Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 6

In the sixth chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry suffers through a month of the Dursleys in order to make his very first journey to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to re-read Harry Potter.

You know…fuck the Dursleys. Holy god, maybe it’s just taken me being away from these characters for some time now, but I completely forgot how awful they are to Harry. Hell, “awful” is not even an appropriate word. Deplorable? Terrifying? Demonic? Whatever word I would choose wouldn’t be enough.

Knowing the ending, knowing that Petunia is motivated by jealousy and that Vernon is just a plain ol’ shitbag, it’s still hard to read through this a second time. Giving some more thought than I did before, I think that, ultimately, I’m still a bit unsatisfied with the Dursleys’ story as a whole. Dudley’s part in Deathly Hallows is nice, and the backstory on Petunia and Lily is FANTASTIC, but as a whole, I still sort of feel like this family got away with treating Harry so poorly.


Rowling’s prose has never been particularly heavy or flowery, but this first book is much more stark and matter-of-fact that the ones that follow it:

Harry kept to his room, with his new owl for company. He had decided to call her Hedwig, a name he had found in A History of Magic. His school books were very interesting. He lay on his bed reading late into the night, Hedwig swooping in and out of the open window as she pleased. It was lucky that Aunt Petunia didn’t come in to vacuum anymore, because Hedwig kept bringing back dead mice. Every night before he went to sleep, Harry ticked off another day on the piece of paper he had pinned to the wall, counting down to September the first.

She’s not terribly detailed, but it’s worth nothing how she is still able to place many of these images into your head regardless. Her audience was unknown at this point, but surely she expected they’d be much younger than they turned out to be. Still, man…I would have eaten this shit up when I was a kid. Seriously, how the fuck did I not read Harry Potter until I was twenty-six years old?

It’s hard not to read about Harry’s journey to Hogwarts for the first time without a huge smile on my face. One quick line before we get into this:

…Aunt Petunia had talked Dudley into sitting next to Harry,…

THAT IS WHAT KIND OF ASSHOLERY THAT DUDLEY IS COMMITTED TO. He is such a little asshole that he has to be convinced to sit next to someone. His dedication would almost be endearing if it wasn’t so irritating.

Anyway, Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. We first meet the Weasley family, OH GOD THE WEASLEYS! I’m going to avoid simply posting OMG GINNY or OMG THE TWINS or OMG RON because I have to make some sort of attempt at substantive reviewing, but just know that that is pretty much all I want to do.

“Fred, you next,” the plump woman said.

“I’m not Fred, I’m George,” said the boy. “Honestly, woman, you call yourself our mother? Can’t you tell I’m George?”

“Sorry, George, dear.”

“Only joking, I am Fred,” said the boy, and off he went.

Oh god, the twins were amazing from their very first line. Too bad they are covered in tragedy.

This is also the first moment that Harry meets and interacts with Molly Weasley, who is not in this series nearly enough. Even from that very first moment, Mrs. Weasley steps in as a motherly, authoritative figure for Harry, who has never seen adults as anything but abusive. I don’t know if I ever gave Mrs. Weasley the credit she deserves here. We have to remember that Harry’s entire experience with parental figures is what the Dursleys gave him. Despite that her gesture here, to help Harry get through the barrier to the Hogwarts Express, is relatively small, it feels like it means the world to Harry.

If Diagon Alley represented a wondrous introduction to the world of wizards and witches and magic, I feel like this first train ride is the introduction to the human element of all this. I’ve talked about the concept in my Mark Watches Doctor Who reviews, but when dealing with the fantastical, I’m fascinated by the ways that authors and writers deal with grounding their stories. Out of everything, it’s the way these people interact, how they’ve built their society, that I really enjoy myself. Ok, sure…the magic is pretty awesome. And of course, I wish I got a letter from Dumbledore. WHO DOESN’T. But if it weren’t for the characters, I don’t know that this world would be all that believable, nor would I have developed any sustainable emotional feelings for it.

Before Harry meets Ron (which I have MANY FEELINGS ABOUT), Harry gets another dose of celebrity treatment. At the time, I didn’t have the later context for it, but a lot of the next two books, especially Chamber of Secrets, deals with the downside to Harry being so recognizable so early into his life, having to live with the death of his parents and Voldemort’s disappearance as a constant cloud over his head. For now, though, with the exception of Snape and Draco, it’s more exciting than a burden.

Rowling establishes so many character archetypes early on, with Ron being the shy child, the youngest brother who lives in the shadows of his goofy twin brothers and the over-achieving Percy. It’s fun being able to put them into context with the whole story because those character tropes gradually disappear or are made much more complicated as the books go on. And, of course, who expected that Harry would end up with Ginny Weasley when we first met her as the child who was so terribly excited just to meet the famous Harry Potter?

Harry’s first real moments with Ron are certainly a bit awkward, but there’s a neat subtext to why they got along so well so very quickly. Upon reading their first conversation again, I couldn’t help but notice both of their loneliness. As Ron describes the pressure he’s under as the sixth male Weasley to attend Hogwarts, it’s hard not to read a desire to belong in it. (For me, that is.) And that’s not to suggest that everyone who is lonely has a desire to belong to cancel out their loneliness. Even with me, sometimes I dearly wish to belong to certain groups or in specific situations, and sometimes I enjoy being separate. It all depends. I suppose knowing what Ron sees in the Mirror of Erised is what helps me think that Ron relates on a deeper level to seeing Harry sitting alone by himself.

For Harry, though, their conversation alienates him in a way as well, as Ron discusses simple facts about the wizarding world that Harry has no experience with. He doesn’t know about rats and owls or Voldemort’s name being banned that there are other wizards and witches who come from non-wizarding families as well. Ron’s not alone in this either, though, as he experiences a disconnect when it comes to money and class. (I’ll ask this again because I can’t recall another character like this, but is Harry the only character who experiences class privilege while in one place and then is poor/marginalized when he is somewhere else? I don’t remember if we ever figured that one out.)

How about a non-serious part that I will love until the end of time?

Harry turned the card back over and saw, to his astonishment, that Dumbledore’s face had disappeared.

“He’s gone!”

“Well, you can’t expect him to hang around all day,” said Ron.


Also: FUCKING PETER PETTIGREW IS IN RON’S LAP. Wow, that sounds so much creepier written out BUT IT’S THE TRUTH.

Let’s talk about Hermione. OH, HERMIONE, I LOVE YOU, WHY AREN’T YOU REAL. It’s great how easy it is to distill her character from the first minute or two of meeting her and even better to watch Rowling grow her into an entirely different person by the series’ end.

“Do either of you know what house you’ll be in? I’ve been asking around, and I hope I’m in Gryffindor, it sounds by far the best; I hear Dumbledore himself was in it, but I suppose Ravenclaw wouldn’t be too bad…”

COULD YOU IMAGINE. OMG if Hermione was in my house then we WOULD HAVE BEEN THE BEST OF FRIENDS YAY FOREVER. Please tell me there some part of the fandom that deeply opposes Hermione being in Gryffindor so I can laugh and feel whole.

Draco Malfoy. Here’s my wildly unpopular opinion: Dude does not redeem himself anywhere nearly enough by the end of Deathly Hallows. As I read about him insulting Ron and his family and heavily insinuating the pureblood shit that populates so much of Chamber of Secrets and Half-Blood Prince, I remember how truly fucked up Draco is to Harry throughout the series. I am not a fan at all. I mean….seriously!

“I’d be careful if I were you, Potter,” he said slowly. “Unless you’re a bit politer you’ll go the same way as your parents. They didn’t know what was good for them, either. You hang around with riffraff like the Weasleys and the Hagrid, and it’ll rub off on you.”


Thankfully, despite all of this, chapter six ends on such a wonderful high note. Harry gets off the Hogwarts Express and the black lake spreads out before all of the students and we see the Hogwarts castle for the first time. If I say this shit is magical, is that too much of a pun? Who cares. WE ARE AT HOGWARTS!!!!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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270 Responses to Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 6

  1. Michelle says:

    Never got the fandom love of Draco. Never been a fan, never will be.

  2. jennreyn says:

    When I went onto YouTube today, it felt that I would enjoy this video:
    [youtube _L5rdS3EIBQ youtube]
    Look how precious, aww!!!

    Also, I think my initial feeling that Draco redeemed himself was really just something I decided in a mix of emotion and confusion of the last book and the end of the series. In more coherent re-reads, I don't think he really does. I think he is humbled by his experiences to a point, but I don't think he ever fully realizes what a little shit he actually is. Which is probably partially because he doesn't realize he IS such a little shit because it's all he knew at home.

  3. ather says:

    As I read about him insulting Ron and his family and heavily insinuating the pureblood shit that populates so much of Chamber of Secrets and Half-Blood Prince, I remember how truly fucked up Draco is to Harry throughout the series. I am not a fan at all. I mean….seriously!

    THANK YOU. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person who doesn’t like Draco.

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

    • You are definitely not the only one. I've never been able to stand Draco and I ESPECIALLY ESPECIALLY do not get Draco/Harry shipping. Not even a little. Like, there are love/hate relationships, and then there are "these two people loathe each other for so many reasons down to the core of their being." Do not understand.

      I felt moderately sorry for Draco when he was all panicky and terrified in HBP, but even so I'd still tell him to fuck off cuz he's not getting any hugs from me.

    • Cam says:

      Oh yes I agree! I have a friend who LOVES Dramione fanfics, and it makes me queasy.

      • lsq says:

        A fandom friend of mine is OBSESSED with Draco Malfoy. And she is convinced Draco was actually in love with Hermione the whole time because "sometimes when you write the characters go in ways you didn't want", and that *Jo* tried to cover it up but couldn't.

        And she keeps badmouthing Jo for "taking the more marketable option" or some shit like that and pairing her with Ron, and for daring to say her darling Draco is a bad person.

        Sadly, circumstances do not allow me to stop talking to her :/

    • Starsea28 says:

      You're not the only one. He's a bigot and PROUD of it. But that just makes it all the more satisfying when he gets saved by Harry Potter, a blood traitor and a Muggleborn.

    • rosieechan says:

      Yup! Same with Snape. You feel sorry for him at the end of DH, but then you go back re-reading and realize that he was still a horrible jerk, not matter how much he "redeemed" himself. -_-'

  4. Kaci says:

    I feel like i should be singing "Going Back to Hogwarts" right now.

    I don't necessarily think Draco redeems himself by the end, either, but for me, that's part of the point. As you noted in your Doctor Who review for Voyage of the Damned, we wish the bad guy had died instead of the good people, but he doesn't. In fact, he profits from it. Because sometimes, bad people go unpunished. That is what happens with Draco and the Dursleys, for me. They did terrible things, but unfortunately, sometimes people who do terrible things get off scott free.

    • I love your comment so much. ASTRAL HUGS!

