Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 1

In the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, we learn exactly how much this entire series hinged on these seventeen pages. It’s time for Mark to re-read Harry Potter.

I’ve actually been looking forward to reading the Harry Potter series for nearly a month. The truth is that I originally planned for this re-read to start a day or two after I finished Deathly Hallows; I had this master plan written out sometime during the summer, but that was still during the time I thought I’d be on Buzznet for a while and…well, things didn’t happen that way. When I reached the end of the series, I wanted to debut this site and its partner that day, but I was bound by a contract not too.

So this has been delayed and I’m sorry for that. In my head, it was sort of perfect for us to end up with a second re-read under our belts prior to the Deathly Hallows movie. But that’s not how things happen, so here we are.

I hope to have a few posts per week on the series. I had initially planned to break the first three books in two parts, but after reading the first chapter alone, I had so much to say that I thought it might be necessary to break this up just a bit more. More Harry Potter? Ok, no one is going to complain, ever.

My idea for this is not to do the precise type of reviews I did the first time around; it doesn’t really make sense to do AIM reviews or fake plays. I instead want to reflect on the foreshadowing, the hints, and some of the themes this series addresses now that I know the endgame, and I’ll often compare my original thoughts to what I know now. But most importantly: THERE ARE NO SPOILERS ANYMORE. We can finally talk about everything. So please, go wild in the comments and link me to all the shit I couldn’t read before.

Sound wonderful? I’ll make sure to Tweet on @MarkDoesStuff every time an HP post goes up. Some of the reviews will combine chapters as I see fit, some will be single chapters. It all depends. But let us enjoy the full Harry Potter experience!


And let’s start things off with an apology: I’m sorry I thought the title of this chapter was stupid. Now, in hindsight, it’s a powerful, inspiring statement of life and hope. In fact, while large parts of this chapter are indeed pretty whimsical and fancy, it’s overwhelming how much this part of the series is really the answer to pretty much everything. I mean, not only does it set up the story, but it shows how much Rowling planned this whole thing out

The Dursleys had everything they wanted, but they also had a secret, and their greatest fear was that somebody would discover it. They didn’t think they could bear it if anyone found out about the Potters. Mrs. Potter was Mrs. Dursley’s sister, but they hadn’t met for several years; in fact, Mrs. Dursley pretended she didn’t have a sister, because her sister and her good-for-nothing husband were as unDursleyish as it was possible to be. The Dursleys shuddered to thin what the neighbors would say if the Potters arrived in the street. The Dursleys knew that the Potters had a small son, too, but they had never even seen him. This boy was another good reason for keeping the Potters away; they didn’t want Dudley mixing with a child like that.

It’s strange to read this because I didn’t realize that I was reading a part of this story where the Potters were alive. Now, knowing why Petunia hates her sister so much, it makes this passage equally maddening and depressing; her sister died and she doesn’t care at all.

Vernon Dursley is just as awful as I remember; I still wonder if his hatred is caused because of Petunia or something he developed independent of her. He’s clearly a classist asshole through and through, but I don’t remember it ever being explained exactly where all this came from. To be honest, though, Petunia’s story is far more interesting to me, and I’m ok with just hating Vernon forever and ever.

It was on his way back past them, clutching a large doughnut in a bag, that he caught a few words of what they were saying.

“The Potters, that’s right, that’s what I heard—“

“—yes, their son, Harry—“

I guess I read this series in such a vacuum and so quickly that I forgot how immense this moment was for the Wizarding world, and how much Harry’s survival meant to the entire community of magical folk. It’s still really sad to think about, though; I do wish we could have more time with the Potters while they were alive.

On the contrary, his face split into a wide smile and he said in a squeaky voice that made passerby stare, “Don’t be sorry, my dear sir, for nothing could upset me today! Rejoice, for You-Know-Who has gone at last! Even Muggles like yourself should be celebrating, this happy, happy day!”

And the old man hugged Mr. Dursley around the middle and walked off.

Yeah, this whole scene feels less silly than when I first read it. Did most of you think that I was going to tear this series apart back then? Because I can sort of see why I thought what I did at the time, but now I want to vehemently defend this. YOU DON’T GET IT, JUST WAIT SHIT WILL GET REAL.

I’ve become all of you. And it is wonderful.

I never went back and re-read this chapter, and now I know that wizards and witches must have been sending mail by the thousands that day, as news of Voldemort’s defeat spread. The downpour of shooting stars must have been the joyous celebration of one excited wizard too.

Mrs. Dursley came into the living room carrying two cups of tea. It was no good. He’d have to say something to her. He cleared his throat nervously. “Er—Petunia, dear—you haven’t heard from your sister lately, have you?”

As he had expected, Mrs. Dursley looked shocked and angry. After all, they normally pretended she didn’t have a sister.

Ugh, you bigots. You have no idea what just happened because you are blinded by your massive bigotry. I don’t really like this family anymore than I did before. They’re still shitty, shitty people.

I, however, still massively love Dumbledore.

Nothing like this man had ever been seen on Privet Drive. He was tall, think, and very old, judging by the silver of his hair and beard, which were both long enough to tuck into his belt. He was wearing very long robes, a purple cloak that swept the ground, and high-heeled, buckled boots. His blue eyes were light, bright, and sparkling behind half-moon spectacles and his nose was very long and crooked, as though it had been broken at least twice. This man’s name was Albus Dumbledore.

Oh, Dumbly. So tragically gay. Also, HOLY SHIT HIS NOSE HAD BEEN BROKEN. Already, the clues were in place and I never even noticed them.

Another note: Why is the Deluminator called a Put-Outer here? Why did the name change? Did Rowling ever explain this? Oh shit, you guys can actually answer that question if you know it. Oh god, THIS IS AMAZING.

She jerked her head back at the Dursleys’ dark living-room window. “I heard it. Flocks of owls…shooting stars….Well, they’re not completely stupid. They were bound to notice something. Shooting stars down in Kent—I’ll bet that was Dedalus Diggle. He never had much sense.”

Oh god, his name was planted this early in the series. I LOVE IT. I mean, he’s in the Leaky Cauldron and the Advance Guard BUT STILL. SO AWESOME.

“My dear Professor, surely a sensible person like yourself can call him by his name? All this ‘You-Know-Who’ nonsense—for eleven years I have been trying to persuade people to call him by his proper name: Voldemort.” Professor McGonagall flinched, but Dumbledore, who was unsticking two lemon drops, seemed not to notice. “It all gets so confusing if we keep saying ‘You-Know-Who.’ I have never seen any reason to be frightened of saying Voldemort’s name.”

“I know you haven’t,” said Professor McGonagall, sounding half exasperated, half admiring. “But you’re different. Everyone knows you’re the only one You-Know—oh, all right, Voldemort, was frightened of.”

THIS IS ALL SO WEIRD TO READ because…like…I know all the things now. She sowed the seeds for the amazing Dumbledore/Voldemort fight at the end of Order of the Phoenix and also hinted at the Grindelwald/Dumbledore battle as well. Pure genius forever until the end of time.

It seemed that Professor McGonagall had reached the point she was most anxious to discuss, the real reason she had been waiting on a cold, hard wall all day, for neither as a cat nor as a woman had she fixed Dumbledore with such a piercing stare as she did now. It was plain that whatever “everyone” was saying, she was not going to believe it until Dumbledore told her it was true. Dumledore, however, was choosing another lemon drop and did not answer.

“What they’re saying,” she pressed on, “is that last night Voldemort turned up in Godric’s Hollow. He went to find the Potters. The rumor is that Lily and James Potter are—are—that they’re—dead.”

Ugh, it’s still pretty awful to read. I mean, the tragedy of it all hangs over this entire series and motivates Harry from the moment he finds out what happened to his parents. (And now I also know it’s because Rowling’s mother died.) It’s still kind of strange to me that a series that depends so much on parental murder ended up being so immediately popular, but I think that’s a testament to the evocative tale that Rowling managed to unfold over seven books.

The gravity of this situation is much heavier on me during this re-read. Again, I didn’t really take this chapter seriously at all when I read this book. It’s a shame. It’s a damn fine introduction to this world and contains so much foreshadowing that I’m surprised I didn’t figure out most of this beforehand.  I particularly like this line:

“Really, Dumbledore, you think you can explain all this in a letter? These people will never understand him! He’ll be famous—a legend—I wouldn’t be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter Day in the future—there will be books written about Harry—every child in our world will know his name!”

