Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  Denise P. on Mon Aug 01, 2011 1:27 pm

I know it has been a long time since we have had a read along. I am planning to start the series all over come September 1st, the day a new term begins at Hogwarts.

Anyone care to join me?






Index of Chapter Summaries

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Last edited by Potteraholic on Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:25 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Added an index of chapter summaries. ~ Potteraholic)

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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  Madam Pince on Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:40 pm

***hand goes up a la Hermione*** Pick me! Pick me!

Actually, we've already started. Little Pince asked for us to read them together so we've started. But you read faster than me anyway...
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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  Betelgeuse Black on Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:13 pm

I'm assuming that an owl is on the way with my ticket to the Hogwarts Express.

I'll join in too. How slow/fast do these read-a-longs go, usually?

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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  Dryleaves on Thu Aug 04, 2011 5:15 am

I'm not sure how much time I will have, but I really need a re-read, so I'm in, too.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  Hieronymus Graubart on Sun Aug 21, 2011 12:17 pm

I'm currently on a slow reread, focusing on the depiction of secondary Slytherin students. I may consider to wait for you to catch up. But there is a time limit: I have to finish POA before my nieces thirteenth birthday next spring.

Betelgeuse, since not all forumers can respond every day, we used to discuss each chapter for at least two or three days, then advanced to the next chapter. (But pacing can become much slower.)

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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  Steve Newton on Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:27 pm

I haven't done a read along for a long time. I'm in.

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Chapter 1: The Boy Who Lived

Post  Hieronymus Graubart on Fri Sep 02, 2011 2:09 pm

In which we meet the Dursleys, Minerva McGonagall, Albus Dumbledore and Hagrid.

I'm far ahead and I didn't take any notes for this chapter, but maybe someone else likes to comment? Or did you all receive your Pottermore Welcome Letters and headed off to Hogwarts?

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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  Denise P. on Fri Sep 02, 2011 4:21 pm

Since it is now September 2, we are officially behind! How do we want to do this? Do we want to try to do a chapter every week? Every few days? Can we discipline ourselves to stay at the same place? LOL

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Chapter 2: The Vanishing Glass

Post  Hieronymus Graubart on Sun Sep 04, 2011 1:29 pm

In which we learn more about living at the Dursley's, and Harry talks with a Boa Constrictor who has never been in Brazil.

On our first read we didn't know this, but the snake is a symbol of Slytherin (or did I get this wrong and there is a sgnificant difference between a serpent and a snake? Native speakers, help me!)

So, Harry essentially talks with a Slytherin here, and it is - kind of - like having a friend?

Harry's very first friend we know of was a Slytherin, but circumstances were so she couldn't stay long?

(Denise, since nobody could think of anything to say for the first chapter that had not already been said on the old forum, I assumed we should go on. If it's okay for you and everybody else I will try to keep this at a pace of two or three chapters per week as long as I can.)

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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  Choices on Sun Sep 04, 2011 2:08 pm

I have never thought of the zoo snake as a Slytherin or as a friend to Harry. I always think of it as the first hint that Harry is "exceptional" in that he can speak/understand snakes. The snake leaves his confinement and possibly heads home - a foreshadowing that Harry is going to leave his confinement at the Dursley's home on Privet Drive and head to what he eventually feels is his real home, Hogwarts. The snake has never known his real home and Harry has never known about his real place in the Wizarding World. Both Harry and the snake have great adventures ahead of them when they are freed and set out to find their "home".
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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  Denise P. on Sun Sep 04, 2011 3:16 pm

Both Harry and the snake also have been bullied and pestered their entire life. Harry by the Dursleys and Dudley's friends and the snake by zoogoers tapping on the glass and such.

You know, I never really noticed the similarities between the snake and Harry before. Much like the snake is off into a whole new world, so different from what he has known, so it is foreshadowed for Harry to do the same.


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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  Hieronymus Graubart on Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:56 am

Isn't it wonderfull that we still can get new insights? This snake is significant on so many levels.

I never thought of the zoo snake as a Slytherin or as a friend until very recently. Even when I started this reread specifically to take notes on Slytherin, I was too impatient, wanting to get to the chapters where the Slytherins appear.

Only when I was frantically looking for something new (and provoking, I admit) to say for this chapter, the pieces suddenly clicked into place: this is the first "Slytherin" we meet, he/she/it isn't evil, and Harry can talk friendly because he still doesn't know anything about Slytherin.