    • avpm ftw! says:

      back to witches and wizards and magical beasts
      to goblins and ghosts and magical feasts
      it's all that i love and it's all that i need at HOGWARTS! HOGWARTS!

      well, someone had to do it!

      • queensthief says:

        OMG I FINALLY went and watched this just last week (I've known about it for ages but I was skeptical… I mean, a musical…?).
        And I haven't been able to think about anything else since.
        I think my roomates are sick of me going on and on and… singing and… um… gah. It's all thanks to you guys!

      • FishGuts says:

        Take my Firebolt, gonna take to the sky,
        NO WAY this year anyone's gonna die,

        Ohh, Harry. How wrong you are in the second line.

  5. Julia says:

    The retroactive recognition of Scabbers is one of the weirdest parts about rereading Harry Potter. Particularly because I tend to forget about it for stretches of time and then suddenly realize and think "OMG RON THERE IS AN EVIL WIZARD IN YOUR POCKET RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUN (well, first take him out of your pocket, then RUUUUUUUUUUUN)."

    • pennylane27 says:

      It's like when Ron says I let you sleep in my bed! THE HORROR

    • Danika the Lesbrarian says:

      So much agreement! It makes things so creepy.

    • theanagrace says:

      (well, first take him out of your pocket, then RUUUUUUUUUUUN)."

      Ow my abs hurt from laughing at this. 😛

    • arctic_hare says:

      Part of me will always wonder why he bothered to bite Crabbe/Goyle. I mean, not that I blame him, it's a natural impulse, but it always made me wonder regardless.

      • MaggieCat says:

        I always figured that he'd developed some sort of fondness for the people he'd been a pet to, as much as he was capable of anyway. "Scabbers" "belonged" to Percy before he ended up with Ron which means most of the time he was around the overachieving nerd who spent all his time studying and fussing over rules (while living with Fred and George), and then with the youngest boy who felt constantly overshadowed. If there was anyone that could have engendered a bit of sympathy from Wormtail, it would be those two. His own fifth-wheel status in the Marauders makes the choice of those two particular Weasleys very interesting. Goyle picking on kids who are smaller and outnumbered could easily have triggered an emotional as well as instinctive reaction when he went for Ron. (Especially since Wormtail was still in rat form and could easily run away immediately afterwards. Heh.)

        I may have spent too much time thinking about this.

      • Andrew (Chagrin) says:

        Because he was angry that they'd (well, their fathers had) done nothing to help bring Voldemort back, right?

        Here he was, stuck living as a rat for years and years, knowing that he had wait until Voldemort's return, and none of the so-called loyal Death Eaters were doing anything to help it come about.

        • accio doublestuff says:

          Honestly I don't think that was it. Wormtail was terrified when Voldemort came back. If he was a "loyal" death eater, he could have sought Voldemort out himself (which he ultimately did in GoF, but only because he had nowhere else to go now that Harry/etc knew he was alive and might tell somebody).

          Also, he did what he did to Harry's family in the first place because he didn't want Voldemort to kill him, not because he particularly believed in Voldemort or anything. (Wormtail: What was I supposed to do? He would have killed me! What was to be gained in resisting him? Sirius: What was to be gained? Only innocent lives, Peter. You should have died, rather than betray your friends! -not a direct quote, from PoA).

          Wormtail was waiting to see if Voldemort would ever come back before killing Harry for him, but I also think he was terrified that Voldemort might come back, especially because he had never sought Voldemort out even though he could have. He was especially ideally placed to find Voldemort, as everyone thought he (wormtail) was dead. He didn't have to join Ron's family – he could have just stayed as a rat forever, or moved to a different country and lived as a human.

          i do think what MaggieCat said about identifying with Ron is really interesting, though – I never thought about it from that view. I always just thought that maybe Scabbers wanted the pasty that Goyle reached for or something.

      • Stuart says:

        SO MUCH THIS! If I ever get to talk to JKR I'm going to ask her that.

        I was so sure that after Goblet it was going to be revealed that Crabbe/Goyle Senior were the 'recruiters' who recruited him as the spy for Voldemort and treated him badly. It just doesn't make sense that the quintessentially cowardly Wormtail would stick his neck out on behalf of Ron, or of Harry.

    • Laura says:

      Bahahaha, favorite comment EVER. I was sitting in my school library, where it was totally silent, when I read this, and I burst out laughing. I got kicked out of the library, but it was worth it 🙂

      • Julia says:

        Well your comment about my comment just made my day. 😀 Sorry about getting you kicked out of the library, though.

    • pica_scribit says:

      Indeed. Especially on re-reads of PoA, I keep thinking, if only Lupin had caught sight of "Scabbers" on the train at the beginning, a lot of trouble might have been averted.

  6. Roxanne says:

    I love rereading this chapter just because it shows the weasleys being awesome from the very beginning. (Fred and George <3 <3 <3. TEARS FOREVER AT FRED'S DEATH)

    Oh and if you ever step in the world of AU fanfiction, you'll find that many authors do in fact write Hermione as being a Ravenclaw instead of Gryfinndor.

    • pennylane27 says:

      Doesn't she say that the Sorting Hat seriously considered putting her in Ravenclaw? I think it's in OotP?

      • It is. She was almost in Ravenclaw, but I love her being in Gryffindor because it belies some of the fandom's snotty comments about most Gryffindors being "dumb jocks". Really? McGonagall, Dumbledore, the Weasley twins, Bill, Hermione, Lily, Remus, all dumb jocks? 😉 Gryffindor isn't even my favourite House, but they get unfair flack.

  7. ohyoda says:

    Possibly my favorite thing about AVPS is how well they capture the introduction of Draco.

    "I am a racist. I despise gingers and Mudbloods, I hate the Gryffindor House, and my parents work for the man who killed your parents. Do you want to be my friend?"

  8. pennylane27 says:

    Oh my god I'm so excited I can't even comment!

    Ok, maybe I can. It's so great knowing the ending and how the characters grew up when you reread. And let's face it, a lot of the traits that distinguish and make them who their are are already there: Ron feels undermined and overshadowed, which is really important in Deathly Hallows and the Hurcrux locket, Draco is a shitbag and always will be, Hermione is bossy and a good friend, she was already looking after Neville!

    I think that the relationship between Harry and Ron in this early stage is adorable. Ron has horrible sandwiches so Harry shares everything he bought, Harry feels out of place and ignorant and insecure so Ron helps him out. It's just so lovely. And then they have to grow up and fight stupid adolescent fights.

    And Peter does his only good deed, which is to bite Goyle or Crabbe, I can't remember which.

    • rosieechan says:

      "I think that the relationship between Harry and Ron in this early stage is adorable. Ron has horrible sandwiches so Harry shares everything he bought, Harry feels out of place and ignorant and insecure so Ron helps him out. It's just so lovely. And then they have to grow up and fight stupid adolescent fights. "

      You described it perfectly. <3
      You have no idea how many times I've read that scene. One of my favorites from PS/SS. 🙂

  9. monkeybutter says:

    Neither the Dursleys nor the Malfoys make up for their shit-headedness, really. They just briefly show the barest hint of humanity. I wish the Malfoys hadn't gotten away with being Death Eaters (again), but it's totally realistic that wealth can buy you freedom. As for the Dursleys, there's no one in their world who cares about Harry, and the wizarding world is probably helpless to punish muggles, so they get away with being terrible. I can give Dudley and Draco some leeway because they were raised by terrible people, but I'd like to see how they turned out as adults. I dunno, let's just send Crookshanks to poop in everyone's bed.

    I’ll ask this again because I can’t recall another character like this, but is Harry the only character who experiences class privilege while in one place and then is poor/marginalized when he is somewhere else? I don’t remember if we ever figured that one out.

    I don't remember the first time you asked, but Hermione is sort of like Harry in reverse. She comes from a loving, comfortable family (I assume without money worries, since her parents are dentists), and is dropped in a place where no one knows her, and her muggle-born status singles her out for ridicule or worse. Her brains and bookishness help her get by, but they also make her more alienated from her peers. Like Harry at home, she's truly lonely at Hogwarts at times, and neither of them have an easy adolescence.

    On the positive side: gawd, I love the Weasleys, Hermione, and Neville so much. I will not let any tragic future interfere with the glee I feel meeting them and watching Harry head off to Hogwarts. Everything starts now!

  10. @PositivelyB says:

    I don't know about everyone else, but as someone who loves the reluctant hero storyline, and who read the books spaced out by years (filling the gaps with much, much talking about the characters) I maintained so much HOPE that Draco would redeem himself. It became second nature after all that speculating about how he might change, and what might push him to make the right choice, to just assume that he would, eventually.

    When the last book came out and he never got around to making that right choice and redeeming himself, it was hard to switch off the part of my brain that was enjoying his character's journey from asshole to decent guy.

    So while I'm disappointed that he never redeemed himself, I can't not like him, because I spent so many years liking his potential, if that makes any sense.

  11. sageofmudora says:


    It's been forever since I posted a comment. I've been reading all your posts, but I'm unable to get to the computer until late at night. Having never read THG Trilogy before, I feel I have nothing to contribute.

    Anyway, Potter!

    In reference to the Dursley family, I agree with you. While learning about Petunia's jealousy for Lily certainly makes her a fascinating character and adds a great level of depth to the story, it in no way redeems her. Unfortunately, people have abused children for far stupider reasons.

    As a future teacher and child advocate, I find myself hating Vernon and Petunia more than Voldemort. Because Voldy is such a *villain* I find myself fascinated by him. I adore Voldy/Bella/Lucius scenes because the characters are so fascinating and vile – yet separate enough from society that I can love them the way I love Darth Vader. Not Vernon and, to a slightly less extent, Petunia. I see too much of it, and it makes me sick.

    [edited for typos]

  12. The Dursleys… I totally agree they never get their comeuppance, and it sucks. I think Dudley was sort of on his way to GETTING THE FUCK OVER IT, but Petunia and Vernon… there's just no excuse. However, at the same time, I'm sort of okay with it not being dealt with. Sometimes in life you meet shitty people who do shitty things and have shitty opinions, and the world doesn't open up and swallow them. They keep on living their shitty lives and saying and doing shitty things until they die in a usually not-so-shitty way. Which is part of why the phrase, "They'll get what's coming to them" or "karma will get them in the end" gives me an eye twitch, because no, they/it probably won't.

    So, I kind of like that there's an instance where she just let it lie and didn't make a lesson out of them. Even if I openly wish they'd expressed SOME small instance of humanity or decency.

  13. Ron: Where have you BEEN all my life?
    Harry: In a cupboard, under some stairs!
    Ron: Wow, that's awesome!

  14. Cally says:

    This has to be one of my top five favorite HP chapters EVER! Maybe not on the first read, but definitely on re-reads. We meet the Weasleys and Hermione, and it's wonderful to contrast how things are now to how things are by the end.