Oh, how ironic. And meta. Rowling, you sly devil! It’s like she knew her own words would come true. Expanding on that, reading the Harry Potter series made me aware to how pervasive this series is when it comes to popular culture. I never understood that Voldemort reference in the episode of The Office when they go “camping” to do group bonding exercises. I never knew how many other people in my life were huge Harry Potter fans until I started this project. Now I know that nearly all of them and then I ask them WHERE WERE YOU YEARS AGO WHEN I WAS NOT READING THIS SERIES? Some friends you are.

I jest. But it’s mindblowing how nearly every child knows Harry Potter’s name. That’s amazing to me.

Hagrid arrives and I remember why I love him so much. Though this part is really terrible:

He looked simply too big to be allowed, and so wild—long tangles of bushy black hair and beard hid most of his face, he had hands the size of trash can lids, and his feet in their leather boots were like baby dolphins.

Baby dolphins. There has to be fanart of the dolphin feet, right? I TASK YOU WITH FINDING THIS.

“Borrowed it, Professor Dumbledore, sir,” said the giant, climbing carefully off the motorcycle as he spoke. “Young Sirius Black lent it to me. I’ve got him, sir.”

Jesus it was right there the whole time. Oh god, poor Sirius. 🙁

Harry’s life begins here on this doorstep. His unique scar inspires Dumbledore to reveal something I totally forgot because WHY IS THIS NEVER REFERENCED AGAIN

“Scars can come in handy. I have one myself above my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground.”

WHAT. WHY. HOW DID YOU GET THAT. Also, that does indeed sound very handy, but still. What.

But Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Hagrid all leave Harry on that doorstep; he’s just an infant, unaware how much those three people will come to affect his entire life, and unaware of how the world already sees him:

He couldn’t know that at this very moment, people meeting in secret all over the country were holding up their glasses and saying in hushed voices: “To Harry Potter—the boy who lived!”

The boy who lived indeed.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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454 Responses to Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 1

  1. Hotaru-hime says:

    Fascinating. I think I was angry at you for dismissing the first chapter in your original read, but I let it go because you didn't know any better.
    I do remember my older brother quickly grabbing Sorcerer's Stone and pointing out Sirius Black's name after we go Prisoner of Azkaban though, and we both gasped at that revelation.
    For some reason, I always imagine the little man Vernon bowled over to be Dedalus Diggle, though I have no reason to. It just seems right.

  2. deleted2934595 says:

    Mark, I am legit tearing up. Every time I reread this series, I just cry and gasp and laugh at how smart, how funny, how true it is.

    I am so glad — SO GLAD — you're rereading. And yes, I had a seize of panic when you started this series and were, like, making fun of it. Because I kept saying, "But…but…Voldemort! And Dumbledore! And Hagrid and Sirius and McGonagall and…" and I was worried that you'd do the whole series that way, you know, never getting drawn into the world or the series or whatever.

    I'm so glad you've become all of us 😀

  3. somerdaye says:

    The Deluminator is also called a Put-Outer in OotP if I'm not mistaken. I think it's only called a Deluminator in DH because Harry knows its name.

    • Hermione_Danger says:

      Exactly — it's like the Room of Requirement, which has a different name depending on who's talking about it.

    • PigRescuer says:

      Also, maybe Deluminator is too hard a word to put in the first chapter of a kids book? I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have understood that when I was seven.

    • booksinbulk says:

      I think so, too. I think JKR called it the put-outer because as a first time reader, she wants you to feel as if you have no idea who this man is, why he would have a thing like this, etc.

    • Roonilwazlib says:

      it's also like the dementors – if you notice, they are simply called the guards of azkaban until harry learns what they are somewhere in the middle of POA

  4. Kate says:

    That line about Sirius always stands out to me on rereads because it's right before he goes to confront Peter and get sent to Azkaban and be tragic and misunderstood forever

    • Hermione_Danger says:

      Ugh, and can you imagine? He's JUST found out about Lily and James, and is watching his godson disappear. The poor kid! Remember when they talk (is it in PoA?) about how shaken he looked when he gave the motorcycle to Hagrid?

      • Kate Monster says:

        Philosopher's Stone, p17: " 'Yeah,' said Hagrid in a very muffled voice. 'I'd best get this bike away. G'night, Professor McGonagall– Professor Dumbledore, sir."

        Sorcerer's Stone, p16: " 'Yeah,' said Hagrid in a very muffled voice. 'I'll be taking Sirius his bike back. G'night, Professor McGonagall– Professor Dumbledore, sir."

        Prisoner of Azkaban, p. 205: " 'Black argued, but in the end he gave in. Told me ter take his motorbike ter get Harry there. 'I won't need it anymore,' he says."

        Philosopher's Stone, published June 1997
        Sorcerer's Stone, published September 1999
        Prisoner of Azkaban (Scholastic edition), published September 2001



    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      Sirius is literally the most misunderstood character of all time.

      • notemily says:

        WHAT. Where is Professor Snape to refute this.

        • paulineparadise says:

          Snape is no match for Sirius.

          – had probably a horrible youth, which got worse as he got older and realised his family was awful.
          – thrown out of the family
          – saw his best friend (and his best friend's wife) dead. He visited the house, right? Must've been awful to see your best friend dead in the hallway.
          – realised he and his friends were betrayed by Peter
          – portrayed as traitor of his brother in all but blood
          – Spent 12 years in Azkaban, probably reliving those moments.
          – escaped as soon as he realised that PETER WAS CLOSE TO HARRY
          – Due to unfortunate events, Peter escaped and even though Harry knew he was innocent he still was a murderer for the rest of the wizarding world.
          – had to watch his best friend's son competing in one of the most dangerous tournaments in the world
          – had to deal with a Harry that had seen death
          – Had to stay inside the house he grew up in and hated for two years
          – died because he fell through a curtain.

          – grew up (probably) neglected or not-really-loved
          – bullied
          – lost his best friend
          – played an important part in Lily's death
          – had to see his bully's and his best friend's son – with Lily's eyes.
          – Couldn't get over event from his youth
          – Killed Albus Dumbledore
          – Started to piss of Sirius while Sirius couldn't get out of the house
          – Was 'confirmed' as a spy on both evil and light side.
          – died because of a snake\

          Don't get me wrong, they're both tragic and stuff, but Snape got all evil on harmless students, Sirius just wanted to protect Harry.

          so yeah.

          • paulineparadise says:

            also, there's a line in Prisoner of Azkaban with someone in the 3 broomsticks saying 'Black lost everything that night'

            Well, he did. Not the way they thought he did, but still.

          • FishGuts says:

            YES but everyone hated him cause of the Dumbledore Affair (I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THINK, I WILL CALL IT THAT FOREVER) and he had to see his worst enemy marry the girl he would have died for…

            although, i guess he was KIND OF bullying to Snape (read that as 'COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY and i am ashamed of him for it') … BUT NOT THE POINT!

          • wandcrafter says:

            Snape was clearly neglected and possibly emotionally abused – see his discussions about "how it is at home" in his memories in the pensieve… "… He doesn't like anything, much…" and his awful, embarrassing clothes… and his general peakedness… and his loneliness even as a child… and his desperate hope for a friend in Lily, even at 11 or 10. And there's a clear implication that he might have seen Lily and James dead, in his utter, utter devastation when he goes to Dumbledore after they die (I've been with people who had just discovered family members murdered… and they are very much reduced to that animal wail of pain that JK describes… very much unable to stand… just utterly collapsing in shock and disbelief and the utter tragedy… Snape was very much like that.). Snape lived with a death sentence over him ever since he went to Dumbledore and asked him to help him protect Lily (and – if I HAVE to, James… and Lily's son). And after the horrific death of his one and only ever love, he protects her son… for the next sixteen years… (because Dumby demanded him of that THE DAY LILY DIED… and I can't imagine he said, "Hold that thought for 10 years until he shows up here…" I suspect Snape had a hand in planning the buffer and oversight that was clearly in place before Harry got to Hogwarts… Mrs. Figg, for example…)… I think Snape is hugely misunderstood, still.

    • Joanie says:

      Yup. His life literally just ends that night while everyone's celebrating Voldemort's downfall.:(

    • Dru says:

      *sob* and all this at the age of….what, 22?

