Chapter no 8 – Potions Member

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

“LOOK , it’s him!” “Where?”

“Next to the tall, red-haired kid.” “The one wearing glasses?”

“Did you see his face?”

“Do you see the scar?”

The whispers continued to follow Harry as he left his dormitory the next day. The children who were queuing in front of the classrooms tiptoed to see him, or walked back down the corridor to pass him again, then looked at him. Harry wished they weren’t, because he had to concentrate on finding his class.

There are one hundred and forty-two stairs at Hogwarts: some wide, some sloping, some narrow, some creaky, some that lead to a different place every Friday, some with a step missing in the middle, so you have to remember to jump. Then there are doors that won’t open if you don’t ask politely, or tickle them in the right place, and doors that aren’t actually doors, but rather thick walls that only pretend to be doors. It’s also very difficult to remember what objects are where, because of everything

seems to keep moving around. The people in the paintings kept visiting each other and Harry was sure the suits of armor could walk.

The ghosts don’t help either. It would be surprising if one of them suddenly floated through a door you hadn’t managed to open yet. Nearly Headless Nick is always happy to point new Gryffindor students in the right direction, but Peeves the mischievous ghost will lead you astray into two locked doors and a trick staircase when you’re already late for your next lesson. He will drop waste baskets on your head, pull the carpet from under your feet, throw pieces of chalk at you or quietly sneak up behind you, pinch your nose, and scream, “CATCH YOU!”

Even worse than Peeves, if that is possible, is the school guard, Argus Filch. Harry and Ron had accidentally made him angry on their first morning. Filch caught them forcing their way through a door which unfortunately turned out to lead to a forbidden corridor on the third floor. Filch couldn’t believe they were lost. He was sure they had tried to break down the door on purpose and were threatening to lock them up underground, when Professor Quirrell happened to pass by and save them.

Filch had a cat named Mrs. Norris, a thin, grey-brown cat, with protruding eyes shining like lights, just like Filch’s own eyes. Mrs Norris patrolled the corridors alone. Try breaking just one rule in front of him, if even one of your toes crosses the line, he will immediately call Filch, who will appear two seconds later with a sigh. Filch knew the secret passages in the school better than anyone (except perhaps the Weasley twins) and could appear as suddenly as any ghost. All the children hated him and secretly many had the ambition to kick Mrs Norris.

And, if your class has met, you still have to face various magic subjects. It turns out magic is much more complicated, as Harry later finds out, than simply waving your wand and saying strange words.

They had to study the night sky through their telescopes at midnight and learn the names of various stars and their movements

planets. Three times a week they visited the greenhouses behind the castle to study Herbology—the science of medicinal plants

—under the tutelage of a stubby witch named Professor Sprout. There they learned how to care for all the strange plants and mushrooms and what their uses were.

Obviously the most boring is History of Magic, the only subject where the teacher is a ghost. Professor Binns was indeed very old when he fell asleep in front of the fire in the staff room and woke up the next morning to teach, leaving his body behind. Binns droned on in a very boring way while they wrote down names and dates and confused themselves so much that they confused Emeric the Evil and Uric the Freak.

Professor Flitwick, the Charms teacher was a tiny little wizard who had to stand on a stack of books to be able to look past his desk. At the start of their first lesson, Professor Flitwick took the roll call, and when it came to Harry’s name he yelped excitedly and tumbled out of sight.

Another Professor McGonagall. Harry was right to think not to make him angry. Disciplined and clever, he immediately warned his students as soon as they sat down for their first lesson.

“Transfiguration is one of the most complicated and dangerous pieces of magic you will learn at Hogwarts,” he said. “Anyone who messes up in class will be expelled and will not be allowed to participate again. You have been warned.”

