Been a while, huh? I bet you’ve all read on without me, haven’t you? Well that’s okay, because I may or may not have read on without you… but thanks to my diligent note-keeping, here is a vivid and unvarnished account of my experience of this fourth chapter of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
The banging at the door of the shack wakes Dudley up. “Where’s the cannon?” he asks “stupidly”. Whatever Rowling. I bet it if Harry had said it he would have done so “sensitively”.
Uncle V pulls out a rifle, because he’s a crazy motherfucker like that these days. He yells out that he’s armed, but whoever’s outside doesn’t seem too fussed about it, because their response is to break the door down.
The intruder is huge, and has a “long, shaggy mane of hair and a wild tangled beard” and I’m all OMG I know that beard! Rophy totally lives in it sometimes!
My beard-dar turns out to be spot-on: this is Hagrid, the same Hagrid who stubbornly refused to put us down when he was flying the baby boy wonder over Bristol.
Heather says: Christ, I’ve never seen you two so angry! Remind me to pull over the Rophermobile if we every get anywhere near Bristol. Like next summer or something.
Rin says: Oh Heather, you know you would never ever ever forget to pull over if we were near Bristol. In fact you would have organised some sort of Skins tour, taking us round to all the shooting locations, with sandwiches packed for us and everything.
Sophy says: Sandwiches and THREE BOTTLES OF BUTTERBEER
Hagrid picks up the door and fits it back into its frame, which… thoughtful! He then coolly asks for a cup of tea, sits down on the sofa telling Dudley to “budge up, yeh great lump,” and please, if that isn’t the giant calling the fattie big.
Dudley “squeaks” and runs to hide.
Hagrid then addresses Harry fondly, saying how he looks just like his dad but he’s got his mum’s eyes. Sorry, mom’s eyes, if my copy is to be believed, and I find this translation so absurd, because even the American version of the audiobooks has a British narrator and what he says doesn’t sound remotely like Mom.
Uncle V gets all up in Hagrid’s face, going on about breaking and entering, and Hagrid tells him to shut up, snatches the rifle from him and ties it in a knot like he’s some kind of great big clown at some kind of children’s birthday party.
Heather says: OMG. Hagrid is Fizbo.
Rin says: A pink umbrella does sounds like something a clown would carry.
Sophy says: BUTTERBEER!
In response to being casually disarmed by a giant clown, Uncle V makes a funny noise “like a mouse being trodden on.” Like father like son, I suppose.
Hagrid ignores him and gets back to gazing dreamily at the boy wonder. He wishes Harry a happy birthday, and says he has a present for him – a big sticky chocolate cake with ‘Happy Birthday Harry’ written on it in green icing. The box is squashed, and Hagrid admits he may have sat on it at some point. Ew, do not want comestibles that have been fraternizing with giants’ bottoms.
On the other hand… this is so completely DISTRACTION CAKE that I cannot help but squee.
Rin says: Emily Fitch, doing better by the world, one distraction cake at a time.
Sophy says: What I want to know is why the hell we weren’t living in Hagrid’s beard when Emily taught him her craft.
Harry wants to thank Hagrid, but he’s too bewildered. All he can bring himself to say is “Who are you?” Hagrid shakes Harry’s whole arm with his enormous hand – CUTE! – and formally introduces himself as Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts.
Oooh! Hogwarts! Its first official mention!
No time to dwell though, Hagrid is busy asking about tea again, and snorting at the Dursleys’ pathetic attempts to light a fire. He makes one himself with suspicious ease, and once it’s roaring blazily he goes all Mary Poppins, pulling ridiculous amounts of food and kitchenware out of his coat, as well as some booze of which he partakes whilst cooking.
Dudley gazes lovingly at the sausages, but his father says he’s not to eat anything this joker prepares. Sound advice, Uncle V. But still, poor Dudley and his forbidden soul sausages. Sacrilicious
Hagrid is less moved by his plight than I am and proceeds to call him a “great pudding”, adding that he doesn’t need anymore “fattening up”. So picking on children with weight problems is a hobby is it Hagrid? Nice, really nice.
