Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 12

In the twelfth chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry’s mysterious Christmas gift enables him to find a secret of Hogwarts and confront his past. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to re-read Harry Potter.


It’s clear now that this is the start of Rowling’s ability to be both poetic and to crush our hearts ruthlessly. If anything, it’s also the first chapter in Sorcerer’s Stone that gives an idea just how heavy some of the themes in these books are going to be. She drops hints towards future archetypes regarding bullying, rejection, the loss of family, being different…shit, a lot of what makes up the later books is right here. I know she hadn’t planned out all seven books right at the beginning, so some of this is just how it came about later, but there’s a nice synchronicity to the Harry Potter series that I’m just now beginning to appreciate.

The Weasley twins were punished for bewitching several snowballs so that they followed Quirrell around, bouncing off the back of his turban.


Draco doesn’t play a large part in the story quite yet, but Rowling does make sure to introduce the idea that he is an entitled, spoiled, and worthless bully, the kind who is relentless in their pursuit of a victim. It’s almost impressive how he’s able to find nearly anything to use against Harry, even if it doesn’t necessarily have the effect he wants.

So Malfoy, jealous and angry, had gone back to taunting Harry about having no proper family.

THAT’S A PLEASANT IDEA. I know that it’s nearly impossible to avoid it, but I like that Rowling doesn’t ever hide the fact that Harry is alone here at Hogwarts. His aunt and uncle (as shown by their wonderful Christmas gift) don’t care about him, and he has no family to return to for the holiday. Yet I adore how excited he is for a Christmas away from the Dursleys; the magical world still holds the same amount of intrigue and joy to him, and even Malfoy’s teasing can’t change that. But that doesn’t mean Malfoy doesn’t upset Harry and Ron, and there’s yet another example of Snape enabling bullying of children he doesn’t like. Even when Hagrid insists that Malfoy insulted Ron’s family, he only takes points for Gryffindor.

Honestly, it makes me want to reach through the pages and slap Snape. Dude, GET OVER IT. You did not end up with Lily. I’m sorry, it sucks, but MOVE THE FUCK ON. At this point, Harry is ELEVEN YEARS OLD. You are letting Malfoy get away with some abusive bullshit because of something Harry had no part in. This is fucked up! Oh god, I am yelling at a fictional character. WILL THE SNAPEWIVES COME AFTER ME.

I forgot how often Hermione either goes to the library to figure things out, or sends Ron and Harry there. Look, the library was like my second home growing up, and I still harbor a deep, caring love for all libraries ever. Because where else can you go to solve mysteries that’s quite like going TO THE LIBRARY?

ilu fandom collisions

I also love that if I had taken five seconds to Google Nicholas Flamel’s name, I would have figured this out. WHERE’S YOUR GOOGLE, HERMIONE. Oh. Right. You can do magic. YOU WIN THIS ROUND.

Actually, everyone wins this next round, because I have since edited my bucket list to include “Experiencing a Hogwarts Christmas” in my top five. I love it. I love every detail. I’m a goddamn vegan, and the food descriptions that Rowling provides (throughout the series, really) just make me ridiculously hungry. I want to play wizard chess with Ron and have my pawns yell at me when I sacrifice them. I want a sweater from Mrs. Weasley that’s knitted in the worst color imaginable, and I would wear it for a week straight without the slightest sensation of irony. I want to awkwardly watch Hagrid get drunk and see Dumbledore put on a “flowered bonnet.” No, how the fuck did I miss this detail the first time around? HE’S WEARING A FLOWERED BONNET. This is what I imagine it looks like:

i mean that is factually correct right. that is canon. IT’S RIGHT THERE IN THE BOOK.

And after the greatest Christmas that Harry has ever had, Rowling allows us a bit of tension and a whole lot of sadness. Harry, shut off from the world for a decade of his life, has a natural inclination towards being curious, and we can see that when he realizes the invisibility cloak will allow him to explore Hogwarts freely. That’s not to say that anyone else wouldn’t do the same, because I sure as hell would. But you have to think of the context of Harry’s life up to this point, and how his guardians have essentially deprived him of everything that most other children get to go through. And I obviously can relate to that, having grown up with incredibly strict parents who also kept me in a bubble for a long time, and I know that I went through the same thing when I finally found freedom at sixteen. More than ever before, I wanted to experience everything, to know everything, to see everything, and to discover everything I’d missed. Harry not only has missed out on the idea of being magical, but he’s simply missed out on being a prying, inquisitive child.

So I really love reading his first trek out into Hogwarts, with all those confusing passages and hallways. I recall asking this during my initial read of the series, but I can’t remember if someone provided an actual answer, so I think I’ll ask again: Has anyone ever mapped Hogwarts? You know, based on what information Rowling has provided in the novels, I think it might be possible, but I also think it’s an ambitious idea because Hogwarts seems to be ever changing.

Anyway, that’s a side note. Harry’s search, which first takes him to the library and to a shrieking book, begins his tradition (later with Ron and Hermione) of constantly sneaking around the castle. I don’t think I’ll ever get bored by this concept because there’s probably nothing I’d love to do more if I was there.

Recently, a friend of mine asked what I would see if I looked into the Mirror of Erised, and as I read the section where Harry sees his family for the first time, I imagine mine wouldn’t be much different. Well, okay, I don’t mean that I would see Harry Potter’s family there. I mean that I desperately wish I had had a normal family with a normal, loving upbringing, and I think that I would see that, me surrounding by a complete family, with close friends nearby, my hand in the hand of someone I love and who loves me for who I am.

And yeah, THIS IS IN THE FIRST BOOK. The idea that the main character has never seen anyone he is related to is depressing as hell. He literally is seeing his parents for the first time, which means that the Dursleys HID ALL PHOTOS OF HARRY’S PARENTS FROM HIM. Good fucking god.

Of course, Ron’s vision in the mirror isn’t any less sad, and I still can’t get over how awesome this is for appearing in the very first book. These issues are not dealt with lightly, and when Harry returns to the mirror a third time and Dumbledore is there, it’s spelled out rather plainly for the reader: Ron and Harry have desperate desires in their hearts to feel welcomed and to belong. It’s also the start of Dumbledore’s interest in Harry, though of course he’s much more distant here in that room.

“I don’t need a cloak to become invisible,” said Dumbledore gently.

