Monday, June 19, 2017

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 5: Diagon Alley

Welcome to the next Specialis Revelio chapter analysis! If this is your first time on the blog, please check out this introductory post, where I explain the purpose of this blog, as well as the different sections you'll see in each post. You can also click here to go to the page where all of my posts are listed in chronological order.

~I solemnly swear that I am up to no good~

Specialis Revelio: a spell that reveals an object's hidden secrets.

OK, this one's a doozy. Harry and Hagrid wake the next morning and travel back to the mainland and take a train into London. As they travel, Hagrid explains some of the intricacies of the wizard world to Harry. In London, they find a pub called the Leaky Cauldron. They enter and the wizards inside all recognize Harry and go bonkers over him. They come across Professor Quirrell, the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. They then pass through into Diagon Alley. Here, they go to Gringotts, the wizard bank. Harry gets money out of the vault his parents left to him, and Hagrid gets a mysterious package out of vault 213.

Harry goes to get his school robes. At the show, he meets a snobby boy who's also starting at Hogwarts. Harry meets back up with Hagrid and the pair get his books, Hagrid buys him an owl for his birthday, and they finally head to get Harry a wand. The mysterious wand-maker, Ollivander, has Harry try several wands, eventually landing on the "brother" wand to Voldemort's. After this shopping trip, Hagrid puts Harry on a train back home to the Dursleys.

Given what we discussed in the last post, we know that this takes place on Harry's 11th birthday: July 31, 1991.

Personal Thoughts
This was an emotional chapter for me. I read from the illustrated edition for this chapter. There are two sets of pages with the Diagon Alley scenery running across the bottom and I was immediately taken back to the first time I set foot in Diagon Alley at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. I was 21 at the time, but it was still this overwhelming sense of wonder and pure joy, and that came floating back to me while reading this chapter and it was just truly magical. I forgot how much I love this chapter. Also, that illustration of "the boy in the robe shop" is one of my faves.

Also, side note: Dedalus Diggle! He popped up in chapter 1 and I knew the name sounded familiar and suggested that he showed back up at the Leaky Cauldron, and I was right! I was legitimately not very confident in that assertion. Since writing that post, I feel like I had a bit of a DUH moment because he definitely pops up more in the series but I won't talk about that now because that could get into spoiler territory. Let's just say that I 100% should've been aware of why his name seemed so familiar in the first chapter.

WWP Analysis
- Both the bank's name and the goblin temperament suggest that the goblins will be very stingy with money.
- Hogwarts is considered even safer than Gringotts, which seems to have incredibly secure vaults? What exactly is awaiting us at this school?!
- Seemingly, long fingers = powerful magic.
- The apothecary smells of bad eggs and rotted cabbages. Interesting...
- Toad = the nerd pet.
- Harry's scar seems to prickle a lot when weird stuff is going on.
- James Potter's wand was particularly good for transfiguration, while Lily Potter's was well suited to charms.
- They suggest something about a linked phoenix core. Plus, an interesting note is that his wand shoots out gold and red sparks.

Notes for First Years
- Seems like you'd have to be really desperate to try breaking into Gringotts.
- Poor Quirrell must've been traumatized by those vampires and hag. Poor guy!
- Hermione kindly requests that you try to remember the name Bathilda Bagshot so that she doesn't have to yell at you later. But then again, if you're reading the series for the first time, you might not even know who Hermione is. All in good time, children.

Controversial Moments
Several small things stood out to me, some of which are spoilery and will have to wait until the restricted section.
- If the wand chooses the wizard, can someone kindly explain why/how the boy in the shop's mum was going wand shopping without him??
- Ollivander did all those measurements... and then gave Harry everything ranging from 7-11 inches? What was the point of the measurements then?!
- You'd think that wizards could blend in better with muggles after all of these years of practice, but they seem to be completely miserably horrible at it.

My Remembrall is Glowing!
As I mentioned in the last post. I totally forgot that they stayed at the hut overnight, but they also took the Dursleys' boat back! I wonder how the Dursleys got home? I also forgot that entire discussion on the boat even happened.

Got Peeves'd
(Remember, this section is spoilery if you haven't seen the movie!)
The thing that stands out to me is that I remember the movie going straight from shopping in Diagon Alley to Harry going through King's Cross Station. Maybe there was some assumption to make there, but the way the movie was put together always seemed to imply that one immediately followed the other, due to the fact that we never saw the Dursleys again between the two events. This is obviously not the case, given that there is an entire month between Harry's birthday (July 31) and the Hogwarts Express (Sept. 1). I kinda wish the movie would've made that time difference obvious.

Apart from that, the scene on the boat got cut out of the movie, as did the scene in the robe shop.

No first years past this point!
From here forward, spoilers from all 7 books are fair game!

Divination Class
The red and gold showers of sparks seem to foreshadow Harry's Gryffindor house placement. Also, the link between Harry's wand and Voldemort's wand will prove to be an important point throughout the series. It's also mentioned that James' wand was particularly good for transfiguration, which is curious, given that he eventually becomes an animagus. It's also mentioned that Dumbledore refuses to become Minister of Magic, which is also very intriguing. This foreshadows his avoidance of power that is revealed much later in the series.

The WWP analysis asks first years to question Quirrell a lot. I don't want to lead to spoilers, so I tried to be subtle, but the analysis did make an interesting note: Why is Quirrell reading up on vampires? Perhaps it's because there's a rumor spreading suggesting that he'd come in contact with one and he needed to be informed enough to confirm those rumors?

Also, given the curse placed upon the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor job (by Voldy himself), this is either Quirrell's first/only year teaching at Hogwarts, or just his first year as the DADA professor. The conversation suggests that he's already familiar with Hagrid, so either he already was teaching another topic or J.K.R. hadn't thought of creating the curse yet. OR, better yet, what if he was already in the position the year before, but circumvented the curse for this school year due to the fact that the person who placed it was literally on the back of his head?! It's a really interesting thing to wonder about once you know the full story.

So, first years are not allowed brooms... but then McGonagall eventually sends Harry one not long into the school year?? Huh? My theory is that it's because first years are never on the team, but that shouldn't constitute a hard and fast rule. Also, Draco is convinced he'll make the Slytherin team despite the fact that first years never get on the team. Harry is literally the youngest seeker in a century and Malfoy is convinced that he can get on the Slytherin team in his first year. Uh, OK, Malfoy.

OK, (hopefully) last point, which I already touched really briefly on. You'd think the wizarding folk would be better at blending into the muggle world at this point. I mean, Hagrid makes a spectacle of parking meters and wizards never can seem to understand muggle attire (in the books, at least). They've had hundreds of years to master this, and given how stringently they try to hide their world, you'd think they would put a bit more effort into helping wizards blend into the muggle world. Or maybe no one except Hermione invested their time into muggle studies... despite the fact that she was raised completely in the muggle world.

So, that's it for this chapter analysis! I'm so excited about re-reading this series and looking at each chapter through a different lens than I normally do. Let me know in the comments what you thought of this post and if you have any ideas for other things that I can look at in the chapter. Thanks so much for reading and don't forget to check out my links below!

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~Mischief Managed~

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