I totally get it if you do), you have to admire both the mind-blowing wisdom that Dumbledore drops on us, and the fact that THE ANSWER TO EVERYTHING WAS RIGHT HERE BEFORE US. May I?

“What happened down in the dungeons between you and Professor Quirrell is a complete secret, so, naturally, the whole school knows.”


“After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”


“…the trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them.”


“Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.”

Oh, I just can’t handle this, y’all!

“If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn’t realize that love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves its own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign…to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever.”

Oh, sorry, just have some dust in my eyes or something. This isn’t even magic. This is just…my god. Dumbledore. Who knew. It’s a statement about that everlasting sensation, that rare feeling when you have been loved so fiercely and so completely as Harry’s mother did here.

Dumbledore, you are deeply flawed, but you are still a wonderful character. oh god SNAPE KILLS DUMBLEDORE WHAT.

It’s weird that there’s so much happiness at the end of this book. I think my brain just naturally goes towards the ending of books four through seven, and it’s just TRAGEDY and PAIN, and ONLY SOME THINGS GO WELL. But this goes remarkably well! There is Hermione and Ron story time, the realization that Dumbledore gave the trio the choice to get involved, Hagrid being all sobby and then being forgiven, and the feast at the end of the first year. Seriously, is there a way that we, as Harry Potter fans, can organize a feast like this? WHY HAVE WE NOT DONE THIS ALREADY. Wait, y’all probably did but I was out being a total loser and not reading the series. what is my life. LOOK AT IT. LOOK AT MY CHOICES.

I think the most important aspect of the feast, though, is Neville. I think it’s more significant to see him get rewarding and positively reinforced for choosing to stand up to the trio, and it certainly helps that his actions are what help send Gryffindor over the point level needed to win the house cup. I also think Rowling wanted to give these kids a victory. Part of me wonders if she did it knowing what was to come, almost conceding some sort of consolation. “There, there, my precious characters. I’ll hold you just this once.” OH GOD THIS SERIES.

It was the best evening of Harry’s life, better than winning at Quidditch, or Christmas, or knocking out mountain trolls…he would never, ever forget tonight.

I believe. I believe this so much, and thinking about what Harry’s life has been until his first year at Hogwarts, it’s just heartbreaking to me. And I mean that in a positive sense! Harry’s life has been so full of sadness and vacancy, and the thought of his time with the Dursleys is so depressing to me. His first year at Hogwarts means so much more than just an introduction to the magical world. It’s about Harry finding freedom, about finding real friends who care about him, and finding a new family that will welcome him with open arms.

In that sense, the end of Sorcerer’s Stone is joyous, but it’s tinged with a bittersweet aftertaste. Harry must return to the world of the Dursleys and become the boy who lived under the stairs again. Still, this time he has a whole world in his head, the promise of a summer visit to the Weasley house, and the ability to do something none of the Dursleys can. For once, he has an advantage, and for once, he has hope. And sometimes, hope is all a person has to go on.

Love this book. For real, y’all.

(Note: Just a reminder that I’m posting my horrific predictions for A Storm of Swords tomorrow, and then my first review for the “mystery” one-off book starts Wednesday.)

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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147 Responses to Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 17

  1. Hanah_banana says:

    Aw I love this chapter. It's just…it's exactly how an eleven year old would expect a good story to end isn't it? It's got so many excellent elements – unexpected villain and hey he HAS A MAN ON THE BACK OF HIS HEAD and our gallant hero manages to burn him with his hands and then he gets loads of sweets and there's a feast and the great protector makes sure his house wins because it wouldn't be happy enough otherwise, and then he's going off to the Dursleys but it's okay because there will be another book after this one with more adventures!

    I don't know, it's just feels so full of whimsy and happiness and innocence, even though some of the stuff going on is actually kind of harrowing. Quirrell dies but it happens off-screen and Voldemort remains creepy and elusive and a fairly unknown quality, and nothing's too complicated. I think that's what I love best about it – there are shades of grey but mostly everything is simple and easy at this point. There's a villain so he goes and defeats him, and Dumbledore is good and wise and the Slytherins are evil and everything is fine.

    So long as we forget that Harry is going home to a summer of what is essentially child abuse of course…

    • notemily says:

      I forgot that Quirrell died "off-screen" until I re-read this chapter. It's actually kind of chilling–in the movie, you see him "crumble away," but in the book, he just dies, probably of horrible burns.

  2. avonleaapples says:

    But, but… Chamber of Secrets re-read next? 🙁

  3. Ryan Lohner says:

    “Lord Voldemort showed me how wrong I was. There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it….”

    And so we get the line brought up the most by the religious types who were freaked out by the series. Never mind that it's the villain who's saying it. As Daniel Handler said: "I'm at a loss for how to write a villain who doesn't do villainous things."

