Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 10

In the tenth chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry learns Quidditch, Ron is an asshole to Hermione (SURPRISE), and there’s a troll in the dungeon. Where Slytherin stay, apparently? WHO KNEW. If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to re-read Harry Potter.


I completely missed all of the hints that Ron and Hermione were totally destined to be together. I just re-read my initial review of this chapter and it’s like…800 words long? What the hell? I don’t ever recall doing that. I skipped over a lot and I have no idea why. I’ll assume it was entirely out of naive ignorance: I had no idea how much information about the series was in this one chapter. It even starts off subtly teasing the fact that Ron, Harry, and Hermione were going to sort of become obsessed with ADVENTURES.

Indeed, by the next morning Harry and Ron thought that meeting the three-headed dog had been an excellent adventure, and they were quite keen to have another one.

WELL, DON’T WORRY, GUYS. You’ll have like a thousand of them.

Quidditch and Harry’s gift (from…McGonagall? Dumbledore? Who bought this broom?)  provide Harry and Ron with a unique chance to have an advantage, even just briefly, over Draco Malfoy.

I laugh at the fact that Draco, immediately upon recognizing that Harry’s package contains a broomstick, tries to say he’ll tattle on him. I mean…it was rare, but I distinctly recall bullies doing the same thing. So much of what my bullies did and said to me were all with the unspoken acknowledgment that the rules were totally bogus and they were not meant for them. Yet, given the opportunity, they would take those rules and apply them to me. Anything to make me suffer, right? But that’s why it’s so hilarious that Flitwick catches this bit of arguing and outright confirms that the broom is not only allowed, but that the staff at Hogwarts specifically made the exception.

Unfortunately, this joy is short-lived for me because of the way that Ron and Harry initially treat Hermione. Well, I suppose Ron deserves more of that and I also suppose that Hermione is seriously way more annoying in Sorcerer’s Stone than she probably ever will be throughout the rest of the series. She is incredibly nosy and brute in her exact moral standing, though chapter ten does give us the first chance to see that standing start to break. But it all got me wondering about Hermione and how exactly she turned out this way.

I was a know-it-all in junior high, but I was surprisingly quiet and meek for one. Still, that’s what people knew me as: the kid with all the answers. They also knew me as The Boy We Can Threaten With Bodily Harm And He Will Do Our Homework. (That is a stereotypical narrative for a reason, and I lived out that experience. I’M A BETTER WRITER AND THINKER BECAUSE OF IT, so MEH.) But whereas I grow to identify with Hermione the most out of the trio by the end of Deathly Hallows, here, at the very beginning, I’m far more drawn to Harry.

I am not sure why Hermione necessarily acts the way she does and I suppose it all has to be speculation anyway. She comes from a full-on Muggle family and I’m sure that before she ever got her first letter for Hogwarts, she probably displayed the same tendencies to flaunt her smartness and to correct others. But here at Hogwarts, she doesn’t really seem to be making many attempts to fit in or to be liked. (Yet. Those will come.)

Why does she do that? I thought that maybe she realized that coming from a family of all Muggles might be putting her at a disadvantage in the magical world. Before she realizes that her minority status in that sense can actually empower her to change things, I think that perhaps she comes on so strong in Sorcerer’s Stone is that, like Harry, she knows she is not at the same level as people who have lived with magic all their lives. Unfortunately for Harry, he doesn’t have supportive parents like Hermione, so he doesn’t have the same system that she does that allows her to obsess about the technical and theoretic details of magic.

But surely this is all just me guessing what her personality is motivated by. I mean, there are any number of reasons, but, knowing the future, it is pretty fun to try and speculate what it is that makes her so very Hermione. If anything, though, chapter ten is a way for Harry to re-evaluate the way that he treats Hermione and for Hermione to rethink the way that she conducts herself with Ron and Harry.

I swear that I am not a Quidditch bigot, but I honestly don’t have much to say about Harry learning the sport aside from a few things:

  • That flowchart about Quidditch I made is pretty awesome.
  • I’m glad that Harry has the chance to find something he’s good at.
  • The guy who plays Oliver Wood in the movies is really goddamn hot.

That’s a pretty good summary, don’t you think? Then it’s time for me to move on.

Perhaps it was because he was now so busy, what with Quidditch practice three evenings a week on top of all his homework, but Harry could hardly believe it when he realized that he’d already been at Hogwarts two months. The castle felt more like home than Privet Drive ever had.

Which is an awesome thing, indeed, since a lot of this is about Harry finding his “home,” his place to belong. But I wanted to say that whilst I was read The Hunger Games trilogy, I commented about how Suzanne Collins often would have two months pass in a single sentence. Well…ok, Rowling does that, too. And I don’t know why I always feel the need to point this sort of thing out, but I do have a reason for that here:

[Hermione] hadn’t spoken to either of them since the day Harry’s broomstick had arrived.

That is nearly two months. That is some serious dedication to the silent treatment. How did I not pick this up??? My god, that is such a long time. Though it does make sense that, after all that time, Ron and Hermione would be utterly annoyed with the fact that they would be stuck paired together in Charms. Again, these two were, for so long, dedicated to making each other kind of miserable from time to time. It doesn’t excuse Ron calling her a nightmare and then, upon hearing that she was crying because of what he said, make a remark about her lack of friends.

But then again, these kids are eleven. They’re going to be fools. IT IS DESTINED TO HAPPEN.

Halloween is a chance for Dumbledore and company to be complete and total show-offs about magic and it’s time like these that I pine for the magical world to actually be real. Because how goddamn great would it be to celebrate Halloween in the Great Hall like they do in Hogwarts? Also, as I have made clear in the past, the very idea that you can make food appear in front of you is about as magical as one could get. RIGHT. (Side note, since I am determined to pick apart every small detail of this universe: So the house elves make the food in the kitchen and then they use magic to deliver it to the table, right? So it’s basically…apparating food. In a way? SOMEONE HAS TO KNOW THIS, THE HP FANDOM KNOWS EVERYTHING.)

The troll battle is also the first sign to the reader that this ride, and not just for this book, is going to be completely absurd. As I said in my original review, HOW DOES A TROLL JUST SLIP INTO THE BASEMENT UNNOTICED. It’s a twelve-foot beast. Surely someone noticed something that gigantic being carted into Hogwarts. I mean, Filch knows when a scrawny first-year is in the hallway. But not a GIANT TROLL? (To be fair, the troll was brought in during the Halloween Feast, right? So it is possible that everyone was distracted. Maybe Dumbledore should have installed a better security system.)

Again, Harry is the one to do what he think is right in this situation, remembering that Hermione has no idea that the TROLL IS LOOSE or that someone has RELEASED THE KRAKEN or whatever. I guess that might be kind of strange, since….he hasn’t spoken to her in nearly two months? But perhaps that sort of detail doesn’t matter to Harry. He’s more concerned with helping where people need it.

The battle itself is totally over the top, but come on. It’s a troll that is knocked out by Ron using a spell to float the troll’s own club down on to it’s own head. Why do trolls have clubs anyway? Just an added bonus point towards critical damage or something? I mean, you’re a troll. You can just step on someone. (Now I’m thinking of the troll in the movie, who actually appears kind of sad. Doesn’t it or is that just me?)

For Hermione, though, being saved by the pair of boys she chose to ignore for two months is enough for her to finally bend her moral fabric and do something “wrong” in order to help them. She stands up for them, placing the blame solely on herself so that the two don’t get in trouble.

While this was certainly not a FUN exercise for Hermione, I wonder how much of this first interaction with danger (I don’t count the three-headed dog, since it just stood there) got under her skin, making her start to seek this out more and more. The truth is that while Hermione would continue to seek out the rational and the practical in most of her decisions, she made a conscious choice to protect two people who had helped her, and, as Rowling says here at the end of the chapter, it’s an experience that helps bring people together.

I really don’t think there’s a better thing to bring people together than an exciting adventure, do you?

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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166 Responses to Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 10

  1. bookgal12 says:

    " As I said in my original review, HOW DOES A TROLL JUST SLIP INTO THE BASEMENT UNNOTICED. "
    That is never fully explained, I think its because Snape who's in charge of the dungeons is elsewhere, thus allowing for a giant troll to be let in. Plus, Hogwarts is riddled with secret passages that he could have squeezed through.

    When I first met Hermione in the first book, I wasn't sure I was going to like her. I thought she was a bit of a know it all, but I could see she was clearly out of her element at Hogwarts and was trying to make up for it by studying. I thought Ron's and Harry's treatment of her was a little mean but as you pointed out Mark, they are 11 year old boys its bound to happen. I was glad to have the fight with the troll, because this book is one of fantasy there is bound to be a fight with a monster at some point.

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    This is totally me even in college.

    • ravendaine says:

      Me too. (:

    • nathanielessex says:

      I was never like this at school, probably cause I was all depressed and bullied and so I just wanted to act like I didnt exist most of the time. But now that I am going to university as a 28 year old, and all the younger people in my course are for the most part silent and uninvolved, I have become Hermoine. I am usually first to volunteer, and am quick to give my opinion, and answers in class, along with my friends who are also mature age students.