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Chapter 3: The Letters from No One

Post  Hieronymus Graubart on Sat Sep 10, 2011 7:48 am

In which Harry receives multiple letters, but is not allowed to read them.

Sorry for the delay. My parents became ill and I had to stay at their ancient, unconnected home for several days.

Unfortunately I didn't take any notes for this chapter, because I couldn't find a single Slytherin in it. So what will we talk about? Owl's?

Magical kid's growing up in the Muggle world should be visited by a teacher, like Dumbledore visited Tom Riddle at the orphanage. But since Petunia and Vernon knew already anything they had to know, from Dumbledore's letter left with Baby Harry and because Petunia's sister had been a witch, McGonagall did just send the standard letter she sends to all kids living in wizard families. A clever owl, knowing that Muggles are not used to receive owl post, stuffed the letter into the letter box. Only when Harry didn't answer and a second delivery also failed was the issue escalated. Or was a wizard in charge of this from the beginning? What do you think?

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Chapter 4: The Keeper of the Keys

Post  Hieronymus Graubart on Mon Sep 12, 2011 5:21 pm

In which we are introduced to the magical world by a gentle giant.

On previous read alongs, we had long chapter abstracts touching multiple themes to be discussed. I'm not able to do this and I did never intend to lead the discussion in this way. I just took the wheel to make "something" happen on this thread. You have to choose the topics you like to discuss.

Or you may just keep lurking (like I did often), and I will keep us on the same pages by starting the next chapter every othe day, inserting Slytherin Observations whenever it is approbriate. But remember: this was not intended to be all about Slytherin.

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Chapter 5: Diagon Alley

Post  Hieronymus Graubart on Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:11 pm

In which we learn that all Slytherins are evil.

Really, do we?

Harry starts his journey to Hogwarts with a big prejudice, based on
a) the bad impression given by just one Slytherin
b) “You-Know-Who was one” (says Hagrid, and Hagrid is a honorable man)
c) “There’s not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn’t in Slytherin”

Wait a minute! The Secret Keeper who betrayed his friends and became a mass murderer never “went bad”? Either Hagrid did still not know this story until it was told at the “Three Broomsticks” in PoA, or he assumed that Sirius Black was a Slytherin, like all the other Blacks. Also he didn’t know anything about the evil Peter Wormtail Pettigrew.

Why should we believe that Hagrid knew every other bad wizard and their house?

I wonder if JKR did this on purpose, building our and Harry’s prejudice on information that is revealed to be inaccurate when we learn more, to make us see how wrong this and every prejudice is?

So this is Slytherin Observation Nr. 1 ([You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] has to take Number Zero, because I don’t like to renumber my notes) and here started an attempt to re-read these books unbiased, to see what we could learn (not assume) about Slytherins if we had never listened to Hagrid.

ETA: I forgot the credits.

Most of these Slytherin Observations were made again and again, spread all over the internet and interpreted in various way, but I have never seen a systematic approach to this theme. Since I don't remember (or even know) who said what first, I can only credit the whole fandom.

Also, the Slytherin Observations were first posted on "Mark re-reads Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone", because Mark's complaint that no Slytherin had been set up to join the good side near the end of his first read of Harry Potter was what inspired this research.

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Chapter 6: The Journey from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters

Post  Hieronymus Graubart on Fri Sep 16, 2011 2:26 pm

In which we meet the Weasleys and H.G. annoys everybody by talking too much.

Slytherin observation Nr. 2:

The animosity between Malfoys and Weasleys seems to be another family heirloom (in both families). It existed at least for the previous generation (Lucius – Arthur), and in the epilogue Ron tries to hand it down to the next generation. I’m not sure if this is originally Gryffindor versus Slytherin or something more personal. Ron is biased and not a reliable source of information, but he doesn’t tell Harry anything new concerning Slytherin anyway?

Also, Gellert Grindelwald is our first dark wizard who isn’t a Slytherin, but on our first read we may not have realized that he is an evil German and never studied at Hogwarts.

Now we got this out of the way, let’s talk about toads.

There are exactly five ways to search a train for a lost toad:
1) Run about in panic, looking into compartments at random.
2) Start at your compartment (I assume this is somewhere in the middle of the train), go to the engine systematically lookin into each compartment. If you didn’t find the toad, go straight back to the start and then, looking systematically into each compartment, to the end of the train.
3) Number 2 reversed: go to the end of the train first.

