HP Re-read: 1.15 The Forbidden Forest

“Well, think again, boy – it’s into the forest you’re going and I’m much mistaken if you’ll all come out in one piece.”

Oh, Filch, you savage. I don’t think you should be saying that to 11-year-olds. I can imagine the throng of angry parents marching off to Hogwarts complaining about how their children are maltreated.

Harry, Ron, Neville, and Draco all have to serve detention for being out of bed after curfew. Their punishment? To help Hagrid find a wounded unicorn in the Forbidden Forest. Hagrid splits them into two groups. Harry finds a dead unicorn and a hooded figure hovering over the dead animal, drinking its blood. Harry feels a jolt of pain in his scar like he had never felt before. Just when the hooded figure lunge at them, a centaur named Firenze appears in the clearing and saves Harry. Through Firenze, Harry learns why the Sorcerer’s Stone is essential, that Voldemort is back, and that he wants the Stone for himself!

Whew! As you can tell, this chapter is action packed! Before we talk about the action though, let’s discuss a few things.

Considering how dangerous the Forbidden Forest is, why in the world would it be allowed for students to go there to serve detention? Even Dumbledore addressed it at the welcome banquet; he said the forest is strictly off limits. Also, when Harry, Hermione, Neville, and Draco were at the forest, why did Hagrid split the students into two groups and allow one (Harry) to wander unsupervised? Fang, who were with Draco, Neville, and Hermione, despite his enormity and ferocious sounding name, is not the bravest steed and Hagrid isn’t allowed to do magic. So how the heck was Hagrid supposed to protect the students? If it weren’t for Firenze, Harry would have been attacked by Voldemort! And scene. That would have been the end of The Boy Who Lived.

Furthermore, Harry finds his Invisibility Cloak (which he left at the tower when he met up with Charlie to send off Norbert) with a note that says “Just in case.” We know it’s Dumbledore who returns it to Harry. Dumbledore wants Harry to learn about the Sorcerer’s Stone, and he’s been leaving clues for him. Did he want Harry to go into the forest? Did he employ Firenze’s help to watch over Harry and save him if anything comes up? Did he know Quirrell’s secret? We know Snape was really suspicious of Quirrell (not the other way around), so Dumbledore might have been in on it too. Why is Quirrell allowed to stay in Hogwarts if they already suspected him to have ties with Voldemort?

So many questions! @_@

Perhaps Dumbledore lets Harry go through all of these to prepare him for the inevitable: Voldemort’s return and Harry’s battle with him.

And then, there’s this beautiful yet dark line:

Always the innocent are the first victims,” he said. “So it has been for ages past, so it is now.”

That might as well have been the motto of the entire Harry Potter series. From Harry and Neville losing their parents at a very young age, to Hermione erasing her parents memories of her, to Cedric Diggory being killed just because he was at the wrong place at the wrong time, to Luna being lonely and alone, to Draco not having the proper role models, to Snape fulfilling a promise, to Dobby’s tragic death, to George losing Fred. Always the innocent are the first victims.

Some notes:

  • This is the first time Harry’s scar hurts that meant Voldemort is near.
  • The other centaurs are not very friendly. They are very upset with Firenze for saving Harry and sharing some information with him. Centaurs are solitary, intelligent creatures who don’t trust humans and think it’s the humans who are the lowly creatures. Not one bit. So Firenze helping Harry is an oddity.



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