Ron dropped his wand. Hermione Granger, telling a downright lie to a teacher?
"If they hadn't found me, I'd be dead now. Harry stuck his wand up its nose and
Ron knocked it out with its own club. They didn't have time to come and fetch anyone.
It was about to finish me off when they arrived."
Harry and Ron tried to look as though this story wasn't new to them.
"Well — in that case..." said Professor McGonagall, staring at the three of them,
"Miss Granger, you foolish girl, how could you think of tackling a mountain troll
on your own?"
Hermione hung her head. Harry was speechless. Hermione was the last person to
do anything against the rules, and here she was, pretending she had, to get them
out of trouble. It was as if Snape had started handing out sweets.
"Miss Granger, five points will be taken from Gryffindor for this," said Professor
McGonagall. "I'm very disappointed in you. If you're not hurt at all, you'd better
get off to Gryffindor tower. Students are finishing the feast in their houses."
Professor McGonagall turned to Harry and Ron.
"Well, I still say you were lucky, but not many first years could have taken
on a full-grown mountain troll. You each win Gryffindor five points. Professor Dumbledore
will be informed of this. You may go."
They hurried out of the chamber and didn't speak at all until they had climbed
two floors up. It was a relief to be away from the smell of the troll, quite apart
from anything else.
"We should have gotten more than ten points," Ron grumbled.
"Five, you mean, once she's taken off Hermione's."
"Good of her to get us out of trouble like that," Ron admitted. "Mind you, we
did save her."
"She might not have needed saving if we hadn't locked the thing in with her,"
Harry reminded him.
They had reached the portrait of the Fat Lady.
"Pig snout," they said and entered.
The common room was packed and noisy. Everyone was eating the food that had been
sent up. Hermione, however, stood alone by the door, waiting for them. There was
a very embarrassed pause. Then, none of them looking at each other, they all said
"Thanks," and hurried off to get plates.
But from that moment on, Hermione Granger became their friend. There are some
things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot
mountain troll is one of them.
As they entered November, the weather turned very cold. The mountains around
the school became icy gray and the lake like chilled steel. Every morning the ground
was covered in frost. Hagrid could be seen from the upstairs windows defrosting
broomsticks on the Quidditch field, bundled up in a long moleskin overcoat, rabbit
fur gloves, and enormous beaverskin boots.
The Quidditch season had begun. On Saturday, Harry would be playing in his first
match after weeks of training: Gryffindor versus Slytherin. If Gryffindor won, they
would move up into second place in the house championship.
Hardly anyone had seen Harry play because Wood had decided that, as their secret
weapon, Harry should be kept, well, secret. But the news that he was playing Seeker
had leaked out somehow, and Harry didn't know which was worse — people telling him
he'd be brilliant or people telling him they'd be running around underneath him
holding a mattress.
It was really lucky that Harry now had Hermlone as a friend. He didn't know how
he'd have gotten through all his homework without her, what with all the last-minute
Quidditch practice Wood was making them do. She had also tent him Quidditch Through
the Ages, which turned out to be a very interesting read.
Harry learned that there were seven hundred ways of committing a Quidditch foul
and that all of them had happened during a World Cup match in 1473; that Seekers
were usually the smallest and fastest players, and that most serious Quidditch accidents
seemed to happen to them; that although people rarely died playing Quidditch, referees
had been known to vanish and turn up months later in the Sahara Desert.
Hermione had become a bit more relaxed about breaking rules since Harry and Ron
had saved her from the mountain troll, and she was much nicer for it. The day before
Harry's first Quidditch match the three of them were out in the freezing courtyard
during break, and she had conjured them up a bright blue fire that could be carried
around in a jam jar. They were standing with their backs to it, getting warm, when
Snape crossed the yard. Harry noticed at once that Snape was limping. Harry, Ron,
and Hermione moved closer together to block the fire from view; they were sure it
wouldn't be allowed. Unfortunately, something about their guilty faces caught Snape's
eye. He limped over. He hadn't seen the fire, but he seemed to be looking for a
reason to tell them off anyway.
"What's that you've got there, Potter?"
It was Quidditch Through the Ages. Harry showed him.
"Library books are not to be taken outside the school," said Snape. "Give it
to me. Five points from Gryffindor."
"He's just made that rule up," Harry muttered angrily as Snape limped away. "Wonder
what's wrong with his leg?"