In all three cases, Hermione would have pointed out that this was unreasonable, giving Trevor the opportunity to slip, behind Nevilles back, into a compartment he had already searched. So they had to redo the complete search together.

4) Start at the end of the train and go to the engine, systematically looking into each compartment. Harry had “found an empty compartment near the end of the train”, so Neville had only just begun his search when he met Harry, and he met Hermione short after this (they didn’t need much time to return). Hermione would have pointed out that there still had been a small, but not negligible chance for Trevor to wander to the end of the train behind Nevilles back, while Neville was searching a compartment. Going back immediately to redo the search together wouldn’t waste much time, while reaching the engine only to realize that Trevor had escaped by this small, but not negligible chance, would be much more embarrassing and time consuming.

5) Start at the engine and go to the end of the train, systematically looking into each compartment. In this case, Neville was really desperate when he, after meeting first Harry and then Hermione, approached the end of the train, had asked everybody, and still hadn’t found Trevor (and nobody except Hermione had offered help). Hermione had to calm him, explaining that “obviously” Trevor had passed the corridor behind his back while Neville was searching a compartment, and they had to redo the search together, starting at the end of the train now. What else could they do?

Neville and Hermione search the train in the only reasonable way two persons can do this: While talkative Hermione looks into each compartment and talks to everybody, quiet Neville watches the corridor so that Trevor can not pass unnoticed. There is no mystery here, and no need to make up reasons why Hermione “wanted” to go to Harry’s compartment, or why Neville doesn’t talk.

Did they find Trevor? I’m sure they did, otherwise Hermione would not have left Neville, to ask the driver when the train would arrive, and then tell everybody to put their robes on. Neville sniffing on the way to the boats may hint on him still missing his toad, but he probably was just homesick and cold, Hagrid caught Trevor on his next attempt to escape and Neville was blissful because he hadn’t to do all this searching again.

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Chapter 7: The Sorting Hat

Post  Hieronymus Graubart on Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:44 pm

In which everybody is sorted and Harry’s scar hurts for the first time.

One of the main issues I have with the german edition is the over-emphasizing of courage (a word seldom used in the original text), only followed by bravery in the german sorting hat’s song. We never got the more negative connotations of daring (how dare you?) and nerve (you got a nerve!). Also we had to wonder why on earth Godric Gryffindor had had a sword, because chivalry was completely omitted from all seven books. And don’t make me start on German Slytherins.

So here is Slytherin observation Nr. 3:

The Sorting Hat never says that you have to be a racist bigot to be sorted into Slytherin. It actually dosn’t even say that it would not sort a cunning and ambitious muggle-born into this house.

Crabbe and Goyle don’t strike me as cunning, and their ambition is to be the seconds of the biggest bully on the playground? I’m aware that this also seems to be wormtail’s ambition, but if you aren’t one of the strongest boys you need some daring and nerve to pull this line?

Kids who are not very different from Harry-as-we-see-him could be sorted to Slytherin. I don’t buy the theory that Voldemort’s soul bit dominated the Sorting Hat’s perception of Harry while it never influenced his behaviour we could watch.

To Harry the Slytherins look like an unpleasant lot, but are they really? How many students sit at the Slytherin table? 70? 250? Harry knows and dislikes exactly three of them and whatever he heard about Slytherin came from unreliable sources.

BTW PersonalityLab’s Sorting Hat told me this:
Gryffindor 68, Ravenclaw 64, Hufflepuff 56, Slytherin 52.
(I’m still not on pottermore)

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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  Solitaire on Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:53 pm

Hieronymus Graubart wrote:The Sorting Hat never says that you have to be a racist bigot to be sorted into Slytherin. It actually dosn’t even say that it would not sort a cunning and ambitious muggle-born into this house.
Not at this time, perhaps, but in OP Chapter 11, the Hat says this:

Said Slytherin, "We'll teach just those
Whose ancestry's purest."
... Slytherin
Took only pure-blood wizards
Of great cunning just like him."


It is interesting that (to me, at least) the Hat's tone seems to get "darker" and more foreboding with each song. The first song just gives us background on the four houses, telling us the qualities prized by each house founder ... although it does say of Slytherins, Those cunning folks use any means To achieve their ends. I don't find that an especially neutral description.

In Harry's fourth year, the Sorting Hat refers to Slytherin as power-hungry, and if you check the entire song from OP, you find the following:

And for a while it seemed the school
must meet an early end.
what with dueling and with fighting
and the clash of friend on friend.
And at last there came a morning
when old Slytherin departed
and though the fighting then died out

he left us quite downhearted.


