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Harry Potter's Invitation to the World

by Vickie Ewell


Chapter 23 – Harry Follows Hagrid
(HP Chapter 6)

Harry was concerned about Ron’s change in mood and steered the conversation to Ron’s brothers in a more positive way. While talking about Charlie’s job in Romania and Bill being in Africa doing something for Gringotts, Ron mentioned that someone had tried to rob the bank. The thief had not been caught, but Ron’s dad figured it had to be a dark wizard to get past the goblins. Ron also thought the thief didn’t actually take anything.

Since the incident deserved no more thought then passing mention to Ron, he quickly switched the topic to Quidditch. “It’s the best game in the world,” he said. But while attempting to explain the game to Harry, they were interrupted by Draco Malfoy and his two sidekicks. Draco wanted to know if the rumors were true. Was Harry Potter on the train? Crab and Goyle stood on both sides of Draco. They resembled bodyguards, or pillars, rather than friends.

Draco introduced the three of them, reminded Harry about his opinion of Wizarding families, and claimed he could help Harry discern which friends were of the wrong sort. The idea we get here was that the divisions into houses at Hogwarts was similar to being divided into tribes. There were good and bad houses, good and bad friends – at least, in Draco’s perception.

Draco held out his hand, waiting for Harry to shake it in agreement, but Harry didn’t take the bait. “I think I can tell the wrong sort for myself, thanks.”

Draco turned slightly pink because he wasn’t dense. He realized that Harry had just insulted him, and felt a little embarrassed. He tried to cover up his feelings by acting like his father and threatened Harry’s life. At that point, both Ron and Harry stood up to Draco at the same time, but it had no effect on the dark trio. Draco was basically coming to Hogwarts without a lot of opposition in his life, so his head and ego was quite large.

However, when Goyle reached for a chocolate frog, Scabbers decided to wake up and attack him. Considering that Draco’s friends were Sytherins, I found Scabbers’ behavior puzzling. He didn’t wake up when Harry or Ron had been threatened and stood up to Draco. He woke up and attacked Goyle for trying to steal a chocolate frog.

Obviously, Goyle was weaker than Draco, but since Pettigrew’s pattern of behavior was to choose the stronger side of any argument, he sided with Harry and Ron – but a little late. This seemed to reflect his hesitation in the final book when Harry reminded him of his life’s debt to him. That hesitation cost him his life. It took a few minutes before the rat finally let go, but the result was the rat hitting the train’s closed window.

At that time, the trio took off and was suddenly replaced by Hermione. The boys didn’t get any break in between confrontations. “What has been going on,” she demanded, looking at the sweets all over the floor. Ron was holding Scabbers up by the tail. At first, he thought the rat had been knocked out, but upon closer inspection, he realized the rat had gone back to sleep.

Ignoring Hermione, Ron informed Harry that the Malfoys were one of the first families to defect after You-Know-Who disappeared. They claimed to have been bewitched. Mr. Weasley didn’t believe it because Lucius Malfoy didn’t need an excuse to go over to the dark side. Nothing was said about Draco’s mom, but we know that most of the Deatheaters thought Voldemort was dead, or finished. However, Ron’s comment does raise doubts about their inner strength and character.

Ron turned to Hermione and asked if he and Harry could help her with something. She further insisted that they needed to put on their robes, then added: “You haven’t been fighting, have you? You’ll be in trouble before we even get there!”

While Ron was afraid of spiders and Harry was afraid of Voldemort, Hermione was afraid of being expelled. She seemed to be a letter-of-the-law type of girl and feared the consequences for breaking rules. Hermione tried to defend herself. The only reason she was here was because people were behaving childishly. They were racing up and down the corridors. Hermione appeared to be a miniature version of Professor McGonagall.

Harry looked out the train window. It was getting dark and the train was slowing down, so he and Ron quickly changed into their robes. They also crammed their pockets full of leftover candy.

Outside, Harry shivered. The night air was cold, but Hagrid’s beaming face towered over the heads of the students. “All right there, Harry?” he called out. Harry’s face must have been wearing his worry. “C’mon follow me,” Hagrid told him, mirroring Christ’s admonition to take upon ourselves his purity and eternal life. Then he turned to the crowd and announced that all first year students needed to follow him as well.

As Keeper of the Keys, it was Hagrid’s job to introduce all first year students to Hogwarts. He had the ability to show them The Way. Although Hagrid already took Harry through a symbolic birth when purchasing his school supplies, he now took all of the first year students through a similar experience.

Slipping and stumbling, they followed Hagrid down a steep, but narrow path that symbolized a woman’s fallopian tubes. Neville followed Hagrid too, but sniffled once or twice. He still didn’t know where his toad was. The path opened to reveal a giant black lake. It was a reflection of the darkness of the womb.

In the distance, the students could see Hogwarts: a castle perched on top of a high mountain with many towers. Only four students were allowed inside each boat. Harry and Ron climbed into a boat together. Neville climbed in next, and then Hermione. These four characters will have to learn to work together as a team. They represent the four elements of perception, feelings, thought, and intuition.

Hagrid had a boat all to himself as his spiritual status already represented complete unity, so on Hagrid’s command, the boats moved forward.

No one spoke during the trip. They silently floated across the water. When they neared the cliff on which Hogwarts stood, Hagrid yelled for the students to duck their heads. They tucked themselves into a fetal position. The boats moved through a curtain of ivy that hid a wide opening in the cliff’s face. In many spiritual traditions, a curtain represents the veil or archway that stands between the physical and spiritual worlds.

The students were then carried along a dark tunnel, which seemed to take them underneath the castle. At an underground harbor, the students climbed out of the boats and onto the rocks representing physical birth. It was at this point that Hagrid found Neville’s toad inside one of the boats.

“Trevor!” Neville cried blissfully, holding out his hands. Neville’s toad represents our blinded state when born into the physical world, but also seemed to mirror the false beliefs that hide inside of our boats. Like Neville, we cling to those false beliefs and sometimes go looking for them, if we think we’ve lost them.

The students continued to follow Hagrid and his lamp on foot, up the rocks and into a passageway. When they came out of the darkness, out of the blindness, they found themselves on smooth, damp grass that lied in the shadow of the castle. The first year students had now been spiritually reborn.

They walked up a flight of stone steps indicating ascension and crowded around Hogwarts’ large oak front door. “Everyone here?” Hagrid asked. Apparently, the answer was yes because Hagrid raised his gigantic fist and knocked three times on the castle door. Three knocks is a symbol for death, but not our physical death. The first year students were now asking for further light and knowledge.