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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Discussion, Chapters 1-8

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1foggidawn
Edited: May 2, 2010, 1:27pm Top

Welcome to the 2010 Harry Potter series discussion! This thread is for discussion of the first eight chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (aka Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone).

If you have never read the series before, you are welcome to join in, but be warned: These threads may contain spoilers for the entire Harry Potter series.

Chapters discussed in this thread:
1. The Boy Who Lived
2. The Vanishing Glass
3. The Letters from No One
4. The Keeper of the Keys
5. Diagon Alley
6. The Journey from Platform Nine and Three Quarters
7. The Sorting Hat
8. The Potions Master

2pollysmith
Edited: May 2, 2010, 6:23pm Top

Here are my random and sometimes senseless thoughts.

A child grows up in an affluent neighborhood and yet is always dressed in rags and must sport bruises from Dudley? Where are the authorities? The school officials?

How did Hagrid fly to the hut? A Thestral? His umbrella( a la Mary Poppins)?

also, if they went back in the boat that harry and co arrived in, how did the Dursley's get off the rock and back to land?

Isn't it funny that Dudley wears a maroon tailcoat to school and Ron's sweaters and socks are always maroon too?

What IS the differnce between a stalagmite and a stalagmite?

They do a lot of pointing in these books, also I've noticed very little of the 'please' and 'thank you' manners we are bombarded with as kids here in the states.

Where did Scabbers come from? How did he get with the Weasleys? Did they buy him in a shop? Did they find him like a stray? Did he figure to just find a wizard family to listen for news of V with or was he trying to hide out so no one would ever find him including V?

and why if he was keeping low, did he bite Goyle?

3kirbyowns
May 2, 2010, 6:40pm Top

Hmm..
Lets see. It's been a couple months since my reread, so let's see if I can join the conversation.

How did Hagrid fly to the hut? A Thestral? His umbrella( a la Mary Poppins)?
Apparation? He may have had his wand broken, but he is still a wizard. I wonder if his skills were that far advanced.

also, if they went back in the boat that harry and co arrived in, how did the Dursley's get off the rock and back to land?
Good observation. I've wondered about this for a while. Swimming? Access to a cell phone? Coast Guard? I have no idea.

What IS the differnce between a stalagmite and a stalagmite?
Well a both (I'm assuming stalagmite and stalactite) are results of deposits of minerals usually in caves (can also be found in basements). Stalactites are the formations that hang from the ceiling, and stalagmites are the formations that form on the floor. Given enough time these can join to make columns. *can you tell I've taught this recently? ;D

Where did Scabbers come from? How did he get with the Weasleys? Did they buy him in a shop? Did they find him like a stray? Did he figure to just find a wizard family to listen for news of V with or was he trying to hide out so no one would ever find him including V?
Do we get an answer to this in a later book? For some reason I think I remember this, but I may be off my rocker.

Another thought that may prove that I'm off my rocker: I've kind of always liked Snape in the books. Something about the way his presence is. I don't know. I know we only get Harry's view point, and maybe that's why I always thought there was more to him.

4kgriffith
Edited: May 2, 2010, 6:45pm Top

>> What IS the differnce between a stalagmite and a stalagmite?
Well a both (I'm assuming stalagmite and stalactite) are results of deposits of minerals usually in caves (can also be found in basements). Stalactites are the formations that hang from the ceiling, and stalagmites are the formations that form on the floor. Given enough time these can join to make columns.

And to elaborate on Kirby's explanation, a good mnemonic device for remembering which is which: stalagmites grow up out of the ground, and stalactites grow down from the ceiling.

506nwingert
May 2, 2010, 9:05pm Top

Just a quick side note: There's a bit of irony in starting the discussion today. May 2 is the anniversary of the battle in Deathly Hallows.

Ch. 1:

1. I want to hear about the missing day in the encyclopedia. JKR admitted that there's a missing day, but won't say why.
2. I also want to know why JKR mentioned Burning Day (Nov. 5). Given the political undertones to the series, I wonder if this was a subtle way of foreshadowing the fall of the ministry.

