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Dissection: SS/PS ~ Chpt 6 The Journey From Platform 9 3/4

 
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 1:44 am    Post subject: Dissection: SS/PS ~ Chpt 6 The Journey From Platform 9 3/4 Reply with quote

Harry spends the remainder of his summer break being ignored by the Dursleys. While this is an improvement of sorts it is also depressing so he entertains himself by interacting with Hedwig and reading his schoolbooks. The night before his train leaves he asks his uncle to bring him to King's Cross Station. Vernon and Petunia give him odd looks when they find out his train leaves from platform 9 3/4 but agree to take him since they have to take Dudley to London to have his tail removed anyway.

The Dursleys abandon Harry at the station after Vernon cruelly points out that platform 9 3/4 does not exist. Harry tries to figure out the secret but has no success until he overhears a woman use the word muggle. Harry observes a family of four boys, two are twins and a young girl being herded by their mother. All have red hair. After trying to spy and not being able to figure out how the boys are disappearing, Harry asks the mother and is able to get through the barrier and onto the platform.

Once on the platform he is surrounded by students and evidence of the magical world. A boy is looking for his lost toad while another boy is showing off something with hairy legs that he has in a box. Harry quickly moves to find a compartment on the train and is unsuccessfully trying to stow his trunk when the red haired twins wander in and help him. They realize that he is Harry Potter and there is an awkward moment that is interrupted by their mother calling them back out onto the platform. Harry can't help himself and sits so that he can secretly observe the family. The twins are relentless jokesters and tease the other brothers and their mother non stop. The mother scolds the twins to no avail. When the twins mention that they met Harry Potter he slinks back so they won't see him watching them. The sister immediately wants to go on the train to see him but the mother scolds her that Harry is not a zoo exhibit then forbids the twins from asking about "You Know Who."

The train whistle blows and the sister bursts into tears. The twins try to console her by promising to send her loads of owls and a Hogwart's toilet seat. This brings on another round of scolding from their mother. Harry can't help himself and he leans forward to watch until the mother and sister are out of sight. Ron, the youngest brother enters the compartment quickly followed by the twins. The twins introduce themselves officially as Fred and George Weasley. They also introduce Ron and say that they are off to see the giant tarantula that a student named Lee Jordan has. Ron then proceeds to ask Harry about "You Know Who" and then realizes that he wasn't supposed to so he goes all quiet. Harry breaks the silence by asking Ron about his family. Ron tells Harry more than he means to in a lengthy explanation. He tells Harry that he has not just three but five older brothers and that Bill was head boy, Charlie was quiddich captain, Percy is a prefect and although Fred and George are troublemakers, they still get good grades. He tells him that he as always had hand me downs including Bill's old robes, Charlie's old wand and Percy's old rat. He lets slip that they can't afford much and gets embarrassed. Harry counters Ron's embarrassment by telling him about having to wear Dudley's old clothes and never getting birthday presents etc.

During this discourse Harry uses Voldemort's name which shocks Ron. Harry quickly explains that he didn't know he wasn't supposed to say it and then goes on to lament that there is probably tons of stuff he doesn't know and that he is afraid he will be the worst in the class. Ron tells Harry that lots of the students are muggleborn and they do just fine.

The snack trolley rolls around and Harry is feeling indulgent due to having money for the first time in his life. He buys a ton of candy and treats and shares them with Ron. Harry discovers the chocolate frog collector cards and finds out for the first time that pictures move in the wizarding world. Ron seems to find it shocking that muggle pictures don't move. Harry is also introduced to Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans of which Ron warns him that George reckons he had a booger flavor one once. During this a round faced boy, one that Harry noticed on the platform comes into their compartment looking for his toad. He leaves after they tell him the toad is not there and Ron gives Harry a bit of info about the coolness of pets. Toads are the worst, rats just above toads and owls are the coolest. He then tells Harry that Fred and George gave him a spell to turn Scabbers yellow.

The door opens on the compartment and it's the round faced boy with a bushy haired buck toothed girl still looking for the missing toad. She notices that Ron is about to perform magic and sits down to watch. Ron executes his spell and nothing happens. The girl is critical and haughtily informs Ron that all the spells she tried over the summer worked for her. She tells them that she is muggle born and then brags about having learned all their coursebooks by heart. She introduces herself as Hermione Granger and then they introduce themselves. When she finds out that it's Harry she tells Harry that she read all about him in several different books. He is surprised to find out that he is mentioned in books and she seems taken aback that he wouldn't have wanted to read everything he could about himself. She asks them what houses they think they will be in and then goes on to talk a little about the different houses but leaves before hearing their answers.

Ron jokes that he doesn't want to be in any house that she is in and goes on to tell Harry that his whole family has been in Gryffindor. He also goes on to say he doesn't want to be in Slytherin. The subject turns back to Ron's brothers and after telling Harry that Charlie is studying dragons in Romania and Bill works for Gringotts, he brings up the fact that there was a break in at Gringotts in a high security vault and it is shocking because they were unable to catch anyone. The talk quickly switches to quiddich and during Ron's stories of various quiddich matches Ron has been to, the door of the compartment slides open again.

