Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Chapter 16 - Through the Trapdoor
Harry struggles to get through the exam period with the fear of Voldemort constantly in his mind and his dreams. Furthermore, his scar continues to cause him stabbing pain since the adventure in the forest. After their final exam of History of Magic with Professor Binns, everyone cheers and relaxes in his or her own way. They do not find out their marks for at least one week, so Ron believes there is no reason to worry. Harry continues to wonder why his scar plagues him, thinking it a warning of impending danger. Hermione and Ron continue to appease Harry by reminding him that he and the Stone are safe, so long as Dumbledore is alive and well. Unfortunately, Harry is not appeased, for he feels like he has forgotten to do something important. Hermione tells him that it's just the exams that he is worried about, but he does not agree. His fear and worry plagues his every thought and action. Suddenly, he realizes that Hagrid is the only other person who knows how to get through the trapdoor and believes that he was tricked into telling the secret to whoever gave him the dragon egg. When they find him, they trick him to blurt out the way he won his dragon egg - through a drunken bet to a cloaked man - and that the way to tame Fluffy is to play music. The three rush off to find Dumbledore to warn him about Voldemort and run into McGonagall. She informs them that Dumbledore is out for the day. They insist upon seeing him and vocalize their knowledge about the Sorcerer's Stone. When they are forced to leave, they bump into Snape, who warns them not to be inside on such a day, for it looks suspicious, and Gryffindor cannot afford to lose any more points due to suspicion.
Hermione is to guard Snape, while Ron is to guard McGonagall. Unfortunately, their plan falls through, for both professors race after the three children, threatening to take away more points. Harry, passionate and enraged, plans to go and seek the stone that very night, regardless of the chance of expulsion. If he doesn't, then Voldemort will return, kill him, and destroy all of Hogwarts. Death is imminent and he will do whatever he needs in order to defeat the creature who killed his parents. Ron and Hermione vow to accompany him under the Invisibility Cloak. They will not allow him to go alone.
The three travel through Gryffindor. They are stopped by an enraged Neville who does not want to allow them to escape and break the rules again. After they plead with him and try to explain the importance of their actions, Hermione places a full body bind spell on him, rendering him immobile and speechless. When they pass several corridors, they see Snape and Fluffy. Harry instructs Ron to get Hagrid if anything happens to him. Then, Hermione plays the flute Harry got from Hagrid for Christmas, and Fluffy falls asleep. Harry then falls through the trapdoor onto a soft plant below. He yells to them that he is safe. They fall down after him into the Devil's Snare, the large plant made of snake tendrils that suffocate the three young wizards. Hermione thinks hard and tells them to relax. She drops out of it and uses her magic on the plant, freeing Ron and Harry. They are thrilled now that she paid attention during Herbology class. The next step is to pass through a wooden door guarded by hundreds of seeming small flying birds. However, the small flying animals are actually keys (with wings), and Harry must fly on his broomstick and find the silver key that opens the door. "They seized a broomstick each and kicked off into the air, soaring into the midst of the cloud of keys. They grabbed and snatched but the bewitched keys darted and dived so quickly it was almost impossible to catch one." Chapter 16, pg. 203
After Ron crashes, Harry, the expert Seeker, mounts his broom and snags the feathery silver key, already used by the previous creature seeking the Stone. They walk into a dark room. The room suddenly is lit by a bright light and set as a giant chess board. Ron, the expert chess player, tells his friends that they are lousy chess players and takes control of the game. In wizard's chess, the players literally fight and destroy each other, dragging the pieces to the side. After half the game, Ron is left on a knight and realizes that he must be sacrificed in order for Harry to win and find Voldemort and the Stone. Hermione and Harry desperately try to stop Ron from sacrificing himself, but he continues and is thrown off the horse and dragged unconscious to the side of the board by the White Queen.
When they finish the game, they are in the next room, a room filled with a horrible stench and a table of bottles. When they step into the room, a purple fire surrounds them, with black flames in the doorway ahead. On the table is a puzzle.
"Danger lies before you, while safety lies behind,
Two of us will help you, whichever you would find.
One among us seven will let you move ahead,
Another will transport the drinker back instead,
Two among our numbers hold only nettle wine,
Three of us are killers, waiting hidden in line.
Choose, unless you wish to stay here forevermore,
To help you in your choice, we give you these clues four:
First, however slyly the poison tries to hide
You will always find some on nettle wine's left side;
Second, different are those who stand at either end,
But if you would move onwards, neither is your friend;
Third, as you see clearly, all are different size,
Neither dwarf nor giant holds death in their insides;
Fourth, the second left and the second on the right
Are twins once you taste them, though different at first sight." Chapter 16, pg. 206-207
Hermione is thrilled, for she answers the puzzle immediately, they drink the small bottle and proceed. Hermione throws her arms around Harry telling him how wonderful a wizard he is. Harry tells her the same. She responds that she is a good studier and is clever, but that friendship and bravery are the most important things. Hermione then walks through the flames to return to help Ron and get help from Dumbledore, while Harry walks in the other direction to the next room. However, when he reaches the next and final chamber, he finds a new surprise. The creature awaiting him is neither Snape nor Voldemort.