"You're going to have an interesting year."
-- Bill Weasley
Mad-Eye Moody jinxes dustbins and Mr. Weasley hustles off to sort out the mess. Mrs. Weasley takes the children to King’s Cross Station via Muggle taxis, and the trio meets old friends and enemies on the train.
Calendar and Dates
The chapter begins as Harry wakes on the day of his return to Hogwarts on the Hogwarts Express - that is, the first of September.
Interesting facts and notes
"...Muggle neighbors heard bangs and shouting, so they went and called those what-d'you-call-'ems--please-men. Arthur, you've got to get over there---"
"--if Rita Skeeter gets a hold of this one, Arthur--"
Indeed! How would she spin this incident? Her name has been mentioned now twice in two chapters. This must be a formidable character.
"if the Improper Use of Magic lot get their hands on Mad-Eye, he's had it--think of his record--"
This brings up a lot of questions. What other kinds of trouble has Mad-Eye caused for the Ministry? What would've happened to him if Mr. Diggory hadn't warned Arthur to intervene? What about Mad-Eye makes people willing to help him out---and how often has this happened?
"Mad-Eye Moody?" said George thoughtfully..."Isn't he that nutter--"
"Your father thinks very highly of Mad-Eye Moody," said Mrs. Weasley sternly.
....heard a familiar drawling voice drifting in through the open door.
The latter half of the chapter reintroduces the various supporting players as the students pass the time on board the Hogwarts Express, as well as supplying a little background information on the other wizarding schools.
"He knows the Headmaster, you see."
"There's traditionally been a lot of rivalry between all the magic schools."
A shame we don't see more of this in the series beyond the events of this year. What interesting dynamics this could've created!
Neville listened jealously to the others' conversation as they relived the Cup match.
Poor Neville, having missed out!
"Going to enter, Weasley?...you'd be able to afford some decent robes if you won..."
Unfortunately for Ron, this won't be the last time his dress robes will cause him some social embarrassment.
Ron got to his feet and slammed the sliding compartment door so hard behind them that the glass shattered.
Ron's temper will also create collateral damage on many other upcoming occasions.
First years traditionally reached Hogwarts Castle by sailing across the lake with Hagrid.
"Oooh, I wouldn't fancy crossing the lake in this weather," said Hermione fervently.
Lucky for the trio that this is their fourth year.
Exceptional character moments
Amos Diggory warning Arthur Weasley to intervene on Mad-Eye Moody's behalf regarding a breach of the statute of secrecy.
Draco Malfoy, mocking Ron for the state of his second-hand dress robes and for his lack of inside information from the Ministry of Magic.
"So, he thinks Durmstrang would have suited him, does he?" Hermione said angrily. "I wish he *had* gone, then we wouldn't have to put up with him."
"Ah, think of the possibilities," said Ron dreamily. "It would've been so easy to push Malfoy off a glacier and make it look like an accident...shame his mother likes him..."
Words and phrases
From the Web
Writing by J K Rowling on WizardingWorld (Pottermore):
Harry Potter Wiki: Alastor Moody