      Shit, the Marauders' generation were SO YOUNG when they died/got their lives ruined/left alone for nearly the rest of their lives and shunned by society….

      *bursts into FLOODS OF TEARS*

  5. lossthief says:

    Mark, you have NO IDEA just how loud I squeed when I saw this. I'd come on here expecting a Hunger Games review and instead I see "sorcerer's stone" in the title. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

  6. Andrew says:

    As far as I know (although I have a habit of being wrong) it was called a 'put-outer' simply because the narrator is acting as a muggle (or at least somebody who doesn't fully understand the magical world). Also, if I remember correctly it it's only ever named as a Deluminator in Dumbledore's will, where it is mentioned it is of his own design, therefore I just assumed that only one existed and therefore even magical people would have to make up a name.

    Did that make sense or was I just rambling?

  7. celestineangel1 says:

    Oh yaaay! A reread! OMGs, I will probably comment far more often now, and not only because doesn't slow everything down like buzznet did. NOW I CAN ACTUALLY SAY STUFF.

    I did sort of wonder the first time around if you were going to hate it, based on some of the stuff you said, but I just kept reminding myself that soon the awesome would just have to break through! XD

    OMGs SIRIUS BLACK FORESHADOWING. When I first read PoA, I thought to myself "Sirius Black? I know that name," and went back to the first book AND THERE IT WAS. HOSHIT REALLY??? REALLY.

  8. naivewanderer says:

    OH HOW I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS. There really is so much foreshadowing; I love being able to see how much Rowling planned out from the beginning even if she moved some things around.

    As far as the Put-Outer being changed to the Deluminator… I don't think that was ever explained?

  9. F.A.R. says:

    Mark, you're our king. You came late to the Harry Potter game (just like I came late to your blog [forgive me?]), but then this shit got SO REAL … and re-reading the series is basically the best present anyone ever gave the Intertubes.

  10. mmcgonagall says:

    Yay for more Harry! I still love that last line so much. That map of the London Underground would be really neat. I remember there were so many theories about Dumbledore's scar and broken nose.

    Also, this chapter contains the greatest unanswered mystery in the fandom. What did Hagrid do with Harry for a whole day? I think JKR just messed up the time frame, but it's still fun to guess what Harry and Hagrid were doing.

    • Many Rainbows says:

      Yeah, i think that if fans had the opportunity to ask Jo, everyone would LOVE to know what happened to the "missing day". I mean, seriously, all the theories, and I WANNA KNOW! Even though the answer will probably simply be "Oops, I messed up the timeline, there is no missing day!"

    • Harmony says:

      I assumed that's how long the journey took; a day. They were going from Godric's Hallows to Surrey, and had to avoid muggles since they were on a flying motocycle….

      • Hermione_Danger says:

        And presumably Harry had to eat, nap, get a diaper change, etc.; all difficult to do on a flying motorcycle.

        • Harmony says:

          Exactly! It's a bit hard taking care of a baby on a flying motorcycle. oh and I just noticed I wrote "Godric's Hallows" :facepalm:

        • Tmeo says:

          Oh god, I cannot even begin to imagine huge Hagrid changing diapers on a tiny Harry! Must have taken him the whole day xD

    • meesha1971 says:

      I don't think it was a mistake. After all, Dumbledore needed time to investigate what happened and set up the protection charm at #4 Privet Dr. before Harry could be taken there. I think Hagrid was instructed to get Harry away from Godric's Hollow and take him somewhere safe to wait for further instructions from Dumbledore – which were to meet Dumbledore at #4 Privet Dr. later that night. My guess is that Hagrid took Harry to Hogwarts because he was the one who told McGonagall where Dumbledore was going to be.

    • PigRescuer says:

      Apparently they were taking a bit of a detour via Bristol!

      I always wondered what happened to Lily and James' bodies… presumably they were buried, eventually

  11. Elise says:

    I love the re-read! You have totally turned into all of us now. I used to re-read the books while waiting for the next one to come out, so for what is probably the thousandth time, thanks Mark for bringing us back to the books. The awesome thing about HP is that it just keeps getting better. You don't tire of the world, you just get more and more excited about the little details and all the juicy nerdiness!

    Just in case you weren't aware of the vlogbrothers and all their awesomeness, I submit a couple great HP songs for your enjoyment
    [youtube lFZaCxfiUHs youtube]
    [youtube CvvFiZyEyTA youtube]

  12. LadyFel says:

    Yes, yes, YES…The Sirius reference especially 🙂

    I'll tell you one thing, YOU ARE STILL NOT PREPARED 😀

    I re-read the books in one go maybe once every 6-12 months since I got into HP, and EVERY goddamn time there are at least two or three points where I do a headdesk and vocalise a keyboard smash because I notice something I missed all the previous times.

    A suggestion for future reading – Terry Prattchet's Discworld novels and his collaboration with Neil Gaiman called "Good Omens". The first is a huge series of satirical fantasy novels which turn our world and Discworld upside down, the second…well, just read it even if you decide not to review it here. You'll love them. 🙂

    • Hermione_Danger says:

      We were talking about Discworld on Tumblr the other day — the problem is (not a problem, really) the first few books, before everyone gets "situated," you know. Like, the Granny of Equal Rites is not my Granny that I love. I have only read a couple of the first five or ten or so, because to me the later ones are so much more fun. I wonder, though, if that's my fault for starting with Carpe Jugulum and only reading the Witches at first?

      • LadyFel says:

        Complete off topic, but I have to get this out there 🙂

        I'd have to say it is in a way, the same thing happened to me – I read Lords and Ladies first and then went from book 1 and when I got to Equal Rites I was all like "wtf?". But Granny there has some of the character she later becomes.

        The problem with the series is that if your first read is in batches by character storyline, you already know some of the other characters who will appear. As an example, in Going Postal you meet members of the city watch, and once you read that and THEN go on to Guards! Guards! and especially "Men at Arms" you already know bits about them that make the big reveal a bit flat. Or the Death novels – by the time Mort came out he's already visibly developed as a character in his own right through his cameos in the other books.

        I've always told people to read the books in the order they were published in, but I know for some the deterrent is that after the first two books you go across the world to other characters and you're lost again 🙂

        It's worth the effort though, definitely 😀

        • deleted2934595 says:

          Well, that and there are some character bunches with whom I identify more? If that makes sense? Like, I love the Witches and Death, but the wizards (while entertaining, don't get me wrong) just aren't that interesting to me sometimes. I'm warming up to Moist/the Ankh-Morpork stories (just finished The Truth after reading Going Postal), and the City Watch novels are next on my list, but…I dunno. I think there's something to be said for reading character storylines in order, whether you read them as an overall series or not. Maybe that's it: think of it as multiple parallel series, which you can read in order two different ways?

    • Tmeo says:

      Seconded on Terry P. and especially on Neil Gaiman. Good Omens is like Monty python writing the end of the world. Hilarious and a must read. Also, Gaiman's specialty (in my opinion) are short stories." Smoke and Mirrors" and "Fragile Things". you will never see buttons and fairy tales the same way again.

  13. Treasure Cat says:

    Mark and the Harry Potter books go together like cookies and milk, like kittens and yarn, like Lupin and Tonks and having them together again warms my soul <3
    With the Deluminator/Put-Outer thing, I always assumed it was just one of those objects that different people call different things, like a TV remote control.

  14. Purreloek says:

    This review is the most pleasant surprise ever! I was so sad because there'd be no more Harry Potter, and then here's more Harry Potter! Yay!

    But anyways, when you dissed this chapter on the first read, it deeply hurt my feelings. I'm so glad to see that you've changed your mind!

  15. kissoffools says:

    Mark, man, you make me want to cry half the time, IDEK WHY. It's a good cry. Idk. This series has just meant so much to me over the years and I love that you've turned into one of us. 🙂

  16. Jennreyn says:

    I'm so glad you're doing this, this series is so mindblowing on rereads. Every few pages there's a reference to something that might not happen for 3 or 4 books but makes you say "Oh JKR YOU SLY DEVIL." My favourite might be when the Vanishing Cabinet makes a very brief appearance in CoS. Because OH MY SHIT so important later!

    Also I love love love HP references in other pop culture. There are so many in the Office, from the 'camping' episode to when Jim & Pam go to Schrute Farms and Dwight is reading one of the books to them. (I think it might be GoF? Or OotP, I forget). So good. I love that HP has permeated pop culture to the point that they can slip references in to something that for all intents and purposes has an entirely different target audience and people will get it.

