Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 8

In the eighth chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry experiences his first disorienting day inside Hogwarts, where Filch and Mrs. Norris are super annoying and snaaaaaaappppppppeeeeeeeeee. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to re-read Harry Potter.


Oh, Harry Potter. How I have missed you! As we take the time to spend a few chapters in this world, it’s such a neat thing to be re-reading this with the context and knowledge of the entire series. Hell, especially this chapter, which contained so many clues to the end reveal of this book and the series as a whole. Also: SNAPE. Oh, we are going to have a conversation about Snape. WE MUST.

It’s neat that there are hints to the whispering celebrity issue that comes up in Chamber of Secrets, that who Harry is, is going to be used against him in the near future. But it’s just one of many things that distract, terrify, and disorient Harry on that first day of classes at Hogwarts. WHERE IS MY HOGWARTS LETTER, BTW.

Since my initial review completely missed all the clue-dropping and foreshadowing present here because I was so beautifully ignorant in those days, I focused on the absurdity of all of this. The school itself no longer feels that way, as I’ve come to understand that it’s almost a living entity in a sense, that corridors can change at will and that no one will ever quite understand what the building’s actual layout is. (Dumbledore got pretty close. And now I’m thinking of the Room of Requirement and wondering when Rowling will first drop a hint of it.)

But reading back through this again, I love how just fucking weird it is. Rowling’s matter-of-fact tone throughout all of this feels like she was writing this and had a DEAL WITH IT look on her face. One hundred and forty-two staircases? Doors that are pretending to be doors? Ghosts that would drop wastebaskets on your head? A cat named Mrs. Norris? It’s all so magical and I know that’s a silly word to use, but it really is. While I commend the fact that Rowling does capture the strangeness and the unfamiliarity of the first day at a new school incredibly well, I’m more interested in how she uses this chapter to continue to build the magical world, especially around the outside in this case. While Harry has experience later with students who come from Muggle families, it’s not nearly the same thing because the very specific context of where Harry has come from.

It’s nice to cycle through all of the teachers as well, from the adorable Professor Sprout, to the inevitably boring Professor Binns. I mean….reading this again made me laugh:

Professor Binns had been very old indeed when he had fallen asleep in front of the staff room fire and got up next morning to teach, leaving his body behind him.

CAN WE DISCUSS THIS. Ok, the way this is worded….did he discover the staff room fire and just go MEH WHATEVER and fall asleep right there in front of it? Or is this an instance of him falling asleep in the staff room and then it caught on fire? Actually, it almost doesn’t even matter which one it is, because the result of such an act is even more hilarious: He woke up, completely dead, and decided that there was nothing he’d like to do more for the remainder of eternity than bore the fuck out of students at Hogwarts. That is some fucking dedication to boredom. My god, Professor Binns is now the best character in the whole book.

There’s an entire paragraph that is RIDICULOUS in terms of how foreshadow-y it is of Quirrell’s true identity and I laugh at the fact that I did not catch a single detail regarding it at the time I first read this. His turban story is obviously fake since he doesn’t seem to want to tell the story of how he got it and his class is full of garlic to block out the smell of FUCKING VOLDEMORT, who is smelling up the back of his head. I mean…IT’S RIGHT THERE. HOW DID I NOT SEE THIS. Oh, to be so blissfully unaware again.

Actually, I’m glad I’ve read this whole series because now I can finally begin to openly talk about Snape. I never really wrote a huge piece about what I thought about him after I finished the series. And look, I can admit to being so absurdly foolish about hating him and thinking he was clearly the worst villain ever. But that also made the reveal of “The Prince’s Tale” much more powerful to me. But seriously, I was pretty committed to the idea that he was completely and totally evil. Given that, and given what I now know about his whole story, this chapter is just….weird. Fascinating, but really, really weird.

I suppose that it all has to involve some imagining on our parts to put the pieces together. But I think about Snape seeing Harry that first time in the Great Hall, and I imagine that there must have been a rush of memories, of emotions, thoughts of what he wanted with Lily but couldn’t ever have, of knowing that she was dead inherently because of what he had done years ago, and now this boy waltzes into that hall as a physical reminder of it all. Harry’s existence is because of Lily’s love for him, and now Snape has to see him. So what does a man in this situation do?

He lashes out. I’m not comfortable excusing Snape’s actions, but I want to make sure I understand them. It’s like Harry is a trigger for Snape’s rather traumatic past, and it doesn’t help that there are probably a few things that remind Snape about James Potter, either. I guess that’s why I ultimately think that of everyone in the Harry Potter series, Snape gets the best story. He’s a man tortured by his conscience, of the memory of what never was, and he’s forced to protect a child that reminds him of how fucking unbearably depressing his life is. Again, this does not excuse the way that Snape bullies Harry, and it most certainly does not excuse the way he enables Draco Malfoy to do the same. Draco’s character doesn’t get the depth that Snape has until the sixth book and even then, it’s not enough for me to care. Sorry, I don’t like Draco and he doesn’t redeem himself in my eyes. THERE I SAID IT, BRING IT DRACO STANS.

I suppose, though, that it would be so much easier to like Snape had he not come off as a presumptive asshole in this first true introduction to him, and I do understand why I was so averse to liking him. As much as I get that Snape is just unhappy with the way things have turned out for himself, he has no idea what life has been like for Harry at the Dursleys, that he has not lived a life of entitlement in the years he lived away from his parents after their death. Wait until The Order of the Phoenix, Snape, and then you will have plenty of time to whine about Harry’s entitled attitude. FOR REAL.

But here, in that first Potions lesson, Snape purposely picks on Harry, singles him out to answer questions that he knows Harry won’t know the answers to, and punishes his entire house for these things. Was he trying to get others to dislike Harry, too? Either way, I elaborated on this idea during Mark Reads Harry Potter that I am not one to love figures of authority abusing their power as Snape has done here. Of course, this is nowhere near as bad as what Dolores Umbridge does (AAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHHH JUST THE NAME SENDS ME INTO A RAGE), but half of my experience in junior high school and high school involved teachers, counselors, and even a vice principal either picking on me purposely or enabling said bullying to happen. So that’s part of the reason I side eye Snape really, really hard while also understanding the traumatic motivation he has for his actions. On top of all of that, he’s incredibly hard on Neville during this first lesson and you do not pick on my Neville Longbottom without serious consequences.

On a completely unserious note, I love that Hermione is already begging to be be chosen to answer a question. COULD I BE HER ANYMORE THAN I ALREADY AM.

The seeds of the wonderful friendship that Harry, Ron, and Hermione have with Hagrid is all built right here, too. Obviously, since Hagrid was the first source of sorcery that Harry ever saw, and because Hagrid “saved” him from the Dursleys, I never doubted that Hagrid would always be a staple to Harry’s life. But it’s great to know that so early on, Hagrid was sending Harry sweet little notes to join him for tea. Hagrid’s an outsider, too, unable to perform magic, kind of a bit rubbish as a teacher, and an easy target for a lot of the school’s more shittier student population, so there’s a part of me that believes Hagrid doesn’t want Harry to go through the same thing. He knows that Harry is also never going to get a post from his owl that originates from the Dursley residence, so it’s pretty fantastic that he takes it upon himself to send what he can to Harry.

Hagrid’s painfully dodgy and not-concealed-well knowledge of outside information is displayed in all its beautiful glory here in chapter eight as well. It almost seems like Rowling has this unspoken joke that runs throughout the entire series that involves the trio going to Hagrid to learn whatever they need to about that book’s events because Hagrid is really shit at keeping a secret. It’s clear he knew way more about Snape than he let on, and that whatever was in the vault had to do with the Gringotts break-in. (Did Dumbledore tell Hagrid about Snape’s allegiance? I honestly can’t remember. I mean…did Dumbledore tell anyone else or did everyone just trust Dumbledore’s judgment?)

