Welcome to Muggles and Mocha, everyone!
Man, chapter five… I feel like we finally get into some great action in chapters four and five, don’t you? The first three chapters have some great build-up, but we’re itching to reach THIS MOMENT—Harry’s introduction to the wizarding world! Up to this point, Harry’s hoped there’s anything, anyone out there waiting for him… and he’s right! We see his abilities, we see the letters, and now—we’re here. Finally, Harry gets some answers.
A quick note about these articles: I’m finding there’s so much to write about in the Harry Potter universe that there may be moments when I focus in on a topic that may not be entirely linked to the chapter we discuss in the video. I’ll do my best to make sure they’re connected at least a little, but there’s a lot to cover in this series. Of course, we have time, and maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. But I’ll definitely let you know which chapters to read for each week.
Here’s our video discussion, and it’s all about one of my favorite subjects in honor of Harry’s first trip to Diagon Alley—wands! I even show off some of my collection. Check it out!
Guys, this chapter had me wanting to go to Hogwarts again. And Harry’s not even there yet!
Today, I want to cover the intense identity shift Harry experiences during the end of chapter four and throughout chapter five. Seriously, his entire view of himself changes in the span of twenty-four hours. Hagrid’s exciting news and the journey to follow is a lot for an eleven-year-old to take in!
Let’s get to it.
Have you ever had a moment that changed the entire trajectory of your life? Maybe you met someone who impacted you in every way imaginable, or you made a decision that solidified a new direction in your life. Harry Potter experienced something like this now, and completely unexpectedly—how could he have ever predicted what would happen on his birthday? Back in chapter four, we see him and the Dursleys hunkered down in a drafty shack in the middle of the sea—then a giant knocks the door in. A fitting start to the news Harry receives.
He hears the epic sentence that defined a generation: “You’re a wizard, Harry.”
Side note: In the book, it’s actually, “Harry, you’re a wizard,” something my brother-in-law was very disappointed to discover. He’s currently reading the series for the first time (yay!), which is so exciting.
Harry’s incredible identity shift begins in chapter four as soon as he hears these words. Before the chapter is through, he learns he has magical abilities, he’s famous, and he’s been accepted to Hogwarts, the magical school both his parents attended. As if all this wasn’t enough to make anyone’s head spin, he also learns the details of his tragic past—he’s an orphan of murder. He learns about Voldemort’s attack when he was a baby, the disaster that killed his parents… and how he was the lone survivor.
Personally, I like how J.K. Rowling handles this material. After all, Harry is newly eleven, and I think he handles this as a normal eleven-year-old would—with shock and silence. He asks questions of course, wanting to know more, but he doesn’t dwell too much on Voldemort at the moment.
After this conversation, Harry’s entire world is turned upside down. He’s changed the way he views himself, but has difficulty accepting it. That is, until he travels to Diagon Alley…
I don’t think we see Harry truly accept this new information about himself until he arrives in the Leaky Cauldron. When Hagrid and Harry reach the pub, we see the most touching scene—the entire crowd rushes to meet Harry, all of them wanting the opportunity to shake his hand. So now, Harry’s perception of how others see him changes as well—he’s never experienced anything like this before. Really, it’s heart-warming to picture this moment, especially when thinking of Harry’s words at the end of chapter two—in Harry’s mind, he had no one, no one who cared about him at all. Now, he’s entering a world where everyone knows his name.
The rest of his day in Diagon Alley holds more changes. He discovers the gold his parents left for him, more money than he’s ever seen before, and he gets to purchase all of his Hogwarts supplies, including Hedwig (one of my favorite characters, for sure).
But I believe the last event that solidifies Harry’s realization that he’s a wizard, that he belongs in this universe, is the wand choosing. What a scene! After trying multiple wands, he finds the one that chooses him. Think about it—yesterday, he was in the Dursleys’ clutches with no hope… His world has completely changed.
On another note, if you want to learn more about Harry’s wand (and just wand lore in general), be sure to watch this week’s video. I go full nerd and break down the different wand woods, cores, lengths, flexibility… It’s super fun. I also bring out some of my wands, like a wand show-and-tell. Get excited!
Also, I had the opportunity to visit Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando last year! It was an emotional moment… If you ever have the chance to go, TAKE IT! It’s amazing. Although, I have a controversial opinion… I don’t think the Butterbeer is that good. Here are some pictures of me and my family having the time of our lives at my true home.
Anyway, back to serious matters. At the end of chapter five, I love how we get a deeper insight into how Harry’s feeling. He finally seems to accept that he’s part of this world, but he’s left with the fear of if he will truly fit in, joining this new universe without a hitch. After all, he’s coming from the Muggle world, a place where he desperately wanted friends and to have someone care for him, and now he’s being launched into a new one—will it really be any better? And here, people have expectations of him, information that’s thrown into focus during his conversation with Ollivander in this chapter.
Harry is such a relatable character, and I honestly wish I could go back in time to when I first read this as a kid. I have a feeling this helped me out when it came to the new adventures in my life, even though they were less intense than, ya know, discovering there’s a hidden universe I’m actually a part of. For me, it was trying a new sport, going to a new school, meeting new people… I think we’ve all experienced a fear like this at some point in our lives. This is one of my favorite lines from the chapter about this:
“Everyone thinks I’m special,” he said at last. “All those people in the Leaky Cauldron, Professor Quirrell, Mr. Ollivander… but I don’t know anything about magic at all. How can they expect great things? I’m famous and I can’t even remember what I’m famous for. I don’t know what happened when Vol-, sorry—I mean, the night my parents died.”Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Page 86
Hagrid does his best to encourage Harry, but the fears remain, as they would for any child. He’s standing on the edge of a new adventure, a world he’s been thrust into and already loves. And not only that—he’s in the spotlight! At this moment, he can’t cope with the expectations everyone has of him and is left with feelings of fear, self-consciousness, and excitement at the thought of Hogwarts.
So now we leave Harry slowly entering this new, exciting world, yet fearing his place in it. Phew. Heavy stuff.
Next, Harry will begin his journey to Hogwarts, where he’ll learn what’s in store, making both friends and enemies in his first couple of days.
Are you ready to go to Hogwarts? Because I am! Let’s go.
This was such a fun chapter to write about! Next week, we’ll follow Harry to Platform 9 ¾ in chapter six and meet the best family in the wizarding world—the Weasleys!
Thanks for tuning in today, and please put your thoughts in the comments below. Also, follow my social media pages for updates and maybe even some fun challenges. There are some exciting plans in the works.
See you next time, Muggles!
Disclaimer: I do not own any part of the Harry Potter series.