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Harry Potter's Invitation to the World

by Vickie Ewell


Chapter 35 – Harry Meets Fluffy
(HP Chapter 9)

The boys passed through the portrait hole, but Hermione refused to give up. She followed them, continuing to accuse them of selfishness. In the process, she revealed her true agony. She was afraid the boys would lose the points she had received earlier for knowing about switching spells, so her insistence that the boys be different is actually a reaction to protect her feelings of importance. She didn’t want Slytherin to win the House Cup, but Harry wasn’t taking the bait. “Go away.”

The portrait lady had left her picture, so Hermione found herself locked out of the Common Room. Her behavior and attempt to control Harry had placed her in danger of being caught. She felt she had no choice other than to go along with them because she didn’t want to experience the consequences. Ron began arguing with her, but Harry shushed them both. Neville was asleep on the floor.

Neville jerked awake as they drew closer, and sat up. The trio had just witnessed Neville’s spiritual awakening. He was grateful to see them. He’d been waiting there for hours because he couldn’t remember the new password. A “new” password tells us that Neville was not at the beginning of the path, but his current ascension hadn’t gone according to plan either.

Although this was the first time any of them had seen Neville since his fall, Hermione’s focus was on his forgetfulness. She told him the password – so she is a giving person – but assured Neville it wouldn’t do him any good because the Fat Lady had run off somewhere. She was blaming the Fat Lady for her predicament and was trying to get Neville to do the same thing.

Unlike Hermione, Harry asked about Neville’s arm. While Hermione was concerned about herself, Harry cared about Neville. Neville assured Harry that he was fine. Madam Pomfrey was able to heal him in about a minute, so the Fall’s harm had been reversed. He showed Harry his arm. “Good,” Harry said.

Harry then informed Neville that they needed to be somewhere, but Neville didn’t want to be alone. Ron wasn’t happy about the situation. The group kept growing larger, so he threatened to curse Hermione and Neville if either of them was responsible for their getting caught. Like Hermione, Ron was looking for someone to blame for things not happening as he had expected them to.

When they reached the Trophy Room, Draco and Crabbe weren’t there, so they waited for them in the dark. When Harry heard a noise, he moved closer to the next room to listen. It was Filch. They all scurried from the room just in time, but Neville tripped in their attempt to get away and knocked a suit of armor to the floor.

Although Neville was awake, his path wasn’t going to be easy. However, the suit of armor reminded me of the Knights of the Round Table. This made me think that Neville may be the Heir of Gryffindore, and since Neville is the one who fell, quite possibly the lower personality.

Due to the crash, they all took off running with Harry in the lead, not knowing where they were going. Running always symbolizes moving forward at a fast pace, and a not-knowing mind helps us move faster. Often we hold ourselves back because we don’t release the walls and boxes we’ve created.

When the kids felt safe enough to stop and catch their breath, Hermione couldn’t resist playing the “I told you so” game. In reality, her awful situation had come from following the boys through the portrait door, but she was not ready to face her part in that yet. “Malfoy tricked you,” she accused Harry, as if he wasn’t smart enough to figure that out by himself. Filch knew someone was going to be in the Trophy Room. Draco must have tipped him off.

Silently, Harry agreed with her, but he wasn’t going to tell Hermione that. Her head was big enough already.

The kids needed to get back to Gryffindore tower, but Peeves was threatening to turn them in. He was playing with them, but Ron didn’t understand that. His perspective was faulty. He believed Peeves was a threat and took a swing at him. That reaction was a big mistake because Peeves started screaming that there were students out of bed. Ron’s threats to Hermione and Neville earlier about their potential to get Harry and him caught had now turned upon his own head.

The kids started running again, but slammed into a locked door at the end of the hallway. The boys didn’t know how to open the door, so Ron gave up and accepted defeat. He had no power in his present emotional condition to move Harry forward. He couldn’t think. Furious, Hermione shoved Ron out of the way, grabbed Harry’s wand, tapped the lock, and whispered, “Alohomora!”

The door swung open. Piling through the door, they shut it quickly, and then leaned up against it to listen. They could hear Peeves playing with Filch now, but he didn’t give them away. Up to this point, Neville had been tugging on Harry’s sleeve, but Harry had ignored him. He was more concerned about Filch, but now that Filch was gone, he wanted Neville to stop tugging at him. “What?” Harry asked.

Harry turned around to face Neville and discovered that Hermione had not saved them after all. She had actually made the situation worse.

For Harry, it was like walking into a nightmare. They were not in a room. They were in the forbidden corridor on the third floor. The four of them stood there starring into the eyes of a monstrous dog. He was as tall as the ceiling and had three heads. The dog stood very still, its six eyes staring back at them.

The dog was similar to Cerberus, a three-headed dog that guarded the entryway to Hell. Cerberus allowed departed spirits to pass into the underworld, but he didn’t allow them to come back out. In Alchemy, animals appear to give us a message. A three-headed dog is an animal that resembles conjoined triplets. He isn’t completely separated, but he isn’t united either. Each of his heads had its own brain, its own mind.

The dog began to growl, so Harry groped for the doorknob behind him. As he managed to reopen the door, the kids fell backwards through the doorway, and Harry slammed the door shut. They were not yet ready to face what the three-headed dog actually represented, so they ran back down the corridor, putting as much space between themselves and the dog as possible.

This was similar to how fear can prevent our moving forward, even cause us to back up, turn around, and go in the other direction. The kids didn’t stop running until they had reached the portrait on the seventh floor. They were safe now, but the path between the dog and safety was a signal that there were seven levels that Harry would have to travel before he actually reached spiritual safety.

Harry gave the Fat Lady the password. The portrait swung forward, and they scrambled into the Common Room. It was awhile before Ron finally broke the silence. “What do you think they’re doing, keeping a thing like that locked up in a school?” Ron’s focus was on the total beast, a reflection of his earthly emotional nature, but that angered Hermione. She hadn’t learned yet that we each perceive the world differently.

“You don’t use your eyes, any of you, do you?” she snapped. “Didn’t you see what it was standing on?” She was having trouble understanding why the boys couldn’t see what she did.

Harry explained that he was too busy looking at the dog’s three heads. He wasn’t looking at its feet. For Harry, the three heads symbolized his non-unified condition, his fractured awareness. For Hermione, the dog standing on a trap door obviously guarding something was more important. She saw her fallen condition, but didn’t understand it.

The trio was divided in perspective, but none of them were wrong. They each saw a portion of the whole, the portion that pertained to them personally. It’s the same with us. Symbolism only holds as much meaning as we give it. Hermione, however, still didn’t get it. Her conditioning had her trapped. “I hope you’re pleased with yourselves,” she said irritably. “We could all have been killed – or worse, expelled.”

Hermione cannot see that she was the one responsible for them almost being killed. She was the one who had the power to open the locked door and bring them face-to-face with themselves – but they were not ready to face what that meant yet. We all have a three-headed dog guarding the entryway to the Path that leads to our own Red Stone. Some believe the three heads represent the past, the present, and the future all rolled up into one, but dogs are also creatures of instinct. They mindlessly follow what they are programmed to do.

We did learn what Hermione considered worse than death: being expelled. And with that said, she turned and headed for bed. Despite Hermione’s aggravating, interfering personality, she had given Harry something to think about: the dog was guarding something. Apparently, that thing was the small brown package that he and Hagrid and taken from the vault on his birthday