Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 13

In the thirteenth chapter of Harry Potter, we get a lot more Neville and it’s pretty much the best thing out of a lot of great things. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to re-read Harry Potter. 


I don’t want to position this as some sort of complaint about Sorcerer’s Stone, but you can see in retrospect how Rowling became a better writer through these books. Sorcerer’s Stone is meant for a younger audience, and she tends to spell things out for the reader, which is entirely fine. But her writing becomes less obvious over time, and it’s something I never commented about during my initial read. Of course, I lacked the scope that I have now, and the luxury of having read the whole series honestly makes me feel so radically different from my first time around. Even more so than chapter twelve, there are hints to future themes or character arcs, and a lot of lines that made me squeal with joy.

I still maintain that the best bit of all of chapter thirteen is this:

“Don’t play,” said Hermione at once.

“Say you’re ill,” said Ron.

“Pretend to break your leg,” Hermione suggested.

Really break your leg,” said Ron.

Bless you forever, Ron.

The chapter doesn’t focus on it, but Neville finally plays a much bigger part than he did before. I’m at a point with the Harry Potter world where I would totally be fine with a companion series that focuses on Hermione, and then another one that focuses on Neville. He’s such a great character and well-defined enough that it’s easy enough for us to just get him. He’s meek, quiet, and a bit of a pushover at time. While it may seem that he belongs in Hufflepuff, one of the coolest things Harry ever says is his affirmation of Neville being a Gryffindor. I actually think it’s great defense of both houses, showing us that Hufflepuff has nothing to do with feeling like you’re a coward or being useless, and to give Neville the confidence to realize he’s worth something to his friends. While the trio eventually does grow close to Neville, the reason I’d love to read about his perspective on this is because there’s a whole lot of growth that occurs later that’s all off-page. (I mean, COME ON. He isn’t in Deathly Hallows until the end, and I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HE DID DURING HIS LAST YEAR AT HOGWARTS.) The trio do provide help to Neville, but his growth is his own, and I’m glad that Rowling gives him that agency. I just want to read about it, okay? THAT IS ONLY FAIR.

The kids discover who Nicholas Flamel is, giving us the titular item being guarded by Fluffy. I still love the idea that it takes a book and a card from a piece of candy to figure it out, and it’s exciting to see them get so amped about this discovery. I think at the heart of this, it’s a dream for a kid to be able to participate in a mystery of this magnitude, and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to wanting to do the same thing when I was eleven, though my obsession stemmed from my love of Sherlock Holmes. (Also, I want to do this now.) Even as an adult, this mystery is infectious to me; these books are immensely readable even as I get older, and I know I can still plow through these when I’m 50 and they’ll still provide a lot of the same excitements as they do now.

Can we discuss some LOL-worthy lines?

Harry didn’t see how he could–yet he sometimes had the horrible feeling that Snape could read minds.


“Now, don’t forget, it’s Locomotor Mortis,” Hermione muttered as Ron slipped his wand up his sleeve.

“I know,” Ron snapped. “Don’t nag.”


One thing that is strange in chapter thirteen is the fight between Malfoy and his friends and Neville/Ron. The setup is simple enough: Malfoy insults Ron on his class status, and Neville on his “brains.” (Not him being afraid? Whatever, Malfoy’s bullying rarely makes any real sense anyway.) While the Quidditch game is going on and Harry catches the snitch in about five minutes, Ron and Neville have a war of pre-pubescent fists on Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle. Hermione is overjoyed by the victory, as is Harry, and as far as I can tell….the fight is still happening? Rowling doesn’t bring it up again, except to mention that Ron was cheering “through a heavy nosebleed.” Oh, and Neville is “out cold” from the fight, but no one seems to say anything about anyone getting in trouble. How did Ron explain Neville to Madame Pomfrey at all? How did no one lose any points? WHO WON THE FIGHT? Maybe it’s addressed in the next chapter? I honestly don’t remember, but this moment where Ron and Neville finally stand up to Malfoy seems to be gloriously glossed over. IT’S WEIRD.

