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Chapter no 10 – Hallowe’en

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

ALFOY couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw Harry and Ron still at Hogwarts the next day. They looked tired, but happy. Indeed, that morning Harry and Ron thought the meeting with the three-headed dog was an extraordinary adventure and they even hoped to have similar experiences again. Meanwhile Harry tells Ron about the package that seems to have been moved from Gringotts to Hogwarts, and they spend a lot of time trying to figure out what it is that needs such strict care.

“If it’s not really valuable, it’s certainly really dangerous,” said Ron.

“Or both,” said Harry.

But since all they knew about the mysterious object was that it was about five inches long, without additional clues, they couldn’t guess what it was.

Neither Neville nor Hermione showed the slightest interest in finding out what lay beneath the dog and the trap door. The most important thing for Neville, was not to let him go near the dog again.

Hermione now refused to talk to Harry and Ron, but Harry and Ron were actually happy, because Hermione was a boss and was very know-it-all. All they really wanted now was revenge

Malfoy, and how delighted they were when the opportunity arrived with the arrival of the post a week later.

When the owls flooded into the Great Hall as usual, everyone’s attention was immediately drawn to the long, thin bundle carried by six large, noisy owls. Harry was as interested as everyone else in finding out what was in this large package and he was stunned when the owls swooped down and dropped the package they were carrying right in front of him, knocking the bacon onto the floor. Just as these six owls got out of the way, another owl came and dropped a letter onto the package.

Harry tore the letter first. Luckily, because the letter read like this:

DO NOT OPEN THE PACKAGE ON THE TABLE

It contains your new Nimbus Dua Ribu, but I don’t want all the children to know you got a broom, because later they will all ask for it too.

Oliver Wood will meet you tonight on the Quidditch pitch, at seven o’clock for your first practice.

Profesor M. McGonagall

Harry struggled to hide his glee as he handed the letter to Ron.

”Nimbus Two Thousand!” Ron muttered enviously. “I’ve never even touched it.”

They hurriedly left the Hall, wanting to unpack the brooms without the others seeing before the first lesson, but only halfway across the Entrance Hall, they saw the way up blocked by Crabbe and Goyle. Malfoy snatched the package from Harry and felt it.

“Here’s a broom,” he said as he tossed it back to Harry with a look somewhere between envy and contempt. “You’re done this time, Potter. First graders can’t have a broom.”

Ron couldn’t take it anymore.

“This is not an ordinary broom,” he said. ”This is Nimbus Two Thousand. What house did you say your broom was in, Malfoy? Comet Two Sixty?” Ron grinned at Harry. “The Comet does look flashy, but it’s not in the same class as the Nimbus.”

“You know what, Weasley! “You won’t be able to buy just half a stalk,” replied Malfoy. “I think you and your brothers should save up twig by twig.”

Before Ron could answer, Professor Flitwick appeared behind Malfoy.

“No fighting I hope, kids?” he said.

“Potter was sent a broom, Professor,” Malfoy complained hastily.

“Yes, yes, that’s right,” said Professor Flitwick, smiling broadly at Harry. “Professor McGonagall told me about this special case, Potter. And what model?”

“Nimbus Two Thousand, sir,” said Harry, trying not to laugh at the horror on Malfoy’s face. “And for that I really have to thank Malfoy,” he added.

Harry and Ron climbed in, stifling laughter at Malfoy’s obvious annoyance and confusion.

“It’s true,” said Harry as they reached the top of the marble stairs. “If he hadn’t taken Neville’s Remembrall, I wouldn’t have been chosen for the team…”

“So you assume it’s a reward for breaking the rules?” came an angry voice behind them. Hermione was walking up the stairs, looking disapprovingly at the package in Harry’s hands.

“Aren’t you not talking to us?” said Harry. “Yeah, don’t stop,” said Ron. “We’re happy.”

Hermione left with her nose turned up.

Harry had difficulty focusing on his lessons that day. His thoughts kept drifting to his room, to where his new broom lay under his bed, or to the Quidditch pitch, where he would start practice tonight. He hurriedly ate his dinner, not paying attention to what he was eating, and then hurried upstairs with Ron to, finally, unwrap his Nimbus Two Thousand.

“Wow,” Ron breathed as the broom rolled across Harry’s bed.

Even Harry, who had absolutely no idea about the difference between broomsticks, thought it looked great. Slender and shiny, with a mahogany handle, woven twigs at the end straight and neat, with a golden inscription of Two Thousand Nimbus near the top.

