Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapters 6-10

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone [By J.K. Rowling]

Chapters 6-10 of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone, in which Harry heads off to Hogwarts, meets Ron(!) and Hermione(!), has an unpleasant encounter with Snape, flies for the first time, and fights a troll. Just like my first week of middle school!

    4 Responses to “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapters 6-10”

    1. Rebecca says:

      The thing about chapter six is that I just want to make victory arms and cheer every time a character is introduced! Weasleys! Neville!! More Weasleys! Eventually Hermione! \o/ YAY!

      The Weasley family absolutely kills me joy, of course. I love each character and also the dynamics between them. Percy is a prat, but so proud! Loving mockery! Ginny’s crush! ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING ABOUT RON! … Okay, my commentary is not exactly scintillating, sorry.

      One tiny moment: Ginny crying as her brothers leave. Ohhh honey. Possibly, as with all things Weasley, I over-identify a little bit. (Did I sob hysterically when my sister left for college? Why yes, yes I did.) Speaking of which…

      “I’m the sixth in our family to go to Hogwarts. You could say I’ve got a lot to live up to. Bill and Chrlie have already left — Bill was head boy and Charlie was captain of Quidditch. Now Percy’s a prefect. Fred and George mess around a lot, but they still get really good marks and everyone thinks they’re really funny. Everyone expects me to do as well as the others, but if I do, it’s no big deal, because they did it first. You never get anything new, either, with five brothers. I’ve got Bill’s old robes, Charlie’s old wand, and Percy’s old rat.”

      OH RON HONEY IT’S OKAY YOU’RE THE BEST AND ALSO MY FAVORITE, HONEY.

      I mean, um. -cough-

      We don’t need to get into my issues here, but yeah. That paragraph? Ron won my heart forever and ever and ever. (My sister is kick-ass awesome, but I suspect most younger siblings of kick-ass awesome people have some variation on Ron’s issues.)

      Moving right along, I’m sure that plenty of essays have been written about the houses and their traits, but I really do wish we got to know more characters from other houses (I guess there’s Luna and Cedric, but that’s not a huge sample size), and that Slytherin wasn’t so uniformly eeeeeevil. I’m also curious about the sorting, like, is just wanting to be in a house enough to get you placed there? It’s obviously a matter of choice for Harry, and clearly Draco would want to be in Slytherin, but what about people who are more ambivalent, or kids who a) are from muggle families, and b) aren’t Hermione, and thus probably haven’t read up on the history of the houses and whatnot?

      I feel like this encapsulates the entire wizarding world: “Mad?” said Percy arily. “He’s a genius! Best wizard in the world! But he is a bit mad, yes. Potatoes, Harry?” It’s like, sure, send your kids to a school where they might die in a tournament or while doing detention, that’s just how wizards roll, nbd. Why wouldn’t you do that? Wizards are weird.

      Ught, Snape is such a dick. It legitimately isn’t Harry’s fault he’s famous, and he hasn’t behaved badly or taken advantage of it at school, so Snape’s calling him out is completely inappropriate. Not that a teacher humiliating a pre-teen is ever appropriate, but Snape is just downright nasty. JKR did a great job as setting him up as the red herring villain, and I guess in the end, he’s one of the few characters who’s allowed to be a goodguy but not actually nice. Because he’s not. Even a little.

      Re: flying. I know people have pointed out that if he were a girl, people would think of Harry as a Mary Sue, because he’s super special and chosen and good at everything, etc… but I would not be one of those people, because I want the protagonists in my fantasy novels to be super special. I love when they have to work (and Harry does, at some things) but for anyone well written and/or enjoyable, I’m more than happy to hand out a hero’s exemption pass for being super special. (Also, because the thing about being the center of a novel is that the character should be the one doing the moving and shaking in the book, and so if there are super special attributes to be had, it would make no sense for someone who’s not the protagonist to get them… but now I’m just rambling.) So it doesn’t bother me even a little bit that he can basically climb on a broomstick and be the world’s greatest flyer and get recruited for the sports team — and I love that moment. It’s just so satisfying. Harry is standing up to a bully! He’s Harry Potter, that’s kind of his thing! The narrative makes you really want him to best Draco there, and then… he does. And it’s so satisfying.