Ch. 2

1. How did Harry get his glasses? The Dursleys don't like him, so they probably wouldn't buy him glasses unless they bought the glasses so people wouldn't notice Harry's abnormalities.
2. JKR's humor/ political and social undertones: "Harry never got rude letters from the library asking for books back."

6pollysmith
May 3, 2010, 5:23am Top

Missing day?

7MellieT
May 3, 2010, 7:06am Top


I would also wonder where the authorities were when it came to his clothing and possibly brusies. But sometimes kids dress like that just because so maybe there wasn't anyone who thought it could be the guardians/parents who dressed him like that considering how well Dudley was cared for.

On the question about how Hagrid flew to the hut I wouldn't think he would be able to appreparate because he was expelled in his younger years wasn't he?

If they went back in the boat that Herry and the Dursley's arrived in than Hagrid could have sent it back. Or since he used magic to speed up the process the boat may have had enough power left to find its way back.

As for how Harry got his glasses, I would take a guess that his teachers had noticed that he was having troubles in class or that they had eye exams in school and the Dursley's had to buy him the glasses to keep people off of their backs.

8biblioholic29
May 3, 2010, 9:00am Top

I mention several of these things on my blog, but I just need to say APPARITION IS NOT FLYING! The #@$@#$^# movies have made it look as though it's something like flying, but the books are very clear that it is more like squeezing yourself through empty space. This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine in the movies. Also, Hagrid cannot fly on a thestral (DH) and no one (until Voldemort) can fly without a broom, animal or vehicle of some kind (DH).

Thinking about it, my guess is that after Hagrid leaves Harry, he takes the boat back to the shack and then grabs his motorcycle for the flight home.

9beatles1964
Edited: May 3, 2010, 9:28am Top

Hagrid flew on his Magick flying Motor bike.You see Hagrid delivering Harry as a baby to the Dursley door step to Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall. Are we having a group Read of the Harry Potter Series?

Beatles1964

10foggidawn
May 3, 2010, 11:02am Top

I keep wanting to chime in, but I haven't read the chapters yet! (And I'm afraid I may get some key detail fuzzy if I just go on what I currently remember. For instance, I was pretty sure that Hagrid mentioned that he was too big to fly on a thestral, but I wasn't sure.)

#9 -- Yes.

11Mandy2
May 3, 2010, 1:25pm Top

Here's my question...In chapter one DD leaves Harry on the Dursley's doorstep in the middle of the night. And the Dursley's don't discover him until morning. And earlier the weather man says he can expect rain that night. It just doesn't seem like a good thing to me. I mean a baby left out all night with no supervision? He was 1 year old I'm sure he had some sort of mobility ability. Surely there was a better way.

12honeydew69862004
May 3, 2010, 2:05pm Top

Technically it's not Hagrids flying moto bike it was Sirius Black because when Voldermont killed the Potters Hagrid borrowed it from Sirius to deliver Harry to Dumbledor.

13beatles1964
May 3, 2010, 2:20pm Top

honeydew69862004 you're absolutely correct about it being Sirius Black's flying Motor bike. I had forgotten that fact that it had only been leant to Hagrid. It just goes to show you I need to re-read the book again.

Beatles1964

14pollysmith
May 3, 2010, 4:11pm Top

Okay, it was probably not the motorbike because hagrid could have taken harry to land in the motorbike, since he was using magic anyway, I'm sure, and I do think Hagrid can apparate because Harry tries to watch him from the train home and Hagrid just dissapears as he does in the movie as well. Someone as big as hagrid would be seen for quite a while even if walking away.
I agree bib that apparition is way different from flying. But why couldn't Hagrid fly on a threstral? How about a hippogriff? Both Creatures would find their way home....

15honeydew69862004
May 3, 2010, 4:27pm Top

But wouldn't the muggles see hagrid just floating in the air if he was on a threstral? A Hippogriff would be seen too unless of course he was allowed to use the spell that they used in I think it was the last book maybe? The one where all of the Order comes to get harry because of his birthday and the old magic of his mom dying for him is going to be worn off. Hagrid may of also used a port key though.