Chapter eight ends on that sort of note. You’re intrigued by the concept of it all, but it’s still not quite enough to send you into overdrive. SOON THOUGH.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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185 Responses to Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 8

  1. Heather says:

    I'm pretty sure Professor Binnsjust fell asleep in front of the fireplace, not an actual accidental fire.

    I love this book so much.

    • FlameRaven says:

      Yeah, it's "the staff room fire" in the way that you would say the "Gryffindor common room fire." They have fireplaces everywhere, nothing caught on fire.

    • I was also under the impression that there was a fireplace in the staff room (though I admit it's been years since I've read this, so I could be wrong). I thought he settled in a chair near the fireplace for a nap, died in his sleep, and then got up to teach as a ghost. I can't imagine someone being so complacent about DYING IN A FIRE. That stuff hurts. D:

    • Yusra says:

      that's what I thought. Mark confused me muchly.

    • theanagrace says:

      I love how many upvotes you have for this comment. 😀

    • Erica says:

      For years, I thought that the staff room had caught on fire and Binns fell asleep during it and died that way. I don't know how many times I had read the book before I figured that it was probably a fire in a grate. I guess it's just one of those things that, once you get it into your head, it's hard to get it out.

    • Jaime says:

      Oh Mark's misunderstandings crack me up everytime. So adorable. 😀

    • brieana says:

      Yeah, he's just a really boring teacher who died in a really boring way.

    • cjazzle says:

      yeah, im sorry mark, you generally outsmart me with your highly tuned analysis skillz, but on this one… i just can't imagine misunderstanding the wording. maybe its like one of those trick pictures where it's either the silhouette of two faces facing one another or a candlestick/goblet. if i knew how to add a graphic as visual aid i would, but i dont, so this might just remain confusing until the end of time.

    • @ConStar24 says:

      I also, like mark, have thought this WHOLE TIME that he fell asleep and caught on fire. its been 11 years i've been reading and rereading this book. wow. even after a decade you learn new things.

  2. enigmaticagentscully says:

    'Hagrid is really shit at keeping a secret'
    Yeah, Dumbledore probs trusts him with a little too much. I mean, Hagrid never means to let slip this stuff, but he does. And with lives on the line, maybe it would be better to keep Hagrid out of the loop a little more? I do love Hagrid though. He invites them to tea! Bless his furry beard.

    Ummm..about Professor Binns and the fire thing? I'm pretty sure Rowling meant he fell asleep in front of the fireplace in the staffroom, not like an ACTUAL BLAZING INFERNO or anything. He just died of old age, he didn't sit there and doze off while the flames of death consumed him. 😛

    • cait0716 says:

      Yeah, Hagrid means well. But he sort of exemplifies "the road to Hell is paved with good intentions". He probably reinforced Dumbledore's habit of never trusting one single person with the entire plan.

    • Heather says:

      That's how I always pictured the Professor Binns thing. He was so boring that even his peaceful death couldn't stop him!

    • roguebelle says:

      Yeah, that's what I thought about Binns, too — that he just didn't notice that he'd died (and possibly still hasn't!). 😉

      • enigmaticagentscully says:

        Yeah, that's a point…has no-one told him? Because that's just mean!

        • rumantic says:

          I think they must have done, because he enters the classroom through the blackboard. Unless they moved the door and nobody told him that either?

    • Stuart says:

      "It almost seems like Rowling has this unspoken joke that runs throughout the entire series that involves the trio going to Hagrid to learn whatever they need to about that book’s events because Hagrid is really shit at keeping a secret. "

      Yeah, I just noticed… Hagrid == Hurley, y/y?

    • ldwy says:

      Bless his furry beard

      I'm sorry, I had to quote it simply because it's the best ever. Bless his furry beard, indeed. Hurrah for Hagrid (but he really is shit at keeping a secret).

    • Lindsey says:

      I shouldn’t ‘ave said that. . . I should ~not~ have said that! 😉

  3. cait0716 says:

    I think the staff room fire was a fire in a fireplace in the staff room. I figured Professor Binns was napping in a chair in front of the fire (because that's what you do when you're old and there is a fire) and died. Then he just didn't know he had died because he was so old.

    And I remember catching the very first reference to the Room of Requirement on one of my re-reads and being so excited to recognize it. So even though there are supposedly no spoilers on this read through, that feels like a spoiler. I hope no one else tells you when it happens…

    The re-read is so much fun. These books are PACKED with subtle foreshadowing. I actually remember getting really mad when they started making the movies before the books were finished because I was worried about them highlighting some of that foreshadowing for the later novels. I didn't want them to show me what I ought to be paying attention to. I also got mad because as soon as the movies started coming out, my brother simply stopped reading the books, deciding to wait for the movies instead. It's an attitude that I loathe and I wonder how many other times it played out. Clearly the books reminded top sellers, but I know several people who never read the later books because they'd rather watch the movies. Part of me really wishes they had held off on the movies until after the series was finished. (And part of me adores Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, so yeah)

    • knut_knut says:

      I wish they had held off making the movies until after the books were finished because some of them are missing so many important details!! I know part of that is just that the books are PACKED, as you said, with foreshadowing and little drops of information so things were inevitably going to be left out, but I think part of it was just that Rowling hadn't finished the series and the people in charge of making the movies didn't really know what was important (I know they consulted Rowling but I feel like she gave them a little more free rein than they should have had)

      • Delilah says:

        Haha! You say they wouldn't have missed any important details, but HBP did a pretty good job of it after DH had been released!

        • knut_knut says:

          RIGHT! I totally forgot HBP came out after DH was released! Then there's no excuse for leaving out all the important Room of Requirement stuff. I wonder how they're going to fix it

    • monkeybutter says:

      Yeah, I imagine Binns cozying up in an armchair with some firewhiskey and a tome on the Goblin Rebellions, and dying in his sleep. He bored generations of Hogwarts students so that none of them would go into history of magic, ensuring him eternal employment.

      It's soooo much fun picking out elements that come back later on rereads.

      • knut_knut says:

        haha, I never thought about the eternal employment bit! But what do you pay a ghost? Or is he just working for free?

      • ldwy says:

        His clever ruse to ensure eternal employment is fantastic. Excellent theory = now cannon. 🙂 Thanks.

      • Elexus Calcearius says:

        I do wonder how he reads and or makes notes when he can't touch anything, though.

  4. Heather says:

    I love that we can talk about things without OMG SPOILERS anymore! 😀

    "I guess that’s why I ultimately think that of everyone in the Harry Potter series, Snape gets the best story."

    I agree so hard. He's my favorite character of all time. It's not because he's a good man – he isn't. He's cruel and jealous and completely unlikable. However, he's one of the most complex characters I know, and his complete ambiguity and his inherent contradictions are just so completely fascinating. I bought an "I Trust Severus Snape" shirt post-HBP, cried incredibly hard and actually HIGHLIGHTED MY BOOK (I don't like writing in books) when he died, and am sort of not looking forward to the last movie for the same reason, even though I am 100% sure he's going to be a huge bamf (no, Firefox, I do not mean barf).

    • LunaKyria says:

      OHMIGOD, yes. Deathly Hallows the movie…The entire scene where he dies and then the memories, I was torn between crying my eyes out and drooling over young!Snape (and feeling terrible because Alan Rickman is 62 and SHOULD NOT BE THAT SEXY anymore. He's more than 40 years older than me! Damn sexy voice…). You are right though, he is SUCH A BAMF. Ah-may-zing. Gah.