      Later: Hermione, being great. I love that she is simultaneously an insufferable know-it-all, and also totally awesome, and, as a life-long goody-two-shoes, I am totally with her when it comes to, “Stop breaking the rules! We’re all going to get in trouble! YOU GUYS, STOP BREAKING THE RULES!!” because look, everyone, if we all followed the rules, everything would be fair, okay, and you wait in line for your turn, yeah, but so does everyone else and that’s how it’s supposed to work and people who cut lines really piss me off and that’s very much emblematic of the whole mindset. Wow that got off topic. Anyway: Hermione is so great!

      But okay, yeah, the moment when Ron calls her a nightmare and says she’s got no friends is devastating. I forgive him because he’s 11, but ouch. But then they become best friends and everything will be great forever, trufax. Yay golden trio!

    2. Jessica says:

      I think it’s fascinating that the very first thing Harry hears a Weasley say is “–packed with Muggles, of course–” Tolerance!

      I always get the impression from this book that Ginny is a lot younger than 10. She comes off like a very small child, and I remember being really surprised when she turned up the next year at Hogwarts. The impression is so strong it makes me wonder if she really was younger and Jo decided to make her a more major player after the first book was written.

      How did Hermione know how to get into Diagon Alley to get her books and stuff, I wonder? Is there an additional page of instructions in the Hogwarts letter for Muggle-born kids? That must have been an interesting shopping excursion.

      So Harry goes off to school and the very first people he meets are his best friend and future wife. Wouldn’t it be convenient if life really worked that way?

      “And now there were only three people left to be sorted.” Uh…Dean Thomas, Lisa Turpin, Ron Weasley, and Blaise Zabini equals four, book.

      The books give the impression that there are hundreds upon hundreds of students, but if we take Harry’s dorm as standard (5 kids of each gender per house per year) that only leaves us with 280 students. (Incidentally, I always wondered what happened to the other 2 Gryffindor girls. I think I once read Jo saying that she’d come up with the characters but they never wound up saying anything so they probably didn’t exist.)

      Seven kinds of meat, three kinds of potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, peas, and carrots? This banquet is hilariously British.

      Child abuse as humor alert: Neville tells two anecdotes of his relatives nearly murdering him, then has a pile of walking sticks dropped on his head. Poor Neville.

      I am totally with Becky on the Snape issue. Way to bully an 11-year-old because he looks like some dude you didn’t like, jerkface. It absolutely infuriates me that this man is allowed to continue teaching, but after all the physical abuse and ludicrous danger these kids suffer through as a matter of course, I suppose a little bullying is supposed to be no big d.

      Ron is my favorite of the trio, but Hermione is clearly the best one. She knows useful spells! She notices things! She solves mysteries! Hermione is great. 😀 😀 😀

    3. Rebecca: Oh my God, Ginny. I just finished up the audiobook for Chamber of Secrets and her relationship with her brothers is just so sweet and organically childish… OH, GINNY.

      To be honest, even if Harry was Harriet, the flying thing wouldn’t bug me—Harry’s first few weeks at Hogwarts are presented as challenging, and Harry doesn’t have anything else he’s superb at other than flying. This might be me looking back at the series knowing that Harry is ultimately more or less a good but ordinary guy, but it works for me.

      Jessica: Yep, the math is off. I think Rowling has mentioned this; she imagines the school as fairly big, but the numbers don’t add up.

    4. Carolyn says:

      It’s not child abuse! Because…they’re wizards. They’re extra hardy. I mean, granted, if Neville HAD been a squib it would’ve been a real problem. But they don’t think that way. They haven’t been socialized to think that way. Dropping kids out of a window doesn’t hurt them, in their minds, so they’re just trying to give him a little jolt!

      …. I know, it’s a stretch. But I do think there’s *something* to be said for all of the jokey violence in these books. The same way they can smash hard balls at each other with incredible force in Quidditch, i think we’ve got to allow a leetle leeway for the physical humor.

      In other news: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0Z5_wipT2o “What house are you?” (hysterical!)

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