Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Harry Potter 1.2 The Vanishing Glass Synopsis
Nearly ten years have passed since Harry Potter, who is now almost 11 years old, was taken by a Muggles family and left with the Dursleys. Harry has developed into a scrawny young man with unruly black hair and bright green eyes concealed behind rounded glasses. Additionally, he has a scar in the form of a lightning bolt on his forehead, which his aunt and uncle believe was caused by the alleged car accident that killed his parents. There are many pictures of Dudley in the Dursleys’ living room but none of Harry, who slumbers in a dark, spider-infested closet beneath the staircase.
Harry is awakened by Aunt Petunia one morning and given the task of preparing breakfast. Dudley’s birthday is today, so everything needs to go perfectly. There are many gifts piled up on the kitchen table. The bully Dudley loves to punch Harry, but he rarely manages to catch him. Dudley is overweight. With one less present than last year, Dudley enters the kitchen on the verge of a meltdown. Petunia quickly promises to buy Dudley two more presents that day, bringing the total to 39, narrowly preventing the tantrum.
When the Dursleys learn that Mrs. Figg, their cat-obsessed neighbour who typically looks after Harry at her house during such outings, has broken her leg and is unavailable, they decide not to take Dudley to the zoo for his birthday. Dudley cries out that he does not want Harry to go along as they plan what to do with their nephew. Piers Polkiss, a friend of Dudley, arrives, forcing the Dursleys to permit Harry to join the expedition. Uncle Vernon sternly warns Harry that if any “funny business” happens, he will be locked up until Christmas because the Dursleys won’t believe he did not start them. Strange things frequently seem to happen around Harry.
When Harry mentions having a dream about a flying motorcycle while on the way to the zoo, Uncle Vernon gets upset. At first, the trip to the zoo is successful, and Harry even receives some ice cream. Harry speaks with a sizable boa constrictor in the reptile enclosure. The glass enclosing the snake exhibit disappears when Dudley shoves Harry aside so he can observe the snake’s peculiar behaviour. The snake thanks Harry and exits, announcing that it will return to its natural habitat in Brazil.
Dudley and Piers greatly exaggerate their snake encounter in the car, saying they were attacked by it. Uncle Vernon, who is indignant, tells Harry to go to his cupboard at home and threatens to deny him food for a week. Harry is lying inside, contemplating, when he remembers dimly seeing a flashing green light and feeling pain in his forehead. Additionally, he remembers how occasionally, while out and about with the Dursleys, strange-looking individuals seem to recognise him.
Harry Potter 1.2 The Vanishing Glass Analysis
Harry’s differences from other boys are immediately apparent, and Vernon and Petunia are not only aware of this but also uncomfortable with it. He has been treated by the cruel Dursleys like little more than a slave, receiving no love or even the tiniest amount of respect. Contrary to his cousin Dudley, who is being moulded into a mean, egotistical bully by his parents’ overindulgence and whose name reflects his personality, Harry is neither timid nor bitter and is generally cheerful and kind (a dud). Early characteristics of Harry display the admirable qualities that are so important to his future.
Here Harry’s magical talents are seen flourishing, as he makes the glass wall of the zoo disappear and converses with the snake (the latter is explained in more detail in this book’s successor, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets). The author stated that this uncontrolled magical ability is normal for child wizards who cannot yet control their powers. Like other Muggle-raised wizard children, Harry knows nothing of these talents, which likely makes their effect even more disturbing and potentially harmful to those around him. Oddly, however, Harry barely seems scared of these strange incidents, only casually questioning them. This suggests that he inherently accepts magic and perhaps has an unconscious awareness of his true nature as a wizard. His enforced isolation from the wizarding world and much of the Muggle world also gives him few references to what is considered “normal,” though this will likely change as he matures, eventually realizing that he is quite different from other people.
Harry has also started having flashbacks of his parents’ deaths, despite being told they died in a car accident. Although it hasn’t been fully explained, it’s likely that the green flash he remembers, as well as the flying motorcycle Hagrid used to take him to the Dursleys, are both connected to those events. As Harry gets older, he almost certainly will remember more of that terrible night.
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Harry Potter 1.2 The Vanishing Glass Questions
- Why did Dudley pretend to cry before they left to go to the zoo?
- Why did Dudley stop his fake crying when his friend arrived?
- Why do the Dursleys take Harry with them to the zoo rather than just leave him at home?
- What “strange” things tend to happen around Harry?
- Why do you think the Dursleys treat Harry the way they do ?
- Why do the Dursleys punish Harry for all the strange things that happen ?
- What do the strange things happening around Harry reveal about his character? What does he think about it?
- Why can a snake talk to Harry?
- Why would strangers on the street seem to recognize Harry?
- Why does Harry dream about a flying motorbike? Why would this make Uncle Vernon angry?