Hi guys!! It’s been a while between chapters, so let’s brush up on what we’ve learned about this Potter business so far.
Harry is the chosen one. The big bad evil killed his mum and dad when he was just a baby and so he grew up with his asshole Uncle and Aunt and his super awesome fat cousin Dudley. Then this big bully named Hagrid showed up to take him to a special school. Where you learn to become a wizard.
Heather says: Seriously, Soph, is this how you watch Star Wars? “So then this asshole Luke Skywalker picks a fight with the benevolent Lord Vader …”
Sophy says: He makes fat jokes!!! And Muggle jokes!!! Even though he’s kind of fat!!! And not a real wizard!!! Although maybe that’s why it’s okay Like how I can make Asian jokes because I’m basically Rin
At said school: Professor McGonagall is a champ and can turn into a cat. Snape and Malfoy are pricks. His new best friend is Ron Weasley, and thus far neither of them has had the sense to get down on his knees in Hermione Granger’s presence.
Last night the three of them and Neville ‘I love Toads’ Longbottom got into a spot of bother with a three-headed dog.
Now. Harry and Ron are at the breakfast table having a quiet gloat about their big adventure, and generally discussing all sorts of things that aren’t their business. Malfoy, who stupidly thought they might be expelled for breaking the rules, looks on in baffled horror.
Hermione is doing the no-speaks with the two of them, which should have them crying into their breakfast-soup, but nooo. According to Harry and Ron she’s “such a bossy know-it-all that they [see the silent treatment] as an added bonus.”
Harry gets mail at the table – tantalizingly long, slender mail that can only be one thing: a shiny, new broomstick, courtesy of one Professor M McGonagall. It’s a ‘Nimus Two Thousand’ and Ron is horribly jealous because being jealous of Harry is his thing, and also broomsticks are the best.
Harry’s not supposed to open the package in front of anyone so as not to create an envy-stampede amongst the students – “I don’t want everybody knowing you’ve got a broomstick or they’ll all want one,” his benefactor writes. And wow, way to underestimate the youth of today, McGonagall! I can just see her sitting there painstakingly wrapping the broom in the extra-long broom-wrapping paper she ordered specially, shaking her head and sighing, saying to herself “I bet he’ll think it’s a book!”
Heather says: Bwahaha! Harry’s face! EVERYTHING IS SO FRAGILE!
Sophy says: It’s okay. Harry could swandive right off the roof and swoop back up on his broomstick. He’d be all ‘MADE YOU LOOK!!!!!!11’
Malfoy doesn’t think it’s a book, on account of having eyes. He corners Harry with a “mixture of jealousy and spite on his face” and tells him he’ll be in trouble because first years aren’t allowed brooms.
NOT SO, MALFOY. Once again you have made the elementary mistake of thinking that the rules apply to our hero.
Ron can’t help goading Malfoy and gets some revolting but rather hilarious poor-jokes back along the lines of “You couldn’t afford half the handle… I suppose you and your brothers have to save up twig by twig.”
Flitwick interrupts, and instead of sending Harry to the naughty corner, commences fawning over his broom. Malfoy upgrades from “jealousy and spite” to “rage and confusion” when Harry casually remarks that it’s all thanks to him that he has the broomstick at all – after all, he’s the one who forced him into flying and made him a ~star.
At this point Hermione shows up and OWN MY LIFE.
“”So I suppose you think that’s a reward for breaking rules?” came an angry voice from just behind them.”
She’s heavy on the sarcasm and I’m all ‘Brafuckingvo Hermione’ and practically ready to get the pom poms out, but then I realize that the sarcasm is somewhat misplaced, since, well, a reward for breaking the rules is pretty much exactly what this present seems to be?
But nevermind. Let’s focus on what’s important. Like the fact that Hermione then stomps up the stars. Yes, I am quoting here people, she actually stomps.
She also looks disapprovingly at Harry’s package.
Rin says: That is so horribly wrong. In two ways. One, they’re eleven. Two, they’re destined to be so shut up. Also I am very familiar with Hermione and her stomps. As she STOMPED ALL OVER MY HEART.
Sophy says: In steel-toed boots of love
Next stop, Quidditch practice.
The stadium is huge and has some loopy things on either side of the field that I’m thinking are goal… thingies. Whatever okay, I hate sport.
There’s an interesting sentence here, though, as Harry tries to describe what he’s seeing:
“They reminded Harry of the little plastic sticks Muggle children blew bubbles through, except that they were fifty feet high.”
Two things. One, what are those things called? I’ve been wondering for weeks, you guys. A little help? Two, note how Harry has already begun to define himself by the wizarding world – magic is already self, Muggle is already other.
