Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 7

In the seventh chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry worries about which house he’ll be sorted into and OH, JK, YOU SLY DEVIL, YOU. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to re-read Harry Potter.

I totally remembered a thought I had in my head back when I first read this chapter that I was so unsure about, I didn’t vocalize it. I wondered if it would prove to be damaging that all males were wizards and females were witches. By name, that is. It popped in my head when we first see McGonagall here at the opening of chapter seven because she seemed so stereotypical. Now, in hindsight, I’m so glad I didn’t say anything at all because FOOT IN MOUTH. McGonagall isn’t much of a stereotype at all and the gender disparities would be addressed in later books. I KNEW NOTHING THEN! DON’T JUDGE ME!

Man, I’ll say it probably a hundred times: This shit is still pretty magical. Entering Hogwarts for the “first” time is still overwhelming. Part of that, aside from the sheer physicality of Hogwarts, is that chapter seven is one gigantic (and largely unexplained) info dump for new readers. I didn’t know at the time that the house separation was taken from British boarding schools, so, seriously, I swear, I thought it was just for these books. MY POOR, NAÏVE BRAIN. I had no idea!

“The four houses are called Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Each house has a noble history and each has produced outstanding witches and wizards. While you are at Hogwarts, your triumphs will earn your house points, while any rulebreaking will lose house points. At the end of the year, the house with the most points is awarded the house cup, a great honor. I hope each of you will be a credit to whichever house becomes yours.”

Oh, so you mean Harry, right? JAYKAY, JAYKAY. Neville helps out in this book, too! We mustn’t forget Neville. EVER.

But I wanted to take a chance to talk about an important theme here for the bulk of this review instead of dissecting every other sentence in chapter seven. I’ve already done that! And you don’t want to read about me talking about ghosts and shit, do you? Actually, wait, I do like writing about ghosts. Maybe some other time.

Now that I know the full story (!!!!), I wanted to point out that Rowling sows the seeds for future conflict and much angsting about one particular topic: free will. A large focus of this chapter is Harry’s worry that he’ll either be cast into Slytherin or not chosen for a house at all. His anxiety is, first of all, rooted in the fear of being rejected. We know his life with the Dursleys leaves him feeling constantly wanted, but without requite. He’s learned, because of the way the Dursleys have treated him, that he should expect to get anything he wants. And look, we all don’t need me to relate stories of my youth any more than I have, but I seriously get this. I get doubting yourself constantly, expecting the worst (or nothing at all), and feeling rather shite about everything you are or want or might be.

The huge moment here is when Harry has the Sorting Hat placed on his head:

“Hmm,” said a small voice in his ear. “Difficult. Very difficult. Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind either. There’s talent, my goodness, yes—and a nice thirst to prove yourself, now that’s interesting…So where shall I put you?”

Harry gripped the edges of the stool and thought, Not Slytherin, not Slytherin.

“Not Slytherin, eh?” said the small voice. “Are you sure? You could be great, you know, it’s all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that—no? Well, if you’re sure—better be GRYFFINDOR!”

Of course, this theme would become much more obvious later, but at the time, this went right over my head. This is about agency, about the ability to have a choice, and Harry’s desire to be in Gryffindor means everything here.

When we learn more about The Prophecy in Order of the Phoenix, it’s important to note that Voldemort could have applied Trelawney’s prediction to either Harry or Neville. But he chose Harry Potter, and it was his choices that lead him to become who he was by this point in the story. I think it’s really significant that this entire time, Harry has a choice in these matters, despite that things may look predetermined. He’s not the victim of destiny. Hell, I think most of Deathly Hallows is proof that Harry’s choice is all the difference.

I think at the time, I was too caught up in the excitement of it all. I missed a lot of clues and hints throughout these books, but that happens. That’s half the fun, isn’t it? That’s why I had such a strict spoiler policy in effect because there are few joys I appreciate more than being surprised. For example, here’s something I never noticed:

“Well done, Ron, excellent,” said Percy Weasley pompously across Harry as “Zabini, Blaise,” was made a Slytherin.

HOLY GOD, HE WAS IN THE FIRST BOOK. Head asplosion forever

“Welcome to a near year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!”

I love you, Dumbledore. Forever and ever.

I find it weird, having just finished the Hunger Games trilogy, how I look at food in books in a completely different light. There’s just so MUCH of it at Hogwarts. Piles and piles and mountains of it. (But not at the Dursleys, at least not for Harry.) Everyone who goes to Hogwarts doesn’t have to worry about food. Separate thought: Is Hogwarts free? I feel like this question was answered before, but I can’t remember. (You can answer that! SPOILERS ARE NOT POSSIBLE WITH ME ANYMORE.)

Additionally, Rowling also starts seeding the clues towards the wildly entertaining endgame of this book right here in this chapter:

It happened very suddenly. The hook-nosed teacher looked past Quirrell’s turban straight into Harry’s eyes—and a sharp, hot pain shot across the scar on Harry’s forehead.

Oh, Harry. Er…I suppose I should say, “OH, ME.” I totally bought the “Snape is evil” line for like…SIX AND A HALF BOOKS. I’m interested to read more about Snape in these early books, knowing that he was working for Dumbledore. I think he’s the most intriguing character that Rowling created.

Question: Have they ever sung the school song again after this chapter? I don’t even recall anyone mentioning it in passing after this.

Anyway, if I had to choose a character that’s the least intriguing to me, I’d probably pick Percy. He’s necessary to the story, yes, but I’m largely bored by him. He performs a very specific role and, until his big turn-around in Deathly Hallows, he really only fits within that role. I don’t hate him, however! I’m not saying that. But I don’t find him to be a particularly interesting character beyond the last two books.

To close this off, let me share with you a bit of Harry’s dream that is a huge clue to the Quirrell mystery that I completely missed:

He was wearing Professor Quirrell’s turban, which kept talking to him, telling him he must transfer to Slytherin at once, because it was his destiny.



About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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282 Responses to Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 7

  1. yes! yes yes yes! You know how to make me happy Mark =)

  2. leighzzz31 says:

    Yay!HP reviews always make me nostalgic…
    And, yes, Hogwarts is free, Mark. Students only pay for their books and there's a special fund for students (like Tom Riddle) who can't afford to buy those. I think that's explained in the Half-Blood Prince, if I remember right.

    • Cara says:

      I was going to say I don't think it's free, because I remember a line in SS where Uncle Vernon yells "I AM NOT PAYING FOR SOME CRACKPOT FOOL TO TEACH HIM MAGIC TRICKS!!!"

      But then again, Uncle Vernon is an idiot.

      • leighzzz31 says:

        I took that as Vernon just being, well, Vernon (and he's a total idiot, you're right!). He's got some anger issues and he isn't keen on giving his money away so I just assumed he yelled the first thing that came into his mind. And I'm not sure he'd know how Hogwarts tuition works-I doubt he and Petunia discussed it in depth.

        • theanagrace says:

          But I remember in the first book when Vernon is protesting, Hagrid says somthing along the line of "do you think Harry's parents left him nothing?", which implies that Harry would need money for school. I've always assumed it was automatically debited from his vault. Hogwarts would need some money to operate, food is one of the things you can't create with magic, according to Gamp's Law.
          Please correct me if I have anything about that wrong, I literally just woke up. That's right, I'm reading this in bed, before I even put on my glasses. I might be addicted.

          • leighzzz31 says:

            If you're addicted, I'm addicted just as much!
            TBH it's never explicitly stated whether there's tuition or not. I always assumed Hagrid was refering to the books, that's why they go to Gringotts and purchase what Harry needs straight away. And, when Dumbledore visits Tom, he mentions there being a fund-and though I haven't got the book in front of me, I'm pretty sure he's talking about supplies (he mentions Diagon Alley). Then again, I don't think there would be any point in JKR specifically mentioning money being debited from his vault for that. So, tuition might exist but there's really no need to mention it, especially since Harry doesn't really seem to enjoy talking about money.
            We might just be rabid fans needing to know every detail about this world!

          • milou says:

            they would need some money yes, but not much. Hermoine said: "You can Summon it if you know where it is, you can transform it, you can increase the quantity if you’ve already got some…" so you would only need one dish to provide for everyone, and you could also transform it to other food, i think.

        • shelly says:

          I thought it was mentioned right after that that harry’s parents were rich and left him more than enough money for tuition.

          • Yusra says:

            I'm pretty sure they pay only for the books and stuff. Otherwise, presumably, the Weasleys wouldn't be able to afford putting 5 kids into Hogwarts at the same time.

  3. calimie says:


    Get used to that feeling for the next books.

    As for Blaise, there was a lot of wank about him when it was revealed he was a black boy.
    First, many thought he was a girl so that was a change and then, many more thought he was of Italian descent and that he'd look like a stereotypical Italian. There were many comments that seemed more founded on racism that on "I guess I was wrong".
    As for me, I thought he was a white girl so it was a bit of a shock but nothing major. I guess that's the problem with reading fics for an unfinished series.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      THAT WANK WAS MY FAVORITE WANK. I believe I wrote about it once?