By seven o’clock, Harry left the castle and set off towards the Quidditch pitch in the twilight. He had never been in that stadium before. Hundreds of seats were arranged around the field in tall stands, so that the spectators were high enough to see what was going on. At both ends of the field stood golden poles with three circles at the ends. These poles reminded Harry of the little plastic sticks that Muggle children used to blow into to make soap bubbles. It’s just that these pillars are fifteen meters high.

Harry, who was eager to fly again, couldn’t wait for Wood. He mounted his broom and hit the ground. No joke—he flew around the goalposts and then glided up and down the pitch. The Nimbus Two Thousand turned in any direction he wanted with just a slight touch from him.

“Hey, Potter, get down!”

Oliver Wood has come. He clutched a large wooden box. Harry landed next to him.

“Very good,” said Wood, his eyes shining. “I see now what McGonagall meant… you’re a real natural. I’ll just teach you the rules tonight, then you’ll join the team in practice three times a week.”

Wood opened the box. Inside there are four balls of different sizes.

“Okay,” said Wood. “Quidditch is quite easy to understand, although not that easy to play. There are seven players on each team. Three of them are called Chasers or pursuers.”

“Three Chasers,” Harry repeated, as Wood produced a bright red ball the size of a football.

“This ball is called a Quaffle,” said Wood. ”Chasers throw Quaffles at fellow Chasers and try to get them into one

circle to get numbers. Ten every time the ball is successfully put into the circle. Understand?”

“Chasers throw Quaffles and put them in the circle to score points,” said Harry. “So—it’s a kind of basketball played on a broomstick with six baskets, right?”

”What is basketball?” Wood asked curiously. “Ah, never mind,” said Harry quickly.

“Well, there’s another player on each team called a Keeper—I’m the Gryffindor Keeper. I have to fly around the circle and prevent the enemy team from scoring.” Apparently the Keeper’s job is the same as the goalkeeper or goalkeeper in the game of soccer.

“Three Chasers, one Keeper,” said Harry determined to remember everything. ”And they played with the Quaffle. OK, got it. So, what’s that for?” He pointed to three other balls still in the box.

“I’ll show you now,” said Wood. “Take this.” He handed Harry a small bat that looked like a baseball bat.

“I’ll show you what the Bludger does,” said Wood. “These two balls are called Bludgers.”

He showed Harry two twin balls, jet black and slightly smaller than the red Quaffle. Harry saw that both balls seemed to be struggling to escape the bonds holding them in the box.

“Stand back,” Wood warned Harry. He bent down and took off one of the Bludgers.

Immediately the black ball shot high into the sky and then shot down towards Harry’s face. Harry hit him with the bat to prevent him from breaking his nose, sending him zigzagging through the air

—The ball whizzed around their heads, then shot towards Wood, who jumped to catch it and pinned it to the ground.

“See, right?” Wood gasped, forcefully stuffing the struggling Bludger back into the box and retying it for safety. These Bludgers dart around, trying to knock players off their brooms. That’s why each team has two beaters. The Weasley twins are our Beaters. It’s their job

to protect our team from Bludger attacks and try to hit the Bludger towards the opposing team. So—understandable?”

“Three Chasers try to score with the Quaffle, the Keeper guards the goal, two Beaters keep the Bludgers away from their team,” Harry explained.

“Very good,” said Wood.

“Er—has the Bludger ever killed a player?” Harry asked, hoping his voice sounded normal.

“Never at Hogwarts. I’ve had my jaw broken twice, but nothing worse than that. Well, the final team member is the Seeker— Seeker. It’s you. And you don’t have to worry about Quaffles or Bludgers…”

”…unless that Bludger blows my head off.”

“Don’t worry, the Weasley twins are no easy foe for the Bludger – I mean, they’re both like a pair of human Bludgers.”

Wood reached into the box and pulled out the fourth ball, the final ball. Compared to the Quaffle and Bludger, this ball is very small, only the size of a large walnut. It is golden in color and has silver wings that vibrate.

“This,” said Wood, “is the Golden Snitch, and it is the most important ball of all. This ball is very difficult to catch because it moves very fast and is difficult to see. It’s the Seeker’s job to catch him. You have to weave between the Chaser, Beater, Bludger, and Quaffle to catch it before the opposing team’s Seeker does. The seeker who catches the Snitch adds one hundred and fifty points to his team, so they almost always win. That’s why Seekers get bullied a lot. The Quidditch match only ends when the Snitch has been caught. So this match could last a very long time – if I’m not mistaken the longest record is three months, they have to submit substitute players back and forth, so the players can sleep.