    Personally the Ginny fan-girling and Ron dissing Hermione are the funniest to read. NOT because I like Ron dissing Hermione (I love her until the end of time), but because I just sit there laughing going, "Haha, Ron you're going to love her and marry her one day, and she is going to be the coolest girl on the face of the planet! And would probably set those birds on you if she ever found out what you said."
    Look at this adorableness!
    <img src=>

    But siriusly, the young, tiny Golden Trio meeting for the first time fills my heart with joy.

    Also you are not alone in your dislike of Draco. I don't HATE him, but I certainly don't like him or think he redeemed himself in any way.
    The closest thing to redemption Draco will ever have is Lauren Lopez
    <img src=>
    And well that's because she's Lauren Lopez and is too adorable to NOT like. She just has that effect on people
    <img src=>

  15. Silverilly says:


    I just can't understand why Vernon was such an asshole. I mean, I guess I understand, what with him being all afraid of the extraordinary and all, but THERE IS NOTHING GOOD ABOUT THAT MAN WHATSOEVER.
    And I mean, it does make sense for Jo to set up such a hostile environment to show that with effort it is possible to overcome the cycle of abuse that we often see in families (since Harry turned out awesome and even Dudley ended up not totally psychotic once Harry saved his soul–OMS I JUST REALIZED HARRY SAVED HIS SOUL IN MORE THAN ONE WAY, WHAT WITH HIM NOT ONLY BEING ALL EXPECTO PATRONUM BUT ALSO BY MAKING DUDLEY A BETTER PERSON, WAS THAT ON PURPOSE????), giving us hope that dickwads like Draco Malfoy or at least his son Scorpius might eventually turn out all right, but . . . it's just so very extreme. Especially considering that Harry actually managed to overcome it. How often does that actually happen?

    (I'm not saying that all abused children become abusive, I'm just saying it's a common trend)

    It's just very surprising that, in the most empathetic books of all time (you know, where the protagonist actually almost feels sorry for the man who KILLED HIS PARENTS AND FRIENDS IN AN ONGOING EFFORT TO KILL HIM AS WELL), there's not a lot of reason to feel sorry for Vernon Dursley.

  16. bell_erin_a says:

    Yay! After the depressingness of THG (and that cliff hanger, what) this is totally awesome! (And yay for ending my birthday with a bit more MarkReads before I go do some more homework /partyanimal)

    I'm not really sure what all I want to say besides "YAY MORE HARRY POTTER, YAY WEASLEYS, YAY GRED AND FORGE (noooooooooooooo), HEY IT'S GINNY, YAY FOR RON, YAY FOR HERMIONIE! Draco, I like you better when you're rolling around on the floor", but okay.

    It's just such a nasty situation with the Dursleys. I mean, I'm kinda mad I didn't get a Hogwarts letter (or the American equivalent maybe?), but take it out on your nephew for seventeen fucking years, you jealous asshats, goddamn. And why is Vernon so mad?? His sister wasn't the one going to Hogwarts! I really love the scene in DH with Dudley, but knowing he came around in the end makes me sad, because how would Dudley have been without the hateful environment his parents cultivated in their house? He's just such a mean person, even at eleven years old; how much nicer could he have been?? Of course, I'm not claiming I would have liked him and Harry to be BFFs or something, because that's what Ron Weasley is there for, duh. But.


    • pennylane27 says:

      I'm not really sure what all I want to say besides "YAY MORE HARRY POTTER, YAY WEASLEYS, YAY GRED AND FORGE (noooooooooooooo), HEY IT'S GINNY, YAY FOR RON, YAY FOR HERMIONIE! Draco, I like you better when you're rolling around on the floor", but okay.

      My thoughts exactly!

      Happy birthday! 🙂

    • monkeybutter says:

      Vernon's just a small-minded jerk who hates anything different from himself. He's such a turd; don't bother trying to make sense of him.

      Happy Birthday!

      • bell_erin_a says:

        Lol I don't. I just sometimes ~wonder~ when I can't help myself. That happens a lot with THG, unfortunately…

        Thanks very much!

    • theanagrace says:


      Your gift is on its way via owl post. It's an owl. 😛

      • bell_erin_a says:

        Thank you! Haha, I wonder if the university mail system can handle owl post/owls. I must inquire into this!

    • stellaaaaakris says:

      Happy Birthday! Try not to party too hard, I know how papers and homework can bring out the wild child in all of us.

      Also, don't worry, the American version of Hogwarts doesn't send out their letters until we're…23 (yep, that's my story and I'm sticking to it). They just want to give us a chance to go to college before we get our MASTERS in MAGIC.

      • ldwy says:

        Oh my god, I wish. I only have a few months left before it's too late! I could really use a Masters in Magic!!

      • bell_erin_a says:

        Thank you! Hahahaha oh man. My roommate sure wishes…

        WOAH. WE HAVE A MASTERS IN MAGIC?!?!? THAT TOTALLY MEANS I AM GOING TO BE ~BETTER~ THAN HARRY POTTER! Give me a while to absorb the sheer awesomeness of this revelation!

      • monkeybutter says:

        Personally, I'm holding out for my letter to invite me to teach at Hogwarts. Any day now…

    • arctic_hare says:

      Happy birthday! =D

  17. blessthechildren says:

    <img src=""&gt;

    HARRY POTTER IS BACK BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thank you Mark! I am watching a school board meeting that may end with all of the probationary teachers being fired, including me. This actually cheers me up, so thanks you :).

  18. kajacana says:

    This review just made me SO HAPPY!!!!
    Also Mark: right now I have a really boring temporary job that requires me to stand around for many hours doing basically nothing. But they do give me an iPad to play with. And for the past week and a half, I have spent my shifts reading through (…again…) your Twilight and Harry Potter reviews. I got through all of the Twilight and it enraged me all over again. But then I started re-reading the HP reviews… I'm up to Chapter 2 of Goblet of Fire… and I had forgotten how amazing they are. And I don't know if I was just so relieved to be done reading about Twilight, or if I was just bored from being at work, but I have to tell you… when I re-read your Sorcerer's Stone Chapter 1 review, I think a tear of joy came out of my eye. I just wanted to jump up and down, right there at work, squealing: "Oh Mark, you are so PRECIOUS and NAIVE about this series and it is SO ENDEARING and IF ONLY PAST-YOU KNEW HOW DEEPLY AMUSING THIS IS."
    It's like being in some sort of space-time-continuum secret club, where the Mark that doesn't even know the Weasleys and the Mark that is posting re-read reviews BOTH EXIST at the SAME TIME. It is bizarre and I love it.

  19. Button says:

    Now that the series is over, I think most people will agree that Draco is an unlikeable asshole with no redeeming qualities (unless you consider being too cowardly to go through with his evil a redeeming quality). But there were years and years in which we didn’t have all the information – in fact, regarding the Slytherins, we barely had any information.

    I started reading the series when I was 11 years old, and at the time, for the first book, it was obvious that Slytherin were just the token bad guys, it’s a story roll with it. But as the series matured and most of the characters gained depth – even Hufflepuff gained some depth – Slytherin seemed to become more and more cardboard. The first example of a Slytherin who was even a passable human being didn’t show up until the sixth book, and the fandom had a lot of years to take note of their absence before Slughorn. Slytherins were cardboard cutouts of evil in a world built mostly of flesh and blood, and it didn’t make sense.

    A number of people eventually came to the conclusion that Slytherin house was so two-dimensional that our perspective on it must be distorted. The most common theories were that either a) since we were viewing the world through Harry’s third-person narration, we were inheriting his bias and his view of all Slytherins as total jerkwads when they were actually far more complex and likable; or b) J.K. herself had a personal bias which was stunting the characters, preventing them from growing naturally with the rest of the world. (This second was a common belief among die-hard Slytherin fans.)

    Looking back, considering the way in which certain other characters were later temporarily flattened for the sake of the plot (especially in the 6th book), I suspect it was actually a matter of her trying to keep her villains evil to suit her narrative. (At the time, I assumed that she was employing Harry’s unreliable-narrator anti-Slytherin bias to set up a plot twist in a later book.) No matter the cause, though, the two-dimensional-ness of the Slytherin characters was fertile ground for fanficcers to propose alternate interpretations, especially since Draco seemed to be headed for a redemption arc; and alternate interpretations easily breed fans for even the most unlikeable of characters.

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

    • Andrew (Chagrin) says:

      I've always argued your 'a' point vehemently ('always' as in since I started reading the books, when the first four were out). I think the books themselves basically tell us this and I had a tendency to get really frustrated with those "die-hard Slytherin fans" for not picking up on what I thought were blatantly obvious context clues. (Hagrid, for example: lovable though he is, his prejudice is laid pretty wide open in this chapter. I've always contended that we're supposed to realise it, whereas they'd use it as some kind of point in their favour, that a character Rowling obviously liked was spouting this stuff, it obviously meant she 'agreed'. Because of course, the good guys can't be allowed to exhibit any negative qualities ever.)

      But I always argue that there's an extent to which Slytherin has been co-opted by people like Voldemort to suit their needs for a breeding ground of contempt, both to and from the other houses: people kept separated like that are more easily persuaded into that cultish type of.. 'fraternity', I think Voldemort would sell it as. Somewhere where they belong, where they'll stand up for one another, gain glory and power that's been denied them, etc. etc. etc.

      I just wish whatever editing mishap in the final battle hadn't happened to make it so unclear that it's Slytherin students who return from Hogsmeade with reinforcements. When Rowling explained that after the fact, a lot of people reacted that it was 'too little too late' or whatever.

      But back to the point about being from Harry's perspective, I actually feel it makes a lot of sense. He and Draco already got off to a bad start, so of course Draco's yearmates would rally around him, right? And Harry doesn't really interact with a lot of students outside of his year, even in his own house, so there are just a lot of Slytherins we don't interact with at all. (And even Theodore Nott, who's in their year, is basically a non-entity: my pet theory is that he didn't agree with a lot of what Draco and the other purebloods thought, and didn't really have any problem with Harry, so he just didn't join in their games, and would otherwise have had no reason to hang around with Gryffindors. But that's wild extrapolation, so… ;))

  20. Hey Mark, its kristinadelecarter from tumblr, that annoying girl who's been pestering you for MOAR HARRY POTTER!

    I agree with some of the other comments – Draco is never redeemed by the end of the series (nor are the Dursleys) but I feel its very realistic because, lets face it, people don't always get what they deserve. Draco is so different from the golden trio in so many ways; he's sheltered and immature (a lot like Ron), but he's also extremely spoiled and has been taught from the day he was born that its because he's better than everyone else. I'm not excusing anyone for being racist/sexist/classist because its "how they were raised" – obviously, you have to be responsible for yourself and your own actions. But when everything is said and done at the end of Deathly Hallows (excluding the epilogue), he's still just a 17 year old kid. Not only that, but a 17 year old who's been doing Voldemort's bidding on the threat of his and his parents' lives for the past couple of years. At that age, most kids are just starting to move away from home and realizing that their family's way of thinking isn't the only way to be. Just think, if Draco had been born a Weasley instead of a Malfoy … would he be the way he is now? I seriously doubt it. Someone farther up in the comments was saying how disappointed they were because they had been counting on the "possibility" of Draco's redemption – but I think that possibility still exists after the events of the Battle of Hogwarts. As much as he infuriates me, if I'm being honest, all I really saw in him at that point of the books was a terrified and desperate child who was trying to get out alive.

