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Dissection: SS/PS ~ Chapter 5 Diagon Alley

 
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Seafoam Understone
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:36 pm    Post subject: Dissection: SS/PS ~ Chapter 5 Diagon Alley Reply with quote

It is here in this marvelous series where Harry's first REAL introduction to the Wizarding world takes place. There are many firsts for Harry in this chapter.
After spending the night with his new found friend and protector the half giant Hagrid, Harry wakes up thinking at first it was all a dream. But is delighted to be proven wrong when an owl pecks insistently at the window.
Letting the bird in Harry is introduced to the Wizarding mail system. The owl is carrying also Harry's first intro to the preferred Wizarding media; a newspaper named the Daily Prophet.
As the owl pecks now at Hagrid's coat Harry tries to shoo him away, he is told by Hagrid (who just upon wakening) that he has to pay the owl. Now Harry gets his Wizarding money introduction.
The happiness Harry feels begins to deflate when he believes that he has none and recalls that Uncle Vernon steadfastly refused to support him. Hagrid again comes through with the news that Harry's parents left him money/gold in the only Wizard bank "Gringotts". Harry is further shocked to find out that it's run by Goblins. Hagrid assures Harry that there's no safer place to keep anything valuable than at Gringotts... except maybe for Hogwarts.
Hagrid informs Harry that it's their first stop anyway because he has to pick up Harry's money and something for Dumbledore. So wasting no more time (after a quick breakfast of cold sausages and birthday cake) they're off. Using magic Hagrid propels himself and Harry across the waters in the same boat the Dursley's arrived in.
Enroute to London Hagrid explains more of the Wizarding World to Harry, including the all important Ministry Of Magic.

Quote:
"There's a Ministry of Magic?" Harry asked before he could stop himself.
"'Course" said Hagrid. "They wanted Dumbledore fer Minister, o'course, but he'd never leave Hogwarts, so old Cornelius Fudge got the job. Bungler if ever there was one. So he pelts Dumbledore with owls every morning, askin' fer advice."
"But what does a Ministry of Magic do?
"Well, their main job is to keep it from the Muggles that there's still witches an' wizards up an' down the country."
"Why?"
"Why? Blimey Harry, everyone'd be wantin' magic solutions to their problems. Nah, we're best left alone."

On the train Harry is instructed to look at his Hogwarts letter for the list of his school supplies. Clothing (uniforms), oddly named course books, and it should be noted how interestingly enough the authors names and how they seem to tie into whatever the course/book is about. i.e. Magical Theory by Adalbert Waffling, and Magical Drafts and Potions by Arsenius Jigger and so on. Equiptment ranging from wands, to tlescopes and an owl, cat or toad.
When they arrive in London, Harry has to help Hagrid here and there as they make their way to the "Leaky Cauldron". A place that oddly enough only Harry and Hagrid can seem to see. Muggles pass right on by it without realizing that it's there at all.
Inside Harry meets others of his kind and realizes just how famous he really is as nearly every wizard and witch make their introductions and welcomes. He also meets a Hogwarts teacher for the first time as well. Professor Quirrel who teaches the ominently named "Defense Against The Dark Arts". But Quirrel says that Harry probably doesn't need it. How little does he know.
Going out the backdoor of the bar they're outside again and facing a brick wall. Hagrid taps the bricks in a sequence and to Harry's amazement the wall forms a small hole that grows to an arch and stepping through Harry is further amazed when he sees his world for the first time.
A twisted street lined with store after store of the most amazing things on earth. Diagon Alley. As Hagrid guides Harry towards the bank Harry risks getting whiplash trying to see everything at once. Shops that sold robes, owls, wands, broomsticks, cauldrons, and animal parts that wouldn't be normally found in the Muggle world.
Soon they are standing before Gringotts a huge white building with large bronze doors guarded by a Goblin. Going inside they're greeted by yet another set of doors, silver this time with a strange warning engraved upon them.
Quote:
Enter, stranger, but take heed
Of what awaits the sin of greed,
For those who take, but do not earn,
Must pay most dearly in their turn.
So if you seek beneath our floors
A treasure that was never yours,
Theif, you have been warned, beware
Of finding more than treasure there.

