Synopsis by Maureen Knight
Notes and links by Steve Vander Ark and Michele L. Worley
U.S. hardcover edition: pages 179 - 199
U.K. hardcover edition: pages 163 - 180
U.K. paperback edition: pages 201 - 222
In which Harry and the Weasleys are late for the Hogwarts Express (again),
Harry and Ginny encounter Neville on the train, and they are introduced
to Luna Lovegood and her father's magazine, The Quibbler. Cho Chang
makes a brief appearance, and Harry sees what actually pulls the school
Interesting facts and notes about the text of this chapter:
September 1 is a magical day for young people in the Wizarding World. From
all over Britain, they arrive at Kings Cross station to embark on the
Hogwarts Express and
begin their school year with a day-long train ride. Only once have we seen
the train stop, in
[Y13] when the
Dementors came aboard to search the train. Normally,
this journey takes about nine hours and ends at Hogsmeade Station in the
Several questions come up frequently about the
Hogwarts Express. One
is a question of geography. Why do students come to London to travel to
Scotland? What if they live in Scotland already? Surely it would make more
sense for many of the students to either travel directly to Hogwarts or at
least to catch the train along the route. Yes, that would make more sense...
for a Muggle. The fact is, when you live in a world of Floo Powder and
Apparation, distance isn't really much of a factor. Students go to
Kings Cross at eleven on September 1 because that's where the train leaves
from. It's no more difficult for them to make that trip than it would for
them to visit the next village.
This brings up the next question that's often asked...why take
a train at all? If, as we've just said, Floo powder and
Apparation make the distance immaterial, why not just have everyone
meet in Hogsmeade and be done with it? There are two answers to this question,
both important. First of all, a day-long trip on the train is important
for the students to form a bond as a group "set apart" for the task of
learning. Since their parents and home are just a pinch of Floo Powder
away, it's necessary for the students to have a sense of being separated.
After all, theoretically, their moms could just step out of a fireplace
at any moment delivering anything from a reprimand to a clean pair of socks.
It's important for the identity of the students as Hogwarts students that
they feel that they are far away from their homes. The parents accept this
unusual separation, as evidenced by the fact that they send things by owl
and don't turn up every once in a while to check up on things.
The second reason for taking the
train is a bit more speculative. There is some evidence that Hogwarts is
NOT simply a big old castle in Scotland that's hidden by charms from Muggle
eyes. Hogwarts exists in an alternate reality, sort of like Platform Nine
and Three-Quarters and Diagon Alley. When you're inside that reality (the
"Hogwarts grounds," perhaps) you are actually someplace else. Even time
works differently there, as evidenced by the fact that within the confines
of the castle, every September 2 is a Monday. One function of the train
then could be to transport students between alternate realities: from
Platform Nine and Three Quarters to Hogwarts.
The train is certainly visible between
the two locations, of course, at least to wizard eyes. Ron and Harry were
able to follow it in the flying Anglia, after all. But even that trip wasn't
"normal," as we see when we locate the Muggles who saw the flying car,
according to the Prophet. One of the two was from Norfolk, which is many
miles from the route between London and Scotland. Either Ron was dramatically
off course or the train doesn't always stay on the same tracks as it heads
north. It's pretty easy to imagine the train squeezing by Muggle trains
by jumping from track to track when necessary, like the Knight Bus.
Harry had a troubled night's sleep.
His parents wove in and out of his dreams, never speaking;
Mrs Weasley sobbed over Kreacher's dead body,
watched by Ron and Hermione who were wearing crowns,
and yet again Harry found himself walking down a corridor ending in a
Fred and George had bewitched their trunks to fly downstairs
"But now Mad-Eye's complaining that we can't leave unless
Sturgis Podmore's here, otherwise the guard will be one short."
'Why? I thought Voldemort was supposed to be lying low, or are you telling
me he's going to jump out from behind a dustbin to try to do me in?'
It took them twenty minutes to reach King's Cross on foot
"We're - well - Ron and I are supposed to go into
the prefect carriage," Hermione said awkwardly.
Luna watched them over her upside-down magazine,
which was called The Quibbler.
"I'm nobody," said Neville hurriedly.
"No you're not," said Ginny sharply.
"Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure,"
said Luna in a singsong voice.
She raised her upside-down magazine enough to hide her face and fell
silent. Harry and Neville looked at each other with their eyebrows raised.
Ginny surpressed a giggle.
It was an odd, unsettled sort of day; one moment the carriage was full of
sunlight and the next they were passing beneath ominously grey clouds.
