The Writing on the Wall
"Please, sir, don't legends always have a basis in fact?"
Synopsis by William Silvester
Notes and links by Michele L. Worley
U.S. hardcover edition: pages 140 - 160
U.K. hardcover edition: pages 107 - 121
U.K. paperback edition: pages 154 - 175
31 October - xx,
In which HRH are questioned about the Petrified cat,
Professor Binns about the
Chamber of Secrets,
HRH return to the scene of the crime, consult
and speculate about the mystery.
Interesting facts and notes about the text of chapter nine:
This chapter gives us our first close look at a History of Magic lesson, and
at Professor Binns, Hogwarts' only
"I remember something very similar happening in
said Lockhart, "a series of
attacks, the full story's in my autobiography."
A clock chimed somewhere.
"Midnight," said Harry.
Professor Binns had asked for
a three-foot-long composition on
"The Medieval Assembly of European Wizards".
Professor Binns opened his notes...
...and began to read in a flat, drone like an old vacuum cleaner until
nearly everyone in the class was in a deep stupor...
He had been speaking for half an hour when something happened that had
never happened before.
Hermione put up her hand.
Professor Binns, glancing up in the middle of a deadly dull lecture on
the International Warlock Convention of 1289, looked amazed.
"My subject is History of Magic," he said in his dry, wheezy voice.
"I deal with facts, Miss Granger, not myths and legends."
"In September of that year, a sub-committee of Sardinian sorcerers..."
He cleared his throat with a small noise like chalk snapping
Professor Binns was looking at her in such amazement, Harry
was sure no student had ever interrupted him before, alive
But the whole class was now hanging on Professor Binns'
every word. He looked dimly at them all, every face turned
to his. Harry could tell that he was completely thrown by
such an unusual show of interest.
"You've used spiders in potions loads of times..."
"If you must know, when I was three, Fred turned my - my
teddy bear into a dirty great spider because I broke his toy
"Five points from Gryffindor!" Percy said tersely,
fingering his prefect badge.
There was only one way to get out a book from the Restricted Section:
you needed a signed note of permission from a teacher.
Characters introduced in this chapter:
Characters returning in this chapter:
(as Miss Grant)
Characters mentioned in this chapter:
monster of Slytherin
Sorting Hat, the
Settings and locations introduced or returning in this chapter:
Settings and locations mentioned in this chapter:
Exceptional character moments:
Binns, who (according to
rumour) never noticed when he died, but simply got up from his
armchair, leaving his body behind him, and hasn't varied his
routine in the slightest since. There
is someone who is focused.
Binns, who is obviously
unused to anyone in his class actually being a student of history
and taking an interest in his subject. Once the students take an
interest in his material (which completely throws
Binns), he reveals an
unsuspected ability to relate history as a story.
Binns' annoyance at the
idea of anyone believing such a story as the legend of the
Chamber of Secrets,
when there is no reliable evidence to support it and when various
searches of the castle
seem to provide evidence that it doesn't exist.
Binns is the sort
of person who has both feet firmly on the ground, so to speak;
he is concerned with concrete evidence rather than imaginative theories.
Filch, who breaks down
crying when he believes that
Ginny, who is a great cat-lover.
Even photographs of him are so vain that they put their
hair up in rollers and hairnets at night.
Ron, who has been
arachnophobic since the age of three, when
Transfigured Ron's teddy bear into a spider while Ron was holding
Links and Resources:
The action of this chapter picks up on Hallowe'en night, and covers
the next few days.