Chương 5 trong phần truyện Harry Potter và Hòn Đá Phù Thủy có tên: Hẻm Xéo
Harry tỉnh giấc với một con cú đang tức giận mổ vào áo khoác của Hagrid, đòi trả tiền cho tờ báo mà nó vừa giao. Hagrid buồn ngủ bảo Harry đưa cho con cú 5 quả Knut, những đồng xu bằng đồng trông rất kỳ quặc nhét trong túi áo khoác. Harry đặt những đồng xu vào trong một chiếc bao tải nhỏ buộc vào chân con cú và nó bay đi. Ngay sau đó, Harry và Hagrid lên đường đến London, sử dụng chính chiếc thuyền mà Vernon thuê để đến hòn đảo.
Muggles (dân gian không có phép thuật) nhìn chằm chằm vào Hagrid, cố gắng để cho anh ta và Harry đi qua. Đi tàu điện ngầm đến trung tâm London, Harry và Hagrid cuối cùng cũng đến một cơ sở có tên là Leaky Cauldron. Harry nhận thấy rằng Muggles dường như không biết đến quán rượu nằm giữa hai cơ sở kinh doanh khác. Harry nghi ngờ rằng chỉ có Hagrid và chính mình mới có thể nhìn thấy nó.
Khi bước vào quán rượu tối tăm và khá tồi tàn, Harry được chào đón nhiệt tình bởi những vị khách quen hào hứng của nó. Hagrid giới thiệu Harry với Quirrell, người hướng dẫn mới về Phòng thủ Chống lại Nghệ thuật Hắc ám, người có vẻ rụt rè và lo lắng. Harry và Hagrid đi vào một sân nhỏ phía sau Vạc Rò rỉ. Trong khi Harry suy nghĩ về phản ứng của mọi người đối với mình, Hagrid dùng ô gõ vào những viên gạch tường; một cái hố xuất hiện, ngày một lớn hơn, tạo thành một cổng tò vò. Họ đi vào Hẻm Xéo, khu thương mại phù thủy.
Harry và Hagrid đi ngang qua nhiều cửa hàng ma thuật và xuống phố tới Gringotts, ngân hàng phù thủy. Tại Gringotts, Hagrid tạo ra một chìa khóa kho tiền và một tờ giấy cho phép ông ta thay mặt Dumbledore vào một kho tiền khác. Sau chuyến đi xe tốc độ cao với Griphook the Goblin (khiến Hagrid buồn nôn), họ đến được hầm của Harry, nơi chứa đầy tiền phù thủy (galleons, liềm và quả óc chó). Hagrid giúp Harry kiếm đủ đồ dùng học tập và chi phí, đồng thời dạy cậu về hệ thống tiền tệ phù thủy. Sau một chuyến xe hàng khác, Hagrid lấy đi món đồ duy nhất bên trong kho tiền # 713, một bưu kiện nhỏ bẩn thỉu. Hagrid yêu cầu Harry không được nói gì với bất kỳ ai về gói hàng này.
Trở lại bề mặt, Hagrid giúp Harry mua đồ dùng học tập. Trong cửa hàng Áo choàng cho mọi dịp của Madam Malkin, Harry gặp một học sinh Hogwarts năm nhất khác, một cậu bé hợm hĩnh, người tán thành chỉ cho phép những gia đình Phù thủy giỏi hơn mới được vào học tại Hogwarts. Trước khi trao đổi lời giới thiệu, Harry rời đi để mua sách, kính viễn vọng và một cái vạc. Vào sinh nhật của mình, Hagrid mua cho anh ta một con cú tuyết mà Harry đặt tên là Hedwig. Cuối cùng, họ dừng lại ở Ollivander's để mua một cây đũa phép. Ông Ollivander, người nhớ từng cây đũa phép mà mình từng bán, cho biết Harry sẽ biết khi nào tìm được chiếc thích hợp. Sau khi thử nhiều cây đũa phép, Harry chọn một cây đũa phép làm từ nhựa ruồi; tia lửa bùng lên từ đầu của nó — đây là cây đũa phép của Harry. Ông Ollivander nói rằng chính cây đũa phép đã mang lại vết sẹo cho Harry. Mỗi lõi của cây đũa phép chỉ chứa một trong hai chiếc lông đuôi từng được tặng bởi một con Phượng hoàng cụ thể.