16foggidawn
May 3, 2010, 5:00pm Top

I think the issue with Hagrid flying by thestral or hippogriff is that he's just too big -- those animals can't bear his weight. And the last thing Hagrid would want to do is hurt an animal, right?

17littlegeek
May 3, 2010, 5:48pm Top

I always assumed that Hagrid's umbrella was really his wand (maybe he made it out of his wand?) and he apparated. Surely rescuing Harry would qualify as "Official Hogwarts Business" authorized by Dumbledore. Seems to me DD was always giving Hagrid permission to use magic when it was necessary.
Besides, flying motorcycle = magic and that was ok with DD.

18foggidawn
May 3, 2010, 5:58pm Top

#17 -- Yeah, it's pretty clearly implied that Hagrid's old wand is now part of that umbrella. And I tend to agree that DD would have given him permission to apparate . .. but if he had his wand snapped after his third year, how would he ever have gotten his apparition license? Or is he apparating without a license . . . with a broken wand? *shudders* The potential for splinching would be incredible.

Note that Hagrid seems to have some way of speeding up travel with his wandbrella . . . in that miserable chapter in HBP where he talks about going to see the giants, he indicates that he uses magic to travel when he's where muggles can't see him.

19pollysmith
May 3, 2010, 6:01pm Top

Oh of course the umbrella contained his wand, but he says to Harry when Harry asked how he got there was "Flew" I just don't see Hagrid leaving the motorbike there, unless....he put a spell on the bike to make it go back to Hogwarts or wherever.....but since he believed at the time that Sirius had been responsible for James and Lily's death's would he wanted to have kept the bike? I don't know. As far as riding anything through the air apparently wizards fly around all the time and we "just don't look properly" according to Stan Shunpike. Who is going to look up on a stormy night and see a huge half-giant flying thru the air?

20kgriffith
May 3, 2010, 6:14pm Top

The one thing that I've never understood, but also haven't really delved deeply enough into to figure out if there's a reason that makes sense - if Hagrid's name was cleared after HP2, why isn't he reinstated and allowed to get a new wand?

21pollysmith
May 3, 2010, 6:28pm Top

Hmmm....maybe he did? But its not important enough to the story?

22kgriffith
May 3, 2010, 6:33pm Top

You could be right, but I think there are further mentions of how Hagrid isn't supposed to do magic later in the series. Now I wish I'd paid closer attention while re-reading this year!

23pollysmith
Edited: May 3, 2010, 7:44pm Top

Oh well, We'll come upon it if its there....moving on, would you have wanted to be Malfoy's freind? would he have impressed you as someone with connections? How about Hermione? Would her bossiness have put you off? or the fact that she could do almost everything magical, would you have wanted to be her friend?

Peeves, what a pest! Would he have annoyed you or would you just have ignored him?

would you rather run into him or Mrs Norris?
what would your favorite class be?
I would love transfiguration, but charms would be cool too

24Octane
May 3, 2010, 7:41pm Top

If Hagrid had been allowed to do magic again after HP2 it would certainly have been mentioned. I'm pretty sure that there are more references to his umbrella in the later books, and if his name was cleared Cornelius Fudge would probably treat him differently in HP3 (when Buckbeak is supposed to be executed). Also, I don't think that the whole truth about the Chamber of Secrets was ever really made public. Of course, Dumbledore etc. know what happened, but it seems to be the kind of thing Fudge would rather keep quiet, and since there's no proof it wouldn't be very difficult.

Also, Hagrid did technically break the school rules/law by hiding Aragog, who certainly has been shown to be dangerous, so from a legal standpoint his punishment is still justified.

Also, I don't think it's very likely that Hagrid used Sirius' motorcycle. It is never mentioned in any events after Harry arrived at the Dursleys and it just seems unlikely that Hagrid would have kept it. Firstly, he got it from Sirius, before he thought that Sirius had betrayed the Potters, and in my opinion he wouldn't have held on to it when he heard about that. Secondly, I always thought that the motorcycle wasn't exactly legal anyway, just like the Weasley's car. Possibly too risky for someone, who already was in Azkaban once, to possess.

