Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Chapter 8

By J.K. Rowling

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Chapter 8

The Potions Master

  • Once classes start, everyone's staring at and talking about Harry all the time. He's still just trying to figure out where everything is and how to navigate all the staircases. Sometimes parts of Hogwarts seem to appear in other parts, and the ghosts are always appearing and being distracting.
  • The caretaker, Filch, is just as bad – he comes upon Harry and Ron when they're lost and thinks they're trying to get into the third-floor. Quirrell gets them out of it, though.
  • Filch has a creepy cat named Mrs. Norris, and no one likes either of them.
  • The classes are fun but way more work than Harry expected. They have Herbology, History of Magic, and Charms, which is taught by a ghost. Transfiguration, taught by McGonagall, is really challenging. Their first day they have to try to turn a match into a needle, and only Hermione comes close to doing it.
  • Defense Against the Dark Arts seems like a waste. Quirrell is kind of a quack; he smells funny and can't finish any of his stories.
  • That Friday at breakfast, they're talking about how they have their first Potions class with Snape. Ron says Snape privileges Slytherin students, because he's head of their house, but McGonagall doesn't favor Gryffindors, which she's head of.
  • The mail comes, and Hedwig has something for Harry for the first time. It's a note from Hagrid inviting him to tea.
  • Then they go to Potions, which stinks. Harry decides Snape hates him. Their class meets in the dungeons, and Snape makes fun of Harry's fame. He tells them that Potions is challenging and rewarding, then asks Harry a tricky technical question. Harry has no idea what the answer is, but even though Hermione knows, Snape won't call on her. He asks several more questions, making fun of Harry and ignoring Hermione. Harry says he should ask her, and Snape scolds him for being cheeky.
  • Throughout the lesson, Snape's down on everyone except Malfoy. Neville has especial trouble with his potion and Snape calls him an idiot, while blaming Harry for the mixed-up potion.
  • After the class, Harry's bummed that Snape is so down on him already.
  • He and Ron go to meet Hagrid for tea.
  • Hagrid lives on the edge of the forest and has a huge dog named Fang. The tea's not very good, but the company is. Hagrid reassures them that Snape doesn't particularly have it out for Harry, but Harry doesn't quite believe him. Hagrid asks Ron about his brother Charlie, who trains dragons.
  • While they're talking, Harry looks at an excerpt from the wizard newspaper, The Daily Prophet. It's an update on the robbery at Gringotts. The article says that nothing was taken, and the broken-in vault had been emptied right before the robbery.
  • Harry says the robbery must have happened when he and Hagrid were at Gringotts, and Hagrid won't look him in the face. He doesn't deny it outright, though.
  • Harry has a lot to think about as he and Ron go back to Hogwarts. He wonders what Hagrid's hiding from him.

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