“Wingardium leviosa”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Chapters 8-10

Professor Severus Snape

The school year has officially begun and Harry is learning that wizarding school is no picnic. And one teacher is making sure that he doesn’t enjoy it too much. Snape is absolutely horrible to Harry, and everyone around him, on his first day. It would be one thing if he only hated Harry, but he is mean to Hermione and Neville too for no reason. He creates a toxic environment in his classroom. He purposefully tries to humiliate Harry during his first potions lesson. Harry is an eleven year old kid whose parents were murdered when he was just a baby. Snape just assumes that Harry is going to be like James without even giving him a single class to show him otherwise. To all the Snape apologists out there, you need to reread the books. Snape may do some good deeds, but nothing excuses bullying your students.

To be clear I love Snape as a character. He is creepy and mysterious. You just know something is off with him but you can never really catch him at it. In this book he is mostly a red herring, but there is a reason Harry is constantly looking at him when something goes wrong at Hogwarts. He’s always got his eye on Harry and Harry always has his eye on him. Snape’s morality is complicated, but he is a total ass.

Harry’s Rivalry with Malfoy

The only thing that might rival Harry’s hatred and mistrust of Snape is his hatred and mistrust of Malfoy. Harry has disliked Malfoy since he met him at Madam Malkin’s and every interaction they have had since has just solidified it. But Malfoy is all talk and no action. Harry really needs to learn this, sadly he never really does. Harry has to show up Malfoy. He has to rise to Malfoy’s bait. Malfoy goads him into the wizard’s duel and then doesn’t even show up. He wouldn’t actually risk getting hurt by Harry or getting in trouble with a teacher. Instead he plants a trap for Harry in hopes he will get in trouble. Many times in the series Harry gives into his rivalry with Malfoy and Malfoy often gets the best of him.

Hermione Makes a Trio

Initially Ron and Harry are not big fans of Hermione. And to be fair, she is kind of annoying so you can understand why. She is a know-it-all and a rule follower. But not only does she follow the rules, she tries to make sure you do too. When Ron makes a comment about how annoying she is and she doesn’t have any friends, she overhears and is very upset. So upset she like locks herself in the bathroom for half a day. Which seems like an overreaction, but she is eleven.

I have to say, the entire troll plot feels incredibly forced. Immediately after they defeat the troll, Rowling is just like and now they are all friends. It would have made more sense to maybe have a little thawing after this and then have them slowly get to like her more throughout the rest of the book. But it is just like from here on out they are a solid trio.

I did like how it introduced Hermione’s sense of morality and justice. She lies to McGonagall to take the fall for Harry and Ron taking on the troll. She could have told the truth and said she was in there because Ron was mean to her, but instead she takes full responsibility. Though Hermione is a stickler for the rules and doesn’t like to look bad in front of a teacher, she fights back when she feels rules are unjust and she stands by her friends. They went out of their way to make sure she was okay, even though they didn’t particularly like her. She didn’t want them punished so she let herself take the blame.

They do make a good trio though and we are already seeing how their strengths complement each other. Harry is very instinctual. He gets on the broom and immediately knows what to do. He is just naturally good at some things, even though he is overall an average student. Hermione is all about book learning. She is never really good at flying because a lot of it is instinct and she doesn’t really have that. She remembers everything she reads and she can think critically, but when it comes to practical skills she often falls short. Ron is kind of the follower of the group. Which is fine they can’t all three be leaders. He always backs Harry up. He immediately offers to be Harry’s second in his duel with Malfoy. And being the only one of them from a wizarding family he provides a lot of background knowledge. He kind of provides his entire family which is crucial to Harry and Hermione later on.

Though they are a tight trio, Harry and Ron are always kind of the best friends and Hermione is like their other best friend. They share a special bond that is quite the same as what they have with Hermione.

Harry’s Curiosity

These chapters start to introduce the mystery of the Sorcerer’s Stone. Harry learns that the attempted robbery of Gringotts happened on the day he and Hagrid went there and Hagrid is very evasive when Harry asks questions. Harry even says this information is more interesting to him than what he learned in classes. When Hermione points out that Fluffy was guarding a door, that too starts to occupy his mind. He immediately assumes that what Hagrid took out of the vault must have been under the door. He loves to make leaps in his mind to connect information, that often turns out to be right, but he doesn’t really have much reason to believe it is. Harry acts on instincts and to his credit it gets him pretty far.

Harry is naturally very curious and once he decides he needs to know something, he will go after it relentlessly. Often times because of who he is, he really doesn’t have much of a choice about whether he is going to be putting himself in danger. Or be the one to save the day. But this is one he really doesn’t have to get involved in. But he will because he just has to know.

Miscellaneous

  • Harry takes Astronomy for at least the first five books and does a class at midnight once a week, but it is hardly ever mentioned. They talk about having Astronomy homework but it is one of those classes that we just never spend time in. The books kind of focus on like three classes (Defense, Potions, and Transfiguration) and mentions the rest from time to time, but Astronomy I think gets the least play.
  • Ron and Harry are already codependent. Ron asks Harry if he can go with him to hang out with Hagrid, probably just because Ron didn’t want to have to spend the afternoon without Harry.
  • Remembrall’s don’t seem super useful. They remind you that you have forgotten something, but not what you have forgotten.
  • Why would Dumbledore, the greatest wizard of all, lock Fluffy behind a door that a simple lock opening charm could open?
  • Oliver Wood explains Quidditch and I honestly just skim over the explanation every time I read this book. I know many have ranted about this sport that makes no sense but it really is terrible. It is like soccer on broomsticks, which is fine. But then as an added difficulty there are people throwing things at you while you play it. Also fine since they are magical and can heal broken bones immediately. But then the entire game rides on a player who is like doing their own thing the whole game. It is two different sports in one, but one matters much more.

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