    • breesquared says:

      I have to restrain my Hermione-ness in college. Especially in big lecture hall classes. Because the professor will ask a question openly to the class and I KNOW it, but I am always the one who answers it, so I wait to see if anyone else will (I legit count to ten sometimes) and if no one does I just answer because I HATE AWKWARD PAUSES IN CLASS.

      • trash_addict says:

        Almost all my participation marks in university tutorials came from my hatred of awkward silences 😉

  2. knut_knut says:

    Is Hermione an only child? That might have something to do with her personality, although I'm not sure what

    EDITING BECAUSE I FORGOT TO PUT THIS IN MY COMMENT but I think it's mentioned that trolls aren't very intelligent so maybe they're just not aware of how goddamn big they are and think they need the extra weaponry. I have no control over my body either so maybe I'm part troll?

  3. lawrence says:

    A couple of things about Hermione. For one, she's significantly older than most of the other students. She turned 12 three weeks into her first year at Hogwarts, and I think as the oldest student in her year, she feels she should somehow be better or more mature than everyone else. She thinks she has more to prove.

    But also, consider that her dentist parents sent Harry a bunch of sugar-free sweets in the summer before his fifth year, which, while fitting for dentists, also seems a little bit overly good, like the people who hand out toothbrushes or pennies or pencils or Necco wafers or anything else that is not real candy on Hallowe'en. It basically comes off as trying too hard, so I can see that as part of Hermione's background.

    And when you add up 'trying to be the good one' with 'people who are willing to break a few rules', it gets magnified, so she tries even harder to be 'the good one'. She considers herself above such mischief. Ron is completely right about her in PS. He just isn't very tactful about expressing it.

    • David says:

      Also, just about Hermione being older, remember that in POA, she actually adds about two hours to every school day with the time turner (what with her repeating an hour to take another class), so, unless you actually age backward when you go back in time, by the end of the third year, she's like a month and a half older than she normally would be. (Forgive my math – I didn't really figure it out with a calculator.) Kinda interesting, no?

    • FlameRaven says:

      I like Necco wafers. ):

    • fakehepburn says:

      I'm going to agree wholeheartedly with this post, and I think you made some really great points about Hermione's mental processes and background and just sort of why she might be the way she is.

      But Necco Wafers are fucking awesome.

    • Vivian says:

      I think another thing that may lead to her attitude might be that she's muggleborn and intimidated, as if her abilities are weakened because of her blood status. Of course, this behavior can only last so long, considering she knows how gifted she is in due time…

  4. @Zippy8604 says:

    What I would give for a copy of Hogwarts: a History, it would clear up so many questions.

  5. Hannah says:

    Ok, don’t have much to contribute but… The guy who plays Wood is insanely hot. He needs way more screen time.

    • cait0716 says:

      And his name is Sean Biggerstaff. I mean, Biggerstaff! Too hilarious. I was so disappointed by the lack of Quidditch in later movies because it meant a lack of him.

    • Fish Guts says:

      As Wood's hotness goes … I can't see it. I just can't everybody talks about it but … I don't know.

      The only boys I find at all attractive in the films are the Weasley twins.
      WHY IS THIS?

      Mind you, I don't really find many boys all the attractive in real life … there's a few but not the majority.


      • brieana says:

        I liked Dan Radcliffe. When I was eleven, which was around the time that the first movie came out, I had the wall by my bed completely covered in posters of him.
        Also Bonnie Wright. Mmmm.
        Too bad they have no chemistry. They would make a very attractive couple if they did.

    • Kelly says:

      Oh my, Ollie Wood. I remember being in the theater with a bunch of friends and we all gasped when he first came onscreen. So pretty…

    • trash_addict says:

      Happiest news of recent history: *somehow* he's going to be in Deathly Hallows part 2? I'm sure it's going to be very brief but whatevs, I'll cheer.

  6. Zinovia says:

    I think there are two ways that people tend to fight insecurity – the first is to become meek and try to stand out, and the other is to be overly bold and flaunt your strengths to cover your weaknesses. This is how bullies are born, for example. They compensate for what they can't fight against by fighting against those weaker than them to feel stronger. In Hermione's case, I think she's just a really bright person and she knows it's her biggest strength. She's thrown into this world that's completely new to her, and she figures the best way to fit in is to show how much she's learned about magic and the magical community. She's young and doesn't have friends. The thing about being awkward like this… well it doesn't feel right to change, somehow. It's uncomfortable and new and unfamiliar. Your brain tells you that if you stop being a know-it-all, people will like you more, but somewhere in your psyche, you know that if you change, it will be so conspicuous that everyone will notice, and that will put you in the spotlight. It's irrational and illogical, but there it is.

    As for the troll thing, I think it all has to do with Dumbledore's trust. If you're in the castle, and if you're trusted by Dumbledore, then you can get away with stuff and be able to sneak things by normal security measures. Remember the Fidelius charm in book 3? Maybe it's something along the lines of that. Quirrell waited for everyone to be at the feast (presumably everyone is there, including the staff and Filch). The nice thing about these books is that it's MAGIC. You don't have to think too hard. Maybe he shrunk the troll so that it was pocket sized and then, when everyone was in the great hall, put him in the dungeons and un-shrunk him? Well, he has Voldy helping him out after all. He probably told him some spell where if you sacrifice three virgins and a babe born on the full moon, trolls will sprout from your belly button upon command.

    • Fish Guts says:

      That should totally be a real spell.

      A curse to put on your enemies – trolls sprouting from their belly buttons.

      You could call it Trollio Summoias.

    • t09yavorski says:

      Your first paragraph intrigues me, especially since i am the kind of person that frequently uses words like "intrigues". I participated in a trivia competition one summer and I was the only veteran on the team and the best at answering questions. In spite of this, outside of the competition, i did as you say and "changed" to seem like less of a know-it-all. I made an effort to simplify the words I used and was less quick to offer solutions than I normally would. And i think I actually had more fun because of it. It wouldnt work around the people I have known for years (because it would be boring and none of them would notice) but there is something liberating about not being expected to know everything.

      And yet when I was 11 I was nervous enough about how people saw me I would have been too scared to change who I was. At 11 my only choice was to be myself, as weird as i was, cause if I tried to act like someone else I might mess up terribly.

  7. ravendaine says:

    I've always been a little curious about Hermione's explanation at the end of the chapter. I love that she speaks up in defense of Harry and Ron, but there was no need to portray herself in such a poor light. She invents that she went looking for the troll, when there is no way that the actual truth will get her in trouble–she didn't know about the troll at all! Perhaps she was embarrassed about admitting her own crying in the bathroom or was worried that she'd have to tattle on Ron for his insulting her? Ah well, it all turns out for the best!

    Also, the arbitrary points system again! Hermione only loses FIVE points when McGonagall thinks Hermione has deliberately ignored Dumbledore's instructions and gone to look for the troll? When being out of bed at night loses you FIFTY! Eek.

  8. monkeybutter says:

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    I love this chapter in the movie. 🙂

    As for Hermione, she's a know-it-all. It's just who she is. I think what really softens her personality is that she becomes friends with Harry, and since the story is largely from his POV, her character gets more depth through closeness with Harry. Honestly, she's a smart girl from a fairly privileged background. She's never had any reason to question authority, and relying on book smarts has served her well until this point. But, yeah, now that she's in a world of magic and danger, she starts to change. I love watching her develop sneakiness and cunning; she's my favorite of the trio by far. Also, she's 12. Who wasn't awkward and sort of overbearing at that age?

    Oh, and: Sean Biggerstaff <3

  9. Rosie says:

    As far as the food goes, I believe that's probably exactly what it is– apparating food. If you recall, the description of the kitchen is that there are five tables (the four house tables plus the staff table) aligned exactly below in the kitchens where they are above in the Great Hall. So, they just place the food there and whenever the plates empty (it's probably built into the magic that they use), the food then replaces it somehow. I think Rowling just wants us to assume it's some sort of magic like that. She's never directly addressed that, so it's something she probably just figures we'd pick up on and accept as is.

    • rumantic says:

      I always assumed it was the tables themselves which were enchanted, as the food for feasts always seems to appear on Dumbledore's command. Or maybe the house elves can magically hear Dumbledore's voice when he's standing at the high table, so they can hear the command?

      • Kiryn says:

        I think the house-elves can hear Dumbledore. I mean, their Master can summon them just by saying their name, because it's a command. So I would assume they could hear Dumbles in the same way, because he's ordering them to do something.

  10. Stuart says:

    I think Ron had it right in the previous chapter (or at least the movie version of the last chapter) – she need(ed) to sort out her priorities!

    I can relate to early Hermione pretty well in a sense – I grew up with a very clear idea of Right and Wrong and that if I was to be a Good Boy then I should try to do the Right Thing. That meant following the Rules and getting all the right answers on all the schoolwork. So I don't find it at all unbelievable that Hermione came to Hogwarts with the same notion – that her (and all the other students') entire purpose in being there was to follow the rules and excel at the schoolwork. Couple that with an intense insecurity about her own abilities and you end up with… well, early Hermione. Who reads every course book and then goes out and seeks every other book she can find to learn how to do those things as best she possibly can, and worries deeply about other people breaking the rules because that impedes HER house's chance of winning the most points in the House Cup.

