I’ve had a few days off work recently, puttering about the house and getting a good clean in. I’ve also been rearranging my bookshelves and setting up all my Harry Potter stuff in a shiny new bookcase. Naturally that also led to me flipping through my Harry Potter books (which I currently own in English, Dutch and French). Now, the first book has always been my favourite, as I’ve said on this blog before. But now I thought: why not share my favourite scene from my favourite book? So that’s exactly what I’m doing here. I’ll copy my favourite scene from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone here. Get ready! The scene is from chapter 11 – Quidditch.
By eleven o’clock the whole school seemed to be out in the stands around the Quidditch pitch. Many students had binoculars. The seats might be raised high in the air but it was still difficult to see what was going on sometimes.
Ron and Hermione joined Neville, Seamus and Dean the West Ham fan up in the top row. As a surprise for Harry, they had painted a large banner on one of the sheets Scabbers had ruined. it said Potter for President and Dean, who was good at drawing, had done a large Gryffindor lion underneath. Then Hermione had performed a tricky little charm so that the paint flashed different colours.
Meanwhile, in the changing rooms, Harry and the rest of the team were changing into their scarlet Quidditch robes (Slytherin would be playing in green).
Wood cleared his throat for silence.
‘OK, men,’ he said.
‘And women,’ said Chaser Angelina Johnson.
‘And women,’ Wood agreed. ‘This is it.’
‘The big one,’ said Fred Weasley.
‘The one we’ve all been waiting for,’ said George.
‘We know Oliver’s speech by heart, ‘ Fred told Harry. ‘We were in the team last year.’
‘Shut up, you two,’ said Wood. ‘This is the best team Gryffindor’s had in years. We’re going to win. I know it.’
He glared at them all as if to say, ‘Or else.’
‘Right. It’s time. Good luck, all of you.’
Harry followed Fred and George out of the changing room and, hoping his knees weren’t going to give way, walked on to the pitch to loud cheers.
Madam Hooch was refereeing. She stood in the middle of the pitch, waiting for the two teams, her broom in her hand.
‘Now, I want a nice fair game, all of you,’ she said, once they were all gathered around her. Harry noticed that she seemed to be speaking particularly to the Slytherin captain, Marcus Flint, a fifth-year. Harry thought Flint looked as if he had some troll blood in him. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the fluttering banner high above, flashing Potter for President over the crowd. His heart skipped a beat. He felt braver.
‘Mount your brooms, please.’
Harry clambered on to his Nimbus Two Thousand.
Madam Hooch gave a loud blast on her silver whistle.
Fifteen brooms rose up, high, high into the air. They were off.
‘And the Quaffle is taken immediately by Angelina Johnson of Gryffindor – what an excellent Chaser that girl is, and rather attractive, too -‘
The Weasley twins’ friend, Lee Jordan, was doing the commentary for the match, closely watched by Professor McGonagall.
‘And she’s really belting along up there, a neat pass to Alicia Spinnet, a good find of Oliver Wood’s, last year only a reserve – back to Johnson and – no, Slytherin have taken the Quaffle, Slytherin captain Marcus Flint gains the Quaffle and off he goes – Flint flying like an eagle up there – he’s going to sc- no, stopped by an excellent move by Gryffindor Keeper Wood and Gryffindor take the Quaffle – that’s Chaser Katie Bell of Gryffindor there, nice dive around Flit, off up the field and – OUCH – that must have hurt, hit in the back of the head by a Bludger – Quaffle taken by Slytherin – that’s Adrian Pucey speeding off towards the goalposts, but he’s blocked by a second Bludger – sent his way by Fred or George Weasley, can’t tell which – nice play by the Gryffindor Beater, anyway, and Johnson back in possession of the Quaffle, a clear field ahead and off she goes – she’s realy flying – dodges a speeding Bludger – the goalposts are ahead – come on, now, Angelina – Keeper Bletchley dives – misses – GRYFFINDOR SCORE!’
Gryffindor cheers filled the cold air, with howls and moans from the Slytherins.
Way up above them, Harry was gliding over the game, squinting about for some sign of the Snitch. This was part of his and Wood’s game plan.