WHY DON’T YOU RUB IT IN MY FACE MORE, DUMBLEDORE. We are so oppressed because this world isn’t real.

“What do you see when you look in the mirror?”

“I? I see myself holding a pair of thick, woolen socks.”

Harry stared.

“One can never have enough socks,” said Dumbledore. “Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.”

I mean RIGHT. I just bought more socks yesterday! WE KNOW THE REAL TRUTH.

Homework assignment until tomorrow: Do you think Dumbledore’s vision in the Mirror of Erised ever change over the course of the books? DISCUSS.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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155 Responses to Mark Re-Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 12

  1. Ryan Lohner says:

    The bonnet thing really confused me at first, as I knew it was what Brits called the hood of a car, and I assumed they had some other word for what it means in America. It took me way longer than it should have to figure it out.

    In retrospect, it's clear that Dumbledore sees Grindelwald in the mirror and is making up a quick fib. I suspected it at the time, but had no idea just how moving the reveal would be (even if it technically isn't in the books themselves).

    • knut_knut says:

      It’s interesting that you say he sees Grindelwald because I think most people would say he sees his family (I was super narrow minded and said I thought he only saw his sister, not the rest of his family). It never even occurred to me that he would see his first (and only?) love, but I like that idea!

      • Ryan Lohner says:

        Damn, somehow I forgot about Ariana. Probably because I recently saw the movie where she was inexplicably never mentioned. Yeah, that makes more sense.

        • knut_knut says:

          Nooooo but I like your idea! Maybe he sees his family + Grindelwald, a Grindelwald who later realizes that muggles are not beneath wizards and then marries Dumbledore <3 This is getting very specific and fanfic-y…

          • dbmacp says:

            He tells Harry in the seventh book that their desires are similar, which is how Dumbledore came to relate to Harry so strongly. Something to that effect. I think Grindelwald was a very important person to him, but that ship has definitely sailed since Dumbledore devoted his life to defeating Grindelwald. Doesn't mean he doesn't have feelings for Grindelwald, but still. I think on the list of regrets, his sister and brother are higher.

            That being said, what we want can fluctuate from day to day.

            • burritosaurus says:

              I think you're right about Grindelwald. Dumbledore definitely loved him, and I'm sure that stuck with him for a long time (forever, maybe) but Dumbledore doesn't strike me as the sort of person to hold onto it irrationally. He would have gotten over Grindelwald in light of his true colors, and as you said, Dumbledore did defeat him.

              I imagine he would most often see his family, especially his sister, but occasionally, Grindelwald would be with them with the assumption that he had given up on his goal of ruling over muggles.

          • monkeybutter says:

            Haha, you guys have created what I think he sees in the mirror, fanficyness be damned. I should always read comments first!

    • Michellenotprepared says:

      I remember reading somewhere later on that Rowling addressed what this meant about Dumbledore. She said that what he says about socks really does reveal something about his character (whether or not that is what he actually saw in the mirror) and it is the fact that he is also very alone. Socks are something that you generally get from somebody who you have a personal relationship with, and Dumbledore in all of his power and wisdom is extremely isolated. People get him gifts like books because they know he is powerful and intelligent, but what he really would like is something that shows that somebody is closer to him than that, and there is nobody. After reading that I always wished at some point in the series that Harry would remember that, and even not understanding the broader implication of what he was saying, get Dumbledore some socks.

      • settlingforhistory says:

        II really like that idea.. So Dumbledore would prefer a Weasley sweater to something practical. Well, don't we all. 🙂

      • knut_knut says:

        that is SO SAD :'(:'(:'( I'll be your friend and buy you all the socks you want, Dumbledore!!

        I've learned a lot about socks today

      • burritosaurus says:

        I always hoped that, too, about Harry giving Dumbledore socks. In my head-canon, after all is said and done, he takes some to leave at Dumbledore's grave, instead of flowers.

        • Anonymouse says:

          The same thing happens in my own head-canon. 😀 I'm glad I'm not the only one.
          (Harry goes grave-visiting with two pairs of socks… One for Dumbledore and one for Dobby)

          • burritosaurus says:

            I think I just got something in my eye……no, really, it's not a tear, just some dust stuck behind my contacts…..

            • Majc says:

              yes, that's it, something in my contacts too. oh wait….i wear glasses. um, that is the saddest thought, socks for dobby and dumbledore and it makes me happy at the same time.

      • Erica says:

        Sob, especially given that one passage in GoF where he decides to get Dobby a present and then he and Ron and Hermione go into Hogsmeade and have a blast picking out all of the coolest magical socks.

        …I. I like to think that he picked out a pair for Dumbledore while he was at it. It just wasn't written about because they were already pushing what, 700+ pages?

    • rumantic says:

      It's canon that Dumbledore sees his family in the mirror, because JKR said so in the post-DH interview she did. In fact, if Mark hasn't read that, someone should send it to him, because there is a lot of stuff in there which was never wrapped up in the books.

  2. plunderb says:

    Dumbledore doesn't see socks. He lies to Harry here.

    Harry realizes this later, after Dumbledore dies, when he's wishing he had asked him more personal questions. Harry thinks about this moment and says that this is the only personal question he ever asked Dumbledore, and that he suspected that Dumbledore didn't answer it honestly. The implication is that he really sees Ariana. I don't have Deathly Hallows in front of me at the moment — maybe someone can find the quote.

    So, in this scene, Dumbledore is looking at his dead sister (and probably the rest of his family, alive and well), which is essentially the same thing that Harry sees. And he lies to Harry about it.

    I can understand not wanting to get into all of that with an 11-year-old student, but think of what a powerful help that would have been to Harry. It's like when he learns that Dumbledore was from Godric's Hollow, but never mentioned it. It could have been a bond between them and a great encouragement to Harry, but Dumbledore never really let him in.

  3. Albion19 says:

    I think Dumbledore sees his family alive and together in the mirror. He was fibbing.

  4. Inseriousity. says:

    Dumbledore would see his family in the Mirror of Erised too. There's only a brief line in book seven in King's Cross where Harry has the lightbulb moment. Someone will probably quote it later cos I haven't got it with me. 🙁

    Aww this chapter is filled with different emotions. Aww bless, voldemort's having his first snowball fight… and losing haha. Christmas at hogwarts<3333 and then the mirror which is just 🙁 🙁 :(. It's a scene I love in the movie and I love when it makes a return in film 5 with snape standing behind them!!

