Back to Chapters

Harry Potter

Chapter 1 of 3


Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn't hold with such nonsense.
Mr. Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings, which made
drills. He was a big, beefy man with hardly any neck, although he did
have a very large mustache. Mrs. Dursley was thin and blonde and had
nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in very useful as she
spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the
neighbors. The Dursleys had a small son called Dudley and in their
opinion there was no finer boy anywhere.
The Dursleys had everything they wanted, but they also had a secret, and
their greatest fear was that somebody would discover it. They didn't
think they could bear it if anyone found out about the Potters. Mrs.
Potter was Mrs. Dursley's sister, but they hadn't met for several years;
in fact, Mrs. Dursley pretended she didn't have a sister, because her
sister and her good-for-nothing husband were as unDursleyish as it was
possible to be. The Dursleys shuddered to think what the neighbors would
say if the Potters arrived in the street. The Dursleys knew that the
Potters had a small son, too, but they had never even seen him. This boy
was another good reason for keeping the Potters away; they didn't want
Dudley mixing with a child like that.
When Mr. and Mrs. Dursley woke up on the dull, gray Tuesday our story
starts, there was nothing about the cloudy sky outside to suggest that
strange and mysterious things would soon be happening all over the
country. Mr. Dursley hummed as he picked out his most boring tie for
work, and Mrs. Dursley gossiped away happily as she wrestled a screaming
Dudley into his high chair.
None of them noticed a large, tawny owl flutter past the window.
At half past eight, Mr. Dursley picked up his briefcase, pecked Mrs.
Dursley on the cheek, and tried to kiss Dudley good-bye but missed,
because Dudley was now having a tantrum and throwing his cereal at the
walls. "Little tyke," chortled Mr. Dursley as he left the house. He got
into his car and backed out of number four's drive.
It was on the corner of the street that he noticed the first sign of
something peculiar — a cat reading a map. For a second, Mr. Dursley
didn't realize what he had seen — then he jerked his head around to
look again. There was a tabby cat standing on the corner of Privet
Drive, but there wasn't a map in sight. What could he have been thinking
of? It must have been a trick of the light. Mr. Dursley blinked and
stared at the cat. It stared back. As Mr. Dursley drove around the
corner and up the road, he watched the cat in his mirror. It was now
reading the sign that said Privet Drive — no, looking at the sign; cats
couldn't read maps or signs. Mr. Dursley gave himself a little shake and
put the cat out of his mind. As he drove toward town he thought of
nothing except a large order of drills he was hoping to get that day.
But on the edge of town, drills were driven out of his mind by something
else. As he sat in the usual morning traffic jam, he couldn't help
noticing that there seemed to be a lot of strangely dressed people
about. People in cloaks. Mr. Dursley couldn't bear people who dressed in funny clothes — the getups you saw on young people! He supposed this
was some stupid new fashion. He drummed his fingers on the steering
wheel and his eyes fell on a huddle of these weirdos standing quite
close by. They were whispering excitedly together. Mr. Dursley was
enraged to see that a couple of them weren't young at all; why, that man
had to be older than he was, and wearing an emerald-green cloak! The
nerve of him! But then it struck Mr. Dursley that this was probably some
silly stunt — these people were obviously collecting for something...
yes, that would be it. The traffic moved on and a few minutes later, Mr.
Dursley arrived in the Grunnings parking lot, his mind back on drills.
Mr. Dursley always sat with his back to the window in his office on the
ninth floor. If he hadn't, he might have found it harder to concentrate
on drills that morning. He didn't see the owls swoop ing past in broad
daylight, though people down in the street did; they pointed and gazed
open- mouthed as owl after owl sped overhead. Most of them had never
seen an owl even at nighttime. Mr. Dursley, however, had a perfectly
normal, owl-free morning. He yelled at five different people. He made
several important telephone calls and shouted a bit more. He was in a
very good mood until lunchtime, when he thought he'd stretch his legs
and walk across the road to buy himself a bun from the bakery.