    Also also, I am reminded of JKR's recent interview on Oprah where she said her biggest regret was not telling her mother what she was working on. She died before this book was finished, but JKR had never told her about it. AND NOW IT IS LIKE THE BIGGEST THING EVER and that's so tragic to me.

  17. kissoffools says:

    For some reason, I always imagine the little man Vernon bowled over to be Dedalus Diggle, though I have no reason to. It just seems right.

    I do too! I have no idea why, but in my mind, it's always Diggle. Um.. whoops?

    • Many Rainbows says:

      i think it is due to the "squeaky voice" and "hugging [Vernon] Around his middle" that makes everyone think of Dedalus Diggle, as he is described as short and having a squeaky voice.

      • kaybee42 says:

        Plus I'm sure there was something about him always wearing a specific colour too… purple maybe?

        • pennylane27 says:

          Yeah, right? I always imagine him to be Dedalus, but now that I think about it, McGonagall says he must be the one with the shooting stars in Kent, and they're not very close, are they? I don't know what I'm saying though, he could have easily Apparated to wherever Vernon works to join the celebrations there. And now I'm just rambling. Oh well, I blame JKR. 😀

      • porcupine8 says:

        Hm, that could also describe Flitwick, although he seems more sensible than to run around hugging random muggles.

        • FishGuts says:

          I just had a vision on Flitwick running around hugging people.
          And now I've had one of McGonagall and Snape running saround hugging random muggles.

          Oh imagination, how I love thee.

  18. dolphinsmile18 says:

    <font size="4">YOU ARE STILL NOT PREPARED.</font size"

  19. lunylucy says:

    It's still a little painful to read your original review of this, so I can only assume it's near unbearable for YOU to read it xD It's ok, we knew you'd come around! That last line you quoted is one of my favorites ever. YES I KNOW I SAY THAT A LOT but this series is full of great quotes OK.

    The London Underground scar is just to tell the reader how kooky Dumbledore is XD Maybe he doesn't have that scar at all. Maybe he does. Maybe he magicked it onto himself as a dare. IT'S A MAGICAL MYSTERY. (Also tells you he knows Muggle things and would consider something like the map of the London Underground useful, unlike 90% of wizards).

  20. sageofmudora says:

    It was so nice to see you work with Harry Potter again! It's like coming home after a "Hunger Games" vacation. Sure, I like THG, but it's not near as homey or comfortable or dear to me as HP.

    YOU ARE ONE OF US NOW this is crazy and awesome! Unless I'm much mistaken, you will enjoy your re-read immensely. I love how you noticed all the little things that entice people like me so much!

  21. LadyFel says:

    OH, suggestion for all you lovely fans out there 😀

    How about we don't spoil Mark for "wait til you see XY in book XX and slap your forehead at not remembering this when it was brought up as a plot point in book YY"?

    Let's stick to the part of the book he's on now and then throw our comments at him just for that part of the book? 😀

  22. Kaci says:

    Oh, Mark. You have no idea how much fun this is. Well, okay, you do now, and that's the amazing thing! Seeing you read it the first time gave so many of us a thing we can never get back: our first time. But seeing you now, doing a re-read, seeing you pick up on the tiny clues that were sewn so well, that gives us something we can't ever get back, too. The sheer wonderment and awe of, "Holy crap, it was right there the whole time!"

    And for the record, the first time I read all of PS, I said, "This is a stupid kid's book," and didn't touch a HP book again for three years. So I think you can definitely be excused for thinking the first chapter was silly–I was much harsher.

  23. tgyr says:

    It's been a while since I reread the entire series, and I'm reading other stuff at the moment, so I suppose I'll just experience it through these reviews.

    One thing I noticed in this when Hagrid refers to Sirius as "the young Sirius Black." Hagrid is like, in his sixties in the series. He always seemed like he was in his 30s or 40s when I read it, but if he was at Hogwarts when the Chamber of Secrets was first opened, which was fifty years before Harry was at Hogwarts, he would be somewhere in his sixties. Of course, this isn't necessarily a long time in the Wizarding World, but Hagrid always just seemed younger to me.

  24. phoebe says:

    I HAD A FREAKOUT WHEN I SAW THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMIGOD!!!!!!!!!!!
    I love how Mark is now encouraging spoilers!
    Also, I love how the number of comments go way up!
    YAY HP!

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      OMG ENCOURAGING SPOILERS??? what is the world coming to

    • myownmetaphor says:

      ME TOO! I've been all reading The Hunger Games diligently and its good and all and the reviews are sweet but its no Harry Potter. So when I saw THIS– real-life key-smash ensued.

  25. phoebe says:

    Also, the second time round is better!

  26. stellaaaaakris says:

    Before junior year of college, I would reread them every six months, once during summer and then again during winter break. Considering I first read these books in 6th grade, I know this series pretty much by heart, but I'm STILL constantly surprised by some of the clues JKR left us. A lot of them I didn't notice until your wonderful reviewers pointed them out.

    I can't judge you for mocking this chapter without being a hypocrite. I had to read this book for class in 6th grade but I read the first two chapters, our assignment, and was like "What is this crap?" and stopped reading. Approximately half our class had the same reaction, but our teacher forced us to keep going (we read out loud) and I finished the book by the next weekend. Over Christmas break, we were supposed to read the chapter on Quidditch and I finished CoS and PoA.

    Now about this review. I thought this story all took place on November 1. So the Potters were already dead 🙁 when the book opens. Not sure though.

    But my biggest thing I want to point out is that I don't think Petunia didn't care that her sister was dead. I think she still truly cares about her sister, she's just incredibly jealous and petty. Think about OotP. Harry looks at Petunia and realizes that she too knows what Voldy's return means. In DH, JKR said Petunia wanted to wish Harry luck as she left but chickened out. Also, in that letter Harry found in Sirius' room, Lily mentions a truly ugly vase Petunia gave them as a present a few years ago. She is still in limited contact with her sister. While Vernon certainly hates the Potters, Petunia just pretends to hate her sister.

    • Hermione_Danger says:

      Oooh, I had forgotten about the vase.

    • myownmetaphor says:

      I always took it as too painful for Petunia to have a relationship with Lily. She is so very consumed with jealousy that she can't stand the mere mention of her sister. That doesn't make her any less petty or gross, but much more human. I think its easier to pretend that feeling in her stomach is hatred though, so that's how she presents it to her husband.

  27. Kylie says:

    OMG, YAY, RE-READ REVIEWS. Ahhh, I totally started this book again the day after I saw Deathly Hallows. IT IS SO TRIPPY, LET ME TELL YOU. And I've read the books about a dozen times each. The feeling never goes away. IT'S AWESOME.

    I love the lemon drop bit. It sets up his love of Muggle things and is endearing. <3 Dumbledore is the best. Also, Hagrid is adorable.

    There's a great Chekov's Gun moment coming up. It will blow your mind, Mark.

  28. Selannia says:

    These books are a joy forever. Every time I read them I find a new connection or phrase that I fall in love with.

    I'm sure it's been said before, but the thing I'm most sad you missed not reading them as they were released is the experience of being in a bookstore at midnight to pick up a copy and seeing dozens upon dozens of children sitting in the aisles READING! Talking about books! All dressed up at little wizards! I still get misty-eyed when I talk about that. Because no matter how bad the world seems to get, I remember there's generations of kids who grew up united by the love of these books and these characters… and I believe there's hope.

    Excuse me, I have something in my eye….

  29. Hanah says:

    This just fills me with so much joy. <3 I remember when you just skimmed over the Sirius Black reference the first time, in the same way we all did! And NOW YOU SEE IT AND IT'S SO AWESOME. JKR is the queen of sneaky foreshadowing, seriously. There is a moment in the second book which suddenly became OMG SO RELEVANT after Half-Blood Prince came out that gave me little shivers first time I noticed it. She's just…incredible.

    Also no matter how many times I see it, it still weirds me out to see this book being called 'The Sorceror's Stone'. 😛

  30. kaybee42 says:

    Harry Potter rereads :D:D:D I swear I still find something new every time and every time I do I text ALL of my friends to let them know cause it is SO MIND BLOWING!
    Baby dolphin feet fan art? I've just been looking for one that I remember but can't find it! Grr! anyone else having any luck?