      • calimie says:

        I don't know, maybe it was mentioned in the comments? It's such a weird thing to complain about from someone that we only knew his name! Glorious.

        In any case, if there's someone who didn't know about it, it's explained here:

        • Roxie says:

          Eh, white privilege. Unless it's explicitly stated, most book characters will be assumed to be white b/c white is "default". Even when it is explicitly stated like Rue in The Hunger Games, some people don't seem to notice, totally refuse it to be true, or try to argue that she is otherwise not black.

          • calimie says:

            Exactly this. I'm guilty of that and will assume most characters are white unless it's stated. What I don't get is the arrogance to mantain that image once you've been proven wrong and then argue about it.

          • shelly says:

            Rue was African panemian? I never noticed. I blame the books for making me read so fast.

          • PigRescuer says:

            Assuming somebody in Scotland in 1991 is white isn't really white privilege. It's based on statistics.

          • MowerOfLorn says:

            Yeah, is unbelievably annoying, the lengths people will go to justify these things. Its more frustrating when its an adaption from another visual medium, and the characters are clearly of a certain race or background, but people continue to say things like "Well, he looks pretty white to me!".

          • I love the idea of Katniss being biracial, and I really hope they cast a biracial actress. Granted, Collins never explicitly says what the racial background is, and olive skin can apply to a lot of racial backgrounds. I hope Collins has a say in the casting, because otherwise I'm a little scared, Hollywood being what it is.

      • milou says:

        I should say that in the dutch translation “his” name is Bella Zabini, so this could lead to some sex-confusion

        • liliaeth says:

          I think that's more a case of the translator not having had the chance to talk to Rowlings herself though. If he or she (can't remember which it was) couldn't figure out the gender of a name, (which with a name like Blaise is understandable) and they figure the character is minor enough. They'd just slap something on them that sounds well enough and move on.

    • ldwy says:

      I didn't even think about race or ethnicity, but I admit to assuming Blaise was a girl for several books. I'd never heard Blaise as a boy's name.
      But I was not very involved in the fandom, so I was not perturbed in the slightest when we found out Blaise was male…I was just kind of, "oh, huh, I was wrong, I guess that can be a male name, okay." And that was that.
      I didn't know about the huge fanwank at the time. It was kind of ridiculous and humorous to learn about it all after the fact.

    • paulineparadise says:

      I read an old (but epic) fanfic in which Blaise is a girl.

      LOLs until the end of time when 'she' tries to find out if Harry's a leg guy or a boob/chest guy for Ginny.

      • calimie says:

        The one I read and got seared into my brain was Pawn to Queen. It was hilarrible, like Cleolinda says. I'm afraid I don't remember enough of Blaise's parts in it so I don't know if it's the same one. I do remember she was a Strega in that one (new! and improved! Italian witch).

        • FishGuts says:

          I once read Pawn to Queen …

          gah, dont want to remember, i need to keep repressing the memories…

          repress, repress,repress,repressrepressrepresssssss….

      • Sarah says:

        holy shit i know exactly which fix you’re talking about omg

    • Stephanie says:

      I remember that. It made me laugh, because I didn’t give that much thought to the side characters that are mentioned only in passing, but that just shows how crazy some of us are.

    • Kiryn says:

      In regards to Blaise, I was like Mark–I forgot he was there until he was brought up again in HBP, so I never assumed anything about him. But what I still don't get is why Blaise can't be black AND Italian. I mean, surely there are black Italian people, right? Or am I just being an ignorant American right now?

      • Baz says:

        I'm like you. I totally forgot he was ever mentioned until after I reread SS after getting through HBP. I never gave a thought to his being specifically Italian, either, especially since these books take place in England. His family could have moved to England from Italy, but it seemed irrelevant, as does the color of his skin (relevent: Slytherin, IMO).

      • The same, I thought that Blaise was female, and since we never had any scenes with him I didn't give a second thought. I was just pleased to see that Slytherin didn't only have a single ethnic group in it. I was afraid that it would be racially biased as well as biased against Muggle backgrounds.

      • sabra_n says:

        I would be utterly shocked if there wasn't some North African immigration into Italy.

    • @Meltha1028 says:

      I think part of it too was that we know a grand total of two girls' names in Slytherin in Harry's year: Pansy and (possibly) Millicent Bulstrode. Yet we're told that Pansy has the head of a small gang of Slytherin girls. I think it was pretty understandable to think one of those girls might be Pansy since we already knew Draco, Crabbe, Goyle, and Theodore were Slytherins in their year. I have to think the Slytherin girls' dorm was pretty vacant that year.

      As for the race thing, I never got that. So Blaise was black. Big whoop. For some bizarre reason, I always pictured female-Blaise as Romani.

    • tearbender says:

      I blame Cassandra Clare

    • I really didn't take much notice of the character, especially not at this point. And maybe my knowledge now that he is black is effecting this, but doesn't the name –edit, misspelled: Zabini– sound African to anyone else? Thus making it pretty damn obvious.

      Though whether or not he was male or female I would not have gotten (or cared) until it was pointed out.

  4. Kaci says:

    Oh, MARK.

    Yes, it's mentioned that it costs to attend Hogwarts–Dumbledore explains to Tom Riddle that there's a scholarship fund for those who can not afford it in the flashback scene.

    I'm LOLING at you not realizing Blaise was there all along considering how much EPIC RACE!FAIL there was in the fandom when he was finally developed as a character in the later books. Oh, FANDOM. I survived the craziest parts of you, didn't I?

    Also, whenever the HPA does livestreams (DA meetings), Andrew Slack always begins them by putting on his best Dumbledore voice and saying, "NITWIT, BLUBBER, ODDMENT, TWEAK!" and it never fails to make me laugh.

    I honestly don't think the school song was ever mentioned again. SAD FACE.

    And yes, choice! It is our choices that define who we truly are. <3 AWESOME.

    (This comment sounds like a hyper puppy dog wrote it. Um…sorry?)

    • pooslie says:

      i thought they sang the song in GoF? maybe that was just in the movie?

    • PigRescuer says:

      Yeah, but that's to cover books and clothes and stuff. I'm pretty sure nobody pays any school fees.

      No idea where they get all the food and firewood for their blazing fires from, though! Maybe they have some financial wizards. XD

    • queenelizthe3rd says:

      If i'm not mistaken, JK Rowling mentioned in an interview once that the reason the song was never included in a book again was because the other hogwarts teachers finally rebelled against it! lol!

  5. doof says:

    YOu have to pay to attend hogwarts. Harry
    s parents left him all that tuition money in that vault, so it never really had to be brought up. It also explains why Ron and his family have to struggle so much on money, they have to send all those children through school.

    • syntheticjesso says:

      I don't know why this was downvoted! I upvoted it back to 0.

      Anyways, I still don't think it was clear if the money was for tuition or just for books/robes/supplies. That's when we really see the Weasleys struggling, when it's time for books.

      I don't think JKR ever stated one way or the other, but I do think that perhaps tuition is either free (because if you are magical, you NEED to be educated in magic) or cheap enough that it's the books and stuff that are the real cost. But, since Harry was plenty rich, we never had to see him solve that problem.

      • There's no way the Weasleys could afford Hogwarts if there was tuition, what costs Galleons are the books, potion ingredients, and robes, I recall Rowling mentioning.

      • pica_scribit says:

        The teachers have to get their paycheques somewhere, right? And then there's the food and the Potions cupboard and the Hospital wing, among other things. Lots of supplies that need to be purchased. I imagine there is financial aid available for families who can't bear the cost, but I think that, like any British public (aka private) school, it costs money.

  6. CuriousApe says:

    When Harry first said that he didn't even have any money to pay for the school, he was told that he was, in fact, rich. I suppose that Hogwarts isn't free, otherwise that would have been mentioned at that time. They probably have a scholarship fund or something, though…

    And the school song wasn't sung again. Well, maybe it was at one of the other sorting ceremonies that Harry missed, but the books just kept getting darker – ir would seem rather weird to sing a happy school song after the events of CoS. Or PoA. And especially after GoF.

    • Helena says:

      They do have a scholarship fun, at least enough to buy supplies. Dumbly mentions it to young Riddle in HBP *is a nerd for remembering*

  7. csq says:

    I love that you are re-reading this. OH NOSTALGIA 😀 I don't think they sing the school song after this, but I really loved it here and I'm just assuming that they do it, but Rowling doesn't describe it more than once ^^ She has a lot to write about after all 😛

    And it is very clear when re-reading that the important plot points and meaning about having a choice is visible in this chapter. But I did not think of it that way when I first read the book. I just love how much Rowling had planned about the series from the very first book.

    • accio doublestuff says:

      what i love most about this re-read is that the first time mark read harry potter, it was nostalgia for everyone because they could remember their first time reading it. now it's like meta-nostalgia. weird + awesome.

    • agrinningfool says:

      It makes you think – She had it all planned. What if Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone hadn't been a hit? All the work that would have left unwritten.

