Chapter six, The Journey from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters, begins with Harry spending his last month of summer holiday at the Dursley’s. All of them are now scared of Harry, and he mostly keeps to his rooms, choosing to spend all of his time with Hedwig the owl.
On the first of September, at half past ten, Uncle Vernon finally takes Harry to King’s Cross station so that he can board the Hogwarts Express. Not wanting to rouse attention to himself about a platform between nine and ten, Harry asks a muggle guard where he might find the platform that has a train leaving at eleven. When the guard saunters off muttering about time wasters, Harry begins to panic about whether or not Hagrid gave him all the information to make it to school.
Just when Harry feels that all is lost he overhears a plump woman, soon to be revealed as Mrs. Molly Weasley, talking about how the station is packed with muggles. Harry chooses to follow the woman and her children until they arrive at a wall between the platforms nine and ten. Harry then witnesses three of the four boys walking in and past the dividing barrier before he musters the courage to ask the woman for help.
One he is given the instruction to walk towards the barrier, keeping in mind to not be scared while he does so, Harry pushes his trolley through the magical barrier until he is face to face with a scarlet steam engine, the Hogwarts Express.
Harry finds an empty compartment near the end of the train and makes himself comfortable. His peace is interrupted by Fred and George Weasley, who notice the lightning bolt shaped scar on his head and begin to berate him with questions. Molly Weasley is able to call the twins away and after a last, sweet farewell to Percy, Fred, George, and Ron, the youngest Weasley chooses to occupy the train compartment with Harry.
Once the train begins its journey Harry and Ron introduce themselves to one another, speak of ‘he who must not be named’ and share sweets with one another from the candy trolley.
As Ron explains the various wizarding sweets to Harry, including chocolate frogs and their collectable cards, there is a knock on the door of their compartment and a round-faced boy, Neville, comes in looking for his toad. When his search turns up empty, Ron wants to demonstrate to Harry a magic spell he tried to use on his pet rat, Scabbers. Just as Ron is about to being the spell, the compartment door is once again opened, this time by a girl with bushy brown hair and large front teeth. This is the readers first introduction to the greatest witch of her age, Hermione Granger.
When the yellow spell doesn’t work, Hermione sits for a while talking about Hogwarts houses and things she’s read about the wizarding world before she leaves to continue looking for Neville’s toad.
After Hermione takes her leave, Harry and Ron are once again interrupted, this time by Draco, Crabbe, and Goyle, before the train slows down and finally comes to a stop.
Stumbling off of the train, the first years are intercepted by Hagrid who takes them to the edge of a great black lake where they are to get into boats in order to make the final journey to Hogwarts.
The chapter ends with the students reaching an underground harbour, climbing out of the boats, and Hagrid knocking three times on the castle door.
Three illustrations really stuck out for me during my reading of this chapter.
First, I absolutely loved the gorgeous black and white page dedicated to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Even though it didn’t include colour, it left such an impact on me that I have been searching for it as a print to hang up in my home.
The two other notable illustrations included the page depicting everyone’s favourite headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, and the two page spread of the Hogwarts Express ,which just so happens to also be the cover art used for the hardcover version of this book.
Now I know the quote ‘Weasley is our King’ doesn’t come into play until Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix but the introduction to Ron Weasley, one member of the Golden Trio, was truly a delight to revisit. His description and illustration, as compared to Rupert Grint’s portrayal in the movies, is spot on and I can’t wait to see what else Jim Kay conjures up as the series continues.
‘Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow, Turn this stupid fat rat yellow. ‘ – Ron Weasley
This quote has always been one that has stuck out in my mind when reminiscing about Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It’s so absurd but yet oh so catchy, and it gave me a little chuckle when I finally got to it.
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