I brought it up the first time around, and I think it bears repeating again: How is Harry able to just fly into the Forbidden Forest the way he does here, and to do so without being detected by Snape and Quirrell? Wouldn’t he have to be super close to them to hear them? I suppose it really doesn’t matter and I’m nitpicking. Reading through this, the more important point is the fact that I now see why I bought the theory that Snape was the evil one. It’s easier to accept that when you see how meek and terrified Quirrell is. How could someone so frightened be doing something so terrible? Because Rowling is DIRTY TRICKSTER. I don’t blame myself, though, because this conversation seems so slanted towards Snape that it’s almost too clever for its own good in hindsight. Oh, Rowling, you genius.

“So you mean the Stone’s only safe as long as Quirrell stands up to Snape?” said Hermione in alarm.

“It’ll be gone by next Tuesday,” said Ron.

OH, IF YOU ONLY KNEW, RON. God, I love this book.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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201 Responses to Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 13

  1. hayley says:

    scrolled down to see the comments because they are often as fun as the reviews. there are none. wat.

  2. cait0716 says:

    One of my favorite things about Harry Potter is how complicated the books become over the course of the series. They really are books to grow with. SS is definitely a kid's book while DH works better at an adult level. I always thought that was completely intentional on Rowling's part, but I can also see how part of it could be her improvement as a writer.

    The flip of expectations between Snape and Quirrel remains one of my favorite things about this book. She makes it so obvious that it's Snape, but in retrospect every single clue that it was actually Quirrel is right there. Genius.

    • Pseudonymph says:

      She definitely improves as a writer which makes sense since SS/PS is her first book ever. While reading DH I found myself wanting to frame whole passages and put them on my wall because they were so beautifully written.

      There were a few moments when I almost wanted her to go back and sort of "touch up" the first couple of books. But I wouldn't really want her to do that because a) I love them the way they are, b) they are touchstones of my childhood, and c) it's fun and interesting to see how her writing grows and changes throughout the series.

      However, I do like to think about future books she might write and how she would use the skills she picked up while writing HP.

      • cait0716 says:

        I think Star Wars has cured me of ever wanting people to go back and "touch up" their earlier work. I like Harry Potter the way it is, flaws and all.

        Though I would like to see future children's books from Rowling. I sort of wonder if she would ever be able to live up to herself though. And I can definitely see her riding the Potter franchise for the rest of her life.

      • Elexus Calcearius says:

        I know what you mean about Deathly Hallows. Personal favourites include the 'Silver Doe' sequence, since its so etheral (and the part where Ron comes back, even though its nothing close to 'ethereal' but its just awesome' and the part when realises he'll have to die. Its so detached and beautiful and I cry every time.

        • Lisa says:

          My favorite: when Harry is in Godric's Hollow at his parent's grave.
          "Harry let [the tears] fall, his lips pressed hard together, looking down at the thick snow hiding from his eyes the place where the last of Lily and James lay, bones now, surely, or dust, not knowing or caring that their living son stood so near, his heart still beating, alive because of their sacrifice and close to wishing, at this moment, that he was sleeping under the snow with them."
          Such an amazing description of the scene's emotions.

    • Maya says:

      I remember reading somewhere that they did an analysis of her writing, and it went from elementary school level in SS to college/adult level in DH. They then compared this to Twilight which stayed at an elementary/middle school level throughout the series.

      • cait0716 says:

        Do you know where that study is? Elementary-school level seems like a wide threshhold, and I refuse to believe that SS is at the same level as Twilight. It could be that Meyer is writing at a 2nd grade level while Rowling is a 5th grade level. Or Meyer's getting a D in 3rd grade while Rowling's getting an A. Rowling's writing may be simple, but she has a basic grasp of grammar and vocabulary that gets more complex through the books.

        • Maya says:

          I seem to have lost the link, but I'll keep looking! I can believe that the first Twilight book and SS are at the same rough level, but after that the two clearly part ways.

  3. Shira says:

    "Malfoy insults Ron on his class status, and Neville on his “brains.” (Not him being afraid? Whatever, Malfoy’s bullying rarely makes any real sense anyway.)"

