Chapter no 5 – Diagon Alley

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

The next day, Harry woke up early in the morning. Even though he knew it was morning, he closed his eyes tightly.

“I dreamed,” he said to himself. “I dreamed that a giant named Hagrid came to tell me that I was going to magic school. If I open my eyes, I’ll be at home in my cupboard.”

Suddenly there was a loud knock.

Well, here comes Aunt Petunia knocking on the door, Harry thought disappointedly.

But he still did not open his eyes. The dream is very beautiful.

Case. Case. Case.

“Yes,” Harry muttered. “I wake up.”

He sat up and Hagrid’s heavy coat fell off his body. The hut is filled with sunlight. The storm has passed. Hagrid himself was asleep on the sunken sofa and there was an owl tapping its claws on the window, its beak biting at the newspaper.

Harry staggered to his feet. He was so happy, as if there was a big balloon inflating inside his body. He went straight to the window and banged it open. The owl swooped in and dropped the newspaper on Hagrid, who didn’t wake up. The owl then flew to the floor and started attacking Hagrid’s coat.


Harry tried to get rid of the owl, but it snapped its beak fiercely at him and continued attacking the coat.

“Hagrid!” Harry said loudly. “There’s an owl…” “Pay him,” Hagrid mumbled into the sofa.


“He asked to be paid for delivering newspapers. Look in your pocket.”

Hagrid’s coat looked like it was made of nothing but pockets – heaps of keys, buckshot bullets, rolls of string, sweets, tea bags… finally Harry pulled out a handful of odd-looking coins.

“Give him five Knuts,” said Hagrid sleepily. “Knut?”

”Small bronze coins.”

Harry counted out five small bronze coins and the owl stretched out its paw, so Harry could put the money into a small leather pouch tied to it. Then he flew out the open window.

Hagrid yawned loudly, sat up, and stretched.

“Better go now, Harry, we have to go to London and buy all your school supplies.”

Harry was flipping over a wizard’s coin and looking at it. He just remembered something that made the balloon of happiness inside his body leak.


“Mm?” said Hagrid, who was pulling his giant bot.

“I don’t have any money—and you heard what Uncle Vernon said last night—he won’t pay for me to study magic.”

“Don’t worry about that,” said Hagrid, standing and scratching his head. “Do you think your parents didn’t leave you something?”

“But if their house is destroyed…”

“They don’t keep their money at home, son! So, first we go to Gringotts. Wizard bank. Eat the sausage first. It’s delicious cold, too—and I wouldn’t refuse a piece of your birthday cake, either.”

“Witches have banks?”

“Only one. Gringotts. The ones running the goblins , scary-looking little ghosts.”

The sausage that Harry was holding fell. ”Goblins?”

“Yeah—so you’d be crazy if you tried to rob him, I’m telling you. Don’t mess with goblins, Harry. Gringotts is the safest place in the world, if you want to keep anything – perhaps only Hogwarts is the only comparison. I happen to have to go to Gringotts. For Dumbledore. Hogwarts business.” Hagrid straightened himself proudly. “He usually asks me to do important things for him. Take you—take something from Gringotts—know him, can trust me.

“All ready? Let’s go.”

Harry followed Hagrid out onto the rocks. The sky was quite clear now and the sea glistened in the sunlight. The boat that Uncle Vernon had rented was still there, with a lot of water in the bottom.

“How did you come here?” Harry asked, looking around for another boat.

“Fly,” answered Hagrid. “Fly?”

“Yeah—but we have to get back to this. No magic after I’m with you.”

They sit in the boat. Harry was still looking at Hagrid, trying to imagine him flying.

“It’s a hassle to row,” said Hagrid, glancing at Harry again. “If I want to—um—speed up our journey a bit, would you mind if I asked you not to tell anything at Hogwarts?”

“Of course not,” said Harry, eager to see more wizardry. Hagrid pulled out his pink umbrella again, tapped it twice on the side of the boat, and they glided towards land.

“Why would we be crazy if we tried to rob Gringotts?” Harry asked.

“Spells—spells,” said Hagrid, opening his newspaper. “They say the iron chambers are guarded by dragons. Besides, it will be difficult for you to find a way out. Gringotts is located hundreds of miles below London. Deep under the subway station. Before you can go out,

You’re already starving to death, even though you managed to get something.”