    In other words, Hermione's actions are completely (in her own mind) justified and well-meaning – and in keeping with her *priorities*.

    The encounter with the troll in the bathroom, then, makes perfect sense as a catalyst for a change in her behavior. Suddenly she is forced to confront in the most terrifying possible way the fact that there are things far more important than following rules and excelling at coursework. And not only is her life saved by the very people who she has been furious at for breaking the rules, but her life is saved *by the very act of rulebreaking* by Harry and Ron.

    So, Hermione after this chapter is exactly the same as Hermione before this chapter – the same exceptional mind, the same drive to succeed, the same insecurity. The only difference is that in this chapter she's begun the process of sorting out her priorities.

    (Incidentally, for all that I've based this entire comment on Ron's line from the first movie, the presence of that line in the movie version has always infuriated me. Rowling gives her readers enough credit to understand why "killed! Or worse, expelled." is funny all by itself. Columbus/Kloves made sure to kill the joke by explaining it. And don't get me started on including the setup for Dumbledore's "few words" at the start-of-term feast, but cutting the punchline…)

    • cait0716 says:

      I think Hermione's entire arc in the first book is comprised of her learning this lesson. And it really shows at the end when she tells Harry that friendship and bravery are more important than books and cleverness. I can't remember if that line was in the books, too, or just the movie, but I love when she acknowledges that her strengths are not the only admirable strengths.

      A+ commentary

  11. Sarah says:

    "But it all got me wondering about Hermione and how exactly she turned out this way."

    I will probably get some crap for this comment, but I think she's the typical single child. Her parents probably showered her with nothing but comments on how wonderful and perfect she is. It makes sense to me that Hermione has an "I'm better than you" complex. Also, since her parents are dentists, she probably came from a pretty well-off household. That would just add to her superiority. I think after a year at Hogwarts, and the friends she makes, really humbles her a lot. We will see her mature more and more as each book continues.

    I've read this series eight or nine times and I've always wondered if Hermione never went to a public school like Harry? For some reason it feels like this is her FIRST time in school. At a public school, you'd think she would have got rid of some of that snobbiness. (I don't know. I'm just thinking out loud here.)

    I know the wizard families don't send their kids to school until they go to Hogwarts (Bauxbatons, etc.). Which also brings up more questions for me. The parents must be responsible for teaching them to read, write, etc. So, is it safe to say that ALL wizarding families are responsible for homeschooling before the age of eleven? Interesting…

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      I think you have something of a point about her financial position and being a single child would have affected her, but I think its a bit of a stretch to say that's she a typical single child. There has been studies that have shown that those without siblings are less extroverted and socially comfortable, but that's on average. You definitely can't say that being a single child will give you a "better-than-you" complex, though there might be a statistical increase.

      I think the same point goes to the social status. The thing is, unless you're being made aware of having more money than others, a kid isn't going to realise they've got something special. Hermione probably spent her childhood in suburbs with neighbours of the same class as her, and her classmates at muggle school were probably similar. Even once she got to Hogwarts people probably weren't going around saying how much money they had, and she certainly doesn't seem to begrudge people like Ron for being poor.

      The people she was probably raised with were probably all of the same class, and she probably doesn't have any reason to assume that the people around her are poorer. She's used to people of being of equal status, so then isn't going to act like she's come from a more well off house-hold than everyone else. (I think the only people who act like that, in real life or fiction, are those who were always made aware that they have more than everyone else, or those who are naively unaware, and flaunt their wealth assuming everyone has it the same, and it can come off offensive. But that's just my experience.)

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      I think it's interesting that you attribute Hermione's personality to her being an only child, because I'm the youngest of seven children (in a poor family, like Ron's), and I'm very much like her, though probably a bit more meek about it in person. In fact, my oldest brother, the only one with any experience (though admittedly not much) being an only child, is probably the person in my family who's the least like Hermione.

      I'm also a bit wary of attributing Hermione's know-it-allness (know-it-all-itude?) to a superiority complex. I don't really get the sense that she gloats or feels superior about being more knowledgeable or well-behaved than the other students. There are times when she seems very proud of her accomplishments, and I'm guessing there are people who think that her angst over not being perfect (exemplified by her boggart in the DADA finals) might be a passive-aggressive form of bragging, but to me it just comes across as…Hermione not really knowing how she comes across.

      Re: schooling before Hogwarts, I've heard that there are tutors and possibly even village schools for parents who don't want to or can't homeschool their own kids, but I don't remember where I heard that, so I don't know if that's considered canon or just fan speculation.

      • rumantic says:

        There are a few wizard settlements, like Hogsmeade and Godric's Hollow, so I suppose it's likely that places like this would have a small primary-level school for magical children. But for families like the Weasleys who live further away from other magical families I expect they would just teach them the basics at home and let life teach them the rest. If you google "autonomous education" I don't think it's that far-fetched 🙂

        I imagine Hermione either went to a private school or was home educated (and probably with a lot more structure than the "autonomous" type of HE) – her parents seem very invested in her. It must have been really hard for them to let her go off to a complete unknown like Hogwarts.

        • bibliotrek says:

          If both her parents are dentists, who's doing the home education? Usually home schooling is done by a stay-at-home parent. It seems like a nanny/tutor who would be qualified to provide a gifted kid like Hermione with the education she needed (that was up to her parents' standard) might be beyond the financial abilities of a pair of dentists. I mean, they're probably well off, but I'm not sure they're quite THAT well off.

        • Starsea28 says:

          I'm pretty sure that when we first meet Hermione on the train, she talks about "being at school". I always thought she went to a normal primary school. Okay, maybe a private prep school, but she wasn't home educated. Both her parents work.

        • EofS says:

          Home-schooling is very very uncommon (almost unheard of) in the United Kingdom. I'd be astonished if Hermione had been. I'd also be very surprised if she went to private or public school. For one thing, they're less common for primary age than for secondary. But leaving that aside everything we know of Hermione's parents (or can extrapolate from Hermione's politics – general consensus being she's been heavily influenced by theirs) suggests they would very much not send their child to a fee-paying school. They seem to your your typical middle class socialists who are probably horrified by the idea of paying to give your child a better education.

          (Public schools in the UK are generally the very poshest, oldest schools with the highest fees. So called because they meant being educated in public, rather than by a private tutor. Next come private schools which are basically the same as public schools, the distinction is a bit vague. The place Harry went to was a state school (or comprehensive – not quite synonymous, but close enough).)

          • trash_addict says:

            Ah, that was always a bit of a mind-bending distinction re: school classifications when I read English novels as a kid. In Australia state schools are called public schools and private schools are the posh ones (although I think they're generally referred to as 'Independent' schools these days, to establish that they're outside the state system but could be religious schools, or for gifted students etc etc).

      • t09yavorski says:

        The oldest of a group of kids, even though they have had time as an only child, do not qualify for the stereotypical "only child complex." This is cause they have had to deal with sibling too, more than any other of the kids in the family.

        However, there is a stereotypical 'youngest child complex" which is very similar to the oly child one. the youngest is (stereotypically) the spoiled one, the one the parent know what they are doing for, and eventually, if all their older siblings go to college, the one that gets to be an only child.

        About early schooing, I read something similar, but that some wizard families send their kids to muggle schools.

    • kajacana says:

      I'm an only child, and I am not really anything like Hermione. I'm sure there are plenty of only children who ARE Hermione's and plenty who AREN'T. But I can assure you that my parents did not "shower me with nothing but comments on how wonderful and perfect I am." I don't think it's fair to say that's "typical" only child treatment.

      Not intended to be giving you crap about Hermione's development in particular, because her family may very well have been like that – just asking for a bit more care with generalizations, please, everyone!

    • Meltha says:

      As an only child, seriously, this is insulting.

      • Sarah says:

        What I meant was that it made sense to me IF that's how her upbringing was. I wasn't trying to group all "single kids" into a group. I'm a LOT like Hermione and I'm one of nine kids. I meant no offense and should have chosen my words more carefully.

        My main point was that I believe Hermione is the result of "Only Child Syndrome."

  12. @CartoonRed says:

    With regard to the food, it's mentioned whenever they finally get to the kitchens (fourth year?) that there are five tables identical to the house tables and head table set out identically in the kitchens – the house-elves make the food, put it on these tables, and then send it up somehow. Elf magic is different from wizard magic, which is why they can apparate in/out of Hogwarts, so presumably they use something similar to get the food up to the Great Hall.

    • post-it musings says:

      Yes, I always thought it was a combination of elf magic and charms that sent the food from the kitchen tables to the Great Hall tables.

  13. Elexus Calcearius says:

    A lot of people have brought up some very good points about her conduct here- that it could be her feeling that she has more to prove, that she's older and more mature than the other students, that it comes from her parents and how she was raised…but I think part of it might be instinctual. Hermione is very much like me in the sense of being a know-it-all. I like knowing as much as I can about a subject, and have trouble admitting I don't know something (especially when its something I feel I should know). I when I hear someone ask a question I know the answer to, or they say something wrong, I impulsively feel the need to correct them.