“Well, that’s it—any questions?”

Harry shook his head. He understood what he had to do.

Implementing it will be the problem.

“We’re not going to practice with the Snitch yet,” said Wood, carefully returning the ball to the box. “It’s too dark, it might disappear later.

Come on, let’s try you out with some of these balls.”

Wood took a few regular golf balls out of his pocket, and a few minutes later, he and Harry were floating in the air. Wood threw the golf balls as hard as he could in all directions for Harry to catch.

Harry managed to catch everything, and Wood was thrilled. After half an hour, night had truly fallen and they couldn’t continue.

“Our names will be engraved on this year’s Quidditch Cup,” Wood said cheerfully as they walked back to the castle. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you turned out to be better than Charlie Weasley, and he could have played for England if he hadn’t chosen to chase dragons.”

Perhaps because he was so busy now, especially with Quidditch practice three nights a week, plus his homework, Harry was surprised to realize he had already been at Hogwarts for two months. The castle felt more like home than the house on Privet Drive. The lessons also become more interesting, once they master the basics.

On Hallowe’en morning they awoke to the delicious smell of roasted pumpkin wafting through the corridors. Even more fun, Professor Flitwick announced in Charms that he thought they were ready to start making objects levitate, something they had been dying to try since they saw Professor Flitwick make Neville’s frog fly around in circles in class. Professor Flitwick divided them into pairs to practice. Harry’s partner was Seamus Finnigan (to his relief, because Neville had been trying to code with his eyes). But Ron had to work together with Hermione Granger. It was hard to say whether Ron or Hermione was more angry about this. Hermione hadn’t spoken to them since Harry’s broom arrived.

“Now, don’t forget the sweet wrist movements we’ve been practicing!” exclaimed Professor Flitwick, perched as usual on his pile of books. ”Swing and jerk, remember, swing and jerk. And casting the spell correctly is also very important—don’t forget Wizard Baruffio, who said ‘s’ instead of ‘f’, with the result that he was suddenly lying on the floor with a buffalo on his chest.”

Very difficult. Harry and Seamus swayed and jerked, but the feather they were supposed to send flying into the air remained lying on the table. Seamus finally got so impatient that he poked the feather with his wand, and it caught fire—Harry was forced to put it out with his hat.

Ron, at the next table, was faring no better.

”Wingardium Leviosa!” Ron exclaimed, waving his arms like a pinwheel. “You’re talking wrong,” Harry heard Hermione retort.

“It should be Wing- gar -dium Levi- o -sa, the nice, long ‘gar’.” “Just do it yourself, if you’re so clever,” said Ron grimly.

Hermione rolled up the sleeves of her robes, flicked her wand and said, “Wingardium Leviosa!”

Their feathers rose from the table and hovered about a meter and a quarter above their heads.

“Oh very good!” shouted Professor Flitwick as he clapped his hands. “Everyone look over here, Miss Granger has succeeded!”

When class was over, Ron was furious.

“No wonder no child could bear to be friends with him,” he said to Harry, as they squeezed together in the corridor. “He’s so scary. Really!”

Something bumped into Harry as the children rushed past him. It was Hermione. Harry caught a glimpse of her face—and was stunned to see tears streaming down her face.

“I think he heard you.”

“So?” said Ron, but he looked uncomfortable. “He must have realized he has no friends.”

Hermione didn’t show up for the next lesson and wasn’t seen all afternoon. While going down to the Great Hall for the Hallowe’en party, Harry and Ron heard Parvati Patil tell her friend, Lavender, that Hermione was crying in the girls’ toilet and asked to be left alone. Ron became even more uncomfortable, but a moment later they were entering the Great Hall. The Hallowe’en decorations in the hall made them forget about Hermione.

A thousand live bats fluttered across the walls and ceiling, while another thousand hovered over the table in dark black clouds, making the candles inside the gourds sway. Food-

Food suddenly appeared on a golden plate, like it was the start of a new school year party.

Harry was picking up potatoes when Professor Quirrell rushed into the Hall, his turban askew, his face twisted with horror. All the children watched him as he reached Professor Dumbledore’s chair, leaned limply against the table, and said breathlessly: “Trolls—in the dungeons—I thought you should know.”