He'd forgotten all about the people in cloaks until he passed a group of
them next to the baker's. He eyed them angrily as he passed. He didn't
know why, but they made him uneasy. This bunch were whispering
excitedly, too, and he couldn't see a single collecting tin. It was on
his way back past them, clutching a large doughnut in a bag, that he
caught a few words of what they were saying.
"The Potters, that's right, that's what I heard yes, their son, Harry"
Mr. Dursley stopped dead. Fear flooded him. He looked back at the
whisperers as if he wanted to say something to them, but thought better
of it.
He dashed back across the road, hurried up to his office, snapped at his
secretary not to disturb him, seized his telephone, and had almost
finished dialing his home number when he changed his mind. He put the
receiver back down and stroked his mustache, thinking... no, he was
being stupid. Potter wasn't such an unusual name. He was sure there were
lots of people called Potter who had a son called Harry. Come to think
of it, he wasn't even sure his nephew was called Harry. He'd never even
seen the boy. It might have been Harvey. Or Harold. There was no point
in worrying Mrs. Dursley; she always got so upset at any mention of her
sister. He didn't blame her — if he'd had a sister like that... but all
the same, those people in cloaks...
He found it a lot harder to concentrate on drills that afternoon and
when he left the building at five o'clock, he was still so worried that
he walked straight into someone just outside the door.
"Sorry," he grunted, as the tiny old man stumbled and almost fell. It
was a few seconds before Mr. Dursley realized that the man was wearing a
violet cloak. He didn't seem at all upset at being almost knocked to the
ground. On the contrary, his face split into a wide smile and he said in
a squeaky voice that made passersby stare, "Don't be sorry, my dear sir,
for nothing could upset me today! Rejoice, for You-Know-Who has gone at
last!Even Muggles like yourself should be celebrating, this happy,
happy day!"
And the old man hugged Mr. Dursley around the middle and walked off.
Mr. Dursley stood rooted to the spot. He had been hugged by a complete
stranger. He also thought he had been called a Muggle, whatever that
was. He was rattled. He hurried to his car and set off for home, hoping
he was imagining things, which he had never hoped before, because he
didn't approve of imagination.
As he pulled into the driveway of number four, the first thing he saw —
and it didn't improve his mood — was the tabby cat he'd spotted that
morning. It was now sitting on his garden wall. He was sure it was the
same one; it had the same markings around its eyes.
"Shoo!" said Mr. Dursley loudly. The cat didn't move. It just gave him a
stern look. Was this normal cat behavior? Mr. Dursley wondered. Trying
to pull himself together, he let himself into the house. He was still
determined not to mention anything to his wife.
Mrs. Dursley had had a nice, normal day. She told him over dinner all
about Mrs. Next Door's problems with her daughter and how Dudley had
learned a new word ("Won't!") . Mr. Dursley tried to act normally. When
Dudley had been put to bed, he went into the living room in time to
catch the last report on the evening news:
"And finally, bird-watchers everywhere have reported that the nation's
owls have been behaving very unusually today. Although owls normally
hunt at night and are hardly ever seen in daylight, there have been
hundreds of sightings of these birds flying in every direction since
sunrise. Experts are unable to explain why the owls have suddenly
changed their sleeping pattern." The newscaster allowed himself a grin.
"Most mysterious. And now, over to Jim McGuffin with the weather. Going
to be any more showers of owls tonight, Jim?"
"Well, Ted," said the weatherman, "I don't know about that, but it's not
only the owls that have been acting oddly today. Viewers as far apart as
Kent, Yorkshire, and Dundee have been phoning in to tell me that instead
of the rain I promised yesterday, they've had a downpour of shooting
stars! Perhaps people have been celebrating Bonfire Night early — it's
not until next week, folks! But I can promise a wet night tonight."
Mr. Dursley sat frozen in his armchair. Shooting stars all over Britain?
Owls flying by daylight? Mysterious people in cloaks all over the place?
And a whisper, a whisper about the Potters...
