Guys, we’re HERE. The next-to-last chapter of the book—chapter sixteen. We have the trapdoor, the Sorcerer’s Stone, Voldemort… LET’S GO!
Welcome to Muggles and Mocha, everyone! In case you can’t tell, I’m very excited about this part of the book. In Sorcerer’s Stone, of course there’s a lot of world-building and such, but this book is a constant build, and EVERYTHING happens in these last two chapters. It’s a whirlwind, but I can’t wait to jump into it with you guys.
We discuss the whole chapter in the video below. Check it out for some thoughts about Neville’s house points, Ron’s unfortunate portrayal in the movies, my favorite challenge, and more!
Today, we’re talking about a topic that may be unexpected. This chapter is FULL of adventure, but there was a person who stood out to me who is often brushed aside—Ron Weasley. So, Ron Weasley fans rejoice! He’s going to be our main focus for today.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m trying to really pay attention to Ron because he’s either forgotten or belittled most of the time. And I’m guilty of this as well! Honestly, I think I harbor some resentment toward Ron for leaving in the seventh book, and I believe it’s affected the way I view him in the earlier books. I realize that’s hugely unfair and that everyone makes mistakes, especially when they’re in highly stressful, dangerous, deadly… every bad adjective… situations like the one Ron was experiencing in that book. I have no idea how I would have reacted in that situation, so I can’t judge.
Plus, Ron has some fantastic personality traits that should be recognized! I think the fandom and the movies have worked to slowly push him to the side and simply view him as comic relief, unintelligent, jumpy, and rash. But that just isn’t true, and this is one of the chapters where we can clearly see the type of person Ron is.
Ron truly steps up to the plate in this chapter, and I personally think the way the movie portrays him during this adventure is unfair. For instance, in the movie, when the kids fall into the Devil’s Snare, Ron panics. However, in the books, he’s the one who has to calm Hermione. As I read this chapter, I was very impressed with how Ron handled each of the challenges thrown their way; he was calm, cool, and collected. He shows a lot of courage, wit, and strength, and that needs to be recognized.
Specifically, I want to focus on—you guessed it—the famous chess match. This is Ron’s time to shine!
As a kid, I had this Harry Potter catalog full of different Harry Potter memorabilia you could order (this was before online shopping was so huge). There was this fantastic model of the chess set from the movie, and it was so cool. It was also like three hundred dollars. I don’t like chess that much. But I do think of that chess set from time to time…
Today, we’re going to cover four different traits Ron shows during this deadly chess match and how these traits demonstrate the strength of Ron’s character.
- Courage. Of course, this entire ordeal shows us Ron is brave. I think this particular challenge would have been the most terrifying part of the entire experience for me (minus Voldemort), but Ron immediately takes it in stride. He sees the chess set, realizes what the challenge will entail, then gets down to business. I’m not a huge strategy person, and I tend to freak out under pressure… so I most likely wouldn’t have made it out of there! And without Ron, I’m not so sure Harry and Hermione would have either. I’m impressed with the way Ron takes the lead, pushing his fear aside.
- Logic and Strategy. Okay, this is huge, guys! Like I’ve mentioned, I think we sideline Ron to the comic relief and make him out as a “dumb” character. While he might not be the most “book smart” character in the series, his strategy skills during this game in the face of death show a lot of wit, calculation, and brains. This scene proves there’s more to Ron than simply being the funny guy.
- Protection. During the match, we learn Ron is taking out many of the other pieces on the board, and he’s continually the one calling the shots. Through this, he tries to keep Harry and Hermione out of the fray as much as possible, which would be very difficult in chess. He has to pay close attention to every piece on the board so that Harry and Hermione don’t accidentally become collateral damage in their rush to victory. And in the end, we see he puts his friends above himself.
- Sacrifice. All of this brings me to, in my opinion, the most important trait we see from Ron here—sacrifice. Ron sacrifices himself so Harry and Hermione can go on and stop Quirrell. Once he realizes this is the way for them to win the match, he acts without hesitation, fighting fiercely for this outcome. And think about this—he’s ELEVEN. This would be difficult enough for a grown adult to do, much less a child. Ron acts with determination and bravery as he gives himself up for his friends. This action sets a tone for the rest of the books and shows Ron’s intense loyalty to his friends in the face of fear and danger. I’m going to work hard to bring other moments like this to light so we can recognize Ron’s sacrificial nature.