    He's fun to hate though =)

    But no matter how much douchebaggery Draco exhibits in this chapter, it is still the first introduction to the best family that ever was, the Weasleys!!! My love knows no bounds =) and its also the first meeting of the golden trio, a moment that will never cease to make me tear up and say "awwwwwwwwwwww!"

  21. cjazzle says:

    i understand your wish for the dursley's and draco's shittiness to somehow be redeemed, but i feel like that's not generally what JK Rowling is about. i think she has a healthy grasp on reality and that sometimes its NOT fair and people are shitty whether they have any good reasons to be or not and whether they have any redeemable qualities is something else. i'm of course not trying to say she's a soulless shrew, but she did kill fred, tonks, and lupin, the latter two in one sentence, completely out of the blue, as simple as them lying on a table in the great hall. but beyond any literary analysis, it could just be a plot device to contrast harry's wonderful time at hogwarts and help us sympathize with the hero. it could be just that simple. and i say that of course with no disrespect to the author, whom i revere. durh.

  22. wahlee says:

    And, of course, who expected that Harry would end up with Ginny Weasley when we first met her as the child who was so terribly excited just to meet the famous Harry Potter?

    I have a fandom friend who, having read enormous amounts of romance books, predicted Harry/Ginny from this. The way she is introduced (and especially since Harry watches her running after the train) just set off "Girl next door who grows up gorgeous trope" alarm bells in her head. (Similarly, she predicted Ron/Hermione the minute Ron said "whatever house she's in, I hope I'm not in it". Obviously bickering lovers. Clearly, my friend is the Queen of Shipping.)

    • I like to think I started shipping both of those pairings from the beginning too, but I really can't remember what I thought about it at the time … I do remember being very anti-Harry/Hermione though. All the way up through PoA, my mom referred to Hermione as "Harry's little girlfriend" and 13-year-old me would always get really angry (24 year old me still doesn't appreciate it).

    • HungryLikeLupin says:

      I will confess that I *ahem* actually did the exact same thing. o.o What can I say? I grew up sneaking romance novels out of my older sisters' rooms. XD

    • Andrew (Chagrin) says:

      I'll be honest, I knew from that point it was going to happen*. (And for a veeeeery long time hated the pairing, knowing how inevitable it was.) It will never my favourite pairing, but Ginny became pretty awesome so by the time it actually happened I didn't begrudge it any longer.

      *I'm going to blame my lifelong penchant for mystery novels. It's almost become burdensome how quickly I can deduce things based on a character's introduction. (Though the HP series mostly surprised me in this regard, actually.)

    • FishGuts says:

      When I first read Philosopher's Stone (I WILL NEVER CALL IT SORCEROR'S! NEVER NEVER NEVER) I automatically shipped Ginny/Harry, simply because I knew how much drama Jo could get out of the whole 'best friend's sister' thing.

    • elyce says:

      I read HP1 and then HP4 so I guess I've always been on the Ron/Hermione train. I didn't see the Harry/Ginny coming at all and I still don't like it. Harry/Hermione never occured to me until the movies started coming out…

    • monkeybutter says:

      I know I'm echoing everyone here, but yeah, as soon as Ginny showed up, I figured she and Harry were going to end up together. I thought the same thing about Ron and Hermione after this chapter. I was happy to see Ginny grow up, stop worshiping Harry, and live a life at Hogwarts independent of him in the meantime, though!

    • rosieechan says:

      Yeah, like my friend thought it was pretty obvious that Harry was going to end up with Ginny. Not from the beginning, but near the fifth book, she was astounded at why people hadn't realized by now that Ginny was the one. It was just a matter of process of elimination. XD He's not going to end up with Hermione or Luna, nor is he going to end up with any random girl either. So that only leaves Ginny, which would actually make sense.

  23. F.A.R. says:

    The worst of the villains *have* to be dealt with, but the mundane — albeit still monstrous — Dursleys got away with their abuse, just like they might have gotten away with child abuse in the real world. That believability is why, in terms of Rowling's writing choices, I don't have a problem with it: by Deathly Hallows, she doesn't sugarcoat life, and life often benefits the monsters. In terms of closure and resolution, in terms of justice, it's a bleak picture, but I think that in the end, Harry's world comes off better than ours when it comes to cosmic justice.

  24. valdora says:

    I read the first book entirely in one night and by the end I had concluded that there were inevitable wedding bells for Ron and Hermione and for Harry and Ginny. Several books later I looked at the fandom and was a little confused that anyone walked away with a different impression. So yeah…

  25. Mauve_Avenger says:

    "Please tell me there some part of the fandom that deeply opposes Hermione being in Gryffindor so I can laugh and feel whole."

    Maybe this is just me and my weirdness, but I could really see Hermione being sorted into any of the four Houses (the pure-blood thing with Slytherin aside), which is probably a big part of why I really like her.

    • echinodermata says:


    • HungryLikeLupin says:

      I think that what makes all three of the main characters so appealing is that it's easy to see how any of them could have been sorted into (most) any of the houses. They're all ambitious–though in different ways–loyal, brave, hard-working (again, sometimes in different ways XD), and smart. They all possess every one of the main attributes of the four Houses, but the ones for Gryffindor are strongest in them. Part of me thinks that Dumbledore is right–maybe they do sort too soon–and part of me thinks that they should just do away with the House system altogether.

      The vast majority of me, I'll admit, is havin' a pretty damn good time chillin' in the Hufflepuff common room. -_-

      • DTDRC says:

        I agree about doing away with the house system. That was one of the things I don't like about the epilogue, that a house system still exists and Ron telling his kid they'd better be in Gryffindor. Perhaps it's a little too "Why can't we all just get along" but I sort of don't see the point of houses when there's so few kids in each grade.

        • sabra_n says:

          The house system itself isn't the problem – it's actually nice to give your students a cohort to bond with in their classes, especially when they're starting out. Hogwarts is small, yes, but it's also a boarding school and for many children, their first introduction to magic. Giving them a house gives them a "safe" home base as well as a familiar set of faces so they don't have to learn all the names at once. 🙂

          It's the way the sorting is ostensibly based on personal qualities that's troublesome. If they got rid of that and made it random or at least personality-based in the sense that colleges picking roommates do it based on personality, it might not be so bad.

          It does seem that the kids mix more once they're allowed to pick electives, which is sensible, but a smarter future Hogwarts might also try ending the segregation in the dining hall and creating all-houses lounge spaces. Or, more radically, creating houses with new names for the residential halls, House Cup, and classes and keeping the old house names just for Quidditch teams.

          (Why do I think this much about fictional school administration?)

          • Mauve_Avenger says:

            But do boarding schools usually have competitions going on between the different houses/groups? I'm genuinely asking, as I really don't know a thing about boarding schools.

            I'm thinking of this in terms of the Robbers Cave Experiments, where initial friendships formed when the kids (boys aged 11 and 12, if I remember correctly) were all part of one large group were readily dissolved if the friends happened to be "sorted" into different groups, and competition greatly increased the level of hostility and prejudice between the two groups (though there was already some prejudice and hostility seemingly just by virtue of there being two different groups).

            • EofS says:

              Houses are the norm, and inter-house competition is perfectly common. Not just in boarding schools, day schools can have houses too. Remember, Hogwarts is modeled closely on boarding school tropes and boarding school realities.

              Even my crappy state school, which didn't have anything like a house system, still had inter-form competitions.

              • @RucchiraM says:

                I had been to two day schools(I changed school in the middle of high school and it was very difficult coping, though my best friends today are from that 2nd school- even after leaving university)- in my first school- there were six houses named after nuns and priests(yeah, it was a convent) and we were made to stand according to that during morning assemblies. Each house had a captain and a vice captain from the two highest classes(or forms, if you like), we had inter-house basketball matches at times, and each house took it in terms to do the wall magazines. Also we had 2 periods a week for House Activities(Fridays after lunch, I still remember) and I hated them mainly because my friends from my own form were in other houses. Still, even someone as dispassionate about the whole thing as I did have house-feelings and stuff. I mean, I would cheer for my house during matches and all.
                In my second school, we had 4 houses- blue, red, yellow, green but the activities were generally intra-form (i.e we might have inter-house drama contests with members from a single year, if it has to include the whole school it will be inter-form, and not inter-house) and there were no rivalries as such. There were sometimes rivalries between the different years though.

            • sabra_n says:

              Yeah, that's why I suggested separating out the houses from the Quidditch teams. Getting rid of the House cup would probably be a good idea, too.

              We had houses in my (American, public, non-boarding) middle school, but they were just…cadres. Same goes for the sections we were separated into for law school. It was about making the transition to a new school easier, not about turning us on each other.

              • Mauve_Avenger says:

                "We had houses in my (American, public, non-boarding) middle school, but they were just…cadres."

                That's how my middle school was, actually, though I don't recall much about it. All I really remember was that the inter-section competitions were generally pointless and kind of bizarre, with some people getting way too competitive and the rest mostly trying to stay on the sidelines.

                A couple of years before I graduated, my high school divided students into "academies" based on what careers they wanted to have, but some students ended up mixing a lot anyway because of electives and more specialized classes like AP. We were supposed to have academy-wide meetings and field trips, but for the most part that didn't get off the ground.

                I think it only took about a year for the FACA kids to get branded as a bunch eccentrics and the BA kids as a bunch of douchebags. I was in the most serially disorganized academy, PSA, which was kind of the Hufflepuff of the lot. It definitely never got to Harry Potter-level, but it was definitely there. It would've gotten worse if it hadn't been so ill-organized that the idea was scrapped a few years later when the district went on a massive reorganization jag.

                /end ramble

  26. stefb says:

    Don't forget that Ron also lived in the shadows of Bill and Charlie, who had been Head-Boy and Quidditch captain respectively, in their day.

    But well, Ron…Ron destroyed a Horcrux. XD

  27. Secretgirl says:

    The Dursleys received the worst punishment ever. You do not see it that way because you are not putting yourselves in their position. What matters most to a Dursley? How they look to the outside muggle world. At the end of the books they had to give up everything – the house, the car, the job, everything material they define themselves by. Then, to add insult to injury, they had to put themselves at the mercy of wizards who they cannot stand even acknowledging. This may not sound bad to you or I, but it is torture to a Dursley. JKR is no bloody Collins, but she has her subtle, vengeful god moments.

  28. Abby says:

    Yessss thanks so much for doing a Harry Potter post! I've been craving one!

