Platform Nine and Three Quarters

The first year students on their way to Hogwarts

"There was a lot more to magic, as Harry quickly found out, than waving your wand and saying a few funny words."
—A lesson all first years learn[src]

A first year is a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry who is new to Hogwarts and in their first year of magical education. Those who receive their Hogwarts letter at age eleven are permitted to attend.

Starting Hogwarts

Travelling to Hogwarts

"Firs'-years! Firs'-years over here!"
Rubeus Hagrid greeting new students[src]
Hogwarts Arrival HPPS poster

First years travelling across the Black Lake on boats

First years are typically eleven to twelve years of age, and begin the year by boarding the Hogwarts Express at exactly 11 a.m. on 1 September, from King's Cross Station on which they travel to Hogwarts. If they live in Hogsmeade, they do not need to catch the train.

From there, first year students are accompanied by the Keeper of Keys and Grounds (or another suitable teacher if they are absent), along a shady path that leads to a fleet of small boats, which sail themselves across the Black Lake before arriving at a small landing stage near the base of Hogwarts Castle.

Students then await their turn to be Sorted into their houses, while in the Great Hall they undergo the Sorting Ceremony. A teacher takes them to a small room where they await the Sorting ceremony. Older students ride up to the castle in carriages pulled by Thestrals.

The Start-of-Term Feast

"Everybody finished the song at different times. At last, only the Weasley twins were left singing along to a very slow funeral march"
—How the Hogwarts song finished in Harry Potter's first year[src]
Pottermore background the sorting ceremony

1991 Hogwarts Sorting Ceremony

Just before the Start-of-Term Feast begins, new students are Sorted into one of four houses (Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin) by the Sorting Hat. The Hat analyses each student's mind, looking for specific characteristics that it uses to decide where to put each student. After the sorting, the Headmaster says a few words and the feast begins.

After the feast, the headmaster says a few more words; if he or she is feeling particularly festive, they will direct the students as they sing the school song, such as the year Harry Potter came to Hogwarts. Dumbledore used his wand as a conductor's baton, conjuring a ribbon that floated in the air, forming the words for the students to sing along with, each singing to the tune of their choice. Not all Professors are overfond of the song, but, Albus Dumbledore, the wise and odd man he was, conducted the singing with gusto and even teared up in the end:

Hogwarts, Hogwarts,
Hoggy Warty Hogwarts
Teach us something, please,
Whether we be old and bald
Or young with scabby knees,
Our heads could do with filling
With some interesting stuff,
For now they're bare and full of air,
Dead flies and bits of fluff,
So teach us things worth knowing,
Bring back what we've forgot,
Just do your best, we'll do the rest,
And learn until our brains all rot.

During the first year


"To their great surprise, both he and Ron passed with good marks; Hermione, of course, had the best grades of the first years. Even Neville scraped through, his good Herbology grade making up for his abysmal Potions one."
—Harry's first experiences with end of the year exams[src]

Severus Snape teaching Potions to a first-year class

First year students must take: Transfiguration, Charms, Potions, History of Magic, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Astronomy, and Herbology, classes that are mandatory throughout their first five years of magical education. First years, and only first years, are required to take flying, where they learn the basic commands to give to their broomstick, as well as basic tricks and tips for riding [1], as most of the first years have probably never flown before arriving at Hogwarts school.

Charms class in 1991

A first year charms class

In Astronomy, students observe the sky with their telescopes, learning the names and movements of the stars, planets and their moon(s). Charms students learn the Levitation Charm, the Softening Charm, the Fire-Making Spell, and, as the exam requires them to make a pineapple dance across a desk, presumably the dancing charm. Defence Against the Dark Arts classes teach the Curse of the Bogies, the Knockback Jinx, and different ways to treat werewolf bites. Herbology students study various plants and fungi, such as Dittany and Devil's Snare. In History of Magic, students learn the names and dates of various famous events and people, including Emeric the Evil, Uric the Oddball, the Warlock's Convention of 1709, the inventor of the self-stirring cauldron, various goblin rebellions, and the uprise of Elfric the Eager. Transfiguration students must take complex notes before learning the spell to turn a match into a needle, the mouse into snuffbox spell, and the Switching Spell. Lastly, potions students learn the Cure for Boils potion, and the Forgetfulness Potion.