      Also, fanfiction has rotted my brain because I KNOW that Snape is still a complete bastard in canon but, well…in fanon he's often not, so my mental version of Snape is significanty less completely unlikable than the real one 😉

  5. monkeybutter says:

    Oh, Snape. I never thought he was the worst villain ever because I thought that would be too easy. I wanted him to be more complex, and man am I glad he was. That whole idea of Snape: not completely evil was really helped along by Quirrell being the bad guy at the end of PS. He's my favorite character because I think he's the most complicated (next to all the delicious Dumbledore backstory in DH), but he's still an asshole. A huge asshole. I agree with what you say about Harry triggering bad memories and intense hatred — and why couldn't he have chosen to be reminded of Lily, her love, and the good she left behind in the world instead? Because he's a self-centered, self-pitying jerk? Yes. But there's no good reason for his treatment of Neville (who shows great mercy in his BAMfitude by not killing Snape where he stands), or countless other non-Malfoy students. Snape should not be allowed to mold young minds.

    I think everyone just went with Dumbledore's assurances that Snape wasn't bad anymore. They thought he was on their side, but they still knew he was a jerkass. Kinda like my feelings about him!

    Oh, Mrs Norris. Her namesake is one of my most-loathed literary characters. I love Rowling forever for making the snoopy, cranky cat my least favorite character in my least favorite Austen book. Truly fitting for Filch's cat.

    • Stuart says:

      Imagine if Ginny had married Draco Malfoy, then died, and Harry had grown up to be a Hogwarts teacher and had to teach Ginny and Draco's son. A son who looks and acts exactly like Draco… but has vivid red Weasley hair…

      I bet it'd be SORELY tempting for Harry to assume the worst of that kid, too.

      (Which is not to excuse Snape's behavior – I'm basically agreeing with you, monkeybutter, and with Mark. Just thought it was a good example of how the situation must have felt from Snape's perspective…)

      • monkeybutter says:

        Hahaha, sorry, busy imagining redheaded Draco. I think a kid that acts like Draco would deserve some abuse, but probably not from a teacher. Maybe a little ferret bouncing if he's being really shitty. But now that you've set me down the path of Weasleys and Malfoys procreating, Rose/Scorpius/Ron's exploding head 4EVA!

        But yeah, I get Snape's reasons, I just think Snape wouldn't behaved that way if he was capable of looking at it from any perspective other than his own. I do feel bad for him. He had a screwed up life.

        • andreah1234 says:

          Rose/Scorpius/Ron's exploding head

          XD. That has to be the best ship in universe. Well, after Doctor/TARDIS. But whatever, THUMBS UP FOR BEING AWESOME. And hell I would abuse Draco/mini!Draco, and I'm, like, the most non-violent person ever XD.

        • LOTRjunkie6 says:

          Psh, I already ship Rose/Scorpius. Which is weird, because I really dislike Dramione.

      • nanceoir says:

        Or Harry could see the son as the only remnant of the woman he loved and treat the kid well, if for no other reason than out of his love for Ginny.

        Which itself has some issues behind it, but at least it's not taking out all of your life's troubles on an innocent kid.

    • Tmeo says:

      Is it completely shallow of me to be absolutely certain that Snape wasn't the shallow villain he was made out to be since the first movie, because it was inconcievable that Allan Rickman would bother to play someone like that? I also adore snape as the best developed character in HP, and I think I would have liked him less if his backstory were to erase his bad traits and turn him into a saint. As it is, he's a selfish and immature young man (remember that he's barely into his thirties in the first book), who tags along with Voldemort for childish vengeance upon those who bullied and excluded him in school, never understanding the cost of it untill people he is close to are actually killed, almost by his own hand. During the books, Snape slowly grows some values and a consience, thereby becoming a better man than Dumbledore, and even caring about Harry's fate and well- being (not that he would ever have admitted all that before certain death, which shows his pride and unwillingness to allow anyone to pity him).

  6. myshadow says:

    The main reason why Snape is so horrible to Neville is because Neville could have been the Chosen One. And if Voldemort had went to kill Neville and his parents, Lily wouldn't have died.

    • knut_knut says:

      but really, why did that never occur to me?

    • Andrew says:

      That's a very good point. Although, did Snape actually know that about Neville? (I can't remember, my memories are fuzzy)

      • myshadow says:

        He might have but I'm not entirely sure.

      • knut_knut says:

        I think he heard the first half of the prophecy (that the person who can destory Voldemort will be born in July) and I'm sure they must have known about Neville's birth since the wizarding community seems so small

      • Mandi says:

        He had to have, remember? They debated between Neville and Harry for a while, before Voldemort made the final decision. And still he sent the Lestranges to torture Neville's parents, just to make sure they got the right family! (that's how I saw it, anyway.)

        • ShinSeifer says:

          That's not it. The Lestranges actually tortured the Longbottoms AFTER the fall of Voldemort, in the deluded hope that they would know the location of their master.
          And that's why their crime was such a punch-in-the-face for the magical community… It actually happened after the victory, with everyone celebrating and such.

          Or at least this is what I remember from my recent reread, correct me if I'm wrong!

          • Mandi says:

            Haven't reread them in a while, so maybe I was just making up stuff. Thanks for clarifying!

          • Cee says:

            This is true–the LeStranges' torture of the Longbottoms was around Christmas of that year, I believe (Harry's parents were murdered on Halloween).

    • pooslie says:

      my mind? COMPLETELY BLOWN!!
      never thought about this before!!!

    • JessicaR says:

      Harry Potter fans seem to never run out of things to discover 🙂

    • steph says:

      OMG i didnt think of that!!!! smh and i'm good at figuring out things and i never knew that..i just thought that snape did it cuz you know..he's snape

    • hallowsnothorcruxes says:

      This is such a good point. I never even considered this.

    • PaulineParadise says:

      I'd love to go OMG WHY DID I MISS THAT but instead I'll just say the truth and I THOUGHT OF THAT I FEEL ~SO~ CLEVER

    • Saber says:

      Seriously. I need to have some hardcore HP friend IRL I can phone up about this.

    • fakehepburn says:

      HOLY SHIT.

  7. mugglemomof2 says:

    Right here (and I am crazy enough to want one to sit next to my book collection (stop laughing at me)

    • @Shoganate says:


      (When I get rich of course…)

      But seriously, how did I not know these existed!? You have just made my day, and quite possibly my life! =D

      • Mandi says:

        Because they were only released like, last week! A better question, then: HOW did they not think of this BEFORE???

        • Elexus Calcearius says:

          Pretty much this. I was reading the mugglenet news post for it, they basically said "This is one of those ideas that you're amazed have only been released now."

  8. Rose Brazeale says:


    On that note, of course Hagrid didn't know Snape's story, otherwise we totally would've known it in book one. XD

    And I'm pretty sure that Binns just died in front of the fireplace after taking a nap. But your version sounds SO MUCH COOLER.

  9. JessicaR says:

    "Wait until The Order of the Phoenix, Snape, and then you will have plenty of time to whine about Harry’s entitled attitude. FOR REAL."

    -OMG I laughed so hard! XD But Mark, you shouldn't be so hard on Harry, I know he's kind of a jerk during OotP but think of how hormonal he is and all the shit *cough*Dolores Umbridge*cough* he was going through. Haha :))

    • roguebelle says:

      That's how I feel about OOTP Harry, too. I mean, c'mon, y'all, do you *remember* being fifteen? Compared to most of the people I knew at that age (including myself), Harry held it together pretty well, and with a lot more actual stress weighing down on him.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      I'm only hard on him because that is my favorite book of all the books and I deeply relate to his pain

  10. myshadow says:

    He might have. I'm not entirely sure though.

  11. pooslie says:

    I will never forgive Snape, he IS the worst villain to me. Not because he is Harry's enemy but because he is villainous to ALL of his students by not teaching them properly.

    I think that Snape is just a bad teacher in general.

    Example: when he is teaching Harry Occlumency he is just like "ok, OCCLUMENCY GO!" and Harry is like "Uhh…HOW?" and Snape is like "you are lazy and an incompetent idiot!" (which, is, to be honest, how i usually react when i am trying to teach someone something and they don't pick up on it as fast as I did BUT that is why i decided my middle school dream of becoming an art teacher was probably not such a good idea.)