    Its not always a very good behavior. There's a time and place that its good and useful, but it can come off as very arrogant and haughty. Over time I learned that even if you know something, you shouldn't necessarily show off your knowledge, and make it seem like you're better than everyone else, because that's kind of rude. Not to mention, just because you know more about X subject doesn't make you a better person. Hermione learns this too, I think, but at age eleven she hasn't realised this. I'm not sure if its even occurred to her that her forceful attitude is what's keeping her from making friends.

    Of course, I find that once you have friends, your more free to be a know-it-all. Harry and Ron come to rely on Hermione for her knowledge and intelligence, and they don't get insulted (usually) when she lords it over them. The trick is knowing in whose company to act like that.

    Edit: Random question- why do some people have zeros for their comments? Shouldn't that be impossible now that downvoting was turned off?

    • HieronymusGrbrd says:

      Concerning zeros my theory is: You have to login via Intense Debate to start with 1 Point, otherwise you start with zero?

      • affableevil says:

        Yeah, only comments connected to accounts get an automatic +1.

        (Which I guess makes sense because people generally agree with what they are saying so it's basically the commenter upvoting their own comment once.)

  14. mugglemomof2 says:

    or that someone has RELEASED THE KRAKEN or whatever.
    Good grief- I just snorted so loud at this <3 <3

  15. leighzzz31 says:

    I explicitly remember my ten-year old self basically yelling HOW THE FUCK DOES A TROLL GET INTO THIS SCHOOL UNNOTICED? (AND WHY CAN'T MY SCHOOL BE THIS COOL?) Obviously I didn't use or think those exact words – ten-year old me would be ashamed.

    This may be my favourite chapter from Philosopher's Stone. It takes place on my birthday (hell yes I am that awesome and self-centred!), Harry, Ron and Hermione finally form the Golden Trio (while fighting a TROLL!) that I will forever be jealous that I am not part of and the last few lines of the chapter warm my cold heart even today.

    As for Oliver Wood, I agree, Mark! Plus, the actor's name is Sean Biggerstaff which sends me into a fit of giggles as though I am STILL ten years old!

  16. mswguest says:

    Not sure if someone has already posted this or not, but there's a really great essay about the psychological tendencies of the trio, mostly Harry and Hermione:

    It's actually a 'shipping' essay, out to prove Harry won't end up with Hermione (lots of people REALLY thought this?), but it actually sort of turns into a psychological analysis of how Harry and Hermione see each other and react to each other, and analyzes Ron similarly from time to time for comparison's sake. It's the most insightful thing I've read about these books, and I think you might enjoy reading it as you re-read. It was written between books 5 and 6.

    • pooslie says:

      i think mostly of the Harry/Hermione shippers are going based off of the movies? (though that is extra stupid because the movies are way more obvious that Hermione and Ron have that awkward not-quite-just-friends thing going on) The screenwriter is a Harry Hermione shipper so that is probably why (which i also don't get, you don't talk to the boy you like about how your current boyfriend "isn't one for words lols" seriously why would anyone think they liked each other?!)

      • Kiryn says:

        I'm a semi-Harry/Hermione shipper, and it has nothing to do with the movies for me. And I say 'semi' because really, the thing I like most about them is just their relationship–no matter how you take it, they do love each other (even if you only interpret it as sibling love, it's still love, damn it), and it's beautiful. ANYWAY, there are a few reasons why I 'ship' it (somewhat). Firstly, I just don't like Ron/Hermione. There's nothing WRONG with them…but they're just one of those things, you know? And I just can't like them. And I've always just thought that Harry and Hermione click more. There's something soothing about them, to me. And again, this aspect is always present in their relationship, romantic or not. There are more 'sparks' between Ron and Hermione, but Harry and Hermione, I can picture them old and sitting on a porch swing and just basking in a companionable silence. And again, I have this image for them in my head NO MATTER WHAT, even if they don't have a romantic relationship.

        • Kiryn says:

          Sorry, I had to break my post up. Anyway. And maybe, if Hermione had had a thoroughly shitty life for some reason, and was doomed to unrequited love (for Ron or whoever), I can see her and Harry 'settling' for each other. They just…they have this SOUL BOND, this deep love (HOWEVER YOU INTERPRET IT) and understanding of each other, and again, they soothe each other. I guess…they're soul mates (sexual or not, I don't really care in the end). I have no idea if this makes at all sense, but this is what I see.

      • SelphieFairy says:

        the whole harry/hermione shipper hate thing goes too far. i personally don't ship them, but people are welcome to like whatever pairings they want. it doesn't necessarily mean they believed they were going to get together in canon or that they're stupid or DELUSIONAL *cough* seriously, there's no reason to say things like that. harry/hermione shippers probably like the movies because it satisfies their fantasy of them being together, it doesn't make them stupid. shipping should just be for fun/fantasy, but people take it way more seriously than they should and make it into a gigantic war.

      • icingflarewhite says:

        I personally never really understood Ron/Hermione myself. I didn't really see any hints at it until book six and by then I'd already decided I liked Harry/Hermione because I felt/feel like they just clicked. They always seemed to get along better to me than Ron/Hermione and considering her reaction to seeing him again after every summer (the flinging herself onto him/hugs), it just seemed/seems to make a bunch of sense in my mind. Yeah I don't like Ron/Hermione or Harry/Ginny but if it's canon there's no point in complaining and people always have fanfiction they can turn to.

      • trash_addict says:

        I get where you're coming from, it SHOULD be obvious. However plenty of us found evidence otherwise, but we only saw it probably because we were attached to the idea. Personally when I was reading these books in late high school I found myself really annoyed with guys because they bullied me constantly (particularly the ones I was into!), so I found myself really turned off by a ship where the guy frequently bullied and belittled the girl (I'm not saying Ron didn't mature, but I started reading them in the break between GoF and OotP and that's when my shipping ideas were set). I found the idea of a friends-into-love ship which involved more mutual respect and a lot of the time, more one-on-one time more appealing. After that occurred to me I found it quite easy, actually, to ignore to inevitability of Ron/Hermione and find all the evidence I needed for Harry/Hermione.

        It actually wasn't until the Battle of Hogwarts that I got on board with Ron/Hermione!

        • mswguest says:

          I totally forgot I posted this until today. I'm curious as to whether you took the time to read any of the essay I linked to. The author makes it very clear that an unbiased reading of the books shows Ron and Hermione to have plenty of "one-on-one time", and most importantly, that Harry and Hermione's "one-on-one time" is NOT pleasant for Harry. Over and over again in the books, he respects Hermione as a loyal and caring friend, but rarely if ever enjoys spending time with her if Ron is not also present.

          • trash_addict says:

            No, I didn't read the essay. I see little point in trying to re-write the genuine impressions the series made on me when I was reading it almost ten years ago.Those impressions were an emotional response and my own interpretation, not really a result of in-depth textual analysis. I don't ship Harry and Hermione any more, but even if I did, I wouldn't be in the market to be talked out of it somehow, as, y'know, I wasn't hurting anyone by having my preference.

            • mswguest says:

              Fair enough! I just enjoy reading those kinds of essays, because they make me notice details that I wouldn't have noticed otherwise.

        • mswguest says:

          Here's a quote from that essay, after a LONG list of instances showing Harry enjoying himself with Ron, but not necessarily with Hermione:
          One searches the books in vain for Harry and Hermione enjoying these kinds of pleasurable times without Ron's presence. Such scenes between Harry and Ron are ludicrously easy to find…Scenes with Ron and Hermione having fun without Harry are also surprisingly easy to find, considering that we are usually limited to Harry's point of view. The most obvious of these is looking as though they'd had the time of their lives (PA118/157), but there are other times when they seem to be having fun, as well. Some examples are SS159/217, CS84/109, CS148/197, PA46-47/55-57, PA142/190, GF622/717, OP13/8, and OP351/396. We also see Hermione having fun with Mrs. Weasley and Ginny (PA56/69, OP265/295). But for Harry and Hermione alone, the best I can find is their shared glee at Malfoy's downfall in Book One (SS176/241) and a bit of shaky laughter over their Grawp predicament in Book Five (OP611/694). Hermione does propose once that she and Harry could knit elf hats together, but Harry, not perceiving this as enjoyable, declines (OP250/278)

    • brieana says:

      I remember checking out fanfiction back in 2001, seeing Harry/Hermione stories, and thinking "oh that's completely unexpected. Wonder how they thought that?" At the time, I didn't know that people actually thought that they were going to end up together.
      I think it's because normally in movies/books the hero guy gets the girl. Harry got Ginny, so he got A girl, but Hermione is the girl that he spends the most time with. The female sidekick. So I guess people thought that would happen because that's the basic formula. Harry Potter was one of the first books that I read. Well, it was the first one that I cared about and of the first that included romance. I didn't project any formulas onto that story.

    • rosieechan says:

      I LOVE that essay. It's so detailed and insightful! It really explains their relationship, though maybe a little too much of a stretch in some places.

