There, look." "Where?" "Next to the tall kid with the red hair." "Wearing the glasses?" "Did you see his face?" "Did you see his scar?" Whispers followed Harry from the moment he left his dormitorythe next day. People lining up outside classrooms stood on tiptoeto get a look at him, or doubled back to pass him in the corridorsagain, staring. Harry wished they wouldn't, because he was tryingto concentrate on finding his way to classes. There were a hundred and forty-two staircases at Hogwarts:wide, sweeping ones; narrow, rickety ones; some that led somewheredifferent on a Friday; some with a vanishing step halfway up thatyou had to remember to jump. Then there were doors that wouldn'topen unless you asked politely, or tickled them in exactly the rightplace, and doors that weren't really doors at all, but solid wallsjust pretending. It was also very hard to remember where anythingwas, because it all seemed to move around a lot. The people in theportraits kept going to visit each other, and Harry was sure thecoats of armor could walk. The ghosts didn't help, either. It was always a nasty shockwhen one of them glided suddenly through a door you were trying toopen. Nearly Headless Nick was always happy to point new Gryffindorsin the right direction, but Peeves the Poltergeist was worth twolocked doors and a trick staircase if you met him when you werelate for class. He would drop wastepaper baskets on your head, pullrugs from under your feet, pelt you with bits of chalk, or sneak upbehind you, invisible, grab your nose, and screech, "GOT YOUR CONK!" Even worse than Peeves, if that was possible, was the caretaker,Argus Filch. Harry and Ron managed to get on the wrong side of him ontheir very first morning. Filch found them trying to force their waythrough a door that unluckily turned out to be the entrance to theout-of-bounds corridor on the third floor. He wouldn't believe theywere lost, was sure they were trying to break into it on purpose,and was threatening to lock them in the dungeons when they wererescued by Professor Quirrell, who was passing. Filch owned a cat called Mrs. Norris, a scrawny, dust-coloredcreature with bulging, lamp like eyes just like Filch's. Shepatrolled the corridors alone. Break a rule in front of her, put justone toe out of line, and she'd whisk off for Filch, who'd appear,wheezing, two seconds later. Filch knew the secret passageways ofthe school better than anyone (except perhaps the Weasley twins)and could pop up as suddenly as any of the ghosts. The studentsall hated him, and it was the dearest ambition of many to giveMrs. Norris a good kick. And then, once you had managed to find them, there were theclasses themselves. There was a lot more to magic, as Harry quicklyfound out, than waving your wand and saying a few funny words. They had to study the night skies through their telescopes everyWednesday at midnight and learn the names of different stars andthe movements of the planets. Three times a week they went out tothe greenhouses behind the castle to study Herbology, with a dumpylittle witch called Professor Sprout, where they learned how totake care of all the strange plants and fungi, and found out whatthey were used for. Easily the most boring class was History of Magic, which wasthe only one taught by a ghost. Professor Binns had been very old indeed when he had fallen asleep in front of the staff roomfire and got up next morning to teach, leaving his body behindhim. Binns droned on and on while they scribbled down names anddates, and got Emetic the Evil and Uric the Oddball mixed up. Professor Flitwick, the Charms teacher, was a tiny little wizardwho had to stand on a pile of books to see over his desk. At thestart of their first class he took the roll call, and when he reachedHarry's name he gave an excited squeak and toppled out of sight. Professor McGonagall was again different. Harry had been quiteright to think she wasn't a teacher to cross. Strict and clever, shegave them a talking-to the moment they sat down in her first class. "Transfiguration is some of the most complex and dangerous magicyou will learn at Hogwarts," she said. "Anyone messing around inmy class will leave and not come back. You have been warned." Then she changed her desk into a pig and back again. Theywere all very impressed and couldn't wait to get started, butsoon realized they weren't going to be changing the furniture intoanimals for a long time. After taking a lot of complicated notes,they were each given a match and started trying to turn it into aneedle. By the end of the lesson, only Hermione Granger had madeany difference to her match; Professor McGonagall showed the classhow it had gone all silver and pointy and gave Hermione a rare smile. The class everyone had really been looking forward to wasDefense Against the Dark Arts, but Quirrell's lessons turned out tobe a bit of a joke. His classroom smelled strongly of garlic, whicheveryone said was to ward off a vampire he'd met in Romania andwas afraid would be coming back to get him one of these days. Histurban, he told them, had been given to him by an African princeas a thank-you for getting rid of a troublesome zombie, but theyweren't sure they believed this story. For one thing, when SeamusFinnigan asked eagerly to hear how Quirrell had fought off thezombie, Quirrell went pink and started talking about the weather;for another, they had noticed that a funny smell hung around theturban, and the Weasley twins insisted that it was stuffed full ofgarlic as well, so that Quirrell was protected wherever he went. Harry was very relieved to find out that he wasn't miles behindeveryone