Been busy for the past several days, so I’m only covering two chapters this time.
Chapter Four: In Diagon alley, Harry revels in the feeling of independence away from school and Privet drive, both of which, in different ways, full of people telling him where not to go, what to eat, and when to wake up. He does Hogwarts homework in the ice cream shop patio, he people-watches the witches and wizards, and he manages enough willpower not to spend his parent’s inheritance on a new professional-grade Quidditch broom.
He gets his school books, and finds out that Hagrid’s birthday present, the impracticably monstrous ‘Monster book’, is the textbook for ‘Care of Magical Creatures. He also has a strange premonition among the divination books, that could be interpreted as a death omen.
Hermione and the entire Weasley clan show up the day before Harry’s to leave with Hogwarts, and he’s excited to be reunited with his best friends. Hermione goes looking for an early birthday present at the pet shop, and ends up with a big ginger cat, who likes Ron’s rat Scabbers rather too much. Ron isn’t happy about that and worries that Scabbers will get eaten before long.
That night at the Leaky Cauldron, Harry goes back downstairs to look for Ron’s rat tonic that he dropped, and overhears Mister and Missus Weasley talking about Sirius Black and why the Ministry of Magic are convinced that he’s out to kill Harry. Harry immediately connects all the dots about why Fudge was acting so relieved to see him, how this means that he won’t be let out of Hogwarts until Sirius is back in Azkaban prison, and tries to keep himself from entirely panicking.
Chapter Five: Everybody heads out to King’s Cross station for the Hogwarts express, and on the platform, Mister Weasley tries to warn Harry about Sirius. Harry admits to having overheard, and Mister Weasley tries to get Harry to promise that he won’t go looking for Sirius. Harry is startled at the thought, but he has to run for the train and doesn’t actually promise. On the train, he tells Hermione and Ron about the connection to Sirius and ‘You-know-who’.
On the train, they also meet the new ‘Defense against the dark arts’ teacher, Lupin. Now, I think I may have already been spoiled somewhat, but this also strikes me as a pretty obvious bit of foreshadowing anyway. Sirius is the dog star. ‘Lupin’ means wolf in latin. Hmm… could Mister Lupin be Sirius, and a werewolf into the bargain? Harry’s Sneakoscope goes off while Lupin is around, as well.
Lupin sleeps through most of the trip, including Harry’s first run-in with Draco, but he wakes up when the train stops, and a fearsome Dementor appears at the door of their compartment. Harry has a strong reaction to the Dementor’s presence, passing out, and everybody teases him just a little afterwards for fainting, much to his annoyance. Apparently, while he was out, Lupin was able to shoo the Dementor off and told him that ‘None of us is hiding Sirius Black under our cloaks.’
When they finally get to Hogwarts, Hermione and Harry are taken aside by Professor McGonnagall, head of Gryffindor, and all she seems to do is fuss over Harry as well. There’s a welcome speech by Dumbledore, who warns everybody about the Dementor guards on the lookout for Sirius, and that trying to sneak past them or otherwise break the rules around them could be very dangerous. It’s up to the Prefects and other student leaders to make sure that nobody gets hurt by the Dementors.
Dumbledore also welcomes the new faculty – not only Lupin, but Hagrid, who’ll be teaching the Care of magical creatures course because the old prof retired, and he’s obviously really happy and excited about it!
Okay, so – we’ve got some more plot development, but I didn’t feel as much of the ‘Harry Potter magic’ as in the first few chapters, though it was nice to see the friends showing up, and supporting characters like Ginny Weasley and Draco. I was a little bored by a lot of the Hogwarts express trip, though the Dementor visit was impressive. In the next few chapters, we should get a lot of new Hogwarts lessons, so that could be either great or not-so-great. I guess we’ll have to see!