This shift in his thinking is later confirmed when he absent-mindedly remarks that Quidditch is like basketball. Wood asks “curiously” what basketball is, but Harry says “nevermind” and “quickly”. He’s already ashamed of his Muggle heritage, and I guess it makes sense what with all that time he’s spent with that Muggle-mocker Hagrid. Next he’ll be measuring out his banana chips in the morning for fear of turning into a ~great pudding.
Next, Quidditch gets explained to us. But honestly, can’t you guys just look it up on Wikipedia? No? What’s that? You want me to suffer?
Basically it is like basketball, except with three balls and three hoops, and except you fly.
Oh and there are a couple of other balls that zoom around the place trying to bludgeon you. They’re called bludgers, which immediately makes me think they’re really zooming around trying to make a home for themselves in people’s pockets and they’ll lie on the couch and eat all the crackers and never ever pay for anything again.
Rin says: OTP Bludgers <3
Sophy says: They’re so cute with their bottles of wine, leaking onto the carpet <3
But they’re not the most important balls, no siree. The most important ball is a teeny tiny one called the golden snitch, which makes me think it’s some kind of teacher’s pet asswipe that rats you out when you try to cheat?
It’s not. The snitch is the ball that the really special awesome supercallafragalistic person who is the seeker – ie. who is Harry – has to catch. It gets you tons of points and the game is only over when it’s been caught.
Harry asks if the bludgers have ever killed anybody, “hoping he [sounds] offhand.” And well he might – the demonstration Wood gives is pretty fucked up and this sounds like a dangerous sport that my children will never play even if it turns out that Hogwarts is real and they get a letter and a broomstick and everything. No rugby, no ice hockey, no goddamn Quidditch. Suck it, prospective offspring!
Rin says: Our child will play sports. /foot down
Sophy says: Okay, okay. Badminton?
Heather says: Hands up if you had a massive crush on Oliver Wood in the first Potter movie? That guy’s name was even better than Wood. It was Sean Biggerstaff!
Sophy says: Wow. He either needs to change his name or accept that his destiny is pornography.
Annnnyway, they start training and Harry is honestly, actually perfect, catching every ball that this much older boy throws as hard as he can in every direction. Wood is naturally delighted by this perfect display of perfection, and tells Harry the Quidditch Cup will have their name on it this year. Yeah, I’m not so sure Wood. I’m thinking by then Harry House will be up and running, so… awkward.
Time passes, everything is great.
And then it’s Halloween! I didn’t realize they celebrated Halloween in Britain. I always imagined the British were too quaint and refined for such tomfoolery. We don’t really do much about Halloween in Australia, but probably more because we’re lazy? I only ever dressed up once, in France, when I was 14. Even then it was really just an excuse to wear too much eyeliner.
Charms class. They’re learning how to make objects fly, and Ron is shouting uselessly and “waving his long arms like a windmill.” It’s a rather wonderful visual, but before I can truly enjoy it, Ron is once again upstaged by…
“”You’re saying it wrong,” Harry heard Hermione snap. “It’s Wing-gar-dium Levi-o-sa, make the ‘gar’ nice and long.””
The lowdown: Ron is a whingey little bitch who doesn’t appreciate Hermione’s help, Hermione is awesome and helpful and much, much better than him.
She levitates her feather like a boss, and when Flitwick claps and cries out “Everyone see here, Miss Granger’s done it!” I’m all Of course Miss Granger’s done it.
Ron apparently can’t handle all the ways in which Hermione wipes the floor with his sulky ass, and on the way out of class he tells Harry how Hermione is a “nightmare” and it’s “no wonder no one can stand her.”
She runs away in tears.
Ron looks “awkward” about it. And I say he should fucking look bruised about it.
Seriously, I’ve never wanted to punch a small child so much in my life.
Heather says: I feel like every time you insult Ron, Rin’s heart grows three sizes.
Sophy says: If he keeps on behaving this way, Rin will have an abnormally shaped chest…
It turns out Hermione misses the entire afternoon’s classes because she’s crying in the toilets and won’t come out. Harry and Ron see some shiny baubles which “put [her] out of their minds.”
And okay, I know romance is going to be on the cards later, and I know everyone’s pre-pubescent now, but neither of them deserves her. Ever.
I think she should pull a Sue Sylvester and marry herself, because I suspect she’s legitimately the only person in the whole world who’s good enough for her.
Rin says: But… I’ve spent all these years grooming myself for her… please don’t tell me they’ve all been wasted!
Sophy says: Sorry…
Heather says: Well maybe one day she’ll find her Emily Fitch, God’s perfect idea of a redhead.
Sophy says: I don’t think the Potterverse could handle Emily Fitch. She’d cause another war. A much scarier one that’s just like that episode of Buffy where everyone loved Xander so much they got axes about it. Except no one had to do a spell about it, because it’s Emily Fitch not Xander…
Anyway. The great hall has been decorated, because Halloween is a big damn deal round these parts. There are thousands of live bats fluttering around which is impressive and also somewhat terrifying and disgusting.