    Example 2: in potions class instead of, i don't know, INSTRUCTING someone the proper way to do something when they are doing it wrong, he mocks them in front of the entire class and takes points off their house.

    • ToastofDoom says:

      I took first aid training this weekend, and my instructor was like this. If you volunteered an answer and it was wrong, she would shame you in front of the entire class. There were even a couple times when the answer I gave was right, but because it wasn't the one she wanted, she made me out to look like an idiot. By the time we finished the first two lessons I was starting to feel a bit stabby. She knew her stuff I will give her that, but she should not be allowed to teach.
      /angry rant over
      Luckily we had a different instructor on the second day and she was lovely 🙂

      • Elexus Calcearius says:

        I know exactly likes that like. I once had a chemistry teacher just like this. Science was one of my favourite subjects, and one of my best, but I'd transferred into a class half way through a topic, and instead of teaching me he just called be an idiot who wasn't fit to be in the class in front of everyone. Its not fun, and even if he had justifying reasons (OMG HE'S SNAPE) that doesn't really excuse the mental abuse I went through for those months.

    • LOTRjunkie6 says:

      I can't agree with you here… I mean, yes, Snape can be a real jerk, but seriously? Worst villain? I can think of people who have done much worse things than teaching badly and ridiculing students.

      • plaida says:

        you mean like joining a supremist terrorist organization and later tormenting the kids whose parents torture/death and their own almost-murder was your fault?

        • LOTRjunkie6 says:

          Huh, funny, because I thought that Snape was spying on the Death Eaters for the Order of the Phoenix and following Dumbledore's orders, pretty much risking his life to atone for his past- Ohhh, wait, he was. <i/>

      • pooslie says:

        I was just echoing what Mark said…

        I think he is a bad villian,

        it harkens back to when i was a kid and someone was bullying you mentally but not physically adults would be all "sticks and stones" etc and it would make me so mad because if they hurt you body as bad as they hurt your mind (feelings/emotions) ten they would have been in SO much trouble! but because there is no physical evidence it didn't happen.

        i think snape IS as bad as Voldemort because you KNOW Voldemort is bad, he doesn't pretend to be good or pretend to be bad. He isn't on the "good side" but then torturing the kids who's parents were killed (or were tortured to insanity) by his old buddies. Voldemort will just straight up kill a muggleborn not tell her he doesn't see a difference in her giant cursed teeth (something she was all ready self conscious abut) making her feel like garbage.

        Snape may not be out there killing people but he is torturing them.

    • MichelleZB says:

      JK Rowling said the same thing. She was a teacher for a while and she said she wrote Snape to be the worst teacher she could imagine–the kind of teacher who kills student's ability to learn. She said there's no excuse for that kind of teaching.

  12. roguebelle says:

    I'm so glad you posted another Re-Read chapter today! This is actually the one I ended on last night. Over the past week, I've simultaneously started my series re-read, in prep for the last movie coming out, and have actual-fax been to Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. And what those two things, in conjunction, have done is… reminded me why I frigging love this series so goddamn much.

    It's weird. I was so deep in the fandom for such a long time that I sort of forgot to be awed by just how creative the whole thing is, just how, you're right, *magical* Hogwarts is. And now I've been out of the fandom for a while, and I got to come back to it totally fresh, with all those years of debate and intimacy and guesswork and details farther removed from me, and I remembered… Yeah. This is awesome. I had that starry-eyed feeling all over again, and it was great. 🙂

  13. cait0716 says:

    He gets paid with the snores of school children. It's like chocolate for him

    • theanagrace says:

      I bet he purposely puts them to sleep so he can mess with them via subliminal messages.
      Hermione messed with his plans by staying awake and taking notes though.

  14. Mauve_Avenger says:

    It's interesting that in Snape's little Q&A session, we get both wolfsbane (presumably the main ingredient in the potion Snape makes for Lupin) and bezoars (which saved both Harry's Potions reputation and Ron's life). And then there's the asphodel and wormwood question, to which the answer seems to be the same potion that Friar Lawrence gave to Juliet…

    I wasn't one of them, but some people apparently shipped Snape/Lily based at least in part on Snape's grilling of Harry in this chapter. I read some specific sites arguing that the wormwood and asphodel question in particular was hugely symbolic, but looking at my bookmarks it doesn't seem that I saved any of them. 🙁

    Basically, these sites say that the asphodel is a member of the lily family (it isn't; there's one plant called an asphodel that isn't a true asphodel and used to belong to the lily family but isn't any more), logically connecting it of course to Lily Potter. Asphodel is also connected symbolically with graveyards and death, probably because of its association with the story of Persephone (it was the plant she was distracted by when Hades came to abduct her). Interestingly (though I guess not relevantly), it's the same plant into which Narcissus was transformed; it's believed that the word "daffodil" comes from a mispronunciation of "asphodel."

    Wormwood is invariably associated with bitterness, but it also has some other interesting meanings. It was said to have sprung up along the trail that led the Serpent out of the Garden of Eden, a way of preventing him from entering again. Its scientific name, Artemesia, is believed to come from a Greek queen of the same name, a botanist who mourned the loss of her brother/husband Mausolus for two years by creating a huge monument in his honor (the origin of the word "mausoleum"), leading the plant to be associated with love and devotion as well as grief and mourning.

    The asphodel/Lily connection doesn't seem that leading (there's no reason for a dead person not to be associated with death and graveyards, obviously), but the connection between Snape and a bitter plant of love, loss, and mourning is very interesting.

    ETA: Found one of the sites, with bonus poetic evidence.

    • Kirby says:

      Yeah, I'm pretty sure that Snape is saying (In his own, roundabout way) 'I am bitterly sorry for Lily's death.' which is beyond sad.

  15. lindseytinsey says:

    At this point in the series Hagdrid was not yet a teacher. We still had Professor Grubbly-Plank and only 3rd years and up could take the subject.

    • t09yavorski says:

      Not Grubbly-Plank, Professor Kettleburn.

      • lindseytinsey says:

        OH, you're right! But where did Grubbly-Plank come from???

        • theanagrace says:

          She came in when Hagrid was suspended during the inquiry to Draco's injury in his class and Buckbeak's trial. I don't know that we got more info than; I am Prof. Grubbly-Plank who will be teaching this class while Hagrid is suspended.

          • lindseytinsey says:

            I know, yes. She was a substitute… interesting. I'm probably thinking about this too much but when Lupin got sick Snape stepped in but if he hadn't then would they have gotten a substitute? Hmmm…

            • PaulineParadise says:

              Probably because Snape was most likely jumping up and down, his hand raised high in the air when Dumbledore mentioned they needed a substitute for DADA. Snape's fav subject, right?

  16. Saphling says:

    In my own first reread of the series, after the last book came out, I kept a list of items and references in each book that would come into play in later books (example: Mrs Figg, the vanishing cabinet, the bezoar). I had a tidy little list. Then I reread the series again, a few months ago, before the 7th movie came out, and realized I had still missed some. Oh, Rowling. ^__^

  17. lastyearswishes says:

    Sorry, I don’t like Draco and he doesn’t redeem himself in my eyes. THERE I SAID IT, BRING IT DRACO STANS.
    You're right, he doesn't. I had so much hope for him after reading Half-Blood Prince too and was so, so disappointed at the way his story ended. But it makes sense, I guess, not every "villain" gets to redeem themselves in the end and JKR already had Snape's redemption. Having Draco redeem himself probably would've been too unrealistic…even though I really wanted it to happen lol.

  18. Meltha says:

    You mention that Hagrid is lousy at keeping secrets, and golly, Dumbledore's choice to tell him key information like how the Sorcerer's Stone is guarded is sort of silly in retrospect.