    Quick thought- I think the "no brains" taunt might have to do with the fact that the only class that Gryffindor and Slytherin have together is Potions, where Neville is scared out of his mind of Snape (and maybe also just not the greatest at Potions) and therefore screws things up all the time. It's part of what makes me cheer for Neville, because we *know* (and eventually get to see) that he is capable of amazing things when he isn't intimidated.
    I love how this develops through GoF, where Neville has a "note of pride" (?) in his voice when mentioning that Prof. Sprout praised his Herbology skills, to the end of DH where he ends up becoming a professor. (I'm sure there are other moments through the series that I'm missing now.)

  4. HieronymusGrbrd says:

    I brought it up the first time around, and I think it bears repeating again: How is Harry able to just fly into the Forbidden Forest the way he does here, and to do so without being detected by Snape and Quirrell? Wouldn’t he have to be super close to them to hear them?

    As long as Quirrel and Snape don't look up to the sky there should be no problem, and when Harry comes close enough to hear parts of their conversation, they are under a tree, so their view is blurred by the branches. There may also still be leaves. And wasn't it quite dark?

    • Darth_Ember says:

      Nobody ever looks up. You see it all the time in the movies; there's always a monster up above you, watching you. Or in this case, some weird kid on a broom. :p

      • sabra_n says:

        Nah, the only way this makes sense is with the trees providing cover. If someone tried the "lurking on the ceiling" trick IRL they'd be spotted as soon as the target entered the room, unless the ceiling was extremely high. Our vision does encompass the ceiling, even if we don't think about it most of the time.

  5. Elexus Calcearius says:

    When you wrote "a companion series" I just imagined Hermione and the Neville traveling with the Doctor and that would be the best thing ever, and IDK THIS IS MY BRAIN.

    I do think JK's writing improves over the series, but not for the reason you listed. Being obvious is what she was going for, originally, I think, and as we got into later books she purposely made things vaguer because she knew she was writing for an older audience. But her writing did become more poetic and nuanced, I think. It only makes sense she'd improve. I think there's some limit that to be 'good' at something, you need to put in something like 10,000 hours. She definitely put in that much, I think.


    • Rebecca says:

      "When you wrote "a companion series" I just imagined Hermione and the Neville traveling with the Doctor and that would be the best thing ever, and IDK THIS IS MY BRAIN. "

      I LOVE IT.

  6. SteelMagnolia80 says:

    I'm so happy it's re-read Harry Potter week. It's just what I needed. And to top it off, I finally received my Pottermore letter yesterday! I'm a Gryffindor!!!! Roar.

    I would love to have everyone who's a Mark-follower (does this make us a cult??) be friends on the site. Is there a way we can all post our new names?

    I'm NightSpell205, nice to meet you! And you are?

  7. @Whyk0 says:

    "While the trio eventually does grow close to Neville, the reason I’d love to read about his perspective on this is because there’s a whole lot of growth that occurs later that’s all off-page. (I mean, COME ON. He isn’t in Deathly Hallows until the end, and I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HE DID DURING HIS LAST YEAR AT HOGWARTS.)"

    Clearly all of this will be in Pottermore, yes? Yes?

    • Mel says:

      As long as no one suggests reading the fanfic "Dumbledore's Army and the year of darkness" we're fine.

      I cringed whenever some idiot suggested it to Mark when he read the books for the first time.. luckily several sane people always jumped to oppose that suggestion. 😛 Seriously, it's horrible, raping beloved characters both literally and figuratively.

      • trva says:

        I wasn't about to suggest it, as I think Mark already has enough to read and that ff is the length of a novel, but I thought it was a very interesting exploration of the other characters (Rowling really doesn't explore them at all) and I liked the author taking the dark-happenings at Hogwarts to a new level (Rowling rarely went there in her writing, she would allude to certain dark goings-on but she rarely was explicit. i.e, Hermione is tortured off page.)
        While I don't think its the fanfic to end all fan fics, I do think that it is incredibly well written, coherent, and compliments cannon nicely (considering that fanfiction is a genre where those three features together are almost unheard of in a single fic.)
        Sorry to jump on your assertions, we all have our preferences! I just think that saying that this is a horrible fic is taking it a bit far, considering the other fics that are out there.