Harry sat quietly thinking about this, while Hagrid read his newspaper, the Daily Prophet . Harry had learned from Uncle Vernon that people preferred not to be disturbed when reading a newspaper, but it was very difficult. He had never had so many questions in his life.

“The Ministry of Magic is making a mess, as usual,” muttered Hagrid as he turned a page of his newspaper.

“There is a Ministry of Magic?” Harry asked without being able to stop himself.

“Of course,” said Hagrid. “They wanted Dumbledore to be Minister, of course, but he didn’t want to leave Hogwarts, so Cornelius Fudge got the job. Careless and stupid. He sends owls to Dumbledore every day, asking for advice.”

“But what does the Ministry of Magic do?”

“Well, his main job is to make sure Muggles don’t find out there are lots of wizards in the country.”


” Why ? My God, Harry, everyone would want magical solutions to their problems. Well, it’s better not to disturb us.”

At that time the boat slowly hit the harbor wall. Hagrid folded his newspaper and the two of them climbed the stone steps out onto the road.

The people who passed them along the road to the small town station looked at Hagrid in surprise. Harry didn’t blame them. Not only was Hagrid twice as tall as a normal human, he was also constantly pointing at things as mundane as parking meters and saying loudly: “See that, Harry? Things Muggles look for, eh?”

“Hagrid,” said Harry, a little out of breath from running to keep up, “did you say there were dragons at Gringotts?”

“That’s what he said,” said Hagrid. “Wow, I really want to have a dragon.” “You want to have a dragon?”

“I’ve wanted it since I was little—well, here we are.”

They had arrived at the station. There’s a train to London leaving in five minutes. Hagrid, not understanding “Muggle money,” hands Harry his money so he can buy his ticket.

On the train, people looked on in even more astonishment. Hagrid sat on two chairs and knitted what looked like a canary yellow circus tent.

“Is your letter still there, Harry?” she asked as she continued knitting.

Harry took a parchment envelope out of his pocket. “Good,” said Hagrid. “There is a list of all your needs.”

Harry unfolded another piece of paper that he had overlooked yesterday and read:



First grade students need:

  1. Three sets of simple work robes (black)

  2. One conical hat (black) to wear every day

  3. A pair of protective gloves (dragon leather or similar)

  4. One winter coat (black, silver buttons) Please note that all student clothing must have a name tag on it.


All students must have the following books:

The Standard Book of Spells (Level 1) by Miranda Goshawk

A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot

Theories of the Occult by Adalbert Waffling

Introduction to Transfiguration for Beginners by Emeric Switch A Thousand Medicinal Plants and Magical Mushrooms by Phyllida Spore Magic Liquids and Potions by Arsenius Jigger

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by

Newt Scamander

Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection by Quentin Trimble

Other equipment

1 magic wand

1 pan (mixed white tin-black tin, standard size 2)

1 set of glass tubes or crystals 1 telescope

1 set of brass scales

Students are allowed to bring an owl OR a cat OR a frog


“Can all this be bought in London?” Harry asked in surprise. “If you know where to buy it,” replied Hagrid.

Harry had never been to London. Although Hagrid seemed to know where he was going, it was clear that he was not used to getting there the normal way. He got caught in the barrier at the subway ticket booth and complained loudly that the seat was too narrow and the train was too slow.

“I don’t understand how Muggles can survive without magical powers,” he said, as they descended a jammed escalator onto a busy street lined on either side with shops.

Hagrid was so big that he easily brushed aside people who passed by. Harry just had to walk closer to him. They passed bookstores and music stores, hamburger restaurants and movie theaters, but no one seemed to be selling magic wands. This is just an ordinary street, full of ordinary people too. Could there really be mounds of wizard gold buried miles beneath them? Is it true that there are shops that sell spell books and flying broomsticks? Maybe this was all just a big joke made by the Dursleys. If Harry didn’t know that the Dursleys had no sense of humor, he would have thought so. However, even though everything Hagrid had said so far had been absurd, Harry had believed it.

“Here it is,” said Hagrid, stopping, “Leaky Cauldron. This is a famous place.”

It was a small, dirty drinking place. If Hagrid hadn’t pointed it out, Harry wouldn’t have seen it. The people who passed by didn’t even glance at him. Their eyes rolled from the big bookstore on one side to the music store on the other, as if they were the same

can’t see the Leaky Cauldron. To be honest, Harry had a strange feeling, only he and Hagrid could see it. Before he could say this, Hagrid had already pushed him inside.