    This book's structure is really a microcosm of the whole series, with stuff like the troll and the Mirror of Erised that just seem like standalone bits of kiddie lesson learning, only to all become important at the end. Remember when we all thought Chamber of Secrets was the weakest book, and almost entirely filler, and then Half-Blood Prince came out?

    • knut_knut says:

      I had no idea that line was a popular rallying point for people who thought Harry Potter was promoting Satanism or evil or whatever! That makes no sense at all. I just remember there was all this hoopla over the series promoting magic and therefore FULL OF EVIL! And parents were afraid their kids would try to fly and jump out of windows with brooms. But it’s not like those make sense either.

      • Ryan Lohner says:

        And it gets worse: another popular one was an ariticle quoting Rowling as saying she did indeed want to lure kids into devil worship. Its source? The Onion.

        • msw188 says:

          Hahaha that's beyond awesome

        • Elexus Calcearius says:

          Ha, yeah, that article was hilarious. Kids dressed in purple wizard Halloween costumes practising 'occult magic'. I suppose it just shows the power of confirmation bias that people would think that photo was real.

        • Spinnaker12 says:

          I remember that article. Didn't it "quote" the High Priest of Satanism as saying "the Harry Potter books are an absolute godsend to us"? None of the hysterical detractors noticed that when they were quoting it in their chainmails.

  4. Peg says:

    It was so funny, the first time around, seeing you analyze the ending of this book and how we were fooled, thinking that Snape was the villain instead of Quirrel and then FALLING FOR THE VERY SAME TRICK ALL OVER AGAIN WITH BOOK FOUR. Well, to be fair, we all did, every one of us. I never met anyone who saw right through faux Moody. And what is that trick? Simply, the assumption that 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend.' We are inclined to trust and like (or at least sympathize) with Quirrell because Snape hates him. And we are inclined to like and trust the (faux) Moody from the moment he turned the loathsome Draco Malfoy into a ferret. Because we hate Draco so much, we are inclined to miss the subtle clue she gives us with McGonagall's warning, "We NEVER use Transfiguration as a punishment."

    Rowling is a master (mistress?) of narrative misdirection.

    • Maya says:

      I can see people picking up on Quirrell being the villain (maybe), but anyone who says they called fake!Moody is lying. Seriously, that was one of the most shocking moments in any of the books and part of why GoF is my favorite of the seven (unpopular opinion is unpopular).

      • msw188 says:

        I disagree. I think the fake Moody thing is the weakest reveal of the books, simply because it is the farthest stretch. And while I do agree that we are inclined to like the enemies of our enemies, there are important differences that make fake Moody harder to swallow than fake Quirrell. He is a longtime friend of Dumbledore's and yet Dumbledore does not suspect him at all?

        Actually, that's not such a big deal to me. The real issue is that Moody, even on a reread, is NOT acting like a spy with a desperate plan in place. When showing the kids the Unforgivables, or giving Neville the Herbology book to read, there is no reason to have lines like, "It was the sort of thing Professor Lupin would have done." Perhaps this is sensible because he are reading Harry's mistaken impressions. But the very sympathetic, war-weary lines, "You've got to know. It seems harsh, maybe, but you've got to know. No point pretending…" do not sound like a spy at all. As opposed to Quirrell, whose bumbling makes sense on a reread because he is hiding something, and he knows it. I don't get much of that from fake Moody.

        • Yeah, it's bizarre because Barty plays Moody completely straight. Like, he's actually trying to teach these children for some reason. When I was rereading, I was thinking there was something about a doppelganger, and I thought maybe it was Moody, but Moody was SO MOODY that I thought I had to be mistaken because there was nothing suspicious about him at all. I mean, I guess he's just a REALLY GOOD SPY.

          • FlameRaven says:

            It doesn't make sense, either, because I mean… this is a person who has spent years upon years of his life in hiding and pretending not to exist. That really doesn't build great social skills or the kind of acting skills you need to keep up a totally fake identity next to people who have known the person you're impersonating for years. It doesn't seem like Crouch Jr. was all that subtle as a Death Eater, either, so where did these abilities come from? Especially thinking of David Tennant's performance in the movie as a kind of neurotic character with nervous ticks… I'm really confused as to how the masquerade lasted as long as it did.

            The alternative is that the teachers did notice but did not take any action to investigate or stop him, which… really does not reflect well on them, especially since they were definitely alert to the danger that somebody was targeting Harry by putting him in the tournament. :/

          • notemily says:

            Yeah, I was disappointed because I really LIKED Moody, and when he was revealed to be Crouch all along, I had to be like "oh, I guess it wasn't really Moody I liked." I mean, come on. "CONSTANT VIGILANCE!!" That shit is gold.