Mrs. Dursley came into the living room carrying two cups of tea. It was
no good. He'd have to say something to her. He cleared his throat
nervously. "Er — Petunia, dear — you haven't heard from your sister
lately, have you?"
As he had expected, Mrs. Dursley looked shocked and angry. After all,
they normally pretended she didn't have a sister.
"No," she said sharply. "Why?"
"Funny stuff on the news," Mr. Dursley mumbled. "Owls... shooting
stars... and there were a lot of funny-looking people in town today..."
"So?" snapped Mrs. Dursley.
"Well, I just thought... maybe... it was something to do with... you
know... her crowd."
Mrs. Dursley sipped her tea through pursed lips. Mr. Dursley wondered
whether he dared tell her he'd heard the name "Potter." He decided he
didn't dare. Instead he said, as casually as he could, "Their son —
he'd be about Dudley's age now, wouldn't he?"
"I suppose so," said Mrs. Dursley stiffly.
"What's his name again?Howard, isn't it?"
"Harry. Nasty, common name, if you ask me."
"Oh, yes," said Mr. Dursley, his heart sinking horribly. "Yes, I quite
He didn't say another word on the subject as they went upstairs to bed.
While Mrs. Dursley was in the bathroom, Mr. Dursley crept to the bedroom
window and peered down into the front garden. The cat was still there.
It was staring down Privet Drive as though it were waiting for
Was he imagining things? Could all this have anything to do with the
Potters? If it did... if it got out that they were related to a pair of
— well, he didn't think he could bear it.
The Dursleys got into bed. Mrs. Dursley fell asleep quickly but Mr.
Dursley lay awake, turning it all over in his mind. His last, comforting
thought before he fell asleep was that even if the Potters were
involved, there was no reason for them to come near him and Mrs.
Dursley. The Potters knew very well what he and Petunia thought about
them and their kind.... He couldn't see how he and Petunia could get
mixed up in anything that might be going on — he yawned and turned over
— it couldn't affect them....
How very wrong he was.
Mr. Dursley might have been drifting into an uneasy sleep, but the cat
on the wall outside was showing no sign of sleepiness. It was sitting as
still as a statue, its eyes fixed unblinkingly on the far corner of
Privet Drive. It didn't so much as quiver when a car door slammed on the
next street, nor when two owls swooped overhead. In fact, it was nearly
midnight before the cat moved at all.
A man appeared on the corner the cat had been watching, appeared so
suddenly and silently you'd have thought he'd just popped out of the
ground. The cat's tail twitched and its eyes narrowed.
Nothing like this man had ever been seen on Privet Drive. He was tall,
thin, and very old, judging by the silver of his hair and beard, which
were both long enough to tuck into his belt. He was wearing long robes,
a purple cloak that swept the ground, and high-heeled, buckled boots.
His blue eyes were light, bright, and sparkling behind half-moon
spectacles and his nose was very long and crooked, as though it had been
broken at least twice. This man's name was Albus Dumbledore.
Albus Dumbledore didn't seem to realize that he had just arrived in a
street where everything from his name to his boots was unwelcome. He was
busy rummaging in his cloak, looking for something. But he did seem to
realize he was being watched, because he looked up suddenly at the cat,
which was still staring at him from the other end of the street. For
some reason, the sight of the cat seemed to amuse him. He chuckled and
muttered, "I should have known."
He found what he was looking for in his inside pocket. It seemed to be a
silver cigarette lighter. He flicked it open, held it up in the air, and
clicked it. The nearest street lamp went out with a little pop. He
clicked it again — the next lamp flickered into darkness. Twelve times
he clicked the Put-Outer, until the only lights left on the whole street
were two tiny pinpricks in the distance, which were the eyes of the cat
watching him. If anyone looked out of their window now, even beady-eyed
Mrs. Dursley, they wouldn't be able to see anything that was happening
down on the pavement. Dumbledore slipped the Put-Outer back inside his
cloak and set off down the street toward number four, where he sat down
on the wall next to the cat.I have did not look at Item, but despues de to moment I have
spoke to Item.