I think the Sorting Hat's songs paint Slytherin in a negative light as the root of the dissension among the four houses. We know he believed that magic should be kept only among pure-bloods. Was the Basilisk Slytherin created truly intended to rid the school of Muggle-borns, as Voldemort claimed? If so, then I don't think there is much doubt that he was a bigot.

As to Harry's sources about Slytherin being unreliable ... remember that Hagrid was speaking as someone who had felt the prejudice and bigotry of the Pure-blood Wizarding World all his life. And although Ron is from a Pure-blood family, he has always seemed to me a bit like the voice of the average wizard.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

Post  Hieronymus Graubart on Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:13 pm

In OP, unlike other years, the Sorting Hat gives a historical lecture rather than talking about its actual sorting criteria, so we may not learn much about present time Slytherin students from this.

Slytherins probably need some brains to think of all the available means they may use to achieve their ends. So most Slytherins (maybe not Crabbe and Goyle) will probably understand that being a ... (insert approbriate words from the Shakespearean Insult Sheet here) is a suitable means if you want to make every decent person your enemy, but making every decent person your enemy is counterproductive to most other ends.

I don’t deny that power-hungry is one of the negative connotations of ambitious.

The Shakespearean Insult Sheet?
http:*//gallery.carnegiefoundation.org/collections/quest/collections/sites/divans-hutchinson_yvonne1/yvonne%20scans/insultsheet.Pdf
(Leave out the *. Thanks to Idwy of “Mark reads The Book Thief”.)

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Chapter 8: The Potions Master

Post  Hieronymus Graubart on Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:07 pm

In which we explore Hogwarts and watch Harry’s first potions lesson.

Slytherin observation Nr. 4:

Draco, Crabbe and Goyle laugh when Snape torments Harry. Although they are present, no other Slytherins are mentioned in this chapter. So this is a kind of non-observation: Why did we assume that all Slytherins are as amused as the death nibblers are? Because they look like an unpleasant lot?

Oh, there is one exception from no other Slytherins are mentioned: (Snape) swept around ... criticising almost everyone except Malfoy, whom he seemed to like. So, Draco benefits from his fathers connections, but other Slytherins are included in “almost everyone”, and “(Snape) always favours them” is just another rumour Ron has heard and should not be taken too siriously? But Severus Snape deserves (and gets a lot of) his own analysis. For this reread I will focus on Slytherin students who are not named Malfoy, Crabbe or Goyle.

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Chapter 8

Post  Potteraholic on Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:11 pm

Hello Heronymus. I haven't started re-reading PS/SS, but I plan on doing so when I get back home tonight. I hope to have some comments ready, for when you post the Chapter 9 summary.

Also, I am going to make an index of your most excellent chapter summaries in the header post. See you in a few days.

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Chapter 9: The Midnight Duel

Post  Hieronymus Graubart on Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:11 pm

In which we don’t watch much of a flying lesson, because Harry is surprisingly made the new Gryffindor seeker, and then Hermione Granger is out of bed at night and discovers a guarded trapdoor.

Slytherin observation Nr. 5:

”The other Slytherins joined in” Draco’s laughter because it is so funny that ”the great lump” couldn’t control his broomstick. All Slytherins? Are they all evil? Would Theodore Nott, who may already have seen death (he can see thestrals in fifth year) laugh about a potentially deathly accident? Would Harry notice that one, or two, or three Slytherins are not laughing?

In Chapter 13, all Gryffindors except Hermione ”fell about laughing” because it is so funny that Neville could not defend himself against the Leg-Locker Curse. Their excuse may be that they are not aware of what happened and think bunny hopping Neville is acting a joke. But is he known for acting jokes like this? Also they are not all first years, there may be prefects in the common room. Perhaps laughing about Neville should not be considered a sign of evil?

I loved how JKR made Parvati, not Hermione, the first who stood up for Neville and for Harry. In GoF we learn that Padme and Parvati are the prettiest girls in their year. Does Pansy Parkinson refer to this: Only girls as ugly as Millicent Bulstrode should notice boys like Neville? (I wonder what Millicent thinks about this. Did we assume that she and Pansy are friends? But this way lays the abyss of fan fiction.)

So I’ll add Pansy to my list of Slytherins to be disliked (four now), but to everybody else I have to give the benefit of doubt.

