1. Hey Guest, welcome back to DLP

    As you can see, we've changed our look. We've migrated from vBulletin to the Xenforo forum system. There may be issues or missing functionality, if you find anything or have feedback, please check out the new Xenforo Migration Feedback forum.

    Our dark ("Dark Lord Potter") theme is under heavy development. We also have a light ("Light Lord Potter") theme for those happier with a light background and darker text.

    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Hey Guest! Are you any good at cooking? Got a favourite recipe that you love to cook or bring out to impress that special someone? Why not share it! A new forum called The Burrow has opened and it's all about homemaking!

Week 1: Philosopher's Stone, Ch. 1 - 9

Discussion in 'Bookclub' started by Taure, Oct 31, 2016.

  1. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2006
    Messages:
    948
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    High Score:
    13,152
    << Week 0 | Book Rereads | Week 2 >>

    Well, it's Halloween and that means time to get this reread started.

    Use this thread to discuss Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone chapters 1-9.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2016
  2. Jeram

    Jeram Elder of Zion DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2006
    Messages:
    1,597
    Here's something I noted: A reference to the fact that it is a story. This is on page one, and I can't think of another time the book is self-aware.

    Something interesting about these particular set of chapters is that it's the cutoff before Hermione is integrated into their group, and she's still a pain. I also noted that the first Transfiguration class involved a great deal of notes before doing anything practical. I do think that these opening chapters are quite accessible even now, and it's kind of a relief to read it after scores of copycat fanfics aping the style and sometimes quoting wholecloth segments.
     
  3. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Messages:
    5,058
    Location:
    Hbg., Germany
    This is a thing. I haven't yet read it wholesale, beyond looking up segments in those chapter for the better part of a year for my story, but it's shocking how many people don't reach the quality of the original despite basically quoting it verbatim.

    Also, one of my favourite parts, in a read-this-and-don't-argue-nonsense way:

    Harry's life at the Dursleys for Dummies. Glad we cleared that up :)
     
  4. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2006
    Messages:
    948
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    High Score:
    13,152
    Though of course that quote only applies to their treatment of Harry up to that point. I think there's a significant escalation post-PS with the whole cat-flap deal.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016
  5. Blinker

    Blinker DA Member DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Messages:
    164
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    One thing that slightly surprised me was Harry snarking at Hermione during the whole escapade with the midnight duel. I'd had it in my head that he'd always been neutral towards her (at least outside of his thoughts) and that it was only ever Ron who'd said anything aggressive.
     
  6. BTT

    BTT Order Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Messages:
    812
    Location:
    Cyber City Oedo
    Considering the Dursleys you'd think they'd approve of him having such a common name. Weird.

    First war took eleven years. Didn't know that by heart.

    Dumbledore's only recently been introduced to lemon drops, it seems. Little detail which still invalidates a lot of fanfics about Hogwarts before Harry, I suppose.

    More evidence wizards are Christian.

    Honestly that's not a very good basis for saying Harry can't live with them, McGonagall.

    Harry likes his scar.

    In the sequence with the snake at the zoo, it's interesting to note it doesn't actually vocalize in response to Harry. It never tells us Harry's hissing or have anyone remark on his doing so, either, so this means Harry spoke to a snake without the signature hissing of Parseltongue and it understood him.

    It's been said before, but maybe when Hagrid said he "flew" to the cottage he might have meant "floo". We don't see a broom or anything.

    So Harry could've just sent Hagrid a letter asking how to get into Platform 9&3/4. Hm.

    Huh, Seamus takes a whole minute to sort. Wonder which other house the Hat considered.

    Might just be a bad dream, but that first bit sounds strangely like what I'd expect to have been the horcrux' influence.

    So it seems those two knew each other from somewhere.

    Turns out there's something to dodging in duels after all.
     
  7. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2006
    Messages:
    948
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    High Score:
    13,152
    I believe the use of "common" here is not in the sense of commonly used, but in a sense associated with classism. Which in turn is ironic given Prince Harry.

    Or at least, the really bad part of the war was the last 11 years.

    You still have the problem of how he got to that rock out at sea from the nearest connected fireplace, which was presumably on the mainland. I'm not sure that floo is the answer there. I think this is one of the few times where you really do have to just accept that it's an salvageable plot hole: when Rowling wrote it, she intended for wizards to be able to fly unaided, and later changed her mind.

    It's a nice catch with the Pansy and Parvati knowing each other pre-Hogwarts.

    Also, I'm not sure how much advice we should be taking from 11-year-old Ron on best duelling practice.
     
  8. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Messages:
    5,058
    Location:
    Hbg., Germany
    BTT, what Taure said.

    common - 7. (derogatory) considered by the speaker to be low-class, vulgar, or coarse: a common accent.

    That's the meaning here. Though I'm not sure how widely it is used today -- you can find it e.g. in Blyton's books, where the protagonists are firmly upper middle class, and society is (still) strictly divided (a working class made up by servants etc.). They take place in the first half of the 20th century.