"Fancy seeing you here, Professor McGonagall. "
I have turned to smile at the tabby, but Item had gone. Instead I have was smiling
at to rather severe-looking woman quien was wearing square glasses exactly
the shape of the markings the cat had had around its eyes. She, too, was
wearing to cloak, an emerald one. Her black hair was drawn into to tight
bun. She looked distinctly ruffled.
"How did you know Item was me? " she asked.
"My dear Professor, I 'go never seen to cat sit SW stiffly. "
"You'd be stiff if you'd been sitting on to brick wall all day, " said
Professor McGonagall.
"All day? When you could have been Entering the day by delivering it by delivering it by making a difference? I must have passed to
dozen feasts and parties on my way here. "
Professor McGonagall sniffed angrily.
"Oh And it is, everyone's Entering the day by delivering it by delivering it by making a difference, all right, " she said impatiently.
"You'd think they'd be to bit more careful, but do not - even the Muggles
have noticed something's going on. Item was on their news. " She jerked her
head back at the Dursleys' dark living room window. "I heard Item. Flocks
of owls... shooting stars.... Well, they're not completely stupid. They
were bound to notice something. Shooting stars down in Kent - I'll bet
that was Dedalus Diggle. I have never had much sense. "
"You can not blame them, " said Dumbledore gently. "We've had precious
little to celebrate for eleven years. "
"I know that, " said Professor McGonagall irritably. "But that's do not
reason to I know our heads. People are being downright careless, out on
the streets in broad daylight, not even dressed in Muggle clothes,
swapping rumors. "
She threw to sharp, sideways glance at Dumbledore here, ace though hoping
I have was going to tell her something, but I have did not, SW she went on. "TO
fine thing Item would be if, on the look and day YouKnow-Who seems to have
disappeared at last, the Muggles found out about us all. I suppose I have
really have gone, Dumbledore? "
"Item certainly seems SW, " said Dumbledore. "We have much to be thankful
for. Would you care for to lemon drop? "
"TO que? "
"TO lemon drop. They're to kind of Muggle sweet I'm rather fond of"
"Do not, thank you, " said Professor McGonagall coldly, ace though she did not
think Este was the moment for lemon drops. "Ace I say, even if
You-Know-Who have gone -"
"My dear Professor, surely to sensitive person like yourself dog call him
by his yam? All Este 'You- Know-Who ' nonsense - for eleven years I
have been trying to persuade people to call him by his proper yam:
Voldemort. " Professor McGonagall flinched, but Dumbledore, quien was
unsticking two lemon drops, seemed not to notice. "Item all gets SW
confusing if we keep saying 'You-Know-Who.' I have never seen any reason
to be frightened of saying Voldemort's yam.
"I know you haven 't, said Professor McGonagall, sounding half
exasperated, half admiring. "But you're different. Everyone knows you're
the only one You-Know- oh, all right, Voldemort, was frightened of. "
"You flatter me, " said Dumbledore calmly. "Voldemort had powers I will
never have. "
"Only because you're too - well - noble to use them. "
"It's lucky it's dark. I have not blushed SW much since Madam Pomfrey
told me she liked my new earmuffs. "
Professor McGonagall shot to sharp look at Dumbledore and said, "The owls
are nothing next to the rumors that are flying around. You know que
everyone's saying? About why he's disappeared? About que finally
stopped him? " Item seemed that Professor McGonagall had reached the point she was most
anxious to Discuss, the real reason she had been waiting on to cold, hard
wall all day, for neither ace to cat nor ace to woman had she fixed
Dumbledore with such to piercing stare ace she did now. Item was plain that
whatever "everybody" was saying, she was not going to believe Item until
Dumbledore told her Item was true. Dumbledore, however, was choosing
another lemon drop and did not answer.