Eventually they're escorted by a goblin named Griphook to the vaults below. Arriving at the Potter's vault Harry is bowled over by the piles of gold, bronze and silver coins that lay haphazardly inside. Trying not to be greedy and with Hagrid's help Harry gets a pouch full. For the first time he has more money than the Dursley's have ever dreamed of.
Leaving the vault they travel ever deeper into the depths of Gringotts to arrive at the Hogwarts vault. Without a key Griphook opens the door by stroking it with his finger and it melts away.
Harry begins to get an idea of the warning engraved on the silver doors above when the goblin explained:
Quote:

"If anyone but a Gringotts goblin tried that, they'd be sucked through the door and trapped in there." said Griphook
"How often do you check to see if anyone's inside?" Harry asked.
"About once every ten years." said Griphook with a rather nasty grin.

Harry manages to sneak a peek inside and is disappointed to see nothing at first, then spies a small object on the floor. Without a word Hagrid picks it up and puts it in his pocket and requests that Harry doesn't talk to him while they're riding the cart back up. The ride down was queasy enough for the giant.
Outside Harry is mad with the desire to spend his money. Thankfully Hagrid helps him with some sense of control as he guides Harry to the nearest shop to get his school uniform. Dropping Harry off so he can get a drink to settle his stomach Hagrid leaves Harry alone for the first time. Entering the shop he meets Madam Malkin the shop-owner/dress-maker/tailor as it were. He also meets Draco Malfoy for the first time. The first meeting sets the tone for the two of them for the rest of the story.
Malfoy is smug, pompus, arrogant and just plain mean. All of these qualities instantly reminds Harry of Dudley, which starts to make Harry not like the boy. When Malfoy spies Hagrid for the first time his attitude towards him causes Harry to like him even less. Malfoy shows his predjuice against another group of Wizards and Witches because they not of "his" kind...pure bloods. sBefore further animosity could develop Malkin finishes with Harry's uniform and he leaves. Hagrid explains more of the Malfoy boy's attitude and about Quiddich and more about Hogwarts.
After getting most everything on his list Hagrid insists on buying Harry's birthday present. A beautiful snowy owl.
Last stop is Ollivanders, a wand maker. Here Harry is sized up and measured by the strange man running the shop. After trying dozens of wands the man tries one in particular. The reaction from Ollivander and Hagrid assures that it's the perfect wand for Harry. Ollivander is puzzled since Harry's new wand is the "brother" of the wand that gave him his now famous lightning scar.
After leaving this marvelous place via the Leaky Cauldron, Harry is subdued. Over a hamburger while waiting for the train to take him back to Surrey Hagrid notices a more quieter Harry.
Quote:
"You all right, Harry? Yer very quiet," said Hagrid.
Harry wasn't sure he could explain. He'd just had the best birthday of his life --- and yet --- he chewed his hamburger, trying to find the words.
"Everyone thinks I'm special," he said at last. "All those people in the Leaky Cauldron, Professor Quirrell, Mr Ollivander ... but I don't know anything about magic at all. How can they expect great things? I'm famous and I can't even remember what I'm famous for. I don't know what happened when Vol--, sorry -- I mean, the night my parents died."

Hagrid reassures Harry gently and soon Harry is on the train with tickets for September first from King's Cross station. Finding a seat Harry wanted to watch Hagrid until he was out of sight but as soon as he looks... the half giant had vanished.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wonderful job, Seafoam. Wonderful!

One of the things I like about this chapter which I didn't see mentioned is the name of Diagon Alley itself. I think we discussed it in another thread, but I don't remember who it was that first pointed it out. Guns maybe?

Anyway, it can be said that the Wizarding World is parallel to the Muggle World. But Diagon Alley touches upon both. In fact we learn later that Muggles, as parents of Hogwarts students, have access to it with their child as well. So it could be said that Diagon Alley runs diagonally between the two. Diagon Alley=diagonally. I've always loved that play on words.