      I don't really mind H/Hr (I used to despise it back in the younger days), but I really don't see it at all…especially after re-reading that essay again. I suppose most people think that the main male must end up with the main female…and while Harry and Hermione do have a wonderful friendship, there really is no evidence or compatibility that leads me to believe that they could be more than just friends…I mean MAYBE, if you stretched their relationship a bit…but I think Harry needs Hermione to be a motherly, supportive friend rather than a girlfriend. And even if they were in a relationship, I don't see it working out; they would get bored of each other. Harry wants someone who'd lead him in the right direction without nagging him or turning him off, and Hermione desires debating (and Harry is hardly the sort of person who'd want to argue with Hermione, as seen in many cases).

      Ron and Hermione's relationship is beautiful, it was developed really well (take that Twilight!) and if Harry and Hermione had chemistry, then Ron and Hermione must be over-the-top with the amount of chemistry that they have. xD

      Anyway, long rant. Didn't mean to get carried away with it, lol. ^^;

  17. flootzavut says:

    Totally off topic of most of your review, but it occurred to me and felt it was worth suggesting: it would be absolutely brilliant, if it's possible, to include a link to the original review(s) as you do the re-read, so it's easy to flick back and forth to see how your reactions change.

    Just a thought 🙂

    • ?????????? says:

      can i second that motion? know what i dont care! i second that motion!:)

    • Majc says:

      Totally agree! I always have to google Mark reads Harry Potter archives to find the original reviews. 🙂

  18. cait0716 says:

    I love comparing these reviews to your first time through the book. Everything makes more sense and is much richer in the context of the entire series. I also love how much longer your reviews have gotten as they've gone from gut reactions to the story to more thoughtful analyses.

  19. enigmaticagentscully says:

    TRRRROOOOLLL! IN THE DUNGEONNNNN!!!! …thought you ought to know.
    Best line in any of the HP movies IMHO.

    On the subject of Oliver Wood in the movies…it kind of creeps me out because he is so hot. But as I went through life, watching the movies year after year, he turned from 'hot guy who is quite a bit older than me' to 'hot guy who is my age (squee!)' and now he's slowly heading towards 'hot jailbait guy who I really shouldn't be attracted to because he's like still a teenager. I mean I know he's still obvs. older than me in ~real life~, but in the FILMS he's forever trapped at the age, as I pass him by, caught in the inexorable march of time…

    • cait0716 says:

      One of my friends commented recently on how creepy it was that I thought Rupert Grint was hot, since he is trapped in that pre-pubescent stage in the movies. I had to point out that he's actually only a year younger than me, so there's nothing creepy about it. But, yeah, watching some of the earlier movies makes me feel a bit skeevy now.

    • Emily says:

      OMG exact same reaction!

      (I have the same thing going on with Sandlot – well, not exactly the same since I'm no longer attracted to young Bennie, but I have uncomfortable memories of the crush as I rewatch.)

  20. PaulineParadise says:

    (don't worry, fanart post will come)

    About long silent treatments: it's happened to me. Actually, my best friend decided to ignore me for a year (minus one week). But then she heard me talking about something potter-related and joined the conversation and we're actually best friends again. :') So uhm, people can be really dedicated to ignoring. Also, yay for potter-related conversations.

  21. enigmaticagentscully says:

    On a food note, I really like that we found out how that system works (with the tables under the hall and everything) because it always seemed odd that they could just MAKE food out of nowhere like that. Just moving it seems much more likely.

    And of course, as we all know, food is the first of the Five Principal Exceptions to Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration.


  22. Kelsey says:

    I thought the troll got in because Quirrell helped it in? During the feast when everyone was distracted. Doesn't he say in the last chapter… "I have a way with trolls"…?

    Also, I think Hermione is so annoying in the first book because she's trying to prove herself as a witch. All these people grew up in a magical household, and she feels she's behind, in a sense. Or maybe has less magical ability. So, she wants to make up for it by knowing/mastering as much as she can. Once she realizes this isn't the case, she relaxes a bit. She's still incredibly smart, but just not aggressive about it. That's the way I see it anyway.

    And can I just say: I'VE MISSED YOU READING HP. And, WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO WATCH THE VERY POTTER SEQUEL. I'm pretty sure you forgot about it.

    • @Nuttendale says:

      He said on Tumblr that he'd do it, and soon. 🙂

      <img src="; >

    • rosieechan says:

      "Also, I think Hermione is so annoying in the first book because she's trying to prove herself as a witch. All these people grew up in a magical household, and she feels she's behind, in a sense. Or maybe has less magical ability. So, she wants to make up for it by knowing/mastering as much as she can. Once she realizes this isn't the case, she relaxes a bit. She's still incredibly smart, but just not aggressive about it. That's the way I see it anyway. "

      THANK YOU! Just what I was going to say. 😀 I'm surprised no one else had mentioned this until all the way here.

  23. pooslie says:

    i think the negative 50 points was because they had been out of bed several times and she really wanted it to SINK IN

  24. PaulineParadise says:


    We all need a bit more fanart post in our lives, y'know. (Also, I don't post non-canon pairings fanart. If you'd like to see that, look at

    <img src=""&gt;
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    <img src=""&gt;
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    <img src=""&gt; <a href="” target=”_blank”>

    • Annie says:

      The bathroom and the last one are my favourites… somehow the bathroom seems creepier without a troll…

    • gillyweed says:

      I LOVE this one:

      mudblood428 is by far my favourite fanartist, you can check her stuff here:

    • FlameRaven says:

      As much as it's used to mock Hermione, getting expelled from Hogwarts really might be worse than dying. I mean, unlike normal school where you can always go to a different school, when you get kicked out of Hogwarts they apparently snap your wand and you're never allowed to do magic again ever…? Which is both extreme and kind of a strange punishment. I'm… not sure why they snap your wand, either. I mean, you can always buy another one.

      Or maybe Hagrid's punishment was just different because he was accused of murder? He's the only one we see expelled, though, so it's hard to say.

  25. Rose Brazeale says:

    It might just be me, but I never considered Harry's choice to go and help Hermione to be strange at all. The older I get, the more I realize that I am a lot like Harry, though for different reasons. Unless I absolutely hated someone, I would do the same thing if it was in my power to. It's not until part of seventh book where the differences between Harry and me really pop out (like, I wouldn't have tried to pull a fast one on Griphook).

    As for Hermione, she is a lot like my mother, especially with how she is in third, fourth, and seventh book, and my mother is the youngest of five. So I don't really think Hermione being an only child has much to do with it.

  26. Quandary says:

    I finally got around to posting!
    (I've been lurking around here since… oh, since MRHP, and I went back and read MRTwilight, too. I may as well stop now and say "You are a very brave man, Mark, for having tackled that whole series.")

    You made me read the HP series again, though I only tried to read book 7 at your pace. I only made it to chapter 20 or so, then I ~couldn't put the book down~. Now I'm doing the re-read; so far, all is good (but it's early days yet!).

    Re: Hermione's behaviour – I think lawrence, Zinovia and Stuart have really, really good explanations for it. I'm an only child too… well, maybe I'm not the typical only child, because I am fairly insecure and never flaunted my knowledge in this way, lol. I'd be reluctant to put myself forward, even when I knew I had the right answer. I did end up helping a lot of people with their homework, because I was silly and generous like that (they didn't even have to bully me into it; what was I thinking? but I must admit it helped, among other things, with my mastery of French). But it's fairly easy to conceive that Hermione sought to hide her insecurity and took refuge in Doing Things Well and Respecting All The Rules.

    As for the troll – I may be wrong here, and admittedly the way I read my way through this volume isn't conducive to perfect recall -, wasn't it one of the many things brought in for the protection of, er, the special object Fluffy was guarding too? That would explain how it got in the building. *Resists urge to read ahead and find out, and/or to go directly to the end of the book and find out more.*

  27. cjazzle says:


    i would just assume there are magical stealth ways to do it, but a thought just occured to me – if quirrel let in the troll in, and had voldy hitching a ride on the back of his head, could voldy have used his knowledge about the chamber of secrets to get the troll in? even dumbledore didn't know where the chamber was, much less how outlets it might have, so i think its perfectly plausible that quirrel could have led the troll in from there. just an idea.

  28. HieronymusGrbrd says:

    Hermione's goal was not to stay out of trouble, it was to keep Harry and Ron out of trouble, and she didn't even know the truth.

    McGonagall is a true Gryffindor. Heroic rule-breaking, like going after a troll, earns you minus five points. Playing dirty tricks on other students, like luring Draco out of bed by faking a dragon, earns you minus fifty points plus detention. Hermione and Harry didn't get this for being out of bed. Draco got it for doing his own investigations instead of warning the authorities, and poor Neville – for interfering with justice?

  29. iva222 says:

    By Halloween Harry didn't even know Hermione for two months… that confused me a little bit.
    SO, being the Harry Potter nerd I am, I looked it up, and I found this awesome timeline:
    … which shows Hermione didn't speak to Harry and Ron a little over a month; which is still A LOT.

    I missed these reviews SO MUCH <3

  30. HieronymusGrbrd says:

    There is no Slytherin observation today. So let’s talk about something else.

    This chapter’s end was the point where I became hooked forever. No awkward elaborating about who, what, when and why. A threefold “Thanks”, and they became friends because this was just inevitable, leaving all details to our imagination. >> Fast Forward to the Quidditch match.