      • momigrator says:

        I know it amazes me when I think about how long and hard it was for J. K. Rowling to find a publisher, and what if they had made her change key points in her book…

      • I don't beleive it was a real big hit till after the second book was published because I remember having both of them before people started really going nuts over it. But surely she would have found a way to get them all published no matter what. She's JKR!

  8. Ida says:

    All the clues and forshadowing makes rereading Harry Potter so rewarding in a compleatly different way than reading them for the first time. But I do wish I could read all the books for the first time again. Althought that will never happen. Unless I manage somehow to lose my memory. *Looks around for a hard object to hit herself in the head with*

    • knut_knut says:

      Me too, especially the later books (GoF and on). I remember SS pretty well (I even remember buying it) and having my little 11 year old head explode at the end xD ahhh, childhood

    • paulineparadise says:

      Let me do that for you, dear.


    • jennreyn says:

      This, so much. I wish I could experience them for the first time again, but there are STILL things I pick up on rereads that I missed, and I love that.

      Besides, half the fun of experiencing them for the first time was doing so in real time and the ~anticipation~ of waiting 2ish years between books, FINALLY getting the next one, and my head exploding repeatedly.

  9. SusanBones says:

    I'm so glad to see you do another Harry Potter review.

    I bought into the Snape is evil thing, too. And JKR does a great job of keeping us guessing until the end, too.

    I love the Sorting Hat scene, because it was obvious that Harry was making a choice, right then and there. And I think living with the Dursleys had a lot to do with it. The hat said that Harry had a thirst to prove himself. He had been told that he was a waste of space often enough, so this wasn't unexpected. He didn't ask to be put in Gryffindor, which I was really glad to see. Asking for Gryffindor, instead of asking for anything but Slytherin, might have made it seem like there would have been a question as to where he really belonged.

  10. hpfish13 says:

    Yay!!! HP review!! It's so fun to go back and see what you missed the first time reading.

    I don't know if this is the place to put this, but I am currently reading a fantastic YA series called The Ranger's Apprentice and I wanted to recommend it to the readers on this site! They're really fun books, and, for anyone needing to recover from the endless sadness of The Hunger Games, they are a really light read.

    Has anyone else on here read these?

    • jennywildcat says:

      I haven't read it, but one of my students read it and he couldn't put it down (which became an issue when it was time for class, but never mind that). I've heard a lot of good things about it and I probably should read it myself.

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      Re: Place to put this sort of post, I don't think Mark has made mention of it yet, but there's a link at the top to the new forum for these websites, .

  11. pennylane27 says:

    JK explained that Dumbledore sang the song when he was feeling particularly happy or emotional, or something, I can't remember her exact words or where I read it.

    This chapter is amazing. You have to congratulate JKR for the detail with which she planned her story. Everything is right here in this chapter. Harry's choice, which ultimately shapes his life, Quirrel and Snape, Percy, the twins, McGonnagall, Dumbledore!

    I feel a mixture of pride and happiness and excitement whenever I reread the books, noticing the little details again, marvelling at JKR's storytelling skills, trying to remember what I felt like reading the books for the first time as a child.

    God I love Harry Potter.

  12. monkeybutter says:

    Oh, so you mean Harry, right? JAYKAY, JAYKAY. Neville helps out in this book, too! We mustn’t forget Neville. EVER.


    I frowned a bit at first about girls being witches while boys where wizards, but since witches (in Hogwarts, at least) are just as adept at learning all types of magic, it felt like JK Rowling was sort of reclaiming the term "witch" from the croney, slightly mad stereotype. Magic is an equalizer, but there are still exceptions like the Death Eaters, of which Bellatrix and Alecto are the only female members (are there more?). Think gendered terms also reflect different perceptions of witches and wizards in more conservative circles? And yeah, McGonagall is stern at first, but she turns out to be so much more. I love her.

    Twenty people will probably beat me to saying this, but yeah, Dumbledore tells Tom Riddle Hogwarts is free, and that there's a fund to help pay for books and supplies for needy kids. A few galleons are worth making sure there aren't any untrained magic users out there, right?

    I've been reading The Once and Future King, and I love the similarities between Wart and Harry, and Merlin and Dumbledore. The boys are both so used to being denied that they're surprised by things finally going right. And Merlin and Dumbledore are bizarre mentors, of course.

    The hook-nosed teacher looked past Quirrell’s turban straight into Harry’s eyes

    First Snape/Harry's eyes reference!

    • stellaaaaakris says:


      Isn't Narcissa a Death Eater? Or is she more of a Death Eater by association? Married to a Death Eater, mother to a Death Eater, sister to a very skilled Death Eater, and lives at Death Eater Headquarters…she's got to be at least an honorary Death Eater.

      • Baz says:

        I was never sure about Narcissa. Was she in the graveyard in GoF? I didn't think so, but it would make sense for her to be a Death Eater, since she was with them at all the non-fighting events and right with Voldemort in the forest at the end. Maybe she was, but just never wanted the mark. She seems to go along with the ideas of the Death Eaters more than the violence.

      • monkeybutter says:

        Well, that's just it. She's the wife and mother of Death Eaters, and she's the lady of the house at Death Eater headquarters, but she doesn't really play an active role in group aside from their downfall. She's a proper pure-blood lady, and she doesn't get her hands dirty until her family is being threatened. Honorary Death Eater, yeah, but she's not going out on any missions for them. Bella and Alecto, neither of them terribly conformist, are the only ones going out and throwing spells around.

        • stellaaaaakris says:

          True, true. Maybe she, and possibly other women, is part of the secondary circle of Death Eaters. Death Eater Support. Sort of like how Fenrir doesn't get the Dark Mark on him but still works with Voldy (but not exactly, because he's obviously out in the field). Because otherwise, there are, what, 30 Death Eaters in total. It's possible, but I always imagine he had a wider hold than that. But Bellatrix and the rest are his elite force.

          • monkeybutter says:

            Yeah, the Death Eaters are just the trusted insiders, but there are plenty of sympathetic outsiders like the Black family or Dolores Umbridge. And didn't Arthur have his hands full with nasty troublemakers going after muggles after being emboldened by the Death Eaters? There are probably many more women active on the outside, just not in the powerful inner circle.

            • Baz says:

              On the subject of women as Death Eaters: considering that Voldemort's hatred of muggles came from his dad deserting Merope, I don't think it's a huge leap to say that he disliked women because his mom chose to die rather than save herself to raise him. Bellatrix and Alecto are both so brutal that he might be more likely to overlook that they're also women. I do think it's really interesting that there are more witches openly fighting for the Order than the Death Eaters…not surprising, but an interesting point nonetheless.

      • Laianna says:

        "[Narcissa Malfoy] never had the Dark Mark and was never a fully paid-up member. However, her views were identical to those of her husband until Voldemort planned the death of her son." — JKR


    • Hermione_Danger says:


      I love him. So fucking much.

    • mrsaddante says:

      Re-reading this chapter always makes me wonder about Harry/Snape's relationship if he had looked more like Lily– or if he had been a girl. Would Snape have despised him(her) because of the connection to James, or would he have been unable to hate someone who resembled Lily so much?

      I'm sure this has been explored in fanfics somewhere…

      • monkeybutter says:

        I'm sure this has been explored in fanfics somewhere…

        Oh, definitely. I trust the Harry Potter fandom has come up with something. Less of a resemblance to James probably would have helped, but Snape was still a jerk to the other kids; seeing the overwhelming similarities between Harry and James just made things worse. But it might have only made him barely tolerant of Harry/Harriet, instead of gunning against him from the start. I do think seeing Lily's eyes helped him fulfill his promise to Dumbledore, so that little glance is incredibly important. There's just enough there to guilt him into protecting Harry.

  13. Becky says:

    I soo wish they had left this in the movie.

    [youtube 7I6cJnQQsWc&tracker=False youtube]

  14. Andrea says:

    I don't remember which book (maybe OOTP?) that the song shows up again. But Harry is surprised that it is different than the first time he heard it. The hat is warning everyone to unite in the dark times that are coming. It's Hermione that explains to Harry that the hat sings a new song each year and Harry has just missed they last few years.

  15. sarah says:


    • blessthechildren says:

      I just brought this up with my sister a few weeks ago, and both of our minds were blown AGAIN. I love how this series always holds something new, no matter how many time you read it. 🙂

  16. jennywildcat says:


    I'd just like to point out that, because of JK Rowling, BEING A CALLED WITCH IS NOW AN AWESOME, AWESOME THING (at least, I began taking it that way after I read HP. I don't know how others feel about it, but those are my thoughts).

    I love the free will theme that plays out in these books – first with Harry rebuffing Malfoy (which was in a previous chapter) and now with the Sorting Hat. And it's almost natural the way it happens for Harry (meaning there's not a big internal debate with himself when he's presented with a choice – he just knows what he wants to do), which speaks volumes about his character at the outset of the story.

  17. pennylane27 says:

    I found where I read about the school song, it was in JKR's official site, in the FAQ About the Books section!