Apparition is also unlikely, since Hagrid wouldn't have been allowed to obtain a licence. Additionally it is a rather difficult and risky way of transportation, probably not something that Hagrid would have been able to successfully pull off with a broken wand.

The most likely explanation (not involving any unknown method of transportation) is probably a portkey, possibly created by Dumbledore.

This post somehow became a lot longer than I thought it would...

25littlegeek
May 3, 2010, 7:54pm Top

Re Hagrid: I think there were details that Jo just hadn't figured out in book 1. I know, sacrelige! ;-)

#23 I would totally have been turned off by that smarmy brat Malfoy. Ick. I'd probably have BEEN Hermione so I can't really answer that one.

Peeves. Ignore. Or sic on other people when necessary.

26biblioholic29
May 3, 2010, 8:23pm Top

#24: Hagrid kept the bike, he and Harry use it in Deathly Hallows when leaving Privet Drive. It's specifically stated that it's the only way Hagrid can fly: "We'll be on the bike, brooms an' thestrals can't take me weight, see." (US/HC p. 53) I'd think Hippogriffs would fall into the category too.

I agree with those who find it doubtful that Hagrid would have apparition ability. We see just how hard it is and how much study it takes in HBP and I find it essentially impossible to believe that Hagrid managed to figure it out on his own.

Again, I say Hagrid took the bike, the noise was mostly drowned out by the storm, though Harry did hear some noise before Hagrid showed up and then after he left Harry at the train station headed back to the hut-on-the-rock and picked up his bike.

27pollysmith
May 4, 2010, 5:51am Top

But what about Hagrid's disappearance at the train station????

28biblioholic29
May 4, 2010, 8:29am Top

A mistake on Jo's part. Does anyone have the 10th anniversary ed.? I wonder if she may have changed it...

29foggidawn
Edited: May 4, 2010, 8:34am Top

#28 -- I'll try to remember to get the tenth anniversary edition from the library. It hadn't occurred to me that she (or her editors) might have changed anything in it, so perhaps I will read that one and my old copy side by side and see if there are differences!

30biblioholic29
May 4, 2010, 9:48am Top

#29: Cool. If it's a true second ed. there should be changes. And I'd be more likely to purchase a copy then. :)

31foggidawn
May 4, 2010, 10:57am Top

I know they made a big deal about a few new illustrations. I'll pick it up soon and see what's different other than that.

3206nwingert
May 4, 2010, 11:41am Top

28-31:
I have the 10th anniversary edition, but it's not a second edition. It's the original book reprinted with a new cover and Jo's illustration of Snape. Basically, it's for collecting.

33beatles1964
Edited: May 4, 2010, 2:03pm Top

Personally, I would've preferred to pal aorund with Hermione, Harry, Ron than be Malfoy's friend. Besides someone would only be Malfoy's friend if they happened to be in Slytherin and Evil themselves. Nobody else would've bothered to strike up a friendship with that Prat and Wanker Malfoy otherwise.

Besides Hermione was best at doing Spells and she could've helped you with Herbology or Potions even though she was a Miss Know-it-all and a very bossy person as well. Besides how can you NOT like someone who loves to read books. Hermione would've fit in perfectly here in LT with all of the different, vast Reading Challenges people belong to around here. I bet Hermoine would average reading 200 or more books a year. I think I'd rather run into Peeves even though he is such a pest he still belongs to your house.

Beatles1964

34Mud
Edited: May 8, 2010, 12:22pm Top

a couple of questions:
1. Why are JK's minor villians blond and the major ones have black hair-does this show a prejudice on her part?

2. Harry finds out that his parents were murdered rather than dying in an accident so why isn't he more truamatized by this or at least fastinated? I would be both.

Edited after refinishing the whole book

35Poptropica
May 8, 2010, 5:25pm Top

#34- Question two- I believe that with finding out he was wizard and all, it completely slipped his mine until the other books.

36Poptropica
May 8, 2010, 5:26pm Top

oops. gave something away..