  5. bookworm67 says:

    I think Rowling probably planned out a lot of the themes she wanted beforehand, but yeah, it's still really great to go back and see the beginnings of what develop into some siriusly heavy issues 🙂

    "Has anyone ever mapped Hogwarts?"
    Well, I mean, there's the Marauder's Map of course, but other than that…I don't think anyone's ever mentioned one. Seems wizards and witches have a penchant for creating impossibly complex places that hide mysterious secrets and unmentionable mysteries (Hogwarts, Gringotts, etc.).

    Come to think of it, how does one go about designing a place like Hogwarts? Are there wizard architects? I can just imagine someone like Ariadne from Inception making stuff like this and thinking "HMM, we need some hidden rooms here and there, and let's throw in a couple of trick doors just for the heck of it. Oh, and the staircases move too. Have fun!!"

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      I read somewhere that Rowling deliberately put in the changing stairs and doors as a safety net in case she ever broke continuity on the school's layout later on.

    • roguebelle says:

      I remember reading somewhere that the moving staircases were Rowena Ravenclaw's idea. Personally, I see this as an indication of Rowena's particular sense of humor. ;D

    • J.K. Rowling has said in interviews that there is no official map of Hogwarts because she designed it to move around. She only has lists of what classroom is on each floor. She mentioned that the Maurader's Map was designed to move around with the walls. When they made Prisoner of Azkaban they just used her list and made up their own map.

  6. Emm says:

    Well, the various HP games have maps, although I don't know how accurate they are compared to the info from the books.

  7. pica_scribit says:

    As far as Snape's grudge goes (and it's clear that I've thought waaaaaaaay too much about this), I don't think he's just annoyed with Harry because Lily ended up with James, and Harry looks like him. Snape also probably feels, on some level, that Harry is responsible for Lily's death. If Harry had been a girl, or had been born in August, the prophesy would not have applied to Lily, and she wouldn't have died. If Snape can shift the blame, irrational though it may be, onto Harry, he doesn't have to blame himself quite as much for what happened. I think this might also have something to do with his treatment of Neville. Because why couldn't Voldemort have just chosen him and left Lily the hell alone? At least, that's how I see Snape's rationale.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      This is an interesting idea, and I hadn't thought about it this way. However, I think there was one other factor in Snape's bullying of Harry- and that's Harry uncanny appearance that looks just like his father. We've already gone over how Snape should probably have gotten over losing Lily by now. But remember, he had a grudge against James a lot longer than that, since let's face it, James was something of a dick to him.

      Does it make it right? No. Does it make me want to punch Snape in the face? Yes. But it does help us understand.

      • pica_scribit says:

        Well, sure. A kid who looks like the dude who was a dick to him in his own school says, glaring suspiciously/accusingly at him with the eyes of girl he wanted, whose death he is partially responsible for? Snape has lots of irrational reasons to hate Harry.

    • settlingforhistory says:

      I totally agree! That's how I always explained his behaviour to myself. Also I think he sees all the adventures and mischief Harry gets into as wasting Lily's gift. We see in the Price's tale how he describes Harry as mediocre, arrogant and a rule-breaker. It's as if he is asking: This is what she died for?

      • pica_scribit says:

        *nod* And Harry gets up to and gets away with the same sorts of shenanigans that James did. Snape must find it maddening how indulgent Dumbledore is of him. It's a shame, because I think that if Snape had some idea of what Harry's childhood was actually like, their relationship might have been different. I'm not saying Snape would have become some sort of mentor/father figure, but they might not have spent to much time actively loathing one another.

        • notemily says:

          He did see a tiny glimpse of that when he was trying to teach Harry Occlumency, right? And he said something like, "interesting." But it didn't really change his behavior.

          • pica_scribit says:

            No, but they already had a well-established hate-hate relationship by that point. If Dumbledore had taken Snape aside early and shown or explained things to him, it might have been different.

  8. knut_knut says:

    I thought Rowling had the books kinda sorta planned out from the beginning? Maybe that was only after the first one was published.
    ANYWAY, do you know how long it took me to realize erised is desire backwards?? YEARS. YEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAARS! I read the first book when I was 11 and didn’t pick up on the erised/desire thing until I was 22. *FACEPALM* As much as I’d love to think that when Dumbledore looked into the mirror he genuinely saw himself getting socks (so adorable!), knowing his back story I think it probably was, and probably always has been, his sister 🙁 I wonder what it would have been before she died, though, particularly during the Grindelwald years. Do you think when he looked into the mirror he saw muggles ruled by wizards? That’s kind of a scary thought.

    • pica_scribit says:

      Not just his sister, but his whole family, I suspect. I mean, he had a pretty happy family life before the attack on Ariana. After that, his father was in Azkaban, his family had to move, his mother spent all her time caring for his sister and keeping her hidden, he had a falling-out with his brother over his own arrogance and self-involvement, his sister killed his mother, he was at least partly culpable in his sister's death…. Geez, why is every character's backstory in this series so damn depressing? ;p

      • knut_knut says:

        I didn’t even think about it being his entire family until I read some of the comments above -_- I think I thought it would be just Ariana because of HBP when Dumbledore drinks the potion. I can’t remember if he said anything about the rest of his family, but I remember him saying something about saving Ariana, so I assumed she was always the one he felt most guilty about. That doesn’t necessarily mean he wouldn’t want his entire family back together though. Poor Dumbledore 🙁

        • t09yavors says:

          I was going to post some vague quote but then I realized the book was right behind me.

          He said "It's all my fault", "I know I did wrong", and "Don't hurt them…hurt me instead"; so I guess he was talking about Aberforth and Ariana.

    • affableevil says:

      I….just realized that right now. And I read the first book at least ten years ago.

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

    • rachelsaurusrex says:

      I had a similar facepalm moment with Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley. I was all “Hmmmm, Knockturn Alley, nocturnally! I wonder if Diagonally! Holy bat spatter! Those are real words!” I must have been on my 4th reading and like, 26 years old.

      • barnswallowkate says:

        … I think I just got "Knockturn Alley".

        And it took me until one of the recent movies to get Kreacher = Creature.

