The basilisk had swept the Sorting Hat into Harry's arms. Harry seized it. It was all he had left, his only chance-he rammed it onto his head and threw himself flat on the floor as the basilisk's tail swung over him again. Help me—help me—Harry thought, his eyes screwed tight under the hat. Please help me— There was no answering voice. Instead the hat contracted, as though an invisible hand was squeezing it very tightly.

This passage takes place when Harry is alone in the chamber with Tom Riddle and the basilisk, both of whom are about to kill him. The scene demonstrates the degree of Harry's heroism. Harry follows clues using clever, sleuth-like plans, and then he uses his great courage and determination to bring himself to the site of the crimes. Once there, Harry confronts powers much greater and more experienced than his own, and often the best he can do is simply hope as hard as he can that help will come from somewhere. As Dumbledore promises, help comes at Hogwarts to those who ask. Here the Sorting Hat produces Godric Gryffindor's ruby-embedded sword, which Harry uses to kill the deadly basilisk. The novel shows that victory is always a group effort—either among friends, with subtle help from teachers, or else with invisible protective charms left by past occurrences, just as Harry as a baby survived Voldemort, guarded by the love of his mother who sacrificed herself for him. Harry is great not only because of his talents and courage, but because he places himself up against the ultimate enemy and allows himself to be assisted by forces greater than himself.