"que they're saying, " she pressed on, "is that last night Voldemort
turned up in Godric's Hollow. I have went to find the Potters. The rumor is
that Lily and James Potter are - are - that they're - dead. "
Dumbledore bowed his head. Professor McGonagall gasped.
"Lily and James... I can not believe Item... I did not want to believe Item...
Oh, Albus... "
Dumbledore reached out and patted her on the shoulder. "I know... I
know... " I have said overloaded.
Professor McGonagall's voice trembled ace she went on. "That's not all.
They're saying I have tried to kill the Potter's They are, Harry. But - I have
could not. I have could not kill that little boy. Do not one knows why, or how,
but they're saying that when I have could not kill Harry Potter, Voldemort's
power somehow broke - and that's why he's gone.
Dumbledore nodded glumly.
"It's - it's true? " faltered Professor McGonagall. "despues de all he's
done... all the people he's killed... I have could not kill to little boy?
It's just astounding... of all the things to stop him... but how in the
yam of heaven did Harry survive? "
"We dog only Guess, " said Dumbledore. "We may never know. "
Professor McGonagall pulled out to lace handkerchief and dabbed at her
eyes beneath her spectacles. Dumbledore gave to great sniff ace I have took to
golden watch desde his pocket and examined Item. Item was to look and odd watch.
Item had twelve hands but do not numbers; instead of, little planets were moving
around the edge. Item must have made sense to Dumbledore, though, because
I have put Item back in his pocket and said, "Hagrid's late. I suppose Item was
I have quien told you I'd be here, by the way? "
"And it is, " said Professor McGonagall. "And I no suppose you're going to
tell me why you're here, of all places? "
"I've eat to bring Harry to his aunt and uncle. They're the only Familia
I have have left now. "
"You no mean - you can not mean the people quien live here? " cried
Professor McGonagall, jumping to her feet and pointing at number four.
"Dumbledore - you can not. I've been watching them all day. You could not
find two people quien are less like us. And they've got Este They are - I saw
him kicking his mother all the way up the street, screaming for sweets.
Harry Potter eat and live here! "
"It's the best place for him, " said Dumbledore firmly. "His aunt and
uncle will be able to explain everything to him when he's older. I've
written them to letter. "
"TO letter? " repeated Professor McGonagall faintly, sitting back down on
the wall. "Really, Dumbledore, you think you dog explain all Este in to
letter? estos people will never understand him! He'll be famous - to
legend - I would not be surprised if today was known ace Harry Potter day
in the future - there will be books written about Harry - every child
in our world will know his yam! "
"Exactly, " said Dumbledore, looking look and seriously over the top of his
half-moon glasses. "Item would be enough to turn any boy's head. Famous
before I have dog walk and talk! Famous for something I have will not even
remember!Expensive you see how much better off he'll be, growing up away
desde all that until he's ready to take Item? "
Professor McGonagall open her mouth, changed her mind, swallowed, and
then said, "And it is - And it is, you're right, of course. But how is the boy
getting here, Dumbledore? " She eyed his cloak suddenly ace though she
thought I have might be hiding Harry underneath Item.
"Hagrid's bringing him. "
"You think Item - wise - to trust Hagrid with something ace important ace
Este? "
I would trust Hagrid with my life, " said Dumbledore.
"I'm not saying his heart is not in the right place, " said Professor
McGonagall grudgingly, "but you can not pretend he's not careless. I have does
tend to - que was that? "
TO low rumbling sound had broken the silence around them. Item grew
steadily louder ace they looked up and down the street for some sign of to
headlight; Item swelled to to roar ace they both looked up at the sky - and
to huge motorcycle fell out of the air and landed on the road in front of
If the motorcycle was huge, Item was nothing to the man sitting astride
Item. I have was almost twice ace tall ace to normal man and at at least five times
ace wide. I have looked simply too big to be allowed, and SW wild - long
tangles of bushy black hair and beard hid most of his face, I have had hands
the size of trash dog lids, and his feet in their leather boots were
like baby dolphins. In his vast, muscular arms I have was holding company to bundle
of blankets.