        I swear I'm actually kind of smart!

        • knut_knut says:

          OH MY GOD I just got Knockturn Alley. Wow…

          It took me forever to get Kreacher= Creature too! I think something Sirius said in the 5th movie made me realize it

          *sigh* must be all that Spongebob I watched- it ruined my brain

    • Hanah_banana says:

      Don't feel too bad, I only worked it out a year or so ago! And only then because I was re-reading this book for the first time in ages and got to the 'cafru oyt on wohsi' bit and thought "this must mean SOMETHING". And I read it backwards and MY MIND, IT WAS BLOWN. Oh JK you tricksy lady, hiding everything in plain sight!

  9. barnswallowkate says:

    Oh heyyyyyyy Dumbledore

    <img src="; width=300>

    I wonder how many Weasley-style sweaters will show up in Mark's PO Box at Christmas this year?

    I agree with Mark re: Snape and everyone else re: Dumbledore's real vision in the mirror.

  10. Kiryn says:

    Mark, JKR had ALL SEVEN BOOKS planned out from the beginning. Sure, a few middle sections changed here and there, but the core plot stayed the same. Some of the things that she's planting in here for DH are ENTIRELY intentional.

    And you can buy the Marauders' Map, you know. From places like Noble Collection and stuff.

    And Dumbles was definitely lying to Harry about seeing socks. Harry, at least in DH, comments that he knew at last what Dumbledore would see in the Mirror, and why he had understood the power it held over family. Obviously the implication is that he sees his family too, but I think he also sees Grindelwald. I mean, Gellert was the only person he ever loved, and the only true equal he ever had. And, despite everything that went down between them, I don't think either of them could ever really let each other go.

  11. Kiryn says:

    *power it held over HIM, not family

  12. Kelsey says:

    Page 719 of The Deathly Hallows: "Harry did not ask whether Dumbledore had ever found out who struck Ariana dead. He did not want to know, and even less did he want Dumbledore to have to tell him. At last he knew what Dumbledore would have seen when he looked in the Mirror of Erised, and why Dumbledore had been so understanding of the fascination it had exercised over Harry."

    From this, I think it's clear the he sees his family. Perhaps Grindlewald too.

    Also, don't know if anyone's told you, Mark,, but the inscription on the Mirror (Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi) reads backward: I show not your face but your hearts desire.

  13. Hazel says:

    Someone made a map based on the movie and using info from the books as well. Here's a link :

    They are on the bottom half of the page. This map runs from Dungeon level 2 though the 7th floor.

  14. Peg says:

    I know she hadn’t planned out all seven books right at the beginning…

    Still, it's amazing to realize when rereading the series the leval of detail that indicates how much she DID plan out from the beginning. I was absolutely astounded rereading when I discovered, for example, that the very first description of Dumbledore in the first book mentions his crooked nose 'as if it had been broken.' Then in book seven she mentions Aberforth breaking it at Arianna's funeral.

  15. HieronymusGrbrd says:

    Mark, Steve Vander Ark's Lexicon has maps of Hogwarts by Harper Robertson (go to /hogwarts/castle/hogwarts_inside.html) but I don't like them much. Actually I don't even like the idea, because, as you say, Hogwarts seems to be ever changing, and collecting information from several years cannot even give us a view that is true at one single moment.

    Homework: I agree with many others that Dumbledore lies to Harry and really sees his family all the time. (I like the idea that he also may see his beloved Gellert as part of this family, I never considerd this.)

    Slytherin observation Nr. 7:

    Sometimes defending Slytherins honour is hard work, but this is easy:
    Nobody laughed about Draco’s jokes concerning the widemouthed tree frog, not even other Slytherins. So he had gone back to taunting Harry about having no proper family. Does anybody except Crabbe and Goyle feel obliged to find this funny? Apparently not.

    ETA more information concerning the maps

    • pica_scribit says:

      Aw, man I love the Lexicon! A fanfic writer's dream resource! I once totally geeked out when I got to meet Steve at a con. Had my picture taken with him and everything.

    • Dani says:

      One of my favorite "maps" isn't really a map at all; it's the fifth PC game. The makers actually collaborated with JKR on it, so it's pretty accurate. And it can move, since it's not just a drawing but an entire interactive world.

  16. MichelleZB says:

    It is implied that Dumbledore sees Ariana, alive and well.

    But I always wonder if, in moments of weakness, Dumbledore sees himself in power over the country. He always seems terrified of his own lust for power and seeks to avoid being in power all his life so he won't get out of hand. He is highly impressed that Harry was able to see himself *finding* the Philosopher's Stone in the Mirror… finding it, but not using it. Does Dumbledore see himself using it, like most people do? He says Harry is the "better man", and always seems astounded by how selfless Harry is, and praises him pretty wistfully.

    I think sometimes Dumbledore sees things in the Mirror that make him ashamed of himself.

    • notemily says:

      Spoilers for future Mark Reads project:

      V'z trnevat hc sbe Znex Ernqf Ybeq bs gur Evatf ol ernqvat nyy gur GI Gebcrf cntrf nobhg vg, naq vg'f ernyyl fgevxvat zr ubj znal fvzvynevgvrf gurer ner orgjrra Uneel Cbggre naq YBGE. V xabj zbfg bs gurz ner snagnfl gebcrf gung cbc hc ntnva naq ntnva va fgbevrf–ohg vg'f fgvyy sha gb nanylmr. Fnheba naq Ibyqrzbeg obgu univat zntvpny bowrpgf va juvpu gurl chg gurve fbhy be rffrapr, naq abg orvat noyr gb gehyl qvr hagvy gubfr ner qrfgeblrq, vf n ovt bar. Naq jung lbh whfg fnvq znxrf zr guvax bs Tnaqnys, naq ubj ur ershfrq gb gnxr gur evat naq gbyq Sebqb abg gb bssre vg gb uvz, orpnhfr ur xarj gung vs ur unq vg, uvf bja nzovgvba jbhyq gnxr bire naq ur jbhyq gel gb hfr vg sbe tbbq, ohg whfg raq hc orvat nf onq nf Fnheba. Yvxr Qhzoyrqber, ur erwrpgf cbjre orpnhfr ur srnef jung ur jbhyq qb jvgu vg.