First year restrictions

"Parents are reminded that first years are not allowed their own broomsticks"
—Extract from the Hogwarts acceptance letter[src]
First years cannot go to Hogsmeade with the students in the third year or above, and are not permitted to have their own broomstick inside the school grounds until second year. They are further forbidden from taking Divination, Muggle Studies, Study of Ancient Runes, Care of Magical Creatures and Arithmancy until third year, and Apparition and Alchemy until sixth year.

Required textbooks

Harry Potter's first year (1991-1992)

Harry's ten lonely years

Harry Potter, an unusual and neglected orphan, has lived the first decade of his life as an outcast to society in Surrey, ever since he was sleeping on the doorstep of 4 Privet Drive in the Surrey town of Little Whinging (the home of his maternal aunt Petunia, a grouchy housewife, and her husband Vernon Dursley, the director of the drill company Grunnings) at age 1 on the morning of 2 November, 1981.

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Harry's cupboard beneath the staircase

The Dursleys came to resent their nephew, going as far as subjecting him to emotional abuse and physical deprivation whenever something "unusual" occurred and making him sleep in the cupboard under their stairs, all while spoiling their son Dudley with two bedrooms for himself (one for sleeping in, one for storing all his toys). In addition, Harry was made to all the chores, such as making food and getting the post. During the times that Harry was not being made to work or abused, he was provided with little entertainment and sometimes tried to entertain himself by playing games such as solitaire.

In his youth, Harry could make strange things happen without understanding why he could. For instance, after Aunt Petunia sheared off all of his messy hair using a pair of kitchen scissors in her frustration that it would not lay flat, it left him almost completely bald with only the fringe at the front. It grew all the way back to its previous messy state overnight, but Harry took no notice while sleeping. Another time, Petunia tried to shove Dudley's old jumper over his head, but he inadvertently kept shrinking against his body until it became the size for a hand puppet. These incidents always enraged the Dursleys, and after each, they would punish Harry by throwing him into the cupboard except for the jumper incident, since Petunia thought the jumper must have shrunk in the wash. Throughout every punishment, Harry often dreamed that a family who would turn out to be paternal relative of his would come to take him to live with them, believing that they would care for him. It never happened, for the Dursleys were his only living relatives, and they never spoke about anything regarding his ancestry.

They did speak very little of Harry's parents, James and Lily Potter, who they claimed died in a car crash due to James being an unemployed drunk, and that the lightning bolt scar marked on the boy's forehead was from the same accident. However, every time Harry tried to remember the crash, all he could vaguely recall (as if he strained his memory) was a green flash of light and pain in the scar. He tried to understand what it was, or if it was from the car crash, but simply couldn't because Vernon and Petunia forbade him from asking questions, particularly those regarding his parents. In addition, the Dursleys refused to have pictures of Lily and James, and did their best to avoid the subject of Harry's parents altogether.

Dudley started bullying his maternal cousin as they both attended St. Grogory's Primary School at age 5. Harry had no friends there, since his  Dudley's gang, all of whose members hated him because Dudley did. In particular, Dudley's friends liked to play a unique game called "Harry Hunting", which involved chasing Harry. Although he was good at sports, the latter boy was always the last picked for the football team because no one wanted to admit to Dudley that they liked him, rather than because he was no good. Harry got decent, if not good grades at school, but still he unknowingly exposed hints of strange things throughout the school terms. 

In time, the Dursleys took Dudley and a friend in his gang and his parents took him and and a friend to someplace spectacular every year for his birthday, but the only thing Harry ever got for his birthday was one of Vernon's old socks.

Discovery of his Wizard Heritage

Hogwarts letter

Harry receives his Hogwarts acceptance letter

Harry spent the longest punishment he ever had in his cupboard for an incident at the zoo on 23 June, 1991 (Dudley's eleventh birthday). During which he unintentionally made the glass to an enclosure containing a Brazilian boa constrictor vanish by somehow talking the snake in its hissing language into attacking Dudley while it made its escape. When he was finally allowed out it was already summer holiday, and he still couldn't escape the torment from Dudley's gang, who visit the house almost every day. He nonetheless lucky to be away from the gang for the next school year, because Dudley and Piers were both accepted to Vernon's old public school, Smeltings Academy, whereas Harry was to be attending Stonewall High, a local comprehensive private school.

