Well, it’s been a while since I have visited my project of rereading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone via the illustrated edition, but here we are.
Instead of starting the project over, I figured I would just pick up where I left off.
Without further I present Chapter Five: Diagon Alley.
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“‘Welcome’ said Hagrid, ‘to Diagon Alley.'”
Chapter five, ‘Diagon Alley’, begins with Harry and Hagrid leaving the hut on the rock with intention on traveling to Gringotts, the wizard’s bank, in order to make a withdraw to aid with the purchase of Harry’s school supplies.
Quite possible one of the most famous school supply lists in literary history, Harry learns that he is required to purchase, under the uniform heading, three sets of plain work robes, a plain pointed hat, protective gloves and a winter clock. Under the course books heading some of the more well known volumes include, The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1) by Miranda Goshawk, A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot (foreshadowing already I see), and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander. The other equipment heading the list really begins to display the magic by including a wand, a cauldron, petwer standard size 2, a set of glass or crystal phials, a telescope set and one set of brass scales. Harry is informed that he is also able to bring, if he so chooses, an owl, a cat, or a toad.
Following a row in a boat, and a trip on a train, Harry and Hagrid arrive at the famed Leaky Cauldron pub, where Harry is bombarded with witches and wizards hoping to shake his hand and give him thanks for defeating the dark lord Voldemort. After amusing them, and a brief introduction to Hogwart’s Defence Against the Dark Arts professor, Quirinus Quirrell, Hagrid brings Harry to a courtyard behind the pub and shows him how to tap the wall in order to get into Diagon Alley.
Once the pair arrive at Gringotts, and during their journey into the vaults, Hagrid gives Harry, and in turn the reader, a quick outlook on how wizard currency is structured. For those who need a refresher like I did, seventeen Sickles make up one Galleon, and twenty-nine Knuts make up one sickle. Simple enough to remember, I hope.
Harry makes his withdraw, from a well stocked vault I may add, Griphook the goblin takes the pair to vault seven hundred and thirteen in order for Hagrid to retrieve a small, brown package on behalf of Dumbledore.
After the events at Gringotts Harry’s next stop is Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions. Whilst being fitted, Harry is introduced to a pale boy who is also in Diagon Alley shopping for school supplies. Harry’s impression of, this as of now unnamed, boy is a tad sour, and Hagrid collects him after the interaction in order to buy parchment, quills, a bit of ice cream, as well as the remaining school supplies on Harry’s list. Save for one very important piece of a wizard’s wardrobe, a wand.
Upon entering Ollivanders: Makes of Fine Wands shop, Harry and Hagrid are greeted by by an old man, later revealed to be Mr. Olllivander, who is eager to find the right fit for our young wizard. After several goes, notable with a wand made of maple and phoenix feather, and ebony and unicorn hair, Harry is given a wand made of holly and phoenix feather that measured eleven inches. Curious that this is the wand destined for Harry, Ollivander relays, as the only other wand made from the particular phoenix was the one wielded by Lord Voldemort himself.
Harry and Hagrid gobble up everything Ollivander says, and after leaving the shop Hagrid gives Harry the ticket he will use to board the Hogwarts express, set to leave King’s Cross station on the First of September at eleven o’clock on the dot.
Well, I have to hand it to Jim Kay, he certainly has a way of interpreting even the most beloved aspects of the wizarding world. This chapter features a gorgeous four page spread of what Kay believes Diagon Alley should be depicted looking like. Each store front is a beautiful reflection of what magical items lie within, and I can’t help but flipping back to these pages as every time I do I am greeted by something I missed during the last viewing.
Other notable illustrations include our first look at Draco Malfoy whilst he is being fitted in Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions and the picture of the grumpy old lady being disturbed by the presence of Harry and Hagrid in the London Underground.
Mr Ollivander. I’m surprised that neither Kay or the publishers wanted an illustration of the proprietor and wandmaker behind Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 B.C. Just as well I suppose, given the fact that I don’t think I could picture anything besides John Hurt’s portrayal of this character.
‘Curious indeed how these things happen. The wand chooses the wizard, remember…I think we must expect great things from you, Mr Potter… After all, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named did great things – terrible, yes, but great.’ – Mr. Garrick Ollivander
Out of everything that happened in chapter five the most memorable bit had to have been Harry and Hagrid’s trip to Mr. Ollivander’s wand shop. Rereading this particular section, from Rowling’s description of the narrow and shabby building, with peeling gold letters that read ‘Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 328 B.C., to the exchange about Harry’s wand being made of the same phoenix feathers as Voldemort’s, still instilled in me a sense of utter amazement. It’s so unexpected to me, that all these years later, certain snip-its can produce what I would think is the same reaction I had when I was nine and reading these books for the very first time.
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