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Uncle Vernon drops Harry off at King’s Cross Station, and Harry begins to panic about trying to find the elusive Platform 9 ¾. Fortunately, Harry runs into the Weasley family and they help him walk through the wall that leads to Platform 9 ¾. Harry meets most of the Weasley family and shares a compartment with Ron when he gets on the train. Harry tells Ron about his life and Ron tells Harry about how he feels overshadowed by his older brothers’ accomplishments. Harry buys a load of sweets for the train ride and in one of the Chocolate Frogs he finds a wizard trading card with Albus Dumbledore on it.
A girl named Hermione stops by the compartment and tells the boys that she’s read all her textbooks already. After she leaves, Ron mentions to Harry that he heard about a break-in at Gringotts. Ron then tells Harry about Quidditch. Malfoy, flanked by his bully friends Crabbe and Goyle, stops by the compartment to see if Harry Potter really is on the train. Ron and Draco almost get in a fight after Draco insults Ron’s family, but Scabbers fends the three intruders off by biting Goyle’s hand.
After those three leave, the train arrives at Hogwarts and Hagrid rounds up all the first-years. Hagrid puts the first- years into four-man boats, and Harry and Ron share a boat with Neville and Hermione. The fleet makes its way across the school lake towards Hogwarts castle and soon reaches the shore. The first-years then leave their boats and make their way up the school steps.
McGonagall receives the first years from Hagrid at the front door and they are led to the start-of-term banquet. But first, the Sorting ceremony takes place, featuring a magical Sorting Hat that sings and places students in one of the four houses (Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, or Ravenclaw) based on the student’s disposition. Hermione and Ron are put into Gryffindor and so is Harry, although the hat did originally consider putting Harry in Slytherin.
Harry is learning the ins-and-out of Hogwarts, including how to avoid trick staircases, Peeves the poltergeist, ghosts, Filch the caretaker and his cat Mrs. Norris, and still get to class on time. Harry gets his first taste of Herbology with Sprout, History of Magic with Binns, Charms with Flitwick, Transfiguration with McGonagall, Defense against the Dark Arts with Quirrell, and Potions with Snape. In Potions class, Snape goes out of his way to make Harry look bad.
Harry and Ron visit Hagrid and discuss Snape and the Gringotts break-in that was in the news. Hagrid thinks Harry is imagining Snape’s bias towards him, but seems shifty on the subject. Harry figures out that whoever broke into Gringotts was trying to steal what Hagrid had taken out that day they went to Diagon Alley.
Harry’s first flying lesson turns into a crash course when Malfoy steals Neville’s Remembrall. Harry flies after the airborne Malfoy, saves Neville’s Remembrall when Malfoy throws it to the ground, and gets caught by Professor McGonagall. But rather than punish Harry, an impressed McGonagall takes Harry to the Gryffindor Quidditch team captain, Oliver Wood. At dinner that night Harry is still happy about being recruited for the team when Malfoy challenges him to a Wizard’s duel. Ron accepts for Harry and that night the two sneak out, only to be accompanied by chance by Hermione and Neville. The four reach the trophy room and realize they’ve been set up: Malfoy never intended to show up at all, but instead told Filch of where they’d be. The four run away from Filch, storming blindly down the corridors until they reach a locked door, which Hermione unlocks. They run into the room to hide from Filch, only to find that the room is occupied by a large, three-headed dog. The four escape from the room and run furiously back to their dorms, where Harry figures out that the three-headed dog was probably guarding whatever Hagrid took out from vault 713.
Harry and Ron are both trying to figure out what the three- headed dog is guarding when a package arrives for Harry: a Nimbus Two Thousand from Professor McGonagall. Harry takes his new broom and meets with Oliver Wood, who teaches Harry how to play Quidditch.