            And really, how did Crouch know so well how Moody would act and how he would teach? I loved GoF when I first read it, but every time I think about it it holds together less. I still love most of it–the graveyard scene is perfect–but the Moody/Crouch thing just bugs me.

            • msw188 says:

              Yeah I'm rereading it right now (the whole series actually, as pleasure reading to balance out my GRE mathematics studying). In my opinion, it's the character development of the trio that carries the book and makes it enjoyable on rereads, rather than the plot (what a year for both Ron and Hermione, haha). That and Rowling's consistently awesome sense of humor:

              "Oh look they're disappointed," said Hermione over the noise, nodding toward the remainder of the Beauxbatons party. "Disappointed" was a bit of an understatement, Harry thought. Two of the girls who had not been selected had dissolved into tears and were sobbing with their heads on their arms.

        • fieldofwhitetulips says:

          I agree, if we had known a little more about Barty Crouch Jr.'s personality it would have been really helpful in understanding how he was able to impersonate Moody so well. Some of Moody's best lines are rather tainted by this. I always felt very uncomfortable reading scenes with the real Moody after this too.
          But, it is pretty awesome to go back and see how many things Moody was directly and openly responsible for in GoF, and yet I never suspected a thing. The most suspicious is when he basically outright tells Harry that he needs to use a summoning charm to get his Firebolt in the first task. He gives Neville the book Harry needs to find out about gillyweed and when Harry doesn't ask Neville for help, he just gives Dobby the gillyweed (or does he just tell Dobby where to find it? I don't remember). Obviously this is all racked up in the reader's head to Moody helping Harry, but he does always do it in a way that would probably upset Dumbledore if he was aware.

        • kristinc says:

          I didn't think the Moody reveal was weak so much as it was kind of disappointing once I'd read it. I mean, finding out about Pettigrew was electrifying. And I guess subconsciously I was hoping to have my head explode like that again, but it felt like I just got the same reveal served to me a second time. "Oh, someone ELSE who was supposed to be dead was alive the whole time, disguised as an ally".

      • hpfish13 says:

        For me the biggest shock will always be Peter Pettgrew being Scabbers! That was completely unpredictable and such as wow moment in the series.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      Well, Moody was the Doctor. You can blame us for not seeing through a Time Lord's tricks.

    • pudding says:

      Quirrel is fake and there was actually voldemort sticking out of Quirrel's head

  5. Maya says:

    The only reason I wish I had never watched AVPM as many times as I have is now when I read this chapter, all I see is Joe Moses and his ridiculous reveal to the audience. Like, what is that face even. Damn you for being so awesome you take some of the terror out of Voldemort!

    <img src=""/&gt;

    It's funny, because SS and CoS seem to be the only ones with truly "happy" endings, so far as I can remember. They beat the bad guys, they rescue who needs to be rescued and it's a pretty sweet victory without so much of the bitter. A lot of people see GoF as the transition point, but in that sense PoA is the real pivot point at which the series starts to grow up.


    • stellaaaaakris says:

      Can't. Stop. Staring. At. Gif. Which is bad, since I'm at work. But I can't take Quirrelmort as a villain seriously after watching AVPM so many times, especially Quirrell. During this whole speech, I'm thinking, "But you like flowers! And Jane Austen novels! What are you doing? Go drink some tea by the fire!"

      I'd say PoA has a pretty happy ending as well. Nobody dies. Harry gets a new broomstick and a godfather. His favorite teacher didn't die and wasn't fired. Ron and Hermione are talking again. They all save Sirius from a terrible fate, Buckbeak too. What's there to be sad about? Pettigrew got away, sure, but, still, NOBODY DIED. This is pretty unfathomable in the Harry Potter world.

      • notemily says:

        Sirius's name isn't cleared. That always frustrated me when I read the book. I was like GOD SNAPE WHY DO YOU HAVE TO RUIN EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME, even though he was trying to protect the kids.

      • msw188 says:

        PoA is kinda the compromise ending. "Well look, we'll let Sirius live, but his life's still gonna have to suck. And so is Harry's. Oh yeah, and we'll let Trelawny have a victory (a real prediction) just so she can feel happy at the expense of, say, everyone else who isn't Tom Riddle. And hey, they saved the hippogriff! Hagrid's happy, and that should damn well be enough for all of you."

    • Snarky says:

      Cannot stop gawking at the awesome…. Does it make me weird if I have an urge to see if Joe Walker is ticklish? xD Also, I have the same problem with taking Umbridge seriously… I can't stop thinking that soon, she shall be having much coitus with the centaurs… Does that make me weird or just pervy? ^_^

  6. Kiryn says:

    Mark, are you eventually going to re-read Chamber of Secrets? Because I really, really want to see your reactions to it the second time around. I mean, all of the books are different on re-reads, but I think it's this one that's the most different, because….holy God, while you're reading, Ginny is off somewhere being possessed by a Horcrux, and this time you know exactly what's going on.

