Chapter three of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone starts off after Harry has been punished for the boa constrictor incident.
With the new school year fast approaching, Harry is looking forward to being able to leave Privet Drive and the bully known as Dudley.
One morning, while the Dursley’s are sitting around the kitchen table, Uncle Vernon tells Harry to fetch the freshly delivered mail.
After filing through the other two pieces of mail, Harry notices a strangely crafted letter bearing a lion, a snake, a raven, and a badger. Even stranger is the fact that it is address to:
Mr H. Potter The Cupboard under the Stairs 4 Privet Drive Little Whinging Surrey
Uncle Vernon snatches the letter from Harry, banning both him and Dudley from the kitchen.
The next day, after refusing to discuss the letter, Uncle Vernon decides to move Harry to Dudley’s second bedroom. Letters continue to arrive, and instead are addressed to a Mr. Harry Potter in The Smallest Bedroom.
Enraged about the influx of letters in the following days, Uncle Vernon decides to pack up the ‘family’ and take them on an extended holiday away from the house.
When the letters reach the Inn, Uncle Vernon rents a boat and takes Petunia, Dudley, and Harry to a shack on an island.
While everyone is asleep, Harry, laying on the shack’s floor, counts down to his 11th birthday. As the time winds down the chapter ends with a boom. No, literally, it ends with the word ‘BOOM’.
My favourite illustration out of this entire chapter has to be the one depicting Uncle Vernon rowing the boat out to the island. I don’t know why this made me giggle so much but for now at least this is my favourite illustration out of the first three chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Illustrated Edition.
Again, Uncle Vernon takes the cake as my favourite character of this chapter. Whether it was because of his many illustration, or whether it was because of how many times he lost his temper, Uncle Vernon really shined in this chapter.
In the movies, due to time constraints, I understand why the characters of Vernon, Petunia, and Dudley weren’t explored more. However, it is nice to see the characters fleshed out through out the first chapters of the novel.
By being able to explore character motivations, at least with Uncle Vernon, readers are able to see that he is motivated by fear, rather than hate, and it’s refreshing, while also promoting reading the book alongside their movie counter parts.
‘No post on Sundays,’ he reminded them happily as he spread marmalade on his newspapers, ‘no damn letters today -‘
Now, this quote is my favourite for two reasons.
First, it nicely sums up how optimistic Uncle Vernon is to the prospect of his ‘brilliant’ ideas versus ‘those people.’ It hilarious, in hindsight, to think that him ripping up the letters, moving Harry from room to room, and boarding up the letter-box will stop Hogwarts from getting into contact with the boy who lived.
Second, no matter how hard I tried, I had to read this line as if Richard Griffiths, Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter films, was saying it to me. Every time I see that scene in the movie I cannot help but smile. Griffiths casting as Uncle Vernon was spot on, and it makes me sad we didn’t get to see more of him in the film version of the Harry Potter series.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 star