    Anyway, Ron is completely adorable, Hermione is (admit it, she is) somewhat obnoxious, and Harry is so different from the Harry we come to know and love. He seems so small, helpless and lost, which is kind of how someone reading through the first time would feel. Somebody said they tear up at the appearance of the Golden Trio; I totally do too! Especially after the last book, I *still* get misty-eyed when I even THINK about this series, its characters, the deaths… It's crazy how much it gets into your life. You had no idea what you were getting yourself into 😀 I still check the HP Lexicon character pages every now and then just to refresh my memory on what happened to the characters after the series ended.

    … I'm going to do that again now, I think. *gets misty-eyed*

  29. stellaaaaakris says:

    I didn't realize how much I missed having Harry in my life until I read this review and the comments with a big wide grin on my face and giggling more that I care to admit.

    So, might as well throw it out there, I actually like Draco as a character. I think his story arc and his development were really interesting. I think he's an asshole but I'm okay with that in a character. I had a whole storyline planned out for Draco that I think JKR should have taken a look at before writing DH. It involved Draco realizing earlier that he was in love with Hermione (who, let me be clear, would Never, Ever care about him) and him doing something heroic to save her. It may not have been a particularly detailed storyline, but JKR's great with details, she could have filled in the blanks. Obviously, I was disappointed, at least until Darren Criss and the Lang brothers got a hold of the story and churned out some fine musicals that at least gave me a pretty awesome Draco who was totes in love with Hermy. (BTW Mark, when are you going to watch AVPS?) But I still think he and his backstory are interesting in the books.

    But DH definitely dethroned Draco from the top of my favorite characters list. Neville came charging up to take his place though and he owns it. And we got to meet little Neville again! Who would have predicted this boy who was so upset about losing his frog would grow up to be such a BAMF?

  30. lastyearswishes says:

    Draco doesn't ever redeem himself, you're right; that's a part of Deathly Hallows that's always disappointed me. I mean, I knew he wasn't the greatest person ever but once we got to see actual character development in Half-Blood Prince, I think my imagination just went crazy with the hope that he would (fanfiction helped that though, not going to lie lol).

  31. shortstack930 says:

    I love how you meet Ginny and "Scabbers" so early on and just think nothing of them and then BAM in book 3 you find out about Peter Pettigrew and throughout the series Ginny's character becomes so much more important. Rowling has a wonderful way of making things/characters seem insignificant at first and then dropping a bomb on us three books later!

  32. arctic_hare says:


    I think the Dursleys got away with it too, and years and years later I still don't like them. I like Dudley's part in DH, and the backstory on Petunia and Lily, but Vernon is and always will be a douchebag who didn't get what he deserved in any way, shape or form. Petunia's pretty horrid too, but I see hope in Dudley after DH. Still, though. STILL. But that's life, it's not always satisfying and a lot of the time people do get away with shit like this and worse. I can respect Rowling for taking that path, even if I wished I'd gotten to see Dursley comeuppance. THIS IS HARD, PEOPLE. I AM STILL TORN.

    Weasleys! I love the Weasleys, I remember reading this chapter for the first time and thinking they were pretty much the most awesome family ever. THIS OPINION HAS NOT CHANGED. Oh, Fred and George, you break my heart. 🙁 There aren't enough sad gifs in the world for that. But they were so, so wonderful here, right from the start, so I must try and forget for a while that all did not end well.

    I mentioned in a DW review of yours some weeks ago that I own the Hogwarts Express Lego set. IT IS SO COMPLETELY AWESOME. SIRIUSLY. It comes with Harry, Ron, Ginny, Draco, and most importantly -Luna-. 😀 It's got a bit of a timey-wimey thing going on, because it also comes with Scabbers, the flying Ford Anglia, the Quibbler with Harry's interview, and the Daily Prophet with the Azkaban breakout article. WHATEVER I DON'T CARE. I have a Lego Luna Lovegood, that is ALL I NEED. And putting together the train itself was so fun. There's a snack cart too with a Chocolate Frog, and wands, and suitcases, and three owls and oh man I love it so much. Next I need Hagrid's Hut, because everyone needs a Lego Hagrid.

    Speaking of Scabbers: "Also: FUCKING PETER PETTIGREW IS IN RON’S LAP." I KNOW, RIGHT? IT MAKES EVERYTHING SO EXTRA CREEPY IN HINDSIGHT. It was so fun to go back and reread the books after knowing everything, like the Scabbers = Pettigrew thing. MIND BLOWN ALL OVER AGAIN.

    Maybe your opinion on Draco is unpopular, but I'm right there with you. Don't like him, never will, he's still a little shit and always will be, etc. etc. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Which is a nice segue to –

    Even with me, sometimes I dearly wish to belong to certain groups or in specific situations, and sometimes I enjoy being separate.

    GOOD GRIEF, DO I EVER KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN. It's almost spooky how well that sums up how I feel about so many things in my life.


    In closing, I also want the Hogwarts Lego set. 🙁

  33. doesntsparkle says:

    Mark said "I’ll ask this again because I can’t recall another character like this, but is Harry the only character who experiences class privilege while in one place and then is poor/marginalized when he is somewhere else? I don’t remember if we ever figured that one out."

    I'm going to say Voldemort, when he was Tom Riddle. He was a poor orphan boy when he came to Hogwarts(who tap danced) and became a popular, talented student. He's still poor at Hogwarts, but the teachers still adored him and fell for his bull. From what Dumbledore says in HBP and Slughorn's memory, he figured out that he was the heir of Slytherin and told his housemates/early followers. In that circle, Voldermort's ancestry is a privilege.

    Riddle considered Hogwarts his home, and framed Hagrid so he could stay over the holidays. He wanted to avoid going back to the orphanage, where he wasn't privileged. Of course, he was a sociopathic bully as a child and a mass murdering fuck head as and adult, so he's not really sympathetic, but in some respects he had it worse that Harry. Harry had his parents love for a year, and their money when he entered the Wizarding World.

    • residentgamer says:

      Exactly! I think it's meant to be a parallel to Harry , who really felt like a worthless nobody in the muggle world, but was seen as special in the Wizarding world. Of course, what they did with their lives are opposite, but they started out in a similar fashion.

    • paulineparadise says:

      "(who tap danced) "


  34. HungryLikeLupin says:

    I was, I'll admit, actually relieved that Draco never really redeemed himself.

    There. I said it.

    I think part of that was the fact that I managed to completely call what happened with Snape in DH (not in the details, obviously, but in his overall arc). I was so annoyed at the end of HBP, because I so wanted Rowling to take a firm–and yes, unpopular–stand and actually have Snape just be evil. Does that make me a bad person? Maybe, but I don't care. XD The scene on the Astronomy Tower was such a punch in the gut that I didn't want it undone, even in part, by Snape having been good all along omg. But it was fairly obvious that there was something going on that we as readers weren't supposed to understand, I was almost 100% certain that wasn't going to happen.

    Well, with Snape I was right . . . sort of. I'll save that whenever we get around to the actual scene. The point is that I was so worried that Rowling was just going to redeem everyone who was actually at Hogwarts throughout the books (obviously she wasn't going to redeem most or even any of the Death Eaters, or Voldemort or anything) that I built up a good preemptive head of steam about it. So when Draco turned out to end the books as he began–a bigoted, cowardly little shit, though I'll grant far more three-dimensional by then–I was actually sort of elated. No, he's not large-scale, end-the-world-type evil, but he remains just bad enough that I find it acceptable. 😆

    Wow, okay, all of that sounded a lot less twisted in my head, I swear.

    I was actually really taken aback by Scabbers in this chapter. It's so weird to know that this is Peter Pettigrew, that this is an adult wizard. When we realize this in PoA, we also realize that Peter has understood everything going on around him–he's retained his full awareness as a wizard, even though he was trapped in the body of a rat for twelve years. What it makes me wonder is: why does he bite Goyle? Has he actually come to care for Ron and the other Weasleys in this time, and act out of protectiveness? Does he recognize Goyle as the son of a Death Eater and react to that? Has he been awake enough during this time to hear Harry's name, to recognize him? This is the child he tried to help Voldemort murder. What is his reaction throughout this whole scene on the train? WHAT ARE YOU THINKING, PETER?

    • arctic_hare says:

      I've always wondered that too, about Pettigrew! ALL THESE YEARS AND I STILL CAN'T FIGURE IT OUT.

    • echinodermata says:

      …I wanted Snape to not be evil, but also not be redeemed? Is that bad?

      I love a lot of mean characters, but I don't like the "woobification" of said mean characters. Maybe I just don't like redemption arcs that much? I guess I like the idea of my beloved bastards dying lonely and perpetually unhappy or something. So I too am glad Draco was never really redeemed, even/especially when I find his character interesting.

    • Andrea says:

      I've always believed that Pettigrew felt remorse for what he did to the Potters. Before he betrayed Lilly and James, he probably really cared for them and I think that seeing Harry after all those years really affected him. We see it here when he bites Goyle and we see it in DH when he is killed by his own hand for hesitating to hurt Harry. To me, he stays with Voldy because he is too cowardly to do anything else, but that does not mean he doesn't care, at least a little bit, about Harry.

    • Starsea28 says:

      I see him biting Goyle as being the most passive-aggressive action possible – YEAH I'M GOING TO TAKE REVENGE ON CRAPPY DEATH EATER KIDS BUT I'M A HARMLESS RAT SO THEY CAN'T GET ME!

  35. Openattheclose says:

    OMG I fell asleep and I wake up to this!? Yay! Harry potter I have missed you! Here is the best HP fanvid ever.

    [youtube EZZCF_6xTrE youtube]

    • pennylane27 says:

      Did you want me to cry? Was that your purpose when you posted this video? Well, you have succeeded my friend. Yes, it's four in the morning and silent tears are falling on my keyboard.
      Siriusly, all drama aside, that was awesome.

      • Openattheclose says:

        I'm so sorry. I found this vid like a month ago and I have been waiting for a Harry Potter review to post it! I absolutely love the voiceovers of people putting Harry down at the beginning. It's like we were talking about on the other thread, is it any wonder he had CAPSLOCK RAGE?

        Here is another video from that same vidder, It's sad and happy at the same time.
        [youtube -9jxratgncY youtube]

        • pennylane27 says:

          Totally. And look how well he turned out to be!

          I'll watch this one tomorrow, I think I'm going to try and get some sleep 🙂

      • knc says:

        Okay, my life got more epic just by watching that.

  36. Julephenia says:

    I have been lurking for months, after a friend sent me this way as my life literally fell apart… I have to say, I've been enjoying all the reviews. (I've even now read THG online…twice… since you started reviewing.)

    Anyway. I wanted to say a few things in my first comment.