        • @GalFawkes says:

          The sexism in that fanfic is appalling. That's the reason most haters cringe. Also, "complements canon nicely"? Are you kidding? It has Colin Creevey – MUGGLEBORN Colin Creevey – at Hogwarts. That's a pretty egregious mucking up of canon – why were Muggle-borns on the run? Why was Dean Thomas on the run? Hermione? Yeah.

          • trva says:

            Colin was at the Battle of Hogwarts, which means that he was at hogwarts that year. The fic isn't mucking up canon, it's helping explain away one of Rowlings "oops!" moments. The fic postulates that a Creevy parent was a squib, allowing the Creevy brothers to squeak past the "You stole another wizards magic!" ministry bull.

            As far as the sexism, I see it, but I think the amount seen in the fic is a bit YMMV. Just as I can enjoy Firefly without forgetting the inexcusable exclusion of Asian main characters, I can enjoy this fic while acknowledging that it has some sexist moments.

            • bingo007 says:

              mrs weasley was at the by your logic,she must have attended hogwarts that year

              • Mel says:

                Exactly. Colin fighting at the battle doesn't signify him attending the school.

              • trva says:

                Page 611 in the american hardback edition of Deathly Hallows:
                "Slowly the four tables emptied, The Slytherin table was completely deserted, but a number of older Ravenclaws remained seated while their fellows filed out; even more Hufflepuffs stayed behind, and half of Gryffindor remained intheir seats, necessitating Professor McGonagall's descent from the teachers platform to chivvy the underage on their way.
                "Absolutely not Creevey, go! And you, Peakes!"

                That implies to me that Colin was attending the school. I guess its possible that he snuck in through the Hogs head, slipped past everyone to go to the Great Hall, but I find it unlikely. There is no mention of anyone who is not a student or staff (besides Harry) in the Great Hall at that time.

                • bingo007 says:

                  the order members and the members of dumbledore army have already arrived a couple chapters back.colin is among them.all of them were present in the great hall.

                  • Kiryn says:

                    And besides, the entire Weasley family (except Ginny) was sitting at the table too. I think he came in with the Order members and such when Neville sent the message that they were fighting.

                • @GalFawkes says:

                  JKR said he snuck in. He couldn't have been attending school.

      • Elexus Calcearius says:

        I tried reading it because I heard it was good and I really, really wanted to see a vision of what Neville did. But it was so out of character, (and I didn't like the writing style) so I gave up.

        Anyone know any really good fics focusing on that concept?

      • arctic_hare says:

        I think a different word ought to be used instead of "sane" here, as that phrasing has ableist implications.

  8. Kelsey says:


    I agree I definitely want to hear about the last year at Hogwarts, so much occurred that we don't know about! And also, what's so bad about Hufflepuff? Sure, even the hat rags on them a bit "Hufflepuff said 'I'll take the rest and treat them just the same'" but come on! they're loyal, and nice, and particullarly good Finders!

  9. Kiryn says:

    I agree with what someone else said above me: JKR definitely knew about Occlumency and Legilimency this early, even if she didn't have the terms for them figured out yet.

    And sneaky Rowling is sneaky. Mark, your mind is going to get blown over how subtle all of her hints are. My current favorite is one that I just noticed when I was looking over your POA reviews:

    "Hermione," said Ron, frowning as he looked over her shoulder, "they've messed up your schedule. Look–they've got you down for about ten subjects a day. There isn't enough *time*."

    Italicized emphasis on time, and if you please, how is Hermione doing her classes? She goes back in TIME. That JKR just sneakily pointed out to us right from the get-go. I love this series. The magic never gets old. 🙂

  10. bingo007 says:

    slightly OT,but anybody here read methods of rationality?

    • trva says:

      I tried to read that one and I couldn't get past the "Harry and Draco meeting" chapter. I guess I just have different tastes than most of the fanbase, but I do not find the "Unreasonably Precocious Harry acts like a complete pretentious entitled disrespectful douche to everyone" troupe to be that amusing.

      That is one of the reasons that I like Hermione in the books. She's very smart, smarter than most of the students and some of the professors, but she is still respectful. Hermione didn't decide to respect people based on intelligence, she respects all people until they give her a good reason not to.