Just as Hagrid carried Harry to the Muggle world on a flying motorbike, now the gentle giant whisks him away, first by boat, then by underground rail to Diagon Alley in central London. Transportation vehicles, particularly trains, become important symbols running throughout the series. The Hogwarts Express, the train that Harry will soon ride to Hogwarts for the first time, is the means that continually shuttles him back-and-forth between the Magical and Muggle worlds, at least until he is an adult. It is rarely a smooth ride between these two realms. Other magically enhanced vehicles will come to represent Harry's escape from danger or turmoil, and his growing independence, as well as his overall journey through the series.
The parallel Wizarding society that we and Harry are introduced to seems to share more similarities than differences with the Muggle world Harry is about to leave behind. Magic alone is apparently inadequate to provide for all wizards' needs, and they therefore have their own highly-organized commerce and social infrastructure that includes a bank, retail shops, government, penal system, mass media, an educational institution, and so on. Wizards actually seem to function much as Muggles—they have jobs to earn a living, buy what they need from stores, marry and raise families, and celebrate the same traditions and holidays, such as Christmas, Hallowe'en, Easter, etc. Harry quickly encounters a more negative similarity, however, when he meets Draco Malfoy, the snobbish boy in the shop, who soon becomes Harry's primary nemesis, just as Dudley is in the Muggle world, and who represents the deep class divisions and prejudices within wizard society. This becomes a major theme in the series. Even Draco's name portends this unpleasant relationship: Draco is, of course, Latin for "dragon" and Malfoy can loosely be translated as "bad faith" in French. What is quite different from Muggles, apart from magic, is the mythic beings inhabiting this clandestine world. Here we meet Goblins, and hear about Phoenixes, Dragons, Unicorns, Hags, and Vampires. This is our first intimation that these mythological creatures may have a real, parallel existence.
Wizards have secretly co-existed alongside the Muggle world for centuries. To reflect this side-by-side (and occasionally intersecting) existence with humans, the author has cleverly named the wizard business district Diagon Alley (diagonally). Its seedy, dark underbelly is Knockturn Alley (nocturnally), where many Dark wizards ply their trade or otherwise engage in unsavory or illegal activities. These dark and light areas come to represent themes of good and evil that permeate the series.
And as secret as the wizard world is kept, some Muggles, such as the Grangers, need to know that it exists, while a few even marry into it, sometimes unknowingly; it is revealed later in the series that the incumbent British prime ministers communicate as needed with the Ministry of Magic, the wizard government. It should also be assumed that wizard banking must somehow be connected to human commerce so that Muggle parents can exchange their British currency for wizard galleons and sickles to buy their magical offspring basic Wizarding necessities. Fortunately, Harry has no need to exchange currency—his parents have left him a small fortune stored in Gringotts Bank. This, combined with his magical talent and celebrity, will make for a potent combination that aids Harry throughout the series. Harry, however, remains generally unaffected by wealth and fame, caring little for material possessions and shunning the spotlight; he will, however, be able to use his new-found inheritance to bolster his independence, provide all his own needs, and further distance himself from the Dursleys' control, though, unfortunately, he must remain bound to them until he is a legal adult.
Harry is amazed by Diagon Alley, but also that everyone knows who he is and that he is so readily accepted and respected by other wizards. He has been famous almost since birth, an apparent hero to an entire population, though unaware of why, or even of his own fame. Having been treated his entire life as if he barely existed, Harry's reaction to this attention is mostly astonishment at being acknowledged, and embarrassment, feeling he has done nothing special to deserve the adulation. To readers, who still lack any knowledge of why Harry is so famous, his being treated as a "hero" may seem premature, but this label might actually presage future events, as well as designating what he may or may not have already accomplished. We will also contrast Harry's behavior with another character who constantly thrives on and seeks out fame in the next book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Harry remains curious regarding what Hagrid removed from vault #713. While it is unknown yet what the packet contains, there are clues that it must be valuable. Hagrid's behavior suggests this, with the deliberate care and secrecy he shows when retrieving the package, and by his asking Harry to mention nothing about what he has seen. Also, there being nothing else inside other than the packet, indicates it is probably a high-security vault protecting only that one item. Storing nothing else in it prevents anyone from having a reason, other than this particular object, to access the vault. Any break-in attempt would reveal what a thief was after.