      • episkey825 says:

        Bu jbj! Guvf vf nznmvat! V jnfa'g fher vs V jnf tbvat gb ernq YBGE nybat jvgu Znex, ohg abj V guvax V jvyy. V svaq gur fvzvynevgvrf orgjrra gur gjb snfpvangvat.

      • rissreader says:

        I'm just being curious… what language is this? I tried to Google translate but I guess I didn't do it right.

  17. You Are Not Alone says:

    JKR did plan out all seven books from the beginning. She had the idea for HP in 1990, got Philosopher's Stone published in 1997, so she spent at least 5 years planning the series as well as writing Book 1. She even wrote the epilogue to Book 7! She definitely left some leeway for herself but I imagine she'd already given the main themes of the series a lot of thought.
    As for homework, I agree that what he really saw in the mirror here was Arianna alive and well. There's a chance that by the end of Book 4 that might have changed to seeing Harry surviving Voldemort's defeat, once he had hope that it might happen. But Dumbledore being unable to resist the Resurrection Stone and his his behaviour when confronted with his worst fears in the Cave suggests that he never did find peace with her death.

  18. Elexus Calcearius says:

    We are so oppressed because this world isn’t real.

    JK ROWLING IS OPRESSING US! How dare she. *sniffs*

    On the topic of the Mirror of Erised- you may already know this Mark, but its 'Desire' backwards. The inscription on the mirror says backwards;

    'I show not your face but your heart's desire'. Pretty cool, eh?

    Personally, I think its pretty clear that Dumbly was lying, although as I grow older and live in colder countries, I am growing to appreciate the power of socks. When he was about 17, I bet Dumbledore would have seem him and Grindlewald together, the three horocruxes together, and them ruling the world, 'helping' all those poor muggles. I think afterwards his desires would have been shifting slightly, but would almost always involve his sister Ariana alive and loving him.

    Also, I shall luv you forever and ever for that Sokka picture. TO THE LIBRARY!

  19. monkeybutter says:

    Has anyone ever mapped Hogwarts?

    Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs are quite disenchanted that you have forgotten their contributions to magical cartography.

    I'd love to see some maps. Google tells me that there are a lot of fan maps, but I don't know which one is touted as The Best. I'm sure the set designers and visual effects people from the movies and video games have amazing maps. I wish I could have a peek at them. And this question has made me realize that there needs to be a Marauder's Map in the PoA part of Pottermore. I will cry if there isn't.

    Like everyone has probably already said, I think Dumbledore was lying about the socks. He always sees his family, whole and happy, perhaps even a non-evil Grindelwald mixed in with them. Or maybe just Ariana grown into a healthy adult witch. I think the line about not dwelling on dreams is as much an admonishment to himself as Harry. I hope he doesn't seek it out very often; it'd be masochism to do so. The Mirror of Erised would be like the Peverell's ring/Resurrection Stone, something that gives him hope that he might see his family again, but only ends in pain.

    I just wanted to add that I always ask for books AND socks for Christmas. One year, I didn't get any socks and was quite devastated, but people have learned since then. You've gotta stress the importance of both, Dumbledore! Also, it's pretty neat how often socks come up as a plot point: Harry gets an old pair for christmas, a sock set Dobby free, and Harry gives him more, which cements Dobby's lifelong devotion to him. I think Harry also kept his felix felicis in a pair of socks. Socks! A wizard's best friend!

    • knut_knut says:

      Maybe he sees his whole family + Grindelwald surrounding him, giving him socks. So not a complete lie…

      I always ask for books and socks for Christmas too! Normally I get fun socks but this year I got plain black ones because I’m an ~adult~. If being an adult means you can’t wear socks with penguins on them, I don’t want to be an adult anymore. Even for muggles, socks are the most useful item of clothing ever. Need a dog toy? Tie a sock into a knot. Need to keep your traveling mug warm? Wrap a sock around it. Need mittens or oven mitts? Socks.

      • monkeybutter says:

        Nonsense, you can buy your own srs bsns socks. Gift socks should be fun!

        Pfft, we never had to tie knots in socks for the family dog when she was younger. She would just grab them fresh out of the laundry basket and run off. Pets are the best motivators for folding your laundry. And now that I think about it, I started asking for socks for Christmas at about the same time we got her…

        • knut_knut says:

          I know, it was such a letdown 🙁

          I think the reasoning behind tying knots in socks for the dog was to show him that socks with knots = toys, socks without knots = clothing and not for you, but he didn’t really care. Surprisingly, our dog never got into the laundry basket, but he did steal shoes and socks off your feet. And he collected rubber bands and would try to pull hair ties out of your hair if he could reach :/

          • monkeybutter says:

            My dog used to pull the shoes and socks off of people's feet, too! The socks usually came off while we were playing with her and she got really wound up. It was hysterical. We also used her shoe preference to determine who had the stinkiest feet in the family. 🙂

      • notemily says:

        Maybe he sees his whole family + Grindelwald surrounding him, giving him socks.

        New head canon! "Albus, I was so wrong to turn evil! Here, have these socks."

    • Appachu says:

      Socks, second only to towels as the most astoundingly useful item in the universe.

  20. plaidpants says:

    One thing I love about this chapter, which you touched on Mark, is just how surprised Harry was to learn that people had gotten him presents. Clearly he had given Hermione and Ron some, so he should have expected some in return, but he wasn't. Harry was looking forward to Christmas, even without the expectation of presents.

    Additionally, I always wonder about Ron and his siblings and their gift-giving habits on Christmas. I have 8 siblings, and when we were younger we gave presents to everyone, but they were really small and worthless, since we didn't have any money. Now, we have like a "secret santa" type thing where we each buy a gift only for one sibling, so we can spend a little more money on it and make it a nice gift. (One year, my brother created a Christmas puzzle that we had to solve online to determine who was buying for who. The secret was translating these blinking lights into Moorse Code. It was lots of fun).

  21. ladykjane says:

    I love this chapter! The Mirror is such an amazing creation.

    I wonder now what Dumbledore was thinking when he gave Harry the Invisibility Cloak. He knew it was a Hallow, didn't he? Did he always intend Harry to have all three? Was it intended to help protect Harry so he could die at the right time, or was it a genuine wish to protect him? Was it because he understood how much it would mean to Harry to get a gift from his dad at Christmas, when he'd never received anything from the Dursleys?