  7. knut_knut says:

    I’m kind of sad that we never really hear about Quirrell again (I know he’s dead, but I’d love some Quirrell backstory!) Oh well, you were kind of a dick. And you had someone’s face on the back of your head. Speaking of Quirrelmort, what was that smell coming from the back of Quirrell’s turban? Was Voldemort decaying? Or does having someone rent the back of your head just cause your head to smell for no reason? Also, Voldemort can’t control Quirrell’s body, right? I was very impressed by Quirrell’s ability to walk backwards and thought that maybe Voldemort was controlling his legs, but I guess not.

    Do strangers really run up to you and grab your arms? WHY WOULD THEY DO THAT? I’ll admit sometimes I’m a terrible person and stare at people’s tattoos because they’re really pretty! (or REALLY TERRIBLE) I like to people watch and forget that it’s rude 🙁 But why would you grab someone you don’t know? WHYYYYYYYY??

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      "Do strangers really run up to you and grab your arms? WHY WOULD THEY DO THAT?"

      Reminds me of Uncle Leo.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      Yeah….people seriously do that to people with tattoos? I mean, do they go grabbing paintings off walls to touch them? *iz baffled*

      • elusivebreath says:

        I've never actually done it (I have SOME manners, lol), but I always *want* to touch people's tattoos. SO BADLY.

    • barnswallowkate says:

      Speaking of Quirrelmort, what was that smell coming from the back of Quirrell’s turban?

      Maybe Voldemort has bad breath? It would be pretty hard for Quirrel to get his arms back there to brush Voldy's teeth…

      • knut_knut says:

        uuuuuuugh right as I was about to eat lunch too

      • drippingmercury says:

        Well he managed to give Voldemort a dose of Nasonex, so I think Quirrelmort could handle toothbrushing. Maybe Quirrel just never washes his turban. After all, he's been single all his life and he has some habits, like leaving dirty laundry around.

    • Doodle says:

      Go on Pottermore when it opens…you shall find what you desire

    • MichelleZB says:

      I like to think that Voldemort has a funk and no-one's brave enough to tell him.

    • HieronymusGrbrd says:

      The most simple explanation for the smell may be that the twins were right. Quirrel did use his turban to carry a lot of garlic, so nobody would suspect him to have other reasons for always wearing this turban.

    • Lady X says:

      Ok siriusly I kind of find it like the most wierdly hilarious thing ever that people actually do this because my father is well…he has multiple tatoos let’s just say. But then again might’ve done it when I was 3 so I guess it isn’t too much of a stretch.

  8. mugglemomof2 says:

    I can't count how many times I have reread this series- and I swear- it gets better every time! All the little Easter eggs you find…..oh you are the clever one JKR! In a word: Genius!

  9. Ellie says:

    lol your headcanon of snape reminds me of videos i hadnt seen for years

  10. Strangely, it doesn’t; instead, the mirror seems to magically place the stone in Harry‘s pocket, something that utterly perplexed me. I now know how this was pulled off, and it’s a way for Rowling to use all of these details we believed were disconnected in order to show us just how silly our predictions were.
    How does the Mirror of Erised pull it off? It doesn't appear again in the series with its magical Make Things Appear powers. Did I miss some explanation that wasn't in this book? Or are you just referring to Dumbledore's "blah blah it came to you because you were a good person" or whatever?

    You guys, I am about to finish the Deathly Hallows audiobook today. I stopped it right before the big Harry/Voldemort face-off. TIME FOR VICTORY BY WAND LORE. I have been listening to this series for months! I've fallen in love with the series once again while also becoming more aware of its flaws. I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MY LIFE.

  11. msw188 says:

    There are several moments strewn throughout the books where Harry claims to feel happiest. Like Mark, though, I think it's a very meaningfully heartbreaking scene when the first memory that Harry can use to create a (partial) Patronus is, in fact, not one that is emphasized with giddy glee at the moment of its occurence: the realization that he would be leaving the Dursleys.

  12. Elexus Calcearius says:


    I had forgotten all the wonderful lines that Dumbledore has in this chapter…but its true. So amazing. Pure philosophy. Yeah, Dumbledore had a pretty questionable past, but from it cam brilliance.

    Speaking of lines, one thing that always made me face-palm was the line "there is no good and evil, only power, and those too weak to seek it." Or rather, the way that the Excessive Moral Guardians took it and said "SEE? HARRY POTTER WANTS TO DESTROY MORALITY!" The villain said it, you twerps. The whole series is about fighting for good.

    ….ANYWAY, it is a brillliant chapter. There's such amazing fight scenes, a wonderfully gloating villain who reveals the end-game, and one of the happiest endings in the series. And I don't care if Dumbledore's info-dumps are repetitive, I love every one of them, mostly because we'd be lost otherwise. XD

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      There was even one jackass who acknowledged that the villain said it, but as long as it appears in the book and kids can be corrupted by it, it doesn't matter who said it.