As Harry learns about the wizarding world, so too does he discover more about his parents, his own past, and his relationship to Voldemort. Harry's wand plays an integral part in this relationship. A wand is a wizard's most important possession; without it, it is nearly impossible to perform magic. Ollivander tells Harry that the wand chooses the wizard, and a unique bond is indeed created between it and its owner; this ability to choose the wizard indicates wands may be somewhat sentient. The wood type and the core material apparently also play a part in this bonding process. Harry's wand, for example, is holly, a wood traditionally thought to repel evil, while a Phoenix is associated with purity and resurrection.
Harry learns that the wand destined to be his has a connection with Voldemort's wand; this seems to disturb him somewhat, as he shivers when Ollivander tells him that the core of his new wand and the core of Voldemort's wand came from the same phoenix. This fact tells the reader that there is a present connection between Harry and Voldemort, not just a past connection, and may foreshadow Harry's destiny. It also represents the darker, sinister side to what had initially seemed to readers like a magical paradise; the wizarding world actually may be far more dangerous than the unhappy Muggle one Harry is leaving behind.
- Hagrid says that the Wizarding monetary system is simple. Is it?
- Why is there such an excited reaction to Harry when he enters the Leaky Cauldron with Hagrid?
- Why does Mr Ollivander believe Harry will be a great wizard? What does Harry think about his opinion and why?
- Harry and Hagrid leave the island by using the same boat that Vernon hired to get there. If Hagrid flew there, and he and Harry take the only boat on the entire island back to the mainland, then how did the Dursleys return home?
- Hagrid says he flew to the island. Apparently, wizards can only fly with equipment such as a broom or a flying vehicle, or possibly with aid of a flying animal. How could Hagrid fly there, and why did he not fly back with Harry?
- How did the letters' sender know that Harry had been moved into the second bedroom, and then into the hotel and onto the island?
- How and why does a wand "choose" a wizard?
- Why would the "brother" to Voldemort's wand "choose" Harry?
- Considering how secret the wizard world is kept, why would someone as noticeable as Hagrid be sent to collect Harry and escort him through Central London to Diagon Alley?
- Why was nothing except the one small package kept in vault #713 at Gringotts Bank? Why does Hagrid ask Harry to say nothing about it?
- Compare and contrast the Wizarding and Muggle worlds. How are they different and how are they similar?
- What does the conversation between Harry and the boy in Madam Malkin's Robe shop reveal about wizard society?
- Even though the wizard world is carefully hidden, there appear to be connections and interactions between it and Muggle society. Give examples of what these connections might be and explain why they would be necessary.
The "small, grubby parcel" that Hagrid removes from the vault is the titular Philosopher's Stone (US: Sorcerer's Stone), which will be central to this book's plot. Harry, with his limited classical education, is unable to understand why this Stone is so prized, but a classmate, Hermione Granger, will explain it to him.
Hagrid marvels at the things Muggles have come up with in order to live without magic. The reader who is paying attention will note that with a very few exceptions (indoor plumbing, for example, and artificial illumination in some cases), the Wizarding world is not using any technology at all more recent than the invention of the printing press. It is uncertain why wizards have chosen to keep these older ways of doing things. Hermione later comments that the magical field around Hogwarts is so strong that technology simply doesn't work; this cannot be the reason that Wizarding households avoid technology, because technology still works perfectly around strong wizards like Harry and Hermione in their Muggle homes. It is possible that wizards feel that magic is more reliable than technology, or, especially in a certain segment of the wizard population, it may be a point of pride to avoid anything Muggle-made.