    So even leaving aside Prince Harry, I think the meaning to take from that line is a clear dig at the Dursley's ridiculousness.

    Taure: True -- but the point is of course everyone who's writing starved-and-abused!Harry coming to Hogwarts, and thinks he writes Canon ;)
     
  9. chaosattractor

    chaosattractor Groundskeeper

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2016
    Messages:
    334
    High Score:
    0
    Sherbet lemons. It's a weird little pet peeve of mine.

    On the other hand, Rowling is not Tolkien.

    Actually - wait, is it cheating to use material from ahead? It's a re-read, after all, and arguably we should be looking at the text through the lens of hindsight - actually Harry (and thus the narrative) does not associate hissing with Parseltongue until he's made aware that he hisses when he talks to snakes. He "doesn't" hiss when he talks to Malfoy's summoned snake in CoS either.
     
  10. BTT

    BTT Order Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Messages:
    812
    Location:
    Cyber City Oedo
    Taure, Sesc: Yeah, I agree about the meaning of the word common. I suppose my mental image of the Dursleys wasn't quite classist enough.

    Sure. It just jumped out at me, considering this is an in-universe explanation of the ever-so-popular duels and what they entail. Not very reliable, though, I'll admit. (Sorry, Ron.)

    chaosattractor: My bad, the ebooks I've been reading have been procured and as such I've been reading Sorcerer's Stone instead of Philosopher's Stone. I'd honestly forgotten the two had different candies. Fanfic's made me more used to lemon drops, anyway.

    Rowling is not Tolkien nor CS Lewis, sure, but pagan parts are popular in fanfiction, and evidence to the contrary interests me. That's what I'm looking for in this reread, honestly: little tidbits that challenge preconceptions I had or ideas I've gotten through fanfiction that aren't actually canon, or that call into question popular clichés and tropes.

    And I'd forgotten that Harry seemingly didn't hiss before being told he does. Thanks for setting me straight. Again, hissing seems such a noteworthy part of Parseltongue that it not showing up was noteworthy for me too.
     
  11. chaosattractor

    chaosattractor Groundskeeper

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2016
    Messages:
    334
    High Score:
    0
    Oh, when I said she's not Tolkien I meant she isn't a philologist; I may be underestimating her as a writer but I'm quite sure she didn't slave over her choice of words there.

    But yes, I do believe there's more explicit linking of wizards to Christianity later on.
     
  12. theronin

    theronin Order Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2013
    Messages:
    823
    That's debatable actually. I think there is enough evidence to suggest that competition dueling existed in some form or another*, so it's not unreasonable to extrapolate from there that Ron had at some point watched one, and got his ideas from there. If there's one thing young boys tend to pay attention to and remember, it's sports of all kinds.

    *there are many references throughout the books to "formal dueling". It could have been some archaic practice like a sword duel would be to us, but it just as easily could have been a sport (or both, the way fencing grew out of sword duels).
     
  13. Palindrome

    Palindrome Magma Moderator Moderator DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2009
    Messages:
    2,377
    Location:
    England
    No; just British. England is about a fifty-fifty split between religious and atheist, but nearly everyone raised here - including people from religions other than Christianity, from what I've seen - use these kinds of phrase.

    Referencing heaven ("what in heaven?"), hell ("bloody hell!"), angels ("she's like an angel"), damnation ("dammit") or god ("oh my god!"), etc., are just part of the local nomenclature: they're not things you think about in religious terms but rather everyday phrases to most people, and since JK's wizards are also very British I don't think you should read a religious subtext to this passage either.
     
  14. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2006
    Messages:
    948
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    High Score:
    13,152
    Thoughts on chapters 1-5 first up.

    Chapter 1

    One of the first things that hits me are the hints at the size of the world: there are wizards everywhere in London, and Dumbledore said he passed multiple parties on his way to Privet Drive. This implies a rather higher density of wizards than previously considered. But of course the numbers across the series have been known to be inconsistent for a long time.

    Dumbledore wears high heels.

    Moment of writing admiration: the way Rowling gives the object a descriptive name that we immediately understand without her having to explain it, which then allows her to refer to the object with having to call it "the device" etc.

    As always, I'm struck by the fact that McGonagall has black hair in the series, which is probably the single biggest piece of proof that wizards not only live longer but also age slower than Muggles (as opposed to getting old at the same time as Muggles and then just staying alive as an old person a lot longer).

    I note McGonagall’s scepticism of Hagrid bringing Harry - something to keep in mind as a characterisation point when trying to distinguish her voice from Dumbledore’s. She's more overtly cynical. The same applies to her telling Hagrid to hush about the Potters' deaths.

    I've always admired that Sirius is mentioned here in a nice piece of foreshadowing, but this was the first time I noticed the "No problems?" follow-up from Dumbledore. He seems to be already thinking of Sirius as the traitor here.

    Chapter 2

    Nice way to segue into Harry's physical description - linking it in with his ability to run away from Dudley.