Then he turned his table into a pig and into a table again. The kids were all amazed and couldn’t wait to get started, but soon realized it would be a long time before they could turn the furniture into animals. After taking many complicated notes, each was given a match and began trying to turn it into a needle. By the end of the lesson, only Hermione Granger had managed to make any changes to her lighter. Professor McGonagall showed the class how Hermione’s lighter had become silvery and sharp and flashed Hermione a rare smile.

The lesson that all the children had been waiting for was Defense Against the Dark Arts, but Quirrell’s lesson turned out to be a bit of a joke. The classroom smelled strongly of garlic, which everyone said was to ward off the vampires he’d met in Romania and Quirrell was afraid the vampire would come to attack him at any moment. His turban, he tells the children, was given to him by an African prince, as thanks for expelling troublesome zombies, but the children don’t really believe this story. You see, when Seamus Finnigan excitedly asked how Quirrell was fighting the zombies, Quirrell’s face went red and he started talking about the weather. Besides, the kids smelled a strange smell around the turban and the Weasley twins insisted it was full of garlic too, so Quirrell was protected wherever he went.

Harry was very relieved when it turned out that he had not missed his friends’ lessons. Many of the other children also came from Muggle families and, like him, had no idea that they were actually wizards. There was so much to learn that even kids like Ron weren’t much further ahead than the others.

Friday was an important day for Harry and Ron. They finally managed to find their way to the Great Hall for breakfast without getting lost.

“What is our lesson today?” Harry asked Ron while he poured sugar into his porridge.

“Potions, two hours of lessons, with the Slytherins,” said Ron. Snape head of Slytherin House. People say he plays favorites and that the Slytherins are always his golden boys—we’ll see if that’s true.”

“Let’s hope we become McGonagall’s golden children,” said Harry. Professor McGonagall was head of Gryffindor House, but she had still given them a ton of homework the previous day.

Just then the post arrived. By now Harry was used to it, but on the first morning of seeing the post come, Harry was a little shocked too, because about a hundred owls suddenly came flying into the Great Hall while they were having breakfast, circling the tables until they saw the owner. them and dropping letters or packages into their laps.

So far Hedwig hadn’t brought anything for Harry. The she-owl sometimes flew in to peck Harry’s ear and eat some toast before going to sleep in the barn with the other school owls. But this morning, he floated down between the jam and sugar bowls and dropped the letter onto Harry’s plate. Harry immediately tore open the envelope.

Dear Harry, (very bad writing)

I know you’re free every Friday afternoon. So, would you mind coming and having tea with me around three o’clock? I want to hear everything about your first week. Send a reply via Hedwig.


Harry borrowed Ron’s quill, wrote “Yes, my pleasure, see you” on the back of the letter and released Hedwig again.

Luckily Harry was having tea with Hagrid, so he had something to look forward to happily, because Potions was turning out to be the worst thing that had happened so far.

At a party at the start of the semester, Harry felt that Professor Snape didn’t like him. By the end of the first Potions lesson Harry knew he was wrong, Professor Snape didn’t dislike him – he hated him .

The Potions lesson took place in one of the dungeons. It’s colder here than in the castle above and the space itself would be spooky enough without the preserved animals floating in glass tubes lining the walls.

Snape, like Flitwick, started the lesson by taking the roll call, and like Flitwick too, he stopped when he came to Harry’s name.

“Ah, yes,” he said slowly. Harry Potter. Our new celebrity .”

Draco Malfoy and his comrades, Crabbe and Goyle, scoffed behind their hands. Snape finished roll call and looked at his students. His eyes were black like Hagrid’s, but lacked Hagrid’s warmth. Those eyes were cold and empty, and made you think of a dark alley.

“You are here to learn the complex science and art of potion making,” he began. His voice was barely more than a whisper, but the children caught every word he said – like Professor McGonagall, Snape had the advantage of being able to effortlessly get the whole class to listen. “Since there’s not much silly wand-waving here, many of you will have a hard time believing this is magic. I don’t expect you to really be able to appreciate the beauty of the contents of a cauldron bubbling gently with its rising smoke, the subtle power of liquids that creep into human veins, bewitch the mind, ensnare common sense… I can teach you how to bottle popularity, boil glory, clog death—if you weren’t empty heads like the other kids I used to teach.”

