Monday, November 26, 2007

Harry Potter 1: Chapter Two

Here's another chapter analysis of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Why am I writing about Book One? Find out why in this post, and read about Chapter One here.

Even though this post is about Book One, there are spoilers in it for all seven books.














Chapter Two: The Vanishing Glass

All page numbers refer to the hardcover Scholastic edition.

Connections to later books:

  • Parseltounge. The fact that Harry can talk to snakes is first established in this chapter, mentioned again in Book Two and is quite important throughout the series.
  • Avada Kedavra. In this chapter the only two things that Harry remembers about his parents’ death are a flash of green light and pain in his scar. In Book 4 we learn that the green light is a telltale sign of the Avada Kedavra curse. And in Book 7 we learn that Harry felt pain in his forehead because he became an accidental Horcrux almost immediately after his parents died (and that’s why he has the scar on his forehead).

Characters and places introduced in this chapter that don't appear again until later books in the series:

  • Aunt Marge gives Dudley a birthday present in this chapter and is mentioned as a possible babysitter for Harry, but she doesn’t actually make an appearance until Book 3.
  • Mrs. Figg is briefly mentioned but doesn’t have a speaking part until the fifth book.
  • Dedalus Diggle gets another minor mention in this chapter (he's also in Chapter 1) as the tiny man in the violet top hat that bows to Harry in a shop. Both Dedalus Diggle and Harry talk about this incident when they meet in The Leaky Cauldron in Chapter 5.
  • Madame Marsh. You have to pay careful attention to catch this one. On page 30, Harry mentions that: “a wild-looking old woman dressed all in green had waved merrily at him once on a bus.” Right about now you’re probably wondering who on earth Madam Marsh is. She has a walk-on part only and she is mentioned as a passenger on the Knight Bus every time Harry rides on it. She is always dressed in green. I love this mention of her in the first book, it’s so incredibly subtle.


  • I love the old-fashioned neglected orphan tone of this chapter. It really makes the book feel like a timeless classic. Harry living in the cupboard under the stairs, having to wear clothes too big for him, having broken eyeglasses… all these things are wonderful contrasts with the fact that Harry is incredibly famous.

Favorite quote:

  • "Aunt Petunia often said that Dudley looked like a baby angel—Harry often said that Dudley looked like a pig in a wig." (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Scholastic hardcover, page 21).
  • Who on earth does Harry make the comment to about Dudley looking like a pig in a wig? It doesn't seem like the kind of thing he'd say to any of the Dursleys.

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