"Ah, shut up, Dursley, yeh great prune," said the giant; he reached over the
back of the sofa, jerked the gun out of Uncle Vernon's hands, bent it into a knot
as easily as if it had been made of rubber, and threw it into a corner of the room.
Uncle Vernon made another funny noise, like a mouse being trodden on.
"Anyway — Harry," said the giant, turning his back on the Dursleys, "a very happy
birthday to yeh. Got summat fer yeh here — I mighta sat on it at some point, but
it'll taste all right."
From an inside pocket of his black overcoat he pulled a slightly squashed box.
Harry opened it with trembling fingers. Inside was a large, sticky chocolate cake
with Happy Birthday Harry written on it in green icing.
Harry looked up at the giant. He meant to say thank you, but the words got lost
on the way to his mouth, and what he said instead was, "Who are you?"
The giant chuckled.
"True, I haven't introduced meself. Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of Keys and Grounds
He held out an enormous hand and shook Harry's whole arm.
"What about that tea then, eh?" he said, rubbing his hands together. "I'd not
say no ter summat stronger if yeh've got it, mind."
His eyes fell on the empty grate with the shriveled chip bags in it and he snorted.
He bent down over the fireplace; they couldn't see what he was doing but when he
drew back a second later, there was a roaring fire there. It filled the whole damp
hut with flickering light and Harry felt the warmth wash over him as though he'd
sunk into a hot bath.
The giant sat back down on the sofa, which sagged under his weight, and began
taking all sorts of things out of the pockets of his coat: a copper kettle, a squashy
package of sausages, a poker, a teapot, several chipped mugs, and a bottle of some
amber liquid that he took a swig from before starting to make tea. Soon the hut
was full of the sound and smell of sizzling sausage. Nobody said a thing while the
giant was working, but as he slid the first six fat, juicy, slightly burnt sausages
from the poker, Dudley fidgeted a little. Uncle Vernon said sharply, "Don't touch
anything he gives you, Dudley."
The giant chuckled darkly.
"Yet great puddin' of a son don' need fattenin' anymore, Dursley, don' worry."
He passed the sausages to Harry, who was so hungry he had never tasted anything
so wonderful, but he still couldn't take his eyes off the giant. Finally, as nobody
seemed about to explain anything, he said, "I'm sorry, but I still don't really
know who you are."
The giant took a gulp of tea and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
"Call me Hagrid," he said, "everyone does. An' like I told yeh, I'm Keeper of
Keys at Hogwarts — yeh'll know all about Hogwarts, o'course.
"Er — no," said Harry.
Hagrid looked shocked.
"Sorry," Harry said quickly.
"Sony?" barked Hagrid, turning to stare at the Dursleys, who shrank back into
the shadows. "It's them as should be sorry! I knew yeh weren't gettin' yer letters
but I never thought yeh wouldn't even know abou' Hogwarts, fer cryin' out loud!
Did yeh never wonder where yet parents learned it all?"
"All what?" asked Harry.
"ALL WHAT?" Hagrid thundered. "Now wait jus' one second!"
He had leapt to his feet. In his anger he seemed to fill the whole hut. The Dursleys
were cowering against the wall.
"Do you mean ter tell me," he growled at the Dursleys, "that this boy -- this
boy! — knows nothin' abou' — about ANYTHING?"
Harry thought this was going a bit far. He had been to school, after all, and
his marks weren't bad.
"I know some things," he said. "I can, you know, do math and stuff." But Hagrid
simply waved his hand and said, "About our world, I mean. Your world. My world.
Yer parents' world."
Hagrid looked as if he was about to explode.
"DURSLEY!" he boomed.
Uncle Vernon, who had gone very pale, whispered something that sounded like "Mimblewimble."
Hagrid stared wildly at Harry.
"But yeh must know about yet mom and dad," he said. "I mean, they're famous.
"What? My — my mom and dad weren't famous, were they?"
"Yeh don' know... yeh don' know..." Hagrid ran his fingers through his hair,
fixing Harry with a bewildered stare.
"Yeh don' know what yeh are?" he said finally.
Uncle Vernon suddenly found his voice.