Silence followed this short speech. Harry and Ron exchanged glances with raised eyebrows. Hermione Granger was already sitting on the edge of her seat and looked eager to prove that she was not an empty head.

“Potter!” Snape said suddenly. “What do I get if I add asphodel root powder to liquid wormwood ?”

What powder to what liquid? Harry glanced at Ron, who looked as dumb as he did. Hermione’s hand was already raised upwards.

“I don’t know, sir,” said Harry. Snape’s lips twisted into a sneer.

“Well, well—famous certainly isn’t everything.” Snape ignored Hermione’s hand.

“Let’s try again, Potter. Where would you look if I told you to get me a bezoar ?”

Hermione stretched her arms out as high as she could without getting up from her seat, but Harry had no idea what a bezoar was . He tried not to look at Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle, who were laughing uproariously.

“I don’t know, sir.”

“Apparently you weren’t in the mood to leaf through your book before coming here, eh, Potter?”

Harry tried to keep his eyes on those cold eyes. He had read the books when he was still living with the Dursleys, but what…

Snape expected him to remember everything in One Thousand and One Magical Plants and Fungi ?

Snape still ignored Hermione’s shaking hands. “What’s the difference, Potter, monkshood and wolfsbane ?”

Hearing this Hermione stood up, her hand pointing towards the ceiling of the dungeons.

“I don’t know,” Harry answered quietly. “But I think Hermione knows, why don’t you just ask her?”

Some kids laughed. Harry locked eyes with Seamus. Seamus blinked. But Snape wasn’t happy.

“Sit down,” he snapped at Hermione. “Just so you know, Potter, a mixture of asphodel and wormwood produces a sleeping pill so powerful it’s called Lifelike Death Drink. Bezoar is a stone taken from the stomach of a goat and can save you from almost all poisons. Meanwhile, monkshood and wolfsbane are actually the same plant, which is also called aconite . Now? Why aren’t any of you taking notes?”

Suddenly everyone hurriedly took out their quills and parchment. Over the sound, Snape said, “One point will be deducted from Gryffindor, for your incompetence, Potter.”

Things didn’t get any better for Gryffindor when Potions lessons resumed. Snape divided them into pairs and had them mix a simple potion to treat boils. He went around the class, his black robes flowing, watching them weigh dried nettles and powdered snake fangs, criticizing almost all the kids, except Malfoy who he seemed to like. He was telling everyone to watch Malfoy’s perfect way of boiling his horned snails, when sour green smoke and a loud hissing sound filled the underground classroom. Somehow Neville made Seamus’s cauldron melt into a mass of peyat-peyot and their potion spilled all over the stone floor, leaving holes in the soles of his shoes. Within seconds, all the children were standing on their chairs, while Neville, who had been doused in the potion when Seamus’ cauldron melted, groaned in pain as red boils appeared all over his arms and legs.

”Idiot child!” Snape blurted out as he cleaned up the spilled potion with a wave of his wand. “You must have added the porcupine quills before the pot was removed from the fire, right?”

Neville groaned as a boil started to appear on his nose.

“Take him to hospital,” Snape snapped at Seamus. Then he turned to face Harry and Ron, who had been working next to Neville.

“You—Potter—why didn’t you tell him not to add the porcupine quills? You think you’ll look smart if he’s wrong, don’t you? You’ve reduced Gryffindor by one more point.”

This was so unfair, Harry opened his mouth to protest, but Ron kicked him behind their pan.

“Don’t force it,” he muttered. “I’ve heard Snape can be quite evil.”

When they climbed the stairs leaving the dungeons an hour later, Harry’s mind was confused and his spirits were low. He had cost Gryffindor two points in his first week alone

— why did Snape hate him so much?