  31. Gretchen says:


    I'm so excited for this re-read extravaganza. =D

    (Though I'll be totally honest – 12 years, 7 books, and countless re-reads later, I still find the first chapter of PS/SS quite dull, at least until Dumbledore shows up. Being able to spot all the hints and foreshadowing helps, but not a lot.)

  32. peacockdawson says:

    Mark, at this point in the book we were looking at everything from the perspective of an outside observer. So it's not that she changes the deluminator's name, she just reveals to us later what it was always called.

    Also, links to the corresponding first review on each of the new ones? Maybe? Please?

    Lastly, I think Dumbly was making up that bit about the scar. Like when he tells Harry that what he wants most in the world is a pair of socks.

    • Tmeo says:

      I think he just doesn't want to tell Harry that what he sees is his family, whole and alive, just like Harry. Anyway it's obvious to Harry that he "wasn't entirely truthful" (just quoted from my head from a book I haven't opened for at least a year. What's wrong with me?!

  33. Tasneemo says:

    Oh and JKR will forever be my womancrush. I have so much respect for her it's untrue.

    • Dru says:

      She's beyond crush territory for me, she is my goddess and I am quite cool with a religion that worships Harry Potter (the books, not the boy).

  34. lebeaumonde says:

    Maaark are you going to do another Hunger Games review today? Because I really want you to get on with it so I can keep reading. <3

    • lebeaumonde says:

      that's not to say this wasn't a pleasant surprise, and I am always down for HP, but I just wanted more on the new series… >_>

  35. coughdrop says:

    Am I the only one who thinks a scar of the London underground would be somewhat useless because….it would just be the SHAPE of the underground without stops and stuff??

    lol perhaps I am thinking about this too much??

    • stellaaaaakris says:

      Maybe he has freckles near this scar which can be used to represent stops. Or maybe he just KNOWS where the stops are because he's Dumbles.

      Plus he can just Apparate there. Oh the possibilities.

      • Tabbyclaw says:

        Every once in a while he has to sit down and redo the bits where he's drawn the stops in with a Sharpie.

  36. Ms Katonic says:

    Yay, you're re-reading it! There is just so much foreshadowing going on, it's ridiculous. The Sirius Black one is the biggie, I think, but there may be others.

    The London Underground scar – here's a question that still gets me. The London Underground *changes*. Since it first opened, new lines have been added and old lines have merged, and in 1977, four years before this scene happened, the Jubilee line opened. So does Dumbledore's scar update when the Tube alters? I suppose it depends when he got it… I may be taking this a bit too literally. 😉

  37. phoebe says:

    By the way, I love how you ended this post (the part about Dumbledore, McGonagall, and hagrid affecting him)

  38. Meltha says:

    See, I always thought that was Flitwick what with the height.

  39. mmcgonagall says:

    Does anyone remember the theory that the newscaster named Ted in this chapter was really Ted Tonks?

    • Tasneemo says:

      yeah! I remember that and his secret shifty little giggle when he read the news!

    • Hermione_Danger says:

      I never heard that, but I LOVE it.

      Remember the uproar about Mark Evans, and how JKR had to apologize for it?

      • Tasneemo says:

        What was the Mark Evans one? I do not remember that :s I'm slightly ashamed of myself now.

        • Hanah says:

          In 'Order of the Phoenix' Harry says to Dudley something like 'Been beating up eleven year olds? You did Mark Evans the other night didn't you?' So because we fans are all crazy obsessives who pick over everything, lots of people thought that Mark Evans might be a relative of Harry's, what with Lily and Petunia having the maiden name Evans. There were all these theories about it, and then JK realised what she'd inadvertantly unleashed and said she literally just thought up the name randomly and it was a coincidence.

      • Roonilwazlib says:

        YES MARK EVANS! we were all convinced it was some like obscure 3rd cousin of Lily's who was gonna save the wizarding world. turns out evans is just a common last name and he is just a random boy who gets bullied.

    • myownmetaphor says:

      How small does the fandom think the UK is?

      • mmcgonagall says:

        I think they just get suspicious of anyone with the same name as a wizard character. Because there can't be more than one Ted mentioned in a whole seven book series and have it not mean something, right?

    • Joanie says:

      Yes! Well, it actually makes sense if you reeeeeally think about it. Doesn't he do a wink and take the weird news pretty well? 😛

    • Cellar Door says:

      To be honest, I still endorse this theory. Everything fits: Ted Tonks was Muggle-born and thus he must have been familiar with both worlds, and wizards surely needed someone in the Muggle news realm during such a hard period. And JKR never jossed it, right (Unlike the “Dumbledore is Ron from the future” one)?

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

      • affableevil says:

        Lol I'd forgotten about the Dumbledore is future!Ron thing.

        I admit, as much as I laughed at it, the thought still intrigues me…

  40. Sazza says:

    Yey re-read!

    I've gone through all of your MarkReads stuff from Twilight, but strangely enough never got round to commenting or joining in with SQUEEEing etc xD Can I just agree with Hannah, i think it was? I'll never get used to 'Sorcerers Stone' either. It will always be Philosephers Stone to me, the true title in my opinion xD

  41. chelcie1311 says:

    the one thing that gets me, and i can understand why she does it, is that here dumbledore suggests that voldemort's real name is, in fact, voldemort, and not tom riddle. any time after the fact we know voldemort = riddle, dumbledore only ever refers to voldemort as 'tom' or 'riddle.'

    it's also interesting to me that dumbledore does not make a bigger fuss over the fact that hagrid just ran into the man who supposedly just brought about the demise of these people. dumbledore knew james was intending to use sirius as the secret keeper (and i think it is even mentioned later that dumbledore testified that this was so), so why so casual upon hearing sirius lent the motorcycle to hagrid?

    someone else has already said this, and i agree, but the person who vernon bowls down always appeared to be dedalus in my head. he just keeps cropping up in harry's life (he's the one who shakes harry's hand randomly that upsets petunia) that it kind of makes sense that dedalus would be run down by vernon.

    also, i came super late to your first run through of this series; i'm really excited you're rereading the books and i get to be a part of that AND i don't have to worry about spoiling you. 😀

    • Katja says:

      I noticed that too: In later books Dumbledore always insists calling Voldy "Tom Riddle" and despises the made-up name Voldemort, so why does he refer to the latter name as the "proper name"? But then, perhaps this is one of the things Rowling did not think about at this early stage.

      • notemily says:

        Well, I know he calls him Tom to his face, but what about when talking to other people? I don't think, when talking to McGonagall, that he would say "Tom Riddle" when referring to Voldemort. It wasn't common knowledge that they were the same person.

    • myownmetaphor says:

      There is a pretty big gap between this scene and when Dumbledore talks to Harry. He might have changed his views on things or discovered more information in those 11 years. I also think that Dumbledore didn't react to the Sirius thing just because other stuff is going down and it wouldn't have been productive.

      • chelcie1311 says:

        "There is a pretty big gap between this scene and when Dumbledore talks to Harry. He might have changed his views on things or discovered more information in those 11 years."

        this is true, but what about when voldemort goes to see dumbledore about the dada position? dumbledore refuses to call him voldemort even then. this persistence to not use 'voldemort' seems to be long-standing.

        " also think that Dumbledore didn't react to the Sirius thing just because other stuff is going down and it wouldn't have been productive."

        this is also true… it might have also been too much a give away if jkr wrote that dumbledore furrowed his brow or seemed concerned by this, but she does note dumbledore's expressions to slight things in other books (e.g. harry recounting the graveyard scene) that end up being important.

        perhaps all of this is just because this is the first book and jkr was still working out some of the smaller details that she wanted to include, but it also sets up holes in the story, unfortunately.

    • Nikki says:

      But Dumbledore only ever referred to him as Tom Riddle when speaking to Voldemort himself. With everyone else, he always called him Voldemort. Even when speaking with Harry in book 6, when Harry knew Voldemort's true name and they were delving into his past, he was still always referred to as Voldemort. So, it really doesn't bother me at all. Now, if he always insisted on calling him Tom Riddle with everyone, I could understand finding his comment here out of place.

    • MichelleZB says:

      Dumbledore calls Voldy "Tom Riddle" to his face to demean him. He's just condescending like that.

      To other people, he often calls him Voldemort, though not consistently. He says, "Riddle" when he's referring to the younger version of Voldy, who ostensibly is not Voldemort yet.