    • nanceoir says:

      I think Dumbledore did know it was a Hallow. As for his motives in giving it to Harry, it could be for any number of reasons.

      I don't know if Dumbledore'd completely worked out Harry being a Horcrux yet; Harry hadn't shown any particularly Voldemortish signs yet, and I think Riddle's diary was Dumbledore's first proper evidence that Voldemort created a Horcrux.

      I wouldn't be surprised if part of the motivation was to get the Cloak away from himself. He'd had that temptation, of having two of the three Hallows, for a little more than a decade at this point. If Dumbledore was sensing that Voldemort might be returning soon, or at least that he was very definitely after the Philosopher's Stone, he could have seen it as a sort of warning (or reminder) to himself not to seek to master Death, in which case returning the Cloak that had been James's to Harry was a way to not be tempted. And possibly, because I think he did things like this, a way to punish himself for not being good enough.

      That said, I like your idea that Dumbleore gave Harry the Cloak in part as protection. At this point, I think it would have been from a genuine wish to protect Harry, since Voldemort's presence inside Harry's head hadn't cropped up (no stabbing pains in the forehead, no reports of parseltongue, etc.). Perhaps later on, Dumbledore was glad he'd given the Cloak back to Harry so he could be protected until the right time, but I think this early on? If it was an act of protection, it was a genuine one.

  22. VicarPants says:

    Rule no. 1: the Dumbledore lies.

    I think Dumby sees some combination/variation of his sister and perhaps Gellert from a happier time, in a great life they never had together because of his corruption and downfall.

  23. arctic_hare says:

    FLAWLESS USE OF SOKKA PICTURE. FLAWLESS. I CLAPPED. xD And speaking of fandom collisions, no lie, this is where my brain went when I read Dumbledore's line about not needing a cloak to become invisible: "OMG he's like the witches from HDM! FAWKES IS HIS DAEMON!" 😀 Oh, how I would love to know everyone's daemons in the HP world, that would be one of the most perfect crossovers ever.

    He literally is seeing his parents for the first time, which means that the Dursleys HID ALL PHOTOS OF HARRY’S PARENTS FROM HIM. Good fucking god.

    More depressing thought: I frankly suspect there weren't any to hide. I can see Lily sending Petunia wedding photos, but they probably were destroyed/thrown out. I see the same fate happening to any Dumbledore might provide (because, as we know, he was keeping an eye out).

    One thing I have to wonder about, though, is why the Mirror is in that room just sitting around. Is the Stone already in there, and not in the new hiding place? Did they just get the Mirror in and are moving it down there soon? It always struck me as a bit odd, especially since the room it's in isn't guarded at all. (I had thought maybe it was the Room of Requirement, but the description of the hallway doesn't match with what was described in OotP.)

    And as for me, I'm going to echo everyone else who thinks Dumbledore's vision in the Mirror of Erised involves his sister being alive and well. 🙁

    I close with the sentiment that MOLLY IS THE VERY BEST and I misted up when I reread the bit about her sending Harry a present.

    • @sab39 says:

      In the HP world "daemon" is spelled P A T R O N U S 😉

      • arctic_hare says:

        It's not quite the same thing. Tonks' Patronus changes when she falls in love with Remus, after all, and the shape of Snape's reflects his love for Lily. A daemon, on the other hand, is a representation of who you are, your true soul, and doesn't change in adulthood. I very much doubt Snape would actually have a doe daemon, for example. The concepts are similar, but they don't work exactly the same way.

        • t09yavors says:

          Daemons are more like your Animagus form.

          • arctic_hare says:

            Sort of. Sirius' doesn't fit with the meaning attached to dogs in the HDM world.

            • notemily says:

              I never liked that meaning anyway.

              • arctic_hare says:

                Well, yeah, neither did I.

                • t09yavors says:

                  I would say that most servants have a dog daemon because dogs are loyal. Honestly if you had to chose EDIT: *a servant to hire, and it was* between a person with and dog daemon and say…someone with a mosquito daemon, which would you choose? It probably just became a social norm after so many years.

                  Or you could just say that Sirius became an unusual dog so he wouldnt need to fit the expected.

                  EDIT(cont): Sorry about that, it makes much more sense now

        • burritosaurus says:

          In some instances, they would probably be the same. I can definitely picture Dumbledore having a phoenix daemon and Harry having a stag in particular. Mr Weasley and Kingsley could have the same daemon/patronus, too, I think.

        • @sab39 says:

          I like to believe that they'd always be the same. In our world, certain kinds of extremely traumatic events – like traumatic brain injuries – can actually fundamentally change what kind of person you are, and I can actually imagine that in Lyra's world those things might cause your daemon to change form even in adulthood.

          I'm not sure that "relationship trauma" (or whatever classification applies to what Snape went through with respect to Lily) would be powerful enough to have an equivalent effect, but if there's any message we're supposed to take away from the HP books, it's that love is more powerful than any magic.

    • burritosaurus says:

      Come to think of it–do you think a person's patronus and daemon would be the same?

    • xiri says:

      I harbour the theory that Dumbledore was there on the third night to actually place the stone inside the mirror and perhaps waiting for others to help him move it to the third floor. Seeing Harry there was a simple coincidence.

  24. gen says:

    gimme fiction

  25. guest_age says:

    When I read this chapter for the first time, I assumed Dumbledore was lying to Harry about what he saw in the mirror, because it just sounds like one of those lies people tell children because they think they're not yet old/mature enough to handle the truth or don't want to reveal something personal. I'm fairly sure that Deathly Hallows confirms that it was a lie. I reckon he sees his family, whole, with himself, Aberforth, and Arianna all getting along/loving each other, and perhaps even sees Grindelwald, somehow with his Muggle-oppressing side removed.

  26. James says:

    "which means that the Dursleys HID ALL PHOTOS OF HARRY’S PARENTS FROM HIM"

    I hate to defend the Dursleys, but not really. It just means they didn't have any photos of his parents. Why would they? I mean there might be some of Lily as a girl somewhere, but since Petunia doesn't like to be reminded she has a sister, they're not going to be anywhere Harry would see, which isn't the same as hiding them.

    DUMBLEDORE, LET ME HUG YOU FOR ALWAYS. All my socks are for you.