    Unless, of course, Dumbledore knew full well that Hagrid was the type to form a bond with an orphaned kid and had a tendency to spill secrets, which I'm pretty sure he did. If so, Dumbledore specifically gave Hagrid information he wanted Harry to eventually get hold of without anyone directly realizing that was the intention all along, bypassing Voldemort's legimency powers because Hagrid would have no idea he was actually supposed to tell Harry this and Harry would have no idea the info actually came from Dumbledore.

  19. ldwy says:

    Hahaha, I'm grinning so big. Staff room fire = Staff room fireplace, Mark. I don't believe the staff room burned down and killed Professor Binns, I think he was an old man, who fell asleep in front of the fire and didn't wake up. Died from old age. Except then he did wake up and continued teaching. 🙂

    • ldwy says:

      And look, I can admit to being so absurdly foolish about hating him and thinking he was clearly the worst villain ever. But that also made the reveal of “The Prince’s Tale” much more powerful to me.

      Oh, I think it's safe to say we all did! Or at least most. Even though for some there was the element of loving the bad guy. He was the big bad bag guy worst villain ever! We loathed him or we loved to loath him or whatnot. And then our hearts all broke for him!

      But now, looking back…best villain/not villain ever??

      Like you, reading all of this a second time is so different, when I pause to think. For me, in the moment, while reading, Snape still feels very much the villain. Not that I forget the ending/reveal/true story, but I still feel the charactes' suspicious and hatred of him.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      Wait is there a typo in my book? Or can I just NOT READ COMPREHEND GOOD

      • ldwy says:

        No, I don't think there's a typo. The book says "staff room fire" not "fireplace"-I was just making the distinction. I think the fires in the fireplaces were a main source of heat and maybe also light in Hogwarts, so a fire is lit in all the fireplaces each night. For instance, I know in later books there's mention that this is one of the house elve's duties (don't have an exact quote).

      • Opheliac says:

        Don't worry, I too think the other image is funnier. xD

  20. Meltha says:

    As for Snape, yes, he gets a great story. But I still strongly dislike him. When we finally get his backstory, he admits he has no problem with

    -Voldemort killing people
    -Voldemort killing Muggle-borns and half-bloods specifically
    -Voldemort killing people using Snape's information
    -Voldemort killing James
    -Voldemort killing a one-year-old Harry

    The one thing that makes Snape change sides is Voldemort might use Snape's info to kill Lily. He's actually HOPING James and Harry die so he can get her back. He just feels guilty from getting Lily killed, so he decides out of honor to her he won't let the person who killed her win; however, he's fine with torturing the physical proof that Lily once loved James, especially since Harry is James's twin except for the eyes. Snape tortures Harry as he would have loved to torture James. I think part of the reason Snape is so good at blocking Voldemort's attempts to read his mind is Snape isn't lying often; he really hates the people Voldemort targets, he believes the Death Eaters' theories of superiority, and in most respects he thinks Voldemort is right. He just wants revenge.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      I agree that at the time he definitely had no problem with all the things you've listed, but I personally like to think that he managed to develop and not being okay with the killing of innocents and mudbloods. Does that make him a good person? No. It makes him a multi-faceted person and a better character, IMO.

    • LOTRjunkie6 says:

      I have to disagree a little. I think he initially did agree with the Death Eater mentality, but Lily's death woke him up. Remember how Phineas Nigellus Black referred to Hermione as a "Mudblood" in Deathly Hallows, and Snape totally tore into him for that?

      About the Occlumency, I've got a bit of a theory about that. Occlumency. There's a quote from J.K. Rowling-

      "…I think Draco would be very gifted in Occlumency, unlike Harry. Harry’s problem with it was always that his emotions were too near the surface and that he is in some ways too damaged. But he's also very in touch with his feelings about what's happened to him. He's not repressed, he's quite honest about facing them, and he couldn't suppress them, he couldn't suppress these memories. But I thought of Draco as someone who is very capable of compartmentalising his life and his emotions, and always has done. "

      Snape has always seemed to me like the kind of person who would never be able to drop the trauma and grief of causing his true love's death. He's been permanently damaged by this and the only way he's been able to survive is by suppressing his emotions and grief. That's why he's so capable with Occlumency, because he's already been forced to compartmentalise the thing that mattered the most to him in the world- Lily and his love for her.

      • blessthechuldren says:

        Hmm, I think Snape's reaction to the word "mudblood" isn't because he has a problem with mudblood prejudice. I think the ral problem is that the word specifically reminds him of the moment when, in his mind at least, he "lost" Lily. I don't think he ever totally grasped that he really lost her when he began to love the Death Eater mentality. Although, it would be nice if he had developed a true conscience about prejudice based on blood status, I don't think he did.

    • Riel says:

      Well, Snape's mother was a Slytherin, probably a pureblood. She married a muggle, so her family probably hated her for it. The muggle turns out to be an abuser. I'm guessing that she had no support from her family and friends, and couldn't even use magic to defend herself against her abuser because using magic against muggles is illegal.

      That's what Snape saw while growing up. Of course he grew up hating muggles. It's bad, but at least it comes from somewhere, unlike Bellatrix that has everything (family, friends and money) and just loooves to kill muggles and half-bloods.

  21. lopyzos says:

    I just want to point out that a lot of things that Snape taught harry became crucial for harry's struggle later. Let's not forget either the bezoar but most important the expelliarmus spell in the second book etc. But I think Snape's attitude could be seen from the strict father – teacher point of view. What is his first lesson to Harry? "Clearly fame is not everything" (if i am not mistaken), something you ought to tell a small child who suddenly finds himself in the center of attraction.
    PS. Sorry for my poor english.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      Yes, that's a very good point. Someone probably should tell Harry to stay grounded when he becomes famous.

      (And don't worry, your English is very good!)

      • notemily says:

        That's the reason Dumbledore put him with a non-Wizarding family, though. Or one of the reasons. He didn't want Harry to grow up with a big head. (I'm not sure he meant him to grow up in an ABUSIVE family, but that's Dumbledore for you.)

  22. fantasylover120 says:

    Wow, you know what? I totally missed that Professor Binns died from a fire and I've read Sorceror's Stone two times now (this is my third read through). Now I'm like you and his character just became way more interesting to me. This is why I love Harry Potter. What other book series can you find little details like this that you never considered before even though you've read it several times? The only other one I can think of is Lord of the Rings.

  23. Pelleloguin says:

    Yes, reread! This chapter captures the feeling of a new school so well. I just love how there is so much going on, and we, like Harry, want to stop and gape at it all, but all of the other people who live with this stuff are all 'Moving staircase, it happens. Move along.'

    Now Snape…I can never forgive his actions. Yes, he looks like the man you hated, but he's the son of the women you loved and you should look after him, not blame him for your mistakes. He is probably one of the best written characters in the series by the end, which is why he's so interesting. I cant completely hate him, knowing what he wet through. But I can certainly never condone his actions as well. It's a sign of good writing when you have an entire fandom who can discuss one characters morality.

  24. HieronymusGrbrd says:

    Slytherin observation Nr. 4:

    Draco, Crabbe and Goyle laugh when Snape torments Harry. Although they are present, no other Slytherins are mentioned in this chapter. So this is a kind of non-observation: Why did we assume that all Slytherins are as amused as the death nibblers are? Because they look like an unpleasant lot?

    Credits for the first use of the term “death nibblers” for young wannabe death eaters go to “timrew” (aka “Scrambledeggs”) of the Harry Potter Lexicon Forum.

    Oh, there is one exception from no other Slytherins are mentioned: (Snape) swept around … criticising almost everyone except Malfoy, whom he seemed to like. So, Draco benefits from his fathers connections, but other Slytherins are included in “almost everyone”, and “(Snape) always favours them” is just another rumour Ron has heard and should not be taken too siriously? But Severus Snape deserves (and gets a lot of) his own analysis. For this reread I will focus on Slytherin students who are not named Malfoy, Crabbe or Goyle.