else. Lots of people had come from Muggle families and, likehim, hadn't had any idea that they were witches and wizards. Therewas so much to learn that even people like Ron didn't have much ofa head start. Friday was an important day for Harry and Ron. They finallymanaged to find their way down to the Great Hall for breakfastwithout getting lost once. "What have we got today?" Harry asked Ron as he poured sugaron his porridge. "Double Potions with the Slytherins," said Ron. "Snape's Headof Slytherin House. They say he always favors them -- we'll be ableto see if it's true." "Wish McGonagall favored us, " said Harry. Professor McGonagallwas head of Gryffindor House, but it hadn't stopped her from givingthem a huge pile of homework the day before. Just then, the mail arrived. Harry had gotten used to this bynow, but it had given him a bit of a shock on the first morning,when about a hundred owls had suddenly streamed into the Great Hallduring breakfast, circling the tables until they saw their owners,and dropping letters and packages onto their laps. Hedwig hadn't brought Harry anything so far. She sometimesflew in to nibble his ear and have a bit of toast before going offto sleep in the owlery with the other school owls. This morning,however, she fluttered down between the marmalade and the sugarbowl and dropped a note onto Harry's plate. Harry tore it open atonce. It said, in a very untidy scrawl: Dear Harry, I know you get Friday afternoons off, so would you like to comeand have a cup of tea with me around three? I want to hear all about your first week. Send us an answerback with Hedwig. Hagrid Harry borrowed Ron's quill, scribbled Yes, please, see youlater on the back of the note, and sent Hedwig off again. It was lucky that Harry had tea with Hagrid to look forward to,because the Potions lesson turned out to be the worst thing thathad happened to him so far. At the start-of-term banquet, Harry had gotten the idea thatProfessor Snape disliked him. By the end of the first Potions lesson,he knew he'd been wrong. Snape didn't dislike Harry -- he hated him. Potions lessons took place down in one of the dungeons. It wascolder here than up in the main castle, and would have been quitecreepy enough without the pickled animals floating in glass jarsall around the walls. Snape, like Flitwick, started the class by taking the roll call,and like Flitwick, he paused at Harry's name. "Ah, Yes," he said softly, "Harry Potter. Our new -- celebrity." Draco Malfoy and his friends Crabbe and Goyle sniggered behindtheir hands. Snape finished calling the names and looked up atthe class. His eyes were black like Hagrid's, but they had noneof Hagrid's warmth. They were cold and empty and made you think ofdark tunnels. "You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art ofpotionmaking," he began. He spoke in barely more than a whisper,but they caught every word -- like Professor McGonagall, Snape hady caught every word -- like Professor McGonagall, Snape had thegift of keeping a class silent without effort. "As there is littlefoolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this ismagic. I don't expect you will really understand the beauty of thesoftly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicatepower of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching themind, ensnaring the senses.... I can teach you how to bottle fame,brew glory, even stopper death -- if you aren't as big a bunch ofdunderheads as I usually have to teach." More silence followed this little speech. Harry and Ron exchangedlooks with raised eyebrows. Hermione Granger was on the edge ofher seat and looked desperate to start proving that she wasn'ta dunderhead. "Potter!" said Snape suddenly. "What would I get if I addedpowdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?" Powdered root of what to an infusion of what? Harry glanced atRon, who looked as stumped as he was; Hermione's hand had shot intothe air. "I don't know, sit," said Harry. Snape's lips curled into a sneer. "Tut, tut -- fame clearly isn't everything." He ignored Hermione's hand. "Let's try again. Potter, where would you look if I told youto find me a bezoar?" Hermione stretched her hand as high into the air as it would gowithout her leaving her seat, but Harry didn't have the faintestidea what a bezoar was. He tried not to look at Malfoy, Crabbe,and Goyle, who were shaking with laughter. "I don't know, sit." "Thought you wouldn't open a book beforecoming, eh, Potter?" Harry forced himself to keep looking straightinto those cold eyes. He had looked through his books at theDursleys', but did Snape expect him to remember everything in OneThousand Magical Herbs and Fungi? Snape was still ignoring Hermione's quivering hand. "What is the difference, Potter, between monkshood andwolfsbane?" At this, Hermione stood up, her hand stretching toward thedungeon ceiling. "I don't know," said Harry quietly. "I think Hermione does,though, why don't you try her?" A few people laughed; Harry caught Seamus's eye, and Seamuswinked. Snape, however, was not pleased. "Sit down," he snapped at Hermione. "For your information,Potter, asphodel and wormwood make a sleeping potion so powerful itis known as the Draught of Living Death. A bezoar is a stone takenfrom the stomach of a goat and it will save you from most poisons. Asfor monkshood and wolfsbane, they are the same plant, which also goesby the name of aconite. Well? Why aren't you all copying that down?" There was a sudden rummaging for quills and parchment. Overthe noise, Snape said, "And a point will be taken from GryffindorHouse for your cheek, Potter." Things