Harry gets to eat the sausages, the lucky little bugger, and as he does so he proceeds to reveal his ignorance of all things wizardy, including Hogwarts and what his parents were really all about.
Hagrid is appalled and starts berating the Dursleys for failing in his education. He says the boy doesn’t know “nothin’ about ANYTHING!” and Harry rather sweetly objects that he does know some things – “I can, you know, do maths and stuff.”
And to that I say NOT AS WELL AS THE DUDLEY PIG.
But that’s not what Hagrid is talking about of course – and he whips out a letter addressed in emerald green to Mr H. Potter, The Floor, Hut-on-the-Rock, The Sea, telling him that he has been accepted into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It’s a bit weird that he’s been “accepted” without ever having applied. But whatevs – still makes more sense than Panda Pops to Harvard.
Heather says: Panda Pops to Harvard makes more sense than Thomo to Harvard. HE DOESN’T EVEN GO HERE!
Sophy says: Omg Hagrid is totally Regina George. Only with a beard.
The letter says they’re awaiting Harry’s owl, and when Harry evinces confusion at this, Hagrid shows him how it’s done, sending off a letter about picking up Harry’s school stuff to Dumbledore in true wizarding style – he pops a note in an owl’s beak and throws it out into the storm, then comes and sits down “as though this was as normal as talking on the telephone.”
If you ask me, it’s a lot more normal. I’ve never really moved on from homing pigeons, I suppose.
Rin says: I’m not even sure if that’s a window. She could just be staring at a painting. Thinking about the glory days.
Sophy says: IT IS NOT A PAINTING. The pigeons are moving, Rin… They are
Uncle V says he’s not letting Harry go to Hogwarts, and Hagrid scoffs and is all ‘lol muggle’. Uncle V and Aunt P are despairing – they say how they knew all about the wizard thing, and have been trying their damnedest to stamp that vile impulse out of him since he came to live with them.
Aunt P takes the mic and elaborates that her sister had all the same tendencies as a child, despite having been muggle-born, and that she had always disapproved. But for her mother and father, apparently, it was a different story. They’d been proud of having a witch in the family, Aunt P says, for them “it was always Lily this and Lily that.”
And I’m usually the one who identifies with the oldies, but in this particular instance I’m thinking it’s Rin who has a special bond with Harry Potter’s grandparents.
Heather says: Is this a good time to say that Rob Fitch looks JUST LIKE my college boyfriend? My best friend and sister both told me so, independently of each other, without prompting. If he’d had a Scottish accent and a naughty bar, I might still be straight. (JOKING. I like tits and fanny.)
Rin says: In the middle of a Harry Potter recap is always the right time to reveal things about yourself.
Sophy says: Um, Heather, would you please stop hijacking my Harry Potter recaps with your filthy heterosexual talk??? Thank you.
Aunt P reveals, in her ravings about her sister and brother-in-law, that they didn’t die in a car crash, but rather got themselves “blown up” by being total freaks.
Harry is shocked to find that the dreams he’s been having might actually be based in reality – in a reality he’s been lied to about for ten years, and Hagrid is even more disgusted than he was already, because according to him, every kid in the wizarding world knows Harry’s story, and it’s a disgrace that Harry himself doesn’t.
He proceeds to tell Harry all about the dark days under You Know Who – Voldemort, he says once and with difficulty – and how James and Lily Potter, who were just super duper and shiny and were totally head boy and girl of Hogwarts back in the day, were murdered by him.
He tells Harry no one knows how he survived the attack, but everyone sort of assumes it’s because he’s awesome, and so he’s all kinds of famous back home.
Uncle V starts badmouthing Harry’s parents, trying to re-indoctrinate Harry into thinking they were just weirdos and he’s not everybody’s lord and saviour. Hagrid points an umbrella at him and he shuts the hell up because umbrellas are scary or giants are scary or I guess both?