"Dunno, but I hope it's really hurting him," said Ron bitterly.
The Gryffindor common room was very noisy that evening. Harry, Ron, and Hermione
sat together next to a window. Hermione was checking Harry and Ron's Charms homework
for them. She would never let them copy ("How will you learn?"), but by asking her
to read it through, they got the right answers anyway.
Harry felt restless. He wanted Quidditch Through the Ages back, to take his mind
off his nerves about tomorrow. Why should he be afraid of Snape? Getting up, he
told Ron and Hermione he was going to ask Snape if he could have it.
"Better you than me," they said together, but Harry had an idea that Snape wouldn't
refuse if there were other teachers listening.
He made his way down to the staffroom and knocked. There was no answer. He knocked
Perhaps Snape had left the book in there? It was worth a try. He pushed the door
ajar and peered inside — and a horrible scene met his eyes.
Snape and Filch were inside, alone. Snape was holding his robes above his knees.
One of his legs was bloody and mangled. Filch was handing Snape bandages.
"Blasted thing*," Snape was saying. "How are you supposed to keep your eyes on
all three heads at once?"
Harry tried to shut the door quietly, but --
Snape's face was twisted with fury as he dropped his robes quickly to hide his
leg. Harry gulped.
"I just wondered if I could have my book back."
"GET OUT! OUT!"
Harry left, before Snape could take any more points from Gryffindor. He sprinted
"Did you get it?" Ron asked as Harry joined them. "What's the matter?"
In a low whisper, Harry told them what he'd seen.
"You know what this means?" he finished breathlessly. "He tried to get past that
three-headed dog at Halloween! That's where he was going when we saw him — he's
after whatever it's guarding! And Id bet my broomstick he let that troll in, to
make a diversion!"
Hermione's eyes were wide.
"No — he wouldn't, she said. "I know he's not very nice, but he wouldn't try
and steal something Dumbledore was keeping safe."
"Honestly, Hermione, you think all teachers are saints or something," snapped
Ron. "I'm with Harry. I wouldn't put anything past Snape. But what's he after? What's
that dog guarding?"
Harry went to bed with his head buzzing with the same question. Neville was snoring
loudly, but Harry couldn't sleep. He tried to empty his mind -- he needed to sleep,
he had to, he had his first Quidditch match in a few hours — but the expression
on Snape's face when Harry had seen his leg wasn't easy to forget.
The next morning dawned very bright and cold. The Great Hall was full of the
delicious smell of fried sausages and the cheer ful chatter of everyone looking
forward to a good Quidditch match.
"You've got to eat some breakfast."
"I don't want anything."
"Just a bit of toast," wheedled Hermione.
"I'm not hungry."
Harry felt terrible. In an hour's time he'd be walking onto the field.
"Harry, you need your strength," said Seamus Finnigan. "Seekers are always the
ones who get clobbered by the other team."
"Thanks, Seamus," said Harry, watching Seamus pile ketchup on his sausages.
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 colors.
Meanwhile, in the locker room, 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.
"Okay, 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 on the team last
"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 locker room and, hoping his knees weren't
going to give way, walked onto the field to loud cheers.
Madam Hooch was refereeing. She stood in the middle of the field 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 sixth 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. He felt
"Mount your brooms, please."
Harry clambered onto 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, the
Slytherins 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 the Gryffindors take the Quaffle
-- that's Chaser Katie Bell of Gryffindor there, nice dive around Flint, off up
the field and — OUCH — that must have hurt, hit in the back of the head by a Bludger
— Quaffle taken by the Slytherins — that's Adrian Pucey speeding off toward the
goal posts, 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
really flying — dodges a speeding Bludger — the goal posts are ahead -- come on,
now, Angelina — Keeper Bletchley dives — misses -- GRYFFINDORS SCORE!"
Gryffindor cheers filled the cold air, with howls and moans from the Slytherins.
"Budge up there, move along."
Ron and Hermione squeezed together to give Hagrid enough space to join them.
"Bin watchin' from me hut," said Hagrid, patting a large pair of binoculars around
his neck, "But it isn't the same as bein' in the crowd. No sign of the Snitch yet,
"Nope," said Ron. "Harry hasn't had much to do yet."
"Kept outta trouble, though, that's somethin'," said Hagrid, raising his binoculars
and peering skyward at the speck that was Harry.
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 off
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 cannonball 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
toward Marcus Flint.