The next morning, Hagrid took Harry to the Leaky Cauldron pub in London, where everyone inside greeted the younger newcomer for the first time. Among them were Quirinus Quirrell, his soon-to-be Defence Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts, the pub's inn-keeper Tom, a witch named Doris Crockford, and Dedalus Diggle, the same man who bowed to Harry years earlier.

The Hogwarts Express

On 1 September, Harry was guided further into the Wizarding World when the Dursleys dropped him off at King's Cross Station, and found his way

Start of Term

"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
Albus Dumbledore[src]

The Great Hall

The new students were greeted at the castle door by the school deputy headmistress and Transfiguration professor, Minerva McGonagall, who explained the four houses of Hogwarts: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin, as well as the rules of the House Cup. McGonagall led the first years into a small room off the Entrance Hall and told them to wait until she returned. When she did, they were led into the Great Hall, where they were greeted by the rest of the students, and, more importantly, a shabby wizard's hat on a small stool.

Harry was particularly anxious, as he did not feel that any of the Houses as they were described in the Hat's song were right for him. Harry noted that Draco Malfoy, whom Harry had met in Diagon Alley, was instantly placed in Slytherin, and remembered what Hagrid and Ron had told him about Slytherin's reputation for turning out Dark Wizards, and that Voldemort had been in Slytherin. When Harry put on the Hat, it slipped down past his eyes, and the hat told him that he "would do well in Slytherin". Thinking of Voldemort, Harry desperately begged the Hat to not put him in Slytherin. The Hat instead placed Harry in Gryffindor along with Ron and Hermione Granger.

Harry Potter being Sorting during the Start-of-Term Feast

The Sorting Ceremony was followed by the Welcoming Feast. Harry, who had never been allowed to eat as much as he wanted, was overwhelmed by the sheer variety of foods in front of him. Dessert arrived, and talk turned to the first years' families. Neville Longbottom explained that his family thought he was a Squib until his great-uncle Algie accidentally dropped him out of a window, and he bounced. Seamus Finnigan mentioned how shocked his Muggle father when he found out his wife was a witch.

As Harry glanced up at the staff table, the school Potions professor and Head of Slytherin, Severus Snape, stopped talking to Quirrell to glance back at the boy, who immediately felt a sharp pain in his scar. After the last morsels melted from the golden plates and goblets, Dumbledore gave a speech welcoming the new students to the school and the old students back. He added a few warnings about staying away from the Forbidden Forest, and avoiding the third-floor corridor before leading the school in singing the School Song and sending everyone off to their dormitories.

First years lessons/classes

In their first ever Potions class, Professor Snape began teaching his students the Boil-Cure Potion, but not before mocking Harry as the school's "new celebrity", expressing his hatred to the boy. Harry and Ron went down to Hagrid’s hut for tea, where they met Hagrid's huge and fierce-looking dog, Fang. Hagrid told Harry that he was overreacting to Snape’s treatment, then transitioned to ask Ron about his brother Charlie Weasley, who worked as a Dragonologist at a dragon reserve in Romania. When Harry noticed a cutting from the Daily Prophet lying on the table, he picked it up and read the front page story, which was about a break-in that occurred on Harry's birthday at Gringotts, in Vault 713, the same vault Hagrid visited with him on their trip to Diagon Alley.

Flying class in 1991

Flying class

One of the things Harry was looking forward to was Flying class, until he found out that the Gryffindors would be taking flying lessons with the Slytherins. Madam Rolanda Hooch taught the class by starting with basic broom control the ability to hover gently off the ground on her whistle, but Neville, terrified of being left behind, panicked and kicked off before anyone else, rising fifty feet in the air before falling off and breaking his wrist. Madam Hooch took him to the Hospital Wing, warning the other students to stay on the ground until she got back.

Draco Malfoy nicked Neville's Remembrall off the ground and was told to give it to Harry, but jeered that he would rather leave it "up a tree" and took of on his broom. Harry mounted his own broom and kicked off after him. To his surprise as everyone else's, he could not only fly, but also did not need to be taught how. He shot toward Draco, who realised that Harry was a better flyer and threw the Remembrall into the air, daring the famous boy to catch it. Harry raced the ball towards the ground, catching it and coming out of his dive a foot from the ground. He toppled lightly onto the grass amidst the cheers of the Gryffindors, grinning wildly.