For a famous place, this place is very dark and seedy. Several old women sat in a corner, drinking sherry in small glasses. One of them smoked a long pipe. A small man wearing a black silk top hat was talking to an old, balding barmaid whose head looked like a gumball walnut. The low hum of chatter stopped as they stepped inside. Everyone seems to know Hagrid. They waved and smiled at him, and the bartender reached for a glass, saying: “Are you okay, Hagrid?”

“You can’t, Tom. “Going on Hogwarts business,” said Hagrid, clapping his large hand on Harry’s shoulder and making Harry’s knees buckle.

“Jesus Christ,” said the barmaid, looking at Harry. ”Is this… could this be…?”

The Leaky Cauldron was suddenly silent.

“Lucky me,” whispered the old barmaid. “Harry Potter—what a great honor.”

He rushed out from behind his bar counter, hurriedly approached Harry and took his hand, tears streaming down his face.

“Welcome back, Mr Potter, welcome back.”

Harry didn’t know what to say. Everyone looked at him. The old woman who smoked the pipe continued to smoke, without realizing that the fire had gone out. Hagrid beamed.

Then there was the creaking of chairs being moved and the next moment Harry was shaking hands with everyone in the Leaky Cauldron.

”Doris Crockford, Mr Potter. I can’t believe I finally got to meet you.”

“So proud, Mr. Potter, I am so proud.”

“I’ve wanted to shake your hand for a long time—I was embarrassed.” “So happy, Mr Potter, beyond words. Diggle is my name.

Dedalus Diggle.”

“I’ve seen you before,” said Harry, as Dedalus Diggle’s top hat fell from his excitement. “You once bowed to me in the store.”

“He remembers!” cried Dedalus Diggle, looking around. “Did you hear that? He remembers me!”

Harry shook hands incessantly—Doris Crockford went back and forth wanting to shake hands with him again.

A pale-faced young man advanced, very tense. One of his eyes twitched.

”Professor Quirrell!” said Hagrid. “Harry, Professor Quirrell will be one of your teachers at Hogwarts.”

“P-potter,” Professor Quirrell stuttered, shaking Harry’s hand, “n-can’t bb-say bb-how pleased I bb-meet you.”

“What magic do you teach, Professor Quirrell?”

“P-defense t-against the Dark Arts,” muttered Professor Quirrell, as if he would rather not talk about it. “Y-you don’t actually need to, eh, Pp-potter?” He laughed nervously. “Y-you’re going to buy your equipment, right? I’ll have to buy a book about vampires myself.” He seemed to be horrified himself.

But the others didn’t let Harry be controlled by Professor Quirrell himself. It took almost ten minutes to get away from them. Finally Hagrid managed to get his voice over their noise.

“Gotta go—lots to buy. Come on, Harry.”

Doris Crockford shook Harry’s hand one last time, and Hagrid led him out past the bar, into a small walled courtyard. There was nothing in the yard except a trash can and weeds.

Hagrid grinned at Harry.

”What did I say! I told you, right, you’re famous. Even Professor Quirrell trembled to see you—but he always trembles.”

“Is he always so nervous?”

“Oh, yeah. Pity. His brain is brilliant. He used to be fine when he was still learning from books, but then he took a year off to experience it for himself… People said he met a vampire in the Black Forest and had a fight with an evil witch—since then he’s changed. Afraid of his students, afraid of the subjects he teaches—eh, where’s my umbrella?”

Vampire? Evil witch? Harry’s head was spinning. Hagrid, meanwhile, was counting the bricks on the wall above the rubbish bin.

”Up three… side two…,” he muttered. “Here he is. Back off, Harry.”

He tapped the wall three times with the tip of his umbrella.

The brick he touched shook—twisted in fact—in the middle, a small hole appeared—it got bigger and bigger—a second later they were facing a gate that was even big enough for Hagrid. The entrance to the winding and curved cobbled street disappeared from view.

“Welcome,” said Hagrid, “to Diagon Alley.”

He grinned seeing Harry stunned. They stepped through the gate. Harry quickly turned his head and saw the open gate instantly shrink back into a solid wall.

The sun was shining brightly, its rays falling on a stack of cauldrons in front of the nearest shop. Cauldrons—All Sizes—Copper, Brass, Pewter-Lead, Silver—Self-Stirring—Collapsible , said the board hanging above it.

