This chapter is called Nicolas Flamel. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m going to pretty disappointed if we don’t find out who Nicolas Flamel is by the end of it. It doesn’t look promising though, because Harry has put his invisibility cloak away in his trunk and decided to be a good boy.
He’s started having dreams about his parents, which is pretty normal, considering that devastatingly emotional experience he just had seeing them in the mirror of Erised. The unusual part is that the dreams also contain spooky bits, like a “flash of green light” and a “high voice [cackling] with laughter.”
This not just in: Harry is definitely the chosen one. He’s even having the dreams.
Ron thinks it’s just that the mirror has driven him mad, and before I can look heavenward and declare that the earth is doomed, Hermione is there to make everything better. Unfortunately, though, she’s too preoccupied with Harry’s being out of bed three nights in a row and still failing to find out who Nicolas Flamel is, and I know, I know, Hermione – (the earth is doomed) – but it would have been nice if she could have cut to the chase and explained to Harry that he’s clearly having either flashbacks or premonitions or both, and that it’s highly likely that one of these days he’s going to be dead, but it’s okay, he’ll still be pretty.
The kids commiserate about how they’re sure they’re never going to find Flamel in a library book, and I’m all REALLY? YOU READ ALL THE LIBRARY BOOKS ALREADY? EVEN THE WIZARD PORN??? Harry notes that he’s pretty sure he’s read the name somewhere before, and I’m going straight to the find function and checking my ebook for early mentions. And what do you know?! The name ‘Nicolas Flamel’ was on one of the cards Harry got in the chocolate frogs he and Ron ate on the train on the way to Hogwarts – the card with Albus Dumbledore on it to be precise.
Cheating is fun.
Heather says: Knowledge gained from a computer has no texture! No context! Knowledge should be tangible! It should be smelly!
Rin says: Excuse me? The Internet. It lies in all of us. Sleeping… waiting… and though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir… open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us… guides us. The Internet rules us all. And we obey. What other choice do we have? The Internet is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love… the clarity of hatred… the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without The Internet, maybe we’d know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank. Without The Internet, we’d be truly dead.
Heather says: I can’t hold onto the past anymore. Bookstores are gone. Nothing’s ever gonna bring them back.
Sophy says: Oh Rin and Heather. I see your hearts. You hold them before you for everyone to see AND I WORRY THAT THEY WILL BE BRUISED OR TORN AND MORE THAN ANYTHING IN MY LIFE I WANT TO KEEP THEM SAFE AND WARM THEM WITH MY OWN.
Meanwhile, Nicolas Flamel was Dumbledore’s lab partner, pretty much, and the two of them were into alchemy and stuff.
Now I hate to say it, but this book would probably be a lot shorter if Hermione had been in the carriage with them and eaten that chocolate frog and read that card. I’m pretty sure we would all have known who Flamel was the moment Hagrid mentioned his name in like, chapter 11.
Harry was neglecting his snooping duties to be a good boy, which was bad enough, but now he’s neglecting them for freaking Quidditch. Practice has started again, and I’m hoping there’s only going to be, like, a paragraph devoted to it. A shortish one, please?
Wood has been riding the kids really hard, making them practice in the rain and stuff, and yeah, wow, okay. That sounds rough. Get back to me when you’re being sent to your blizzardy deaths to deliver the mail.
Heather says: One idea I have is: Let’s start a bird band. I’ll be the kookaburra on the drums. You can be the owl on the electric guitar. I’ll bet Rachel and Quinn would invite us to play at their wedding.
Rin says: That is the single best idea you’ve ever had in your life. And I’m not just saying that because of the Faberry end-goal. What kind of bird would I be??
Heather says: Canada Goose Gosling.
Sophy says: That’s exactly what I was going to suggest.
Anyway, the Weasley twins think it’s a bit much, but of course Harry doesn’t, because he’s not lazy and stuff, because chosen ones are never lazy and stuff.
It turns out Snape’s refereeing the next match – for the first time ever – which clearly means he’s only in it to cheat. Snape sounds like my kind of guy – thinks Quidditch sucks, thinks cheating at Quidditch is awesome.