Then he slumped to the floor, unconscious.

The hall was in an uproar. It took several purple firecrackers from the tip of Professor Dumbledore’s wand to make the room quiet again.

“Prefects,” boomed Professor Dumbledore, “take your men back to their respective dormitories, immediately!”

Percy was so happy.

“Follow me! Gather around, first class! No need to be afraid of trolls if you follow my orders! Close behind me. Make way, first class first! Sorry, I’m Prefect!”

”How did the troll get in?” Harry asked as they climbed the stairs.

“How would I know, they’re ridiculous creatures,” replied Ron. “Maybe Peeves put it in as a Hallowe’en joke.”

They met different groups, with different majors. As they squeezed through the group of confused Hufflepuffs, Harry suddenly grabbed Ron by the arm.

“I just remembered—Hermione.” “What is wrong with her?”

”He doesn’t know about these trolls.” Ron bit his lip.

“Oh, all right,” he said. “But it’s better that Percy doesn’t see us.”

Lowering their heads, they joined the Hufflepuffs heading in the opposite direction, slipping into a quiet side corridor and rushing to the girls’ toilets. Just turning the corner, they heard rapid footsteps behind them.

“Percy!” Ron hissed, pulling Harry behind a large stone statue of a creature with the head and wings of an eagle, but the body of a lion.

Peeking from behind the statue, what they saw was not Percy, but Snape. He crossed the corridor and disappeared from sight.

“What did he do?” Harry whispered. “Why isn’t he in the basement with the other teachers?”

“How do I know.”

As quietly as possible, without making a sound, they crept down the next corridor, following Snape’s retreating steps.

“He’s headed for the third floor,” said Harry, but Ron held up his hand. “Do you smell anything?”

Harry sniffed and a foul smell hit his nose, a mixture of smelly socks and a public toilet that was never cleaned.

And then they heard it—the low growl and stomp of the monster’s feet. Ron pointed to the end of the corridor on the left, something huge was moving towards them. They receded into the shadows and watched the creature step in the moonlight.

What a terrible sight. Three and a half meters tall, its skin was a dull gray, its body resembled a large lump of rock, with its small head perched on top like a coconut. Its legs are short and stubby, as big as tree trunks, with flat, horny soles. The smell is beyond bad. He was holding a large club that dragged on the floor because his arms were so long.

The troll stopped in front of the door and looked inside. He wiggled his long ears, tried to think with his small brain, then walked in slowly.

“The key is there,” Harry muttered. “We can lock him in.”

“Good idea,” said Ron nervously.

They tiptoed towards the open door, their mouths dry, praying that the troll wouldn’t come out of it. With one long leap, Harry managed to grab the key, knock the door open, and lock it.

”Yes!”

With red faces thanks to their success, they ran in the opposite direction. But when they reached the corner, they heard something

made their hearts stop beating—a shrill scream of horror—and came from the room they had just locked.

“Oh, no,” said Ron, turning as pale as the Bloody Baron. ”Girls’ toilet!” Harry was shocked. “Hermione!” they shouted together.

They didn’t want to do it at all, but had no other choice. They turned and ran back to the door and turned the lock, a little hard because they were both panicking and shaking—Harry yanked the door open—and they ran inside.

Hermione Granger was pressed against the wall opposite them, looking almost unconscious. The troll moved towards him, the sinks it hit fell to the floor.

“Make him confused!” said Harry desperately to Ron, grabbing the faucet which he threw as hard as he could against the wall.

The troll stopped about a meter from Hermione. He turned slowly, blinking stupidly, to see what had made the sound. His cruel little eyes stared at Harry. He hesitated, then turned towards Harry, raising his club as he went.

”Oi, pea brain!” Ron shouted from the other side of the room. Ron threw him a metal pipe. The troll didn’t seem to feel anything when the pipe hit him in the shoulder, but he heard Ron’s scream and stopped again, turning his ugly snout towards Ron, giving Harry a chance to dodge.

”Come on, run, run!” Harry shouted at Hermione, trying to pull her towards the door, but she couldn’t move. He was still pressed against the wall, his mouth agape in fear.

The screams and echoes seemed to make the troll very angry. He growled again and moved towards Ron, who was closest to him and had no chance of escape.