His euphoria did not last long however, because Professor McGonagall saw the dive from her office window and quickly arrived on the scene, order Harry to follow her. Harry, expecting expulsion, was instead introduced to Oliver Wood, Captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, whom she pulled out of a Defence Against the Dark Arts class. Wood's confusion at being introduced to a first year quickly turned to excitement and ecstasy upon hearing McGonagall recount the dive. But he told her that Harry would need a decent broom if they were to compete, and explained that he would make an excellent Seeker, perhaps rivalling the legendary Charlie Weasley.

The Midnight Duel

Argus Filch: "Which way did they go, Peeves? Quick, tell me."
Peeves: "Say ‘please.’"
Argus Filch: "Don’t mess with me, Peeves, now where did they go?"
Peeves: "Shan’t say nothing if you don’t say please"
Argus Filch: "All right — please."
Peeves: "NOTHING! Hahaaa! Told you I wouldn’t say nothing if you didn’t say please! Ha ha! Haaaaaa!"
Peeves taunting Filch after pretending to aiding him[src]
Harry told Ron about the surprise after he left with McGonagall over dinner that night, but warned him that Wood wanted to keep it a secret. Much calmer on the ground, and with his cronies Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle flanking him, Draco came over to taunt Harry about getting in trouble earlier. Enraged that Harry not only escaped trouble, but was instead rewarded, he challenged the young Potter to a wizard’s duel at midnight in the Hogwarts Trophy Room. In spite of Hermione’s attempt to dissuade them from breaking the school rules, (or perhaps because of it), Harry accepted.
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The trio encoutering Fluffy while trespassing in the third floor corridor

As they left the Gryffindor Tower, the Trio found Neville (whose wrist had been fixed by the school nurse Madam Poppy Pomfrey) waiting outside, having forgotten the password. The four arrived at the trophy room, but Draco was nowhere to be found. They speculated that he might have chickened out, until heard the school caretaker Argus Filch and his cat, Mrs Norris, enter the room. Realising Draco tricked them, they attempted to quietly exit, but a nearby doorknob rattled and Peeves, Hogwarts' resident poltergeist, burst into the hallway, threatening to expose them.[2]

Growing desperate, Ron took a swipe at Peeves, who began to bellow their whereabouts as loud as he could, attracting Filch. The three kids ran right to the end of the corridor, where they found themselves stopped by a locked door, which Hermione opened with the Unlocking Charm using Harry's wand. They hurried inside, thinking themselves out of danger until turning around and coming face-to-face with a monstrous sight: a giant three-headed dog named Fluffy. Choosing Filch over death, the children ran for it, somehow managing to get back to their dormitory without running into anyone along the way. Though shaken by the night’s events, Harry’s interest in exploring was piqued by Hermione’s pointing out that the dog was standing on a trapdoor.

The Nimbus 2000

Nimbus 2000

Harry receives a Nimbus 2000, a gift from Professor McGonagall

Over breakfast the next morning, Harry and Ron were discussing what Fluffy could be guarding when the mail arrived. Harry, who had received no mail apart from Hagrid’s letter, was intrigued as everyone else by the long, oddly-shaped package in the mail that morning, and was even more surprised than the others when he discovered what was inside: a Nimbus 2000, and with a note from Professor McGonagall warning him not to open the package at the table and that he was to meet Wood that night for Quidditch practise. Taking the broom up to their dormitory, Harry and Ron were stopped by Draco Malfoy, who seized the package and told them that first-year students are not allowed their own broomsticks. Draco tried to report Harry to the school Charms professor and Head of Ravenclaw, Filius Flitwick, but the half-goblin was already told of Harry’s special permission and hust expressed admiration for his talent.

Trouble With A Troll


The traditional Hallowe'en Feast

On Hallowe'en, in their first ever Charms class, Professor Flitwick began teaching his students the Levitation Charm. Only Hermione succeeded; Ron, offended by her air of superiority, later made a nasty comment that she overheard, causing her to run off to lock herself in the girl's bathroom in tears and making him and Harry feel slightly guilty. When the two went down to the Hallowe'en feast later, their guilt was forgotten amidst the splendour of the decorations.

