Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone - Chapter 2: The Vanishing Glass


I am very behind on these posts..I think I'll just write a few and schedule them to appear once every week.

Here is chapter 1 in case you missed it!

Chapter 2

The Vanishing Glass


Only the photographs on the mantelpiece really showed how much time had passed. [..]The room held no sign at all that another boy lived in the house, too. Yet Harry Potter was still there..

Image from the illustrated edition of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone"
© Jim Kay




The second chapter of the book fast forwards us ten years. Harry is living a miserable life at the Dursleys'. There he is treated horribly, forced to live at the cupboard under the stairs and to wear Dudley's old clothes. While his aunt and uncle shower his cousin with gifts and affection, they put Harry on the corner and blame him for his peculiarity. Because sometimes weird things happen when Harry is around. Like that time when his hair grew overnight or when he was magically transported on the roof of his school.. Harry has no idea how this happened and how on earth could it be his fault.  Never ask questions. That's the most frequent answer he gets when he wonders about these incidents, his parents or anything about his past. All they ever told him was that his parents died in a car crash and that's how he ended up with them.

So, the events on this chapter concern Dudley's 11th birthday. Harry is reluctantly brought along on the Dursleys' day out: they all go to the zoo together. They visit the reptile room, where they see a Boa Constrictor. Harry takes a pity on the snake, as he too feels trapped in his own life. Then, 

The snake suddenly opened its beady eyes. Slowly, very slowly, it raised its head until its eyes were on a level with Harry's…

 The glass disappears and the snake gets away causing a commotion. Harry gets a detention when his uncle hears of his little talk witht the snake...


Additional Information


⚡️ Petunia's past (from J.K Rowling)

"Harry's aunt and uncle met at work. Petunia Evans, forever embittered by the fact that her parents seemed to value her witch sister more than they valued her, left Cokeworth forever to pursue a typing course in London. This led to an office job, where she met the extremely unmagical, opinionated and materialistic Vernon Dursley. Large and neckless, this junior executive seemed a model of manliness to young Petunia. He not only returned her romantic interest, but was deliciously normal. He had a perfectly correct car, and wanted to do completely ordinary things, and by the time he had taken her on a series of dull dates, during which he talked mainly about himself and his predictable ideas on the world, Petunia was dreaming of the moment when he would place a ring on her finger.

When, in due course, Vernon Dursley proposed marriage, very correctly, on one knee in his mother's sitting room, Petunia accepted at once. The one fly in her delicious ointment was the fear of what her new fiancé would make of her sister, who was now in her final year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Vernon was apt to despise even people who wore brown shoes with black suits; what he would make of a young woman who spent most of her time wearing long robes and casting spells, Petunia could hardly bear to think.

She confessed the truth during a tear-stained date, in Vernon's dark car as they sat overlooking the chip shop where Vernon had just bought them a post-cinema snack. Vernon, as Petunia had expected, was deeply shocked; however, he told Petunia solemnly that he would never hold it against her that she had a freak for a sister, and Petunia threw herself upon him in such violent gratitude that he dropped his battered sausage.

The first meeting between Lily, her boyfriend James Potter, and the engaged couple, went badly, and the relationship nose-dived from there. James was amused by Vernon, and made the mistake of showing it. Vernon tried to patronise James, asking what car he drove. James described his racing broom. Vernon supposed out loud that wizards had to live on unemployment benefit. James explained about Gringotts, and the fortune his parents had saved there, in solid gold. Vernon could not tell whether he was being made fun of or not, and grew angry. The evening ended with Vernon and Petunia storming out of the restaurant, while Lily burst into tears and James (a little ashamed of himself) promised to make things up with Vernon at the earliest opportunity.

This never happened. Petunia did not want Lily as a bridesmaid, because she was tired of being overshadowed; Lily was hurt. Vernon refused to speak to James at the reception, but described him, within James' earshot, as 'some kind of amateur magician'. Once married, Petunia grew ever more like Vernon. She loved their neat square house at number four, Privet Drive. She was secure, now, from objects that behaved strangely, from teapots that suddenly piped tunes as she passed, or long conversations about things she did not understand, with names like 'Quidditch' and 'Transfiguration'. She and Vernon chose not to attend Lily and James' wedding. The very last piece of correspondence she received from Lily and James was the announcement of Harry's birth, and after one contemptuous look, Petunia threw it in the bin."


Fun facts


(⊃。•́‿•̀。)⊃━☆゚.*・。゚ Vernon and Petunia - the naming game

"Vernon and Petunia were so-called from their creation, and never went through a number of trial names, as so many other characters did. ‘Vernon’ is simply a name I never much cared for. ‘Petunia’ is the name that I always gave unpleasant female characters in games of make believe I played with my sister, Di, when we were very young. Where I got it, I was never sure, until recently a friend of mine played me a series of public information films that were shown on television when we were young (he collects such things and puts them on his laptop to enjoy at leisure). One of them was an animation in which a married couple sat on a cliff enjoying a picnic and watching a man drowning in the sea below (the thrust of the film was, don’t wave back - call the lifeguard). The husband called his wife Petunia, and I suddenly wondered whether that wasn’t where I had got this most unlikely name, because I have never met anybody called Petunia, or, to my knowledge, read about them. The subconscious is a very odd thing. The cartoon Petunia was a fat, cheery character, so all I seem to have taken is her name.

The surname ‘Dursley’ was taken from the eponymous town in Gloucestershire, which is not very far from where I was born. I have never visited Dursley, and I expect that it is full of charming people. It was the sound of the word that appealed, rather than any association with the place." (J.K. Rowling)

Things you might not notice on your first read



Harry's aunt, Marge, who "hates the boy", is first mentioned in this chapter. We get to meet his charming aunt on book 3, however, when she comes for a visit at the Dusleys'.


Harry talked to the snake. Why this happens and how important it is will also be revealed later on.


Harry's kindness towards the snake should also be noted. Despite the suffering at the hands of his relatives, he is kind and generous. Everything Dumbledore hoped he would grow up to be ...


☆*:・゚ Closing Lines

When he had been younger, Harry had dreamed and dreamed of some unknown relation coming to take him away, but it had never happened; the Dursleys were his only family..

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling,Mary GrandPré