    • Meltha says:

      Snape) always favours them” is just another rumour Ron has heard and should not be taken too siriously

      Considering Ron is also the one who says there wasn't a witch or wizard who went bad who wasn't in Slytherin… at a time when everyone believe that Gryffindor Sirius Black was the mastermind behind the Potters' murders… yeah, Ron's info on theSlytherins may be a little slanted (one of my many issues with Ron)

      • stefb says:

        Didn't Hagrid actually say that? I think Ron said that in the movies, not the books.

      • stefb says:

        Here, I found the quote:

        "Better Hufflepuff than Slytherin," said Hagrid darkly. "There's not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn't in Slytherin. You-Know-Who was one."

        pg 80 of US edition of PS/SS. So that bit shouldn't be a specific issue with Ron.

        Remember though, Ron has five older brothers that he's heard stories of Hogwarts (and therefore the Slytherins) from, so of course he's biased already. Snape was biased against Gryffindor before he was ever sorted, because his mom was a Slytherin and told stories about how stupid Gryffindors are (presumably). Especially if one's family has a tendency to stick to one house, the children are most likely going to be biased.

        • Nikki says:

          Where exactly has it been said that Snape's mom was in Slytherin? It's not stated in the books as far as I can recall, so has Rowling confirmed it or is it just an assumption made by the fandom?

          • stefb says:

            It's not stated outright (that I can remember), but I assumed because of Snape's pride in Slytherin before he ever was sorted–that's why I added the 'presumably' after stating she was a Slytherin. There IS a chance she wasn't, although I'm heavily leaning towards the theory that she was. That's just my opinion, though.

  25. arctic_hare says:



  26. andreah1234 says:


    <img src=""&gt;

    Man, love me some re-reads. And I love it even more now that we get to talk about Snape 😀 Oh, I love Snape. I mean I don't love him as a "person" or whatever (as I do with most of the characters from this series) but as a character itself. Because he's so interesting as he has such a many sides of him, and every person I know (that like Harry Potter) has a diferent view on him, which I find amazing. But yeah, as a "person" he's pretty much horrible. He's a bitter bully and he pretty much accepts all the bad things Voldemort did, as long as it didn't involve "his Lily". Which is bullshit, because she wasn't, as much as he wanted her to be. And he blamed James (and Harry who did nothing to him) for something that Lily choose. And even though in the end he did what was right (for his own reasons that were not-at-all so noble), still doesn't make him a good person. He brought in on himself. And had no one to blame but himself. So yeah, Deal With It.

    <img src=""&gt;


    Oh, and Professor Binns is awesome. That Is All.

    • Andrew (Chagrin) says:

      Personally, I choose to believe that once Snape had a personal reason to hate what the Dark Lord was doing, he chose to reevaluate certain things. At the time, of course, he was being 100% selfish and not noble at all as you say, but I (like to) think that by the time Harry showed up, he had a better outlook. Though he was still a dick, obviously.

      I mostly feel sorry for him, though. Yeah, it was his fault he drove Lily away, of course it was, and choosing to join up with the Death Eaters and all that, of course, but… he was a kid. He made mistakes as a kid and paid for them for the rest of his life, ultimately dying to atone for them. Was it Sirius who said "everyone's an idiot at 16"? I mean, Sirius did something pretty terrible himself around the same age. And that's not even going into how Snape was a product of his environment etc. etc. etc. So I don't exactly like him as a person, but I can't condemn him and say he deserved everything he got, either.

    • bookgal12 says:

      How do you post gif's?

      • andreah1234 says:

        Erm, well you have to use HTML code. So you put < img src* = "your image url goes here" > . but you can't put spaces in between the = and the ". And also leave out the *. Hope you understood with my oh so lame teaching skillz. LOL.

  27. hallowsnothorcruxes says:

    I've missed these re-reads! Re-reading this book is knd of bittersweet because I know a lot of the characters are not going to survive the books. But on the other hand seeing the budding friendship between the trio is so great.

    <img src=" "/>

    I suspect most of you here have seen DH 2 trailer, so what did you guys think?

  28. ldwy says:

    Haha, I wrote this out as I was reading the review, and once I was done with it, it was way too big! Oh well, posting anyway. Some more thoughts:

    UGH. I had forgotten that Hagrid sends Harry the invitation to tea via owl note! It's so lovely and such a nice, small, subtle hint at what their friendship already is and will become. I should mention: I LOVE GETTING MAIL MORE THAN A LOT OF THINGS. It makes me really really happy. Email is great and fast and I couldn't live without it, but SNAIL MAIL FOREVER!!

    When I was away at school, which for me here in the US happened in college (when I was wayyy older than Harry) I got really really homesick at first! I think the severity of my homesickness (it was bad, it hindered my making friends, I lost weight at a time when I didn't have weight to lose, I wasn't eating right, I wasn't sleeping right) stemmed from my really good relationship with my family, and also just my personality. It took me until about Thanksgiving (Nov) to be happy at school. (And I wasn't even that far away.)

    Anyway, letters from home really really helped. My mom would send me at least a letter a week-sometimes a card, sometimes a note. My sister would write in her own notes. My grandma sent her own cards and letters, and she'd clip out my favorite comics from the paper and send them. It was just little tiny things, but it helped so much. Once, as I was crying on the phone to my mom, trying to explain what I missed, I mentioned how I really missed the cloth napkins we used for dinner at home, and how the paper napkins in the dining halls were ~so impersonal~ (now, being able to look back, I can see that this was a little ridiculous, clearly I was in a bad place and probably a little over emotional and over exaggerating when zeroing in on napkins in particular, of all things, but you all know how that can happen…). Anyway, a little while later, I got a package with a cloth napkin from home inside! And used it as a mat under the little plant I brought with me. It meant the world. I know that my family was on the high end of the spectrum when it came to mailing me things/letters (and it did calm down once I settled in and adapted and was okay, I swear). But basically the fact that it was a note that Harry gets, to go visit one of his first friends (which we now know basically becomes like surrogate family) really rings true for me.

    Conclusion of that block of text:

  29. Bryony says:

    Hey Mark. Great to see another re-reads post! I'm so excited to read with you this time and that you get to see the magic that is JK's foreshadowing!
    On subject of Snape, I still don't like him. No matter whether or not he got his redemption, I still think of him as the jerk that tormented Harry and poor Neville. But I do find his story amazingly interesting and discovering his motivation made me pity him a little and feel bad for hating him :/
    Planning to read along with His Dark Materials and can't wait for that… Just need to get the books back from my sister!
    Awesome as always, keep up the good work!

  30. HieronymusGrbrd says:

    Oh well, I didn’t intend to comment on Snape, but since nobody else mentioned this:

    Is it possible that Snape actually expected that “The Boy Who Lived” or, since Snape knew about the prophecy, “The Choosen One”, should be special in some way and tried to test this in a field where he himself felt most secure (which is also where Lily had a special talent)? From “The Prince’s Tale” it seems that, after this lesson, Snape ran to Dumbledore to complain that Harry is “mediocre” and is special only in the bad ways James was special.

  31. PaulineParadise says:




    • tigerpetals says:

      It reminded me that Mark said he would read fanfic for this months ago and review some. It was before reading DH, possibly before reading HBP or even OOTP. We did a fanfic rec post. But he never did.

  32. Lorrie Kim says:

    Yay! New HP post from Mark!

    The Binns joke never gets old for me. I can understand why some teachers and parents weren't crazy about HP when it first came out because there was no sugar-coating of how BORING school can sometimes be.