Harry heads back to the common room and finds Hermione and Ron playing chess, reflects on the fact that it’s the only thing Hermione ever loses at, and that he and Ron therefore think this is “very good for her.”
Go fuck yourselves, Harry and Ron. You know what would be good for you? If you did a bit more fucking winning. That’s what.
Harry tells Ron and Hermione about Snape refereeing the game and they both agree that he shouldn’t play.
“Pretend to break your leg,” Hermione suggested.
“Really break your leg,” said Ron.
LOL FOREVER. I’d break my leg to get out of Quidditch.
Harry says he can’t, though, because there isn’t a reserve seeker and if he doesn’t play Gryffindor can’t play and I’m all ugh, how much more perfect can this kid get? He’s the chosen one. One boy in all the world, and he’s going to be a team player about it.
Neville shows up with his legs stuck together, the result of an aptly named “Leg-Locker Curse”. Everybody has a good laugh except Hermione, who performs the counter-curse like a boss. Hermione, you are all class, as a witch, and as a human being.
Poor Neville is in quite a state. He’s just been victimized by Malfoy, of all people. YOU WOULDN’T READ ABOUT IT. Hermione says he should report Malfoy, and Ron agrees, saying that he’s “used to walking all over people, but that’s no reason to lie down in front of him and make it easier.”
Neville, who is frankly adorable as a bowtie on a kitten, chokes out that there’s “no need to tell [him] he’s not brave enough to be in Gryffindor, Malfoy’s already done that.” Aw.
And here’s where I have to start forgiving Harry for his obnoxious specialness, because what he does next is pretty special, and not even remotely obnoxious.
I’m going to quote it, because it’s that sweet:
Harry felt in the pocket of his robes and pulled out a Chocolate Frog, the very last one from the box Hermione had given him for Christmas. He gave it to Neville, who looked as though he might cry.
“You’re worth twelve of Malfoy,” Harry said. “The Sorting Hat chose you for Gryffindor, didn’t it? And where’s Malfoy? In stinking Slytherin.”
Neville’s lips twitched in a weak smile as he unwrapped the frog.
HOW CUTE IS THAT?
It’s also a rather clever segway, because Neville, inadvertent little find function that he is, hands Harry the card from the chocolate frogs, and you guys, I think Harry’s about to get it.
Yep. The card is Albus Dumbledore again, and Harry knows before he even reads the back. This is where he read the name Nicolas Flamel.
Hermione’s reaction is the best, which, are we really surprised? Allow me to quote:
Hermione jumped to her feet. She hadn’t looked so excited since they’d gotten back the marks for their very first piece of homework.
She tells the boys to stay there and runs up to her room, dashes back with “an enormous old book in her arms.”
Of course she does. She’s such a Giles.
Rin says: …a Hergiles??
Heather says: Oh, so I guess Hermione disapproves of your computer cheating too, Sophy of Rophy!
Sophy says: WELL I DISAPPROVE OF HERMIONE’S……. NOTHING.
She says she never thought to look in this book, as she just got it “out of the library weeks ago for a bit of light reading.”
Ron tries to make fun of her idea of light reading, but Hermione just tells him to be quiet. It’s the best. It’s even better when he asks if he’s allowed to speak yet and she just ignores him.
Her big reveal falls on stupid ears, but it really is pretty awesome. It turns out Flamel is the only person who has ever made a Philosopher’s Stone. Harry and Ron aren’t particularly impressed, and I’m all OH MY GOD YOU GUYS. IT’S THE FREAKING TITLE OF THE BOOK. YOU SHOULD BE BREAKING OUT THE PARTY POPPERS.
Hermione directs them to the relevant passage, which explains that the stone can transform any metal into gold and can also create an elixir that makes you immortal.
Nifty. I think even Spike would be impressed with this rock.
Harry thinks Snape would be pretty impressed with it too, and they all surmise that that’s what Fluffy is guarding – and that Snape’s after it.
Things are getting really exciting! I guess it’s time to ruin it all with some more Quidditch.
Heather says: I don’t understand why you hate Quidditch so much. You and Rin would be an ace Beater team.
Rin says: HAHAHAAH. Oh my god. It’s like you don’t know Sophy at all. She doesn’t even make a good spectator!