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Chapter 10: Hallowe’en

Post  Hieronymus Graubart on Mon Sep 26, 2011 2:53 pm

In which our friends become friends, because this is just unavoidable.

I loved how the details were left to our imagination. A threefold “Thanks”, and then – fast-forward to “Quidditch”.

So, did Hermione (how would she guess the truth) ever ask: “What were you really up to, when you accidentally ran into me and the troll?”? (This punctuation looks weird .) I hope she didn’t, because this may easily sound like she is still picking on the notorious rule-breakers who just saved her life.

Would the boys tell her voluntarily? I’m sure I wouldn’t have done this at Ron’s age. Oh the embarassement to imply that I wasn’t a hard-boiled trouble-maker but might actually feel some responsibility Embarassed . And I would have feared to ruin everything: “I’m so sorry, this shouldn’t really sound like ‘We went out of our way to warn you, and risked our lifes to protect you, and what did you? Save us from loosing Gryffindor five points? You still owe us.’” (Is this what Hermione really saved them from: Having to give an explanation for the situation that would sound awkward in their own ears?)

But this may be only me. Saying nothing out of fear to say something wrong is still one of my bigger failures. Other readers may imagine that the trio discussed the troll incident to great lengths during the following days, choosing their words very carefully or causing a lot of misunderstandings and apologies. So it was quite clever to satisfy us all, and only a great writer could dare to do this, because at this point the characters are already so well developed that there is no need to narrate all the whens, and hows, and whys of this beginning friendship. (Can you tell that this is the point where I became hooked forever ?)

It’s actually dangerous to leave things unresolved over years, as I imagine this, because some day it will come back to bite somebody (big failure, you know). Can we imagine a situation when Ron said: “We never told you this, Hermione, because it would have sounded awkward at the time, but ... “? Or is there still potential for some drama in the trio’s relationships after DH? Was this done on purpose? Alas, there is no hope for a sequel. Crying or Very sad

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Chapter 11: Quidditch

Post  Hieronymus Graubart on Wed Sep 28, 2011 2:08 pm

In which we watch our first Quidditch game and Hermione sets Snape’s robes on fire.

Slytherin observation Nr. 6:

Why seemed MadamHooch to be speaking particularly to the Slytherin captain, when she wanted a nice fair game? Pick your choice:
  1. While all the other players are well kown for their fair play or did, like Harry, never participate in a match, Madame Hooch observed during previous games that Marcus Flint does not always play fair.
  2. All Slytherins have a very bad reputation; Madame Hooch adressed specifically Marcus Flint because he is the captain and responsible for every member of his team.
  3. Madame Hooch never bothered to compare the number of fouls commited by Marcus Flint to the number of fouls comitted by others; she is a speciesist biased against half-trolls and just expects that a Slytherin looking like Marcus will always be more brutal and mean than anybody else.

Now watch this wonderfull circulus diabolus at work. There is an obvious lack of detailed information, but since we already expect the worst from Slytherins, we imagine that they act in the worst possible way and from these imagined actions we conclude that it is totally justified to assume that every Slytherin is a terrible person.

How many readers would swear they learned from this chapter that the Slytherin team didn’t play fair and every Slytherin comitted multiple fouls? Actually we have seen only one foul. What would we think of Ravenclaw if we read that Roger Davies blocked Terence Higgs? Isn’t it funny when Ginny foules Zacharias Smith, who is not even in the game, because he deserves it? (Oops, bad example. Harmonians may claim that Ginny is evil.)

A Hufflepuff would probably have joined everybody watching Harry’s struggle, but technically the game is not paused unless Madame Hooch says it is. So I’m not sure if there are sufficient reasons to add Marcus Flint to my list of Slytherins I don’t like.

Also there is a serious warning in this chapter: Even Hagrid, the man who told us that [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] doesn’t believe that all Slytherins are evil, so why should we?

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Chapter 12: The Mirror of Erised

Post  Hieronymus Graubart on Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:05 pm

In which Harry gets some wonderfull christmas presents.

Slytherin observation Nr. 7:

Sometimes defending Slytherins honour is hard work, but this is easy:
Nobody laughed about Draco’s jokes concerning the widemouthed tree frog, not even other Slytherins. So he had gone back to taunting Harry about having no proper family. Does anybody except Crabbe and Goyle feel obliged to find this funny? Apparently not.

(We need a Like Button here. I don't know if anybody is still reading along.
Everybody seems to be on Pottermore now. Me too bounce )

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Re: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone Read Along

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