    More evidence on top of Sesc's point about Harry not being starved. So many fanfics have the Dursleys give Harry a different, inferior set of food. But in the books he eats the same as the rest of them.

    Chapter 3

    This sentence, combined with the way Harry's cupboard is referred to in chapter 2, has brought me to a new revelation: when Harry is sent to his cupboard for days on end, he is not literally stuck in there continuously for days. He is still let out of the cupboard to go to school and presumably for meals, etc. It's just that he's "grounded" i.e. his leisure time has to be spent in the cupboard.

    Amusing that Vernon hit Dudley, which he has never done to Harry.

    Cokeworth is where Snape lives. Nice little titbit: Vernon took them to the area where Petunia grew up as part of his effort to evade the letters.

    Again, more evidence of Harry getting the same food as the Dursleys.

    Chapter 4

    I love Hagrid's coat. Those two sentences still stir a childlike glee in me, even after all these years.

    Further elaboration on the timeline. It wasn't just 1970 that the bad part of the war began, as I suggested earlier in the thread. It was also 1970 that Voldemort even started looking for followers beyond his pre-existing group from Hogwarts.

    A bit of canon evidence to support the idea I proposed in The One He Feared: that there used to be not such a great gap in magical ability between regular wizards and Voldemort/Dumbledore, it's just that Voldemort went around killing all the most powerful wizards. Not enough evidence to say it's true, but it definitely makes it a bit more likely. The theory continues that the second war was much shorter than the first because this demographic group was far from replenished in the 13 years between wars 1 and 2. Which means the Ministry was particularly vulnerable as it was lacking a cadre of powerful wizards that in normal times it could rely on.

    Bit of a hint at tracking magic.

    Chapter 5

    I've pointed this out before, but it's worth noting as part of this reread: the charm on the Leaky Cauldron that prevents people from noticing it is not a Muggle repelling charm, because it also affected Harry.

    It strikes me that if you were to get stuck in any vault for 10 years, finding out that the vault you were in contained the Philosopher's Stone and thus the elixir of life would be something of a godsend.

    A bit of canon grounding for the common fanon idea that pure-blood prejudice towards Muggleborns is justified among pure-bloods, at least in part, by a cultural and not just racial difference.

    Nice bit of canon support for my theory that understanding theory enables casting of spells.

    It occurred to me when I read this that Dumbledore's ability to sense magic in HBP is not unique to him. Harry senses magic here, and also he feels the power of Dumbledore's spell in OotP. Sensing magic, it seems, is something all wizards can do. It's just normally it will occur only around very magical places/events. Dumbledore's sense is much more attuned to finer detail. But it's not a unique ability.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016
  15. mort

    mort Groundskeeper

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2013
    Messages:
    385
    Hermoine really was an exceptional pain in the ass wasn't she? You'd find her annoying at best, but from the view of an eleven year old she must have been insufferable. No wonder she had trouble making friends. Harry's sense of humor was pretty nice and snarky though.

    Also Petunia and Dudley are noted to be blonde in the books. If memory serves, they weren't so in the movies.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2016
  16. Peter North

    Peter North Dark Lord

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2013
    Messages:
    1,835
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Have you ever listened to an interview with Rowling? She uses the word Christ almost every other word. I'd say it's not Christian it's just how Rowling normally speaks and I think it's also a British colloquialism to say heaven, Christ, Jesus ect.

    Chapter 7

    Harry's scar hurts him for the first time. Is it really from Voldemort or is Snape legillimizing Harry when he catches his eyes for the first time?
     
  17. mort

    mort Groundskeeper

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2013
    Messages:
    385
    It didn't hurt when he met Quirrel in the Leaky Cauldron so something's definitely fishy there...
     
  18. Peter North

    Peter North Dark Lord

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2013
    Messages:
    1,835
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    In the final chapter Quirrell eludes to the fact that Voldemort wasn't possessing him until after the break in at Gringotts which was after Harry met Quirrell.

    Harry's description of Snape's eyes in chapter 8 also seems to allude to Snape looking deeper at Harry than is strictly normal as well.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2016
  19. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2006
    Messages:
    948
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    High Score:
    13,152
    When he said it was evidence that wizards were Christian I think he meant culturally Christian as opposed to religiously so. I.e. they don't have pagan traditions but Christian ones. Which we know from the celebration of Christmas, but so many fanfics go the pagan route anyway.
     
  20. Jeram

    Jeram Elder of Zion DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2006
    Messages:
    1,597
    I bought the UK version shipped from amazon.co.uk to make sure I had the right one, but on comparison to the original sorcerer's stone I have and the newer rerelease picture book, I realized that the rerelease is the UK version except with sorcerer's stone.

    For example, "cine-camera" vs "video camera" and so on. And yet the picture book has pretty interesting pictures of people. Harry looks like an adorable kid, Ron is gangly and weird looking, Hermione is a little nerd, and Snape is not Alan Rickman.