    1. I love Mrs. Weasley and I want her as my mom. (Mostly because my mother is/can be emotionally abusive. So, hi, I'm a survivor, too. …*slow wave*)

    2. There was a whole contingent of us in the fandom (from very early on) who were HUGE H/G R/Hr, One Big Happy Weasley Family supporters. At the time, I read a TON of fanfic, and even tried to write some… some leaders formed their own websites because we were "unwelcome" among the H/Hr (oh god, now my keyboard is polluted) set on the bigger fan sites. I personally saw Ginny and when Ron became Harry's friend, I went… "Why in the WORLD would Ron have 5 brothers and ONE sister… OH. I see what you did there! HARRY GETS A FAMILY! PARTY!"

    3. Being a Real Life Hermione, I fell in love with Ron in seconds, and was screaming at them by the middle of book 2 to JUST DATE ALREADY. (And yes, I realized they were 12. But it was a OTP and needed to happen. Siriusly.)

    4. Draco is an asshat. And I don't understand the love of him – in books, or movies. Then again, see point 3. I like Weasleys.

  37. cjazzle says:

    i would just like to fondly remember the days when you were first reading the harry potter series. i linked here from mugglenet and was so excited to follow and, in a distant way, be a part of your journey through the books. there's no capturing that feeling twice, and i've recently found myself very nostalgic for that feeling again. i haven't been reading the other books you've been reviewing, though i have read some of the books you will be doing in the future. and i feel this same way about some of the tv shows you are watching over on Mark Watches (Firefly, BSG in the future, etc). i just feel such nostalgia for the good old days when i read or watched them and didn't know what was going to happen, and then reading about your reading/watching them. there ain't nothin like it!!

  38. Openattheclose says:

    Oh, in case anyone missed it, here is JK Rowling and David Heyman receiving an honorary BAFTA for the Harry Potter films. I got a little sad watching it:
    [youtube jqyIqkwJXIc youtube]

  39. PaulineParadise says:

    I will now have to start my computer again because my iPod doesn’t show gifs.

    In a fanfiction called ‘Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality’, Petunia married a science professor, making harry incredibly smart and physics-centered. HE AND HERMIONE ARE IN RAVENCLAW IN THAT FIC AND IT IS AWESOME!

    • Meagen says:

      Ah, yes… “The Adventures Of Harry Potter’s Smarter Older Brother”… or “Dear Harry Potter Fans, LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD”.

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

  40. HieronymusGrbrd says:

    Did anybody else make the connections:
    Gryffindor’s chivalry – modern knights – shining armour (pathetic?) – Robocop!?
    1. Protect the innocent
    2. Uphold the law
    3. Serve the public welfare
    Isn’t this what Hermione does all the time? When we first meet her she is on a quest to rescue lost Trevor, and then she reminds everybody(?) of the school’s law: you have to wear your school robes on arrival. The Sorting Hat didn’t need to be a fortune teller to put her into Gryffindor.

    Through six and a half books I felt that Hermione might have been in Ravenclaw. But from what we see in DH, logic and knowledge isn’t enough. Hermione may be just too reasonable to pass this door.

    Slytherin observation Nr. 2:

    The animosity between Malfoys and Weasleys seems to be another family heirloom (in both families). It existed at least for the previous generation (Lucius – Arthur), and in the epilogue Ron tries to hand it down to the next generation. I’m not sure if this is originally Gryffindor versus Slytherin or something more personal. Ron is biased and not a reliable source of information, but he doesn’t tell Harry anything new concerning Slytherin anyway?

    I don’t know if this will work:
    Slytherin observation Nr. 1

    ETA: Okay, this site can not handle a large amount of images, so you have to scroll down from where the link takes you, or use &lt;CTRL&gt;F.
    ETA: Second attempt worked?

    • monkeybutter says:

      Since you mentioned chivalry, Arthur, and Lucius in one post, I've gotta point out the whole legendary rivalry between King Arthur and Emperor Lucius. In my head-canon, Arthur Weasley and Lucius Malfoy are descended from them. The Weasley/Malfoy animosity goes back to the Middle Ages!

      • HieronymusGrbrd says:

        Ah, Lucius Tiberius (I had to look him up). I'm sure this is not just a coincidence.

        Concerning Hermione and Ravenclaw I revised my opinion. The Ravenclaw door would probably accept Hermione's scientific answer to the phoenix-or-flame-question ("The flame") as well as Luna's answer (associated to the hen-or-egg-paradox) because there is not One Right Solution. You don't have to know the answer like you have to remember a password. The task is to think about it and find an answer that satsfies you. Hermione would fit into Ravenclaw if she wouldn't value her Gryffindor traits more.

  41. Loren says:

    (I’ll ask this again because I can’t recall another character like this, but is Harry the only character who experiences class privilege while in one place and then is poor/marginalized when he is somewhere else? I don’t remember if we ever figured that one out.)

    He's kind of a minor one, but how about Justin Finch-Fletchley? When he meets Harry, he immediately comes across as something of an upper-class twit, mentioning that he was down for Eton his whole life and whatnot. Presumably, his family has a lot of money and influence in the Muggle world… but that doesn't help him when a giant snake turns him into a statue.

    • Openattheclose says:

      I always assumed Hermione's muggle life as the daughter of two dentists was pretty privileged too. Maybe not Eton levels, but with her intelligence, she probably would have done well in the muggle world. Of course, she was probably horribly made fun of at muggle school, and then the poor girl goes to Hogwarts and gets… horribly made fun of some more.

      I would say that any fairly well off muggleborn is in for a shock when they come to Hogwarts.

  42. elyce says:

    gotta get back to hogwarts. Gotta get back to schooooool. I gotta get myself to Hogwarts, where everything is magi-coooool!

  43. Ali says:

    I love how Draco actually uses the word 'riffraff'. I thought I was the only person who did that!

    I agree with you though, mark, he does NOT redeem himself by the end of book 7 – most of his actions were motivated by simple fear for his life, not through a desire to actually do good and make up for his past mistakes.

  44. Andrew (Chagrin) says:

    Okay. Draco.

    I say this as someone who has never been a fan of his at all, but:

    I don't think it's so much that he redeems himself as much as it's clear that he's become aware of the horrors of Voldemort's regime. He's a coward for sure and doesn't know how to stand up to it, but.. I do in fact pity him, somewhat, because when would he have had the chance to learn how to do so? So I think when we see in the epilogue that he and Harry can act with apparent civility in public that means that after the war, it's a fair assumption that he was able to escape the grooming of his upbringing and maybe he changed for the better then, after Voldemort was gone and he could step out from his tyranny. But I actually liked that he didn't really do anything heroic; it wouldn't have been in his character, and I found it satisfying that Rowling would allow for there to be ends that weren't neatly tied up. (I liked this for a lot of the ending.) But I do think it's fair to say that we can see glimpses that Draco is finally becoming aware, after his presumably-quasi-brainwashed upbringing, and that maybe everything that happened to and around him allowed for him to begin thinking for himself.

  45. elyce says:

    I guess I just have to say that I still like Draco. I think I've been affected by fandom, though. But honestly, I liked him before I had any idea what fandom was. I think it's because I like the evil, snarky characters. They have so much more fun dialogue… lol. Then again, I never liked Snape and I still don't. No, Draco never truly redeems himself but neither does any other Slytherin, which is just a shame. I mean, not every single Slytherin is pure evil, right? Well, except Voldemort, but we're not counting him. All people have multiple facets of their personalities but Slytherins are never shown to. They seem to live in the black and white world which JK Rowling sort of uses to her advantage. We're not even exposed to any shades of grey until the fourth book and Mr. Crouch…

  46. Quizzical says:

    *twirls this review around with glee*


    also, i think the dursleys in book 1 is one of the elements where i think if jkr had written the entire series before publishing it she might have gone back and made them a little more nuanced.

    book 1 has very much a certain 'genre' feel to it, which she shakes off as the series progresses.

    anyway, ALWAYs happy to hear ALL of your harry potter thoughts, mark. ALWAYS!

  47. lisra says:

    Yay, more re-reading… High-five, all my ravenclaw brothers and sisters!

  48. EasyE says:

    Sometimes I forget just how much I love Harry Potter. There is really nothing that compares to it. My six year old daughter asked me to read it to her, and its slow going because I make her read pages but she loves it. And I can read along with Mark.

  49. cait0716 says:

    I always thought Hermione ended up in Gryffindor instead of Ravenclaw because that's what she chose. She's says on the train she'd rather be in Gryffindor, and I figure she just projected that so strongly onto the sorting hat that that's where she ended up. Much like Harry chose not to by in Slytherin.

    I may be commenting too late for this to actually get answered, but did anyone else ever pick up on the Dursleys and Malfoys both being blonde families? It gets changed in the movies, but all of these characters are described as blonde. Until Luna shows up on OotP, I don't think there are any other blonde characters in the books (correct me if I'm wrong). When I was first reading these (and on several re-reads before OotP came out) I though JK Rowling was prejudiced against blonde people (which is really weird) or using it as some form of symbolism that I just didn't get. I don't know, did anyone else ever think this?

    • monkeybutter says:

      Yeah, I noticed it, too, because the evil blonde thing has always irked me (looking at you, Meyer). In addition to the badness of stereotyping, it's annoying when authors use hair color to explain a character's personality; icy blondes and fiery redheads are all over the place! It would be especially weird for Rowling to do it, though, because she's a blonde.

      For the Malfoys, at least, it's probably supposed to be an allusion to Aryanism, because they are the worst racists, ever. There's also Fleur, and maybe Ernie MacMillan, though I wouldn't hold either of them up as wholly positive! They do turn out to be good, reliable people in the end. I'm willing to shrug off the Malfoys and Dursleys because I think fair hair is pretty common in the British Isles, but it still felt lazy to me in these early books.

      • stefb says:

        Technically it's just Petunia and Dudley out of the Dursleys that have blonde hair…I can't be bothered to look for it right now, but I'm almost positive it mentions somewhere that Vernon has black hair.

        Also, apparently, according to the HP Lexicon, Vernon is JKR's least favorite character.

        Seamus can also be considered blond, I think, since his hair is described as "sandy-colored"… just trying to think of other blond good guys. Also, Hannah Abbott–and JKR mentioned in an interview that she always pictured Neville blond.

      • @RucchiraM says:

        Fleur and Ernie seem positive enough to me. Annoying at times, yes, but never exactly what I call negative people.
        But if you want another negative blonde character, there's Rita Skeeter for you.

    • Yes, to me it reads as JKR rather clunkily trying to write an alternative to the idealization of blonde people as the most beautiful.

  50. embers says:

    I agree completely that Draco and the entire Malfoy family was not sufficiently redeemed by the end of the series. They all did a lot of evil but somehow were given a pass because at the 11th hour they… what? Wanted to save each other? And that was considered to be a good?
    I felt that JKR's last book was sloppy, disorganized and was her worst book. But I have to say that this first book was genius: she had us in the first paragraph, and she introduced each character so we got a clear picture of them instantly.

  51. embers says:

    Oh yes, and actually I DID predict Harry ending up w/Ginny: she was the only daughter of the Weasley family and clearly (from the beginning) Harry wanted to be a part of that family!

