Thoughts on Chapters 1-3 here!
Chapter Four: The Leaky Cauldron
- Harry living in Diagon Alley is both wonderful (he finally has freedom! Independence! A summer he’s enjoying!) and a bit terrifying (he is thirteen years old and he’s essentially living in a pub on his own!).
- Unsung Heroes of the Potterverse, #1: Florean Fortescue.
- The Flourish and Blotts assistant advises Harry not to read a book on Death Omens, in case it makes him paranoid; but Harry’s already paranoid, because Sirius’s dog form spooked him in Magnolia Crescent a few days before. Much as I love Sirius, in hindsight, that was not his most well-thought out act.
- The Magical Menagerie might be the second place I’d visit in Diagon Alley, after Flourish and Blotts.
- Crookshanks, leaping the counter to KO Scabbers, certainly knows how to make an entrance—though in hindsight, Hermione buying him after he’s attacked her best friend is probably a little thoughtless.
- Really gives weight to the theory that Crookshanks might have been the Potters’ cat until that fateful Halloween, though.
- That might be my favourite Potter theory.
- Though I did enjoy the one where Draco is a werewolf–and the one where J.K Rowling is actually Rita Skeeter.
- Fred and George telling Harry they tried to shut Percy in a pyramid on their holiday to Egypt is brilliant, and I don’t blame them in the slightest. Percy’s insufferable.
- Not that I’d wish death on any of the Weasleys, but I’d trade his survival for Fred’s in a heartbeat.
- What a group the Weasleys made in The Leaky Cauldron—seven of them bawling at each other in different rooms, sneaking around the pub and causing chaos. Might have been easier to just move Harry to The Burrow for that one night, no?
- Of course Harry’s not worried thinking Sirius is after him. He’s already been abused his entire childhood, sent to Murder School, ordered into a forest to catch a unicorn killer, jollied through a scavenger hunt/obstacle course to face off against the darkest wizard of all time, lived through snake attacks and been blamed for them, been encouraged to visit the forest again and interview a man-eating spider, and entered a hidden chamber with a murderous snake to battle the imprint-memory of the darkest wizard of all time. What’s one mass murderer, really?
Chapter Five: The Dementor
- Fair play to Arthur for at least trying to be honest and warn Harry that Sirius is ‘after’ him, even if it might scare him. I understand why Molly wants to keep it secret—see my last thought; Harry’s been through enough—but keeping a secret like that can only cause him more hurt later.
- Also, Harry has enough adults lying to him about his past.
- Talkin’ ‘bout you, Albus.
- Lupin riding on the Hogwarts Express is so interesting to me. He didn’t have to go to Hogwarts earlier, to prepare lessons, or move into his office, or whatever? He couldn’t have lived there for a little while before, and had a few more Wolfsbane Potions from Snape, and a few more decent meals? Maybe he’s too ill for Apparition and he’s too poor for a broomstick, but was the Hogwarts Express on that day his only possibility?
- (Also, barely related tangent: Sirius made it to Hogwarts on foot, in his Animagus form, which fair enough Lupin couldn’t have done, because luggage, and his animal form is involuntary. But could he have become an Animagus? And if he had, and he’d taken Wolfsbane Potion to be in his human mind, could his human mind have turned his werewolf form into his safe Animagus form? Curious.)
- (Actually, I’m sure I read somewhere on Pottermore that to be an Animagus, you have to hold some leaf or another in your mouth for a lunar month, and I guess that would’ve been an issue for Lupin, so never mind.)
- Real talk: J.K. Rowling had to have a Dementor saviour on the train, which is why Lupin was there. It was just a bonus that it also meant she got to torture us all with thoughts about the last time Lupin would’ve taken the train, with Harry’s dad and their friends–and this time, James’s son wanders into his compartment, and Lupin wakes to find him screaming on the floor, and ouch, my heart.
- Dementors, man. They’ve got to be the worst of the creatures in all the Potter books. How utterly terrifying—and hauntingly accurate as a personification of depression.
- Harry passes out from their attack, and in shocking news, Hogwarts staff care: McGonagall passes on duty of the Sorting Ceremony to call Harry into her office and check that he’s okay, in the presence of school nurse Madam Pomfrey. Not sure where this level of care was through the rest of the books, but at least it happened once, I guess.
- Professor Hagrid is at once the loveliest and most reckless staff appointment Dumbledore ever made—and I say that as a massive Hagrid fan.
Chapter Six: Talons and Tea Leaves
- Of course Draco Malfoy takes the first possible opportunity to publicly tease Harry about fainting after the Dementor attack on the train—even though, according to Fred and George, Malfoy nearly wet himself. It’s really hard to sympathise with whatever fears the Dementors made him face when his first instinct is to poke fun at someone else’s trauma.
- And from the get go, Ron’s questioning Hermione’s overly full timetable—and Harry barely notices. The clues were there all along, about Ron’s interest in Hermione, weren’t they?
- Professor Trelawney: provider of vague and interpretable predictions just plausible enough to make an entire class of thirteen year olds panic. Another great Hogwarts teaching appointment.
- I mean, I know Dumbledore did it to keep an eye on Trelawney and Snape, and to protect Hagrid, but still. It’s a miracle Hogwarts didn’t have an Inspector sooner.
- And again, Harry’s confronted with the idea of the Grim, of a death omen. It’s no wonder he got so paranoid.
- Though it says something that he was more worried about the Grim than Sirius, an apparent actual threat.
- Actually, I think it might say… That the thing Harry fears most is fear itself. *floored*
- I mean, all in, Hagrid’s first class is a success, isn’t it? The creatures aren’t a problem—the problem is that Dumbledore didn’t think to train Hagrid in the art of actual teaching before promoting him. I blame Dumbledore for Buckbeak attacking Malfoy, not Hagrid.
- Also I blame Malfoy.
- I blame anyone but Hagrid, really.
- Don’t think I’d much want to ride Buckbeak either, though. Thanks, but I’ll still stick to Mad-Eye Moody’s tricycle broom.