      • Kit says:

        yeah, I'm slowly making my way through it on my stepfather's recommendation, but I just read that chapter and I'm starting to really dislike Harry. You can be smart and rational and still a nice person, and this Harry really… isn't…

    • settlingforhistory says:

      I really liked the writing style of MoR and the idea of it, but Harry is just too adult, even someone like Einstein probably had fun playing soccer as a kid. His relationship to other students is more like that of a professor to his students.
      Also the plot is so different from canon it gets confusing after 50+ chapters.

    • Shay_Guy says:

      I keep hearing about it, but it doesn't seem like my sort of thing. For one thing, the premise smacks of "Rowling Was Doing It Wrong and I Could Do It Better," a version of perhaps my least favorite variety of fanfic. For another, it sounds like the protagonist, should've been named "Eliezer" instead of "Harry" as a trivial extra feature of the AU premise. It would've been more honest.

      • Cee says:

        I get that whiff as well, although perhaps more from the fawning fans than the writing itself. I really, really hate that chip on the shoulder, THIS is How the Series Should've Gone attitude. I do like MoR (completely OOC Harry notwithstanding), but frankly, it's confusing as hell!

    • vivelabagatel says:

      I quite enjoyed it until it started to seem like the author was writing his ideas in all seriousness, and not parody. I've not been able to get back into it since.

  11. arctic_hare says:

    Neville! <3 MOAR NEVILLE IS ALWAYS GOOD. THIS R FACT. I KNOW BECAUSE OF MY READINGS. 😀 I always had a soft spot for Neville, right from the beginning, and I felt awful for him when even his fellow Gryffindors laughed at him when he managed to make it into the common room. 🙁 I love that Hermione didn't laugh at him, though, she just gets right up and helps him. That's cause Hermione rules. What Harry says to him is really sweet too, and I may have gotten slightly wibbly when I reread it, because of all that I know now. "You're worth twelve of Malfoy." *Just* twelve? I don't think that's generous enough. 😉 I mean, hell, what does Draco ever even DO? In the final battle, he does jack shit to help anyone, and is trying to tell the other Death Eaters that he's on their side. Neville, meanwhile, has led a resistance all year at great personal risk to himself and his family, he fought bravely in the Battle of Hogwarts, he stood up to Voldemort when all seemed lost, he BEHEADED NAGINI WITH ONE STROKE OF THE SWORD OF GRYFFINDOR THAT HE PULLED OUT OF THE SORTING HAT, and he and Ron worked together to take down Fenrir Greyback. Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaah, suck it, Malfoy, Neville Longbottom is a badass motherfucker, and you wish you had one-tenth of his awesome.

    And yeah – I'd say that yes, she did know about it, and wrote that line on purpose. SHE IS CRAFTY. God, I love these books. <3

    • @MeagenImage says:



      As someone remarked, "this is the sort of thing you expect to see airbrushed on the side of a van".

    • notemily says:

      The whole "You're worth twelve of Malfoy" and later "I'm worth twelve of you, Malfoy" is my favorite bit in this chapter. Possibly in the whole book. I love you Neville. <3

  12. bingo0007 says:

    ha….you know…his disrespectful attitude reaches pretty much epic proportions in that series.i wish more people would read that series but i can understand people not relating to the protagonist.but still,so many epic and awesome things happen in that series.

  13. hpfish13 says:

    Hey, does anybody else get the HPEF newsletters about the HP conventions? I got one today and it included this (the hyperlinks did not make the transfer)!

    "MarkReads at Ascendio
    HPEF is thrilled to announce that Mark Oshiro of the world-renowned and will be a special guest at Ascendio, HPEF's eighth Harry Potter fandom event, taking place at the Portofino Bay Resort at Universal Orlando, Florida from July 12 – 15, 2012.

    Mark will be hosting discussions about the Harry Potter series as well as at least one meet-up for discussion of everything and anything from MarkReads and MarkWatches.