Harry then did something very brave and very stupid at the same time: he ran and jumped, and managed to get his arms around the troll’s neck. The troll didn’t realize Harry was hanging from its neck, but even a troll would know if you poked its nose with a long piece of wood, and Harry’s wand was still in his hand when he jumped – it went straight into one of the troll’s nostrils.

Roaring in pain, the troll twisted and swung at its club, with Harry still hanging fearfully from its neck. At any second the troll could snatch him loose or hit him hard with his club.

Hermione had slumped to the floor in fear. Ron pulled out his own wand—without knowing what he was going to do, he suddenly heard himself say the first spell that came to mind, “Wingardium Leviosa!”

The club suddenly flew from the troll’s hand, shot high, higher and higher, slowly turned—and fell, with a terrible crash, on its owner’s head. The troll staggered and then fell, with a thud that made the whole room shake.

Harry stood up. He was shaking and gasping. Ron was still standing with his wand raised, looking at his work.

Hermione was the one who spoke first. “Is he—dead?”

“I don’t think so,” said Harry. “I think he just fainted.”

He bent down and pulled his stick out of the troll’s nose. The stick was covered in a slime that looked like gray glue.

“Iiih—troll snot.”

Harry wiped his wand on the troll’s trousers.

The sound of the door slamming open and loud footsteps made the three of them look up. They didn’t realize the commotion they were causing, but of course, there were people below who heard the thuds and growls of the troll. A few moments later Professor McGonagall came running into the room, followed by Snape, with Quirrell coming in last. As soon as he saw the troll, Quirrell groaned softly, then quickly sat down on the toilet, clutching his chest at the heart.

Snape bent over the troll. Professor McGonagall looked at Ron and Harry. Harry had never seen him so angry. His lips were white. The hope of winning fifty points for Gryffindor instantly vanished from Harry’s mind.

“What exactly do you mean?” asked Professor McGonagall, her voice cold and angry. Harry looked at Ron, who was still standing

with the stick pointing upwards. “You’re lucky you didn’t get killed. Why aren’t you guys in the dorms?”

Snape shot Harry a sharp glance. Harry looked at the floor.

Deep down he hoped Ron would lower his wand.

Suddenly a faint voice was heard from the shadows. “Sorry, Professor McGonagall… they’re looking for me.”

”Miss Granger!”

Hermione finally managed to stand up.

”I looked for trolls because I…I thought I could handle it myself—because I’d read a lot about them.”

Ron’s wand fell. Hermione Granger, lying to the teacher? “If they hadn’t found me, I would be dead by now.

Harry poked his wand into the troll’s nostrils and Ron knocked him unconscious with a blow of his own club. The trolls were ready to finish me off when they arrived.”

Harry and Ron looked as if this story was nothing new to them.

“Well—if that’s the case…,” said Professor McGonagall, looking at the three of them. “Miss Granger, what an idiot you are, how could you think you could handle a mountain troll on your own?”

Hermione looked down. Harry couldn’t talk. Hermione, the person most against breaking the rules, was now lying to save them. It’s like Snape handing out sweets.

“Miss Granger, five points deducted from Gryffindor. I’m very disappointed in you. If you’re not hurt at all, you should go back to Gryffindor Tower. The kids are finishing up their party in their respective dorms.”

Hermione left.

Professor McGonagall turned to face Harry and Ron.

“I’d still say you’re lucky, but not many first years can take on an adult mountain troll. You each get five points for Gryffindor. Professor Dumbledore will be informed of this. You may go.”

They hurriedly left the place and didn’t speak at all until they had climbed two floors higher. It was a relief to be able to get away from the troll’s scent, as well as being able to escape other dangers.

“We should have had more than ten points,” grumbled Ron. “Five, you mean, after deducting Hermione’s five.”

“Nice of him, to save us like that,” Ron admitted. “But we did save him.”

“He probably wouldn’t have needed rescuing, if we hadn’t kept the troll with him,” Harry reminded him.

They had arrived in front of the Fat Lady’s painting. “Pig snout,” they said, and went in.

The recreation room is full and noisy. Everyone was busy eating the food sent upstairs. Despite this, Hermione stood alone by the door, waiting for them. For a moment no one said anything, both were embarrassed. Then, without looking at each other, they said in unison, “Thanks,” and rushed to get the plates.

But from then on, Hermione Granger became their friend. There were certain things you couldn’t experience together without you growing to like each other, and knocking out a mountain troll over three and a half meters tall was one of them.

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