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Chapter Five Diagon Alley
(Harry and Hagrid leave the Dursleys and go buy supplies for Hogwarts in Diagon Alley.)
Harry wakes up on the hut out at sea and receives his supplies list from Hagrid. Hagrid takes Harry to the magical (Muggles can’t find it) Diagon Alley, where they stop first at the Leaky Cauldron, a wizards’ pub. There, Harry meets Quirrell, among others, and finds that he is quite a celebrity in the Wizarding world. From there Harry and Hagrid go to Gringotts, the wizards’ bank, where Harry finds that his parents have left him a small fortune in wizard money.
At the robes shop, Harry meets Draco Malfoy while being fitted for his uniform. Harry dislikes the spoiled and elitist Draco at once, and Draco unwittingly makes Harry feel insecure about not knowing about Quidditch. Harry then picks up his books and cauldron at Flourish and Blotts, and directly afterwards Hagrid buys Harry an owl as a birthday present.
The final stop is Ollivanders’ wand shop, where Harry is greeted by the eerie and eccentric Mr. Ollivander. Ollivander has Harry test out a large number of wands before Harry finds the right wand (before the right wand finds Harry). Curiously enough, Harry’s wand is made from the same materials that made up Voldemort’s wand. Hagrid then takes Harry out of Diagon Alley and sends him on a train to spend the rest of the summer with the Dursleys.
Hagrid is clearly proud of Dumbledore’s faith in him: “I gotta visit Gringotts anyway. Fer Dumbledore. Hogwarts business.’ Hagrid drew himself up proudly. ‘He usually gets me ter do important stuff fer him.” This ties into how defensive Hagrid is of Dumbledore, and why he got so enraged after Uncle Vernon insulted the headmaster.
Hagrid mentions that the Ministry of Magic’s main job is to keep Muggles from knowing that wizards exist, so that humans aren’t always asking wizards for favors. This allows the story to be less complicated (it operates in an isolated fantasy world rather than interacting with the real world) and corroborates with the Dursleys not wanting anyone to know about Harry. See the Muggle/Wizarding world Dichotomy section under Setting for more detail.
Hagrid’s saying he’d like a dragon is one of the first clues of his love for dangerous creatures. Over the series, Hagrid’s pets include Fluffy the three-headed dog, Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback (dragon), a giant spider (introduced in book four), and his trusty bloodhound Fang.
The authors of the textbooks have wordplay names:
The Standard Book of Spells is by Miranda Goshawk (Go shock).
Magical Theory is by Adalbert Waffling. To “waffle” is to talk aimlessly. For example, there’s Dumbledore’s statement from the end of the year feast that “I must trouble you with an old man’s wheezing waffle before we sink our teeth into our delicious feast.”
A Beginners’ Guide to Transfiguration is by Emeric Switch (to transfigure is to switch forms).
One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi is by Phyllida Spore (Phyllida means “foliage” and is derived from the girl in Greek mythology who killed herself out of love for Demophon and was subsequently transformed into an almond tree, spores are the reproductive parts of fungi).
Magical Drafts and Potions is by Arsenius Jigger (something arsenious is something that contains the poison arsenic; a jigger is an amount of liquid used in mixing drinks).
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is by Newt Scamander (a newt is a small semi-aquatic salamander; Scamander was a Greek river god).
The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self Protection is by Quentin Trimble (Trimble could come from the name of modern Irish Peace Activist David Trimble, or it could just sound like the word “tremble”. Quentin just means fifth born).