    In May of 2010, after blogging his experience reading the Twilight series, and after avoiding the Harry Potter books and films for years, Mark took a friend’s suggestion to start Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone, and he was not prepared for the journey the books would take him on. His blog became a group read-along as thousands of Harry Potter fans from around the world tried to avoid spoiling upcoming chapters while sharing in Mark’s reactions to the surprises, revelations, quirks, joys and tragedies of J.K. Rowling’s stories. Mark continues to revisit Harry Potter on Mark Reads and is currently working his way through Sorcerer’s Stone; this time, nobody’s worried about spoilers! Read more about Mark here "

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      I'm posting about this today!


      lol jk! I'm excited!!!!!!

      • Elexus Calcearius says:

        Every time I see something like this I wish there would be HP conventions near where I live. I miss out so much. *cries eternal tears*

        No, seriously, have fun!

  14. Starsea28 says:

    I think that is the best part of the chapter, too, Mark! I loved it the moment I first read it. Of course, what we don't find out until CoS is that wizards can heal bones REALLY easily (overnight!). So even though it would be painful, Harry would really only be incapacitated for one game. Of course, Ron neglects to mention this to the two Hs. 😀

    Neville~! So badass that he stands up to two zombies at the age of eleven. Also this makes me smile because I think of Ron finally getting to punch Malfoy in the mouth in DH.

    I still wonder why Snape dragged Quirrell into the Forest instead of telling Dumbledore. Or maybe he told Dumbledore afterwards?

    • t09yavors says:

      Depending on when it took place, Dumbledore might have told him. One of the scenes in the Princes Tale is Dumbledore telling Snape to keep an eye on Quirrell

  15. drop_and_roll says:

    Mark! I took a photo for you! And then my computer messed up so I wasn't able to post it until after you'd finished the His Dark Materials trilogy. But it's here now!
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">
    I saw this book in the window of a place called The Story Museum in Oxford (how appropriate). I wish I had this book in my life. And an alethiometer to go with it.
    (The blue text under Lord Asriel reads 'Experimental Theologist Jordan College, Oxford')

  16. akacj18 says:

    jo rowling is the QUEEEEEEEN of red herrings! snape is the bad guy? we are all amateurs!

    • notemily says:

      the best part is how Snape is suspected of being up to something in almost every book, but he's never the villain, so then in book six when he and Draco actually are up to something, nobody believes Harry, including the reader. Then he turns out to be the "villain" of that book. EXCEPT NOT REALLY.

      JKR is a genius, is what I'm saying.

  17. Becky_J_ says:

    Mark! Hey, Mark!!! How fun is Harry Potter to read now that you know all the things ever???? I suspect the answer is so fun!

    Keep an eye out for little sentences that hint towards the later books…. there are SO many of them, and they are hilarious and AWESOME.

    Also, I think we can all agree that we are all thoroughly TEAM NEVILLE

  18. Crackers says:

    *sob* how are people getting sorted on Pottermore? I'm SickleNox132, and everything past Chapter 5 is locked because I "haven't explored enough"! And this is despite clicking every link in sight for those first 5 chapters. Do I have to collect stuff or something? Do I have to make friends first? (I have none *cries*)

    I feel like such a Muggle, I am LOCKED OUT OF HOGWARTS FOREVER, WOE IS ME. *sob*

    • monkeybutter says:

      That's Diagon Alley, right? Have you found your shopping list? It's on the ground (you have to zoom in once, I think). After you get it, buy all of the listed supplies (but nothing extra, your galleons have to last!), pick out your pet, and then finally go around the corner (you'll see an arrow on the ground) and get your wand! Then you can go on to Hogwarts and get sorted!

  19. midgi says:

    I always thought it would be a marvelous idea if Rowling were to write the whole story over as what would have happened if Voldemort had chosen Neville instead of Harry. 😀

  20. silverilly says:

    "I just want to read about it, okay? THAT IS ONLY FAIR."
    And this, Mark, is why fanfiction exists.

  21. Wang Fire says:

    I never got the impression that Neville was a particularly great student. He isn't stupid but there's enough for Malfoy to latch on to. He was late showing magical power, Potions is a nightmare for him, he's limited by using a Hand-Me-Down wand for the first five years and he has low self esteem from his family's expectations. It takes encouraging teachers like Harry and Professor Sprout for him to develop to his full potential. His character arc is all about growth.