37jjwilson61
May 9, 2010, 1:02am Top

If the fact that Harry is a wizard is a spoiler, then there's not much we'll be able to discuss in this thread.

38pollysmith
May 9, 2010, 10:07am Top

LOL!

39Poptropica
May 9, 2010, 10:22am Top

I was talking about when i said other books.

40jjwilson61
May 9, 2010, 1:35pm Top

I think most people know there are other books as well.

41Poptropica
May 9, 2010, 3:46pm Top

Yes, but they not know that harry grieves for his mother and father in the other books.

42kirbyowns
May 9, 2010, 6:22pm Top

I think any spoilers in this thread and future threads are permissable, especially since there is a warning in the first post.

43pollysmith
May 9, 2010, 6:51pm Top

okay everyone chill out! Poptropica, this is a reread of the series, everyone knows what happens. You are welcome to join in

44Poptropica
May 9, 2010, 7:09pm Top

Oh, a reread did you say? And no one told me that? Huh?

45Poptropica
May 9, 2010, 7:16pm Top

Okay, now that i have reread the first message i see. Thank you, for reminding me.

43> Thank you, for accepting my inviatation.

46lefty33
May 16, 2010, 9:28pm Top

Belatedly joining in! (Huzzah for prom season being over!)

I love the childish simplicity in the writing and style throughout the first book, but particularly here at the very beginning. The characters growing up is one of the finest, most subtle thing in the books. I love coming back to the first book and seeing the stark contrast between it and the later books. So well done!

I love the first few paragraphs because they sort of make you sympathize with the normal Dursleys -- temporarily. Starting with the Dursley's perspective was a great way to ease us into the HP world. Obviously you come to see the Dursleys as mild villains later on, but for those first few paragraphs you side a little with the Dursleys even as you wonder what their problem is.

Knowing how Harry becomes so independent, it's fun to see his little 11-year-old outbursts. He wasn't going to be downtrodden despite his circumstances. I like that in Harry. He is good at standing up for himself and for what is right -- this is seen in several small places early on and I love these early signs of who Harry will grow up to be (i.e. choosing Ron's company over Draco's). :)

In all 7 books, Harry's arrival at school is one of my favorite parts. I love his self-conscious feelings as everyone stares and whispers. His shyness in the face of so much attention is endearing.

Random thought: Every time I read Hagrid coming into the hut and cooking fat sausages over the fire, I want a brat. I don't even really like brats all that much but imagining fat, sizzling, slightly burnt sausages always makes them sound so appealing!

47pollysmith
May 17, 2010, 9:15am Top

oh lefty! I agree, reading almost any of the books makes me hungry!
I love when the book reads that if the hat had mentioned a house for people who were slightly queasy, that would be the one for him
I was also a not very popular student in elementary school, bullied and teased, and I also decided early on that I would not be cowed nor would I be friends with a bully or more popular person just to be part of the crowd.
I can't say I sympathized with Dursleys ever! the very first line made me not like them!

48lefty33
May 18, 2010, 11:54am Top

I can't say I sympathized with Dursleys ever!

lol, I found them so funny in those first chapters. Like when Mr Dursley hoped he was imagining the strange things happening even though he didn't approve of imagination. And a "good day" involving shouting at several different people. Or hitting people with the Smelting stick being good practice for later in life. So many little gems about them in the beginning!

49foggidawn
May 22, 2010, 9:55pm Top

I have finally actually reread the first eight chapters -- huzzah!

I'm amazed to realize that this is the first time I've actually reread the book since the release of Deathly Hallows, though I listened to it on audiobook a little over a year ago. I'm just savoring Harry's introduction to this wonderful, magical world . . . but at the same time, I am amazed at how quickly I'm going through the book. I imagine I will finish it tonight.

I am reading the 10th Anniversary Edition, and Wingert is correct, it is the same as the first American edition. No changes have been made to the text as far as I can tell (and I went so far as to read the two books side-by-side for the first chapter, just to see -- Espy accused me of being somewhat anal-retentive). Hey, it's what Hermione would have done!

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