  42. Kira says:

    …No hunger games D:.
    Nah, it's fine, because it's HP!

  43. Mill says:

    Don't feel bad, I had the same reaction to the first chapter on my first read as you (though since I first read it the year it was released, that means I was… oh, maybe seven at the time. xD Christ these books make me feel old.)

  44. Awesome! it has started! =D
    I was looking forward for your re-reading, and i'm glad you decided to break it in as many parts as you see necessary, i was afraid it would be book-by-book.

    So, my experience reading this first chapter was a bit weird, because i started reading after seeing the 4 first movies, so i knew the story-so-far (what was showed in the moves, at least), and my friend convinced me that i should read…. so i did. And i had just finished reading The Silmarillion (J.R.R. Tolkien). So even though i realized the importance of this chapter and the hints it gives, the writing seemed VERY … weak to me. I believe, by reading the parts you transcripted here, that a lot of the feeling came from the translation (to Brazilia, Portuguese). The whole first book seems a but weird in that sense, but even with that, i got very caught up, and i think i would be even if i hadn't seen the movies.
    Like you said, higher then her small writing flaws and over-used elements (like overhearing), the story she tells and the world she creates is just too awesome to look away from!
    And the evolution fro this children's book to a suspense-thriller-drama-war book which is Deathly Hallows is something you don't see around much in any literature I've seen!

    So, already too long of a comment, i hope the next posts come soon! =D
    (And i have to read your posts on books 5 ad 6 still, before you get to those! I started on 7th and now i'm going from the 1st up =P)

  45. Kari says:

    So I saw this when you were first reading HP and I really ilked it.. not sure if you saw it before.. and it's probably the wrong chapter for it, but I still think it fits.. its bascially what would have happened if Petunia went to Hogwarts and she was close to her sister… it would have made the beginning of this story VERY different.

    <img src=""&gt;

  46. Meltha says:

    You know how they say Einstein's brain was so unusual when it was studied after his death because all his neurons showed more interconnetions, possibly meaning he could link ideas together better and more deeply than normal people?

    Jo's brain must have more connections than a cheap flight from New York to Sydney.

    You're going to be stunned at the number of times you're going to ::facepalm!:: in this book and in all the others. She's just so dang freaking clever.

  47. plaidpants says:

    Aww, Mark and Harry Potter. Like peanut butter and jelly, two things that should go together always. 🙂 I can't wait to see all your reactions, to realize all the little things JK slipped in there, and then catching us unawares 3 books later when its a massive plot point.

  48. 4and6forever says:

    The #1 reason to always reread the Harry Potter books: Dumbledore and Fred and Lupin and Tonks and Mad-Eye are all still alive in the first five books.

    Oh, and all that lovely foreshadowing that Jo does. She foreshadows the heck out of you, but it’s not painfully obvious like Suzanne Collins’ writing.

  49. kajacana says:

    Don't worry, Mark, it's not just you who harshed the first chapter. Sorcerer's Stone was published when I was 9… my cousin insisted that I read it… I got through about 3 chapters before I put it down, thinking it was silly and badly written and not worth the hype… I didn't pick it up again until about 2 years later, at which time I was converted forever.
    I am DEEPLY ASHAMED of my initial dismissal of this series. I didn't know. I couldn't have known. And neither could you — especially fresh out of the hot mess that is Breaking Dawn. Going from a horrible, boring, offensive series with legions of crazy fans to another popular series with crazy fans… well… your expectations couldn't have been very high. And upon first reading, I agree that owls and Dursleys and old wizards and rumors aren't particularly interesting or special.
    …EXCEPT THEY ARE. And we all know that now. Another point for JKR, so that's like… twelve zillion to zero.

    • pennylane27 says:

      Reading PS for me was not so bad. I was 10, but I had read CoS and PoA before (My aunt gave me CoS for my birthday without knowing it was a series, and when I went to get the 1st one it was sold out, so I bought the 3rd :p). So when I finally read PS I was so obsessed already with everything Harry that I found PS amazing, even if it was shorter and more childish than PoA.
      But I totally understood why Mark found things to laugh at. After all, most of us grew up along with Harry, and that's why I love the series so much. Long live JKR.

  50. lindseytinsey says:

    LOL @ that last gif 😀

  51. Multiplicitous says:

    I remember my first reread, I legit cried when I got to the part about Lily and James being killed. I hadn’t realized how much I had grown to love two people who were dead most of the series. The few glimpses we got of their lives (even when James was an ass) made me react as if I were another witch in this world, who knew of, maybe had met them, and knew how much they didn’t deserve to die ;___;

  52. lindseytinsey says:

    Hey, I just remembered there's a "Mark" in the Potter books! I know this is off topic but remember when Order of the Phoenix came out the the entire world went ballistic about Mark Evans. We all thought this was some relation to Lily Evans because JKR loves giving hints like that. Then he just turned out to be a random muggle that Dudley beat up :-/

    • Tabbyclaw says:

      Oh, I remember that. And she prefaced her explanation of "I just picked the name at random and wasn't thinking for a second" on the website with a description of packing up herself and her family to run away to a hidden island somewhere because she was worried about the angry mob possibility.

  53. pica_scribit says:

    Oh, Mark! NOW you are with us in all things!

    As for the Put-Outer, I think it's that at this point we are still Muggles seeing the Magical world from the outside. We're not ready for Deluminators yet.

  54. decaydancex6 says:

    I can't even begin to describe how happy I am that you are re-reading this. Especially since I havent been reading the Hunger Games because i havent been paid yet =( But I will be reading with you again this week!!!!YAY I KNOW! ok Anyway back to HP! I've read the series 3 times and I still pick up on little details that return. JK = the ultimate genious when it comes to attention to detail…. i think so. So have fun re-reading… don't be surprised when this isnt the last time you read it.

  55. Hermione_Danger says:

    <img src=""&gt;

    The sidebar ad for me right now. Oh, ad robots, you so funny.

  56. Mitchell says:

    ahhhh! Now you are getting to see why we are all even more obsessed with Harry Potter. I am so glad you are doing a re-read, now you will see all the little things JK dropped in so freaking early that will make your already mushed from Deathly Hallows, dribble out your ears by the bucket.

    I am so excite for you. YOU KNOW ALL THE THINGS! I JUST WANT TO SCREAM SPOILERS AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS. But I will refrain, because…what is the point, really?

  57. ceciliazeppel says:


    i know you said you were going to split it up more….does that mean one chapter at a time? or just however many chapters you feel like?

  58. Rosalie says:

    Mark re-reads? This is a dream come true! I love the fact that you are picking up on these little clues that you didn't before. I remember how I was knowingly laughing at when you were making fun of this chapter before, lol. How unprepared you were. 😀

    But now it's awesome that we can talk about this with spoilers!

    -The Boy Who Lived. is a great, great first chapter title. full of foreshadowing, encompassing the entire series
    -Dedalus Diggle! haha, his name was right there in the first chapter. and still comes up.
    -PUT-OUTER. Seriously, JKR is a genius. To the extreme.
    -And there's our first view at Hagrid! Oh, he is wonderful. Really.
    -Sirius's bike! ohmyyy. D:

    I mean, you can TOTALLY tell that JKR has planned this so thoroughly. She's brilliant.

    Here's a fanart for the book cover:

    And for this chapter:

  59. JessicaR says:

    Awww, Mark! Reading you re-read HP is like watching my child grow up! (not that I would know…God my metaphors are as shiteous as Meyer's! But I hope you got the point. lol)

    Anyway, I was hoping for a new review of THG but I got something infinitely better 😀

    I really really missed you doing HP reviews. I'm sooo excited for you to read (again) those "oh-em-gee-this-was-where-shit-got-real" parts 🙂

  60. Tasneemo says:

    How do you upload gifs? sorry I'm such an internet-virgin :/

    • crazyravenclaw says:

      We've all been there. You have to host them on another site (I use Photobucket, but I know there are better ones out there). You just have to use < img src="URL" > and remove the spaces next to the brackets and put the URL of the image in the quotation marks.

  61. Elyse says:

    I always figured JKR doesn't call the deluminator by name because we haven't been really introduced to the wizarding world yet. We can't know the name of some mysterious, magical object yet. We don't know that McGonagall is what we call an animagus, and we can't know that the "put-outer" is called a deluminator. That's how I've always seen it, at least.