“Don’t be so sad,” said Ron. “Snape always subtracted numbers from Fred and George. Can I come to see Hagrid?”

At five minutes to three they left the castle and crossed the courtyard. Hagrid lives in a small plank house on the edge of the Forbidden Forest. An old-fashioned bow and a pair of rubber overshoes were at the door.

When Harry knocked, they heard scratching feet and loud barking. Then Hagrid’s voice boomed, ” Retreat , Fang— retreat .”

Hagrid’s big, furry face appeared in the gap as he opened the door.

“Wait,” he said. ” Stand back , Fang.”

Hagrid ordered them in, holding the giant black dog by the scruff of the neck.

There is only one room inside. Grilled meats hung from the ceiling, there was a copper kettle with boiling water on the open fire, and in the corner there was a large bed with a patchwork quilt spread over it,

“Make yourself at home,” said Hagrid, letting go of Fang who immediately jumped up to Ron and licked his ear. Like Hagrid, Fang is apparently not as fierce as he appears.

“It’s Ron,” Harry told Hagrid who was pouring boiling water into a large tea kettle and placing a crusty sponge cake on a plate.

“Weasley again, eh?” said Hagrid, glancing at the freckles on Ron’s face. “I spent half my life chasing your twin brothers away from the Forest.”

The hard sponge almost broke their teeth, but Harry and Ron pretended to enjoy it as they told Hagrid about their first lessons. Fang rested his head on Harry’s knee and drooled over Harry’s robes.

Harry and Ron were pleased to hear Hagrid call Filch “the old bastard.”

“Meanwhile, the cat, Mrs. Norris, really wants me to meet Fang. Do you know, every time I go to school, he always follows me everywhere? I can’t get rid of him. Filch must have ordered it.”

Harry tells Hagrid of Snape’s lesson. Hagrid, like Ron, advises Harry not to worry about it. Snape really didn’t like almost all the students.

“But he really seems to hate me .”

“Nonsense!” said Hagrid. “Why should he hate you?”

Still, Harry couldn’t shake the thought that it felt like Hagrid hadn’t looked him in the eye when he said that.

“How is your brother Charlie?” Hagrid asked Ron. “I like him a lot—the way he handles animals is great.”

Harry wondered if Hagrid was deliberately diverting the conversation. While Ron was telling Hagrid about Charlie’s work with dragons, Harry picked up a piece of paper that was lying on the table under the tea saucer. Apparently it was a clip from an article from the Daily Prophet .


The investigation into the Gringotts break-in that occurred dated

Last July 31, it was still continued. A wide audience has an opinion

the break-in was carried out by an unknown black magician.

The Gringotts goblins today stated that nothing had been stolen. The vault that was demolished had been emptied earlier that day.

“But we won’t tell you what’s there. So, it’s best not to interfere if you know what’s best for you,” according to a Gringotts spokesperson goblin this afternoon.

Harry remembered Ron telling him on the train that someone had tried to rob Gringotts, but Ron didn’t mention the date.

“Hagrid!” said Harry. ”The Gringotts break-in happened on my birthday! Don’t let it happen while we’re there!”

There was no doubt, Hagrid definitely didn’t dare look at Harry this time. He just mumbled incoherently and offered Harry another hard cake. Harry read the news again. The vault that was demolished had been emptied earlier, that very day . Hagrid had emptied vault number seven hundred and thirteen, if you took out the dingy packages you could call it emptying. Was it the package the thieves were looking for?

As Harry and Ron walked back to the castle for dinner, with heavy bags filled with crusty cakes which for the sake of politeness they could not refuse, Harry thought that none of the lessons he had received so far had made him think as much as tea with Hagrid. Was it a coincidence that Hagrid got the package out just in time? Where is the package now? And did Hagrid know anything about Snape that he didn’t want to tell Harry?

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