"Stop!" he commanded. "Stop right there, sit! I forbid you to tell the boy anything!"
A braver man than Vernon Dursley would have quailed under the furious look Hagrid
now gave him; when Hagrid spoke, his every syllable trembled with rage.
"You never told him? Never told him what was in the letter Dumbledore left fer
him? I was there! I saw Dumbledore leave it, Dursley! An' you've kept it from him
all these years?"
"Kept what from me?" said Harry eagerly.
"STOP! I FORBID YOU!" yelled Uncle Vernon in panic.
Aunt Petunia gave a gasp of horror.
"Ah, go boil yet heads, both of yeh," said Hagrid. "Harry — yet a wizard."
There was silence inside the hut. Only the sea and the whistling wind could be
"-- a what?" gasped Harry.
"A wizard, o' course," said Hagrid, sitting back down on the sofa, which groaned
and sank even lower, "an' a thumpin' good'un, I'd say, once yeh've been trained
up a bit. With a mum an' dad like yours, what else would yeh be? An' I reckon it's
abou' time yeh read yer letter."
Harry stretched out his hand at last to take the yellowish envelope, addressed
in emerald green to Mr. H. Potter, The Floor, Hut-on-the-Rock, The Sea. He pulled
out the letter and read:
HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
Headmaster: ALBUS DUMBLEDORE
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock, Supreme Mugwump, International
Confed. of Wizards)
Dear Mr. Potter,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of
Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and
Term begins on September 1. We await your owl by no later than July 31. Yours
Questions exploded inside Harry's head like fireworks and he couldn't decide
which to ask first. After a few minutes he stammered, "What does it mean, they await
"Gallopin' Gorgons, that reminds me," said Hagrid, clapping a hand to his forehead
with enough force to knock over a cart horse, and from yet another pocket inside
his overcoat he pulled an owl — a real, live, rather ruffled-looking owl — a long
quill, and a roll of parchment. With his tongue between his teeth he scribbled a
note that Harry could read upside down:
Dear Professor Dumbledore,
Given Harry his letter.
Taking him to buy his things tomorrow.
Weather's horrible. Hope you're Well.
Hagrid rolled up the note, gave it to the owl, which clamped it in its beak,
went to the door, and threw the owl out into the storm. Then he came back and sat
down as though this was as normal as talking on the telephone.
Harry realized his mouth was open and closed it quickly.
"Where was I?" said Hagrid, but at that moment, Uncle Vernon, still ashen-faced
but looking very angry, moved into the firelight.
"He's not going," he said.
"I'd like ter see a great Muggle like you stop him," he said.
"A what?" said Harry, interested.
"A Muggle," said Hagrid, "it's what we call nonmagic folk like thern. An' it's
your bad luck you grew up in a family o' the biggest Muggles I ever laid eyes on."
"We swore when we took him in we'd put a stop to that rubbish," said Uncle Vernon,
"swore we'd stamp it out of him! Wizard indeed!"
"You knew?" said Harry. "You knew I'm a — a wizard?"
"Knew!" shrieked Aunt Petunia suddenly. "Knew! Of course we knew! How could you
not be, my dratted sister being what she was? Oh, she got a letter just like that
and disappeared off to that-that school-and came home every vacation with her pockets
full of frog spawn, turning teacups into rats. I was the only one who saw her for
what she was — a freak! But for my mother and father, oh no, it was Lily this and
Lily that, they were proud of having a witch in the family!"
She stopped to draw a deep breath and then went ranting on. It seemed she had
been wanting to say all this for years.
"Then she met that Potter at school and they left and got married and had you,
and of course I knew you'd be just the same, just as strange, just as — as — abnormal
— and then, if you please, she went and got herself blown up and we got landed with
Harry had gone very white. As soon as he found his voice he said, "Blown up?
You told me they died in a car crash!"
"CAR CRASH!" roared Hagrid, jumping up so angrily that the Dursleys scuttled
back to their corner. "How could a car crash kill Lily an' James Potter? It's an
outrage! A scandal! Harry Potter not knowin' his own story when every kid in our
world knows his name!" "But why? What happened?" Harry asked urgently.