  62. Cellar Door says:

    I’m so glad you’re doing this, Mark! I can finally comment without worrying about spoiling you (and crashing my dial-up connection: Buzznet was a bitch).

    You will love re-reading Harry Potter, Mark. I know I surely did (by the way, you will find yourself wanting to relive this experience again and again and again, let me tell you), and many, many others are with me. You’ll find oh-so-many things you didn’t notice, it’ll be mind-blowing; really, YOU ARE STILL NOT PREPARED.

    I can’t understand J. K. Rowling bashers. Her style might not be flawless or everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s undeniable she’s a master story-teller: she crafted a story that people are willing to re-read endlessly, and this is not something many authors can say about themselves.

    P. S. Greetings, everyone! Long-time lurker and newbie commenter, here.

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

  63. EldaTaluta says:

    The bit about Dumbly's scar that looks like the London Underground was one of the many things that cemented him as one of my favorite characters. It was just so whimsical and Dumbly-ish.

    As other people have said, shit like Sirius being mentioned happens all the time in this series. I've re-read the series like a gazillion times now, and am still finding stuff like that. Maybe I'm just slower on the uptake than all of you. Heh.

  64. myownmetaphor says:

    aaaaand I'm crying. God I've missed this.

  65. Tabbyclaw says:

    I never knew how many other people in my life were huge Harry Potter fans until I started this project. Now I know that nearly all of them and then I ask them WHERE WERE YOU YEARS AGO WHEN I WAS NOT READING THIS SERIES? Some friends you are.

    This is about what I was yelling at my best friend after he finally talked me into watching Babylon 5.

  66. banoodles says:

    Hooray, more Harry Potter! This totally makes my day!

    Mark, I think it's pretty fair to say that you will NEVER BE PREPARED. I'm just as excited to follow along with your re-read as I was to watch you discover the series for the first time. I've re-read the series at least a dozen times and there is always something new to discover.

    I remember being horrified by your first review; I was like "NO. NO, NO, NO MARK. HARRY POTTER IS FANTASTIC AND WONDERFUL! WAYLT?" You've come so far.


  67. myownmetaphor says:


  68. Anwen says:

    As far as 'why is Vernon such a dick?' (I paraphrase) I don't think it comes from anywhere in particular in-series, he is just one of a rather large subset of English middle class people who are just horribly Like That. Groo.

    • myownmetaphor says:

      Yeah, some people just suck and Vernon is one of 'em. (not literally though, I doubt they were adventurous in the bedroom)

  69. chyeaitskim says:

    Ah, and now you know the way everyone feels after their second read. 🙂 Way to go! You've earned another medal! 😀 Haha. I find it funny that you asked if we thought you'd bash this series when you started it. I was one of those people that really did, since you completely shredded Twilight (not that I'm complaining). I'm glad you're re-reading again, since I may have to join you on this as well!

  70. pennylane27 says:

    Has anyone already explained the Put-Outer/Delluminator thing? Because I really don't know, and now Mark has put that question in my head. My guess is that the narrator doesn't 'know' what the thing is called, as if he/she was a Muggle. If I remember correctly, the name doesn't appear until DH, unless Moody mentions the name when he uses it in Grimauld Place?

    • rosieechan says:

      "My guess is that the narrator doesn't 'know' what the thing is called, as if he/she was a Muggle. "

      I think that's the answer. 🙂
      After all, she can't just go out there saying random names for random magical objects. We learn about them through the story.

  71. jessimuhka says:

    One of my favorite things about this chapter is McGonagle refusing to believe that the stories about the Potters' deaths and Voldy's downfall are true until she hears it from Dumbledore. I can just see her being all "I will not stand for this gossip!" and marching off to find Dumbledore and make him tell her what happened. I want to know what's going on at Hogwarts this day. All the kids must be freaking out.

    • myownmetaphor says:

      Oh that's right. I bet classes got canceled. And there was a HUGE birth-spike right at the end of July/beginning of August the next year.

      • bibliotrek says:

        And there was a HUGE birth-spike right at the end of July/beginning of August the next year

        Ha! Yeah, there should have been some mention about Ginny's class being HUGE. Maybe wizarding contraception is more fast-acting and reliable!

        • Thiamalonee says:

          Actually, this has been my explanation for the awkward class ranges/student count at Hogwarts. JKR gave some number for probable amount of students at Hogwarts at one point, and it made no sense compared to the math extrapolations people had done based on Harry's class size. Once we remembered that Harry was born in what was probably the year when people were least likely to have a baby (Harry and Neville were the only prophecy kids possible), and that lots of potential Hogwarts-goers might have been killed during the War, it made sense that Harry's year would be small, and that the next few Hogwarts classes would be HUGE in a baby-boomer sense. Therefore, Harry's class is the wrong one to use for determining Hogwarts's size.

  72. Joanie says:

    OMGOMGOMGOMG. I had no idea you were starting a re-read now and wow, it's great to look back on things, huh? Oh, your first review was a classic. We all chuckled but we were also worried that you wouldn't be converted to a full-fledged HP fan. Well, I was, anyway. And now you're actually doing the re-reads and looking clues AND we no longer need to be worried about spoilers?! AWESOME.

    It’s strange to read this because I didn’t realize that I was reading a part of this story where the Potters were alive.
    …I didn't even think of this.:(
    Every time I revisit this chapter, I think about how things are just going to spiral out of control for Sirius. I mean, they have already, what with James and Lily dying, but he's going after Wormtail now and it's just not ever going to be okay again.

    Someone's probably answered this but I believe JKR just changed the name [to Deluminator] because she came up with something better, haha.

    That meta line about every child knowing Harry's name is unbelievable.

  73. myownmetaphor says:

    Dude thank you for this. There have been NO GIFs here!!! What is this nonsense? Yours is the very first I've seen on Word Press and we used to have a MILLION AND TWO every post on Buzznet. You set a good example.

  74. Joanie says:

    This is an amazing comment.
    I keep forgetting we can post gifs here, haha.

  75. oohlivia says:

    It always gives me such a weird feeling re-reading the books. I want to scream at the characters things such as YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT'S COMING and OMG HIDE YOU ARE GOING TO DIE GET OUT OF THE WAY or OMG YOU ARE MEETING YOUR FUTURE HUSBAND RIGHT NOW.
    It sort of gives me pains in a weird way because all the first meetings and first sortings and first lessons are there… and now it's all ending.
    What's especially sad is reading about characters like Sirius. Sort of like looking at a photograph of happy times and knowing that a few years later it will all go to shit or the person next to you in the photo is going to die.

    It's also tears because I remember dear old Stephen Fry reading this book series to me on audiobook when I was seven, FOR THE FIRST TIME. Holy shit, I can't believe there was a time I was new to the Harry Potter world, and we didn't have mad discussions of it in my house or dress up as the characters for Halloween. Or try to make butterbeer or draw our own marauder's maps. I just can't really handle it. I have a thing about nostalgia, it makes me endlessly sad yet happy at the same time and I never really know what to do with myself because it gives me this weird achey feeling. MY CREYS. MY CHILDHOOD.

  76. laurelizabeth92 says:

    Okay reading this seriously just made me cry, sent shivers down my spine, and now I'm shaking. What is my life?

  77. Cellar Door says:

    Ok, I'll just leave this here.

    So, we have Lily Evans. 'Evans' spelled backwards is 'snave'. Sounds familiar? It surely does, as there's only a letter of difference with "Snape".

    Coincidence, or not? 😛

  78. Anwar says:

    OMG MARK! You commented on having something from the time the Potter were alive and I was like EPIPHANY!
    Well guess what?
    It is an 800 word short story written by JKR for charity in 2008 (if I recall correctly).
    Here is the link:

    • farrellpaules says:

      Thank you!! I've been trying to find that again since forever! I remember when it first came out, but the link to the original scan has been broken for some time.

  79. Sarah says:

    Yay! I can finally post replies! 🙂
    I loved the series just as much, if not more, the second time around. There are just SO MANY hints and clues that you miss!! Oh, just wait! Your mind will be even more fucked than it was before.
    I wonder if Rowling originally called it a "Put-Outer" because she was supposed to be writing a children's book. Put-Outer is much easier to read and understand than Deluminator. But as her audience aged, so did her writing.

  80. Miranda says:

    Ooh, yay! A re-read. I had been following along since New Moon of Twilight, and just never commented because Buzznet was… well, kind of annoying and very difficult.
    But now I can!
    And a re-read! YAY!
    Am excite!

