Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

by: J. K. Rowling

Chapters 7–8

Summary Chapters 7–8

Family origins continue to be important in these chapters. During dessert at the welcome banquet, Harry’s new classmates discuss their pasts, and Harry is told that some of the students are not from wizard families. The father of a boy named Seamus is a Muggle, and for a long while Neville’s parents thought Neville was a Muggle. Hermione comes from a purely Muggle family. Yet these variations are of no importance at Hogwarts, which is an equal-opportunity wizards academy. The students of mixed or Muggle backgrounds are accepted on equal footing with the more illustrious wizards’ offspring like Draco Malfoy. Indeed, having magic in the family is no guarantee of being exceptional or even rich. Ron Weasley, Harry’s first friend at Hogwarts, is the child of a family with a very strong magic tradition, but Ron cannot even afford snacks on the train ride to school. Learning that family origins are not as important as talent and hard work at Hogwarts allows Harry to break away once and for all from the snobbish class-dominated world of the Dursleys.

Rowling continues to show that while Harry has great potential, he is ordinary in some ways. He is not an expert wizard; rather, like his peers who are just starting out at Hogwarts, he must learn how to use magic. And like any student, he sometimes has trouble in his classes, does not like all of his teachers, and gets annoyed by students who know how to do everything perfectly. The fact that he is flawed makes it easier for us to relate to him.