  18. ravendaine says:

    I still love reading the first book, simply because I get to remember what it was like entering this world for the first time. Hogwarts seems so huge and sprawling and uncontrolled, which I completely love. I love how the benevolent chaos that is the school is reflected in the sing-as-you-please school song. If there's a theme that's missing in the movies, it's definitely the fun. From this song (even in the deleted scene, it's a round rather than full-on madness) to Dumbledore's obsession with Christmas crackers… Man, I want to go to Hogwarts.

  19. Rosie says:

    I don't think it costs much to attend the school itself. But there's obviously money involved when it comes to books and buying those essentials. Dumbledore does mention a scholarship or something in Half-Blood Prince but that might just be solely to cover his expenses on books because that stuff don't come cheap at all. Especially for seven years.

    Anyway, Rowling did say that the song was only sung when he was in a particularly good mood, which he was at this point. Obviously, Harry misses the welcoming feast in the second book, so if it was sung then, we really have no way of knowing.

  20. paulineparadise says:

    This entire series will be full of "OH MY WIZARD GOD" and "I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE, ROWLING!"

  21. potlid007 says:

    Oh Blaise Zabini, your strange Italian name never ceases to amaze me.

    But seriously, sometimes I really, really hate that goddamn Sorting Hat.

    • LunaKyria says:

      I think it's probably something slightly convoluted but really obvious, like – you know how Slughorn mentions that Zabini's mum has had seven husbands or something, and they all died mysteriously leaving her tonnes of gold? I always just assumed that Blaise's father, whichever number husband he was, was the black one…for some reason I always think of Mrs Zabini as the Italian one because I assume Blaise took her name…eh.

      • Purpledoll says:

        I thought of it as the other way round. Blaise got his elegance, height, good looks and arrongance from his mother, so I saw her as wizarding worlds version of Naomi Cambell. Pretty sure she would be in Slytherin too.

  22. Mauve_Avenger says:

    "We know his life with the Dursleys leaves him feeling constantly wanted, but without requite."

    Wait…Are you sure you're not talking about Finnick? =/

    "I find it weird, having just finished the Hunger Games trilogy, how I look at food in books in a completely different light. There’s just so MUCH of it at Hogwarts. Piles and piles and mountains of it. (But not at the Dursleys, at least not for Harry.) Everyone who goes to Hogwarts doesn’t have to worry about food."

    Well, not if they like meat, meat, and more meat (and stereotypical English food), anyways. It's always seemed a little strange to me that Hogwarts food has very little variety. You may not be able to produce food out of thin air, but you can transform it and multiply it*, so it seems like money and time constraints wouldn't be as problematic as they would be otherwise. So why is it, then, that candy is seemingly the only area of culinary arts that's ever been stretched very far (too far, possibly, given the cockroach clusters and acid pops) by magical means?

    *I'm guessing there's a charm to prevent certain things from being duplicated or transformed (since otherwise there'd be nothing preventing people from duplicating their money), but I wonder what kind of things would warrant that kind of protection. It seems like the ability to duplicate things in and of itself is problematic, because it would necessarily cause devaluation, but as far as I know it's never been mentioned if there's something in place (either a mass charm, or a law, or even just a social code) to prevent that kind of thing from happening.

    "Separate thought: Is Hogwarts free? I feel like this question was answered before, but I can’t remember."

    I don't think that question has ever been addressed directly (just that there's a school fund, used by Riddle, for supplying poorer students with books and the like), but there is this:

    • monkeybutter says:

      I think it actually was mentioned in DH that there's a transfiguration law about food; it can be summoned or duplicated, but not created. Hermione'd know the name of it, but I forget. It's like the wizarding version of the Laws of Thermodynamics. I think there are also limitations on money (goblins make it, so maybe wizards just don't know how?) and clothes — basically, anything that would make Ron Weasley happy — so while resources aren't abundant to the point of devaluation, at least it's hard for people to starve.

      • Helena says:

        Gamp's Third Law. I…I think… I don't know these things by heart…or…anything…

      • Mauve_Avenger says:

        Yeah, I get that, but I was wondering specifically if there's a way for a grocery store (just as an example) to enchant their produce so it can't be duplicated even after having been bought (to keep the buyer coming back), and what the ethical/financial/legal implications of that would be.

        It's pretty strongly implied that money is one of the five restrictions to Gamp's Law, but I've never heard of a restriction on conjuring clothes. Is there a specific instance you had in mind showing it to be impossible?

        • Jenesaispas21 says:

          You know, I had this thought as well. But if you start getting caught up in the practicality of the things witches and wizards are able to do magically, it opens a whole Pandora's Box. Don't even get me started on Time Turners and Veritaserum (why, why, why would there be a Wizengamot, and trials, and the like, if you could ascertain the truth of a matter with a potion? Even if there were restrictions (which I'm sure there'd have to be)? Hello Sirius Black what? You mean to tell me that no one demanded he be given the potion once in 14 years of imprisonment just to be sure?? Ugh.)

  23. Brie says:

    Can't quite remember the details of Hogwarts fees – my guess is that if JKR were asked the question it would fees on a progressive scale, with financial aid given to the poorest.

    I remember back in the old fandom days having a very lengthy, protracted discussion about the economy of the wizarding world, particularly around whether the Ministry levied taxes. Obviously it's the kind of thing JKR probably never even thought about (because WHO WOULD oh yeah geeky social science kids).
    Eventual conclusion was that the UK deficit is probably the result of secretly paying for the operation of the Ministry of Magic, and that there are Muggle-Repelling and Confundus charms on the government's accounts so that anybody close to finding THE TRUTH gets so confused they have to go and lie down.

    • calimie says:

      Eventual conclusion was that the UK deficit is probably the result of secretly paying for the operation of the Ministry of Magic, and that there are Muggle-Repelling and Confundus charms on the government's accounts so that anybody close to finding THE TRUTH gets so confused they have to go and lie down.

      Okay, this is it. New head-canon.

      Agreed on the progressive levels. I adore JKR. Probably everyone here has read it, but I'll link it again: The single mother's manifesto.

    • accio doublestuff says:

      I remember back in the old fandom days having a very lengthy, protracted discussion about the economy of the wizarding world, particularly around whether the Ministry levied taxes. Obviously it's the kind of thing JKR probably never even thought about (because WHO WOULD oh yeah geeky social science kids).
      Eventual conclusion was that the UK deficit is probably the result of secretly paying for the operation of the Ministry of Magic, and that there are Muggle-Repelling and Confundus charms on the government's accounts so that anybody close to finding THE TRUTH gets so confused they have to go and lie down.

      things like this are why i love the harry potter fandom so damn much.

  24. Penquin47 says:

    Wow. I was sitting here thinking about the choice element, especially so soon after Hunger Games where Katniss so often WASN'T allowed to make a choice, or where information was withheld specifically to get Katniss to make the choice the people in charge wanted. There's a really good essay in comparing the three series Mark's Read and how they view the importance of choice and lack thereof. (Guess what: Twilight won't come off well.)

    • theanagrace says:

      Do you have a link to that essay? It sounds fascinating.
      EDIT: I just re-read you comment, and now I realize what you were actually saying. But, if you do happen to write that essay, please link it, lol.

    • Baz says:

      Not going to lie, I would like to write that essay (apparently old English major habits die hard).

  25. BradSmith5 says:

    I took the test and the sorting hat says…Ravenclaw! Woo! Here I come, Luna! xD

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      Do you mean the one linked on the original Mark Reads site? I remember rolling my eyes when it asked for an attractiveness rating. (Still, it's better than the ones with questions like "what's your favorite color?" with the multiple choice answers being the House colors.)

      I remember mine being an almost straight split between Ravenclaw (highest by something like five points), Gryffindor and Hufflepuff (both with the same score), with Slytherin trailing by just a bit.

      • BradSmith5 says:

        Yeah, it was the one from Personalitylab. I mean, come on! I waited eleven months for this gag; I should at least do the same test! 😉

      • lyricsandhearts says:

        *shrug* I dunno, that made sense to me as a questions for measuring Ravenclaw-ness, because didn’t Rowena Ravenclaw pride herself on her beauty, so it’s just sort of a thing that Ravenclaws are ~the beautiful people~? Kind of like Slytherins are mostly purebloods, based on Salazar’s preference, but not exclusively? Hmm. *ponders*

        just for reference, I am a Ravenclaw according to that test, so maybe that’s just my inner conceit speaking. XD

  26. Artsyjeans says:

    I just started rereading these out again myself, out loud to my three kids, and I constanly find myself surprised about all the little details there are. I remember the big ones but then you read just small coments and realize just how they impacted the later books. It's great.

  27. dontcallmewave says:

    Did you know that there is a page for your site on Tv tropes?

    • Danika the Lesbrarian says:

      Aw, and they say Mark is a woobie. Wait, is that insulting? I don't know, I can't find this insulting:

      "Oh god, multiplied by infinity. If you didn't want to grab Mark and give him the warmest, most loving hug in history, you HAVE NO SOUL.

      * You'll want to give him all the hugs."

      • Anonymouse says:

        Woobie is a compliment… It's a "character" that demands your sympathy, intentionally or not.