    You'll most definitely be doing a few facepalms and headdesks throughout your re-read, I can promise you that. 🙂

  81. aficat says:

    I don't think Peturnia hated her sister deep down. If the world of Harry Potter was real, wouldn't you be a bit miffed to be the overlooked sister? The one who knows about Hogwarts but will never get in? You don't even get a Squib-level entry into magic-land, and most 11yos would not take that gracefully. She just went overboard in well if Lily gets to be a witch and go to magic school and float off of the swings and be soo special then I will be the normalest normal who ever normalled. I will have the most mundane husband and mugglest family and suburban home (and be totally pissed off if anyone even remotely mentions the power of imagination) so there's NO WAY I'll ever miss the letter… I never had… to Hogwarts… 🙁 🙁 🙁

    One of my favorite old fics was about the letter that never came. SO SAD. Esp. if your sister is the Hot Hermione of her times.

  82. echinodermata says:

    When I first found the MRHP website, I just clicked the first link at the top, and it happened to be the chapter where you find out it's quirrel all along, and it was just this massive gif post about how your mind, it was blown. So I saw that, then went back to find the first chapter review, and laughed because it was all about being ready to mock the series, when I already knew you would become so invested in this book by the end.

    I also think it's funny how the books constantly coach us to think of Voldemort as Voldemort, and not you-know-who, but by the last book I was petrified of any character saying his name. I would seriously love it if JKR knew from the very beginning she was going to do that.

  83. Lolua says:

    So there's this sequence in "Monty Python's Flying Circus" called the Science Fiction Sketch…
    [youtube L1sYgknWGSA youtube]
    The part that compares well with the opening lines of Chapter One of HP starts at 1:05 and goes through 1:40. (The rest is funny, too, especially seeing the extraterrestrial blancmange play tennis.)

    I always wonder if this was intentional or subconscious on Jo Rowling's part.

  84. grlgoddess says:

    I kinda love this chapter because it has a different feel to it than any other chapter in the series. Most chapters are strictly Harry's POV, and then later on there's the ones about Voldemort or the Ministry, but this is the only chapter from a strictly Muggle POV, and I think it works wonderfully as an intro to the series. We know about as much as Vernon about everything, and if all this started going down irl for us, we'd probably be just as weirded out. And then it gets to Dumbles and McGonagall, and we're left more than a little confused by it all, but it's still amazing.

  85. fluffy_socks says:

    Oh, Mark, she had it all planned. ALL PLANNED! She knew everything… EVERYTHING!

    I have the image. I found it. HOW DO I POST IT?! I hope this works:

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

  86. monkeybutter says:

    Haha, if your friends are anything like mine, they got sick of you rolling your eyes and saying "No, I'm not going to read Harry Potter. It's a dumb kids' book." And then a few years later you read it and feel like an idiot for being SO WRONG. I hated the entire first two books the first time I tried reading the series and gave up on it, but they definitely grew on me during my second attempt when I realized that Rowling actually had a plan!

    I forget if it's this book or another one where Mr Dursley is reading the Daily Fail, but that explains EVERYTHING that's wrong with him.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Oh, jeez, and I just remembered: I read somewhere that JK Rowling's favorite author was Jane Austen and it made me decide to give the series another try because I like her, too. Knowing that definitely affected how I read the series, especially this chapter. Doesn't the tone remind you of the opening of Pride and Prejudice?

    • kaybee42 says:

      I just wanted to say that I have the first episode of Sherlock playing from iplayer at the moment and just as I read the daily fail part of your comment it got to the press conference bit in sherlock with "*cough*daily mail *cough*" and I laughed 🙂
      (hope you know what I'm talking about… otherwise I look stupid… and if you don't then GO WATCH IT!)

      • monkeybutter says:

        Does that count as synchronicity? Don't worry, I know exactly what you're talking about! It aired on PBS in the US about a month ago, and I love it and want a second season right now.

  87. Sarah says:


    NOW 😀

  88. residentgamer says:

    Yay for more Harry Potter! I didn't know of MRHP until you were on PoA, I think. But I read your reviews from beginning until I caught up. Even though you sort of scoffed at this chapter I just knew once you got into the books, it would be over and you would become one us! lol

  89. lindseytinsey says:

    It's too late for me to think straight but I do remember the Missing Day Theory……..

  90. Sarah says:

    This would be the LOST TWENTY-FOUR HOURS. You should go back to the hp_cr discussion about this chapter from the summer, if you haven't. We went on and on about it.

  91. lindseytinsey says:

    Here's an old forum of people discussing this. Hahaha, I forgot about all this. Well spotted, Mark!

  92. jana says:

    I don't have time to read all the comments right now and I guess most (if not all) of this has been pointed out, but whatever, my thoughts:(

    * when reading your first review I realized how stupid "the boy who lived" sounds when you read it just like that. aw.
    * I think it's so interesting how Petunia ended up hating wizards so much that she's never speaking to her sister again just because ~she was rejected from Hogwarts~. THAT'S YOUR SISTER. Idgi, it's just not enough of a reason for me. Do you think Lily went all bitch after being antagonized by Petunia and they ended up being mad at each other, or was it just Petunia?

    * So much is happening here, think about all the other people not in this chapter but involved. This is probably the worst night of Snapes life. And the night he decides to switch to the good side.
    And Sirius must've felt pretty shit too. Now he's running after Peter who then blows up a whole street? I can see why all he did was "stand there and laugh hysterically"

    * Also, I've had a huge discussion with somebody about Dumbledore and Sirius after this chapter. Did Dumbledore know the Potters changed secret-keeper? Because if he didn't know, why isn't he ENRAAAGED at Hagrid mentioning Sirius ~the traitor~ being at the Potters' house? No comment at all, really? And if he DID know.. why didn't he defend Sirius when he was sent to Azkaban? BOOO

    *lol, the missing day. I would've never noticed. HP Fans, never change.

    *why is McGonagall just chillin' there ALL DAY when she doesn't even know for sure whether the Potters were dead? And how did she know where to go (why does she know where the Dursleys live and that they're Lily's relatives?) I'm assuming Dumbledore told her, but yeah.

  93. fromthisgirl says:

    I can't re-read these books without getting somewhat teary-eyed. It's just all so beautiful done, and so <O>sad. You read about little baby Harry, and although so mugh tragedy has already befallen him on this night alone, it's almost nothing compared to what he'll have to go through at the age of 17.
    Sirius will be imprisoned sometime the next morning, and then the rest of the world will think he'll have killed Lily and James. Neville's parents are also being tortured to insanity somewhere around this time, so Neville is also basically about to become an orphan. It's all so sad.

  94. Arthur says:

    and high-heeled, buckled boots

    this part gets me EVERY TIME. Oh Dumbledore, we love you, you amazing gay

  95. Steeple says:

    I don't know if anyone has said this, but…. all the talk of "not fearing his name" makes me think of the Taboo in DH. Obviously it wasn't around the first time Voldy was in power*, since it's not mentioned and Dumbles is alive. Hm, maybe with Dumbledort convincing more people to use the name, and with the magical world getting more comfortable as a result, Voldemort got the idea to use that countertactic against his enemies. Hmmm.

    *(aside – would "Voldy" set it off? "Voldemor"? What about a thick accent or different pronunciation? What's the limit on this?)

  96. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    SO AMAZING. Thank you for your terrific art.

  97. Sara says:

    "“Scars can come in handy. I have one myself above my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground.”"

    i always assumed he got it from his duel with grindelwald.

    • Bex says:

      But… his knee? How?

      I'm now imagining Grindelwald deliberately wand-lasering that scar onto Dumbledore's knee going "Dum de dum… Circle line… wheee Northern Line…"

  98. Beatrice says:

    Dumbledore's scar works well for the 'Dumbledore is really Ron Weasley from the future' theory because Ron was attacked by the brains in the Department of Mysteries. HE MIGHT HAVE GOTTEN SCARRED THEN.

    Such a funny theory.

  99. Slartibartfast says:

    Oh god yes. I love rereading this series so very much!

    "THIS IS ALL SO WEIRD TO READ because…like…I know all the things now."
    YES! Its like HP was meant to be reread. All those little pieces of Chekhov's Gun come together into a huge Chekhov's Tapestry! So wonderful.


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