"It's not Quidditch that's popular, it's you! You've never been more interesting and, frankly, you've never been more fanciable."
-- Hermione Granger
Harry discovers his newfound popularity, learns that Stan Shunpike has been arrested, and holds a frustratingly massive Quidditch tryout that includes a run-in with Cormac McLaggen. They visit Hagrid and learn that Aragog is dying, Harry confronts Hermione about having confunded McLaggen during the tryout, and Professor Slughorn invites Harry and Hermione to supper, but Harry is spared having to go when Professor Snape refuses to let him out of detention.
Calendar and Dates
After briefly touching on the second week of classes, the remainder of the chapter is devoted to the second Saturday of the term. Based on the dates of previous chapters (outlined in HBP8), this Saturday must be 14 September.
Interesting facts and notes
The chapter covers a new Potions book, the Quidditch tryouts and a visit to Hagrid's hut.
He pulled the old copy of Advanced Potion-Making out of his bag and tapped the cover with his wand, muttering, ‘Diffindo!’ The cover fell off. He did the same thing with the brand new book (Hermione looked scandalised). He then swapped the covers, tapped each and said, ‘Reparo!’
There was no way that Harry was going to give up his key to success in N.E.W.T. level Potions. In a way, it isn't "traditional cheating" - he is still having to brew the potions and follow the directions in the Half-Blood Prince's copy. It depends on whether the students are supposed to be following exactly what Libatius Borage has set down in the official textbook. Certainly Harry has an unfair advantage over the others.
"I was in the hospital wing when they held the trials," said McLaggen, with something of a swagger. "Ate a pound of Doxy eggs for a bet."
What an idiot! We know that Doxys are a fairy-like pest that infest wizarding dwellings - Fred and George Weasley collected a few during the Black house clean-up as they wanted to experiment with Doxy venom for the Skiving Snackboxes (OP6). Eating a such a large amount of Doxy eggs is foolish in the extreme. It is probably a good thing that he doesn't make the team.
Harry turned round to find his new team beaming at him.
"Well done," he croaked. "You flew really well –"
"You did brilliantly, Ron!"
This time it really was Hermione running towards them from the stands; Harry saw Lavender walking off the pitch, arm in arm with Parvati, a rather grumpy expression on her face. Ron looked extremely pleased with himself and even taller than usual as he grinned around at the team and at Hermione.
The members of the Gryffindor Quidditch team for 1996-97 are:
- Harry Potter (Seeker)
- Katie Bell, Demelza Robins and Ginny Weasley (Chasers)
- Ritchie Coote and Jimmy Peakes (Beaters)
- Ron Weasley (Keeper).
But before he could say anything else, the door flew open again as Harry had known it would, and there stood Hagrid, glowering down at him and looking, despite the flowery pinny, positively alarming.
"I'm a teacher!" he roared at Harry. "A teacher, Potter! How dare yeh threaten ter break down my door!"
Harry, Ron and Hermione lie to Hagrid about their decision to drop Care of Magical Creatures at N.E.W.T. level. Hagrid grudgingly accepts their excuses, but he is also upset because of the (fatal) illness of his old friend, the acromantula giant spider Aragog.
One very interesting bit of information that comes up in their conversation is that all the Ministry of Magic's stock of Time-Turners had been destroyed during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries at the end of the previous school year (OP35).
Exceptional character moments
Ron being susceptible to the wiles of the giggling Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil.
In spite of being Hogwarts prefect - and Ron's attitude, Hermione confunds Cormac during Quidditch try-outs, so that Ron becomes the Gryffindor team's Keeper.
Cormac McLaggen's arrogance and temper.
Horace Slughorn's disappointment at Harry not being able to come to his party - and thinking that he can make Professor Snape change his mind about the timing of Harry's detention.
"Speak for yourself, I haven't forgotten the Skrewts," said Ron darkly. "And I'm telling you now, we've had a narrow escape. You didn't hear him going on about his gormless brother – we'd have been teaching Grawp how to tie his shoelaces if we'd stayed."
"Oh, come on, Harry," said Hermione, suddenly impatient. "It's not Quidditch that's popular, it's you! You've never been more interesting, and frankly, you've never been more fanciable."
"What!" said Ron, goggling at Hermione. "But Hogwarts is safer than their homes, bound to be! We've got Aurors, and all those extra protective spells, and we've got Dumbledore!"
Hagrid looked stunned. "Since when have yeh called me 'sir'?"
"Since when have you called me 'Potter'?"
Words and phrases
From the Web
Reddit: Writing by J K Rowling from Pottermore Presents: Horace Slughorn
- The Half-Blood Prince's Secondhand Potions Book
- MuggleCast Episode #391: Sluggybear (HBP Chapter 11, Hermione’s Helping Hand)
- Lily Evans and the Half-Blood Prince: The Real Secret Behind the Potion-Making Textbook
Harry Potter Wiki:
The-Leaky-Cauldron essay: Quidditch in Harry Potter
WizardingWorld (Pottermore) features:
Tags: confusion flying frustration popular professors requirements resentment sports
Lexicon timeline of Quidditch
Lexicon list of School Quidditch teams
Lexicon essay: An Almanac of Quidditch at Hogwarts by Philip Legge