Book Notes Chapter 1 - The Boy Who Lived Notes from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Chapter 1 - The Boy Who Lived

The novel opens with a detailed description of the Dursleys, an utterly normal family in England - boring, overweight and typical. Mr. Dursley is the director of a drill-making firm, while Mrs. Dursley watches over their beloved son, Dudley, who can do no wrong in their eyes. They abhor anything and everything out of the ordinary, namely their relatives the Potters. Mrs. Petunia Dursley's sister, Lily, married Mr. Potter, and gave birth to Harry, a child who they despise and desperately attempt to keep away from their precious Dudley.

Topic Tracking: Good vs. Evil 1

One morning, odd and extraordinary events begin to occur near the Dursley home at 4 Privet Drive. A cat is reading a map, an owl flies past the window, and everyone in town seems to be wearing cloaks - clothing Mr. Dursley believes is only for the weird and young. He passes the day at work, noticing the difference in the weather and his surroundings, and thinks little of it until he overhears someone mention the name "Potter." He frantically worries about his weird cousins and their bizarre child and rushes home to his wife to express his concern. The cat is still reading out front, while the news reports an influx of owls and shooting stars instead of rain. When Mr. Dursley brings up the Potters, Petunia chooses to ignore the statement and pretend that they don't exist, so as not to clutter their simple lives with anything out of the ordinary. They are desperately wrong.

In the same corner that the cat watches, a man appears out of nowhere.

"Nothing like this man had ever been seen in Privet Drive. He was tall, thin and very old, judging by the silver of his hair and beard, which were both long enough to tuck into his belt. He was wearing long robes, a purple cloak which swept the ground and high-heeled, bucked boots. His blue eyes were light, bright and sparkling behind half-mooned spectacles and his nose was very long and crooked, as though it had been broken at least twice. This man's name was Albert Dumbledore." Chapter 1, pg. 12

After Dumbledore appears, he spies the cat and calls her Professor McGonagall. She transforms into an elderly woman with glasses and a tight bun, wearing an emerald cloak. She wonders how Dumbledore knows it is her, and he quips that no cat is as stiff as she is. They discuss the day, eat lemon sherbet from the Muggles (mortal people), eventually arriving at the subject of the Potters. Dumbledore informs McGonagall of the recent tragedy that befell the Potters. Voldemort, a man of infinite horror and destruction, a man of whom nobody dares utter his name, violently attacked Lily and James Potter - two miraculous sorcerers - and killed them. The miracle is that their child, their baby Harry, survived the attack. McGonagall and Dumbledore are shocked, for Voldemort's power and anger has killed so many and caused so much destruction to adults, let alone children and babies. Because of Voldemort's failure to kill Harry, it seems his power has broken, and he has fled. These two wizards now await Hagrid, a giant, hairy messenger, to learn how to take care of the valuable Potter baby.

Topic Tracking: Good vs. Evil 2
Topic Tracking: Magic 1

Hagrid arrives with Harry wrapped in baby blankets. Because of the attack, he has a large scar in the shape of a lightning bolt on his forehead. Dumbledore informs McGonagall that they intend to leave Harry with the Dursleys for several years, so that he may be raised as a normal child until he is ready to accept his place in wizard history. McGonagall cannot fathom that they would leave this miracle baby - this miracle child - in the hands of such morons as the Dursleys. Dumbledore reiterates that he has written Mr. Dursley a letter explaining the entire story and significance of events and birth for Harry when he's older. He assumes that Dursley will show the letter and explain Harry his heritage.

"'A letter?' repeated Professor McGonagall faintly, sitting back down on the wall. 'Really, Dumbledore, you think you can explain all this in a letter? These people will never understand him! He'll be famous - a legend - I wouldn't be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter day in future - there will be books written about Harry - every child in our world will know his name!'" Chapter 1, pg. 15

Dumbledore explains that this is the exact reason to leave Harry with the Dursleys. Such fame would be too much to handle at such a young age. When he is ready, they will come for him. Hagrid bids goodbye to his beloved package of youth, while Dumbledore and McGonagall wish him luck, knowing that they are doing the right thing. They place him on the doorstep and leave.

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