    I remember that you didn’t like this fast forwarding, Mark. But I mean, how many authors would dare to do this, and come away with it? It would have been bad writing, if JKR had not already supplied enough background to build our imagination on it. (I just read all the amazing theories about how Hermione became what she is.)

    So, in my imagination, Hermione still doesn’t know if the boys were innocent (knowing as much about the troll and Dumledore’s orders as Hermione did, because they had been trying to do some unnoticed rule-breaking while everybody else were in the great hall), or guilty (of using the distraction caused by the troll to cover their rule-braking). How would Hermione ever guess that the troublemakers didn’t run accidentally into the troll but were looking for her? When would have been the rigth moment to tell her the truth?

    • Emily says:

      I'm more of the opinion that it would have been bad writing if she had instead shown us every moment of those event-less tow months alla Stephenie Meyer. Nothing wrong with moving the plot along.

      (I have been planning an essay for a while on how literary-snobbishness' disdain for plot and writing techniques used in its service is both cutting out an important quadrant of our literary knowledge and appreciation and allowing stinkers like Twilight and the DaVinci Code that are, among other things, extremely poorly PLOTTED to be excused as plot-driven trivialities, but I will save it for a different venue.)

  31. PixieSparkle says:


    Can you link to your first review of this chapter at the beginning (or end) of your re-review? It would be really interesting to read both reviews next to each other to see what stood out the first time as compared to the second time.

    • qwopisinthemailbox says:


  32. EldaTaluta says:

    Don't they do that anyway?

    • Fish Guts says:

      Yeah … but it'd be even worse if it was canon because then then they could make up even more excuses for it.

  33. katherinemh says:

    I never noticed the movies (maybe because McLaggen as a character is kind of a slimeball), but Freddie Stroma is REALLY cute!

    <img src="; alt="" title="Hosted by" />

    • Bonnie says:

      What is Charlie Crews doing in the back of this HP fest? I am most curious Where is it from?

      • bibliotrek says:

        I know, right? It's all HP HP HP HP DAMIEN LEWIS HP. He could be a Weasley relation! Except it's totally weird to think of Soames Forsyte as a Weasley.

        • ffyona says:

          Oh my living days I LOVE the Forsyte Saga. Lovely Damien Lewis as the "Dismal Soames". Beautiful.

      • katherinemh says:

        They went to see Dan in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. Damian Lewis is married to Narcissa Malfoy, apparently!

      • Starsea28 says:

        Damien Lewis is married to Helen McCrory. So he's basically the reason she couldn't be Bellatrix because she got pregnant.

  34. hallowsnothorcruxes says:

    I love the last lines of the chapter.
    "But from that moment on, Hermione Granger became their friend. There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them. "

    They have no idea how many adventures they'll share together.

    I don't have anything else to add except for these amzing macro.

    <img src=" "/>

  35. Maya says:

    Well, JKR said that Hermione got her name because it seemed like something a parent would do to sort of prove how well-read they are. So I think she gets a lot of it from her parents- they're all quite clever and not afraid to show it off.

  36. ETullius says:

    "Maybe Dumbledore should have installed a better security system."

    This sentence made me chuckle.

  37. stefb says:

    Oh, Mark, it's not Hogwarts if the students aren't ALWAYS IN MORTAL DANGER.

    Also, "It's no wonder no one can stand her, she's a nightmare, honestly." AWW TRUE LOVE

  38. Anonymous says:

    With Hermione…I think her sheer intellect acts as a kind of defense mechansim. I think, at home, she read etc for fun, because she simply enjoyed it (JUST LIKE ME, OMG), but when she got to Hogwarts, that changed drastically. As you said, Mark, I think she realised that she was at a disadvantage what with being a muggle born- a disadvantage born by untrue, cruel prejudices, but a disadvantage nonetheless. So, perhaps her train of thought was: Right, if I can't be a PROPER witch, I can certainly ACT like one. And so her mentality became STUDY-STUDY-STUDY. A completely false insecurity of course, but remember, Hermione is riddled with insecurites- the Boggart of Professor McGonnagall saying she'd failed everything in Prisoner of Azkaban, anyone?

    But, I once read a theory, that Remus knew Hermione was lying about her worst fear that the Boggart revealed to her, which caused such a dramatic, hysterical reaction within her, that in reality, it was something much more 'mature' and sinister. Which just confuddles me further and makes her wonderful character have even more hidden depths. HMM…

    • Emily says:

      I think that just shows how a person's greatest fear can change in times of stress. What we saw with the boggarts in book 3 was each person's fear at the period of lowest stress – the things we are afraid of when we're not really worried about anything in particular.

      I mean, Voldemort or the death of a Weasley both probably scare Ron way more than spiders, but at that moment neither threat is anywhere in his consciousness, so spiders come out.

      Had it happened in book 6, most students would have seen Voldemort.

      So when Hermione confronts a boggart at a time of complacent physical safety but extreme exam stress, she sees what she fears most at that moment. Failure and expulsion.

      • Katherine says:

        I would agree. I think Hermione's boggart makes complete sense, particularly that she's spent the whole year being extremely stressed out due to overwork from using the time turner.

  39. Emily Crnk says:

    I've always thought that Quirrell sneaked the troll in while everyone was at the Halloween feast, cause he was the TROLL WHISPERER or something… I just assume that everybody was in the Great Hall and not around to see?

  40. thinofsubstance says:

    Because I am mentally twelve years old, here is the extent of my commentary, taken with the utmost respect and gratitude from the lovely Cleolinda's Prisoner of Azkaban in Fifteen Minutes:

    Apparently the Only Quidditch Game Played at Hogwarts This Year

    THE RAIN: *is torrential*

    HARRY’S GOGGLES: *are sporty*

    OLIVER WOOD: *is not there*

    HP FANS: *grumble grumble like to polish his Biggerstaff grumble*

    Harry ends up chasing the Snitch up into the stratosphere, where the Dementors show up, start dementing, and sucking Harry’s face until he falls off his broom and plummets to earth in front of several hundred shrieking spectators.


    • ToastofDoom says:

      So when I read things, my imagination takes things very literally, which is not a bad thing because it is the cause of much laughter in my life, but sometimes this happens:
      Despite knowing what what happens in the book, I imagine Harry, literally flying in the stratosphere, and then I'm like "I seriously doubt dementors can dement that far away…" and then when Harry starts plummeting to the earth, I'm like "HARRY CAN NOT SURVIVE A FALL THAT FAR, MAGIC OR NO!!!" -panic-
      So that is my brain.
      But thanks so much for sharing that 🙂 lol'n forever

    • Minish says:

      I remember reading that YEARS ago. It was so fantastic. I think I'll have a re-read for the lulz. I can only remember bits and pieces.

  41. Pelleloguin says:

    t think Hermione is just overcompensating. She seems like a very smart girl (ok, we all know she is one) and I doubt she ever got bad grades in her life. Now she is going to a school where some of her classmates have been living with the subject of her education their whole life. It scares her.

    So to either fit in, or ease her nerves, or to try to get used to the world she has just found ehrself in, she reads all of her books eight times over before the start of term and feels the need to show her knowledge at every turn. She's trying to stay on top like she probably was before and at the same time she is trying to show people who lived in a magical family that a Muggle born can be just as smart as them.

    When she starts making friends, she lightens up a bit because she feels more secure in her place within the magical community. She now knows that only jerks like Draco will judge her based on birth not talent. She still feels the need to show her knowledge on a subject, but I think later it's either a habit or she really does want people to listen and learn from her rather than an 'I know everything and therefore am better than you' standpoint.

    I was a bit like this in middle school, having been teased mercilessly in elementary school. If I knew something I HAD to say it because I was showing people that I was not useless or stupid. It was silly logic looking back, because I feel like I came off as a jerk instead.

    • Pelleloguin says:

      Gah! Sorry about spelling errors! It was rainy here and I needed to type and simultaneously assure my dog that rain does not mean thunder and that thunder has not hurt her for the past 12 years and it will not harm her ever, so would she please not try to hide under my desk as I worry she will get tangled in the power cords.

  42. Meg says:

    It's used daily on fandomsecrets. At least once, but usually two or three times. My best trolling .gifs came from there.

  43. Emily says:

    Personally, I think McGonagall was feeling guilty for showing favoritism by rewarding instead of punishing Harry for flying after the Remembrall, and so came down extra-hard on them the next time she caught Harry breaking rules (that did not include gallantly rescuing Hermione.)

  44. Meg says:

    I've always wondered how things would have turned out if Umbridge had been their first DADA teacher, especially BEFORE the Trio formed.

  45. DJ713 says:

    Elf Magic apparates food to the tables.
    Quirrel let the troll in using the Feast as a distraction
    Hermione was raised as an only child, who, due to her vast intellect, was bullied at school, and came to view the rules and people in authority as the only means of defending herself from them.

    Now, some fanfic recs that can no longer spoil!
    and more later!

    • rumantic says:

      Fanfic reccs are always good 😀

      • Kiryn says:

        Lol, fanfic is amazing. But I'm not sure if Mark would appreciate any of my fanfics, because the majority of the ones that I read are of the Remus/Sirius persuasion. 😉

        But I do have some really good other Sirius-centric ones if you want them Mark! And, you know, others, but I'm not sure if you read fanfiction at all, and you're pretty busy…

        • PaulineParadise says:

          I know a fabulous fanfic (fabfic?) about Sirius: The Good Morrow by anyavioletta. The author is a published writer, the story’s amazing and even though she sounds like one in the first few chapters, the OC isn’t a mary sue.