“Yeah, you’ll need one,” said Hagrid, “but we’ve got to get your money first.” Harry wished he had eight extra eyes. His head turned in all directions as they walked down the street, trying to see everything at once: the shops, the goods displayed in front of them, the people shopping. A fat woman in front of a drugstore was shaking her head as they passed, saying,

”Dragon liver, seventeen Sickles an ounce, they’re crazy…”

A soft hooting came from a dark shop with a sign that read Eeylops All-in-One Owl Shop — Tawny, Screech, Hoarse Owl, Brown, and Pure White . Several boys about Harry’s age had their noses pressed to the window of the broom shop. “Look,” Harry heard one of them say, “the new Nimbus Two Thousand – the fastest….” There were shops selling robes, shops selling telescopes and strange silverware Harry had never seen before, display cases displaying vats of bat spleen and eel eyes, stacks of spell books and scrolls. parchment, potion bottles, moon globe….

”Gringotts,” kata Hagrid.

They had arrived in front of a pure-white building that towered among the other small shops. Next to the shiny bronze door stood a creature in a red and gold uniform.

“Yeah, it’s a goblin,” Hagrid said quietly as they climbed the white stone steps to his place. The goblin was about a head shorter than Harry. His black face looked intelligent, with a pointy beard and, Harry noticed, long fingers and toes. He bowed as they entered. Now they faced a second pair of doors, this one silver, with the following words carved on it:

Come in, stranger, but be careful

For the sins that the greedy must bear,

Because those who take anything that is not rightfully theirs must pay the highest price ,

So if you search beneath our floors for treasures you have no right to own,

Thief, you have been warned ,

Not the wealth you get, but the reward.

“As I said, you’d be crazy if you dared rob here,” said Hagrid.

A pair of goblins bowed as they entered the silver doors, and they were in a large marble hall. More than a hundred goblins sat on high stools behind a long table, busy writing in ledger books, weighing coins on brass scales, examining precious stones with magnifying glasses. There were too many exits from the hall to count, but there were many more goblins ushering people in and out of these doors. Hagrid and Harry headed over to the table.

“Morning,” said Hagrid to the empty goblin. “We came to take money from Mr Harry Potter’s vault.”

“Got the key, sir?”

“There is,” said Hagrid and he started to unpack the contents of his pockets on the table. Some fluffy dog-biscuits were scattered across the goblin’s ledger, making the goblin wrinkle his nose. Harry saw the goblin

to his right he was weighing a large pile of rubies, the size of burning coal.

“Here it is,” said Hagrid finally, holding up a tiny gold key.

The goblin examined it carefully. ”It looks okay.”

“And I also have a letter from Professor Dumbledore,” said Hagrid self-importantly, puffing out his chest. “It’s about You-Know-What in room seven hundred and thirteen.”

The goblin read the letter carefully.

“All right,” he said, handing the letter back to Hagrid. “I’ll have the officers take you both to the two storage places. Griphook!”

Griphook is the name of another goblin. Once Hagrid had finished stuffing his dog biscuits back into his pocket, he and Harry followed Griphook towards one of the doors out of the hall.

“What’s the You-Know-What in room seven hundred and thirteen?” Harry asked. “I can’t tell,” replied Hagrid mysteriously. “Very secret. Affairs

Hogwarts. Dumbledore trusts me. I’ll be kicked out of my job if I tell you.”

Griphook opened the door for them. Harry, who was expecting another marble room, was taken aback. They were in a narrow stone alley lit by the light of a jellyfish. The hallway went down steeply and there was a small rail on the floor. Griphook whistled, and a small car appeared, gliding towards them. They climbed in—Hagrid with difficulty—and the car set off.

At first they just meandered through convoluted corridors. Harry tried to remember, left, right, right, left, middle fork, right, left, but it was impossible. The rattling carriage seemed to know its way, for Griphook was not driving it.

Harry’s eyes sting in the cold air, but he keeps them wide open. Once he thought he saw a burst of fire at the end of the passage and turned to see if it was a dragon, but it was too late—they were sliding down deeper, past an underground lake with enormous stalactites and stalagmites emerging from the roof and bottom.

“I never knew,” Harry shouted to Hagrid over the sound of the train, “what’s the difference between stalagmites and stalactites?”

“Stalagmites have an ‘m,’” said Hagrid. “And don’t ask me yet.

I’m dizzy, I want to vomit.”

His face did look very pale, and when the carriage finally stopped next to a small door in the wall of the passage, Hagrid got off and had to lean against the wall, waiting for his knees to stop shaking.