  27. Dysaniac says:

    As I understand it, Dumbledore sees Ariana in the mirror: healthy and happy, the way she never was in life. I think this was word of god, but I can't really remember.

    Honestly, it makes me want to reach through the pages and slap Snape. Dude, GET OVER IT. You did not end up with Lily. I’m sorry, it sucks, but MOVE THE FUCK ON.

    Reminds me of this:

  28. EldaTaluta says:

    When I first read this as a kid I assumed Dumbledore was telling the truth. It just seemed like something a wise old man would wish for. I had always hoped that the socks thing would come back in some way or another in the books. In my head canon, Dobby gives Dumbledore socks every year after he gets hired. They're sock buddies.

  29. Cassie-la says:

    I think your Sokka picture made this post! TO THE LIBRARY!

    Also, you CAN have a Hogwarts feast because someone made an Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook with every recipe from the series in it. It all sounds so mouth watering, and I'm sure some of it could be converted to be Vegan friendly (especially a lot of the desserts). I lived with some vegan housemates and desserts were always the easiest to translate into veganism. And I suppose there's always tofurkey.

    • knut_knut says:

      I have that book! I have the Roald Dahl cookbook too 😀

      I actually haven't made anything from either of them despite owning the Roald Dahl one for YEARS (lazy) but I COULD if I wanted to, and that's all that matters

      • Cassie-la says:

        I had no idea there was a Roald Dahl cookbook! Is it based on his children's books or his other work? I for one would love to see a leg of lamb recipe based on my favourite RD short story turned Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "Lamb to the Slaughter".

    • notemily says:


  30. Crackers says:

    Has anyone ever mapped Hogwarts?

    The Marauders did it. Officially, though….who knows? I'm guessing there might be a set of blueprints (or whatever the Dark Ages version of them was) somewhere around for the teachers/Headmaster to use, though stuff like the Chamber of Secrets or the Room of Requirement wouldn't have shown up on it.

    And I completely agree on the appallingness (word?) of the fact that an eleven-year-old child living with his mother's sister has ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT HIS PARENTS LOOKED LIKE. I think that's what really brought it home to me that Harry's awful childhood wasn't just an adventure he survived by sheer pluck, it really was – quite frankly – awful.

  31. Shaylani says:

    Speaking of libraries, someone posted this today and it's also magical!

  32. David says:

    This is not an official map, but it's something. I think it's fan made, but it's pretty extensive.….

  33. Laura says:

    Has anyone ever mapped Hogwarts? You know, based on what information Rowling has provided in the novels, I think it might be possible, but I also think it’s an ambitious idea because Hogwarts seems to be ever changing.

    Um, Mark. The Marauders did. The Marauders Map, you know, Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs, aka Remus, Peter, Sirius and James. You really should read The Shoebox Project sometime.

    And I thought it was always clear that Dumbledore didn't want to tell Harry the deepest desire of his heart (probably having to do with his family, as well), so he said something silly.

  34. Hayi says:

    "Homework assignment until tomorrow: Do you think Dumbledore’s vision in the Mirror of Erised ever change over the course of the books? DISCUSS."

    From the transcript of the chat session that Rowling had with fans after the release of the 7 book:

    "Allie: What did dumbledore truly see in the mirror of erised

    J.K. Rowling: He saw his family alive, whole and happy – Ariana, Percival and Kendra all returned to him, and Aberforth reconciled to him."

    • Laura says:

      Thank you. I knew there was something better than the King's Cross lines, but I couldn't remember where I got it.

      I wonder if part of it is that it returns Dumbledore to a time when he has no responsibilities, is able to be a true child, and lose the guilt of adult failures (to protect Aberforth and Ariana). Ennywho.

  35. Becky_J_ says:

    Since everyone above me has discussed at length the homework project you gave us, I am going to instead focus upon something much more important….

    The fact that Fred and George were hitting Voldemort in the face over and over again and he could do nothing about it. I'm sorry, but just picture him, sitting there, infuriated, while snowballs are smacking him in his stupid little slit nose. Hilarious

    Also, you know what is awesome about rereads???? YAY FOR NO SPOILERS OMGGGGGGGGGGG

    • Crackers says:

      Basically, the Weasley twins were smacking Mouldy Voldy in the face before even Harry got to do it.


  36. kajacana says:

    Aaaaaannnnddd all I can think of when you say "infuriated while snowballs are smacking him in his stupid little slit nose" is AVPM Joe Walker Voldemort, singing…
    "When I rule the world, I'll have…. SNAKESSSSSS!!!!!! And goblins and werewolves, a fleet of dementors, and – DAMN IT, WEASLEYS, THIS IS MY GOOD CLOAK! AND NOW YOU'VE GONE AND GOTTEN IT WET! SERIOUSLY, HAVE SOME COMMON COURTESY! Well Quirrell, there goes our quiet evening watching 'Friends' reruns – now we have to go to the dry cleaner's."

  37. bookgal12 says:

    I remember reading that at age ten and thinking it was a joke. But, when I re-read it as an more accomplished reader, I saw through the lie. Once I finished the seventh I figured that Dumbledore like Harry saw his family alive and well in the mirror.

    As for the feast, I loved every part because it gave Harry the warmth and goodness that he didn't have before. The bonnet line was one of many that pointed to me that Dumbledore was gay, that and the fact he blushed when Mcgonagall complimented him. I also love the image of the staff getting drunk on sherry except for Snape who is leering at them.

    As for the mirror, if I looked into the mirror, I would see myself holding hands with a boyfriend and holding a novel I published and having a cat near my feet. I also imagine myself completely healthy and no indication I've been fighting a slew of viruses and conditions for a year. And I could eat peanuts again, I really wish I wasn't allergic to those.

  38. notemily says:

    "the Weasley Twins were punished for bewitching several snowballs so that they followed Quirrell around, bouncing off the back of his turban."


    Yeah if I were Harry, I would be thrilled to be staying at Hogwarts for Christmas instead of going home. Draco doesn't know what he's talking about.

    At my college you weren't allowed to stay for Christmas or for the summer, but you could stay for shorter breaks, of which there were two per semester. I stayed for one of the spring breaks of my senior year. You had to do volunteer work on campus every day you were there, so I answered phones down at the reception desk place, but mostly I just rollerbladed around the empty (and gorgeous) campus and relaxed. (I was supposedly 'working on my thesis.')

