"They'll be driving, of course?"
-- Vernon Dursley
Harry awaits the arrival of the Weasleys, who arrive by Floo powder and must blast their way out of the blocked-off fireplace. The twins drop some toffees, then Floo back to the Burrow with Harry’s trunk. Just as Harry is about to leave, Dudley eats one of the toffees and grows a huge purple tongue. Harry leaves Mr. Weasley to sort it out as Uncle Vernon begins throwing things.
Calendar and Dates
Interesting facts and notes
This chapter features Harry's second trip to the Burrow (the previous visit having occurred the summer before his second year), hence the title.
By twelve o'clock the next day, Harry's school trunk was packed with his school things
and taken down the chart on the wall counting down the days to September the first, on which he liked to cross off the days remaining until his return to Hogwarts.
"I hope you told them to dress properly, these people," he snarled at once.
The fact that this is Vernon's immediate reaction is telling: he's very concerned about appearances.
Harry wasn't bothered about what the neighbours would think
So Harry, who should know, interpreted Vernon's reaction as an indication that he was worried about what the appearance of associating with the Weasleys would do to his own family's image.
Normally Uncle Vernon would have asked what car Mr. Weasley drove; he tended to judge other men on how big and expensive their cars were.
Again, this, in turn, lets us judge the character of Vernon Dursley by showing us what he thinks is important - appearances (again) and financial status. Notice that he concentrates on a car's size and cost, not (for instance) on the car's performance. A big gas guzzler sounds like his kind of car.
the old Ford Anglia they had once owned was currently running wild in the Forbidden Forest at Hogwarts.
The Ford Anglia was borrowed and then damaged by Ron and Harry in their second year -- borrowed to fly to Hogwarts, damaged by the Whomping Willow as they landed on the Hogwarts grounds. Immediately after landing, the car tossed them and their things out onto the grass and trundled away into the Forest (CS5). Later, they encountered it when they were threatened by acromantulas. The car saved their lives and then disappeared back into the Forest (CS15).
It wasn't altogether surprising, therefore, that Dudley kept running his hand nervously over his backside, and walking sideways from room to room, so as not to present the same target to the enemy.
"Ouch! Fred, no — go back, go back, there's been some kind of mistake — tell George not to — OUCH! George, no, there's no room, go back quickly and tell Ron—"
"Hello, Harry!" said Mr. Weasley brightly. "Got your trunk ready?"
"It's upstairs," said Harry, grinning back.
"We'll get it," said Fred at once. Winking at Harry, he and George left the room. They knew where Harry's bedroom was, having once rescued him from it in the dead of night.
This happened when Fred, George, and Harry rescued Harry from his bedroom after he had been locked in by Uncle Vernon after the incident with Dobby and the violet pudding (CS3).
Exceptional character moments
Arthur, who notices how little the Dursleys care about Harry's departure. Compare the lack of so much as a "goodbye" from either Vernon or Petunia to Molly's hugs and fussing about socks and bag lunches, for instance.
Vernon, whose first question is about what the Weasleys will be wearing, and who tends to judge other men by what their cars are like.
The idea of being taught consideration by a man who had just blasted away half his living room wall seemed to be causing him intense suffering.