  52. Ellen says:

    RAVENCLAW FOREVER Hermione should totes have been there. but then it'd be harder to be friends with Harry/Ron (notice how there aren't very many inter-house BFFs? what's up with that??)
    Also, with the Dursleys, I feel like yes, they got away with treating him awfully, but by the end of the series, it didn't matter to Harry anymore. He'd learned that the world isn't always a fair place, but he'd figured out what really matters in it, and punishing them for their horrible treatment of him as a kid didn't matter to him in the long run. If that makes sense?

  53. Sarah says:

    Yay for HP reviews!!!! 🙂 And, omigod, SO much to say…

    1. Dudley: I really don't mind him so much. I almost pity Dudley, because he's a product of his environment. This is proved at the end where he shows respect for Harry and doesn't want him to leave. Diddykins can actually be a decent human being when he can think for himself. It's his godawful parents that didn't raise him right. I truly believe that this type of bullying can be stopped in the home.

    2. Fred & George: I totally have crushes on them (I'm 27, btw. lol). This time around you'll be able to LOL even more. I found that the second read was better than the first because I was able to take the time to appreciate the little details that were missed. Their comedy relief is much appreciated.

    3. Character development: I think this is genius, because I feel like I could take any one of these characters (except, maybe, Voldy) and put them into to real life. For example, my grandma is a Minerva McGonagall. My best friend's mom is Molly Weasley. The great thing about these characters is that they are so real that they make the fantastical (magic) seem reachable and realistic. I also think that has a lot to do with why certain groups are afraid of these books. Rowling is genius.

    4. "is Harry the only character who experiences class privilege while in one place and then is poor/marginalized when he is somewhere else?": My first thought was Hermione. It seems like in the Muggle world she has a great life: great parents, she was probably top in school, and she seems more privileged than others. But when she gets to Hogwarts she experiences a lot of criticism and ridicule for being a know-it-all and a mudblood. They're really the only two characters that have SUCH different lives between home and school. I think that's part of why Harry and Hermione understand each other so well.

    Can't wait for the next re-read!!! You're going to enjoy it so much more this time around 🙂

  54. accio doublestuff says:

    Oh god, the twins were amazing from their very first line. Too bad they are covered in tragedy.


    About hermione being in gryffindor – i always wondered why hermione wasn't put in ravenclaw. i almost felt sad for her when luna opened the ravenclaw common room – hermione would have LOVED that door, especially since it didn't just tell you the answer when you got it wrong. ("If i let you copy, how will you learn!?!??!" -Hermione, EVERY BOOK). But what she ultimately does for Harry made her House placement make sense to me.

    It's like Harry having a choice to be in Slytherin or Gryffindor. Ultimately, the choice was his, and that made all the difference. Harry could have chosen the easy route, chosen to be friends with people like Draco, except he didn't.

    Just like Hermione could have buried herself in books and lessons, instead of paying attention to what was going on in the world. She says it in the first book – "What are books, and cleverness? Friendship, bravery, that's what really matters" (or whatever she says exactly)

    in the end, it's the people in her life that are most important. Rowling mentions how Hermione goes back to school, even though Ron and Harry never do after defeating Voldemort. Clearly school is so important to her that she goes back, but not important enough that she doesn't leave it and help Harry when he really needs it. Thus, Gryffindor.

  55. Becky says:

    Yes! Thank you for this! I read your blog as a way to distract myself from my soul-crushing job, and as much as I love The Hunger Games, it's been way too long since we've gotten Harry Potter. Yay.

  56. Hotaru-hime says:

    Dudley didn't want to sit next to Harry because Harry's a wizard. Duddykins last encounter gave him a pig's tail.

  57. SusanBones says:

    Mark, I am SO HAPPY that you haven't given up on reviewing the HP books. I love your reviews because it justifies my love of the series, too. 🙂

    I agree with you about Draco. He never really redeems himself in the end, although he does grow up a little.

    I love the Hogwarts Express scene. Ron and Harry clicked on many levels. Harry validates Ron, something Ron probably had never had in his life before. Finally, someone, and a famous person at that, understood what it meant to have secondhand clothes, no money of their own, teased, and sometimes ignored by the family you lived with. Harry saw that Ron had one thing he desperately wanted, loving parents and brothers and sisters. Ron was probably flattered that he knew so much more about the Wizard world than Harry. It put him above Harry in at least one thing, and I'm sure that Ron wasn't used to that experience at all. Harry needed a friend to help guide him through the totally new experience of being a Wizard, going to a wizard school, and not knowing what to expect. I loved it.

    Molly is such a mom. I've always loved Molly, even when she is being over-protective. Moms are allowed to do that, even if it is irritating. 🙂

  58. andreah1234 says:

    I MISSED THE HARRY POTTER PARTY. BRB CRYING WITH MANGER. (Wait, can you have manger when you are a woman? Very important questions I ask. :P)

    I LOVE THIS. The feeling of being back into this world is one of the best things ever. The magic is amazing no matter how old are you. And the characters that made this world so incredible and real. WHY CAN'T ALLOF THIS BE REAL???

  59. Tari says:

    I only found "Mark reads" recently, but I've been loving every minute of it!

    Honestly, I blame all the positive Draco characterization in fandom to the fan fiction. Because there was so much time between books, writers could play around with him and make him into whatever they wanted Draco to be. I can think of one particular fanfic that does this: The Draco Trilogy, which is entertaining to read but is also is surrounded by so much drama I'm not even sure if it's available online anymore.

    He's an asshat in canon, but fan fiction makes anything possible.

  60. ooohlivia says:

    I really love that Hermione, Ron and Harry are all in Gryffindor, actually. I have a weird obsession with Arthurian knights/quests/tales of ye olde heroes, and The Trio are sort of a modern-day embodiment of that (with wands – kind of like Merlin, hey?). That's why the scene with the sword in the lake is one of my favourites in the series. I picture Godric Gryffindor as being like King Arthur.
    I like that so much of the world of Harry Potter draws from ancient legends and mythology. I want to study the hell out of that shit at University. It all boils down to the fact that I really wish my life were a bit more epic.

    • Hotaru-hime says:

      Does that make Slytherin Mordred?

    • Bonnie says:

      This comment makes me think you are me <3

      Everyone needs a little epicness sometimes.

    • Grace says:

      OMG, /threadjack, the whole Arthurian thing? Yes and yes, and if you love that, read the Book of Joby, which is all about that and awesome and loverly and my favortie book ever *snuggles* (reviews call it "HP meets King Arthur and goes on a quest to fight the Devil")
      I was so 😀 to see a new HP review! <3

  61. Sarah says:

    Good point. I completely agree. In a way, I feel bad for Draco. You know that he has some goodness in his heart.

  62. Liz says:

    Every time I re-read the books and I get to an important character being introduced, I get SO EXCITED. When Ginny's like, freaking about about Harry, I'm like "YOU WILL ONE DAY MOTHER HIS CHILDREN."

    • Julephenia says:

      Thank goodness I'm not the only one. I have a bad habit of saying to Ginny WHILE WATCHING THE MOVIES, "It's OK, Ginny! You will marry him and have lots of Potter babies! I PROMISE."

      I'm an adult, you'd think I should remember these are fictional characters… and that I'm watching a MOVIE.

  63. Phoebe says:

    HP REVIEW FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  64. Phoebe says:

    JK Rowling said she was writing a book about DUDLEY GOING TO HOGWARTS!!!!!!!!! with james jr!!!!!

  65. Phoebe says:

    It's truly amazing to reread these books and see our favorite character's first lines and think "wow that boy who that snotty girl just insulted ends up being her husband" or that one about pettigrew, which yes, is very creepy. also, i think its great how rowling makes harry a celebrity in one area and something to be tolerated in another. it creates a wonderfully deep and twisted character.

  66. Meyli says:

    Yeah I don't think Draco redeemed himself NEARLY ENOUGH by the end of the series either. He's a jerk (and far worse adjectives) through and through. Of course there are worse characters that him — he's not the bottom of the barrel – but he doesn't deserve much sympathy or compassion. He is the kind of person that has the POSSIBILITY of being redeemed, and I hope he was later in life. But from the books, he's an ass.

  67. Yes! Yes! A new HP post from Mark! <3 🙂

    I think my absolute favorite thing about this chapter is the way Harry celebrates having someone with whom to share candy. It's also his first time having pocket money, but that is clearly shown to be a) sort of the same thing but b) not as important and wonderful. And Ron knows enough about sharing to know that there's no pity or poverty issues about this, but he's supposed to dive right in. I love that they get each other. At a discussion, someone once wondered if their friendship formed just because they happened to sit on the train together, but that is not it. They get along.

    And who doesn't want a letter from Dumbledore? PETUNIA, THAT'S WHO! Do not meddle with the affairs of wizards, for you have a doorstep and an orphaned nephew.

  68. lebeaumonde says:

    Mark, in real life, people DO get away with this sort of abuse. It's wrong, it's disgusting, it's a nightmare… but it's realistic.

  69. celinagabrielle says:

    SO EXCITED. I'm so so so so so glad you finally did another HP review. Thankfully, I read HG so I could follow along but I will NEVER GET SICK OF HARRY POTTER. 😀

    As for the redemption of the Dursleys and Malfoy? I don't think either of them redeemed themselves, but I did end up just feeling sorry that they never got the chance to. I make a very strong effort to seperate canon!Draco from fanon!Draco (AVPM/AVPS, any fanfic I have read, etc.) because in the books he really is just a product of where he was raised. I think that was JK Rowling's point- some peoplpe will not get punished and she even has Harry saving his life a few times because Harry is a genuinely good person whereas Draco just isn't. He's never known anything else.


  70. lebeaumonde says:

    You brought up that the Dursleys and Draco are never fully redeemed. You said neither the Dursleys nor Draco with MAYBE the exception of Dudley were redeemed, but still not 100%, but either way you feel they sort of "got away" with their abuse. But I feel the Dursleys nor Draco ever HAD to be justified. Rowling never wrote them as gray area characters, at least not from Harry's perspective. Furthermore, in real life, the bullies don't always redeem themselves. sometimes they become murderers, or rapists, or kidnappers. Many, many parents get away with child abuse as well. my father did, and from what you've said your parents were never arrested for abuse either. And the thing is, even if the Dursleys had been caught for their substantial physical abuse, the emotional abuse is ALWAYS the one that stays.

    So I don't think they could have ever been redeemed, at least not in Harry's eyes.

    In my opinion, the fact rowling can make someone dark gray, light gray, black, or white, and still have them be enjoyable characters, is one of the most intriguing things about her, and I like that the Dursleys are never turned into good people. I like that Draco is never bffs with the trio. It just wouldn't go with the character to be truly "redeemed."