        And I agree. HUGS for Mark, y/y/y/y/y?

    • theanagrace says:

      Potato Babies?!? I don't remember anything about Potato Babies.

  28. Kaybee42 says:

    About being in houses in british schools, we had them in primary school and in secondary too. I was a Stuart (as in Stuart, Hanover, Windsor, Tudor- Royal houses? Surnames? Something like that). By the time we were in year 4 we had decided which houses were equivalent to which Hogwarts houses. Stuart was Gryffindor and Tudor was Slytherin. We called them 'cheating Tudor'. Oh 8 year old me and my class mates- so witty.

    Then in secondary school I was in Da Vinci and Da Vinci were shit. We never won. 🙁 And there was another house that used D as it's letter, (Descartes) so we had to have V. The chant was "V for VICTORY and V for Da Vinci!"…which was annoying cause as I said- WE NEVER WON!

  29. Ali says:

    YAY! I love the HP re-reviews!

    It took me ages to work out that Harry's scar hurt, not because of Snape, but because he was *sitting next to Quirrel*. Who had Voldy on the back of his head the whole time. THAT to me is really creepy, re-reading the book knowing that Voldemort is RIGHT THERE with Harry all through the school year…

    Also, there's that bit later in the book where the Weasley twins enchant snowballs to bounce off the back of Quirrel's turban…I mean, holy shit, that must have ticked off the Dark Lord. 😀

  30. theresa1128429 says:

    I believe Hogwarts is free other than books and supplies. And as for the school song, Harry misses about half of the opening feasts in his six years there, so we'll never know about those..

    "It happened very suddenly. The hook-nosed teacher looked past Quirrell’s turban straight into Harry’s eyes—and a sharp, hot pain shot across the scar on Harry’s forehead."
    I didn't see this when I was 11 reading this the first time. I missed it when I was 15 rereading it. If I had the book on me to be rereading along now, I probably STILL would have missed it. Thank you Mark!

  31. Danika the Lesbrarian says:

    This is exactly how I think of the sorting, too. It's not about who you are, it's about what you value and who you want to become. Harry's choice to be put in Gryffindor makes such a difference in the concept of sorting in general, which is super important in fandom. I'm a big Hufflepuff fan (I run and I'm always saying that Hufflepuff isn't for the leftovers because no one gets forced into a house. It's what they value. /slightly off topic

    • "It's not about who you are, it's about what you value and what you want to become" and that it's about choice over anything else really begs the question of whether all that time ago there wasn't a little Snape sitting on that stool being told he had some courage tucked deep down inside him and maybe he'd do well in Gryffindor or perhaps Ravenclaw as he was quite bright, to which he thought please put me in Slytherin because he was desperate to make his family proud and Slytherin was expected of him. I don't know if JK or a fan has addressed the issue of Snape's sorting before as I'm a bit of a HP recluse and not usually involved in HP communities but I'd like to think this is how it went.

  32. Helena says:

    First off, it isn't just secondary schools in Britain that do houses- my primary school did, and I think quite a few private schools do. I was in Mozart, our colour was blue and each house had its own song. We even had our own House Cup (although it was every Friday so slightly less monumental) *beams with pride at my Britishness*.

    No, they never sing the school song again. JK, when asked about it, said that all the teachers (apart from Dumbly) rebelled against it.

    • scholastika says:

      Yeah, school houses are pretty common. Every school I know of has houses. My primary school had four, my secondary school had three, my brother's school has about 6. I had no idea it was a British thing until a couple of years ago!

  33. hallowsnothorcruxes says:

    I'm so happy that Mark posted a HP review.
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    Both of my favourite characters appear in this chapter:
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

  34. ather says:

    “I’m interested to read more about Snape in these early books, knowing that he was working for Dumbledore. I think he’s the most intriguing character that Rowling created.”

    Mark, this bit makes me so happy. I think Snape is one of the most intriguing characters ever written.

    That being said, I love that you’re rereading the books! Reading them the second (or third, or fifth, or 100th) time really gives you new perspective on things.

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

  35. Sazza says:

    Attending the actual school is free, however studetns have to buy their own supplies which costs. And if students have no families, there is a Student Fund, where they are given money yearly for supplies. (:

    Also, the school song was only ever sang in the first book as JKR said Dumbledore ordered it be sung whenever he was in a particularly good mood. From the second book onwards things get pretty sinister and Dumbledore starts stressing along therefore the school song is never sung again. Until maybe after Voldewarts got defeated ofcourse xD

  36. zuzu says:

    Man, I’ll say it probably a hundred times: This shit is still pretty magical.

    It is never not magical. I've read and re-read these books for about twelve years and, for me, this series is always magical. . . obligatory quote: "After all this time?" "Always."

    HOLY GOD, HE WAS IN THE FIRST BOOK. Head asplosion forever

    It's funny how even after you've read the series you're still not prepared because there is so much more Rowling planted that your head will explode at. On a scale of 1-10 for head asplosions this discovery doesn't even register- it's probably in the negative thousands.

  37. HieronymusGrbrd says:

    Slytherin observation Nr. 3:

    The Sorting Hat never says that you have to be a racist bigot to be sorted into Slytherin. It actually dosn’t even say that it would not sort a cunning and ambitious muggle-born into this house.

    Crabbe and Goyle don’t strike me as cunning, and their ambition is to be the seconds of the biggest bully on the playground? I’m aware that this also seems to be wormtail’s ambition, but if you aren’t one of the strongest boys you need some daring and nerve to pull this line?

    Kids who are not very different from Harry-as-we-see-him could be sorted to Slytherin. I don’t buy the theory that Voldemort’s soul bit dominated the Sorting Hat’s perception of Harry while it never influenced his behaviour we could watch.

    To Harry the Slytherins look like an unpleasant lot, but are they really? How many students sit at the Slytherin table? 70? 250? Harry knows and dislikes exactly three of them and whatever he heard about Slytherin came from
    unreliable sources
    ETA: Links to previous observations seem to work at random.

    BTW I’m a Gryffinclaw (didn’t expect this).
    My result: Gryffindor 68, Ravenclaw 64, Hufflepuff 56, Slytherin 52.
    I don’t quite understand. Is this compatibilty in %?
    So are there still more reasons to put me into Slytherin then not to put me into Slytherin?

    • Hotaru-hime says:

      Somehow, when it comes to Crabbe and Goyle, I always imagine that the Sorting Hat takes their families into account and just shunts them off there. The only other house those two could go into is Hufflepuff… and I can't quite imagine them in canary yellow.

      • deleted2934595 says:

        How do you get Hufflepuff from Crabbe and Goyle? Loyalty? They're not inherently loyal to Malfoy or even the Dark Lord, they're self-interested to the extreme (recall Malfoy and them in Book 7).

        Hufflepuffs are also interested in fair play and honesty, and C&G are none of those things. I really like Hufflepuff house, sorry (they're my fellow less-explored house, me being Ravenclaw with Slytherin tendencies)!

        • Hotaru-hime says:

          It would be an extreme stretch- if Slytherin didn't want them, Hufflepuff would take them because Helga Hufflepuff would "teach the lot."
          Crabbe would definitely be in Slytherin (His use of Fiendfyre displays that quite well), but we never really get to know either of them as anything other than knuckle-dragging goons.

        • Mauve_Avenger says:

          This is why the Sorting Hat song from Order of the Phoenix annoyed me. While the Ravenclaw and Gryffindor descriptions were the same as ever, it emphasized the pure-bloodness over the cunningness(?) for Slytherin and the only thing it said about Helga was along the lines of "good Hufflepuff, she took the rest," suggesting (on the surface level, at least) that Hufflepuffs are just students whose personalities aren't distinctive enough to have been sorted into any of the other houses (an idea that apparently got hold, what with Hagrid's statement that there's a "duffer" stereotype at play).

          I get that it doesn't really fit in with the narrative it was telling at the time, but part the Hat's job is to characterize the different houses to a bunch of eleven-year-olds in relatively simple terms, and saying "she took the rest" isn't going to be all that comforting to kids who're too young and nervous to understand the subtext.

          So, yeah…Good job calling a quarter of the student body "spares."

          • L_Swann says:

            It's interesting that people are bashing on that Hat for this. Your argument makes total sense, but I don't agree with a basic logical point that you base the entire thing on. I don't think the Hat sorts solely by personality. I think the Hat sorts based on what one values. Hermione is CLEARLY more of a Ravenclaw than a Gryffindor if it sorts based on personality. Hermione is the smartest student of her year. But she isn't placed in Ravenclaw (her personality/strengths), she's placed in Gryffindor (what she values and aspires to become). Same with Neville. I think it's a subtle difference, but it still implies a certain level of choice. The Hufflepuffs, then, aren't "spares." They're students who are probably somewhat like you. As in, they don't necessarily buy into the separation as much and would be more accepting of students from all houses. Therefore, I don't think the line about "teach the lot" implies that Hufflepuff is for the spares, I think it means that Hufflepuff as an entire house will be full of accepting students who believe in unity over separation.