  46. arctic_hare says:

    Like many others, I feel that Hermione is at least partly overcompensating: she wants to prove herself where she feels others might look down on her for not being from a magical family. The other part is just her natural personality and love of reading. Which – I too can identify with.

    And oh, the trio is so unprepared for what future adventures await them~

  47. cswike says:

    omg i have a THOUGHT.

    I always wondered a little bit how Hermione wound up in Gryffindor, especially as you would totally expect someone who (in the beginning) pretty much gets by on her smarts all the time. Isn't it possible that the Sorting Hat saw past what she was at 11, to what she could be with the influence of other Gryffindors? (ooohhhh, just writing that gives me a dramatic chill.)

    Ok, so maybe more of a "wouldn't it be cool."

    • accio doublestuff says:

      it's like neville at the beginning, he definitely doesn't fit in to gryffindor. harry has to tell him he's "worth twelve of malfoy". and as hagrid says, neville can "barely stand a cauldron the right way up". he is the opposite of brave/etc. the sorting hat sees into people's true essence, rather than what they are at 11. i mean, look where neville ends up: pulling the sword of gryffindor out of the sorting hat and killing nagini with it.

      although, as dumbledore says to snape, "perhaps we sort too early" in response to how brave snape is to spy on voldemort for him. which is of course very hard for snape to hear. but i've always just thought that that was dumbledore being wrong. snape wasn't being brave to be brave – he was being brave for his own personal ends, to assuage his horrible guilt over accidentally getting the love of his life killed and them trying to make up for it by protecting harry. he's not protecting harry because it's the right thing to do. which is a very slytherin-esque thing, rather than a gryffindor thing.

      so…yes. i think it's safe to say the sorting hat most definitely sees past what people are at 11.

  48. Laura says:

    I think JKR said once in an interview that Hermione was actually a very insecure and vulnerable person at this point in her life with a HUGE fear of failure who covered that up with the know-it-allness. It makes sense — she's a kind of awkward, bushy haired girl with big teeth who has suddenly been transported into a world she knows nothing about where a lot of people treat her like a second class citizen for being muggle born. I think she is, ironically, trying to get people's admiration and respect by showing how smart she is. The poor thing just doesn't realize how annoying she can be. She may also be trying to prove her brains to herself, at this point. As a muggleborn, she has to have been told by some Slytherin how worthless she is by this point, and even if she wasn't, it must be really intimidating to be dropped into this weird world she is still trying to figure out that people like Ron and the Slytherins seem to navigate with ease.

  49. theanagrace says:

    "Quidditch and Harry’s gift (from…McGonagall? Dumbledore? Who bought this broom?) "

    I thought McGonnagall mentioned that she would get the money from Harry's vault and order him a broom, but looking for the quote, now I'm not sure. The 'mysterious broom gift' he gets isn't until POA, and it is taken away to be stripped and checked.

    • Quandary says:

      I was thinking… it might be something like school funds? The other brooms used by the Quidditch teams are paid for/owned by Hogwarts, I think. Though I've a feeling Harry got something fancier than the rest of the players… presumably due to McGonagall's enthusiasm about finding a great new seeker for the Gryffindor team.

  50. brieana says:

    I thought Hermione was a lot like Lisa Simpson, who wasn't an only child as you would know. They have the know it all thing plus they were pro-non-human-rights. Hermione was an activist for the other magical creatures, and Lisa was a vegetarian activist. Speaking of, I wish Hermione was a vegetarian.

  51. Rose Brazeale says:




  52. qwopisinthemailbox says:

    "The guy who plays Oliver Wood in the movies is really goddamn hot."
    ooooooooooh YES.

    I will always choose George Weasley, though.
    i have a weakness for red-heads. and guy twins. and pranksters. who are kinda snarky. just one big day dream put into one, yea? haha!

  53. Meltha says:

    With Hermione, I get tired of people calling her a know-it-all. She's smart. It's her talent. Why is it that being intelligent and actively involved in her education, really committed to learning and wanting to excel, is seen as a massive crime? The exact same level of dedication in the real world to sports is seen as something awesome kids are supposed to do, but heaven help you if you're a smart kid who actually gets excited about learning, especially a girl. If Hermione hadn't been so utterly committed to learning, all three of them would be dead by about book two. She saves their rear ends repeatedly, and quite frankly, they're mean about it. Of course she's miserable.

    As for her parents being supportive, where have we seen that? We don't see them at all, actually, except for a brief second in book two. Heck, they don't even have names. All we learn about them is they're dentists. Their alternate personalities given to them by Hermione actually have more detail then we ever get about them in reality. Hermione seems to be the poster child for loneliness, isolation, and desperation to prove herself.

    • Meltha says:

      And splitting this in two, since I'm apparently too long-winded…

      Which leads to Ron. The more I read his character, the more he comes off as lazy, mean, and frankly pretty darn self-entitled. He complains about everything his parents do for him because it's not good enough for him, from his dress robes to the sandwich his mother makes him. Granted, he doesn't decide to make his own sandwich or earn money (which the twins were able to do) in order to buy himself what he wants; he expects someone, usually a female, to do it for him, and then he nitpicks that it wasn't good enough. Ron is desperate to be the center of attention, even to the point of lying in book 4, and he purposely goes out of his way to degrade Hermione's intellect (and appearance and general feminine identity) and her contributions to the group because they are a lot more directly valuable than most of what Ron does. I've seen essays that pretty persuasively show that Ron has most of the attributes of a potentially physically abusive boyfriend/spouse. I don't think that's what Rowling was going for at all, but bits of his character are actually really disturbing.

  54. Caroline says:

    Mark I always love reading your reviews, and it's interesting to see a lot of fan art in the comments … I wonder if you have seen artist Lucy Knisley's incredibly awesome one-page graphic novel treatments of each book? If I could figure out how to include a picture in my post I'd do it, but you're going to have to settle for a link:

    How she manages to encapsulate all the major events of one novel into a single page .. utter genius.

  55. Shanna says:

    I would agree with you 100%. I was the "smart girl" in my class throughout elementary and high school and I relished it because it was what I was good at. I was always clumsy and uncoordinated and awful at sports and gym, but I answered all the questions in class! It definitely gave me a sense of identity. And yes, while I wasn't exactly picked on, the people who were good at sports and more out-going definitely had the upper hand throughout most of school.

  56. maybenow says:

    man, i missed the HP fandom <3

  57. Hotaru_hime says:

    You know, I bet that once the Battle for Hogwarts was over, Harry and Ron looked back at that moment when they were eleven and were eager to have more, they thought themselves to be stupid gits.
    Imagine what their lives would have been like if they had never risen to Draco's bait to be out of bed after hours.

  58. lisra says:

    I'm quite happy that I was the kind-with-all-the-answers-who'd-try-to-rip-your-face-off-if-pressed. Glad that no high school here has foorballplayers.

    … it's been ages since I read here.. I'm so happy to see more -re-read Harry Potter reviews. Go Mark, we are all with you, again.

  59. EofS says:

    Part of the reason I fell in love with Philosopher's Stone was that I could identify so, so painfully with Hermione. Of course at that age I identified with the pain she felt, without seeing the root causes in her (and my) behaviour. I was an adult long before I realised that I must have been rather insufferable at that age.

    If Hermione's anything like 12-year-old me, she acts the know-it-all and corrects people because she assumes that everyone else wants to be right all the time too. It's not even a conscious thing. To be honest, I still struggle with it as an adult. I generally don't understand why other people are happy to be wrong, or would rather be wrong than be corrected. Or (and this is maddening to me) how they can wonder something, and then not try to discover the answer or want to be told it! Now I'm a grown up and aware of all this, I'm able to hold myself back. But at 12? I, and Hermione, had no chance.

    • EofS says:

      (Cont. because I exceeded the limit.) Some people call me a pedant. I hate that word. Accuracy is important to me, and I hate being put down for it. When you have an eidetic memory accuracy matters – because an error in the first instance is going to become an error every time I recall it. Why should being right be wrong?

  60. Sophie says:

    Since Quirrel says at the end of the book that he always had a special knack with trolls, he used those special skills to get the troll in. That combined with lots of secret passageways and everyone being in the same place probably made it VERY easy for him to get a troll in…

    Also, you are VERY right about Sean Biggerstaff… and what a surname!! 😉

  61. blessthechildren says:

    Hermione is definitely an intellectual snob in this chapter, who feels very morally superior to the boys. Ron is being twerp, and is guilty of a heaping amount of stubbornness. What I find odd are the readers who think Hermione is the epitome of a lovely, strong woman, but maintain that Ron is a butt-faced, abusive jerk until the last page of DH. The way I see it, Ron and Hermione start out being bratty in their own ways, but outgrow those troubling qualities in many ways through the adventures they face as a trio. Harry grows into his angst in OotP, and then grows out of it again. They all have solid character arcs, which you have well pointed out, Mark. People who say any of the three are flat or unlikeable characters need to read your blog and find the true path! 🙂

    To quote Co -president of Nerdfighteria, John Green:
    "Not every answer is equally correct in literature!"
    <img src=""&gt;


  62. Akilah says:

    The fact that Harry and Ron go to find Hermione even though she hasn't been speaking to them just proves they are true Gryffindors.