  71. blackcatmoebius says:

    I'm honestly a bit surprised that this line hasn't been mentioned yet:

    (from Dumbledore's Chocolate Frog card): "…Dumbledore is particularly famous for his defeat of the dark wizard Grindelwald in 1945…"

    Am I the only one who spent the next five books wondering if we'd ever find out the details of that? And then had the 'Yes, we will' moment in book 7?

  72. Danielle says:

    Wow my first comment! I've enjoyed this blog for a awhile now.

    Anyways, as for Dudley not wanting to sit next to Harry, I think its less Dudley acting like a jerk and more him being absolutely terrified of Harry. After all, he's just had his first expereince with magic and it left him with pigs tail. Now his mom wants him to sit next to his cousin who Dudley has tortured since they were babies and said cousin now has super god-like powers. If I were Dudley, I'd be scared shitless that he'd shoot laser beams out of at me.

    As for Draco, I agree not redeemed but he does get a huge personality adjustment in those last two books. And in the last book, a lot that takes place of screen. I'd like to think that after the books, Draco perhaps spend a lifetime redeeming himself. If nothing else, Rowling has said he doesn't end up with Pansy Parkinson which goes a long way to redeem him in my eyes.

  73. Minish says:

    "COULD YOU IMAGINE. OMG if Hermione was in my house then we WOULD HAVE BEEN THE BEST OF FRIENDS YAY FOREVER. Please tell me there some part of the fandom that deeply opposes Hermione being in Gryffindor so I can laugh and feel whole."

    Reminds me of an excerpt from the fanfic Fan Fic: Harry Potter And The Methods Of Rationality (after Hermione is sorted into Ravenclaw after much fretting)-

    "And talk about your foregone conclusions. Harry didn't really see why Hermione had been so tense about it. In what weird alternative universe would that girl not be Sorted into Ravenclaw? If Hermione Granger didn't go to Ravenclaw then there was no good reason for Ravenclaw House to exist."

  74. stefb says:

    I find it amazing that your HP reread reviews still brings in 200+ comments. Congrats, Mark!!!

    By the way, you sound so giddy when you write about the things you particularly love in HP and I love it.

  75. Rose Brazeale says:

    YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! MORE RE-READING HARRY POTTER!!!!!!!!!!!!! *jumps up and down*

    Your analytical skills are amazing. You're picking up on a lot of things I hadn't even though about during all of my re-readings.

  76. Jen says:

    Hermione does have the intelligence for ravenclaw, and it's a wonder that the hat decided she belonged in gryffindor. I could see that decision when she's older in the series and developed that bravery, but at age eleven? Seems an odd placement.

  77. Susan says:

    Yay! More Harry Potter!

  78. Anonymouse says:

    Lists, because who doesn't like lists…

    – Finally, another Harry Potter review! I was wondering if we'd ever get another
    – We know where Petunia's anti-magic stupidity comes from, but where do you think Vernon even hear about magic or any of that? I doubt Petunia would have mentioned it unless Vernon brought it up first… fanfic? fanon?
    – WEASLEYS=LOVE. If you disagree, obviously you have no soul
    – and i never really expected Draco to redeem himself. Some people are just flat stupid bigots who will never get over it. That's the way the world is, and I like that Jo never pretended it wasn't that way, even for the sake of her younger audience
    – Finally, someone else commented this a while back, but I agree. For me, the Sorcerer's Stone just sounds weird. PHILOSOPHER'S STONE all the way, but that my just be my stubborn Canuckinisms…

  79. theresa1128429 says:

    I actually like that Molly Weasley isn't in the series as much as we would all enjoy. It just makes her big scene at the end of book 7 much more epic!!
    Everyone keeps talking about AVPM and AVPS. I NEED TO SEE THESE. LIKE NOW!

  80. This may be an odd opinion, but I feel as if Draco's redemption in Harry's eyes maybe happened off the page between the end of the war and the epilogue. I don't think it was anything grand, but I've always gotten the sense that Draco managed to do something somehow for Harry at least to understand that Draco was a product of his upbringing and that a majority of his actions were based upon that ignorance.

  81. hohoho says:

    I deeply love te idea of juxtaposing this with the chapter after Harry's death, it's a beautiful way to bring some real significance into this. I think Platform 9 3/4 is in some ways the emotional birth of Harry… it's the first real family he can remember accepting him.

  82. Canyon42 says:

    "is Harry the only character who experiences class privilege while in one place and then is poor/marginalized when he is somewhere else?"

    First to come to mind for me is Lupin. Ostracized by the wizarding world, but with status and respect both within Hogwarts (during his time as a teacher) and within the Order of the Phoenix. Interestingly, both of those come from his association with and loyalty to Dumbledore.

    Otherwise, I think you could make a decent case for this also being the case (although in largely different circumstances, of course) for Voldemort and particularly Snape.

  83. David says:

    Yeah! Finally a new review! Thanks, Mark. I hope you make more re-reviews Here's something for you:

    [youtube EDMm4NQPEgs youtube]

    And, since you love Luna's character and Evanna as I do:

    [youtube nUu_HSQKqOA youtube]

  84. CSonne says:

    I've never understood the Draco worshipping. In my opinion, he's one of the least fanciable characters in the books. He's, in my eyes, a pathetic, selfish, prejudiced bully. He's not evil, but he's not nice either.

    I personally think he may be able to redeem himself slightly. But be a downright nice person? Never. Granted, a lot of it probably has to do with his upbringing; but that doesn't change the fact, that he is NOT nice.

    Why should Draco change, anyway? JK has already made so many 'good characters'. He's much more interesting as he is. If he should be a nice, sympathetic character, he would have to change himself so much, that he wouldn't really be Draco anymore…

    There's far too much Draco-love, and far too less Weasley-love, in some parts of this fandom, I think. 🙁

  85. StarGirlAlice says:

    Harry's back!!!
    I think the only reason that there is so much Malfoy love is because of Tom Felton and his beautiful, beautiful face. Malfoy himself is a nasty piece of work, who does not redeem himself in my eyes.
    THE WEASLEYS. How I adore them. I even have a Ron figurine holding a deluminator sitting by my lamp (deluminator, lights…get it??!!). Mrs. Weasley is the most amazing woman ever in the history of the world. I would like her to be my mum please?
    The Weasleys are what I want my family to be like as, even though they don't have much money, they love each other so much. It's beautiful really.
    And I totally think that Hermione should have been a Ravenclaw. She's so intelligent and would be a perfect Ravenclaw. Also, maybe Neville could join me in Hufflepuff??
    This chapter is truly magical for me. It's the first time Harry has truly escaped from the Dursley's for any length of time, and of course the Hogwarts Express, and HOGWARTS.

  86. Revolution64 says:

    I don't think Draco ever redeemed himself per se, but I can't be mad at him. He was forced into his bigotry and classism. No one can choose their parents, including him. Had he been raised by a Weasley, he probably wouldn't have ended up that way. That in no way, of course, rectifies his actions, but it does explain them.

  87. David says:

    I love that there's not too much diference between your original review (as Hedwig) and this one. About Malfoy, yeah. Until HBP he was very annoying, but then he started to be a little bit likeable.

    Like someone said over here, I think that between Voldemort's death and the epilogue, things happened. And maybe Harry and Draco could have left the grudges between them.

    By the way, happy birthday Alan Rickman!

    [youtube u062P33P7BE youtube]

  88. RaeLynn says:

    I never expected Draco to redeem himself, but instead do exactly what he did in the 7th: avoid situations, follow the crowd. So, I wasn't surprised and I never thought he redeemed himself.

    And to your "I still sort of feel like this family got away with treating Harry so poorly" I like that there was no horrible thing that happened to them because in the really world, it doesn't work like that. It made it more realistic. I was dating an abusive guy who even tried to kill me and all he got was slap on the wrist. He and his friends pretended like nothing happened and lived life like it was normal. I know Karma will come years down the road and I won't be around to witness it, just like Harry won't be around to witness the karma that will happen to the Dursleys. It's more realistic that way.

  89. Starsea28 says:

    who expected that Harry would end up with Ginny Weasley when we first met her

    Well, when you know that Jo's parents met in a train station, so she thinks of them as romantic places, and you have Ginny running after the carriage and Harry watching her… it ain't that hard to figure out. 😉

  90. darth_eowyn says:

    This is also the first moment that Harry meets and interacts with Molly Weasley, who is not in this series nearly enough. Even from that very first moment, Mrs. Weasley steps in as a motherly, authoritative figure for Harry, who has never seen adults as anything but abusive. I don’t know if I ever gave Mrs. Weasley the credit she deserves here.

    Something that I noticed and loved on my third read of Deathly Hallows: in the final battle, the point at which Harry finally reveals himself and stops the fighting is when Voldemort threatens Molly Weasley, the only mother he's ever known.

  91. peacockdawson says:

    "The god-wheel of fate has stopped for all these kiddies on "yes." Yes in-fucking-deed, you will be a wizard."

  92. Dee says:


    Drop the other books and re-read HP! You don’t even have to give it themes or do something clever with the review. Your pure HP-love thoughts are more than good enough 🙂

    Loves it.

  93. A.D.B. says:

    Vernon and Petunia are beyond help and need to be in pain. As for Dudley and Draco…

    ….Yes, they aren't shown to be truly redeeming themselves per sey, and they were both horrible people who deserved to die in all the fires. Draco's fandom in particular is EXTREMELY misplaced and disturbing. However…

    Dudley's sort of apology at the beginning and Draco's look of curt respect at the end of Book 7 suggest a paradigm shift. We don't know everything that happened within those nineteen years. It's wholly possible that both individuals did redeem themselves, however slightly, within those years. At least that's what I hope and only Word of God (read: Rowling) will convince me otherwise.

  94. Quincy Morris says:

    Yeah. I think the reason Hermione wasn’t in Ravenclaw was because she really, really, wanted to be in Gryfindor. The exact reasons as to why are unclear. Personally, I always thought Hermione was always teased as a kid for studying so much, and she wished she could stand up to the bullies or something…

    Oh yeah. Malfoy is a shitbag.

  95. Jazzy says:

    I dont think that justice was every truly served as far as the Dursleys' treatment of Harry. However, I believe that as much as Draco and his family caused others to suffer (whether it was mentally, physically, or emotionally) Voldemort caused Draco's family to suffer just as horribly. So in some way they got punish for being so nasty. The Malfoys considered themselves to be so much better than other wizarding family but when it came to their life as death eaters, they were really just punished laughingstocks.

  96. Araxie says:

    It's interesting comparing Harry's month with the Dursleys in this book, to the month that led to his fifth year in OoTP. I mean, Harry would obviously prefer to just stay with Hagrid or something during the wait here, but he's still pretty used to them. It's so much more painful in the fifth book, when Harry can compare being at the Dursleys to the world that welcomed him in- not to mention the fact that that time, he didn't have a calender to mark the days that would tell him the exact date he would go back. I suppose that, having been starved of information for 10 straight years, his desire to know what was going on just grew.

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