"You want to be careful, Blaise! I saw this young lady perform the most marvellous Bat Bogey Hex as I was passing her carriage! I wouldn't cross her!"
-- Horace Slughorn
Harry thinks Malfoy might be a Death Eater, everyone departs for King’s Cross, and before getting on the train Harry tells Mr. Weasley his suspicions. On the train, Harry finds he is more famous than ever, but sits with Neville and Luna until Slughorn invites him to tea. After hours of boring conversation, Harry sneaks into the Slytherins’ compartment, under his invisibility cloak, and listens to Malfoy brag about working with Voldemort, but when the train stops Malfoy freezes Harry, breaks his nose, and leaves him behind.
Calendar and Dates
Even though the last chapter finished off on the Saturday immediately following Harry's birthday, this chapter implies that there is only a week between the trip to Diagon Alley and 1 September, even though there should be almost a month ("Harry spent a lot of the last week of the holidays...."). We do know that most of the chapter takes place on Saturday, 31 August and Sunday, 1 September, because this is the day the Hogwarts Express always leaves for Hogwarts; additionally, this aligns with the one hardfast date we are given in this book - Ron's birthday on Saturday, 1 March (HBP18)
Interesting facts and notes
"pink would of course be 'orrible with Ginny's 'air -"
At least one prospective Weasley isn't colour-blind. Good.
"People expect you to have cooler friends than us," said Luna, once again displaying her knack for embarrassing honesty.
"You are cool," said Harry shortly. "None of them was at the Ministry. They didn't fight with me."
This is a direct contrast to the previous year's journey to Hogwarts, when Cho comes into their compartment and Harry reflects how "he would have liked Cho to discover him sitting with a group of very cool people... he would not have chosen to be sitting with Neville and Loony Lovegood" (OP10).
"Au revoir, 'Arry," said Fleur throatily, kissing him good-bye. Ron hurried forward, looking hopeful, but Ginny stuck out her foot and Ron fell, sprawling in the dust at Fleur's feet.
"Harry, please. You're talking to the man who raised Fred and George."
"I enjoyed the meetings too," said Luna serenely. "It was like having friends."