This unsettled-ness is particularly
keen in Harry's life. Where the drought in Privet Drive accentuates his
lack of contact with the Wizarding World, the changing weather on train
symbolizes the turbulence of Harry's feelings as he regains contact with
the Wizarding World only to find it bittersweet and changed.
'Mimbulus mimbletonia,' he said proudly.
There is no actual plant called the
Mimbulus mimbletonia, although there is a variety called the Mimulus. The
term 'mimble' is used sometimes to indicate an indecisive sound someone
might make when they don't know what to say or their courage has failed
them. Uncle Vernon says something that sounds like "Mimblewimble" when
faced with the giant Hagrid breaking in the door of the Hut on the Rock.
My Great Uncle Algie got it for me in
He would have liked Cho to discover him sitting with a group of very cool
people laughing their heads off at a joke he had just told; he would not
have chosen to be sitting with Neville and Loony Lovegood, clutching a
toad and dripping in Stinksap.
She pulled out her wand. 'Scourgify!'
The Stinksap vanished.
"I'll make Goyle do lines, it'll kill him,
he hates writing," said Ron happily.
'Are you taking the mickey?' said Ron, frowning at her.
What do the stories mean?
Sirius Black may not have committed
the crimes for which he was sent to Azkaban. In fact, says Doris Purkiss,
of 18 Acanthia Way, Little Norton, Black may not even have been present
at the killings.
'What people don't realise is that
Sirius Black is a false name,' says Mrs Purkiss. 'The man people believe
to be Sirius Black is actually Stubby Boardman, lead singer of popular
singing group The Hobgoblins, who retired from public life after being
struck on the ear by a turnip at a concert in Little Norton Church Hall
nearly fifteen years ago. I recognised him the moment I saw his picture
in the paper. Now, Stubby couldn't possibly have committed those crimes,
because on the day in question he happened to be enjoying a romantic candlelit
dinner with me. I have written to the Minister for Magic and am expecting
him to give Stubby, alias -Sirius, a full pardon any day now.'
Fudge's dearest ambition is to seize
control of the goblin gold supplies and that he will not hesitate to use
force if need be.
an accusation that the Tutshill Tornados
were winning the Quidditch League by a combination of blackmail, illegal
broom-tampering and torture;
an interview with a wizard who claimed
to have flown to the moon on a Cleansweep Six and brought back a bag of
moon frogs to prove it;
an article on ancient runes which
at least explained why Luna had been reading The Quibbler upside-down.
According to the magazine, if you turned the runes on their heads they
revealed a spell to make your enemy's ears turn into kumquats.
'You see, I, unlike you, have been made a prefect, which means that
I, unlike you, have the power to hand out punishments.'
'We'd better change,' said Hermione at last, and all of them
opened their trunks with difficulty and pulled on their
Jostled by the crowd, Harry squinted through the darkness for
a glimpse of Hagrid; he had to be here, Harry had been relying
on it - seeing Hagrid again was one of the things he'd been
looking forward to most. But there was no sign of him.
The coaches were no longer horseless. There were creatures
standing between the carriage shafts.
"Don't worry. You're just as sane as I am."
Characters introduced in this chapter:
Characters returning in this chapter:
Moody, Alastor (Mad-Eye)
Characters mentioned in this chapter:
Algie, Great Uncle
Fudge, Cornelius (as 'Goblin-Crusher')
Granger, Dr. and Dr.
Riddle, Tom Marvolo (as Voldemort)
(unnamed) wizard who claimed to fly to the moon on a Cleansweep Six
Settings and locations introduced or returning in this chapter:
Settings and locations mentioned in this chapter:
Exceptional character moments:
Links and Resources:
The girl gave off an aura of distinct dottiness. Perhaps
it was the fact that she had stuck her wand behind her left ear for
safekeeping, or that she had chosen to wear a necklace of butterbeer
caps, or that she was reading a magazine upside down.
"That was funny!"
Her prominent eyes swam with tears as she gasped for breath, staring at
Ron. Utterly nonplussed, he looked around at the others, who were now
laughing at the expression on Ron's face and at the ludicrously
prolonged laughter of Luna Lovegood, who was rocking backward and
forward, clutching her sides. "Are you taking the mickey?" said
Ron, frowning at her.
Harry had to read this sentence several times before he was
convinced that he had not misunderstood it. Since when had Sirius
been a singing sensation?
Timeline/Calendar of the Chapter
Here we encounter an example of the impossiblility of the dates
in this book. Since we know from chapter 8 that August 12 was a
Thursday, August 31 has to be a Tuesday.
September 1, then, is a Wednesday, but we will discover in the next chapter
that September 2 is not a Thursday, as one might expect after a Wednesday,
but a Monday.
Harry travels to Hogwarts
aboard the Hogwarts Express