Partway into the feast, Quirrell arrived to announce that there was a twelve-foot mountain troll in the dungeons before fainting where he stood. The prefects led the students back to their dorms, but Harry realised that Hermione did not know about the troll and convinced Ron to help save her, since they were responsible. They snuck off to the girl’s bathroom to warn Hermione, locking the troll inside as it entered. However, they did not realise their mistake until they heard Hermione's terrified scream emanate from the bathroom. Horrified, Harry and Ron ran back into the bathroom to rescue her; Harry stuck his wand up its nose, and Ron knocked the troll out using its own club.

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The mountain troll in the bathroom

The teachers arrived, attracted by the troll’s yells, to find the trio covered in dust, and the bathroom in disarray. Professor McGonagall scolded the boys for not going straight to their dormitories with the rest of their house, but instead putting themselves in grave danger. Much to Harry and Ron’s surprise, Hermione lied that she went looking for the troll, as she thought she could handle them. She claimed that the boys were looking for her, (which was true), and she would most likely be dead if they failed to rescue her (also true). The three bonded over the shared experience, and were friends thereafter.


As the Quidditch season began with his first match against Slytherin, Harry became increasingly nervous of showing he was not just a famous name, and borrowed a copy of Quidditch Throughout the Ages from Hermione in an attempt to calm himself. During break the day before the match, the trio huddled together around a jar of flames conjured by Hermione to keep warm, but Snape limped by (as though his leg was injured) and confiscated the book on the feeble pretext that library books were not to be taken outside. The limps strengthened Harry's suspicions that the Potions Master was after whatever it was that Fluffy was guarding. He followed Snape to the staffroom (where it would be harder for Snape to bully him if other teachers were present) to ask for the book back, only to find Filch helping the stern teacher bandage his leg, which was bitten and bloody. Harry returned to the common room and told his two friends evrything regarding Snape's complaints about Fluffy.
B1C11M2 Gryffindor vs Slytherin Quidditch match

Harry playing in his first Quidditch match against Slytherin

The first Quidditch match began the very next morning, but Harry’s first attempt to catch the Golden Snitch was blatched by the Slytherin Seeker, who was thus penalised for it. Soon after, a powerful Hurling Hex took control of his broom began and it began bucking uncontrollably, as if trying to unseat him. Watching him from the stands, Ron and Hermione wondered if the other was at fault until Hagrid (who just arrived) noted what spell it would take to make a broomstick hard so to control.

So Hermione turned her attention to scanning the stands until noticing Snape staring unblinkingly at the problem, muttering nonstop under his breath. Thinking quickly that he was performing the jinx, she took advantage of everyone’s focus on Harry (and the Weasley twins’ attempts to rescue him) to run across the entire stadium towards Snape, lighting his robes on fire and putting the flames in a jar. Snape immediately broke eye contact with Harry to focus on putting the fire out, knocking over Quirrell in the process. Up in the air, the spell on Harry’s broom broke and he was once again able to control his broom. The crowd watched in confusion as Harry dove towards the ground, catching the Snitch in his mouth and looking as if he was being violently sick the instant he landed. To their disbelief, he vomited the Snitch out, ending the game in what would have been the most chaotic manner possible.

After the match, Hagrid took the three back to his hut, where Ron and Hermione told him and Harry about what happened on the other side of the stands. Hagrid, however, did not believe the part with Snape cursing the broom, asking why he would try to kill anyone; Harry told him about Snape being bitten by Fluffy, who the half-giant (in his surprise by their knowledge) involuntarily belonged to him, was guarding did not concern them, as it was a secret known only to Dumbledore and a man named Nicolas Flamel.

The Christmas season

Main article: Christmas
"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that."
—Albus Dumbledore, when he discovers that Harry has been using the Mirror[src]

The Great Hall during Christmas

Impressed that Harry managed to hold onto a bucking broomstick, the rest of the school no longer found Draco Malfoy taunts of Harry being replaced amusing, so he reverted to teasing him about staying at school for the winter holidays. Harry, however, was looking forward to spending Christmas away from the Dursleys, especially in light of the fact that Ron was also staying at Hogwarts, but also because it would give them time to look up Nicolas Flamel; they were certain that the librarian, Madam Irma Pince would be able to find a book on Flamel in an instant, but were worried that it might be suspicious, and were thus forced to search for themselves.