"Hagrid, " said Dumbledore, sounding relieved. "At last. And where did
you get that motorcycle? "
"Borrowed Item, Professor Dumbledore, sit, " said the giant, climbing
carefully off the motorcycle ace I have spoke. "Young Sirius Black slow Item to
me. I've got him, sir. "
"Do not problems, were there? "
"Do not, sir - house was almost destroyed, but I got him out all right
before the Muggles started swarmin ' around. I have fell asleep ace we was
flyin ' over Bristol board. "
Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall bent forward over the bundle of
blankets. Inside, just visible, was to baby boy, fast asleep. Under to
tuft of jet-black hair over his forehead they could see to curiously
shaped cut, like to bolt of lightning.
"Is that where -? " whispered Professor McGonagall.
"And it is, " said Dumbledore. "He'll have that scar forever. "
"Could not you do something about Item, Dumbledore? "
"Even if I could, I would not. Scars dog eat in handy. I have one myself
above my left knee that is to perfect map of the London Underground. Well
- give him here, Hagrid - we'd better get Este over with. "
Dumbledore took Harry in his arms and turned to the Dursleys' house.
"Could I - could I say good-bye to him, sir? " asked Hagrid. I have bent his
great, shaggy head over Harry and gave him que must have been to look and
scratchy, whiskery kiss. Then, suddenly, Hagrid let out to howl like to
wounded dog.
"Shhh! " hissed Professor McGonagall, "you'll wake the Muggles! "
"Ss-sorry, " sobbed Hagrid, taking out to large, spotted handkerchief and
burying his face in Item. "But I cc-can't stand Item - Lily an ' James dead
- an ' poor little Harry off ter live with Muggles -"
"And it is, And it is, it's all look and sad, but get to grip on yourself, Hagrid, or
we'll be found, " Professor McGonagall whispered, patting Hagrid gingerly
on the arm ace Dumbledore stepped over the low garden wall and walked to
the front door. I have laid Harry gently on the doorstep, took to letter out
of his cloak, tucked Item inside Harry's blankets, and then came back to
the other two.For to full minute the three of them stood and looked at
the little bundle; Hagrid's shoulders shook, Professor McGonagall
blinked furiously, and the twinkling Light that usually shone desde
Dumbledore's eyes seemed to have gone out.
"Well, " said Dumbledore finally, "that's that. We've do not business staying
here. We may ace well go and join the celebrations. "
"Yeah, " said Hagrid in to look and muffled voice, "I'll be takin ' Sirius his
bike back. G'night, Professor McGonagall - Professor Dumbledore, sir. "
Wiping his streaming eyes on his jacket sleeve, Hagrid swung himself
onto the motorcycle and kicked the engine into life; with to roar Item rose
into the air and off into the night.
"I shall see you soon, I expect, Professor McGonagall, " said Dumbledore,
nodding to her. Professor McGonagall blew her I dont know in reply.
Dumbledore turned and walked back down the street. On the corner I have
stopped and took out the silver Put-Outer. I have clicked Item eleven, and
twelve balls of Light lawn back to their street lamps SW that Privet
Drive glowed suddenly orange and I have could make out to tabby cat slinking
around the corner at the other end of the street. I have could just see the
bundle of blankets on the step of number four.
"Good luck, Harry, " I have murmured. I have turned on his heel and with to swish
of his cloak, I have was gone.
TO breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which lay silent and
tidy under the inky sky, the look and last place you would expect
astonishing things to happen. Harry Potter rolled over inside his
blankets without waking up. One small hand closed on the letter beside
him and I have slept on, not knowing I have was special, not knowing I have was
famous, not knowing I have would be woken in to few hours' time by Mrs.
Dursley's scream ace she open the front door to put out the milk
bottles, nor that I have would spend the next few weeks being prodded and
pinched by his cousin Dudley... I have could not know that at Este look and
moment, people meeting in secret all over the country were holding company up
their glasses and saying in hushed voices: "To Harry Potter - the boy
quien lived! "