Hagrid gets on with his story now that everyone has been umbrella’d into submission, telling Harry how Voldemort disappeared, but only fools really believe he’s gone forever.
He looks at Harry with warmth and all the “respect” due to snowflakes who save the world with spittle, and Harry thinks to himself how he couldn’t possibly be a wizard because surely he would have pulled some badass shit on his asshole relatives when they abused him if he were.
Um… Harry? Dude? Last week at the zoo when Dudders clocked you, there was this glass on this cage with a snake in it that like totally vanished. Remember that? Hmm? Vanishing glass? Ringing any bells? No?
Hagrid does my job for me, prods him until he finally starts to put two and two together about all the weird stuff that happens when he’s pissed off.
Rin says: So apparently Harry aged 20 years since the last drawing. I guess that’s just how long he’s been taking to figure out 2+2.
Sophy says: Holy shit, Dudley-Pig, you have a beautiful mind!
Uncle V objects again, and winds up insulting Dumbledore which seriously gets up Hagrid’s nose. “NEVER! INSULT! ALBUS! DUMBLEDORE! IN! FRONT! OF! ME!” he screams passionately. And it might have been around this point that I said to Rin ‘OMG, Hagrid/Dumbledore, I totally ship it.’
She was not impressed.
Heather says: Ah, well. We all have our buttons.
Rin says: I love it when you macro us. Especially when you give us questionable eyebrows and perfectly oval mouths.
Sophy says: When I saw this I said out loud ‘aw, honey, you macroed’ in my best Christian-from-Clueless voice.
Hagrid, quite incensed, points his umbrella at Dudley and causes him to sprout a curly pig’s tail out of his backside, and it’s all very lolzy and hilarious, because he’s a bit of a porker isn’t he, but hey WAIT A MINUTE.
Dudley wasn’t even doing anything! He was just sitting there being plump and afraid! Jesus!
So this is how Hagrid operates??? He gets pissed off at Uncle Vernon so he decides to wantonly maim his son in revenge??? WHAT IS THAT ABOUT???
Less and less BFG the more I get to know you, Hagrid. Less and less BFG and more and more Regina-with-beard.
The Dursleys scurry away into the next room and I continue to be appalled, because Hagrid doesn’t even offer to fix it! He’s mildly apologetic, saying that he shouldn’t have lost his temper, but he can’t resist another fat joke – “Meant ter turn him into a pig, but I suppose he was so much like a pig anyway that there wasn’t much left ter do.”
You’re a bully, Rubeus Hagrid. A BULLY! And anyone who stands by and watches a bully bullying others and does nothing about it is as GUILTY AS THE BULLY HIMSELF, HARRY POTTER. Um. Okay I might cut Harry some slack because he knows just how much of a turd Dudley is when he’s not cowering in submission, but regardless! If I were there right now I wouldn’t just be standing idly by. I’d be comforting Dudders, perhaps by commiserating in costume form…
Hagrid swears Harry to secrecy about the incident, because he’s totally not supposed to do magic, and I can see why. This guy is a total loose cannon, and I’m thinking Dudders wasn’t so much “stupid” earlier as PROPHETIC.
He explains to Harry that the reason he’s not allowed to do magic is because he was expelled from Hogwarts, and was only allowed to stay on as gamekeeper because Dumbledore is such a sparklepants.
Harry asks why he was expelled and he dodges the question, says he should get some sleep. He throws his coat over him and says “Don’ mind if it wriggles a bit, I think I still got a couple o’ dormice in one o’ the pockets.”
And there we have it, a chapter full of exposition, much of which we already knew. Not the most riveting but I have high hopes for the next, because we’re finally going to Hogwarts right? Right?
Rin says: When you say ‘Hogwarts’ I know you really mean, ‘When the fuck is Hermione showing up?’ Not for another 1.5 chapters. So, keep your shirt on.
Sophy says: … I now have this image of me throwing my bra at a 10 year old girl and I’m really, really upset.