On Christmas, Harry and Ron awoke to open the presents at the foot of their beds. Harry received a Flute from Hagrid, a fifty pence coin from the Dursleys which he gave to Ron, (who never seen Muggle money), assorted sweets from Hermione, and a knitted sweater from Ron's mother. At the bottom of the pile, he found an Invisibility Cloak with an anonymous note on the package telling him to use it well as it belonged to his father.

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Harry in front of the Mirror of Erised seeing his late parents

That night after a satisfying Christmas dinner, Harry decided to try the Cloak out, using it to sneak into the Restricted Section of the Hogwarts Library. He pulled down one of the heavier books, which issued a blood-curdling scream in front of him that alerted Filch of his presence. Stuffing the book back in its place, he ran immediately out the door to avoid Filch’s outstretched arms and down the dark and narrow corridors, knocking over the lantern he brought with him. Although thinking he escaped, Filch eventually reported Harry's intrusion to Snape, presenting the broken lantern as proof.

Realising no chance of sneaking past them since the Cloak did not stop him from being solid, Harry slipped into an abandoned classroom and waited as the adult wizards passed. Then he relaxed to take in more details of the room, finally noticing something he missed the first time: the Mirror of Erised. By peering into it, he saw his parents and the rest of his paternal family for the first time in his life, all of whom had his untidy hair and eyes; only his paternal grandfather Fleamont Potter seemed to have his knobbly knees.

Dumbledore advising Harry from seeking out the mirror again

The next night, Harry brought Ron with him to the disused classroom, but he did not see Harry’s family in the mirror; instead he saw himself standing alone, holding the House Cup, wearing badges indicating he was Head Boy and Quidditch Captain. The two began arguing over who would be allowed to look in the mirror, inadvertently attracting Mrs Norris and forcing them to make a run for it. Ron tried to dissuade his best friend from returning to the worried deserting out of fear of being caught, but Harry went the next evening anyway, determined to stay up all night staring at the family he lost.  

However, in his haste, he failed to notice Dumbledore waiting for him by the door until after he removed the Cloak. The old wizard explained that the Mirror of Erised displayed the deepest, most desperate desire of whomever looked into it (Harry longed his whole life to know his paternal family; Ron desired to stand alone as the best among his older brothers). Before sending Harry back to bed, he warned that many men were driven mad by what they saw in the mirror (unsure if it was real or even possible), and that the mirror was to be moved to a new location, telling the boy not go looking for it. Harry asked the headmaster what he saw in the mirror. Much to his surprise, Dumbledore told him that he saw himself with a pair of woollen socks.  

Gryffindor vs Hufflepuff

Despite his promise to Dumbledore, Harry found it difficult to forget the image of his parents until Wood told the team that Snape would be refereeing the next Quidditch match against Hufflepuff. Shortly before the match, Draco Malfoy used the Leg-Locker Curse on Neville, forcing him to bunny hop his way back to the common room. Remarking that he was "worth twelve of Draco", Harry cheered Neville up by giving him a Chocolate Frog, the card inside of which Neville in return handed back to him for his collection. Looking down, Harry noted it was Dumbledore's card (the first he ever got), then turned the card over and suddenly remembered where he read the name Nicolas Flamel before: on the Hogwarts Express.
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Snape heads into the Forbidden Forest

As the Quidditch match drew nearer, tensions mounted in the school; Gryffindor had failed to overtake Slytherin in the Inter-House Quidditch Cup for seven years, and Harry was worried that it would be impossible with Snape as a referee. Unknown to him, Ron and Hermione had been practising the Leg-Locker Curse to use on Snape, should he show any signs of wanting to harm Harry. Before the match began, Wood took Harry aside and reminded him that he needed to catch the Snitch as soon as he could, before Snape could favour Hufflepuff too much. Harry performed his role as Seeker phenomenally, catching the Snitch within five minutes of the game starting, putting Gryffindor in first place for the Quidditch Cup.

Later that night, he followed Snape into the Forbidden Forest.