            • Mauve_Avenger says:

              I'm not criticizing the Hat on its Sorting, I'm criticizing it solely on its songwriting ability. ^_^

              In fact, I tend to agree with almost everything you just said. I don't think that Hufflepuffs are "spares," I just think that the wording of one of the Hat's songs seems to have given unfair traction to that idea.

          • "Spares"? Could this be why Cedric the Hufflepuff was killed? He was called a "spare" by Voldie, so no doubt there is EVIL shenanigannery at work!

    • Baz says:

      I think the hat also takes into consideration which kids the founders would have chosen for their houses, which in the case of Slytherin would place pure bloods higher than muggleborns (who weren't to be trusted). I think that's what helped out Crabbe and Goyle, although they both seemed to thrive in year 7 when they were allowed to act on all their masochistic tendencies. Maybe they just viewed being Malfoy's shadows as a means to an end? I always wondered why Wormtail was put in Gryffindor (aside from the story-advancing need to know James and Lily well enough to be secret-keeper). I do think Harry's opinion of the Houses puts a lot of weight on how we see them. Gryffindor and Slytherin have been rivals since the school started, so there's going to be some unfounded, negative opinions floating around there, and since Harry is a Gryffindor, I don't think he wants to like Slytherin.

      • Hermione_Danger says:

        Hmmm…I wonder if Wormtail wasn't ambitious or clever enough for Slytherin or Ravenclaw, and he doesn't seem a big fan of fair play, loyalty, or kindness, so no Hufflepuff. I suppose he was emboldened through his friendship with the other Marauders (bullying Snape, becoming an unregistered Animagus), so in that sense he was daring and had nerve.

        I wish like hell we could have seen some real jerkass Gryffindors, you know? Daring and nerve and chivalry can be negative traits just like ambition and self-interest can be positive traits, but (as you pointed out) Harry sees only the good in Gryffindor and only the sinister in Slytherin. Ah well.

        • stefb says:

          I don't know…Cormac McLaggen was kind of an ass and Harry certainly wasn't a fan of his. And at least we see some jerkass Hufflepuff too (Zacharias Smith) so they aren't exclusive only to Slytherin, I guess.

          I know JKR mentioned that MOST of the Slytherin house are actually decent people. It's just that Harry is confronted mostly with Malfoy, Crabbe, Goyle, and Pansy and also his view was biased by Hagrid who said all evil wizards only came from Slytherin.

    • Kripa says:

      Yeah, there have been Muggleborn Slytherins throughout history, and there have def been half-bloods in there.

  38. Openattheclose says:

    The Dream!
    <img src=>
    McGonagall is not your stereotypical witch
    <img src=>
    Dumbledore is so cool
    <img src=>
    Neville is a BAMF
    <img src=>
    <img src=>

    Random gifspam is random.

  39. FishGuts says:

    i think JKR mentioned that the reason the song was never sung after the 1st book was because Dumbledore was never in quite so high spirits – at the time he was really estatic to have Harry at Hogwarts

    or something. i think it was on her site somewhere
    i seriously waste about five hours a day on JKR's site, looking for extra info … its so hard 🙁

  40. arctic_hare says:

    We mustn’t forget Neville. EVER.


  41. Laura says:

    One lesson about JK Rowling: It was always all there.

    And this chapter is delightful and adorable and I love the talk about various people's families. And no, Percy isn't the most interesting character, but he provides for a great deal of amusement via Fred and George teasing him, doesn't he?

  42. zuzu says:

    I always assumed Hogwarts was free but now that it's being questioned it I'm actually wondering whether that's right because I'm wondering how are the teachers paid, is the food grown on school grounds since Hagrid was getting flesh eating slug repellent for school cabbages, where are the animals that they eat kept and they'd also have to feed those, where do they get the animals they use in classes, Madam Pomfrey's medical supplies, Filch's cleaning supplies- Dobby said he'd go the Room of Requirement when he was running low, etc. . . . And these are only questions off the top of my head. Lucius Malfoy was on the Board of Governors or something like that, I have no idea what they do but maybe they helped fund the school? Or they run on donations? Probably not. Oh Mark you're making me think deeper about this series than I would on my own.

    One thing I always wondered was how wizards got their food. I always assumed farms because the Weasleys have farm animals and I can't imagine wizards going to grocery stores- that seems weird. I was weirded out when they bought coffee and food from grocery stores in DH, it seemed so normal and muggle-ish. I don't know it's a little strange when the two worlds mesh together.

    • I always assumed they got their food through magic. At least when they're at Hogwarts.

      I mean…we're talking witches and wizards here.

      Although Harry, Ron and Hermoine do find Dobby in the kitchen [with the black sock HP gave him to set him free] later in the series. So if there's a kitchen, my theory holds no water. So who knows.

    • Brie says:

      In my head-canon there's loads of little alleys around Diagon and Knockturn (plus in Hogsmeade, obv.) which sell normal stuff like carrots and washing up liquid so that wizards don't have to go to Tesco or something. Although confused wizards would explain why I see so many weirdly dressed and incompetent people in the supermarket (and is a much more interesting explanation than that I live in a student neighbourhood full of drunken exhibitionists)

  43. Minish says:

    He was wearing Professor Quirrell’s turban, which kept talking to him, telling him he must transfer to Slytherin at once, because it was his destiny.

    But she writes it in a way in which we're suppose to assume it's meant to be an abstract representation of the Sorting Hat. JKR'S A GENIUS, ISN'T SHE?!

  44. sara says:

    which you can buy at if you want. i meant to link.

  45. elyce says:

    apparently Hogwarts is not free – Dumbledore mentions it to baby!Tom Riddle in the 6th book, although he never seems to really talk about it otherwise, plus the Dursleys say (in like, 3 chapters previously) that they won't pay for Harry to go to some "crackpot school." And Hagrid points out that Harry has money in the bank. So no, I don't think it's free.

    There are so very many clues in this book that you just don't see until it's too late!

    And Blaise! Yes, my little Blaise was there all along, which is why I'm disappointed it took so long for us to really be introduced to him. People speculated for years about if he was a girl, and most people thought he was Italian due to his name (which, hey, he could be black and Italian. There's no rule that says he can't. Plus, I'd like to point out that his first name is French, so there! of course I'm the one to point that out. haha. you know me, Mark…) Can you tell I really like Blaise? Cause I do.


  46. A.D.B. says:

    These need to be more often. We have your awesome newbie comments, now we need your awesome "OMG Hidden Clue!" comments for all the books like yesterday.

  47. improved says:

    "It's all here in your head."

    This quote blew my mind after my first reread post-DH. She is so good with this stuff; you will be amazed!

  48. Revolution64 says:

    I saw "A Very Potter Musical" for the first time about a week ago. I hate Voldemort so much less because of Joe Walker.

    • izzybella says:

      Amen, sister! That musical is hilarious and Joe Walker is made of so much awesome, he out-awesomes everyone else. The Voldemort scenes were the best.

      • Revolution64 says:

        I've just started "A Very Potter Sequel". And he makes Umbridge lovable. Every character he gets, he just makes them so fantastic!

  49. Lynn says:

    You know what? You can never reread Harry Potter too many times! Now I will relive it through these reviews for the numerunth (is that a word?) time. I won't say how many times I have read this series, but once was to my kids to share my love of this series with them. One day when I have time I'll reread your original thoughts but it is fun to discover on the first REread what you missed the first time through before you know how it all ends.

    Glad to have found you through your Hunger Games read through.

  50. plaida says:

    Hogwarts has a board of parent governors and answers to the ministry. Despite the prestigious boarding school aura, they're probably a state school, not a public one.

  51. Phoebe says:


  52. Kripa says:

    Funny you should invoke gender in your review. Am I the only one who felt like the books got more and more female-friendly (not that I ever thought it wasn't female-friendly) as the series progressed? Discuss.

    • Phoebe says:

      I'm re-reading hp7 now and every time Ron says "he" as a general term, Hermione always goes "or she"

    • theresa1128429 says:

      As you said, it was never not female-friendly. But I do however see how they progressed in that sense. Take for example our two main female characters, Hermione and Ginny. In the beginning, Hermione is self-conscious and lets everyone tease her. As the books progress, she is not afraid to put herself out there as the beautiful girl she is. She also stands up to the boys when she has to. Ginny transforms from the shy, starstruck girl we first meet to the strong and stubborn girl who refuses to wait around during the final battle.
      And of course, the best strong female moment of the series (possibly ever!): NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!

  53. Hogwarts is indeed free aside from the supplies and books, though Rowling did say that some Wizarding Families educate their kiddos at home. (Hell yeah, a little love for homeschoolers!)

    I never get tired of Neville and Trevor. Oh, and I tear up at every mention of Fred. Rowling, WHY must you crush my soul then giggle about it over crumpets?!

  54. wendebular says:

    Yes! I just finished reading all the original MRHP reviews yesterday. I was so close to the end that I had to read them at work and then I was just trying not to cry in the last couple of chapters. Fred!

    Glad to see a re-read review, and looking forward to the Book Thief ones too!