Griphook unlocked the door. Thick green smoke billowed out, and when it thinned, Harry gaped. Inside the room were piles of gold coins. Stack of silver money. Hoard of small bronze Knuts.

“All yours,” Hagrid smiled.

It was all Harry’s—no joke. The Dursleys must not have known about this, otherwise they would have taken them in an instant. How often they complained about the huge costs they had to pay to raise Harry. Even though all this time there was a lot of treasure in his possession, buried deep under the city of London.

Hagrid helped Harry put the money into the bag.

“The gold one is a Galleon,” he explained. “Seventeen silver Sickles equal one Galleon, and twenty-nine Knuts equal one Sickle. It’s easy. “Okay, this is enough for two semesters, let’s keep the rest safe here.” He turned to Griphook. “Seven hundred and thirteen now, and could the train be a little slower?”

“Just one speed,” said Griphook.

They were going deeper now, and faster. The air got colder and colder as they turned sharp corners. They passed through an underground ravine and Harry bent over the edge of the carriage to see what lay beneath its dark bottom, but Hagrid growled and pulled him by the scruff of the neck into the carriage.

Vault seven hundred and thirteen has no keyhole.

“Stand back,” said Griphook with great importance. He stroked the door gently with one finger and it just melted.

“If someone else—not a Gringotts goblin—had done that, they would have been sucked through the door and trapped inside,” said Griphook.

“How often do you check to see if someone is trapped inside?” Harry asked.

“About once every ten years,” said Griphook, with a slightly annoying grin.

Something truly extraordinary must be in this vault with special security. Harry was convinced, so he looked eagerly, hoping to see some great gems, at least. But at first he thought the room was empty. Then he saw a small, crumpled brown paper package lying on the floor. Hagrid picked it up and put it carefully into his coat. Harry was dying to know what was in the package, but he knew better than to ask.

“Come on, get on this wretched train again, and don’t talk to me on the way home. “It’s best to keep my mouth shut,” said Hagrid.

After a crazy train ride, they stood dazzled in the sunlight outside Gringotts. Harry didn’t know where to go now that he had a bag full of money. He didn’t need to know how many Galleons were worth a pound to know that he was holding more money than he had ever had in his life – more than even Dudley had.

“Better buy your uniform first,” said Hagrid, nodding at Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions . “Eh, Harry, do you mind if I go over to the Leaky Cauldron for a bit and get a drink? I hate Gringotts trains.” He still looked a little pale, so Harry walked into Madam Malkin’s shop alone, feeling nervous.

Madam Malkin was a short, plump witch, full of smiles, dressed all in mauve.

“Hogwarts, kid?” he said, when Harry was about to speak. “Lots of people come here—now there’s even one that’s fitting in.”

At the back of the shop, a boy with a pale, pointed face stood on a small bench, while there was a second wizard who folded his long black robe and pinned it up with pins. Madam Malkin had Harry stand on the bench next to her, slipped the long robe over his head, and began to pin it up until it was the right length.

“Hello,” said the boy. “Hogwarts too?”

“Yes,” answered Harry.

“My father is next door, buying my books, and my mother is in another store looking for a walking stick,” said the child. His voice is boring and drawn out. “After that, I will take them to see the racing broom. I don’t understand why first graders can’t have their own brooms. I think I’ll force Dad to buy me a broom and I’ll smuggle it in.”

Harry immediately remembered Dudley.

“Do you have a broom yet?” the child continued. “Not yet,” answered Harry.

”Main Quidditch?”

“No,” said Harry again, while wondering to himself what the hell Quidditch was.

“I did play—Dad said it was too much if I wasn’t selected for my house team, and I have to say, I agree. Do you know which dorm you’ll be in?”

“No,” answered Harry, feeling more and more stupid by the minute.

“Well, no one really knows until they get there, do they, but I know I’m going to get into Slytherin, our whole family is there—imagine making it to Hufflepuff. I guess I’ll move, right?”

“Mmm,” answered Harry, wishing he could say something more interesting.

“Eh, look at that guy,” said the boy suddenly, nodding toward the front window. Hagrid was standing there, grinning at Harry and pointing at two large ice cream cones to tell him that was why he couldn’t get in.

“That’s Hagrid,” said Harry, pleased to know something the boy didn’t. “He works at Hogwarts.”

“Oh,” said the boy. “I’ve heard about him. He’s some kind of servant, right?”