The anger faded from Hagrid's face. He looked suddenly anxious.
"I never expected this," he said, in a low, worried voice. "I had no idea, when
Dumbledore told me there might be trouble gettin' hold of yeh, how much yeh didn't
know. Ah, Harry, I don' know if I'm the right person ter tell yeh — but someone
3 s gotta — yeh can't go off ter Hogwarts not knowin'."
He threw a dirty look at the Dursleys.
"Well, it's best yeh know as much as I can tell yeh — mind, I can't tell yeh
everythin', it's a great myst'ry, parts of it...."
He sat down, stared into the fire for a few seconds, and then said, "It begins,
I suppose, with — with a person called — but it's incredible yeh don't know his
name, everyone in our world knows - — "
"Well — I don' like sayin' the name if I can help it. No one does."
"Gulpin' gargoyles, Harry, people are still scared. Blimey, this is difficult.
See, there was this wizard who went... bad. As bad as you could go. Worse. Worse
than worse. His name was..."
Hagrid gulped, but no words came out.
"Could you write it down?" Harry suggested.
"Nah -can't spell it. All right — Voldemort. " Hagrid shuddered. "Don' make me
say it again. Anyway, this — this wizard, about twenty years ago now, started lookin'
fer followers. Got 'em, too — some were afraid, some just wanted a bit o' his power,
'cause he was gettin' himself power, all right. Dark days, Harry. Didn't know who
ter trust, didn't dare get friendly with strange wizards or witches... terrible
things happened. He was takin' over. 'Course, some stood up to him -- an' he killed
'em. Horribly. One o' the only safe places left was Hogwarts. Reckon Dumbledore's
the only one You-Know-Who was afraid of. Didn't dare try takin' the school, not
jus' then, anyway.
"Now, yer mum an' dad were as good a witch an' wizard as I ever knew. Head boy
an' girl at Hogwarts in their day! Suppose the myst'ry is why You-Know-Who never
tried to get 'em on his side before... probably knew they were too close ter Dumbledore
ter want anythin' ter do with the Dark Side.
"Maybe he thought he could persuade 'em... maybe he just wanted 'em outta the
way. All anyone knows is, he turned up in the village where you was all living,
on Halloween ten years ago. You was just a year old. He came ter yer house an' —
an' - — "
Hagrid suddenly pulled out a very dirty, spotted handkerchief and blew his nose
with a sound like a foghorn.
"Sorry," he said. "But it's that sad — knew yer mum an' dad, an' nicer people
yeh couldn't find — anyway..."
"You-Know-Who killed 'em. An' then — an' this is the real myst'ry of the thing
— he tried to kill you, too. Wanted ter make a clean job of it, I suppose, or maybe
he just liked killin' by then. But he couldn't do it. Never wondered how you got
that mark on yer forehead? That was no ordinary cut. That's what yeh get when a
Powerful, evil curse touches yeh — took care of yer mum an' dad an' yer house, even
— but it didn't work on you, an' that's why yer famous, Harry. No one ever lived
after he decided ter kill 'em, no one except you, an' he'd killed some o' the best
witches an' wizards of the age — the McKinnons, the Bones, the Prewetts — an' you
was only a baby, an' you lived."
Something very painful was going on in Harry's mind. As Hagrid's story came to
a close, he saw again the blinding flash of green light, more clearly than he had
ever remembered it before — and he remembered something else, for the first time
in his life: a high, cold, cruel laugh.
Hagrid was watching him sadly.
"Took yeh from the ruined house myself, on Dumbledore's orders. Brought yeh ter
"Load of old tosh," said Uncle Vernon. Harry jumped; he had almost forgotten
that the Dursleys were there. Uncle Vernon certainly seemed to have got back his
courage. He was glaring at Hagrid and his fists were clenched.
"Now, you listen here, boy," he snarled, "I accept there's something strange
about you, probably nothing a good beating wouldn't have cured -- and as for all
this about your parents, well, they were weirdos, no denying it, and the world's
better off without them in my opinion -- asked for all they got, getting mixed up
with these wizarding types -- just what I expected, always knew they'd come to a
sticky end - — "