      • Elexus Calcearius says:


        Is this why older kids shows had 'non-villains' who were about as threatening a piece of wet cardboard?

      • Rose says:

        Ah, I see. Then 8 of the 10 Commandments should be banned reading, because they tell you what *not* to do, and kids might get ideas.

  13. barnswallowkate says:

    I adore these re-read reviews. Now that you know how things play out and how these books fit into the whole series there is less wondering about the plot and more uncontrollable, unadulterated glee. It's fun!

  14. goldensnidget says:

    Oh, Mark. This review has really got me sobbing. Ok, I am sitting at home, with a cold and I've just been reading The Hunger Games for the first time, and I'm therefore a bit of an emotional wreck at the moment, but urrghhhhh! This is why I love Harry Potter so much!!!

    Also, I have to say, I first read this book when I was 6 (I'm 19 now) and I know for a fact that most of the terrifying stuff washed over me. Admittedy, Fluffy scared the hell out of me and I didn't pick the book up again for months, but after that I know that I didn't fully appreciate the horror of what Harry goes through. It wasn't until I was older and I re-read GoF that I suddenly realised how hard Harry's life is.

    I think the true genius of the books is how they really do appeal to every age. As a young child, I saw them as fantasy/adventure books, when I got older I understood the romance in the later ones, and I was able to appreciate the deeper themes and the darkness of all the novels.

    And now all I have to say is that JKR should actually be Queen of the entire world… maybe she would organise Hogwarts feasts 🙂

  15. pennylane27 says:

    Oh Mark, I love how your brain works. Part of the fun of following you the first time was precisely because you just had no idea. Rowling wasn't the only one cackling from her writing desk. 😉

    There was a time when I had a decorated sheet full of Dumbledore quotes pinned to my cork board next to my desk. It wasn't such a good idea to try to study there, because I would get distracted and then I would be reaching for one of the books to read my favourite parts. For the longest time, for example, I would reread CoS from the chapter they go to see Aragog to the end, or PoA from Buckbeak's execution. With PS I started when they go in the Forbidden Forest.
    As a result, my books are quite abused. I have had to re-stick whole sections of pages.

    Anyway, ramble over. I can't read your predictions for A Storm of Swords because I still haven't finished A Game of Thrones. Tragedy! And as intrigued I am for your mystery book, I am too excited for The Hobbit, which means I have mixed emotions. JUST READ EVERYTHING EVER, OK MARK?

  16. MichelleZB says:

    What I love most about re-reading this chapter is knowing what Dumbledore knew. He knew that Harry had to kill Voldemort. He set Harry up to go through this adventure to train him up a bit. And the whole time he's talking to Harry, he's thinking, "Should I tell him?" But he can't, because Harry is just too little and cute.

    Poor Dumbledore.

  17. stellaaaaakris says:

    Today is Hermione Granger (or Weasley)'s birthday! Warner Bros. sent me a love email to remind me and there's a cake and she's…um, 32 (maybe?) today. Weird.

    Anyway, happy birthday to the cleverest witch of her age! Party time! (And, no, not a study party.)

  18. Starsea28 says:

    I think my favourite part of this is how Dumbledore just says "Well done, Slytherin, but I GOT OTHER IDEAS, BITCHES" and proceeds to completely break the rules for Harry Potter and his friends. Oh my God, can you IMAGINE what was going on in Snape's head? I mean, WAY TO ALLAY HIS FEARS ABOUT POTTER BEING YOUR FAVOURITE, Albus! Much as I enjoy Malfoy getting his nose rubbed in failure and Neville getting the 10 winning points, this was not going to encourage warm cuddly feelings where Neville and Harry were concerned. *LOL*

    • Dysaniac says:


      Although now I'm a little older (lol 12 years older since then), if I were a Slytherin student, I'd be PISSED:

      Dumbledore: "Slytherin win the house cup fair and square! Look at all the decorations we've put up in the Great Hall!"
      Slytherins: "Fuck yea"
      Dumbledore: "LOLJK 180 points to Gryffindor, bye"

      • Starsea28 says:

        Seriously! Although I enjoy Harry and his friends winning, think of all those Slytherin kids who just worked through the year and didn't try to make Harry's life a misery. What a kick in the teeth!

        • Kudz says:

          Exactly! That's my major problem with the first book's ending, really – it's like, wow, Dumbledore, way to make any Slytherins who *didn't* already hate you absolutely miserable. I mean, these are kids, after all.

          • Starsea28 says:

            I mean, they deserved a reward for saving the school but the competition had already been won! Neville still keeps his points though. ;D

    • Silverilly says:

      I must admit, that never quite sat well with me. I mean, really Dumbledore? REALLY?