didn't improve for the Gryffindors as the Potions lessoncontinued. Snape put them all into pairs and set them to mixing up asimple potion to cure boils. He swept around in his long black cloak,watching them weigh dried nettles and crush snake fangs, criticizingalmost everyone except Malfoy, whom he seemed to like. He was justtelling everyone to look at the perfect way Malfoy had stewed hishorned slugs when clouds of acid green smoke and a loud hissingfilled the dungeon. Neville had somehow managed to melt Seamus'scauldron into a twisted blob, and their potion was seeping acrossthe stone floor, burning holes in people's shoes. Within seconds,the whole class was standing on their stools while Neville, who hadbeen drenched in the potion when the cauldron collapsed, moaned inpain as angry red boils sprang up all over his arms and legs. "Idiot boy!" snarled Snape, clearing the spilled potion awaywith one wave of his wand. "I suppose you added the porcupine quillsbefore taking the cauldron off the fire?" Neville whimpered as boils started to pop up all over his nose. "Take him up to the hospital wing," Snape spat at Seamus. Thenhe rounded on Harry and Ron, who had been working next to Neville. "You -- Potter -- why didn't you tell him not to add thequills? Thought he'd make you look good if he got it wrong, didyou? That's another point you've lost for Gryffindor." This was so unfair that Harry opened his mouth to argue, butRon kicked him behind their cauldron. "Doi* push it," he muttered, "I've heard Snape can turn verynasty." As they climbed the steps out of the dungeon an hour later,Harry's mind was racing and his spirits were low. He'd lost twopoints for Gryffindor in his very first week -- why did Snape hatehim so much? "Cheer up," said Ron, "Snape's always taking pointsoff Fred and George. Can I come and meet Hagrid with you?" At five to three they left the castle and made their way acrossthe grounds. Hagrid lived in a small wooden house on the edge ofthe forbidden forest. A crossbow and a pair of galoshes were outsidethe front door. When Harry knocked they heard a frantic scrabbling from insideand several booming barks. Then Hagrid's voice rang out, saying,"Back, Fang -- back." Hagrid's big, hairy face appeared in the crack as he pulledthe door open. "Hang on," he said. "Back, Fang." He let them in, struggling to keep a hold on the collar of anenormous black boarhound. There was only one room inside. Hams and pheasants were hangingfrom the ceiling, a copper kettle was boiling on the open fire,and in the corner stood a massive bed with a patchwork quilt over it. "Make yerselves at home," said Hagrid, letting go of Fang, whobounded straight at Ron and started licking his ears. Like Hagrid,Fang was clearly not as fierce as he looked. "This is Ron," Harry told Hagrid, who was pouring boiling waterinto a large teapot and putting rock cakes onto a plate. "Another Weasley, eh?" said Hagrid, glancing at Ron's freckles. Ispent half me life chasin' yer twin brothers away from the forest." The rock cakes were shapeless lumps with raisins that almostbroke their teeth, but Harry and Ron pretended to be enjoying themas they told Hagrid all about their first -lessons. Fang restedhis head on Harry's knee and drooled all over his robes. Harry and Ron were delighted to hear Hagrid call Fitch "thatold git." "An' as fer that cat, Mrs. Norris, I'd like ter introduce herto Fang sometime. D'yeh know, every time I go up ter the school,she follows me everywhere? Can't get rid of her -- Fitch puts herup to it." Harry told Hagrid about Snape's lesson. Hagrid, like Ron,told Harry not to worry about it, that Snape liked hardly any ofthe students. "But he seemed to really hate me." "Rubbish!" said Hagrid. "Why should he?" Yet Harry couldn't help thinking that Hagrid didn't quite meethis eyes when he said that. "How's yer brother Charlie?" Hagrid asked Ron. "I liked him alot -- great with animals." Harry wondered if Hagrid had changed the subject onpurpose. While Ron told Hagrid all about Charlie's work with dragons,Harry picked up a piece of paper that was lying on the table underthe tea cozy. It was a cutting from the Daily Prophet: GRINGOTTS BREAK-IN LATEST Investigations continue into the break-in at Gringotts on 31July, widely believed to be the work of Dark wizards or witchesunknown. Gringotts goblins today insisted that nothing had been taken. Thevault that was searched had in fact been emptied the same day. "But we're not telling you what was in there, so keep your nosesout if you know what's good for you," said a Gringotts spokesgoblinthis afternoon. Harry remembered Ron telling him on the train that someone hadtried to rob Gringotts, but Ron hadn't mentioned the date. "Hagrid!" said Harry, "that Gringotts break-in happened on mybirthday! It might've been happening while we were there!" There was no doubt about it, Hagrid definitely didn't meetHarry's eyes this time. He grunted and offered him another rockcake. Harry read the story again. The vault that was searched had infact been emptied earlier that same day. Hagrid had emptied vaultseven hundred and thirteen, if you could call it emptying, takingout that grubby little package. Had that been what the thieves werelooking for? As Harry and Ron walked back to the castle for dinner, theirpockets weighed down with rock cakes they'd been too polite torefuse, Harry thought that none of the lessons he'd had so far hadgiven him as much to think about as tea with Hagrid. Had Hagridcollected that package just in time? Where was it now? And didHagrid know something about Snape that he didn't want to tell Harry?