Beautiful. Big Grin
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent SU. I think Malfoy is one of the most important encounters in this chapter. His attitude and disdain really give Harry a taste of the blood snobbery that defines so much of this series. The fact that his comment about bullying his father reminds him of Dudley is key in Harry's determination to distance himself from such behavior. Furthermore, Malfoy's comments about blood worth seem to echo what Petunia and Vernon and Marge have been on about making Harry want to distance himself even more from such attitudes. The fact that he chooses to be with the people who treat him with kindness regardless of social standing and also to make friends based on this rather than rest on his own fame speaks volumes and is at the root of what makes Harry a loveable hero.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great dissection SU!
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks all (so far). That does seem to be the key point in this particular chapter of helping Harry set his own social standards upon entering the Wizarding world. Since Draco Malfoy seems to be the epitomizing tone of the snobbery that can be found in that world and the Dursley's in the Muggle world gives Harry a sense of place in both. Spoiler:
Besides he found the poorer Wizards a heck of a lot more fun to be around later, i.e. Fred/George, Ron, Lupin, etc.

It helps I think that he grew up poor and oppressed before entering full on into his (now) beloved Wizarding world. He empathizes quicker and has compassion because he was shown so little (practically none at all).
While Dumbledore could've placed him safely with a well off Pro-Potter Wizarding family just as well with the Dursley's though the protective enchantments would've been/are much stronger with the Muggles, Dumbledore seem to wisely know what kind of treatment the Dursley's would subject him to and how that treatment would toughen Harry up in the years to come mentally and emotionally. Spoiler:
Of course we see the friends of Harry in later years come to his side and threaten/warn the Dursley's to give Harry better treatment... including Dumbledore so to help ease the annoyance of having to return to that home/environment each summer.

As enchanting Diagon Alley was for Harry it's just as much so for us readers. Almost a glimpse of all the things the Ministry doesn't want us to see/know about. Definitely interesting notation on the play of words with Diagonally and Diagon Alley. Spoiler:
Also how Rowling subliminally pointed that out in showing Hermione's muggle parents are seen in the book-store in COS.


Thanks for the chapter, Menolly. It was fun to dissect and look into. It definitely bears more discussion because there's so much more to be read into it. Big Grin
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seafoam Understone wrote:
Thanks for the chapter, Menolly. It was fun to dissect and look into. It definitely bears more discussion because there's so much more to be read into it. Big Grin


Big Grin

I told you it was "meaty."

...hmph...roll your eyes at me, huh... Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Menolly wrote:
Big Grin

I told you it was "meaty."

...hmph...roll your eyes at me, huh... Wink

Whooo? Meeeee?

Nah, that was someone else dear. Rolling Eyes
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seafoam Understone wrote:
Menolly wrote:
Big Grin

I told you it was "meaty."

...hmph...roll your eyes at me, huh... Wink

Whooo? Meeeee?

Nah, that was someone else dear. Rolling Eyes


*snort*

Really??

http://kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=534289#534289

Seafoam Understone wrote:
Well Menolly selected that one for me because of the "meaty opportunities" it would provide... Rolling Eyes


I am just funnin' with ya Seafoam. Wink
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The real focus of this chapter to me has always been the visit to Ollivander's. First of all, the man himself. What an odd, interesting, and not-totally-nice person he is! One has to wonder what House he was in, or did he even attend Hogwarts?

And this of course is where Harry gets his own wand. I was entranced by the whole process, and it is only later in the series that we get a sense that the length of wand apparently has something to do with a person's final height. In this chapter we learn about three "cores" and later we'll hear about one more--veela hair--but I've always wondered what other cores might work? For that matter, how does a wandmaker actually go about and make a wand? How does he choose the wood? Under what circumstances does he get hold of phoenix feathers, unicorn hairs and dragon heartstrings?

And of course Harry's wand was bound to be important. But the revelation that it is the brother of the one that gave him that scar--what a glorious detail!

My favorite line to be repeated in Deathly Hallows many years later: "The wand chooses the wizard."
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some complied info on wands in the series (spoilers for those who have not read the latter books):

Wikipedia article
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On my copy of this book (In Canada , its printed as Philosopher's) the school supply list has Wand listed twice; the very top and the very bottom.

I've read this copy of the book to myself, and three times to my kids, and only when my nine yr old read it himself, was the error noticed!!
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good heavens, Drew. What year was your copy printed? Surely they have that fixed by now?

I expect the difference between Sorcerer's Stone and Philosopher's Stone is because the myth of the philosopher's stone had faded into history by the time the US was colonized. In the UK it would still be alive in the old traditions, and the Commonwealth countries inherited them. An interesting historical quirk. Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was an earlier edition paperback. It belonged to my nephew first.

BTW-I always thought it was because Americans would have found the word Philosopher to big!! lol
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