“He’s a gamekeeper,” said Harry. As time went on he started to dislike the child more and more.

“Yes, that’s it. I heard he was something of a wild man—lived in a hut on the school grounds and from time to time he got drunk, tried to do magic, but ended up burning down his own bed.”

“I think he’s great,” said Harry coolly.

“So?” the child said a little insultingly. ”Why is he with you? Where is your parents?”

“He’s dead,” said Harry shortly. He didn’t want to discuss this with the child.

“Oh, sorry,” said the child, but he didn’t sound sorry at all. “But they are our people, right?”

“They’re witches, if that’s what you mean.”

“In my opinion, other nations should not be allowed to join. Is not it? They are not the same, they were never raised in our ways. Some of them had never even heard of Hogwarts until receiving the letter. Imagine. I think it would be better for them to only accept wizarding families. What’s your family name?”

But before Harry could answer, Madam Malkin said, “It’s finished, son,” and Harry, glad to be avoiding the child, jumped down from the bench.

“See you at Hogwarts, okay?” said the boy.

Harry was rather quiet as he ate the ice cream Hagrid had bought him (chocolate and raspberry with chopped nuts).

“What is it?” asked Hagrid.

“Nothing,” Harry lied. They stopped to buy parchment and quills. Harry was rather happy when he found a bottle of ink that changed color when used to write. When they had left the shop he said, “Hagrid, what is Quidditch?”

“Good heavens, Harry, I keep forgetting that you don’t know much – you don’t even know Quidditch!”

“Don’t make me feel any worse,” said Harry. He tells Hagrid about the pale child in Madam Malkin’s shop.

”…and he said people from Muggle families shouldn’t be welcome in…”

“You’re not from a Muggle family. If only he knew who you really were—he would have been told your name from a young age if his parents were wizards—you would have seen it for yourself in the Leaky Cauldron. Besides, he knew what the hell, some of the best wizards were actually people who were gifted with magic but came from Muggle families – just look at your mother! Look how big brother is!”

“So, what is Quidditch?”

“That’s our sport. Wizard sport. It’s like—it’s like football in the Muggle world—everyone likes to watch Quidditch—it’s played in the air on broomsticks and there are four balls—it’s kind of hard to explain the rules.”

“And what are Slytherin and Hufflepuff?”

”The names of the dormitories at school. There are four. Everyone says Hufflepuff is full of awkward kids, but…”

“Then I’m definitely in Hufflepuff,” said Harry grimly.

“Better Hufflepuff than Slytherin,” said Hagrid loudly. “All the wizards and witches who went bad used to live in Slytherin. You-Know-Who is one of them.”

“Vol—sorry—You-Know-Who was at Hogwarts?” “Many years ago,” said Hagrid.

They bought Harry’s books at Flourish and Blotts. In the bookstore the shelves were filled to the ceiling with books ranging from brick-thick books covered in leather to books the size of postage stamps with silk covers; books with strange pictures, and some books that were completely empty. Even Dudley, who never read anything at all, would be happy to have some of the books here. Hagrid almost had to drag Harry out of the book Curses and Counter-Curses (Charming Friends and Cursing Foes with the Ultimate Revenge: Losing Hair, Weak Legs, Frozen Tongues, and more ) by Professor Vindictus Viridian.

“I’m trying to figure out how to curse Dudley.”

“I’m not saying it’s not a good idea, but you can’t use magic in the Muggle world, except in very special circumstances,” said Hagrid. “Besides, you can’t use the curse yet, you still need to learn a lot before reaching that level.”

Hagrid also wouldn’t let Harry buy a gold cauldron (“according to your list it had to be tin alloy,”) but they did get a nice set of scales for weighing potion ingredients and a collapsible brass telescope. Then they went to the potion shop, which fortunately was quite interesting, because the smell was beyond rotten, a mixture of rotten eggs and rotten cabbage. Barrels of slime lined the floor, jars filled with potions, dried roots and brightly colored powders

lining the walls, billows of feathers, strands of fangs, and curved claws hanging from the ceiling. While Hagrid asked the shopkeeper to prepare the basic ingredients for Harry’s potion, Harry himself was busy looking at the silver unicorn horn which cost twenty-one Galleons apiece and the small, shiny black eyes of a beetle (five Knuts a spoonful).

Outside the shop, Hagrid checked Harry’s list again.

“You’re just short of your wand—oh yeah, and I haven’t bought you a birthday present yet.”