    • lisra says:

      Your point is fair.

      I wonder though if he actually breaks the rules, as we are never actually told what they are.

      It's childish, that's all.

  19. guest_age says:

    I've been to a feast like that, Mark. The opening ceremony at Lumos 2006 was a giant welcome feast with all kinds of delicious food. That was the only thing that made me sad about LeakyCon–the opening ceremonies were an actual ceremony (albeit a super fun one!) and not a welcoming feast. I feel like there should always be a welcoming feast at the start of a con–it says straight up: you are here, at "Hogwarts" with other "wizards" and this weekend is going to be the best one of your life. DEAL WITH IT.

    As for the book, I think my favorite part is how the house cup parallels the final battle: Harry, Ron, and Hermione earned most of the points here (and will end up destroying most of the Horcruxes), but in the end, they need that little extra push that Neville's points provide (and later, his slaying of Nagini) in order to truly win. Brilliant.

    • notemily says:

      Nice catch on the Neville parallel! I didn't think of it that way before.

      (Although, Ron, Hermione, and Harry don't destroy most of the horcruxes, they find most of them. Each is destroyed by a different person.)

      • guest_age says:

        I meant that collectively, the trio are most responsible for Voldemort's demise/winning the cup, but in the end, they need Neville both times.

  20. lossthief says:

    I’m sorry that I’ve put that in your head.
    Don't be. If I had ANY artistic talent whatsoever I would be furiously drawing that right now.

    Instead, just have a gif:
    <img src=""&gt;
    and heck, why not another?
    <img src=""&gt;

  21. Anonymous says:

    I wish I had something really profound and inspiring to add to this review but, alas, earwax. Dumbledore said it all. (It's honestly mindblowing how all his little quips are so significant- both to Deathly Hallows and life in general. Wonderful writing). I rememeber, at the tender age of 8, reading the best reveal EVAH- I am sure my heart stopped. XD Either way, I distinctly remember it being the first experience of me actually throwing a book onto the ground in shock. Very fun.

    Your comment of JKR laughing just made me pictue her spinning around on one of those wheelie chairs, cackling hysterically. Actually, I want a spoof made of her reactions to first writing the major parts of her series. French and Saunders- Harry Potter and the Secret Chamber Pot of Azkerbijan all over again. XD

    I know the next book is probably not this but *cough, cough, The Shoebox Project soon, of course. Right? :-P* (By the way, I am only joking, you do have a HUMOUNGUS list there and it's there for you to read through at your own leisure. Just make sure that each time, it is a joy not a chore- I speak from experience of trying to be the person to read the most books one Summer Holiday, yonks ago. Silly me. ;))

  22. lunylucy says:


    Yeeep. Not much to add to that. Except, I didn't realize just how many famos Dumbledore quotes come from this chapter alone! O_o Woah, talk about dropping wisdom. ILU Dumbles <3

  23. pica_scribit says:

    Oh, and is it okay for me to sort of feel bad for Slytherin at the end? I mean, they probably worked hard for all those points, and were all set to win the House cup, and then Dumbledore went and yanked the rug out from under them. Yeah, I'd probably hate Harry and his friends if it were me, too.

    • Dysaniac says:

      Exactly. Headmaster's old house lose the House Cup by 170 points? Headmaster gives his old house 180 points in the last possible second. And they wonder why Slytherin house seem to have a grudge against him/Gryffindor…. probably cos he trolled them hardcore and undermined the school's reward system. Go figure.

      • lisra says:

        It's not his old house. 🙂

        He was a Ravenclaw.

        Though it is a good point.. though… if everyone knows the story, how can they really object? Extraordinary services deserve rewards.. though annoyance and jealousy are perfectly acceptable.

    • Starsea28 says:

      Yeah, it's definitely okay! All those poor Slytherin kids who didn't do anything to Harry get kicked in the teeth!

    • notemily says:

      Yeah. I can see it working if Dumbles gave the points BEFORE the feast, like as soon as he found out what Harry and co had done. But to have it all decorated in Slytherin colors and then yank it out from under them at the last second… kind of an asshole move, Dumbledore.

  24. katherinemh says:

    Is it weird that "Leaving Hogwarts" started playing in my head near the end of this review?

  25. pudding says:

    I hope you're reading Coraline!

  26. atheistsisters says:


    Oh Mark, I am so happy you are reading these again! For some reason this phrase made me LOL so hard… Just such a WIN description of how awesome she wrote these books.

  27. hick says:

    Maybe "Myytery book" really means, that Mark's going to read a crime story. Maybe an Agatha Christie book, I love them.

  28. Becky_J_ says:

    And now you realize the true magic of JKR and her writing…. in the midst of a fantastic world, in which awesomeness is outdoing itself over and over, she makes the heart of her story, the one thing that she wants us to value above all else (and which we do end up doing, by the end), is something that exists in our own world, real and tangible: love. Only a great writer could do that.