"It will keep you alive, even if you are an inch from death, but at a terrible price. You have slain something pure and defenceless to save yourself, and you will have but a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips.""
—Firenze explaining the properties of unicorn blood[src]
A Dragon egg

The trio watch the dragon egg hatch

Having realised how much Harry, Ron, and Hermione had worked out about the Stone after running into them in the library, Rubeus Hagrid told them to meet him in his hut later. When the trio arrived later, they noticed that the fire was lit, despite the heat of the day. Although he was reluctant to answer their questions, Hermione managed to manipulate him into talking about the various protections used to guard it: Fluffy, the three headed dog, was Hagrid's, along with enchantments from Professors Sprout, Flitwick, McGonagall, Quirrell, and Snape. Harry, growing uncomfortable in the heat, asked Hagrid to open a window, something Hagrid refused to do as he had a dragon egg in the fire. Unfortunately, Draco Malfoy discovered the dragon, and decided to use the knowledge to get revenge by getting them into trouble for possessing an illegal dragon.

To save everyone involved, Harry, Ron, and Hermione convinced Hagrid to send Norbert off to Ron's brother Charlie Weasley, who would take Norbert to a Romanian dragon preserve. While helping Hagrid to prepare Norbert for the journey, the dragon bit Ron's hand, causing it to swell up and forcing Ron to see Madam Pomfrey. On the pre-arranged night, Harry and Hermione managed to smuggle Norbert in a crate up to the Astronomy Tower under Harry's Invisibility cloak. On the way up they witnessed Professor McGonagall hauling Malfoy away for being out of bed at night, who protested that Harry was in possession of a dragon. Harry and Hermione passed the crate off to Charlie's friends and headed back down the stairs, where they were confronted by a gleeful Argus Filch; they had left the Cloak behind.

Filch took them to McGonagall's office, where they found Neville, who had attempted to warn them about Malfoy. Minerva McGonagall, who was very disappointed in them, took fifty points each from Harry, Hermione, and Neville and gave the three detention, which they were to serve along with Malfoy. Harry's popularity, riding high on his Quidditch wins plummeted: no one wanted to talk to the "stupid first year" who, along with two others, had lost Gryffindor their chance of defeating Slytherin, and winning the House Cup. A week or so before exams, Harry's new determination to not meddle in other's business was tested when he heard Professor Quirrell, whimpering as if he was being threatened. Believing that Snape was the one threatening Quirrell, and that he was going after the Stone, Hermione suggested that they go talk to Professor Dumbledore, but Harry dismissed the idea, as they had no proof.

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Harry with Firenze in the forest discussing the properties of unicorn blood

The next morning, Harry, Hermione, and Neville received notes from Professor McGonagall informing them their detention would begin at eleven that night. Argus Filch took them out to the Forbidden Forest, where Hagrid was waiting for them. Hagrid led them into the Forbidden Forest and showed them a pool of unicorn blood on the ground. They split up, Hagrid taking Harry and Hermione, while Neville and Malfoy went off with Fang. After Malfoy scared Neville into sending up red sparks, Hagrid sent Harry off with Malfoy, deciding that Malfoy would be less likely to scare Harry. 

As they continued, Harry noticed the pools of unicorn blood they were following seemed to be growing larger and larger, as if the animal had been thrashing around. Eventually, they came to a clearing and found the laying on the ground, and very dead. As they watched, a hooded figure emerged from the bushes and began to drink the unicorn's blood. Malfoy screamed and bolted away with Fang, leaving Harry, half blinded by the pain in his scar to stumble away from the advancing figure. Harry was saved by Firenze, a palamino centaur, who allowed Harry to ride on his back out of the forest. Firenze told Harry the properties of unicorn blood. Harry realised that there would only be one person who would be so desperate as to kill a unicorn: Lord Voldemort.

The Philosopher's Stone

Main article: Philosopher's stone
Albus Dumbledore: "Harry, do you know why...Prof. Quirrell couldn't bear to have you touch him? It was because of your mother. She sacrificed herself for you. And that kind of act leaves a mark.. No, no. This kind of mark cannot be seen. It lives in your very skin."
Harry Potter: "What is it?"
Albus Dumbledore: "Love, Harry. Love."
Albus Dumbledore to Harry regarding the power of love[src]
Transfiguration homework

The trio attempting to tell Mcgonagall about the plot to steal the Philosopher's Stone