Sophy says: Yeah, I laugh in all the wrong places and stuff.
Harry decides to play – of course – and Hermione and Ron come prepared with the Leg-Locker Curse in case Snape tries to off him during the match. Hermione checks that Ron knows the incantation, and it’s a lovely throwback to “Wingardium Leviosa.” Ron snaps at her that he knows, and tells her not to nag, and I’m all Oh my god she’s his mother, they’re going to end up married.
I like that the kids are being pro-active, but at the same time, all these protective measures seem a little unnecessary. Freaking Dumbledore has come to watch – no one’s going to die with him around. Isn’t he like, the wizard equivalent of God or something? Although, God does kind of let people die all the time. So.
Malfoy is sitting behind our gang in the stands and starts randomly abusing them like only he knows how. He says that the Gryffindor team gets chosen out of pity, that Harry’s on it because he’s got no parents, the Weasleys are on it because they’ve got no money, and Neville should be on it because he’s got no brains.
Neville, who did I mention is BOWTIE/KITTEN, turns around and parrots Harry.
“I’m worth twelve of you, Malfoy,” he stammered.
And you know, this is good stuff. This is seriously good formative stuff. Because I have a feeling that years later – books later – movies later – we’re going to be looking back on this and thinking how this was the moment Harry and Neville became truly friends.
Heather says: Neville is my favorite. I want to be half the hero he is when I grow up.
Rin says: Sometimes I just picture 12 Malfoy’s inside of Neville. It was going to be one of my drawings, but then it got pretty scarring.
Heather says: Aaaaaand now I need to scrub out my brain with bleach.
Sophy says: Oh Heather. You bust out the brain bleach for the littlest things. You have no idea how upsetting things can actually get around Rophy.
Harry heads for the ground in a “spectacular dive,” and I’m all, lol what did he do, a triple backflip? And if so, how necessary was that, really?
Malfoy makes a joke about him having spotted some money on the ground. This pushes Ron over the edge, and they come to blows.
A moment later, Harry catches the snitch, and Hermione is squealing “Ron! Ron! Where are you?” She’s so buzzed she turns around and hugs a random, and I’m thinking Ron you miserable fool, you could have been on the receiving end of that hug if you hadn’t resorted to fisticuffs with Malfoy!
As a general rule, nobody should ever do anything when they’re near Hermione. In case they miss some Hermione.
Heather says: Not pictured: Three pairs of jean shorts.
Rin says: This caught me completely off guard and I shrieked out with laughter. WE TOTALLY WOULD. And I’m kind of proud of us and our commitment to the cause. The Hermione Granger Cause.
Sophy says: HGC! I’ll make the badges. (Rin will make the badges.)
Harry is busy thinking about how he’s really special now, how the Gryffindors had lifted him on their shoulders, how Ron and Hermione jumped up and down in excitement. He’s feeling worryingly happy when, sure enough, he sees Snape.
Harry notes that Snape is sneaking around at dinner time, and proceeds to sneak around at dinner time about it. He follows Snape into the forest, and eventually finds him in a clearing with Professor Quirrell – he’s the one with the silly headwear in case you’ve forgotten (what a Marley).
Snape is threatening the stuttering Quirrell into doing his bidding – namely finding a way past Fluffy to the Philosopher’s stone. And I guess that means the kids were right all along – Snape is evil, and he does wanta piece of what Fluffy’s got. Speaking of which, I wonder how this stone works, exactly. Like, does it make you immortal as long as it’s yours? Whose is it now? Is it Fluffy’s? Will Fluffy live forever? Will he accidentally turn all his food into gold and it won’t matter because he can’t die?
I wonder about these things.
When Harry returns, Ron and Hermione are still in full party mode, but Harry’s not interested. He tells them what he’s just seen and heard, and deduces from Snape saying something about Quirrell’s “bit of hocus-pocus” that there are magic enchantments guarding the stone, along with the three-headed dog.
Hermione says, with “alarm,” that the stone is only safe as long as Quirrell stands up to Snape. Ron provides the punchline:
“It’ll be gone by next Tuesday.”
QUIRRELL’S IN TROUBLE? MUST BE TUESDAY.
See you then, Rophites.