  55. hinana says:

    yesss finally another Harry Potter review!

    to answer the tuition question.
    When harry gets his letter accepting him to Hogwarts, it never mentions tuition at all. It has a list of things he has to buy, but nothing about tuition. And then in HBP when Dumbledore goes to talk to tom, he only mentions that they need to buy supplies.
    I've also read people discussing whether the magical community pays taxes to the ministry that partially goes to Hogwarts and the board of governors must work on getting donations too yeah?
    I'd imagine that they would want students to be able to come to Hogwarts rather then…you know. not going to school.

  56. drippingmercury says:

    You guys don't remember the part of CoS where Hermione helps Ron fill out his Wizarding FAFSA to determine his financial aid eligibility? That was always one of my favorite parts; it's when I knew they would definitely hook up in the end – no one voluntarily helps with tedious government forms unless they're really into a person.

  57. Cathy (catd94) says:

    Every time I reread the HP books I find notice something new every time
    JK Rowling is a genius.
    That is all.

  58. adev0tchka says:


  59. Adding to the list of things that were there in the very first book: The Bloody Baron.

  60. The song is in the 5th book too. It apparently changes every year, and the 5th year it was full of warnings. Harry is never around for the sorting so we always miss it.

  61. calimie says:

    Thanks for the alternate link!

    It's not paywalled for me, I have no idea why (I'm NOT suscribed) and I can see both pages fine. Weird.

    I read so many "wizarding culture" essays between books, hahaha. Best fandom, really (and worst, sometimes)

  62. Goldilocks says:

    I only learned from the 'Things you may have missed' section of Mugglenet that the reason Harry's scar hurt in this chapter was because of his proximity to Voldemort. Snape was looking at Harry PAST QUIRREL'S TURBAN. So missed it! I, like Harry, thought it was SNAPE ALL ALONG.

    Also: when I was eleven and reading this book, I demanded that I be referred to by my family and peers as a wizard. 'Witch; has such negative connotations, but what do you think when you think 'wizard'? MERLIN, that's who. A certain Wizard of Oz. MOTHERFUCKING GANDALF "YOU SHALL NOT PASS" THE GREY!

    I didn't know Americans DIDN'T have school house. I'm learning something new everyday! ^__^

  63. andreah1234 says:


    I love this. I think after all the sadness and awful in Hunger Games it's a nice change. AND OMG HARRY POTTER <3 <3 <3 <3. I don't think they have to pay for anything other than the books and supplies, the food and such are indeed, free. Man, this chapter is full of mind fucks. I mean, SNAPE?!?! Who would have seen that one coming? I sure didn't. And something else that was there and <i>I never realize how important-ish it would be:The Bloody Baron. I think someone mention it earlier, but still blows my mind. ILU JK.

  64. valely199 says:

    The song is always sung – in the second book, Harry misses the sorting because he and Ron flew the car. In the third book, he's in the hospital wing because of the dementor attack. I think it's the fourth book that he hears it again, though I'm not positive… but definitely the fifth, right? Because the hat recommends everyone band together in the dark times? I remember that the hat had a rather snide view of Slytherine and gave the history of the houses…

  65. "I totally bought the 'Snape is evil' line for like…SIX AND A HALF BOOKS. I’m interested to read more about Snape in these early books, knowing that he was working for Dumbledore. I think he’s the most intriguing character that Rowling created." This makes me so happy to read! I am a hopeless Snape fan and I was hoping you would have this reaction upon re-reads, because "it's all there" applies also to Snape's motivations and turmoil and steadfast opposition to Voldemort. Talk about mind-blowing…my six-year-old asked me at bedtime yesterday why Snape killed Dumbledore (she has seen the first six movies with my guidance, but I wouldn't let her see the seventh) and I told her it was for four reasons (because Dumbledore told him to, to protect the dying Dumbledore from torture by Death Eaters, to convince the world that he was pro-Voldemort, and to keep Draco from becoming a killer) and that it was extremely difficult for Snape since he didn't want to kill the one person who valued him and knew his goodness, and thereby condemn himself to an impossibly lonely and dangerous and relentlessly thankless time as Headmaster…and by the time I was done explaining the whole thing, she was thoroughly impressed. She had never understood before why mommy loved that nasty, old-looking, unfair guy. I wouldn't spoil the books this way for a teen or young adult, but for someone so young, I like knowing that she's going to learn to read literature for clues this way.

  66. anobium says:

    "He’s learned, because of the way the Dursleys have treated him, that he should expect to get anything he wants."

    I think maybe there's a 'not' missing from that sentence somewhere?

  67. Sarah S says:

    Maybe someone's said this, maybe no one has, but I was on the fence about Snape right up until he killed Dumbledore. Dumbledore begged, Snape killed him, and I said in exasperation, "Oh, so Snape's a good guy. Thanks JKR, for taking that bit of suspense away from me."

    I felt it was totally obvious. Why would Dumbledore, "Death is the next great adventure," Dumbledore beg anyone? He would beg on behalf of another person. He wasn't begging tobe spared, he was begging Severus to save himself and save Draco. Dumbledore would never beg for his life to be spared. He knew what it would look like to those who didn't know him well, (or were slightly hysterical and desperate teenaged boys), but he would never beg to save his own life.

    That was when I knew that Snap was a good guy. It was just that simple. Believe me or not, but I spent the rest of the next book annoyed with everyone in the book for not figuring out Snape was on their side from that. I would have been honestly shocked at that point, if Snape were evil. Happier, because I'd wanted to smack the man forever, but surprised.

    • hick says:

      That gave it away for me as well. I knew Dumbledore wouldn't beg for his life, therefore I knew Snape did, what Dumbly wanted him to do.

  68. Andrew (Chagrin) says:

    Oh bugger, I missed an entire line of text. Wish I could edit or delete..


    "- and there was Malfoy, laughing at him as he struggled with it – then Malfoy turned into…."

  69. Kathleen says:

    I'm in St Kentigern House by the way. We have House Points, and a House Cup…but it's shite because it's Catholic instead of MAGIC and we just have to sit in the auditorium for hours, praying and singing hymns from time to time, while the Senior Management Team (Sunday Mass Team) do powerpoint slides of how many punnies and homework letters and uniform notes and absences and latecomings each person from each house has got all year and Kentigern invariably never wins. Then we get a half-hearted certificate and a pen. I wish we got awarded rubies in a sand-timer for passing watering cans to teachers, but life just isn't like that.

  70. StrangeChicken says:

    Funny you should say that because the day after OOTP was released, I myself ended up in the hospital for passing out/having a small seizure during church. My silly 13 year old self decided it would be a good idea to stay up until 7 AM reading and went to church on 3 hours of sleep without eating anything. Oh, the things we do for HP!:D

  71. Rose Brazeale says:

    YAY! A Harry Potter re-read review!

    And the "turban" telling Harry to transfer to Slytherin at once because it's his destiny? Harry has a Horcrux in his head that is Voldemort's, and Voldemort had been sorted into Slytherin, and Voldemort buys into that destiny crap. I get shudders just thinking about it!

    Harry Potter forever!

  72. SecretGirl127 says:

    So excited about the post and it got me back in HP mode. I just got my tickets for Harry Potter The Exhibition at the Discovery Times Square in New York. Any one else going or already been in one of the other cities?

  73. Ophiucha says:

    I want to say that there was a deleted scene in the fourth movie where they are wandering about the forest, singing the Hogwarts song, and then they come across Barty Crouch Sr.'s corpse. It might have been a different corpse and movie, though, but I want to say it's Goblet of Fire.

  74. Emily says:

    I just finished the Harry Potter novels for only the second time (I am 23 years old now and I began reading them when they first came out, talk about a rude awakening on the second readthrough.) and I cannot tell you how much I enjoy your point of view on the books. It was absolutely one of the most rewarding reading experiences I have had rereading these books, knowing the end game and ultimately tying sentences in the first book back to plots and stories in the seventh. So this is basically a really long thank you… because really, your point of view is one of the only ones that matters. 😉

  75. Quizzical says:

    always their choices. always! *happiest of happy sighs*

    also, &dumbledore; forever!

  76. Enigmaticrose4 says:

    I'm so glad you re-read/re-reviewed another chapter! Watching you move back through the Harry Potter books is almost as good as watching you read it the first time. Probably because the first re-read after reading all seven books the first time is such a huge eye opener.

    But I think I found an error:

    "He’s learned, because of the way the Dursleys have treated him, that he should expect to get anything he wants."

    You're talking about Harry here, and honestly, I can't see him expecting to get anything he wants…I think you meant "shouldn't" not "should". I'm just pointing it out since it changes the whole meaning of the sentence.

    Please re-read chapter 8 soon! Your journey through the Harry Potter books is what made me start reading you in the first place (I found you on tvtropes) and finding the Hunger Games was just an added bonus.