    (P.S. I was about to write some corny line along the idea of "And who would want magic wands when we have love instead?" but then I came to my senses and oh my god you guys we would all trade our mothers to go to Hogwarts sorry mom )

  29. Callie says:

    “Yes, Severus does seem the type, doesn’t he? So useful to have him swooping around like an overgrown bat.”

    I had an unofficial guide that came out before the Order of the Phoenix was released, and the writers really hung onto the theory that Snape was really a vampire. Ironically, though the book encouraged "CONSTANT VIGILANCE!" they never noticed that Snape only insulted James, never Lily. Now that all the books are all out, it's kind of funny to go back and see how much they got wrong.

    • notemily says:

      I know some fans definitely guessed that Snape was in love with Lily, but at the time it seemed like something from bad fanfic so a lot of people dismissed it. Somehow, though, JKR made it seem believable–having them be friends from an early age made it work.

  30. Pelleloguin says:

    The ending of this book was when I realized that I would not just love this book, but all of the books to come. It was odd, going into fourth grade after reading all of the books that were out and then waiting for the next one. I felt like I stood on firmer ground then before. My day sucked, it is raining, and I have a cold, BUT I also have Harry Potter. And I'll have Harry for years to come. This is just that kind of series, it brings you in to it like it's part of your family and you never want to let go.

  31. hassibah says:

    Sorry, Snape fans, sometimes my personal head canon is that Snape mopes about the castle listening to Joy Division and the Sisters of Mercy and wishes he could go to Blue Monday in Los Angeles and stand on the edges of the room staring wistfully at other folks dressed in black and combat boots while Bauhaus blares out of speakers in the bar.

    I've actually long wondered if the appeal to Snape fangirls(and boys and variations therupon) is his trent reznor hair.

    I haven't had a lot to say cause I've been busy for most of the reread but I just really love that you're appreciating how well planned these books are.

    Also this bit
    "“Lord Voldemort showed me how wrong I was. There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it….”

    I took childrens lit for a semester and the prof said something about this book being a cautionary tale to teenagers. About how this is the age where kids usually start rejecting and questioning morals imposed on them by their parents and how the books show the question of how there IS still a right and wrong and building a morality that isn't dictated by authority figures VS reading too much Nietszche and thinking the world would be cool if it was like the Lord of the Flies. That's probably a really bastardized and totally wrong version of what he actually said but it was five years ago, give me a break. I like the version of it that I remember, anyways.
    Caring about shit: it rules.

  32. drippingmercury says:

    Anytime a book character is unconscious for days at a time I can't help but wonder how badly they have to pee during the info dump that usually ensues upon waking. Sure, the person isn't consuming any liquid over that time but STILL, not peeing for a long time is painful. I'm not sure I could really pay attention to the Important Plot Developments over the OW MY BLADDER.

  33. Quincy Morris says:

    Reading your reviews is so dramatic, I love it so much. Even when you think about things in a different way then I do… I love it.

    Anyway, yeah. Hey, why don't we celebrate the ending of the first book with… My Immortal! Seriously, if you read it again, you'd laugh at the fact that it is hiliariously pathetic. Or maybe The Girl Who Loved, which is almost as bad. Almost.

  34. Nicole says:

    I've always been really interested in the Christian symbolism in the books, even though I myself am not a religious person. I think it's pretty obvious by the end of book 7 that Harry is a Christ figure (giving himself up to die, rising from the dead, the power of his sacrificial love saves and protects those who love him), but I love how we get little hints of it through every book. I mean, after Harry faces Satan (Voldemort) in this first encounter he RISES ON THE THIRD DAY. Pretty blatant if you ask me.

  35. Lugija says:

    First time commenter, long time lurker. Hi all.

    Oh that Quirrell-moment when you watch the Philosopher's Stone with someone and it's their first time. Those faces.

    Some people have said that Dumbledore's great invention would have prevented Quirrell from getting the stone anyway, Harry and co wouldn't have been needed. But since Quirrell wasn't exactly getting it to himself (he says that he sees himself giving the stone to his master), it would only have been a matter of time before he had thought about it in correct terms and poof, here's the stone. I mean, we are talking about a guy who got through Flitwick's broom challenge, beat McGonagall's chess game and got Snape's riddle. He would have got the stone, eventually, after realizing what Dumbledore must have had in mind.