‘Keep out of the way until you catch sight of the Snitch,’ Wood had said. ‘We don’t want you attacked before you have to be.’
When Angelina had scored, Harry had done a couple of loop-the-loops to let out his feelings. Now he was back to staring around for the Snitch. Once he caught sight of a flash of gold, but it was just a reflection from one of the Weasleys’ wristwatches, and once a Bludger decided to come pelting his way, more like a cannon ball than anything, but Harry dodged it and Fred Weasley came chasing after it.
‘All right there, Harry?’ he had time to yell, as he beat the Bludger furiously towards Marcus Flint.
‘Slytherin in possession,’ Lee Jordan was saying ‘Chaser Pucey ducks two Bludgers, two Weasleys and Chaser Bell and speeds towards the – wait a moment – was that the Snitch?’
A murmur ran through the crowd as Adrian Pucey dropped the Quaffle, too busy looking over his shoulder at the flash of gold that had passed his left ear.
Harry saw it. In a great rush of excitement he dived downwards after the streak of gold. Slytherin Seeker Terence Higgs had seen it, too. Neck and neck they hurtled towards the Snitch – all the Chasers seemed to have forgotten what they were supposed to be doing as they hung in mid-air to watch.
Harry was faster than Higgs – he could see the little round ball, wings fluttering, darting up ahead – he put an extra spurt of speed –
WHAM! A roar of rage echoed from the Gryffindors below – Marcus Flint had blocked Harry on purpose and Harry’s broom spun off course, Harry holding on for dear life.
‘Foul!’ screamed the Gryffindors.
Madam Hooch spoke angrily to Flint and then ordered a free shot at the goalposts for Gryffindor. But in all the confusion, of course, the Golden Snitch had disappeared from sight again.
Down in the stands, Dean Thomas was yelling, ‘Send him off, red! Red card!’
‘This isn’t football, Dean,’ Ron reminded him. ‘You can’t send people off in Quidditch – and what’s a red card?’
But Hagrid was on Dean’s side.
‘They oughta change the rules, Flint coulda knocked Harry outta the air.’
Lee Jordan was finding it difficult not to take sides.
‘So – after that obvious and disgusting bit of cheating -‘
‘Jordan!’ growled Professor McGonagall.
‘I mean, after that open and revolting foul -‘
‘Jordan, I’m warning you -‘
‘All right, all right. Flint nearly kills the Gryffindor Seeker, which could happen to anyone, I’m sure, so a penalty to Gryffindor, taken by Spinnet, who puts it away, no trouble, and we continue play, Gryffindor still in possession.’
Lee was still commentating.
‘Slytherin in possession – Flint with the Quaffle – passes Spinnet – passes Bell – hit hard in the face by a Bludger, hope it broke his nose – only joking, Professor – Slytherin score – oh no…’
Harry was speeding towards the ground when the crowd saw him clap his hands to his mouth as though he was about to be sick – he hit the pitch on all fours – coughed – and something gold fell into his hand.
‘I’ve got the Snitch!’ he shouted, waving it above his head, and the game ended in complete confusion.
‘He didn’t catch it, he nearly swallowed it,’ Flint was still howling twenty minutes later, but it made no difference – Harry hadn’t broken any rules and Lee Jorden was still happily shouting the result – Gryffindor had won by one hundred and seventy points to sixty.
So in the first […] I took out the part where Hagrid joins Hermione and Ron in the stands, because it’s not really pertinent to the scene. And in the second […], I omitted the part where Harry’s broom starts acting up and Hermione sets Snape’s cloak on fire to stop him hexing the broom. Because what I love about this scene is of course the Quidditch game itself. For me, Quidditch really represents Hogwarts and the magical world. It’s their own magical sport that so captures the weird magical world itself, with its strange rules which sometimes make no sense at all. It’s such an amazing symbol of Harry Potter’s magical world, I love it. Also, Lee Jordan is so amazing in this scene! I was so sad that they didn’t put this in the movie. One of the biggest omissions from the first book, in my opinion.
Anyway, that is my favourite Harry Potter scene. Please let me know which part of the first book you liked best in the comments! (also, doesn’t reading this just make your fingers itch to pick up the book and read it again? It’s what I did…)