Harry felt his face turn red. “Nope…”

“I know. That’s it, I’ll give you an animal. Not frogs, frogs went out of fashion years ago. You’ll be laughed at—and I don’t like cats, they make me sneeze. I’ll buy you an owl. All the children want to have an owl, they are very useful, delivering your letters and other things.”

Twenty minutes later they left Eeylops’ General Owl Shop, which was dark and full of the sound of feathers rubbing and flashing shiny eyes. Harry was now carrying a large cage containing a snow-white owl, which was sleeping soundly with its head tucked under its wings. He couldn’t stop himself from stammering his thanks, like Professor Quirrell.

“Yes, yes, back,” said Hagrid hoarsely. “I don’t think you get many gifts from the Dursleys. Just go to Ollivanders now—the only place to buy wands. Ollivanders, and you will have the best wand.”

A magic wand… this Harry had been waiting for.

This last shop is cramped and shabby. The peeling gold letters above the door read, Ollivanders: Maker of Fine Magic Wands Since 382 BC . A stick lay on a dull purple pillow in a dusty display case.

The tinkling of a bell rang in the depths of the shop as they stepped inside. The place was very small, empty, except for one tall, skinny chair. Hagrid sat waiting in the chair. Harry felt strange, as if he had entered a library with very strict rules. He swallowed the many new questions popping up in his mind and looked around

just thousands of flat boxes stacked neatly to the ceiling. For some reason, the hair on the back of his neck stood up. The dust and silence in this shop seemed to contain a secret magic.

“Good afternoon,” said a soft voice. Harry jumped. Hagrid must have jumped too, because there was a loud creak and he quickly got up from his skinny chair.

An old man stood before them. Her eyes were wide and pale, shining like the moon in the gloomy shop.

“Hello,” said Harry awkwardly.

“Ah yes,” said the man. ”Yeah, yeah. “I knew I would see you soon, Harry Potter,” he said confidently. “Your eyes look like your mother’s eyes. It felt like just yesterday he was here, buying his first stick. Twenty-five and a half inches, swishing when moved, made from willow branches. A wand is good for bewitching.”

Mr Ollivander approached Harry. Harry wished he’d blinked. Those silvery eyes were a bit scary.

“Your father, on the other hand, prefers mahogany canes. Twenty seven and a half inches. Flexible. Powerful and very suitable for transfiguration. Well, I said your father preferred the wand—it was actually the wand that the wizard chose, of course.”

Mr Ollivander was so close that his and Harry’s noses were almost touching. Harry could see his reflection in those misty eyes.

“And this is what it looks like…”

Mr Ollivander touched the dozen lightning-shaped scars on Harry’s forehead with his long white fingers.

“I’m sorry because I was the one who sold the stick that caused this injury,” he said softly. “Thirty three and a half inches. Spruce wood. Magical, very powerful and it fell into the wrong hands… Well, if only I knew what that wand would do outside….”

He shook his head and then, to Harry’s relief, Mr Ollivander saw Hagrid.

”Rubeus! Rubeus Hagrid! So nice to see you again… Oak, forty inches, a bit crooked, right?”

“That’s right, Sir. Yes,” said Hagrid.

”Nice stick. But I guess they broke it in half when you got kicked out?” said Mr Ollivander, suddenly stern.

“Er, yes, that’s right,” said Hagrid, his feet shifting restlessly. “But I still have the pieces,” he adds cheerfully.

“But you didn’t wear it?” said Mr Ollivander sharply.

“Oh no, sir,” replied Hagrid quickly. Harry saw Hagrid grip his pink umbrella tightly as he spoke.

“Hmmm,” said Mr Ollivander, looking hard at Hagrid. “Well, Mr Potter. Let’s see.” He pulled out a measuring tape with silver markings from inside his pocket. “Which hand is your wand?”

“Er—right hand,” said Harry.

”Stretch out your hand. Good.” He measured Harry from shoulder to finger, then wrist to elbow, shoulder to floor, knee to armpit, and around his head. While measuring, he said: “All Ollivander wands have magical essence, Mr Potter. We use unicorn hair, phoenix tail feathers , and dragon heart veins. No two Ollivander wands are the same. Just as no two unicorns , dragons or phoenixes are exactly the same. And of course you won’t get good results with another wizard’s wand.”

Harry suddenly realized that the meter that was measuring the distance between his nostrils was measuring itself. Mr Ollivander went around in front of the shelves, taking down boxes.