  63. MichelleZB says:

    "HOW DOES A TROLL JUST SLIP INTO THE BASEMENT UNNOTICED. It’s a twelve-foot beast. Surely someone noticed something that gigantic being carted into Hogwarts. I mean, Filch knows when a scrawny first-year is in the hallway. "

    Yes, but who put the troll there? Quirrel, supervised by Voldemort! Surely they have a bit more stealth than your average first-year playing hookey.

  64. chassie730 says:

    The guy who plays Oliver Wood in the movies is really goddamn hot
    agreed 🙂

  65. Openattheclose says:

    Not relevant to this chapter at all, but I just watched the most amazing HP MVid I have ever seen. WARNING, CONTAINS SCENES FROM DH PART 2 TRAILERS

    [youtube ZbH0nbilYek youtube]

  66. @LJmysticowl says:

    I'm too lazy to go looking for the source interview, but I'm fairly certain that JKR said McGonagall ordered the broom but paid with money from Harry's vault, so it didn't count as a gift from a teacher. It brings up an interesting point: do teachers have legal authority to access students' money? Is it only for orphaned students (and yet, the Dursleys have legal standing as Harry's guardians in the magical community, as evidenced by the need to have them sign his Hogsmeade weekend permission slip)? Maybe not orphaned specifically, but in possession of their own money? Is it only the Head of the student's House who can do it? Or only the Headmaster and Deputy Headmistress? Maybe it counted as a school supply and therefore the school could order it on behalf of the student and then "bill" him for it.

    Funnily enough, I'm certain JKR just wanted to give Harry a broom with as little time spent on the logistics of it as possible and "McGonagall bought it for him with his money" was probably the quickest explanation she could come up with.

  67. Quincy Morris says:

    The only time the food teleporting is mentioned is in Goblet of Fire. Apparently they set up four tables that look exactly like the four house tables and send it up through the ceiling. Or something. The specifics are not mentioned.

  68. Whit says:

    More HP rereads to come, no? 🙁

    Like…very soonish?

  69. Koos says:

    I don't think Hermione didn't speak to them for two whole months. Harry said he had been at Hogwarts for a total of two months, but Hermione hasn't spoken to them 'since the day Harry's broomstick had arrived' (quote from the book). Which, for as far as we know, could have been the previous week.

  70. Silmarilien says:

    Everyone here, and Mark if you read this, head over to your favorite HP fansite and start hunting down the letters to find out Jo's latest HP project -if the fandom is right and my research correct (we still don't know what it is and we're guessing pretty crazy stuff)- Mark you need to be up there!
    That's all I'm going to say!

    – Leaky
    – HarryPotter-Xperts
    – ClubeDoSlugue
    – Portkey
    – UniversHarryPotter
    – HPANA
    – Snitch Seeker
    – BlogHogwarts

    The fandom will never end!
    Also, love the latest posts and the hunger games -have been a lurker lately, but might come back to the fan life for this 🙂

  71. Rachael says:

    For a long time, I was determined not to read this series. The fame turned me off. It didn't seem that interesting to me. Finally, I did because it was an option for an assignment, plus I felt a need to know why people seemed to love it so much. Now, as I read about you guys getting all excited, I HATE IT! Not the books, the books are wonderful, but I hate seeing you so excited. I didn't get the same amount of joy you all seem to have gotten, and now I feel like I didn't stick to what I said. I feel like I gave up, and I didn't even get the full enjoyment.


  72. accio doublestuff says:

    about the points- this confused me too. like in ss when snape takes ONE point from harry for his "cheek" in harry's first potions class. in every other book he takes five or ten at a time and harry acting like it was no big deal (although this could simply have been harry's increasing disregard for the rules, whereas in book one he wanted to make a good first impression and not make people hate him by losing too many points). and yeah, mcgonagall taking only five for hermione looking for the troll seemed so off. compared to the rest of the series, book one is pretty modest in terms of how many points they can gain and lose at a time (except the whole losing fifty each for being out of bed). it always felt to me like rrowling hadn't figured out the whole teachers giving/taking points system in book one, and sort of refined it as the series went on. it definitely made more sense for teachers to take more than one or five at a time since houses end up with several hundred at the end of the year for the house cup.

  73. Cynkro says:


  74. Shona says:

    I'm not sure if this has been said yet (I started to go through the comments, but gave up…), so my apologies if it has.

    I think Hermione studies all her schoolbooks before getting to Hogwarts because she realizes she might be at a disadvantage, and also because she just has a natural thirst for knowledge. To me, it always seemed like as a first-year, she was more eager to impress her teachers than her peers. This is different from Harry, who tends to focus more on fitting in with his classmates. As Hermione grows and matures, she comes to realize that there are more important things than academic success. That said, I think she will always know that her intelligence is her biggest asset, and she uses it to her advantage.

  75. Happy Crab says:

    No idea if you know when people comment ages after you post something, but your "I really don’t think there’s a better thing to bring people together than an exciting adventure, do you?" line only strengthens my desire for you to read/watch One Piece.

  76. Araxie says:

    Well, you know, when I was six, I was a total know-it-all and would regularly correct other people's mistakes, even much older people. Aside from feeling self-important, I honestly felt as if I was helping them. My parents were quick to tell me to be careful and to try not to come off as so strong, but perhaps Hermione's parents never really corrected her and so she just went on acting like a know-it-all. She just wants to help other people see sense, that's all.

  77. Hailey says:

    I always thought that Quirell brought the troll into the castle. he did say he had a thing with them near the end of th ebook, and also his task thingie was a troll.

  78. Rebecca says:

    All this talk about Hermione's parents and her background reminded me of when in DH she actually sends them to AUSTRALIA and makes them forget that she exists. What I want to know, is how on earth does she get them back after Voldy is defeated? I mean, way to protect them, but was there like an expiration date on that spell? Did she go find them? Or remove it from afar and her parents woke up one day in Australia and said "What the fuck?" and then tried to ground her for putting magic on them and sending them to Australia, but couldn't cause she was grown up? I mean, how did she fix this?
    /end rant

  79. Sarah-Rose says:

    Out of the Golden Trio, Hermione was always the one I identified the most with (in the books. I really feel like her character was badly misinterpreted in the films, but that's a whole other rant), not just because I'm a girl with somewhat frizzy brown hair, but because I share her love of books and learning.

    Personally, I always considered her 'know-it-all' attitude in Philosopher's Stone to be her own, awkward and obviously mistaken way of trying to make friends. As a muggle-born child with absolutely no previous knowledge of the magical world, to suddenly find herself trying to navigate Hogwarts on her on must be terrifying. She will have left all her friends from primary school behind, and was more than likely never expecting to be leaving her home to go to boarding school – so unlike Ron, who has had five brothers attend and been prepared for it his whole life, and Harry, who was only too happy to escape an abusive home, coming to Hogwarts is probably thoroughly daunting for Hermione.

    Add to this an obvious love of knowledge and learning, and her insecurities have probably driven her to read and reread every textbook she has so, as well as finding out everything she can about this new world she's fascinated by, she won't feel completely clueless when she gets to Hogwarts. I always interpreted her showing off her knowledge was both her way of showing her excitement, but also her way of trying to reach out to her peers and try to make some kind of connection with them. Unfortunately, she rubs them up the wrong way without realising it.

    Take the Charms Class thing: Hermione thinks she's helping Ron by telling him that he's pronouncing 'Wingardium Leviosa' wrong, but he sees it as her showing her superiority over him. It's misinterpretation on both sides, IMO.

    Once she makes friends with Harry and Ron and learns from them why she was annoying them she becomes a bit more tactful and sensitive – and equally, they realise what she says and does is with the best intentions and become a lot more tolerant. Also, of course, she then has friends to share these new experiences with and isn't so desperate to reach out to people.

    Obviously being almost killed by a giant, club-wielding troll and only being saved because the rules broken was probably a big wake-up call for her as well!

  80. Kae says:

    What I hate about Quidditch is how excessively important the seeker is. I think there is a game in PoA where Harry purposely distracts the other Seeker from the Snitch, knowing that even if he caught it, his team wouldn't win the game because the other team is way ahead of them. But that happens only rarely, and I believe it is mentioned in this book that usually the team that gets the Snitch wins. Which, well, makes it not a team game.

  81. rabidsamfan says:

    Late to this, but I won't be able to comment on the ebook, and I wanted to say that I think Hermione didn't have friends when she was at school before Hogwarts. She strikes me as one of the very very bright kids who keeps getting taken out of class to do special things and ends up dealing more with adults than her peers. Being smart and obedient is all she knows. Think about it, after two months at Hogwarts, she's still not hanging with the other Gryffindor girls and when she does make friends it's with two boys. She must have been pretty lonely before Halloween. I'll bet it wasn't the first time she was crying in the bathroom.

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