    And I thought I'd mention this in the chapter five or six, but forgot. This would be as good point as any. Hagrid gives Harry a ticket to Hogwarts Express, why? They never check those and there's no mention of tickets in later books. Actually, I just checked, the ticket is not mentioned anymore after that page. Hagrid could have just said or wrote down the place and time, why are first-years given these important shiny pieces of paper?
    My answer: Fidelius Charm on the brick wall. Only those who have read the ticket can go through the wall. This theory raises some more questions, like who is the secret-keeper? I have picked the Sorting Hat, because it has been around since the King's Cross was built, and is not likely to kick the bucket soon. If keeper can't be an object, then one of the ghosts. Yes, none of them have hands, but…. no, I haven't thought about that yet. And there's still that counter-argument that anything written by Sorty is long and doesn't give us Hufflepuffs enough credit.

    By the way, Fidelius Charm keeps people from finding out the secret accidentally as well, right? If you try to walk onto the yard of 12 Grimmauld Place, you'll end up to the yard of the 13th. But what if you jump over the hedge, do you somehow teleport to the 11th? Is that why Fidelius Charm is so complicated, it has also apparation coded into it? Yes, I think about spells as computer programs and these are important questions which I think about before going to sleep.

  36. adev0tchka says:

    "Sometimes, I wish I could turn on this power for presumptive assholes who see that I’m tattooed and think that this is an invitation for them to walk up to me and grab my arms in order to get a better look at them."

    MARK, I FEEL YOUR PAIN. This has got to be one of my biggest pet peeves. This happens to me all the time! Random people touch my arms and say, "Oh, what beautiful tattoos you have…" and all I want to do is slap their hands and back away. And then I wonder if their parents ever taught them that touching strangers in public is totally inappropriate, or if they think it's completely fine because, hey, tattooed people are freaks who are just begging to have their personal space violated.

    Sorry for the rant, but I'm glad SOMEONE GETS IT.

  37. Meltha says:

    Thanks so much for sharing all your thoughts on Harry. It adds even more to how wonderful the books are. I think that's one of the things I really love about this series; it created a community of people who love it.

  38. loonyloopylupin says:

    You will do Chamber and the rest of 'em eventually, rite??? RITE????

    Only because I want to see your mind explode when you read all the little foreshadowz throughout the series because SHE PLANNED IT ALL FROM THE BEGINNING FFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

    Oh, and speaking of Snape and depressing ANGREE MUSIK has anyone else ever noticed the bizarre resemblence between movie Snape and Trent Reznor???

  39. flootzavut says:

    I just want to go on record saying that when you make MRHP into ebooks, if you choose to add in some of your re-read reactions etc, then that would be More Than OK. I think your glee reading them the second time round might actually be as good as your cluelessness and gradual conversion on reading them for the first time, which I didn't think was possible!! 🙂

  40. lisra says:

    I still remember reading that chapter.

    I actually read the chamber of secrets first, but I HAD to get the first one too, of course.

    Part of my childhood. Good times.

  41. Jazz says:

    I'm 17 now and still remember going to see prisoner of Azkaban for my 10th birthday. I'd already read up until goblet of fire, and don't understand how i'm not more emotionally scarred from reading them before i turned10 :') probably accounts for my terror of spiders though. I went to a con this year, and we had a ball, AN ACTUAL BALL, we didn't have a feast :/ but we did get treacle tart which is harry's favourite so it was kind of like being at hogwarts.

  42. Stephanie says:

    All the deaths in HP were deeply sad, but for me the most depressing part of the whole series for me is just thinking about Harry's childhood. Like, god, it is just so utterly heart-retching. I just want to know, as a young child, what he was thinking. At 4 or 7 or whatever. Ughh my heart.

  43. Randomweirdness says:

    I love seeing how you get excited about rereading this, cause that's the exact same way I feel.

  44. Priyanshi says:

    I've just started reading your reviews and I have to say that I laugh my head off on most of them. I've only finished reading PoA and I wanted to recommend a fanfiction to you. Its called the Unbroken Universe and its a take on how the Harry Potter universe would have been if Sirius had been the Potters' secret keeper. It's a trilogy and is very well written. It basically centers on the marauders and their friendship and Harry also forms a part of the story.
    Here's the link for the first part: Promises Unbroken

    I know you have a lot of reading to do (saw your list :P) but please let me know if you plan on reading it

  45. Winks6 says:

    I know I am late to this – but I just finished reading your first read of HP and simply couldn't stop! Now you are doing it again and I am so screwed! I have a life damn it!!!! But really, thanks for this. I came into HP as a young adult in college and the first four books had already been out. I got to read through them quickly (as you did) and then spend the rest of my 20's being a complete dork and impatiently waiting for the rest to be published. Now I am in my 30's and dang… I still can NOT let this story go! I am a HUGE star wars fan and honestly thought nothing would compare, but this series is epic. Thanks for making me feel somewhat comforted in my obsession. I truly know that I am not the only late bloomer in the room.

    You haven't posted here for a few months, so I don't even know if you will read this, but I had to let you know what you have done to me over the past week. It's been a fun trip.

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