“That’s enough,” he said, and the meter immediately fell to the floor. “Okay, Mr Potter, try this. Beechwood and the dragon’s heart veins. Twenty two and a half inches. Nice and flexible. Take it and try shaking it.”

Harry grabbed the wand and (feeling stupid) shook it a little, but Mr Ollivander snatched it away.

“Maple and phoenix feathers . Seventeen and a half inches. The hit is okay.


Harry tried—but just as he had lifted it, Mr Ollivander snatched the wand back.

“No, no—here, ebony and unicorn hair , twenty-one and a quarter, elastic. Come on, come on, try this.”

Harry tried it. And try something else. He had no idea what Mr Ollivander was waiting for. The pile of tried wands grew higher and higher on the thin chair, but the more wands he took from the shelf, the happier Mr Ollivander seemed.

” Picky buyers, eh? Don’t worry, we’ll find the right wand here—how about—well, why not—unusual combination— holly and phoenix feather , seven and a half inches, nice and supple.”

Harry took the wand. Suddenly his fingers felt warm. He raised the wand above his head, swung it down through the dusty air, and streaks of red and gold sparks shot from the tip like fireworks, casting dancing shadows on the walls. Hagrid shouted and clapped his hands, and Mr Ollivander shouted: “Oh, bravo! Yes, really, that’s great. Wow, wow, wow, how strange… how strange…”

He put Harry’s wand back in its box and wrapped it in brown paper, muttering all the while, “Strange…strange…”

“Sorry,” said Harry, “but what’s so strange?”

Mr Ollivander looked at Harry with his pale eyes.

“I remember all the wands I ever sold, Mr Potter. One by one. It just so happens that the phoenix whose tail feather is on your wand, produces one more feather—just one. It’s really strange that you were destined to be the owner of this wand, while his brother—why, it was his brother who gave you that scar.”

Harry swallowed hard.

“Yes, thirty-three and a half inches. Yew. It’s strange that these kinds of things happen. The wand chooses the wizard, remember… I suppose we should expect you to do extraordinary things, Mr Potter… After all, He Who Shall Not Be Named does extraordinary things—terrible, yes, but extraordinary.”

Harry shuddered. He wasn’t sure if he liked Mr Ollivander that much. He paid seven gold Galleons for the wand and Mr Ollivander bowed, ushering them from his shop.

The afternoon sun hung low in the sky. Harry and Hagrid return to Diagon Alley, back through the wall, back to the Leaky Cauldron, which is now empty. The whole way Harry didn’t speak at all. He didn’t even realize how amazed the people on the subway were at them, carrying so many oddly shaped and packaged groceries, with a snow-white owl asleep on Harry’s lap. Up the escalator again, out to Paddington station. Harry only realized where they were when Hagrid poked him on the shoulder.

“Still have time to eat a little before your car leaves,” he said.

He bought a hamburger and they sat on plastic chairs to eat it. Harry looked around several times. Everything felt strange.

“Are you okay, Harry? “You’ve been quiet all along,” said Hagrid.

Harry wasn’t sure he could explain. Today was the happiest birthday of his life—but—he was munching on his hamburger, trying to find the words.

“Everyone thinks I’m special,” he said finally. “Everyone at the Leaky Cauldron, Professor Quirrell, Mr Ollivander… but I know absolutely nothing about magic. How do they expect me to do extraordinary things? I’m famous and I don’t even remember what I’m famous for. I don’t know what happened when Vol—sorry—I mean, the night my parents died.”

Hagrid leaned over the table. Behind his wild beard and thick eyebrows, his smile was very friendly.

“Don’t worry, Harry. You’ll learn quickly. Everyone starts from scratch at Hogwarts, you won’t have any problems. Just be yourself. I know this is hard. You’ve been chosen, and it’s always hard. But you’ll be happy at Hogwarts—so was I—even now.”

Hagrid helped Harry onto the carriage that would take him back to the Dursleys, then handed him an envelope.

“Your train ticket to Hogwarts,” he said. “The first of September—King’s Cross—is all on your ticket. If there’s any trouble with the Dursleys, send me a letter via your owl, he’ll know where to find me… See you later, Harry.”

The train leaves the station. Harry wanted to stare at Hagrid until he was out of sight. He got up from his seat and pressed his nose against the window pane, but as soon as he blinked, Hagrid was gone.

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