    I'm doing the Snape-fan happy dance that we get to see your re-read thoughts about my guy. After way too much thought about him, I'm thinking his horrifying treatment of Harry in the first class is him reliving, vengeful-like, his first encounters with James and Sirius. This is one of my favorite areas where JKR uses the father-son same name thing to emphasize confusion between the characters, the way Snape always calls Harry "Potter" and you know he's seeing James. In this encounter, I think he's projecting a sense of entitlement (totally wrong, of course) onto Harry ("fame") similar to the entitlement that well-raised, prosperous, beloved James brought with him to the Hogwarts Express; and I think, based on what we know about Snape's pre-Hogwarts studies of his mother's hand-me-down textbooks, that the random questions he throws at Harry were specific things that 11-year-old Snape already knew upon arrival. (We see in book 6 that he's super-proud of his amendments to Draught of Living Death.) The clue is that Hermione is there with her hand up (hee hee), having memorized the textbooks just like baby Snape memorized his, and he won't acknowledge her because he's arguing with James/Harry Potter, dammit, not with her.

    That's my current read on the first day of Potions class, anyway. It seems to change every year or so….

  33. Andrew (Chagrin) says:

    On top of all of that, he’s incredibly hard on Neville

    Have you heard the theory that Snape hated Neville because he blamed Neville for not being the one Voldemort went after despite being the other prophesied child? And blamed Neville, in his twisted way, for Lily's death?

  34. Anonymous says:

    Ah, Snape. A complexity of complexities wrapped up in a riddle with a sprinkling of the most ambiguous of enigmas. I love re-reading the series and understanding characters motives, especially his, as it just shows how wonderful Rowling is at creating 3D, rich, REAL characters that, while we may strongly disagree with their actions, can understand the where and the what and the why of it all.

    HP, I love you.

  35. @pegkerr says:

    I do find this gloss extremely intriguing. It suggests that Snape might have been trying to convey a coded message here, reaching out, in a way, but Harry, with his lack of wizarding cultural background, missed it entirely. It shows, moreover, the extremely coded messages Rowling was sending throughout the entire story about Snape's story, right from the very beginning. I have no doubt that those plant names mentioned here were entirely deliberate.

  36. Nikki says:

    I completely agree with you. I really hate seeing generalizations and labels being thrown around at a group of people. I think the Slytherins are treated unfairly by a lot of the fandom who consider them all "evil" and are under the impression that it's just the house that all the assholes and bigots get sorted into.

    I do believe a lot of our information is skewed because of Harry's own bias against the house. I think a lot of people don't realize just how much unfair treatment Gryffindors can give to Slytherins because they're under the impression that the Slytherins "deserve" the bad treatment and scathing remarks. But they don't. Just as Gryffindor doesn't deserve any abuse they get from Slytherin. There is no right side in their petty dispute and both parties are guilty of discriminatory and bad behavior.

    I did always notice that about Snape criticizing his own students as well, but I don't think lack of criticisms necessarily equals no favoritism. The very fact that he rarely takes points from them can easily be considered favoring them, especially by the other students. (Though I'm sure the truth of the matter is selfish in that he wants to win the House Cup.) Snape doesn't criticize simply out of dislike, he actually has criticisms to make regarding their work, he just doesn't do it in a constructive way, and can get particularly cruel about it with students he dislikes, using it as a way to degrade them.

    • @MeagenImage says:

      As to the points thing, I kind of thought of that during the first book. Slytherin has been winning the House Cup for the past several years. We see that MCGonnagal, Griffindor's designated teacher, is fair in assigning and taking away points to students of her own house. Assuming all teachers are completely fair about it *except* Snape, who is more strict about taking away points from other houses and more lax towards his own, is it any wonder Slytherin always ends up with the most points?

  37. Cynkro says:

    YOU CAN NOW HAVE YOUR OWN HOGWARTS LETTER! Yeah, WB is selling personalized letters from hogwarts… if anybody wanted to know.

  38. bookgal12 says:

    I am happy to see that you are re-reading Harry Potter, I try to it once a year. I was never a big fan of Snape or Draco, (Braces self for boo's from fans), as much as I liked the depth of Snape's backstory that was filled with all the tragedy. But, in the end it was Snape's own fault for driving Lily away and he still feels guilty about whenever he sees Harry because of his eyes. That is why the death of Snape scene was so sad, because he just wanted one last remembrence of his lost love. On to Draco, unlike Snape he has NO REDEEMING FACTOR in my mind. He acts like a douche in books 1-4 and when we finally see some conflict it's too late for me to care. I agree with some of the other commentors that two redemptions of villains would have been too much and I think JK picked the best one. I also think that Snape gets a lot of fans because he is portrayed by Alan Rickman and I can't blame them for that, that man is sexy ;).

  39. Humbug says:

    Binns bored himself to death.

    i c wat u did thar, Rowling.

  40. Matthew says:

    I never thought of the Snape-hating-Neville theory above, but I have thought of this:

    Snape must really, really hate Voldemort. Voldemort was the one who killed Lily. Snape has to practice occlumency around Voldemort, and keep that hatred down.
    But what does he do when presented with Voldemort when he doesn't know it is Voldemort? That hatred is unconstrained.
    Snape responds to Harry because he senses the Horcrux in Harry. He doesn't hate Harry, he hates Voldemort.

    Doesn't that make a lot of sense?

  41. kartikeya200 says:

    I've been waiting for another Harry Potter review to post this:

    [youtube ySN8Q4U6wys youtube]

    It's no Very Potter Musical, but this is so me. >.>

  42. plunderB says:

    One thing I always forget is that Snape is really young. In this scene, he's 31 years old. It's hard to shake the mental image of Alan Rickman — sexy, yes, but twice Snape's age.

  43. skillwithaquill says:

    The Snape phenomenon is so fascinating. I can't think of any other literary character that polarized readers as much as Snape. It's been a handful of years since Deathly Hallows came out and fans are still arguing about Snape's motivations and loyalties. Personally, I'm a sucker for a good redemption story so it's no mystery why "The Prince's Tale" is one of my favorite chapters in the entire series.

    Snape is an insufferable bastard but damn if I don't love him. He is an incredibly written character. The fact that we can still theorize and discuss Snape's intricacies is another testament to JKR's fantastic talent. And that is just…

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

    • Andrew (Chagrin) says:

      Agree wholeheartedly. I'll never forget how after I read the first four books for the first time, I set down GoF and was so full of adrenaline I just paced around the entire main floor of my house talking to myself about everything in the books, for HOURS, and when I got to the question, "So who's my favourite character?" I realised it was SNAPE. That was such an unnerving realisation to my 14-year-old self. 'cause I still mostly hated the dude, but fresh off the end of GoF where we start to get hints of his role he was enigmatic and intriguing, not to mention he's so damned CAPTIVATING in every scene. Someone above mentioned how Rickman is so much older than the character, which is true of course, but I never complained about it because I think nobody else could have pulled off his mere physical presence the way Rickman does. His very COMPORTMENT is so perfectly Snape that I forget any age discrepencies. Snape in the books is already such a powerful presence, and it's handled exquisitely in the films.

  44. Kelly says:

    You know, thinking back now about that first class with Snape, it's almost as if he was testing Harry to see which parent he was more like. Because it seems like Lily fell into the Hermione-type of student. Very smart, very studious, likely to have read through her books before coming to school, and very gifted at Potions according to Slughorn. Asking Harry all those questions, I wonder if Snape was secretly hoping that Harry would know the answers, maybe it would make Snape think of him more as just Lily's child instead of James' as well. Then when Harry kinda had a smart answer about asking Hermione, it was James all over again to him and he reacted badly.

    I don't know! New theory, I never had quite the hate for Snape that you did Mark, although I didn't think he'd have such an awesome backstory and tragic fate as it turned out. I always thought he was kind of a cross between Pettigrew and Draco-horrible, but more weak minded than actually evil and lucky enough to have switched to the right side before the bottom fell out of Voldemort's original rampage.

  45. Andrew (Chagrin) says:

    Oh man from now on forever the Binns in my head will have a monocle. Thank you for that.