The blonde boy from the robe shop enters with two mean looking cronies. The blonde boy realizes that Harry is in fact the Harry Potter and introduces the mean boys as Crabbe and Goyle and then himself as Draco Malfoy. Ron sniggers a bit prompting this conversation:

"Think my name's funny, do you? No need to ask who you are. My father told me all the Weasleys have red hair, freckles and more children than they can afford."
He turned back to Harry. "You'll soon find out some wizarding families are much better than others, Potter. You don't want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there."
He held out his hand to shake Harry's, but Harry didn't take it.
" I think I can tell who the wrong sort are for myself, thanks, " he said coolly.
Draco Malfoy didn't go red, but a pink tinge appeared in his pale cheeks.
"I'd be careful if I were you, Potter," he said slowly. "Unless you're a bit politer you'll go the same way as your parents. They didn't know what was good for them, either You hang around with riffraff like the Weasleys and that Hagrid, and it'll rub off on you."

At this point Harry and Ron stand up but before any fighting actually begins, the bullying boys decide to take the rest of Harry's candy. As Goyle reaches to grab it, Scabbers latches onto his finger with his teeth and yells and the three boys quickly exit the compartment. Hermione comes back in and gets bossy towards Harry and Ron to which Ron gets a bit huffy. She leaves and they don their robes. The train stops and they exit a few minutes later to be rounded up by Hagrid and taken across the lake to the castle.

This is also a very meaty chapter. We learn about Ron living in the shadow of his brothers and how this shapes his personality. He has to do good to live up to the reputations of his brothers but it won't be anything special because he wasn't the first. That's a hard road to walk. We get a glimpse into Harry's deep longing for family. He can't keep his eyes of Ron's family he's so fascinated. We already take sides in the animosity of Draco, Crabbe and Goyle towards Ron and now Harry since he has blatantly chosen to stand with Ron. We find out that while magical and wonderful, the wizarding world is still deeply flawed with power struggles, dark magic and even racism. Even the students are set against each other, divided by house and house pride rather than united in Hogwart's pride.

Discuss!
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What really fascinates me re-reading this chapter is what we know in hindsight. For example, it amuses me no end seeing Ron react so badly when Hermione behaves so very much like his own mother! Big Grin And of course we are meeting more than Hermione and the Weasleys, but also that (eventually) wise and brave scholar, Neville Longbottom.

And here's a thought...

Spoiler:
Scabbers. In retrospect, isn't it interesting to imagine what is going on in Peter Pettigrew's mind? He's been with the Weasleys for how long at this point? Do you suppose he felt loyalty to them, to the children he'd watch grown up, who brought him again and again to the wonderful school where'd he'd known so many adventures as a boy? Did he perhaps like to pretend he was only a rat, the familiar pet of loving if poor family, not the wizard who betrayed all who'd loved him out of cowardice? How galling to be a coward, and yet a Gryffindore!

Is that why he bit Goyle?


BTW, does it strike anyone else that Ron is almost startlingly self-aware for an eleven-year old? Methinks this is the first evidence we get that Ron is actually a very bright person (he did get plenty of OWLs after all and managed to defeat Professor McGonnagal at chess, albeit by proxy) who simply feels little motivation to copy his siblings via academic achievement!
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is indeed another meaty chapter (winks at Menolly) in that we are now introduced to the people who will shape Harry in the years to come and who provide him with the stability he'll need knowing that he has stalwart friends. With the Weasleys there's the kinship of being poor (or knowing what it feels like) and still managing to find happiness in the darkest of times. Fred and George let Harry know that you can go through the worse of circumstances with a grin and a good joke. In Ron there's the self-acceptance of being practically not too special but full of potential. In Hermionie he's going to learn a lot about dilligence and knowing your enemy.
With Mrs Weasley, he'll find the mother that he never had. A woman who'll grow to care as much for him as if he were one of her own 7 children.
The meeting anew of Malfoy further deepens his dislike for this new Dudley in his life. Meeting also the incredibly thick Crabbe and Goyle lets Harry know caution and that not all his enemies are seemingly vunerable.

Hindsight indeed more like foresight since we know what's to come in the chapters/books ahead. Still the magic grows with each page, especially this chapter as Harry is moving deeper into a world which he (and us) grow to love deeply.
Literally, moving pictures. Now how cool is that? One hopes that in the future that minature screens of short looping videos will be available to us as replacement for our static photos.

Great insight and thought on Scabbers there Zahir.


Zahir wrote:
Spoiler:
Scabbers. In retrospect, isn't it interesting to imagine what is going on in Peter Pettigrew's mind? He's been with the Weasleys for how long at this point? Do you suppose he felt loyalty to them, to the children he'd watch grown up, who brought him again and again to the wonderful school where'd he'd known so many adventures as a boy? Did he perhaps like to pretend he was only a rat, the familiar pet of loving if poor family, not the wizard who betrayed all who'd loved him out of cowardice? How galling to be a coward, and yet a Gryffindor!

Is that why he bit Goyle?


Spoiler:
Good question on how did the sorting hat put Pettigrew into Gryffindor when he does so many cowardly things. But he does show bravery later even if it's doing something bad. Still even a coward can become a hero and a hero a coward. Look at Longbottom for example.


Also good insight into Ron and his undesire to emulate his older brothers. Still he has that (family) competitive spirit Spoiler:
and thanks to Hermione does well in his O.W.L.s
to either be his brother's equals or better. Making friends with a living legend like Harry I think really boosts his own self-esteem though he'll learn the bumps in the road of being a legend's friend ahead as time goes on.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is also the first time Harry journeys to a key gateway between worlds - King's Cross Station. While he has touched on the wizarding world before - such as at Diagon Alley (where muggles can still go) - when he gets aboard the train, it will be the first time he is fully immersed in that new world. And, of course, in the spring when he comes back, he gets off of the train and is immersed back in the muggle world.

This important symbolism, of a gateway or meeting place between worlds, comes into important symbolic play in the seventh book. Cool
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