  77. Jim says:

    The school song was sung (briefly) in the GoF movie. Hagrid, Hermione and Ron sang it in the forest. The song was cut off though because Harry found Barty Crouch's body

  78. check it out bro

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

  79. CaveatLector says:

    Fgsfds, this is ttly the highlight of my month omg *Happy tears*

    And I believe Hogwarts is free, seeing as poor students like Ron or Voldemort can attend.
    (Speaking of which, the closest Rowling got to addressing this was in book 6, in the flashback 'bout when Dumbledore came and fetched young Tom Riddle – he said something about a fund so penniless students could afford books and wands and stuff.)

  80. Nicole says:

    Mark, now that you're clearly a Harry Potter fanboy, I think you should feel comfortable enough to call her Jo. JK was just the publisher's idea so boys wouldn't know the author was a woman, but she has said many times she prefers the true fans call her Jo. Also it seems weird that we don't hear the school song again, but I think it's just mostly because Harry always managed to miss the opening ceremonies somehow, like the Whomping Willow incident. And after Voldemort came back, well….I guess nobody felt like singing.
    I'm a long time lurker and this is my first comment, so I'd like to say I'm glad to see you haven't given up on Mark Re-Reads Harry Potter, I was worried for a while haha. As someone who has read the books so many times I can't even remember my first readings I really enjoyed re-discovering the series through MRHP, especially because I believe a lot of my reactions would have been the same if I had been 26 and not 8. And now that you're a full-fledged fan I'm looking forward to the re-read! So thanks for the laughs!

  81. giga_pudding says:

    Could you do "Mark Reads Tales of Beedle the Bard"?

  82. Reader says:

    So I've decided to reread all of your reviews and then read your re-reviews to see your reactions the second time around, and OMG WHY HAVE YOU NOT DONE ONE FOR CHAPTER 8 YET. I understand that you have all these other things you're reviewing but pleeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaassssssee?

  83. kchano says:

    On the very slim chance that there is some one here who STILL hasn't read Harry Potter, I can assure you that there are no spoilers in this link, only adorable silliness.

    I absolutely adore Kate Beaton. ♥

  84. sorkaem says:

    hey you didn't notice that seamus asked nick about the blood on slytherin's ghost!!!! it's the grey lady's !!!!!
    I remember when I finished the 7th book, I closed my eyes and the first thing i saw was this scene, snape looking into harry 's eyes, and I felt so sad!! all of it was explained now and snape's life was sooo sad…

  85. Sarah says:

    Mark, if you use the phrase "sowed the seeds" ONE more time…

  86. lindzy_lovegood says:

    Hi there Mark :3

    Long time reader, first time comment-er. First off, I seriously bloody effin love you. You're one of the most fantastic people, like, EVER, and deserve all the love and hugs.

    *gives all the love and hugs*


    Now that I've gotten that bit of silliness out of my system (ha! Like that's really possible), I just want to tell you how amazingly awesome this is. Oh, I already mentioned that? Hmm. Well, allow me to say it again, cause it can't be said enough. You're awesome, this is awesome, Harry Potter is TOTALLY AWESOME, and it all makes my head asplode with awesomeness.

    Anyway, a couple recommendations for your enjoyment: A Very Potter Musical/Sequel (unless you've already seen them? In which case, good job. :]) and a nice little Wrock band called Ministry of Magic. Musically, they're the most talented (IMHO) and their songs… just, ugh. A couple of them make me sob like a little girl. x] Definitely worthy of youtubing, my friend. :3

    Until your next re-read!

  87. Erie says:

    Hi Mark! I just read the entire MRHP series and it was like rediscovering the series over again! THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU. I'm glad you've joined our Harry Potter fan kingdom. And I'm glad I get to read this too! Re-reading the books is one of my favorite things in the whole world and I do it at least twice a year. And to reiterate what many other people have said, I'm STILL discovering things I never noticed before. You make me laugh, you (sometimes) make me cry, you make me think; much like JKR, that sly devil, does for me. Blargh I'm rambling. Anyways, you have another fan. Wahoo!!

  88. Pharmd721 says:

    Hello! badcagd interesting badcagd site!

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  89. shamiran says:

    I have to say Mark, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts the first time around. It was a treat to re-live it all over again through fresh eyes.
    It is great how she left those clues for us isn’t it? The only thing I could think about in Snape’s death scene was the scene with him staring into Harry’s eyes way back in this chapter of SS.
    That is how she got us all hooked and waiting in line at 12am for the next book or movie. I wish you could have been a part of the fandom back then… It was truly amazing to be part of the excitement and speculation. Future generations will have Harry Potter, but they can never be a part of what came about during those years. It was truly magical! 🙂

  90. Brieana says:

    I remember the trio singing the school song to themselves when they were in the forbidden forest or hogsmeade in one of the movies. They weren't singing very loudly, which is how I didn't catch it the first time, but more to themselves.

  91. theabstruseone says:

    Ah, the Sorting. I started writing this post on the last post (hey, I'm coming to the party months late, I have options!), but thought it'd fit better with this one since I left the specifics you brought up (Slytherin = teh EVAL) and went into more generalities. Also, I wanted to point out that Hermione mentions at one point that the sorting hat considered putting her in Ravenclaw, but that she (like Harry) had "chosen" Gryffindor when the option was presented, her bravery trumping even her love of knowledge.

    As to Slytherin, I really don't think it's as bad as everyone says. For one thing, Ron's original description was a flat-out lie as soon as Prisoner of Azkaban. "There's not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn't in Slytherin."…except for Sirius Black, who killed a wizard and a dozen Muggles in broad daylight (yes, it was Pettigrew who actually did it, but no one knew at the time and Pettigrew was, somehow, a Gryffindor as well). The entire series is also biased against Slytherin due to the third person limited perspective from Harry's POV. He sees Slytherin as nothing but bullies and thugs, so that's all we see.

    But think about the adult wizards we see and what house they would've been in to see exactly how biased and limited our view of the houses is in the books. We only ever see five living adult Slytherins in the entire series, Tom Riddle/Voldemort, Serverus Snape, Bellatrix (Black) Lestrange (I'm hesitant to list her since she isn't outright stated as a Slytherin, only coming from a family that almost exclusively produced Slytherins, but she's too well known for being pure evil to have been to another house according to Hagrid's statement), Horace Slughorn, Lucius Malfoy, and Narcissa (Black) Malfoy. Not exactly shining examples, to be sure.

    However, what about other adult witches and wizards? Cornelius Fudge showed all the traits Slytherins are known for – sneakiness, underhandedness, looking out for themselves, and a healthy dose of paranoia. He wasn't evil, though, just misguided and self-serving. Sybill Trelawney may have been a Slytherin as she was certainly willing to lie to get her job ("These things often skip – er – three generations" and much her conversation with McGonnagal at the Christmas Dinner in PoA), even inflating her own abilities and attracting followers in students even though she only made two "real" prophesies according to Dumbledore. Then there's Dumbledore himself.

    Oh yeah, I went there. Dumbledore may have been heavily, heavily implied to be a Gryffindor, but he would've made a great Slytherin, not even counting his misspent youth. Sure, he worked to subjugate Muggles as a teenager, but even after he "grew up", he was still selfish, used people, lived and breathed secrecy, and was still willing to sacrifice others for the "greater good".

    Then we have one of the adults who were listed as a Slytherin who wasn't really a bad person. Slughorn may have been classist, but I don't believe he was bigoted. He seemed to care more about name-dropping when he first met Hermione ("Oh, you're related to that Granger? I taught your uncle so-and-so…") than making the assumption that a knowledgeable witch must be pureblood. He simply recognized the name and wanted to brag about who he knew. Not a great personality trait, but hardly evil and when push came to shove, he brought reinforcements of many Slytherins to the final battle.

    Finally, let's talk about Rufus Scrimgeour. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind this guy was a Gryffindor. Brave, pro-active, an Auror, self-sacrificing. But he was still a Grade A asshole and did far more harm than good by working harder to look like he was doing his job than actually doing his job.

    For the record, I'm not a Slytherin. I'm a Ravenclaw. But I can see their point of view and, while we haven't been given the best examples in the books, there is nothing inherently bad or evil about being a schemer. Sometimes, the best way to win a fight is to be an anti-hero and fight dirty.

  92. Araxie says:

    Why the hell don't they TELL first years that they can ask to not be put in different houses? I mean ultimately, the hat will more or less decide for you, but still, if it's a toss-up like it was for Harry here, what a difference that would make for you to be able to give your say!

    Pretty sure Hogwarts is free- the food is all taken care of by the house-elves, most of the teachers I think live in the castle so they don't have to pay for board or anything, and any of the utilities that Muggles would need to pay for could probably be conjured up with a wand (teachers are rather good at magic, you know). Then again, how would school supplies be paid for? Many the students are charged with buying themselves, but then you have decidedly more expensive materials for things like potions. Hm.

  93. Jillian says:

    I'm not sure if anyone pointed this out… but in your first read of this you wrote, "oh god YOU SHOULD MOVE AWAY DUMBLEDORE BECAUSE SNAPE WILL KILL YOU VERY SOON OR SOMETHING oh god."

    Wow.. You hit that nail on the head VERY early.

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