Hey guys. I thought of posting part of the chapter being discussed so that we can revisit the HP world.
THE LETTERS FROM NO ONE
The escape of the Brazilian boa constrictor earned Harry his
longest-ever punishment. By the time he was allowed out of his cupboard
again, the summer holidays had started and Dudley had already broken his
new video camera, crashed his remote control airplane, and, first time
out on his racing bike, knocked down old Mrs. Figg as she crossed Privet
Drive on her crutches.
Harry was glad school was over, but there was no escaping Dudley's gang,
who visited the house every single day. Piers, Dennis, Malcolm, and
Gordon were all big and stupid, but as Dudley was the biggest and
stupidest of the lot, he was the leader. The rest of them were all quite
happy to join in Dudley's favorite sport: Harry Hunting.
This was why Harry spent as much time as possible out of the house,
wandering around and thinking about the end of the holidays, where he
could see a tiny ray of hope. When September came he would be going off
to secondary school and, for the first time in his life, he wouldn't be
with Dudley. Dudley had been accepted at Uncle Vernon's old private
school, Smeltings. Piers Polkiss was going there too. Harry, on the
other hand, was going to Stonewall High, the local public school. Dudley
thought this was very funny.
"They stuff people's heads down the toilet the first day at Stonewall,"
he told Harry. "Want to come upstairs and practice?"
"No, thanks," said Harry. "The poor toilet's never had anything as
horrible as your head down it -- it might be sick." Then he ran, before
Dudley could work out what he'd said.
One day in July, Aunt Petunia took Dudley to London to buy his Smeltings
uniform, leaving Harry at Mrs. Figg's. Mrs. Figg wasn 't as bad as
usual. It turned out she'd broken her leg tripping over one of her cats,
and she didn't seem quite as fond of them as before. She let Harry watch
television and gave him a bit of chocolate cake that tasted as though
she'd had it for several years.
That evening, Dudley paraded around the living room for the family in
his brand-new uniform. Smeltings' boys wore maroon tailcoats, orange
knickerbockers, and flat straw hats called boaters. They also carried
knobbly sticks, used for hitting each other while the teachers weren't
looking. This was supposed to be good training for later life.
As he looked at Dudley in his new knickerbockers, Uncle Vernon said
gruffly that it was the proudest moment of his life. Aunt Petunia burst
into tears and said she couldn't believe it was her Ickle Dudleykins, he
looked so handsome and grown-up. Harry didn't trust himself to speak. He
thought two of his ribs might already have cracked from trying not to
There was a horrible smell in the kitchen the next morning when Harry
went in for breakfast. It seemed to be coming from a large metal tub in
the sink. He went to have a look. The tub was full of what looked like
dirty rags swimming in gray water.
"What's this?" he asked Aunt Petunia. Her lips tightened as they always
did if he dared to ask a question.
"Your new school uniform," she said.
Harry looked in the bowl again.
"Oh," he said, "I didn't realize it had to be so wet."
"DotA be stupid," snapped Aunt Petunia. "I'm dyeing some of Dudley's old
things gray for you. It'll look just like everyone else's when I've
Harry seriously doubted this, but thought it best not to argue. He sat
down at the table and tried not to think about how he was going to look
on his first day at Stonewall High -- like he was wearing bits of old
elephant skin, probably.
Dudley and Uncle Vernon came in, both with wrinkled noses because of the
smell from Harry's new uniform. Uncle Vernon opened his newspaper as
usual and Dudley banged his Smelting stick, which he carried everywhere,
on the table.
They heard the click of the mail slot and flop of letters on the
"Get the mail, Dudley," said Uncle Vernon from behind his paper.
"Make Harry get it."
"Get the mail, Harry."
"Make Dudley get it."
"Poke him with your Smelting stick, Dudley."
Harry dodged the Smelting stick and went to get the mail. Three things
lay on the doormat: a postcard from Uncle Vernon's sister Marge, who was
vacationing on the Isle of Wight, a brown envelope that looked like a
bill, and -- a letter for Harry.
Harry picked it up and stared at it, his heart twanging like a giant
elastic band. No one, ever, in his whole life, had written to him. Who
would? He had no friends, no other relatives -- he didn't belong to the
library, so he'd never even got rude notes asking for books back. Yet
here it was, a letter, addressed so plainly there could be no mistake:
Mr. H. Potter
The Cupboard under the Stairs
4 Privet Drive
The envelope was thick and heavy, made of yellowish parchment, and the
address was written in emerald-green ink. There was no stamp.
Turning the envelope over, his hand trembling, Harry saw a purple wax
seal bearing a coat of arms; a lion, an eagle, a badger, and a snake
surrounding a large letter H.