  46. Tess says:

    Sadly, I am now so caught up in Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality that: (1) I think it's unfair for the students to have such a rubbish teacher as Hagrid; (2) I really think Draco is coming around! (3) it's clear that Snape bullies the students to hide his deeper games; and (4) yes, I need to read something new and get a life.

  47. SusanBones says:

    Mark, I'm so pleased to see that you are going to do some Harry Potter book reviews. I didn't follow The Book Thief, and I really missed not coming to your daily book blog.

    I love the relationship that Harry has with Hagrid. He knows more about what kind of a child Harry grew up to be than anyone else in the Wizard world. And I think it made him want to nurture Harry a little, just as he nurtured his interestin' creatures. Hagrid was alone, too, deserted by his mother, his father deceased, and all he had was Hogwarts. I think Hagrid wanted to offer Harry a safe place to go if he needed some parental advice or support. The whole thing comes full circle when we see Hagrid carrying what he thinks is a dead Harry out of the forest in DH. Hagrid loved Harry.

    And for the record, I agree with you 100% about Snape. That was my take on him, too.

  48. Zinovia says:

    It's interesting that you mention both Snape and Draco here in terms of redemption. Whether or not you feel that they redeemed themselves at the end, I think that another interesting view to take is that of their relationship with one another. I think that Snape genuinely liked and Draco and even cared for him in a fatherly fashion. I also think that Draco liked Snape and liked the attention he got from him. It's hinted that Draco was bullied by his father, and it must have been nice to get so much praise and attention from another father figure.

    That being said, I really am confused by all this talk about whether or not anyone has fully redeemed themselves. Think of it realistically. What did you expect? That Draco would fall down on his knees and kiss Harry's feet, and that they would skip off into the sunset, holding hands and singing "You've got a Friend in Me?" That Snape was going to change his black robes for flowered ones and offer to be Harry's new godfather? In real life, people live and die as asses and they never change. Plus, keep in mind that an ass is in the eye of the beholder.. that is, one person's ass is another's treasure… no. no, that's not right either.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, to quote Sirius from the fifth movie, "the world isn't split into good people and death eaters." Just because someone is a racist or a classist or a snob or whatever else, doesn't mean they are evil murderers that deserve death. I personally believe that if we go around hating everyone because of their flaws, even if these flaws are racism/bigotry, then we are just setting ourselves up to create a giant hate spiral. The fact of the matter is that we are all bigots and racists. We all stereotype. It's inside of us. We get it from the media. We get it from our parents. We get it from our teachers. We get it from our friends. It's something that we constantly have to fight and be aware of. There's a Christian saying that says "love the sinner, hate the sin." Well I think that applies here too – sure we should call people out on their bigotry, and sure we should defend others against it, but don't hate. (I believe Mark has an exit procedure for haters.)

    I think Draco learned a great lesson from the ordeal with Voldemort, but we can't expect him to change overnight. At the very least he probably learned that hating "mudbloods" and "muggles" is different from taking your wand, looking them in the eye, and murdering them. I think he was humbled by the experience and he'll never be the same. Also, keep in mind that there is a big difference between Snape, who is a man, and Draco, who is a dumb kid. Snape paid a great price for his idiocy. He lost his love, was miserable the rest of his life because of it, and even though he hated every second of it, he protected Harry even though he couldn't stand that boy any more than he could stand James Potter. Think about crime and punishment. Did the punishment fit the crime? Whether or not you personally like Snape isn't the point. He did wrong and he paid for it.

    As for Draco, he was a dumb, arrogant kid who thought he knew it all. Then he got spanked by reality. Hard. He's probably still a racist, classist, bigot, but he'll never be the same, and I don't know that, given the same circumstances, he would choose the same path now as an adult.

  49. Slartibartfast says:

    ” you do not pick on my Neville Longbottom without serious consequences.”
    I know right? Dont MESS with Neville!

    Snape is a really curious case and i really love his story. Its just so…complex! Also im glad yer doing HP posts again! I kinda missed em!

  50. Beaglemous says:

    I agree, Dumbledore must've meant for Hagrid to tell all these to Harry, because Dumbledore is awesome in his omniscient planning (or more negatively expressed = manipulative) and he wanted to train Harry up for his ultimate confrontation with voldy

  51. Kylie says:

    Mark, you have to see A Very Potter Sequel. YOU WILL NEVER LOOK AT UMBRIDGE THE SAME WAY AGAIN.

  52. SelphieFairy says:

    draco is just some dumb kid. he isn't evil, just a pathetic kid who can't think for himself. i WAS disappointed because i was expecting some evidence of Draco not being a COMPLETE asshole, cuz like I said — he's just a dumb kid. but hey, that's just how some people in real life are, too.

    and snape… it's not about snape being "complex", it's about people in REAL LIFE being complex and snape is just a reminder of that. you can hate him all you want, but everyone knows what it's like to be hated, be misundersood, be angry, have regret, have bad hair, etc. so even though he might be a jerk, he reminds us that we've all been jerks at one point or another, too. and despite all the shit he went through, he still did the right thing in the end. did he do it happily and with enthusiasm? no, but not everyone can be a gallant hero. Most PEOPLE can't be (note to JK Rowling: the technical term for that is "anti-HERO" btw). It's why he has so many fans. oh and Alan Rickman helps too.

  53. blessthechildren says:

    Interesting thoughts! I had a meltdown at the end of the HBP book. I was shouting "I trusted you Snape – how could you!" My sister had read all the books, and she laughed at the intensity of my reaction. I loved his big reveal in DH – best character twist in the entire series, period.

  54. blessthechildren says:

    Oh Snape, I have missed you. Your cruel sense of humor is beyond compare!
    <img src=""&gt;

    I have missed the tragedy of your unrequited love for Lily Potter, cherished from childhood.
    <img src=""&gt;

    But how can I ever forget what a HORRIBLE TEACHER YOU ARE?!!??! >:[
    Rowling, upon being asked why Dumbledore let Snape get away with being awful to the kids, said the Dumbledore understood that there are lessons that must be learned outside of the classroom, including dealing with awful teachers like Snape.
    <img src=""&gt;

  55. Ellie says:

    Mark, by 'staff room fire' I'm pretty sure they don't mean an out-of-control fire in the staff room, but like, a fireplace. That he was tired and fell asleep in and then died because HE IS OLD. 😛

  56. hick says:

    I'm not a fan of Draco at all, but he does stay in a burning room, trying to save Goyle's life, instead of just running away, like Crabbe did. That shows, that he has some decency and positive traits.

  57. Susan says:

    More Harry! (Does happy dance!)

  58. Callie says:

    I guess in an inadvertent way Snape played a role in the love shield that protected Harry. If he never loved Lily, he would have never asked Voldemort to spare her and the shield wouldn't have been created because Voldemort would have never given Lily the chance to save herself instead of Harry (of course, this is purely speculation and maybe it would have been created either way).

    Poor Neville, being picked on by Snape simply because Voldemort went after the Potters instead of the Longbottoms….

  59. Darth_Ember says:

    One of the things with Snape and Neville – it could have been Neville that Voldemort chose. And if he had, Lily would have lived.
    Not that this excuses any of it, obviously. But it does help to explain why Neville.

  60. feanna says:

    I think muh of the Draco love stems from the potential the character had in the ealier books? He was such an archetipal bad guy opponent (in a little boy way) and he could have gotten a story like Snape. And there was so much time to speculate between books and I have read some great fics about Draco (mostly where he DOES redeem himself) that made him into an interesting character.

    The actual Draco that we got in the last few books (and then in retrospect, the first few also) I'm also incredibly MEH, about. But I still love me some alternate version Draco?

  61. Quincy Morris says:

    The fire question… just wow…. I think you need more sleep.

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  64. Christoher says:

    Whatever you guys say.. I love Snape.

  65. SallyAmber says:

    um. he fell asleep in front of the fire located in a fireplace all snug and warm. He died in his sleep, there was no "fire"

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