    I completely agree that the writing style improves over the course of the series. The book is still fine for the most part but the execution of the eavesdropping scene in this chapter always felt out of place to me. Harry just happens to be on his own right after a big victory? He moves through branches "noiselessly"? How is he not noticed? Though, now that I look at it, I'm wondering why the broomstick was never used for stealth again. It's not a big deal but it's an area that was handled better in later books.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      You know, I think that Neville could have advanced even quicker if Lupin had been able to stay on for longer. Remus really seemed to defend him from Snape, so that could have been a confidence booster.

    • Andrew says:

      Someone else also mentioned that the only class Gryffindors and Slytherin share at that point in the series was Potions, which was Neville at his worst.


      Professor Sprout for him to develop to his full potential. His character arc is all about growth.

      I started laughing at "herbology" and "growth" but then I wondered if that might have been a sly implication from Rowling herself. We've always known she put a lot of thought into subtle things like that, whether it be names of characters/places or whatever and all that sort of thing.

  22. Andrew says:

    Harry didn’t see how he could–yet he sometimes had the horrible feeling that Snape could read minds.

    Apart from the foreshadowing here (and yes, I firmly believe it MUST be so), I note that it implies that Snape spends a lot of time looking into Harry's eyes.

  23. todd says:

    I'm so glad you share my ETERNAL LOVE for Neville. The very first time I picked up a Harry Potter book – I was seven at the time – and found Neville it was an instant affection. Of course, that's only increased with 1) Neville's evolving BAMFitude, 2) his unofficial ship with Luna, and 3) Matthew Lewis becoming suddenly and unexpectedly supermegafoxyawesomehot. But really, is there no better character? No, there is not.

    I've always considered Neville as the true face of Gryffindor – terrified, unsure, nothing special on the surface, but willing to stand up for what he believes in anyway, willing to stick out his neck with no assurances that he'll be fine or that everything will turn out okay. I know that you think the Malfoy-Ron-Neville fight was strange, but it's such a great example of who Neville will turn out to be. He gets knocked out cold but that doesn't mean he wasn't giving his all.

  24. ChronicReader91 says:

    I would LOVE something about what Neville-as well as Ginny, Luna, et. al did during seventh year. I’ve read a scant few of the approximately eleven-thousand fanfics concerning that period, but I still hope Rowling will eventually go into more detail about it herself.

    OMG, this is the first time I noticed the bit about Harry thinking Snape could read his mind. Siriously. I mean, I didn't NOT SEE IT, but I never connected it to Snape's Occlumency/Legilency. It always amazes me that every time I read these books, I find some new detail or layer I hadn't noticed before,

  25. muselinotte says:

    Mark, Mark… on a totally unrelated matter: can we pleeeeease get a new banner soon?
    Everytime I see this bench, my heart just shatters again 🙁

  26. goldensnidget says:


    Of course she knew it, JKR is the supreme ruler of this and every other world, and laughs in our faces at our ignorance.

  27. Quizzical says:

    i just love the implicit contrast that rowling sets up with the different journeys and choices that are set before harry and neville.

    and i love rereading and seeing stuff i missed before. even now, having read them at least 10+ times.

    and it's a joy to see you retrace these steps, as well. xo

  28. Pelleloguin says:

    I liked that Jo left the fight ambiguous. I figured that the shouts from the capture of the snitch scared everyone back into semi-good behavior, with some rude 'I'll get my revenge' quip from Malfoy at the end. I've seen a lot of playground squabbles end the moment someone or a bell interrupts them. As for explaining the injuries? I always assumed Ron said he tripped and nearly broke his leg on the way down.

  29. wendebular says:

    I have just finished reading the second James Potter book by G Norman Lippert, and they are seriously good books. Best fan fiction ever, maybe? A lot of the things in it seem totally plausible for the Potterverse, so it's kind of become head canon for me already.

    Anyway, I totally recommend them!

    • Marie the Bookwyrm says:

      Wait, this guy got permission to do prequals!?! 'Cause that link looks like you can buy the books.

