Mark Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 15
In the fifteenth chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, SHIT. JUST. GOT. REAL. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Harry Potter.
CHAPTER 15: THE FORBIDDEN FOREST
You guys were right. I should have never doubted you. Because now I know what virtually everything means and where this book is headed. And holy shit, it is so exciting.
But the truth is that it’s really hard to talk about this chapter, which brings forth clues from nearly every chapter into a seamless narrative, without conveying the truly important message:
SHIT JUST GOT REAL
Professor McGonagall is flabbergasted that Harry, Hermione, and Neville have broken the rules by being out so late AND for being up on the Astronomy Tower. She thankfully doesn’t know why they’re exactly there. She guesses that they tricked both Malfoy and Neville into thinking that Hagrid had a dragon so that they could frame them for being outside. Which…what? Ok, it doesn’t matter because for this offense she takes 50 points from the Gryffindor House.
Oh yeah. 50 points FOR EACH PERSON.
By losing 150 points, the Gryffindor House is now in last place and Slytherin is in first. And the entire school hates Harry, Hermione, and Neville.
Harry tries to be noble and resign from Quidditch so he can disappear into anonymity, but Wood won’t let him. Thankfully, with exams coming up, the Gryffindor group has a chance to distract themselves from the social rejection by burying their thoughts into studying.
Except this doesn’t last long. Harry overhears a conversation after class one day between Professor Quirrell and an unknown person:
- “No–no–not again, please–”
It sounded as though someone was threatening him. Harry moved closer.
“All right–all right–” he heard Quirrell sob.
Next second, Quirrell came hurrying out of the classroom straightening his turban. He was pale and looked as though he was about to cry.
OH SHIT. And Harry guesses that Snape was in that room, threatening Quirrell.
But despite Harry’s newfound interest in the Sorcerer’s Stone drama, he ultimately loses motivation out of a desire to not get in trouble. Ron seems to want to keep exploring the issue, but Harry actually sides with Hermione: they’ve garnered too much attention this time around.
At this point in the chapter, I knew that Rowling would have to write in a method to force Harry’s hand to get involved. And the manner in which she does so is ABSOLUTELY, DISGUSTINGLY BRILLIANT.
The next day, Neville, Harry, and Hermione get their detention assignments: meet Filch at the entrance hall at eleven at night. And they do meet Filch there, begrudgingly, and have to deal with him gloating over their punishment (which they still haven’t been informed of). Luckily for the trio, they find that their detention involves working with my boyfriend Hagrid.
- “I suppose you think you’ll be enjoying yourself with that oaf? Well, think again, boy–it’s into the forest you’re going and I’m much mistaken if you’ll all come out in one piece.”
WAIT WHAT THE FUCK THEIR DETENTION IS IN THE FORBIDDEN FOREST????
The scene in the Forbidden Forest is, hands down, my favorite so far in this entire book. Rowling does a fantastic job showing me (NOT TELLING ME F U MEYER) about this new location and building a palpable sense of dread in the reader. Oh by the way this is a children’s book and it will probably give me nightmares.
The Forbidden Forest is forbidden precisely because of how strange and dangerous it is. We learn that Hagrid has discovered that something is harming unicorns out in the forest. Does that sound completely absurd? Absolutely. Yet somehow, Rowling makes it work. And I was not giggling at the idea that a bright white unicorn is prancing around in a forest. Ok. Maybe just a little.
Harry’s job during “detention” is to help Hagrid locate whatever it is that is killing unicorns. YES. THIS IS WHAT DETENTION IS AT HOGWARTS.
Without simply quoting pages and pages of action, it’s hard to express exactly how monumental this chapter is to the rest of the book. Initially, Harry sets off with Hagrid and Hermione, while Malfoy gets Neville and Fang. There’s talk about what could possibly be killing unicorns (werewolves!!???!?!) when Hagrid freaks out about a noise in the distance.
Oh, so guess what else exists in the Harry Potter universe? FUCKING CENTAURS.
In the HP world, centaurs are very knowledgeable beings, obsessed with the planets and stars, and also the worst creatures to get an answer from. They don’t seem to be willing to tell Hagrid what’s going on in the forest. And before Hagrid can grill them even more, Malfoy’s group gives the signal that something’s wrong.
It’s not. Malfoy is a douche and plays a prank on Neville, so Harry and Neville switch places.
And then….shit. gets. real.
- “Look–” he murmured, holding out his arm to stop Malfoy.
Something bright white was gleaming on the ground. They inched closer.
It was the unicorn all right, and it was dead. Harry had never seen anything so beautiful and sad. It’s long, slender legs were stuck out at odd angles where it had fallen and its mane was spread pearly-white on the dark leaves.
You are not prepared.
- Harry had taken one step toward it when a slithering sound made him freeze where he stood. A bush on the edge of the clearing quivered…. Then, out of the shadows, a hooded figure came crawling acorss the ground like some stalking beast. Harry, Malfoy, and Fang stood transfixed. The cloaked figure reached the unicorn, lowered its head over the wound in the animal’s side, and began to drink its blood.
My first thought, unfortunately: OMG IS THIS JASPER’S FAVORITE MEAL? someone please put me out of my misery.
My second thought? I didn’t get to have one because SHIT GOT REAL:
- Then a pain like he’d never felt before pierced his head; it was as though his scar were on fire. Half blinded, he staggered backward. He heard hooves behind him, galloping, and something jumped clean over Harry, charging at the figure.
Oh my god, it fucking CANNOT BE TRUE. WHAT THE FUCK. WHAT THE FUCK. WHAT THE FUCK.
And before I can even react to THIS INSANE FUCKING PLOT TWIST, a centaur named Firenze comes to take Harry away. And we get this cryptic bit of dialogue:
- “What have you been telling him?” growled Bane. “Remember, Firenze, we are sworn not to set ourselves against the heavens. Have we not read what is to come in the movements of the planets?”
what the fuck face is going on what what what what what what
- “That is because it is a monstrous thing, to slay a unicorn,” said Firenze. “Only one who has nothing to lose, and everything to gain, would commit such a crime. The blood of a unicorn will keep you live, even if you are an inch from death, but at a terrible price. You have slain something pure and defenseless to save yourself, and you will have but a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips.”
Excuse me while MY MIND IS BLOWN. Also, how is a unicorn “defenseless” when it has a horn on its head? Ok WHATEVER MORE IMPORTANT THINGS. Like the fact that one of the best hardcore bands in the world shares a name with a centaur why is this so hilarious to me
- “Mr. Potter, do you know what is hidden in the school at this very moment?”
“The Sorcerer’s Stone! Of course–the Elixir of Life! But I don’t understand who–“
“Can you think of nobody who has waited many years to return to power, who has clung to life, awaiting their chance?”
Guys. Guys. Guys.
holy fucking god this is amazing
Of course, Harry immediately tells Ron and Hermione about this development (why not Hagrid), but Hermione tries to comfort him by saying that Dumbledore wouldn’t dare let Voldemort touch Harry.
But Rowling isn’t done turning my brain to mush. Harry heads to bed, his mind spinning, and finds the Invisibility Cloak under his sheets. There’s a note attached. All it says: “Just in case.”
Mind blown. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, guys, but