While talking to Ron and Hermione after finishing their exams Harry realised the strange coincidence that had occurred: Hagrid wanted a dragon more than anything else, only to meet a stranger who had one to give him. They ran down to ask Hagrid more about the man who gave him Norbert, only to find out that the stranger never lowered his hood, something of a fashion in the Hogs head. Hagrid explained that he couldn't remember much, as the man kept buying him drinks, but said that he thought they talked about Hogwarts and the kinds of creatures Hagrid looks after there. Focused on remembering what had happened that night, Hagrid accidentally let slip that Fluffy fell asleep when played music.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione, now convinced that Snape had all the information he needed to get past Fluffy, decided to go see Professor Dumbledore and tell him their suspicions. While walking across the Entrance Hall, they were stopped by Professor McGonagall, and decided to tell her what they'd found out. She insisted that no one could steal the Stone, and told them that Dumbledore was in London for the day.

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A chess set transfigured by Professor McGonagall to giant size, it was used to guard the Philosopher's Stone

As the trio set off that night to stop Snape, they were stopped themselves by Neville, who believed they were sneaking out without reason again, and was worried that they would loose Gryffindor even more points. Desperate as they were for time, Hermione paralysed Neville. When they arrived the third-floor corridor, it was to find Fluffy awake, but a harp by his feet. Remembering what Hagrid told them, Harry began to blow into the wooden flute Hagrid gave him for Christmas. From the first notes, Fluffy's eyes began to droop, and he quickly fell asleep. Jumping through the trapdoor, they found themselves in Professor Sprout's room, filled with Devil's Snare, which almost smothered them.

The next room, Professor Flitwick's, held a bunch of flying keys and some broomsticks. Harry found the correct key, caught it, and unlocked the next door with it. The next room was Professor McGonagall's, and had a large chessboard, for a game of Wizard's Chess which Ron won at the cost of sacrificing himself. Harry and Hermione continued to the next room (leaving an unconscious Ron where they could return for him), to find an unconscious troll; Professor Quirrell's room. Lastly, they entered Professor Snape's room, and found seven potions in bottles along with a roll of paper giving clues on which one to drink to continue: a logic puzzle. Hermione solved the puzzle, and at Harry's urging, drank the potion that allowed her to head back so that she could get Ron out, while Harry drank the potion to go forward to the final room.

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Harry battles Voldemort for the Philosopher's Stone

Once inside the room, Harry's attention was drawn to two things: the Mirror of Erised, and Quirrell. Quirrell bound Harry before explaining that the Mirror was the key to finding the Stone. Desperate to distract him from the Mirror, Harry questioned Quirrell, who revealed that was serving Lord Voldemort, and although Snape hated Harry, he never wanted him dead. Unable to locate the stone, Quirrell asked Voldemort for help; much to Harry's surprise, a voice which seemed to issue from Quirrell himself said "to use the boy".

Looking in the Mirror, Harry saw his reflection pull the Stone out of his pocket and replace it, at which point he felt the real Stone drop his real pocket. He told Quirrell that he saw himself winning the House Cup, but Voldemort, an accomplished Legilimens, informed Quirrell that Harry was lying, and ordered Quirrell to allow him to speak "to the boy". Quirrell unwrapped his turban, and turned away from Harry. Voldemort, who was sticking out of the back of Quirrell's head, demanded that Harry give him the Stone. Harry refused, and Quirrell seized him, causing Harry's scar to sear with pain; but contact with Harry's skin burned Quirrell's hands, forcing him to release Harry. Harry, realising that contact caused Quirrell pain, grabbed Quirrell's face and held on until he blacked out.

B1C17M2 Harry's first Hospital Wing stay

Harry in the Hospital Wing after the attack in the underground chamber

He woke in the Hospital Wing, where Albus Dumbledore reassured him that Quirrell did not succeed at getting the Stone, and that the Stone had in fact, been destroyed. Dumbledore then explained the reason why Quirrell could not touch him was that because Harry's mother had died to save him, granting him protection against Voldemort.

At the End-of-Term Feast, after seemingly congratulating Slytherin on winning the House Cup, Dumbledore awarded Ron and Hermione fifty points, Harry sixty points, and Neville ten, which allowed them to win the cup.


Notes and references

  1. Pottermore
  2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 9 (The Midnight Duel) - "They hadn't gone more than a dozen paces when a doorknob rattled and something came shooting out of the classroom in front of them. It was Peeves."
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