    By the time I graduated later that year, I was relieved to come home, having been away from it for longer than usual–but that quickly turned into being homesick for college again. My college was my Hogwarts. In the eight (oh god I feel old) years since then, I haven't found a place that makes me feel as "at home" as I did when I was there. Then again I haven't been looking very hard, mostly because I have no money for travel 😛

    I love the twins making Percy wear his Weasley Sweater and sit with his family at Christmas. They really do love him, even though they make fun of him all the time. Oh Percy.

    I had to look up what a chipolata is. But man, the description of the feast made me HUNGRY. I need to learn how to cook more stuff, because the only thing I can make on that list is the cranberry sauce. Well, I suppose I could boil some potatoes.

    I love the descriptions of the teachers getting all silly at Christmas. Dumbledore wearing a flowered bonnet and Hagrid kissing McGonagall! <3.

    The backwards inscription on the Mirror of Erised always seems pretty silly, but now I know that the magical artifacts and such get more mysterious as the books "age." I do kind of like that the Mirror's inscription is something an eleven-year-old reading these books could conceivably puzzle out. JKR did intend them to grow as the reader grew.

    Anyway, I think if I could look into the Mirror, I would see me living in a big house (or small community) with all of my friends, with my very own published book in my hands. And I would be the way I used to be–less cynical, more daydreamy and creative, less depressed. (So basically Luna Lovegood.) And I would be able to eat ice cream again. LOOK I JUST HAVE A LOT OF HEART'S DESIRES OKAY.

    • notemily says:

      I have too much time on my hands. I ran the line at the beginning of my post through the Bad Translator a few times, and this is the only result that came out even vaguely grammatically correct:

      Original text:

      "the Weasley Twins were punished for bewitching several snowballs so that they followed Quirrell around, bouncing off the back of his turban."

      …10 translations later Google gives us:

      "Weasley twins were punished because the turban in accordance with Quirrell impressed a lot of snowballs."

      The most fun thing was that the word "bewitching" seems to get translated as "charming" or "fascinating." So you get words like "tempting," "lovely," "attractive" showing up. I think that's why Quirrell impressed so many snowballs.

    • episkey825 says:

      I'm thinking that by 7th Year, Draco wouldn't have minded staying at Hogwarts for Christmas…

  39. msnaddie says:

    I also love that if I had taken five seconds to Google Nicholas Flamel’s name, I would have figured this out. WHERE’S YOUR GOOGLE, HERMIONE.

    LOL I can see the scene playing out if the series' setting is in the 20th century.

    Hermione: Nicolas Flamel? *takes out iPhone* Let's see… I hardly rely on Wiki but… alchemist… philosopher's stone…
    Harry: That's it! The link to philosopher's stone tells us exactly what the plot point is! Thanks, Hagrid!
    Hagrid: Ye kids and yer ruddy iphamajiggy!

  40. Aslee says:

    Mark: As you can buy the Marauder's Map- my friend Sam has one, we plot out adventures when we get bored -I'm pretty sure it was based on what JKR said in the books, and I think maybe she actually made the beginning blueprints.

  41. ChronicReader91 says:

    I doubt I ever would have figured out Erised = Desire on my own, but once someone told me that, I realized the entire encryption reads backwards. Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi = I show not your face but your heart’s desire.

    Even though I know Dumbledore would probably see his family together in the Mirror, there’s a part of me that misses reading it before the final books and just accepting the absolute truth of the socks story. Because it seemed that there was truly nothing else in the world someone as cool as Dumbledore would want.

    • nanceoir says:

      I like to think that Dumbledore wished for that to be his heart's desire, that he didn't have those years and years of regrets that make his desire to see his family again, reunited and happy.

  42. akacj18 says:

    "So Malfoy, jealous and angry, had gone back to taunting Harry about having no proper family."
    [youtube UPcJ1sjpN_0 youtube]

    • Andrew says:

      Draco and the Malfoys are so great. I can just imagine what it must have been like on that first tour they did with Harry and the Potters, before wizard rock became this whole ~thing~. All the little kids going to the show, brought by their parents because it was Harry Potter, and then.. this.

      But man do they fucking rock. They're also complete sweethearts in person!

  43. Pelleloguin says:

    Any irk I felt from my sirius case of the Mondays is gone through this review and it's wonderful use of pictures. I missed those so much in some of the newer reviews.

  44. akacj18 says:

    "Honestly, it makes me want to reach through the pages and slap Snape. Dude, GET OVER IT. You did not end up with Lily. I’m sorry, it sucks, but MOVE THE FUCK ON."

    –> If Snape had moved on he wouldn't probably still be a Death Eater and would never have helped Harry or The Order of the Phoenix or any of the good guys at all! I for one am glad he suffered his whole life. He did some terrible things and maybe it's a little bit of karma that for all the good he did he still payed a price for the bad.

  45. Andrew says:

    I once wrote an essay/theory that Dumbledore was part elf due to his socks comment. This was in the looong gap between GoF and OotP, when I first joined the fandom and 'grew up' in it.

    It made sense though! House elves have magic wizards don't understand, and Dumbledore was the only wizard Riddle ever feared! As dumb as my conclusion was I had solid points backing me up! You know I started to share this story as an embarrassing little anecdote but now I want to give 15-year-old me a high five for deductive reasoning.

  46. lastyearswishes says:

    I'm pretty sure JKR said at some point that Dumbledore saw his family alive and well in the Mirror of Erised. Knowing the story of what happened to his family, I highly doubt what he saw changed much over the years.

  47. hp1 says:

    "Has anyone ever mapped Hogwarts?"

    Have you forgotten about the Marauder's Map?

  48. Hotaru_hime says:

    I remember reading Dumbledore's comment about socks and thinking, "Hey, he's an all right guy; socks are pretty neat."

  49. kellyannmcc says:

    Wasn't sure if you knew this:

    Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi
    read it backwards
    I show not your face but your hearts desire.

    If you did notice that, good on you! And sorry for not reading the part where you said you knew that.
    But if you didn't…have fun with your exploding brain.
    the only time I ever freaked out more was when I realized that the first letters of the names of the characters in Inception spells DREAMS

  50. Sarah says:

    An official replica of the Marauder's map. It's…it's so neat-looking! And it folds out!

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