Hopefully, this has shown you I truly am going to strive to view Ron as the good friend he is. As I’ve mentioned, the movies don’t really do Ron any favors either. At this part, I feel like they try to portray Ron as scared during certain scenes, but in the book, that’s far from the case, even when facing the other challenges. We don’t see him waver once! So let’s give Ron the respect he deserves. To me, he’s the hero of this chapter, and as we go through the rest of the book series, I’m going to highlight other moments when he’s given the chance to shine.
Next week, we’re ending the book. For real. I’m sad but also excited. Spending this amount of time on such a short book has given us the opportunity to truly break it down, and I’ve learned so much already. I hope you have, too. Let’s keep going! We’re going to cover chapter seventeen… I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about what all goes down in that chapter. The article will actually be one I’ve looked forward to writing since this book club started: all about Lily’s sacrifice. You don’t want to miss it!
I hope you’ve enjoyed the article and the video! If there’s ever a certain topic from the chapters you’d like to read or hear about, please send me a message. I’d love to hear from you! Reach out to me through the contact button below.
I’ll see you next week, mischief-makers!
Disclaimer: I do not own any element of the Harry Potter series.
4 Replies to ““Down the Trapdoor!” and a Defense of Ron Weasley – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapter 16”
I think in this first book we actually see who these 11 year old characters are deep down. They may grow and change is some negative and positive ways throughout the series but eventually we will be brought, full circle back to these courageous, sacrificial, intelligent and loving human beings. Ron is such a great friend and so brave in this book. We will later see the things in his personality that he must overcome like jealousy and inferiority later on. Once he does, he turns right back into that sweet 11 year old that we all love.
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I definitely agree! It’s wonderful that we get to see the full depth of the characters in the first book so we can see their traits pop up again and again.
Can’t believe I got another shoutout! Like I said before, I’m honored 😆
I’d like to start off by seconding your praise for Neville here! I think that you’re 100% correct that Dumbledore definitely did the math in his head beforehand, but I also agree that the points were still well deserved! We know this because hindsight is 20/20, but Neville is a character with great potential. I have to believe that Dumbledore saw that in him, and realized that he needed support and positive reinforcement when he did the right thing. Neville is awesome!
I’m also inclined to agree with you about Ron’s portrayal in the movies vs the books. He definitely comes off much better in the book – he even managed to help out Hermione while simultaneously making me laugh lol. This particular scene is a great window into who these kids are. I think it’s quite natural for Hermione to revert back to what she knows best when in great peril (muggle things) and it’s also natural that Ron (who was raised from the beginning as a wizard) would immediately jump to magic as the solution. This is also why Ron would have been hopeless in Snape’s portion of the “Defense of the Stone” while it’s Hermione’s time to shine. And of course there’s Harry, proving to the whole world that he has incredible leadership skills at the tender age of 11.
Which leads me to Harry’s speech before they go down the trapdoor. I’m SO impressed by this. He is so grounded and capable of grasping the bigger picture, and he seems to pick it up immediately. I would NOT have been able to do that at 11. I feel like most people would expect kids this young to be wrapped up a little more in themselves, like Ron and Hermione are initially, but Harry blows right past that. Like I said, this is even further evidence that Harry the child has passed on, and Harry the adult has officially arrived. Both impressive and tragic, all at once…
Does Harry’s maturity at this young age break anyone else’s heart?? I’m so sorry for him that he’s had this burden thrust upon him so young 💔
While I think that Snape’s trial is definitely one of the most interesting of the bunch (it’s pretty awesome), I’m obviously going to have to choose the Mirror of Erised as my favorite. I know that’s cheating a little, but I can’t help it. It’s SO smart…
Speaking of the trials, Ron’s performance on the chessboard is every bit as impressive as you say it is. What’s even more interesting is that while in the movies there are already 3 openings for them to take, Ron actually chooses which pieces each person should be in the book (more evidence of the movies downplaying him!!). This is SO impressively strategic! I honestly feel that this would probably put him on par with a lot of the chess masters here in the real world. This kid KNOWS wizard’s chess, and the other two simply would not have made it past that challenge without him. And since we’re focusing on Ron this week, I’d just like to say that I actually think his character arc is one of the more interesting ones in the series. He seems to have higher peaks and lower valleys than most of the others (besides perhaps Harry or Neville). I think we tend to forget that Ron doesn’t exactly have it “easy” just because he has grown up in this world and comes from a pureblood family. Ron has baggage too! (see Mia’s comment for evidence of what I’m talking about) Lol.
-p.s. this probably is not the time for it because I’m sure this will come up later on, but I just would like to point out for all the Ron haters that not only does Ron have to live in the shadow of his (many) siblings, he has to live in the shadow of the Chosen One and of one of most brilliant witches of their time. This would be HARD. So I feel for Ron!
Excited for next week!
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