Through the Trapdoor
Synopsis by William Silvester
Notes and links by Michele L. Worley
and Steve Vander Ark
US hardcover edition: pages 262 - 287
UK hardcover edition: pages 191 - 208
UK paperback edition: pages 283 - 309
second week of June,
In which the students begin their exams, Hagrid lets slip how
to control Fluffy, HRH try to warn Dumbledore but he has been
summoned away. Fearful that Snape is about to make his move to
get the Philosopher's Stone, HRH decide to go after it themselves.
Under Harry's invisibility cloak they make their way to Fluffy,
put him to sleep, and go through the trapdoor, past plants,
chessmen, and potions.
Interesting facts and notes about the text of this chapter:
In this chapter, Harry, Ron, and Hermione follow the would-be thief through
the trapdoor being guarded by Fluffy, hence the chapter title. On another
level, the three have to get past several trapped doors guarding the Stone:
the door in the flying-key room (bewitched to respond only to its key),
the door guarded by the giant chessmen, and the doors in and out of the
Potions room, which turn the room itself into a trap.
They had been given special, new quills for the exams, which had been bewitched
with an Anti-Cheating spell.
- Fred and George Weasley sell a spell-check quill that Ron uses for awhile. However, the charm began to wear off in the middle of an essay and started misspelling words at random. (HBP21)
They had practical exams as well. Professor Flitwick called them one by one into
his class to see if they could make a pineapple tap-dance across a desk.
Professor McGonagall watched them turn a mouse into a snuff-box - points were given
for how pretty the snuff-box was, but taken away if it had whiskers.
Snape made them all nervous, breathing down their necks while they tried to
remember how to make a Forgetfulness Potion.
Their very last exam was History of Magic. One hour of answering questions about
batty old wizards who'd invented self-stirring cauldrons and they'd be free...
...the 1637 Werewolf Code of Conduct...
...the uprising of Elfric the Eager.
Ron...wandered down to the lake and flopped under a tree...
"It's not that unusual, yeh get a lot o' funny folk in the Hog's Head -
that's one o' the pubs down in the village."
"Well - yeah - how many three-headed dogs d'yeh meet,
even around Hogwarts? So I told him, Fluffy's a piece o'
cake if yeh know how to calm him down, jus' play him a bit
o' music an' he'll go straight off ter sleep -"
"I shouldn'ta told yeh that!"
"What are you three doing inside?"
It was Professor McGonagall, carrying a large pile of books.
"Professor Dumbledore left ten minutes ago," she said
coldly. "He received an urgent owl from the Ministry of Magic
and flew off for London at once."
"Something you have to say is more important than the
Ministry of Magic, Potter?"
Whatever Professor McGonagall had expected, it wasn't that. The
books she was carrying tumbled out of her arms but she didn't
pick them up.
"I don't know how you found out about the Stone, but rest
assured, no one can possibly steal it, it's too well
"I bet the Ministry of Magic will get a real shock when
Dumbledore turns up."
He strode off in the direction of the staffroom
"Enough of this nonsense! If I hear you've come anywhere near here
again, I'll take another fifty points from Gryffindor!"
I'm never going to the Dark Side...Voldemort killed my parents, remember?
"Flitwick told me in secret that I got a hundred and twelve
per cent on his exam."
...his eyes fell on the flute Hagrid had given him for Christmas.
Harry looked at the grandfather clock by the door.
...the moment she had landed, the plant had started to twist
snake-like tentacles around her ankles. As for Harry and Ron,
their legs had already been bound tightly in long creepers
without their noticing.
"I know what this is - it's Devil's Snare!"
"Oh, I'm so glad we know what it's called, that's a great
help," snarled Ron...
"It likes the dark and the damp..."
"Oh, right!" said Hermione, and she whipped out her
wand, waved it, muttered something and sent a jet of the same
bluebell flames she had used on Snape at the plant.
...it wouldn't budge, not even when Hermione tried her Alohomora Charm.
They seized a broomstick each and kicked off into the air,
soaring into the midst of the cloud of keys. They grabbed
and snatched but the bewitched keys darted and dived so
quickly it was almost impossible to catch one.
They were standing on the edge of a huge chessboard...
"Now, don't be offended or anything, but neither
of you are that good at chess -"
"Well, Harry, you take the place of that bishop, and
Hermione, you go next to him instead of that castle."
"White always moves first in chess," said Ron,
peering across the board.
A white pawn had moved forward two squares.
I'll take one step forward...
He stepped forward and the white queen pounced. She struck
Ron hard around the head with her
stone arm and he crashed to the floor -
Shaking, Harry moved three spaces to the left...
Hermione seized a roll of paper lying next to the bottles.
"Everything we need is here on this paper."
That's hardly one swallow...
Characters introduced in this chapter:
Characters returning in this chapter:
Characters mentioned in this chapter:
Settings and locations introduced or returning in this chapter:
Settings and locations mentioned in this chapter:
Exceptional character moments:
Ron, who refuse to let
Harry go after the Stone alone. Note that this is after they failed
to talk Harry out of the idea, which they said was crazy.
Neville, standing up to
Harry, Ron, and Hermione when he catches them sneaking out at night.
Ron, sacrificing himself in
the chess game because that's the only way his friends can win
through to the Stone.
Harry, assigning Hermione to
watch the staff room because she can claim to be fretting over her exam
Links and Resources:
"It's obvious," said Ron.
"You can pretend to be waiting for Professor Flitwick, you know."
He put on a high voice, "Oh, Professor Flitwick, I'm so worried, I
think I got question fourteen b wrong..."
"Oh, shut up," said Hermione, but she agreed to go and watch out
"That's chess!" snapped Ron. "You've got to make some
The first few paragraphs of the chapter cover the weeks leading
up to the end-of-year exams and the exams themselves. As
the last of the exams concludes - History of Magic - the action
slows down to real-time, and the rest of the chapter takes
place on the afternoon and evening of the last day of the exams.