Harry's humility is shown here. While this character trait continually serves him well, it becomes masked by his unique position as "the Boy Who Lived". Harry will thwart Voldemort repeatedly, until gradually, he comes to believe that only he can accomplish certain feats regarding the Dark Lord. Close examination will reveal that while he somewhat accepts his designation as a hero, he never capitalizes on his status; rather, it becomes an increasing obligation (and burden). Late in the series, the Ministry of Magic publicly begins calling him The Chosen One, as it attempts to exploit him in a weak and misguided effort to show the public they are actually doing "something" to fight Voldemort. Despite being thrust into the limelight in this manner, Harry avoids exploiting his fame for personal gain, instead shunning it to continue the near-impossible mission fate has tasked him with, lending further evidence that he is destined to become the classic hero.
It is mentioned that Ollivander's window display contains only a single wand on a cushion. We discover later, notably in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince that Voldemort has been hunting artifacts belonging to the four Hogwarts Founders to make into Horcruxes. It has been speculated that the wand in Ollivander's window might be Rowena Ravenclaw's. While this may seem related to Ollivander's disappearance in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the lost Ravenclaw artifact, a Diadem (tiara), was actually found and made into a Horcrux by Voldemort, many years before he encountered Harry.
Griphook, the Goblin, and Mr. Ollivander, the wand maker, are introduced here. Both will play significant roles in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Ollivander's claim that "The wand chooses the Wizard" is a key plot point in the larger story, and particularly significant in book 7. It is possible that Harry's wand, related to the one the Dark Lord owns, chose him because it recognized Voldemort's soul shard that Harry carries within him, though no-one, not even Voldemort, knows it exists.
Harry and Voldemort's wands are considered "brothers" even though they are different woods. According to the author, Harry's wand is holly, a wood traditionally believed to repel evil. Voldemort's wand is yew, a long-lived tree that also represents death and resurrection. What bonds them are their identical magical cores: Phoenix tail feathers. A Phoenix is a mythical bird that repeatedly dies by bursting into flames, then is reborn from its own ashes. Harry will learn that the particular Phoenix who donated only these two feathers is Fawkes, Dumbledore's animal familiar. Fawkes saves Harry's life in the next book, and also heals his wound in book 4. The provenance of the magical core within his wand becomes vitally important in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
- It is revealed here that Harry's wand and Voldemort's are brothers, having cores made from the only two feathers provided by one particular phoenix, later identified as Dumbledore's animal familiar, Fawkes. The effect of Harry's and Voldemort's wands being brothers will be seen in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and explained as being the Priori Incantatem effect in a later chapter of the same book. Issues arising out of the two wands being brothers will drive one of the many subplots in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
- The Philosopher's Stone, of course, will power much of this book. It will be mentioned again in the final book. During the discussion of the Deathly Hallows, Hermione will argue that the Resurrection Stone is clearly impossible, and so must be a misinterpretation of the Philosopher's Stone, which they know exists.
- We find out that Hagrid was expelled from Hogwarts and his wand was snapped; we also learn that the pieces, apparently still functional, are hidden in his umbrella. Hagrid using this umbrella to perform magic is seen again in the next book.
- The Wizarding newspaper that Hagrid evidently subscribes to, the Daily Prophet, will reappear multiple times in the series, as will the Ministry of Magic, whose activities he complains about.
- Places seen for the first time in this chapter will reappear multiple times in the series. We will see Quality Quidditch Supplies and the Apothecary each time Harry goes shopping for supplies. Locations that are more significantly connected:
- Harry will spend the end of his school break in the Leaky Cauldron in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
- Flourish and Blotts will reappear in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, where Harry first meets Gilderoy Lockhart, and a physical altercation occurs between Mr. Weasley and Lucius Malfoy. It is also the site where Harry later discovers the mythology behind the Grim in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
- Madam Malkin's, where Harry first encounters Draco Malfoy, will be the scene of an argument between Narcissa Malfoy and Hermione in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
- Harry will determine that it is necessary to break in to Bellatrix Lestrange's vault at Gringotts Bank in the final book in the series.
- The goblin, Griphook, who escorts Harry and Hagrid to the vaults will be conscripted to assist Harry in the break-in mentioned above.