Quirrell shows up, “his turban askew,” his usual skittishness cranked up to ‘heart attack’, and announces that there’s a troll in the dungeon!
He then passes out, because he’s useless and it’s funny and he’s such a JJ.
If you unwrapped that turban, I bet there’d be a ukulele under there.
Heather says: OMFG. I can’t.
Rin says: Why am I finding this cute? I shouldn’t be finding this cute.
Sophy says: I never thought ukuleles could get more horrifying. Or Rin.
The kids go nuts and apparently it takes “several purple firecrackers exploding from the end of Professor Dumbledore’s wand to bring silence.” And gosh, that’s the first time I’ve seen fireworks cause mass calm amongst hysterical children.
The prefects lead the students back to their dorms, and it’s a whole lockdown situation. Harry remembers Hermione, and the fact that she wasn’t at dinner and therefore doesn’t know about the troll – and hey you’d think what with this being a magic school and all they could manage some kind of PA system, but whatever.
Ron and Harry sneak off toward the girls’ bathroom, careful not to be noticed by Percy. However, it’s not Percy they need to worry about – they spy Snape crossing the corridor in a sneaky non-good way. They’re already concerned by his clear and present naughtiness before they even realize he’s heading for THE THIRD FLOOR!!!!!!!
Of course they don’t have long to worry about that, running straight into the troll as they of course do.
Said troll has a wooden club and emits an “incredible” smell. It is “twelve feet tall, its skin… a dull granite gray, its great lumpy body like a boulder with its small bald head perched on top like a coconut,” and hey, Rowling is really great with the gross descriptive writing, isn’t she?
Being awfully brave as they are, Harry and Ron don’t squeal or run, but instead lock the troll in the bathroom and stand around all “flushed with victory.”
Unfortunately it turns out they’re as stupid as they are brave, seeing as how they just locked Hermione in there with him.
Hermione is all uncharacteristically damselly – I know she’s 11 okay but she’s a BAMF! She’d thrax that troll with her eyes if it weren’t for the fact that Ron and Harry need to atone for their sins by saving her. I’m convinced the reason she isn’t dusting her little hands off over the body of a dead troll when they boys burst in is the same reason she will no doubt let them win at scrabble in the future.
Anyway, the boys head into the bathroom and engage in battle with the troll. Harry quickly does “something that [is] both very brave and very stupid,” and I’m all Yep, sounds about right.
After he’s thrown himself at the troll and stuck his wand up its nose, which, yuck, Ron manages to disarm the troll with Wingardium Leviosa because it’s the ~first spell that came into his head, and oh for the love of god, we got it okay, Rowling? Stop being cute, it’s getting dumb.
Nevertheless, it is kind of neat how he thumps the troll on its head with its own club.
He surmises that the troll is knocked out, but not dead and Harry pulls his wand out of its nose. It’s covered in what looks like “lumpy gray glue” and is in fact troll snot.
Human snot is so much nicer.
A bunch of teachers show up right about then. Quirrell is whimpery, McGonagall is scolding, Snape gives Harry “a swift piercing look.”
At the last moment Hermione emerges from the shadows and takes the blame, telling them that she went looking for the troll because she “thought [she] could deal with it on [her] own – you know because [she’s] read all about them.” Sure, it’s a lie and all but I’m not surprised they believe it, because it’s so completely adorable and so totally something Hermione would do.
Ron is all OMG HERMIONE LIED TO A TEACHER WTFBBQ. He immediately likes her more.
She tells the rest of the story pretty much as it happened, and Harry and Ron try to look as though this story isn’t new to them, which the relevant parts aren’t really, so their tiny brains don’t have to stretch too far.
McGonagall takes five points from Gryffindor for Hermione’s supposed bad badassery, but then she gives five each to Harry and Ron for their good badassery, so the three of them still manage to come out on top.
Heather says: Did you know JKR’s editor wanted to take out this chapter? And she was like, “Um, no. This is the beginning of the most important thing.”
Sophy says: I’ve never wanted to punch an editor so much in my life. Except maybe for the one who didn’t just cross out the entirety of Breaking Dawn.
She is mightily impressed with the boys, telling them even Dumbledore will hear about this, since “not many first years could have taken on a full-grown mountain troll,” and to that I say “Duh, McGonagall, not many first years are Harry Fucking Potter and that other guy!”
Anyway, long story short, this experience has bonded our little trio, and the end of the chapter is absolutely lovely. So lovely you’re going to have to read it in its original state:
The common room was packed and noisy. Everyone was eating the food that had been sent up. Hermione, however, stood alone by the door, waiting for them. There was a very embarrassed pause. Then, none of them looking at each other, they all said “Thanks,” and hurried off to get plates.
But from that moment on Hermione Granger became their friend. There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.
I still ship Hermione/Hermione though.