Harry Potter Read-A-Long: Chapter Fifteen ~ The Forbidden Forest

The Chapter

The chapter begins with the aftermath of the previous scene.

Filch, having caught Harry and Hermione out of bed, take the two rule breakers to Professor McGonagall’s study. Once there the two sit in silence, Hermione trembling, and Harry trying to come up with a clever lie to tell McGonagall as to why they needed to be out of bed.

When McGonagall enters the study, she is leading a curious Neville who tells Harry that he was trying to find the pair to warn them about Malfoy’s plan. Neville is interupted by McGonagall, asking for them to explain why they were up in the astronomy tower in the early hours of the morning whilst also finishing her question by saying she believed this to be a rouse to get Malfoy out of bed and in trouble.

Trying to quell Neville from thinking this true, Harry is again interupted by McGonagall saying how disappointed she was to find four students out of bed, and decides to take action by taking fifty points from each students. Harry begins to protest but McGonagall tells her charges to go back to bed.

The next morning, the giant hourglasses that record the house points relay the 150 point deduction from Gryffindor, much to the dismay of those involved. Ron tries to ease the blow by saying everyone forgets that Fred and George lose the house points all the time, but Harry retorts that it was never 150 points in one go. Feeling bad for himself, Harry goes to Oliver Wood and tries to resign as Seeker, and while he is persuaded to stay, Harry can feel the animosity from his fellow Gryffindor teammates.

Trying to keep his head down, Harry can’t help but overhear Quirrell one day, whimpering in his classroom. As Harry approaches the door Quirrell comes barreling out, looking pale, and ignoring Harry’s existence. Harry decides to go to the library to tell Hermione and Ron about the encounter, and the trio decide that the person Quirrel was being taunted by Snape and that the potions master must have found out how to get past Fluffy.

The next morning, Harry, Hermione, and Neville were informed that they were to have detention at eleven o’clock that evening, and at the aforementioned time the three Gryffindors, and Malfoy, find themselves greeted in the entrance hall by Mr. Filch.

Filch takes the students to Hagrid’s hut, where it is revealed that they are going to be investigating strange happenings in the Forbidden Forest. Following several attempts by Malfoy to get out of the detention, Hagrid leads the rag tag pack to the edge of the forest, where he shows them a silver puddle on the ground. Hagrid teaches them that the substance is unicorn blood and that they are tasked to find the creature.

The group is then split with Hagrid, Harry, and Hermione going one way and Malfoy, Neville, and Fang, the dog, going the other. Hagrid, Harry, and Hermione walk in silence until Harry asks if a werewolf could be behind the attacks. Hagrid rebuffs the statement saying whatever is behind the attacks needs to be fast. As Hagrid is explaining how quick unicorns are, Ronan and Bane the centaurs intercepts the group, and after an exchange of pleasantries the groundskeeper and students continue on.

During their walk, Hermione notices red sparks in the air and the group realizes it could be the two other boys asking for help. Hagrid leaves Harry and Hermione to fetch the other students, and after quite a while he returns with Malfoy, Neville, and Fang. It is revealed that the sparks were due to Neville being spooked, and Hagrid reconfigured the search groups so that it is now Harry, Malfoy, and Fang.

After about a half an hour, Malfoy notices something white on the ground, and after inching closer the boys realize that it is a dead unicorn. Harry inches closer only to notice a hooded figure slithering closer to the unicorn until it begins to drink its blood.

When Harry looks at the hooded figure he is met with an excruciating pain in his head. Seeing a fellow student in danger, Malfoy, and Fang, flees the scene. Half blinded by pain, Harry hears hooves behind him, and once the pain subsides he sees the figure has vanished, replaced instead by a protector, another centaur, Firenze.

Firenze tells Harry that he will carry him to his party, and whilst doing this is interrupted by Bane and Ronan who berate the young centaur as nothing more than a mule for the injured wizard. Once Firenze and Harry remove themselves from the precarious situation, Harry questions as to why Firenze’s kinsmen were so angry, but is met with silence. The pair walk for a little while longer before Firenze poses the question of, ‘do you know what unicorn blood is used for?’

Firenze discloses that unicorn blood can be used to save someone from the brink of death, but that killing something so pure comes with a price, the curse of a half life. Harry deciphers the warning Firenze is trying to make, coming to the conclusion that the hooded figure must have been Voldemort. Before he can vocalize his thoughts Harry is reunited with Hagrid and Hermione, and the students are sent back to Hogwarts.

In the common room, Harry relays the knowledge that Voldemort is alive to Hermione and Ron. Ron insists that Harry stop using Voldemort’s name, and Harry, not listening, says that all that is left to do is for Snape to steal the Philosopher’s Stone, give it to Voldemort, and then the dark lord can finish off Harry.

Harry, tired from the events of the day, goes to bed, and the chapter ends with the forgotten invisibility cloak being returned to Harry under his sheets by an anonymous ally, just in case.

The Illustrations

The illustrations in this chapter, The Forbidden Forest, were much better than the last few have been in terms of volume.

Among my favourites was Kay’s depiction of Professor McGonagall. While no one will every be able to replace Dame Maggie Smith in my mind, Kay’s interpretation of the character was about the representation I had of her when I first read through Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone at 9-years-old.

Also, I rather enjoyed the illustration of the entrance into Hogwarts. It looked like a living, breathing, magical entity like I believe Hogwarts to be. I mean if Hogwarts can decide to present secrets to students, why wouldn’t it have personified features?

The Quote

‘I want Fang,’ said Malfoy quickly, looking at Fang’s long teeth. ‘All right, but I warn yeh, he’s a coward,’ said Hagrid.

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