      • wendebular says:

        They're actually just fan fiction. He's not selling them (you can download the free PDF or epub (but the epub has bad formatting)). Also, they're sequels! They're about James Sirius Potter (and Albus, Rose Weasley, Scorpius Malfoy, etc) when he starts at Hogwarts. When I saw the title, I thought they were about Harry's dad as well.

    • Andrew says:

      I mostly just like those stories (without having read them) because the guy got Christian Caldeira aka Oliver Boyd & the Remembralls to write a really goddamn beautiful song for them:

      <iframe width="420" height="345" src="; frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

  30. Loner, Dottie says:


    Ha! You know you just solicited copious amounts of fan fiction, right?

  31. msw188 says:

    As for a companion series focusing on Hermione, did anyone ever recommend the Hermione diary fanfiction thing to Mark? I'm pretty hard to please about this stuff, but I thought these were pretty well done honestly:
    Book 1:

    Wordy, but this is Hermione Granger we're talking about, right?

  32. nathanielessex says:

    As part of a university assignment I'm working on at the moment, a website on witches, I talk about this website and provide a link to it. Hopefully other students will decide to check it out, because everyone needs to be exposed to the genius of Mark.

  33. rissreader says:

    "I would totally be fine with a companion series that focuses on Hermione, and then another one that focuses on Neville." ME TOO!

    If I could travel to Alternate Universes I would find all these Potter books for us. If I were an evil mad scientist I would clone JKR's and only let them free after they had written a new set of Potter books.

    I love fellow fan PicaScribit because she actually did write a Prisoner of Azkaban from Remus' point of view. I miss Remus and Sirius so much.

  34. enchantedsleeper says:

    (I mean, COME ON. He isn’t in Deathly Hallows until the end, and I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HE DID DURING HIS LAST YEAR AT HOGWARTS.)

    Well Mark, you could always read 'The Resistance' :3 It's a gap-filler fanfic I wrote about the exploits of Ginny, Luna, Neville and Seamus during Deathly Hallows. Yeah, I know, it's none too modest to be linking you to my own fanfic, but I don't know of anyone else who's really written about the same thing, so… xD Thought I'd throw it out there. I don't expect you'll read it anyway. xD

  35. Black Cloister says:

    Oh my God, I had no idea! Mark, I know you probably won't like him best as I heretically do on account of the romantic subplot being very, well, contemporary, but is Jack McMurdo the second-best character in the series or like what?

  36. guest says:

    For all your Neville needs. It is a really, really good fanfic (also long) about Neville and co in Hogwarts during DH. Everything from Neville's point of view.

    • Cee says:

      Ugh, not a fan of that story–it's *awfully* violent, almost like snuff. Way too many people are tortured and murdered (I was especially disturbed when KRUM was killed, for no very good reason). And as awesome as Neville is in canon, he's a self-doubting, self-reflecting, quiet sort of awesome. The Neville in that fic is an OOC 'roided up tool whom all the ladies somehow love anyway–throwing his temper tantrum because the group strips him of leadership (or whatever it was they do, I read it a while ago)? Screaming at Colin Creevey? And I really dislike all the "THIS is the way it should've gone" nonsense, as though the author were somehow improving upon Rowling's work. (Especially that nauseating scene where Ginny confides she prefers Neville to Harry–as if!)

      Sorry, I don't mean to stomp all over your enthusiasm, just not a fan of that one.

  37. bookgal12 says:

    I remember re-reading this chapter and then seeing all the subtle hints that would come up in later books and my mind was Blown. I really like Neville as a character because he starts off as a push-over, quiet kid who we see gain confidence as well as friends and become a bad-ass. We are treated to the loyalty and courage of Neville during the fight while the Qudditch match is going on. Even though its never mentioned, it gives us the reader a taste of how important Neville will be in the future.

    As for your comments about wanting to know what Neville did that year while the golden three were off camping and finding horcruxes, I wish I knew too. There is a lot of fan-fiction out there that talks about it, but I would like to think a lot of it was Neville taking on the mantle of leadership with Harry gone.

  38. mobilpriser says:

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